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How to make preseed.cfg available in no-internet install?

In an installation from CD (or, second best: USB stick) with no internet access, how can I make a preseed.cfg file available to the Debian installer as early as possible in the install sequence?

The preseed.cfg originally lives in a separate USB stick.  (I don't want to burn the preseed.cfg into the installation CD, since I still want to be able to tweak it easily.)

I found one approach, but it's laborious enough to make using a preseed.cfg hardly worth it.  Basically, I hit TAB to edit the Graphic Install menu option; I add priority=critical auto=true file=/unavailable/path/to/preseed.cfg; I hit enter and let the installer fail to find the preseed.cfg file; I get a shell and do

  mkdir /mnt/usb &&
  mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb &&

Then I select to re-read the preseed.cfg file from the installer's menu.



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