How To Install Puppy Linux On a USB Flash Drive

After 6 months of development, Puppy Linux 4 was finally released in May 2008. Codenamed Dingo, this latest version only takes up 87MB in size and like Damn Small Linux, it can be installed on a USB flash drive, as well as run via the Live CD.

For those who are new to Puppy Linux, it is a lightweight Linux system that is suited for low-end machines, or for users who want a minimal but efficient operating system to do their work. Though it is small in size, it packs a complete suite of application (more than) sufficient for your daily usage.

5 Easy steps to start using Puppy Linux

  1. Download the iso file from Puppy Linux
  2. Burn the iso image to a CD. (I used Brasero in my Ubuntu Hardy and it works fine)
  3. Restart your computer. Enter the BIOS and change the first boot device to CDROM. Save and exit the BIOS. Puppy Linux should now boot up on your computer.
  4. Once it has finished loading the files, you will have to answer a few questions regarding the keyboard and display setting. They are pretty simple to answer and usually, pressing “Enter” will do.
  5. In a short while, you should see the Puppy Linux desktop.

puppy-linux-screenshot
(Click the picture to enlarge)

Install Puppy Linux to a USB Flash drive

This thing will work only if your PC can boot from USB drive. Some of the old PCs don’t.

1) Prepare your thumb drive

If you have a 4GB (or bigger) thumb drive, you may want to partition it to several smaller drive. I would recommend allocating at least 500MB file space for Puppy Linux (for the OS, user data and setting). Plug in your USB thumb drive. In the Puppy Linux desktop, go to Menu->System->Gparted Partition Editor to manage your partition. Format the Puppy Linux partition as Ext 2 or ext 3 and set the flag to ‘boot‘. (Remember to backup all your files before you partition your thumb drive).

2) Installation

Once you are done with your thumb drive, go to Menu->Setup->Puppy Universal Installer. Choose “USB Flash Drive“on the next screen that pops up. Follow the onscreen instructions and answer a few questions. It will then copy the necessary files to your USB drive. Whole process should take less than 10 minutes.

3) Boot into your USB Puppy Linux

Restart the computer (Menu -> shutdown -> reboot computer). Once again, go to the BIOS and change the first boot device to USB drive. Save and exit. Sit back, your USB Puppy Linux will now load.

Somehow, my laptop can’t boot up my USB drive for whatever reason that I don’t know. What I did is to add the following lines to my GRUB menu.lst:

title         Linux (on /dev/sdb1)
root        (hd1,0)
kernel         /vmlinuz root=/dev/sdb1 ro
initrd        /initrd.gz
boot

On the boot up screen, you should see another entry where you can choose to boot up from your USB drive.