Using Instlux to install Ubuntu in windows XP over the network

December 25, 2006 at 4:15 pm 2 comments

Recently, I purchased a new computer for my fiancee. This left her old ancient Toshiba 1805-S207 for me to experiment on. The problem is that the CD-ROM has died (it returns IDE #1 error on startup), so I can’t install from CD-ROM. It’s an old machine, so it can boot from floppy, PXE, PCMCIA hard disk, but not from usb.

I attempted to set up a PXE server, but I was only partially successful. I found this program call instlux which allow installation from Windows. It however does not come with a lot of instructions, so I write down my experience.

Instlux comes with several different types:

  • Instlux
  • Instlux for Ubuntu
  • Instlux for Suse

The Instlux is the base installer which allows you to install from many different Linux distro, but requires configuration. The other instlux is preconfigure to work with a single distro. The Ubuntu installer comes in a version from CD-ROM and one that install from network. The Suse installer only installs from CD-ROM. Since I don’t have a CD-ROM, Ubuntu network installer was the easiest way to go. If you have a working CD-ROM and can’t boot from it, I recommend using Smart Boot Manager to boot from a floppy and then use that to boot from the CD.

To use Instlux, follow the following instructions:

  1. Make sure you back up your drive! I did not encountered any problems during installation, but one person on the net trashed his hard disk. Remember that you have to repartition your hard disk, so data loss is always a possibility.
  2. Download Instlux from the Sourceforge site. In my case, I download the english version of Instlux for Ubuntu network. As of this writing, Instlux only support install of Ubuntu 6.06.
  3. Run the installer. This installs the installer into the C: drive and modify the c:\boot.ini file (which is normally hidden in Windows). The installer consists of the instlux directory with custom vmlinux and initrd. There is also a glrdr that calls the Ubuntu installer. The installer will prompt you to reboot. Note that if you are using Windows 98 or ME or earlier, Instlux won’t work without some configuration because ME or earlier does not use the same boot loader as NT.
  4. Reboot the computer, pay attention at this point. You will get a menu that allow you to select Windows and Ubuntu 6.06 installer. Select the Ubuntu installer and press enter. The menu appears only for a few seconds. If you don’t pay attention, it will boot into Windows by default and you will be prompted to uninstall Instlux and be confused like I was. If you get a prompt to uninstall instlux. Reboot the machine and pay more attention to the screen.
  5. When you select the installer, glrdr is loaded and you get an option to install Ubuntu 6.06. You can follow the instruction to install Ubuntu 6.06. Be careful when you get to the section where it asks if you want to installer over your hard disk if you want to dual boot your machine.
  6. Installation took hours. I am not sure if this is because I was running this on a 1.1 Ghz Celeron Coppermine or if it’s because I was install Ubuntu over a 768K DSL instead of a faster CD-ROM drive.
  7. After the install, I boot into Ubuntu and got a strange drumming noise that slowly faded away as the computer run. Weird! It never happen again after a reboot. Everything worked fine. Even the wireless driver for the DWL-G650 card was installed. Unfortunately, wireless connection did not work, but it appears that it was because my router does not support ipv6.
  8. I reboot into windows and got the promp to uninstall Instlux. This time, I click yes and it remove Instlux and restore the boot.ini file.

Now I can dual boot into windows or Ubuntu.


Entry filed under: linux, ubuntu.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mfdf  |  October 16, 2007 at 2:53 am


  • 2. subramanian  |  February 14, 2008 at 8:17 am


    Its a good article and i appreciate ur attitude towards helping other people.

    Im using windows(AMD,ASUS,256MB Ram,40GB HDD).

    i want to install Linux(Suse).I am using internet with a wireless modem/router.With XP i didnt set anything to make broadband connection.I just connect my system with a cable to the wireless modem/router.

    With instlux, is it possible to install linux in system(already having XP in C:) .

    I want dual booting system.I wanna to use both XP and Linux.

    Can u help me Please….

    Thanks in advance.



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