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If you don't have a machine to put the hdd in or an understanding friend then I think you probably need to go with the CD drive option MikeTbob suggested.
I'm not sure if you can get the LAN boot to work ... I've come across a couple of articles in the past but you could google & give it a go.
Let us know how it works out.
Last option for laptops without drives is to pullout the HDD, get an IDE to 3.5 connector, and use a Desktop computer to install an OS onto it. The biggest concern is the bootloader and the kernel. I'd chainload the sucker to a USB external, though.
1. take out the HDD from the laptop
2. remove the HDD from a desktop
3. Buy/rent/own a connector the allow the sata/ide cable of the desktop to connect to the laptops HDD (the sizes differ, research it)
4. Load a live-distro on desktop
5. Install distro to laptop
1. clonezilla Windows XP
2. reinstall to laptop HDD via network
You're going to have to buy somebody a beer in exchange for borrowing their external CD-ROM.
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- Mar 2008