How NOT to install Puppy Linux

Impatient? Jump to frugal install to hard disk   
Or get Windows installer   

Puppy is easy to use and does not require a hard disk, so the first trick that you must know is how NOT to install it to hard disk !

  • BOOT FROM CD/DVD - Just boot using the CD/DVD and save to USB flash (you will be asked at shutdown to save or not). If you choose "Save", Puppy will create your save file and use this next time you boot so that you can continue with your previous work. The save file will be named pup_save.2fs (you can add a SPECIALNAME during the first save to make it pup_save-SPECIALNAME.2fs).

    You may also be asked if the programs sfs (like pup_421.sfs or pup-431.sfs) will be copied to your disk drive to speed up booting - Puppy will ask you about this (it is an option to speed up booting when Puppy has detected a hard disk). Note that some puplets use a different name for its programs sfs.

    Final note in using CD/DVD: you can also save to the same CD/DVD that you booted from (Here, DVD works better, but the DVD containing Puppy must be burned initially as "not final", i.e., that more files can be added to it; advanced CD burning software can do this in Windows, and Puppy has BurnISO2cd for this).

  • BOOT FROM USB - While booted from CD or DVD, install Puppy to USB and use it for booting (see Setup in the menu for the installer). You can then tell Puppy at shutdown to save to the same USB drive, or to your hard disk.

    A good tutorial for USB install of Puppy Linux 4.30 is made available as PDF (English, also Italian and Spanish) by Alex Gotev.

    Note that USB drives will be named /mnt/sdb or /mnt/sdc in newer Puppy versions, but /mnt/sda in older ones. Now, did you notice that the newer Puppy will have a hard disk named /mnt/sda? Therefore, BE CAREFUL - you must know whether WHAT YOU THINK TO BE USB IS NOT YOUR HARD DISK!!! You should know exactly that what you are targetting for USB install is not your hard disk. Look at the drive icons in your desktop: a USB icon will be associated with your USB drive.
Still, you may be saying, "But am too old-fashioned - I only know that an OS has to be booted from hard disk!"

Well, if you really have to make an install to hard disk, use a two-minute install called frugal install or use the familiar Windows installer.


Frugal Install to Hard Disk

A frugal install works this way: First, a boot directory will have to be created in your chosen partition.

  • If you are booting Windows XP, create boot folder in the Windows partition, then get this zip file and copy its contents to boot.

  • If you are booting Linux only, then run Grub config from the Puppy menu to choose your bootable partition (that partition must be Linux!). Grub will create the boot directory. NOTE: Do not run Grub config if you already have another Linux running in your hard disk - just change its menu.lst (see further down below how do do this).
This is how the boot directory will appear in the Windows XP partition (as viewed by Linux).
boot files in Windows
But before using this install, you have to boot Windows XP, open boot and click on grubinstall.exe to run it. CAUTION: If your Windows XP needs a disk check, do that first before clicking grubinstall.exe.

This is how boot/grub directory will appear in Linux (the folder grub only appears in Linux, so it will not show in the Windows install).
grub in Linux frugal install

Note that menu.lst is common to both installs. What it does is to point to psubdir, the folder that contains the Linux files. In the file menu.lst, you put this folder name before vmlinuz and initrd.gz. In the example below, the name of psubdir is boxpup.
boxpup item in menu

You can have more than one psubdir folder, and each can contain the files of a different Puppy version or puplet. To use this additional version or puplet, you create another entry in menu.lst similar to the given example (boxpup).

The codes hd0,0 means "first hard disk" and "first partition" (counting from 0, that is - remember this numbering if you are using a different location for your install). The contents of the folder boxpup are actually files copied from the CD, see below (These files can also be copied from the Puppy ISO while in Windows by using a file compressor program like WinRAR or an ISO editor program like MagicISO). Note that all file names must be in lowercase!
boxpup contents

Observe from the picture above that boxpup (a Puppy Linux puplet) is using pup_413.sfs for its programs sfs, and the user has named his pup_save.2fs as pup_save-boxpup.2fs (Puppy does the naming of the pup_save for you during the first save). The two other files needed by every Puppy version are vmlinuz (the kernel) and initrd.gz (the initialization image).

You see now that both Linux and WindowsXP frugal installs use a psubdir folder as container of the Puppy files. The additional requirement in Linux install is the boot partition where the folder /boot is needed by Grub - this partition should be a Linux partition. If you have no idea how to create a Linux partition, then just stick to the use of WindowsXP partition.

The final requirement in booting from WindowsXP is to add the line C:\BOOT\STAGE1 to boot.ini (the boot control file in WindowsXP), see below. You can use any word or phrase in between the quotes, such as "Hooray!". Note that the timeout must be non-zero, so put a number like 5 or 10, which stands for seconds (of waiting for your input at boot time). contents of boot.ini

That's it, you can now boot Puppy using your WindowsXP hard disk! If you fail, the only problems that you must solve are any of: (1) WindowsXP needing a disk check; (3) grubinstall.exe must be re-run after the Windows disk check; (3) wrong numbering of partition, such as when the Windows install uses two partitions to boot itself.

The ultimate solution? You guessed it, DO NOT INSTALL PUPPY TO HARD DISK! Just boot from CD/DVD or USB flash and save to these same boot devices. You can of course save to your WindowsXP hard disk if it is clean (run Windows disk check to make it clean).

Now, a final tip for you if you want to use OpenOffice sfs. There are available OpenOffice sfs for Puppy: sfs4 for Puppy 4.30 or later versions, or sfs3 for earlier versions of the Puppy 4 series (such as 4.2.1). The technique is to place the sfs file where you have your pup_save (this will be seen by a running Puppy as /mnt/home, see below). /mnt/home with OpenOffice sfs

Find "Boot Manager Configure Bootup" from the menu and click on "Choose which SFS files to load at bootup". The resulting dialogs are shown in the OpenOffice news page, and the alternative OpenOffice versions are shown in the Go-OpenOffice news page.

Quote  One ISO Used Two Ways:There is only the one iso file that is burnt to CD or DVD. At first bootup, Puppy runs totally in RAM. The difference comes at shutdown. Assuming that the user has burnt the iso file to CD/DVD as "open" or multisession, at shutdown the user can choose to either save the session in the normal way as a pup_save.3fs file in a partition of choice, or there is the option of saving the session back to the CD/DVD.

At the second bootup, Puppy will recognise that a session has been saved on the CD/DVD media and from then on will behave as a multisession CD/DVD.

- Barry Kauler


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