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Booting ISO image with LILO

by Markus Malkusch

Posted on Wednesday Sep 24, 2014 at 12:59AM in Technology

I came into the painful situation to update the BIOS of my Lenovo T410s. Last time I did any BIOS update I remember vendors where shipping floppy disk images. Fortunately today vendors are using a more modern vehicle: The CD-ROM. Unfortunately my T410s doesn't have that 26 years old technology.

I didn't find a nativ solution to boot an ISO with LILO. But LILO can load the bootloader MEMDISK from the SYSLINUX project. MEMDISK itself can boot an ISO image:

For ISO images, the parameter 'iso' must be passed to MEMDISK.

All you have to do is get MEMDISK, which is in Gentoo an emerge syslinux. Then create a folder in which you put the memdisk bootloader and the bootable ISO image. In my case:

mkdir /boot/bios-update
cp /usr/share/syslinux/memdisk 6uuj20uc.iso /boot/bios-update

Now add that image to your lilo.conf:

image = /boot/bios-update/memdisk
    initrd = /boot/bios-update/6uuj20uc.iso
    append = iso

Don't forget to run the mandatory lilo after editing the file. Happy rebooting!