From a Boot Floppy plus CD-ROM - The Usual Way

With modern laptops, the usual Linux (one Boot Floppy, one Support Floppy, one Packages CD-ROM) should be no problem, if there is are floppy drive and a CD-ROM drive available. Though with certain laptops you might get trouble if you can not simultaneously use the floppy drive and CD-ROM drive , or if the floppy drive is only available as a PCMCIA device, as with the Toshiba Libretto 100. Some laptops support also booting and therefore installation completely from a CD drive, as reported for the SONY VAIO in the VAIO-HOWTO. Note: Check the BIOS for the CD boot option and make sure your Linux distribution comes on a bootable CD.

Certain laptops will only boot zImage kernels. bzImage kernels won't work. This is a known problem with the IBM™ Thinkpad 600 and Toshiba Tecra series, for instance. Some distributions provide certain boot floppies for these machines or for machines with limited memory resources, Debian/GNU Linux for instance.

Newer laptops are able to boot a Linux distribution from a bootable CD-ROM. This would allow installation without a floppy disk drive. For RedHat see How to Install from CD-ROM without Boot and Supplemental Disks . If the CD drive is only available as a PCMCIA device, as with the SONY VAIO PCG-Z600TEK, see the chapter about installing from PCMCIA devices below.