A driver disk adds support for hardware that is not otherwise supported by the installation program. The driver disk could be produced by Red Hat, it could be a disk you make yourself from drivers found on the Internet, or it could be a disk that a hardware vendor includes with a piece of hardware.
A driver disk is different than a boot disk. If you require a boot disk to begin the Red Hat Linux installation, you will still need to create that floppy and boot from it before using the driver disk. If you do not already have an installation boot disk and your system does not support booting from the CD-ROM, you should create an installation boot disk. For instructions on how make a boot disk, see Chapter 2.
While the Red Hat Linux installation program is loading, you may see a screen that asks you for a driver disk. The driver disk screen is most often seen in three scenarios:
If you run the installation program in expert mode
If you run the installation program by entering linux dd at the boot: prompt
If you run the installation program on a computer that does not have any PCI devices
There is no need to use a driver disk unless you need a particular device in order to install Red Hat Linux. Driver disks are most often used for non-standard or very new CD-ROM drives, SCSI adapters, or NICs. These are the only devices used during the installation that might require drivers not included on the Red Hat Linux CD-ROMs (or boot disk, if you created an installation boot disk to begin the install process).
If an unsupported device is not needed to install Red Hat Linux on your system, continue with the installation and add support for the new piece of hardware after the installation is complete.
The Red Hat Linux CD-ROM #1 includes driver disk images (images/drvnet.img — network card drivers and images/drvblock.img — drivers for SCSI controllers) containing many rarely used drivers. If you suspect that your system may require one of these drivers, you should create the driver disk before beginning your Red Hat Linux installation.
Another option for finding specialized driver disk information is on Red Hat's website at
under the section called Bug Fixes. Occasionally, popular hardware may be made available after a release of Red Hat Linux that will not work with drivers already in the installation program or included on the driver disk images on the Red Hat Linux CD-ROM #1. In such cases, the Red Hat website may contain a link to a current driver disk image.
If you have a driver disk image that you need to write to a floppy disk, this can be done from within DOS or Red Hat Linux.
To create a driver disk from a driver disk image using Red Hat Linux:
Insert a blank, formatted floppy disk into the first floppy drive.
From the same directory containing the driver disk image, such as drvnet.img, type dd if=drvnet.img of=/dev/fd0 as root.
To create a driver disk from a driver disk image using MS-DOS:
Insert a blank, formatted floppy disk into the A: drive.
From the same directory containing the driver disk image, such as drvnet.img, type d:\dosutils\rawrite drvnet.img a: at the command line, where d: is the drive letter for the CD-ROM device.
Having a driver disk is not enough; you must specifically tell the Red Hat Linux installation program to load that driver disk and use it during the installation process.
After you have created your driver disk, begin the installation process by booting from the Red Hat Linux CD-ROM #1 (or the installation boot disk). At the boot: prompt, enter either linux expert or linux dd. See Chaper 2 for details on booting the installation program.
The Red Hat Linux installation program will ask you to insert the driver disk. After the driver disk is read by the installer, it can apply those drivers to hardware discovered on your system later in the installation process.