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Monday, February 20, 2012

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I have an old Sony VAIO which is not in it's best of health and has long been really a companion for my telly, faithfully streaming media from bbc iplayer, youtube, dailymotion and likes. Internet enabled TV arrived in my home long long back :).

Now the thing with this laptop is that it's kinda gimpy - inbuilt keyboard won't work, battery is dead and it hangs on life with constant supply of energy from the AC source on the wall and the one thing that helps me load new OS on this machine - the optical reader - is temperamental and may or may not work and is moody in selecting which CD / DVD it will read and which it won't. It does in particular like CD's authored by Linux Format guys though. Writing is a skill it has forgotten long back and if it reads something, anything I am found celebrating. 

Anyway, I had ubuntu installed on this laptop for quite some time but as this laptop has one more flaw - the nvidia graphic card - and the latest update from ubuntu broke the nvidia drivers which aren't all that well supported anyway, I was being forced to reformat the machine. So I decided to try a new distro named Bodhi Linux which is very cool and uses Enlightenment as desktop which is very very good and way better than Unity and some might argue even Gnome 3.2. However, in order to do so I had to cross the hurdle of burning a CD that my laptop's Optical Drive will find intresting enough to read. 

I have checked and rechecked the BIOS of this laptop and there is no way to make BIOS understand that it can boot from USB. The only options it provides are Hard Drive, Floppy Disk, Optical Reader and Network Boot. None of these were particularly useful for reasons explained above and unfortunately I was hitting the wall. So I started looking for alternative ways to get Bodhi Linux installed. Alternative is what I found in Plop Boot Manager.

Now open source enthusiasts at this point be aware, this nifty piece of software is not open source but it is so useful that this one minor flaw must be completely ignored. It gives you options to boot from USB in several ways - you can burn a CD and fool BIOS to boot from CD onto plop boot manager which in turn allows you to boot from device of your choice aka USB, it can also be put on floppy or the option that I have used - install on hard drive and configured through GRUB.

So presented below without further ado is the guide to how you can install this on your hard drive but before I do so a quick thanks to several boards and posts I referred in the process of making this work:

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