This is a short description of how to install from a CD-ROM under DOS without using boot or supplemental floppy diskettes. This is especially useful for notebooks with swappable floppy and CD-ROM components (if both are mutually exclusive) or if they are only available as PCMCIA devices. I have taken this method from "Installing Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 For Intel x86 - Chapter 5 Methods for Installing Debian" http://www.debian.org :
Get the following files from your nearest Debian FTP mirror and put them into a directory on your DOS partition: resc1440.bin drv1440.bin base2_1.tgz root.bin linux install.bat and loadlin.exe.
Boot into DOS (not Windows) without any drivers being loaded. To do this, you have to press <F8> at exactly the right moment.
Execute install.bat from that directory in DOS.
Reboot the system and install the rest of the distribution, you may now use all the advanced features such as PCMCIA, PPP and others.
This should work for other distributions as well. Maybe you have to do some appropriate changes. For RedHat see How to Install from CD-ROM without Boot and Supplemental Disks