|MB attached to ordinary ATX power supply, VGA monitor, and PS/2 Mouse.|
Tiny black rectangle on the right is the on/off jumper.
Happily, I have an old PS/2 keyboard, VGA monitor, and ATX power supply handy.
Hook them all up...and nothing.
Of course, the power switch.
Get the manual, read the manual, find the jumper, and use a spare jumper to connect them for a moment.
Hooray! Fans on the power supply start to spin! Beep! Splash appears on the monitor!
I made the following BIOS changes:
- Always restart upon power loss (since I don't have a power switch!)
- Enable fast startup (skip memtest, faster boot)
- Skip splash (annoying)
- Skip BIOS summary (annoying)
- Change the boot device to USB-ZIP (not USB-FDD, essential for USB-boot later)
Step 2: Create a Debian Boot USB drive.
This is a pretty old motherboard, so the standard USB-HDD booting option is missing. That means Live-USB (hybrid USB/CD) .iso files won't work without some tweaking. The available USB options are USB-ZIP and USB-FDD. A quick web search turns up this page of instructions, but it doesn't work. Further digging reveals this page, a version of which does work.
- Select a USB Drive (small). Everything on it will be erased, so backup if needed.
- On a different (working) Debian or Ubuntu system, as root (use 'sudo su' to get a root prompt on Ubuntu). Not all commands will work with sudo alone.
- Plugin the USB drive. If your system automatically mounts it, then unmount (not eject) it.
dmesgto find the USB drive's /dev/sd* node. For example, mine was sdz and sdz3.
- Format the USB drive to a bootable configuration. This will limit the accessible size to 250MB (the old ZIP-format maximum), so CD-sized live .isos won't work. See this page for mkdiskimage commands for other-size drives.
mkdiskimage -4 /dev/sdz 0 64 32 # 1GB and below USB drives only
- Install the MBR:
cat /usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin > /dev/sdz
- Get and install the boot image:
wget -O /tmp/boot.img.gz http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/squeeze/main/installer-i386/current/images/hd-media/boot.img.gz zcat /tmp/boot.img.gz > /dev/sdz1
- Download the Live Session image. In this case, I used a Debian businesscard installer simply because it was a very small download:
wget -O /tmp/debian-6.0.3-i386-businesscard.iso http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/6.0.3/i386/iso-cd/debian-6.0.3-i386-businesscard.iso md5sums /tmp/debian-6.0.3-i386-businesscard.isoCompare the md5sum result to http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/6.0.3/i386/iso-cd/MD5SUMS
- Mount the USB drive, and install the Live Session image:
mkdir /tmp/usbmountpoint mount /dev/sdz3 /tmp/usbmountpoint cp /tmp/debian-6.0.3-i386-businesscard.iso /tmp/usbmountpoint/ umount /tmp/usbmountpoint
- Check the resulting filesystem, and correct any errors (there may be a couple!)
fsck.msdos -r /dev/sdz3My resulting filesystem is about 214MB, below the 250MB limit.
- Clean-up is optional, since all working files are in /tmp and will be deleted upon reboot anyway.
- Unplug the USB drive (it should already be unmounted)
Step 3: Boot Debian
The BIOS should be set to a startup device of USB-ZIP (step 1), and you should have a Debian USB drive (step 2). Put them together - try to boot the new motherboard from it. In my case, success!
I don't have a hard drive installed yet, so I'm not ready to actually install. But this was a successful power-on and boot.
UPDATE #1: For Xmas, one of the kids got a toy butterly-in-a-jar. It has a "Try Me" feature for in the store, a button that detached after opening the package. The button's connector looked just right to fit the power jumper, and indeed now I have a real power button for the motherboard. This turns out to be handy, because a stable system needs better power control than flipping the switch on the power supply...and my new silent power supply has no switch!
UPDATE #2: A chainloader can be used to bypass the USB-ZIP 250MB boot limit. I did a successful USB-ZIP boot to a complete Debian 6 system.