Howto boot Quantian from a Windows partition without using a cdrom

More recent Quantian releases, starting with, came in at over 1gb, or clearly too much for a cdrom with a typical capacity of 700mb. An earlier HOWTO detailed ways to boot Quantian on Windows using a bootable cdrom. Here, we show how the compressed iso image can be booted directly using the Windows version of the Grub bootloader as detailed in the WinPartition HOWTO at Note that the procedure below was tested in the fall of 2004; I do not currently have a PC on which I can test this. The WinPartition HOWTO is probably more current.

The basic steps to set this up are as follows:

  1. Download the Windows binary of Grub plus support files.
  2. Copy C:\BOOT.INI to C:\BOOT.INI.backup, just in case.
  3. Unpack the zip in a temporary directory. Copy all of Root_of_NTFS but not boot.ini to c:/
  4. Using Notepad, edit C:\BOOT.INI and add a new line
    c:\grldr="Start Grub"
    If the windows version is Windows 2000, also add
    c:\bootgrub="Start Grub (old method)"
  5. Copy the Quantian iso image into C:\BOOT\KNOPPIX.36
  6. Edit C:\BOOT\GRUB\menu.lst and make changes as needed. This may be required for a non-standard disk layout, or if particular Knoppix cheatcodes are needed.
  7. We need to replace the actual kernel file linux24, or in the case of the 2.6 kernel, linux26, with the one from the Quantian release. On the other hand, the miniroot filesystem needs to be taken from the collection contained in the zip archive of the Windows Grub files as it contains the required ntds driver. By replacing, say, the original linux24 (from this Grub package) with the one for Quantain, we obtain the required Quantian kernel with openMosix support. (Note that booting this kernel will emit a few error messages on bootup due different kernel version labels caused by the '-om-20040808' appended to the Quantian kernel. This can be ignored -- as both kernels are 2.4.27, it actually works fine despite the warnings.
  8. Reboot, use the windows boot menu to first select the grub menu, and subsequently select the Quantian kernel version to boot.
This method worked for me on my work laptop -- a standard IBM Thinkpad T23 running a Windows 2000 installation. Comments and feedback welcome!

Last modified: Sun Dec 18 12:02:02 CST 2005