Put Puppy Linux in Flash Drive

You can run Puppy on any bootable USB storage media, such as flash memory, USB-Zip drive and USB-hard-drive. Note, we have developed the habit of referring to a Flash-drive-installed Puppy as "flash-Puppy".
My "first take" with installing Puppy was on a tiny USB Compact Flash (CF) card (plugged into a USB-CF-reader interface), as I really like the idea of having all my personal data and the operating system in something that I can carry in a shirt pocket or wallet. In theory, I can then boot Puppy on any PC with a USB socket.

Simple as anything to go into the BIOS setup during power-up and change the second boot device to "USB ZIP" (Award BIOS) or whatever works for your BIOS.

A warning: Some USB Flash drives are difficult to boot off, and some PCs have BIOSes that do not boot from USB or have peculiar restrictions:

I have a motherboard that I purchased in 2004, and I have a friend with a laptop also purchased new in 2004, and both have one thing in common: the BIOS does not even have an option to boot from USB -- today, that is really pathetic, so do check before purchasing. Bring your Puppy usb pen-drive into the computer shop and see if it boots!
These days USB pen drives have the "standard USB mass storage interface", so will work on any PC running Windows or Linux without needing a special driver. Ditto for many digital cameras and mp3 players (in fact, Puppy can be installed to these!). However, there are some USB memory/camera/mp3-player that do not have a standard mass storage interface, and these will not work with Linux -- make sure before buying and if you find one for sale, be sure to tell the saleperson that it's crap.

How to obtain and install flash-Puppy

Go to the Puppy download page and download live-Puppy (file puppy-xxxx.iso, where "xxxx" is version number plus some options), that boots off a CD. Bootup Puppy, and in the "Setup" menu you will find an entry called "Puppy Universal Installer". Select that, and follow the simple instructions.

It's that simple, however you will of course need a PC with a CD burner to be able to burn the ISO file to CD. If you don't have a CD burner, you will have to use an "iso buster" program (see some links on the Puppy download page) to extract the files out of the ISO file, then follow the manual installation instructions given below.

Ha, ha, it is putting the cart before the horse, but Puppy v2.10 (and later) has ISOMaster (see "Multimedia" menu), which is an "iso buster". You can use it to extract files from and insert files into a ".iso" file. Once you have got your first Puppy live-CD burnt and Puppy running, you will be able to use ISOMaster.


Mouseclone said...

It is good to know that you can just carry around an OS or 2, or 3 or 4 on a thumb drive now. Could set it up to boot puppy or DSL. That way you have have 2 different ones.

The great thing would be to put system recover on your flash drive so that if something happens and your PC crashes you would be able to trouble shoot it with your flash drive. I know, I use one on Windows installs. People loose the admin password all the time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for writing this up!! I'm relatively new to Linux, only 6 months and trying one distro after the other when I came across your article - its a really nice thing to have, an OS on a flash drive that fits in your shirt pocket.

Thanks again for your instructions - very easy to follow.


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