Dual Boot Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0.5 : Install to Disk

Puppy Linux Tahr 5.0.6 fits into 1G of disk space and runs well on only 500mb of RAM on an old XP box.

Puppy Linux Tahr 5.0.6 fits into 1G of disk space and runs well on only 500mb of RAM on an old XP box.

After playing with Puppy Linux, both the Slacko and Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr version, on CD, I decided to install Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0.5 as a dual boot alongside Win XP. The instructions online are not crystal clear to me, and left me somewhat puzzled, stomach ill at ease. Let me explain the process.

Puppy Linux can be used quite readily from your CD or USB stick. You need to boot up and then configure. I decided to dual boot install it on an old Win XP box, one with only 500mb ram.

Using GParted
The first thing to do is to boot up Puppy using the DVD and configure the network card for internet access. My disk was completely devoted to Win XP, so I had to repartition my disk. This means reducing the Win XP sized disk partition and adding partitions for Puppy. Here’s my partitioning. Friend Dave recommended that the windows and /dos partitions should be contiguous so that if you need more space you can shrink one and grow the other. Ditto for linux 1 and linux 2. I have 2 linux partitions because I may, in the future, add yet another linux distro. The linux swap partition is at the end of the disk for efficiency.

Note that GParted does not initially assign the partition names /dev/sda until you actually commit to the install. While planning the partitions are named “New Partition <number>”.

  • dev/sda1/ Windows
  • dev/sda3 /dos
  • dev/sda4
    • dev/sda5 /home
    • dev/sda6 /linux 2
    • dev/sda7 /linux 1
  • dev/sda2 swap

Puppy Universal Installer
Choose “Internal (IDE or Sata hard drive)”. You will then need to choose your hard disk. I have 2 disks, sda and sdb. Windows boots off of sda, so that is the drive I used.

It is here that I got a bit confused. Puppy asked me where my install files were located, specifically vmlinuz, puppy_tahr_6.0.5.sfs, zdrv_tahr_6.0.5.sfs. As I just booted up using the CD, I chose CD. It then said that there were no files on the CD.

What I had to do was mount the drive. The CD icon is displayed at the bottom left of the screen, with a burning CD logo. Mine was called sr0. Simply click on it and it will mount, to a location /mnt/sr0. A file manager window will appear with all the files on the CD. Note the title of the disk is /mnt/sr0. This is important because when Puppy asks you for the Puppy install files you need to navigate from / or root, to the subdirectory /mnt and then to /sr0. All the files will appear. Click ok and Puppy will be happy.

Puppy will then ask you which partition to use. I chose /dev/sda7, which I called linux1. Puppy will then ask you if you want a frugal or full install. The frugal install allows you to install Puppy into an existing disk using a subdirectory. While convenient if you have another OS already installed, it means that you always have root privileges, which I did not want. I chose the full install.

Installing Grub4Dos
Puppy will now install a program that allows you, upon initial boot, to choose between Windows XP or Puppy. The program used is called Grub4Dos. The Puppy Grub4Dos instructions are sparse. I had never heard of it, and googling did not reveal much. There were some options, I chose “display on a single page”. You also choose your disk, which for me is sda.

Finishing the Puppy Installation
Once Grub4Dos finishes there is no message to say that the Puppy install is complete. They just let you hang there, pretty abruptly. The process is very anti-climactic.

Remove your CD and reboot. Tell Puppy to not save your options. Upon reboot you may have to tell your BIOS to boot from your hard disk and not from your CD. After your reboot the first screen that appears will now be Grub4Dos. You will see Puppy at the top, followed by Windows. There are other options, such as to reboot your system.

Post Installation
You will need to configure your network connection. After this, click on left side of the screen, QuickPet, with the black and white dog icon, and install a browser. None comes with Puppy. I installed Opera.

After this you are free to do as you wish. I have install Simplified Chinese, which I had also done with Puppy Slacko. I also installed Opera.

Hard Disk Usage
I have only installed TahrPup 6.0.5, fcitx and fcitx Sunpinyin, and Opera. Puppy has 2 indicators of disk usage and their numbers vary. The disk indicator on the bottom of the screen says I have used 872mb. The Partview tool says I have used 1.04G. Either way, you do need more than 1G of disk, preferably 1.5G. This is a fair cry from the 200mb initial install to memory.

Puppy is not particularly fast at loading from boot.

Puppy is not Intended to Install to Disk
It is clear that Puppy is meant to run from a USB key and into RAM memory. Yes, there are instructions to install to disk, and they work. Here are some indicators:

  • When you boot up Puppy tries to load into memory, then remembers that it is already on disk and aborts.
  • My internet connection on bootup is always disconnected. I need to actually use a connection program to get to the internet.
  • You don’t log into Puppy. You’re always have root privileges, which is uncommon in Linux but common in Windows. This means you could inadvertently damage your install. While you don’t need a login for a USB loaded system, on a disk install it would be more secure.
  • By default, Puppy only requires an install directory. I also had a separate /home directory that I would have liked Puppy to use, but it does not. If I reinstall Puppy all my setting are deleted.

As for security I tried to break into puppy with Metasploit and Armitage. All 100 common ports are closed and almost no vulnerabilities. Even an indepth NMap scan did not yield much.

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