Revision [15787]

This is an old revision of BootParameters made by darkcity on 2011-06-21 15:11:50.


Boot Parameters

These are parameters or arguments that control how Puppy Linux boots up. Where they are specified depends on if and how Puppy is installed.

Booting from a CD
If booting from CD/DVD then the parameters are set at the prompt shown before Puppy boots. Usually, if no key is pressed after 5 seconds then Puppy will load with default settings. Example: puppy pkeys=us

Booting from a USB installation
The parameters are set in the 'syslinux.cfg' file, example:
Example: default vmlinuz initrd=initrd.gz pmedia=usbflash

Frugal Installation
With frugal installation the parameters are set by one of the Boot Loader's files. GRUBand GRUBforDOS use the 'menu.1st' file.

title Puppy Linux 525
rootnotify (hd0,0)
kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz pmedia=atahd psubdir=puppy525
initrd (hd0,0)/initrd.gz

Full Installation
"...Pfix=nox doesn't work in full install because the code that interprets this only exists in initrd.gz, and full-install doesn't use initrd.gz. (In fact, all other puppy boot parameters will not work in full install)"
see forum

Other Boot Loaders
Read the documentation included with other boot loaders for where to include these parameters. The parameters are case-sensitive, so ensure it's exactly as shown. Additionally, vmlinuz is the filename of the kernel image that one would need to specify when using a boot loader. See the isolinux.cfg & boot.msg files in the CD image (.ISO) or on the CD/DVD for a little more on each version's normal boot options.

Puppy Parameters Version Two and Later

Here is a list of the parameters/arguments you can set, note these don't apply to early versions of Puppy.

Specifies the subdirectory in which the kernel is located in on the boot partition. If not specified init will look in / and /boot , I'm not sure which order. As of puppy 3.00 this parameter also restricts the boot search for existing pup_save files only pup_saves inside this directory will used. This can be used to allow multiple puppy installation on the same partition to be used without risk of using the wrong one in error. example: psubdir=boot/puppy216

Not specifying this should automatically detect the boot media. Manually specify the boot media and interface using one of the following: usbflash usbhd usbcd ideflash idehd idecd idezip satahd satacd scsihd. This would be where USB, IDE, SATA, SCSI are the accepted interfaces and flash memory, hard drive, CD/DVD drive, ZIP drive are the accepted drives, e.g. PMEDIA=idehd.

(Applies to Puppy 2x and later).


If using multiple pfix options, separate them with a comma, e.g. pfix=rdsh,usbcard

Add nopcmcia if you don't want the PCMCIA (PC card) drivers and card manager to be started during the boot process.

The keyboard layout for a country. Default is "us". Choices are: be br cf de dk es fi fr gr hu it jp no pl ru se uk us See Barry's recent blog post for more on this.

Puppy Parameters Version 1

This parameter specifies the options for the filesystem within a file that is used by Puppy Linux to save changes/settings after the first boot. If PHOME not specified, Puppy will automatically search for a vfat (FAT32), ext2/ext3 or ReiserFS partition (in that order) to use; that is, to create the file on.

The format is "PFILE=name-password-size", for example "PFILE=pup0-none-131072". The most common names of PFILE are pup001 (used by the LiveCD), pup100 (which is used for USB), pup1 (with a hard drive install). One can also use PFILE=ask or PFILE=no or PFILE=cd. When using PFILE=ask then Puppy Linux will ask you where you want the file to be (should be same location as PHOME if used), what name you want to use, and will default to a size of 256 MB. Starting with 1.0.7, a parameter of "no" will have Puppy only use a ramdisk and, if possible, a Linux swap partition. Specifying "cd" should only be done with a multisession formatted CD-R/DVD-R (usually burned from Puppy) to tell Puppy to enable using the multisession specific features. A password of "none" means no password and the filesystem is not encrypted. A password of "ask" will ask you for a new password at first boot and thereafter. The size of the filesystem in this example is 131072 KB, which is 128MB.

The example for PFILE shown above is the setting for the live-Puppy v0.7.6 CD. At the least, all the 1.x versions use a pup001 file without a password at 262144 KB (256 MB).

The filesystem for the file ("pup0" in example) will be ext2 unless PROOTFS is specified. If you want a password, that is, an encrypted filesystem, do not use a journaled filesystem (ext3 or ReiserFS). If you use minix for the file, it must be no bigger than 64MB. Either way make sure to keep it under 1GB.

Specifies the type of filesystem to be used with the PFILE selection. Allowed choices are umsdos, minix, ext2, ext3. With v0.7.6, reiserfs may also work (untested). If you have PFILE defined, then you don't need PROOTFS as it defaults to ext2.

This specifies a sleep time, in seconds. This is required if your home device is a USB device, typically 25 seconds is needed for USB 1.1; 5 seconds for USB 2.0. Note that if you define this variable and do not define PHOME, Puppy will automatically search at sda1 and sda2.

This specifies the Linux device name (which in turn specifies the boot media/interface and partition) that will be your home folder where all your data can permanently reside. The default behavior is explained in the PFILE section above. The preceding /dev/ should be omitted e.g. phome=hdb1

The keyboard layout for a country. Default is "us". Choices are: be br cf de dk es fi fr gr hu it jp no pl ru se uk us

General kernel parameters

This is actually a parameter that is used by the kernel/init process before Puppy takes over, but you are likely to get strange error messages and a failed boot if your command line does not include the expected
root=/dev/ram0 because Puppy normally loads into a ramdisk.

The initial ramdisk should always be initrd=image.gz with Puppy Linux 1.x and initrd=initrd.gz with Puppy 2.x.

This may be needed by people who have remastered Puppy 1.x. The kernel is configured with a 12288KB maximum ramdisk, and image.gz once expanded has to fit into this. If bigger, the boot parameter "ramdisk_size=" has to be used to specify a suitable size to hold all of image.gz (uncompressed) plus some spare space. For example: ramdisk_size=15360 would result in a 15360KB maximum ramdisk.

This controls the amount of messages displayed while booting (log level). If you are having problems booting then increasing this could give you more info helpful for debugging/troubleshooting.

Beginning with Puppy 2.11, loglevel=3 is used by default, which reduces the onboot display of messages to be limited to noncritical & critical errors. With Puppy 2.11 and later, the detailed boot messages are logged to /tmp/bootkernel.log, /initrd/tmp/bootinit.log, /tmp/sysinit.log. Detailed ongoing messages are logged to /tmp/xerrs.log (X) and /var/log/messages (kernel).

Using loglevel=4 would show everything mentioned before and warning conditions that should be taken care of.

Normally, without this parameter being specified, the log level would be set to 5, which would display everything mentioned before and normal but significant events. Recent versions of (Puppy 2.10 or later?) have the log level set to 3 in the kernel.

Using loglevel=7 would show all the messages during boot including kernel debugging messages, and would be recommended to use for troubleshooting problems during booting.

Using debug is the same as loglevel=7 & quiet is the same as loglevel=4. They would be used by themselves without a = and see the above loglevel section for more.

If this is omitted then Puppy Linux will automatically determine if ACPI is available. Now if the BIOS is dated 2000 or earlier for Puppy 1.x or 2001 or earlier for Puppy 2.x then ACPI won't be used. But if you are sure that your BIOS has ACPI support anyways then use acpi=force to enable it. Now, also, using ACPI may cause problems with some computers, so you can outright disable it by using acpi=off. But some other options would be to use acpi=noirq to specify to not use ACPI for IRQ routing, add acpi=strict option to be less tolerant of platforms that are not strictly ACPI specification compliant (i.e. disable platform workarounds), and acpi=ht to run only enough ACPI to enable Hyper-Threading.

If this is omitted then Puppy Linux will automatically determine if APM should be used if ACPI is not available. To enable/disable APM yourself, use apm=on or apm=off.

Booting from some CompactFlash and other drives need this: ide=nodma

Do not use ACPI for IRQ routing or for PCI scanning. Doesn't disable as much as acpi=off does so try this instead if ACPI is causing problems.

Force the use of the PCI BIOS by not accessing the hardware directly. This means that the kernel should trust the BIOS, which is not the standard thing to do (as BIOSes are known to lie more often than they are known to be valid). Use this only if your machine has a nonstandard PCI host bridge and the normal boot method is not working properly.

Do not use the PCI BIOS, but access the hardware directly instead. This is the default method of probing for PCI devices in all kernels after 2.6.13 (which includes Puppy 2.x).

Use PCI BIOS calls to get the interrupt routing table. These calls are known to be buggy on several machines and hang these machine when used, but on other machines they are the only way to get the interrupt routing table. Try this option if the kernel is unable to allocate IRQs or discover secondary PCI buses on your motherboard.

Set the main Plug and Play (PnP) BIOS settings. pnpbios=on enables the PnP BIOS subsystem. pnpbios=off disables the PnP BIOS subsystem. pnpbios=curr tells the PnP BIOS subsystem to use the current static settings and pnpbios=no-curr tells the subsystem to probe for dynamic settings if possible.

"Normally on i386 based machines, the Linux kernel does not reset the keyboard controller at boot, since the BIOS is supposed to do this. But as usual, not all machines do what they should. Supplying this option may help if you are having problems with your keyboard behaviour. It simply forces a reset at initialization time. (Some have argued that this should be the default behaviour anyways)."

When the kernel is booted with boot-parameter vga=791 (for 1024x768 for example), the Puppy commandline (prior to starting X) is a VESA graphics mode, meaning that you get more lines on the screen and more characters per line. You also get a penguin logo while booting. If you use vga=ask then it will prompt you with a list of various video modes that you can use. Then you can use the corresponding number in place of ask for the next boot.

There are some additional arguments for SCSI peripherals and old CD-ROMs (Non-SCSI/ATAPI/IDE). Also you can try ide1=0x180,0x386 or ide2=0x180,0x386 if your PCMCIA IDE CD-ROM is not being detected.

Useful titbits of info
48MB = 49152KB, 64MB=65536KB, 128MB=131072KB, 512MB=524288KB, 1GB=1048576KB - i.e. there are 1024 kilobytes (KB) in a megabyte (MB). Puppy v0.7.4 uses a 64MB ramdisk, v0.7.6 uses only 48MB, recent versions need 64-128MB.

See Barry's old notes on configuring Puppy.
This page is suggested by

See The Linux BootPrompt-HowTo for a detailed explanation of most of the Linux boot prompt arguments.

The book, Linux Kernel in a Nutshell, specifically Chapter 9: Kernel Boot Command-Line Parameter Reference, is freely available online and is very helpful for more on this subject, as well.

For a more complete list, see the documentation in kernel-parameters.txt included with kernel source that you're Puppy is using. For example, kernel 2.4.22 is similar to the version used with Puppy 1.x or the one included with kernel which would be similar for Puppy 2.x.

bootparam - Introduction to boot time parameters of the Linux kernel

Start-up Speeds

"So I did a few simple tests to compare it with other distros.
I used the same PC, the same HDD and all the distros had a similar load of applications installed, with the exception of Windows XP which was lightly loaded.
All Puppys were Frugal installs except for one Full install where noted.
I measured the time between selecting the distro from the grub boot screen and when the desktop had loaded and I could start loading an application.
Also for the distros that needed a user-name and password to be entered I had to judge the time it took to do this and subtract from the timing.
Before anyone says it I am aware that some distros (eg Windows) offer a full desktop and can start loading apps even when a lot of activity is still happening "under the surface". I had no way to judge this so have had to ignore it." davesurrey

AMD Athlon XP 1700 1GB DDR
Ram, FX5200 (256MB) graphics card
i7, 8gb RAM, 1Gb video
These are Full Installs
Puppy 412 frugal install ......57secs
Puppy 420v2 frugal install ......57secs
Puppy 431 frugal install ......44secs
Puppy 431.1 frugal install ......43secs
Pup 214X16 frugal install ......38secs
Ubuntu 9.04 ......60secs
Ubuntu 9.10 ......65secs
Debian 5 ......57secs
Fedora 12 ......88secs
Slitaz Cooking ......21secs
TinyCore 2.5 ......37secs
Puppy 431 Full ......19secs
Windows XP ......41secs
Ubuntu 9.10......41secs
WinXP SP3.........40secs
Debian Lenny.....32secs
Puppy 4.12........19secs
Puppy 4.2.1.......17secs
Slitaz Cooking....14secs
Puppy 4.3.1.......12secs
Dpup 4.8.2........12secs


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