I have an old Dell C400 Latitude at home and use it primarily as a music server. It doesn't have any built in drives such as floppy or CD and I don't own an external Dell CD drive. It won't boot from an external USB device so my options for installing a new OS are very limited.
A few years ago I borrowed an external Dell CD drive and installed Slackware on the laptop. After that I installed Ubuntu 7.04 and since then it has been running on that. I now need to do a fresh install but can't borrow the external drive any more. So what can I do?
The answer is to install Ubuntu from the internet using the information provided at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/NetbootInstallFromInternet. This is pretty straightforward and suprisingly quick. I had my newer server up and running in just under 25 minutes.