Need to fresh install F39 on an older laptop


I have an older laptop thats been my devbox running fedora for a long time. Nicely for the most part too, currently on F38. I need to install and cannot upgrade anymore.

Now I need to install F39 from scratch. The problem is that the laptop has a cd rom reader and cannot boot from the usb drive.

And the latest F39 image is > 2GB !

If I download the latest iso file, is there a way to boot/install off the iso file from the hard drive?
can i split the iso image over a few cd roms whereby Fedora will keep prompting me to insert the next cd disc ?

Really wish there was a way to burn the minimal amount of Fedora on a 640MB cd rom and have it connect to the fedoraproject site to get the rest of the software to install.

Any ideas would be helpful.


There is a network installer (online installer) available here. It should just fit on a 700 MB CD. I haven’t used it in a while, but IIRC, it might show the edition as “Fedora Server” by default, but you can change the package selection to “Fedora Workstation” during the installation process.

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Potentially you can install Fedora Server (there is DVD ISO or you can do network install) and then install Fedora DE of your choice as per these instructions. I never done such installation myself, so please do your research before trying it.

Ah, right, there are actually two network/online installers – an “everything” version and a “server” version. I think you can accomplish what you want with either installer (they both allow fully customizing the package selection), but you have to be careful about choosing the right value for the filesystem type. The server version defaults to using XFS for the root filesystem and the everything version defaults to using Btrfs for the root filesystem.

It seems likely that there are differences in the partitioning too. Btrfs uses a subvolume for the /home filesystem. I’m not sure what the server version defaults to for the /home filesystem.

If you have internet connection can you not install in place? Just do the dnf -y system-upgrade --releasever=39 --best --allowerasing ??? I don’t see why you can’t do this if you are installing a new version???

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Thats a lot of question marks!!!

Thats how I normally install. Had to move/delete some partitions around and it was thought best to install to freshly merged partitions.

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then you can add --installroot so it looks like

dnf -y system-upgrade --installroot=/new/partition --releasever=39 --best --allowerasing

if you need to point the install to a different partition.


There is an iso on the web site that should fit on a CD and allow the user to do a net install.

This is linked by the Other Downloads button from the main download page.

That should allow you to select what software you wish to install then install it directly from the repo. This installation should already be fully updated when it completes.

shit!!! I didnt know that installroot option. Foobar now as I deleted all partitions except for the /home partition but now I cant install from cd rom for some reason.

I didnt want to conflate the two issues so I started another thread for this particular topic : Unfortunately the alt install software seems to be broken. “Auto” doesnt work and the install software wont allow me select the cd drive for some reason even though the software was running from the live cd.

Thanks anyway. Will need to figure out the installroot option for the future. Appreciate the example.

Yeah, dnf’s --installroot option is an advanced feature that is mostly used for creating containers, but if you wanted to, you could use it (instead of Anaconda) to install a full Fedora Linux OS on bare metal. You’d also have to chroot to the partition that you installed the OS on, then mount your ESP somewhere and install the bootloader, but if you know what you are doing, all that is quite possible and you would not be subject to any limitation about partitions or filesystems or anything. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Jeff, someone did point out the “alt” software download option which I did get burnt to a 700MB cd rom which was great.

However, that particular install software seems to be buggy:
I can boot with that software on a cdrom.
Problem is that “Auto” option dont let me continue.
Manual option wont let me select the cdrom as the source of the software? Which is the whole point of the endeavor.
Very annoying. Now I’m dead in the water.

That is an “online” installer. The reason that it fits on a 700 MB CD is that it doesn’t contain a full copy of the OS (or the packages needed to install an OS). You’ll need a network connection (or a local copy of Fedora’s repos) to use the online installer (or dnf --installroot).

Edit: IIRC, the network/online installer should show a “rescue this system” option when it is booting, you can use that to get to a command line (even if the PC doesn’t have an existing OS already installed) and from there you can start using commands like parted (or gdisk) to create partitions and dnf --installroot to construct an OS.

This 700 MB should always be an option.

That is exactly what I have done. I used gparted to merge a couple of partitions so that the root partition is now 50GB+ and the only other partition is the /home partition.
I now wish this “alt” install was cleaner. I guess I’ll have to spend a few days trying to figure this option out and get F39 installed on my laptop again.

Yeah, the Anaconda installer has evolved (or devolved, depending on how you look at it) over the years and it seems to be getting more and more restrictive as regards what it will let the user do. I guess they expect people to use those command line tools if they want to do highly custom configurations (which is OK by me, but I’ve got many years of experience with Linux).

Here is a (somewhat old) example showing how dnf (aka yum) can be used to create a container:

In principle, you can use the same command (but point installroot at the mountpoint of your new freshly-formatted and mounted rootfs instead of /srv/mycontainer). Substitute “dnf” for “yum” on more recent versions of Fedora Linux. You’ll need to add a bootloader (e.g. systemd-boot-unsigned) and a kernel to the list of packages to install and you’ll need to chroot to the installed system to finish configuring your bootloader and fstab, etc. Once you get a minimal system booting and working, you can use a command like dnf group install "Fedora Workstation" to add a full DE (if you want to).

Edit: Be sure to boot the CD in UEFI mode if you intend to install a UEFI bootloader such as sd-boot.

Edit: There is a slighly newer example of using dnf --installroot here: systemd-nspawn

The above example suggests including util-linux and systemd-networkd in the initial package set to create a minimal, working Fedora Linux installation. I haven’t done this sort of thing in quite a while, so I’m not sure exactly what is required, but it could change a bit over time. Alternatively, there is a “core” group (i.e. something like dnf --installroot=/mnt group install core) that I think should give you most everything you need for a minimal working installation (less the kernel and bootloader). Use dnf group info core to get a list of what packages are included in the “core” package group.

You also would need a /boot partition (ext4) of 1 GB (unless the root partition is ext4), and if booting uefi mode a /boot/efi partition of 600 MB. If booting in legacy mode it creates a smaller (I think about 1 MB) BIOS BOOT partition since the boot loader is larger than the old 512 byte MBR on the drive.

Indeed, three additional partitions are required if you want to use grub. sd-boot, however, can be installed on a single vfat-formatted partition (aka ESP). The spec for sd-boot recommends mounting the boot partition (ESP) at /boot.