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Upgrade Mandrake 9.0 to 9.1

Notes on how I upgraded Mandrake, without burning ISOs on cd-roms.

This weekend, I downloaded iso images for Mandrake 9.1 and decided to upgrade my Toshiba laptop. I’ve a dual-boot system with XP as the "other" OS. I ran out of CD-R’s, so I had to install this from hard disk - a first time for me. Here are my installation notes.


  1. At least 1.9GB free space somewhere for downloaded ISO files.
  2. At least 2GB free space for extracted ISO files.
  3. A linux installation (at least a shell, ability to mount loop devices). I used my existing 9.0 version. There might be some utilites out there to extract ISO files from Windows, but I didn’t search for those.
  4. A good 1.44MB floppy.

Download ISO files

Once you’ve all these, download the ISO files from any Mandrake mirror. I've been using Mandrake for 2-3 years and have never bought a boxed set. I felt a bit bad and took a silver membership at Mandrake Club. Free software might be free as in free beer, but it is written by people who have families to look after. Please support your favourite distro anyway you can. Download all 3 ISO files, and the md5sums.asc too.

Note that these ISO’s are 600+MB in size. Use a download manager that can resume downloads. I used gtm - Gnome Transfer Manager.

I downloaded all these to a folder mdk9.1 under my home directory.

Verify the integrity of ISO files

Assuming you have all the ISO files and md5sums.asc saved in the same folder (~/mdk9.1 for me):

cd ~/mdk9.1
cat md5sums.asc
md5sum -b *.iso

Visually verify the md5sums from each command and compare. If the first command’s output for each ISO is same as second command’s, you downloaded files are fine. If not, download again :-(

I believe there is a winmd5sums.exe for this purpose, in Windows.

Extract ISO images to a folder

This might not be required, since Mandrake 9.1 installer asks for either the ISO files or the extracted files. I did not try installing it directly from ISO’s.

Anyway, login as root. We are going to extract the files to a folder in a FAT32 partition - mine is at /mnt/win_d.

cd /mnt/win_e/
mkdir mdk91
mkdir /iso
mount -t iso9660 ~/mdk9.1/Mandrake91-cd1-inst.i586.iso /iso -o ro,loop=/dev/loop0
cp -fR /iso/* mdk91/.
umount /iso
#.. repeat for all disk images ..
mount -t iso9660 ~/mdk9.1/Mandrake91-cd2-ext.i586.iso /iso -o ro,loop=/dev/loop0
cp -fR /iso/* mdk91/.
umount /iso
mount -t iso9660 ~/mdk9.1/Mandrake91-cd3-i18n.i586.iso /iso -o ro,loop=/dev/loop0
cp -fR /iso/* mdk91/.
umount /iso
rmdir /iso

Prepare boot floppy

Insert a good 1.44MB floppy in your floppy drive.

cd /mnt/win_d/mdk91/images
dd if=hd.img of=/dev/fd0


Reboot and boot from floppy. When it asks where to install from, specify the drive and folder where you extracted ISO files to.

I initially did an upgrade. It went smoothly. Over last 5 months, I had acquired way too many packages. So, after using the upgraded version for a day, I decided to do a fresh install. That too went fine. Read my previous article for notes on quirks particular to this laptop.

Now, go get additional software you might need.

  1. Yep, there are ways to extract ISOs under Windows. IsoBuster ( is one freebie that works.

    Posted by: Mike Gunderloy on March 31, 2003 04:55 AM
  2. I just got Mandrake 9.1 and it looks great! The only thing I can't figure out is how to login as root??? Can you help?

    Posted by: Ryon Lee on April 4, 2003 01:55 AM
  3. I have the same problem, it looks cool but i can't login as root, HELPPP!!!!!

    Posted by: Federico on April 7, 2003 05:50 PM
  4. If you have enabled X at boot, you can login as root easily. If you have not enabled X at boot, you need to login as any other user and then try su - root to login as root. Console root login is disabled in standard security mode. You should be able to enable this in Mandrake Control Center, once you login as root :-)

    Posted by: Babu on April 8, 2003 09:22 AM
  5. I do have X enabled at boot but the only option is for a user to login. Or is there a secret keyboard combo that gives a login option for root? there is only an icon for my users but none for root.

    Posted by: kegwasher on April 9, 2003 04:30 AM
  6. #5 - just type in root in the user name field, type in password in that field and login! The icons for users are just for filling in the user name field; but there is nothing that prevents one from typing in "root".

    Posted by: Babu on April 9, 2003 06:37 AM
  7. Hey kegwasher, login with your normal user then go to configuration,KDE,System,Login Manager enter the root password then users and uncheck root as hidden user. Root should show up in the list in the x login now.

    Posted by: Byte on April 9, 2003 11:55 AM
  8. Thanks!
    That fixed me!!!

    Posted by: Ben on April 17, 2003 07:07 AM
  9. An easier way to check your MD5Sums is tu run md5sum -c md5sums.asc. For each file in md5sum.asc (ie all your ISOs), it will print either OK or FAILED. This avoids the need to manually examine the outputs.

    Posted by: Kevin Lacquement on May 3, 2003 08:36 AM
  10. My GUI hasen't started since i installed it, it just takes me to the command line. I have no idea what the problem could be.

    Posted by: DJ Medure on May 18, 2003 10:48 AM
  11. The command that launches the X server is startx. If want to get back to the Virtual Console you can do so at any time by holding Ctrl+Alt+F1 and then Alt+F7 back on GUI...
    Peter Parker.

    Posted by: Peter Parker on May 19, 2003 01:05 AM
  12. I want to upgrade my distro 9.0 to 9.1 but i dont want to download the entire iso images. There is a form to upgrade it by urpmi?? can i put the 9.1 sources (main, contrib) to urpmi sources and do urpmi -upgrade??


    Posted by: Itxaka on June 4, 2003 07:05 PM
  13. itxaka, I did a fairly quick upgrade from 9.0->9.1 using rsync on the .iso images.

    Posted by: jbz on July 11, 2003 12:24 AM
  14. Reinstalling Aol9.0

    Posted by: Carol Mills on July 28, 2003 03:59 PM
  15. i have the Mandrake 9.1 images in my HD under a Windows (FAT32) partition with 12 Gb of free space, i made a boot floppy using hd.img, when i restart my PC and i try to install mandrake i have the follow message "the mandrake distribution apears to be copied under windows partition, is needed more memory" or something like this.
    Some can Help me??

    Posted by: Sagat on September 30, 2003 03:20 PM
  16. I have a Mandrake 9.0 mail/web server and I'd like to upgrade it to 9.1. Will there be changes on my settings on the servers running? Like postfix, or apache? My previous install were mostly default packages. I have both 9.1 CDs but still hesistant to upgrade since this is a production server. Any advise?

    Posted by: dng on October 28, 2003 04:00 PM
  17. this is very educational site thanks. I will soon update my mandrake 9.0 to 9.1.

    thank you very much

    Posted by: sunveria on November 3, 2003 09:32 PM
  18. i need a cd for 9.0

    Posted by: renea on November 26, 2003 07:09 PM