Puppy Linux is one of the most famous Live Linux distros, offering the ability to run a small Linux distro off a CD or USB drive without needing to install it onto the computer hard drive. This is ideal for running diagnostics on a machine, accessing the Internet on a computer you don’t know the password for, or using a guest computer without changing any settings on this machine.
USB drives have become the medium of choice for running a Live distro – CD’s are large and scratch easily, and many computers don’t have an optical drive attached or installed. Unfortunately, the only way to install the distro onto a USB drive is by using an optical drive, which isn’t possible if you don’t have access to one.
This tutorial will teach you how to install Puppy Linux onto a USB flash drive without using a CD or requiring an optical drive of any type.
512MB or greater USB flash drive
Puppy Linux ISO
Step 1: Download the official Puppy Linux ISO file from the Puppy Linux website. Download the correct version for the system you would like to run the OS on (64-bit, etc). Depending on your Internet connection, the download could take an hour or longer to download. There are several different versions of Puppy Linux available – they all run off the same distro, they simply have different themes applied. I highly recommend VestaPuppy.
Step 2: In addition to the ISO, you will also need to download a program called Unetbootin. This program will only run on Windows, and is the program that will install Puppy Linux onto a thumb drive without a CD. This program doesn’t require installation – simple click the EXE file when you wish to run the program.
Step 3: Once the ISO is finished, open Unetbootin and wait for it to start. Choose the middle option in the software – ISO File – and choose the ‘browse’ button. Browse through the files and locate the Puppy Linux ISO. Choose that.
Step 4: Plug the USB flash drive you want to install Puppy Linux on into your computer. The USB drive will need to be at least 512MB – nothing smaller will work. Be sure to note which drive letter is assigned to the USB drive. If you choose the wrong drive in the next step, you could end up corrupting your entire hard drive.
Step 5: In Unetbootin, choose ‘show all USB drive’. In the drop down box, all drive letters currently assigned to something on the computer will appear. Choose the drive for your USB key – make sure you choose the correct letter.
Step 6: Choose the Install button, and wait for it to install. The progress bar will appear to stall around 62% – this is normal, leave it alone and it will suddenly finish after two or three minutes.
Step 7: When finished, the program will ask if you want to restart the system immediately. Choose yes.
Step 8: Your computer will restart. Make sure the USB drive is still plugged into the computer. When BIOS appears, enter setup or boot sequence (F12 for Dell systems, F1 for Lenovo, etc), and choose to boot from USB before internal hard drive. Save and Exit BIOS.
Step 9: The wizard to setup Puppy Linux will appear. Choose your language, keyboard layout, and screen resolution. Choose the Xorg option if you have good graphics, or the other option if you don’t. Once finished, the system will boot up.
Step 10: When you’re finished, shut down the system. Before shutting down, Puppy Linux will ask if you want to save a persistent file for your settings. If you want to use the OS again in the future, choose ‘yes’, create a name for your file, and then choose a size.
Step 11: The next time you start Puppy Linux, it will load your saved settings via the persistent file you created in step 10. s