[svlug] Making a hard-disk UNbootable?

Greg Retkowski greg at rage.net
Wed Dec 1 15:23:45 PST 2004

This is an odd one, I want to make a hard-drive un-bootable... Allow me 
to explain.
I have a series of machines that install via PXE/kickstart. The boot 
order on these machines goes something like:

Removable Media
Hard Disk(s)
PXE over Network

When I first plug in and turn on a machine it comes up, figures out the 
(new) harddisk is unbootable and drops through to the PXE boot which 
installs the system over the network.. great!
The problem is when the harddisk has already been installed once, I 
can't figure out how to make the harddisk appropriately unbootable that 
the system will drop-through to PXE again. I have tried:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1024 bc=512
fdisk /dev/hda (and remove all partitions)
In either case the BIOS hands-off to the harddisk then the harddisk sits 
there inoperable.

Yes I can swap boot order repeatedly in the BIOS but I rather not do 
that; it'd be nice to be able to scrub and re-install the system without 
being in front of a console.

-- Greg

Greg Retkowski /     I.T. Infrastructure Consultant      | RAGE
greg at rage.net  http://www.rage.net/~greg/ C:408-455-3913 | .NET

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