No native BIOS support
There is a third party bootmanger called PLoP Boot Manager. It offers some support for booting CD-ROM and USB even with no native BIOS support.
- PLoP Boot Manager can be installed either on floppy, hard disk, CD or USB.
It's free in price but I can't find anything on their site about licensing and source code. It's still an interesting project.
CD-ROM / DVD-ROM
If your motherboard's BIOS does not support booting a "no-emulation mode" El Torito boot image on a CD-ROM, you can try using the "Generic Method" above, or you can try using the Smart Boot Manager, which has driving code for ATAPI CD-ROMs.
Previous versions of Microsoft Windows did offer bootdisks (boot from bootdisk with CD driver, then change device and run setup).
However, some Linux distros offer boot floppy to CD boot.
If your motherboard's BIOS does not support booting a USB mass storage device in its boot order or boot selection menu, you can try using the "Generic Method" above.
Additionally, some Linux distributions offer a means to boot from USB. They can fit on a floppy or a CD/DVD. Typically, these are very small Linux environments which include USB drivers and which use kexec to chain-load a new environment from your USB mass storage device (or even elsewhere). Some links:
- http://runt.mybox.org/ (seams most generic)