Introduction: How to Install and Boot Damn Small Linux on a USB Flash Drive

Picture of How to Install and Boot Damn Small Linux on a USB Flash Drive
Want to know how to install and boot Damn Small Linux on your usb flash drive then keep reading. you will need to turn your speakers up like the whole way for the video i had some problems with the mic volume

Step 1: Download the Required Files

Picture of Download the Required Files

ok do this you will need a few files

1. Damn Small Linux Embedded click the link and download the zip file ex. the x.x.x is will be the version)
2. Syslinux once again click the link and download the zip file again where the x.xx is will be the version) the link is

(optional but recommended )
1. HP USB Format Tool can be found here

Step 2: Format Your Flash Drive

Picture of Format Your Flash Drive

I recommend not using the windows formatting tool for the flash drive i heard somewhere it can corrupt the drive and you won't be able to use it any more. open the formatting tool and format your flash drive as FAT

Step 3: Extract the Files You Just Downloaded

Picture of Extract the Files You Just Downloaded

Extract Damn Small Linux to your usb flash drive and syslinux to you HDD

Step 4: Make Your Flash Drive Bootable

Picture of Make Your Flash Drive Bootable

make your flash drive bootable

1. open a command prompt and got to your syslinux directory mine is C:\syslinux
2. once in the syslinux directory got to the win32 directory mine is C:\syslinux\win32
3. type the command syslinux.exe -ma f: (where f is put your flash drive letter)

Step 5: Change Your Bios Settings to Boot From a Flash Drive

Picture of Change Your Bios Settings to Boot From a Flash Drive

there isn't really any way for me to explain this because everybody's bios is different but ill try

1. restart your computer and press del or whatever you press to enter your bios settings
2. once in your bios you'll want to look for a setting called boot priority or something like that
3. change that so your flash drive is first the bios calls the flash drive a couple different things but it may be usb-hdd or usb-zip or something similar
4. once your setting's are changed save and exit
5. restart your computer with your flash drive plugged in and you should see the Damn Small Linux boot screen
6. if you have any questions or anything please leave a comment or message me
i'll try to get pictures of my bios settings that may help

Step 6: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

hope this worked for you please commend and let me know how i did i have some pictures of the Damn Small Linux desktop and booting

If you liked this then +1


randofo (author)2008-02-14

This video looks awesome but you don't have enough instruction besides your video in order for it to be a full Instructable. There are two things which you could do. 1) If you can get some screen captures from your video then you can actually create a full Instructable right from the footage that you already have. First you can create some more steps in your Instructable to explain your project. Then, you can add those step by step screen captures into your Instructable to explain the additional instructions. Once you've done that, you should be good to go, so at that point simply republish your project. 2) If you don't want to turn your video into a full Instructable, that's ok too. That just means that your project should be submitted as a video and kept in our videos section. You can use the same text and embed code that you already have in this Instructable to create a new video in our video section, so it should only take you a few minutes to republish your project. Thanks for your submission and let me know if you have any questions along the way.

twenglish1 (author)randofo2008-02-14

hey thanks for the tips i wrote a full instuctable check it out let me know how i did

randofo (author)twenglish12008-02-14

This looks great! However, there is one more small thing. I know you have a video in the intro step, but before this can be published you need to add a main image to the intro step also. Thanks.

twenglish1 (author)randofo2008-02-14

hey thanks again i got it fixed now

atomhax (author)2013-01-28

Worked. Thanks

rmalik3 (author)2013-01-22

i have a dell inspiron n4050. when i plug in my bootable usb and start my laptop it says
"remove any media" "press any key to restart"
my boot sequence is perfect. usb at first position. Please reply.

sushantnadkar (author)2011-11-05

i folled your instructions, but after i give the command (syslinux.exe -ma g:), it says
(Acess Denied
Did not sucessfully update the MBR.)
what went wrong please guide....

captaincoffee (author)2011-06-06

Anyone know how to boot this from grub2. I already have several other distributions, and don't want to wipe my master boot record.

absolute zero (author)2008-04-22

Hey, when you went in the command prompt you lost me. can anyone explain what to do?? i don't really know what he means by changing directory's or any of that stuff as i am not really tech savvy.

twenglish1 (author)absolute zero2008-04-23

ok i can help, where did you extract syslinux?

absolute zero (author)twenglish12008-04-23

i extracted to a folder on my desktop called syslinux

twenglish1 (author)absolute zero2008-04-25

move the folder to your hard drive its easier to access in a command prompt then open a command prompt and type cd c:\syslinux then type cd win32 then type syslinux -ma (flash drive letter) if you have any other questions just ask

llingbeck (author)twenglish12011-03-16

okay so im new to this. i did exactly as you said and at the end this is what it reads Reading boot sector: The parameter is incorrect. what does that mean and what do i have to do?

twenglish1 (author)llingbeck2011-03-16

Check that you extracted the files to the correct place on the flash drive

absolute zero (author)twenglish12008-07-22

hmmm...ive pretty much given up on it, my computer support usb booting but it doesnt boot. i dont realy care about it anymore either. its to much of a hassle

twenglish1 (author)absolute zero2008-07-22

yah i don't use it either but i knew how so i made an instructible

absolute zero (author)twenglish12009-02-17

w00tn3ss, i cant believe my patheticness a year like supernerdy, coder, hacker geek now................wwwoooooowwwww...................

1 year ago I never even heard of Linux. Now i'm running it on all my computers. :P 1 year ago I didn't know how to build a computer. 1 year ago I thought 1 GB RAM was alot. 2 years ago I thought celeron was a good processor. but yeah this seams like to much of a hassle. I'm running LINUX so those programs that you need to run LINUX won't work on LINUX. D:

THIS is not a hassle, i have installed somehwere around 15 distro's of linux on flash just takes a while to get the hang of it

twenglish1 (author)absolute zero2009-03-25

yah i know i got it to work on my first attempt

fireguard (author)2010-11-23

Any hope for a Dell Dimension with no option to boot from usb? just hdd and cd... hoping to get an answer that I could boot from a usb with some trick.

twenglish1 (author)fireguard2010-11-23

Are there advanced boot options? Is there anything that says USB in the boot options?

meh301 (author)2010-09-29

Found an even smaller linux ^^ It has 3 programs installed: gparted, terminal, and something to take screenshots... Tis 11 MB and Debian. Supports full resolutions end everything... Got it bundled with gparted live cd/usb

twenglish1 (author)meh3012010-09-29

what is it called?

M4industries (author)2010-06-30

DSL Linux = Damn Small Linux Linux?

twenglish1 (author)M4industries2010-06-30

my bad, hahaha after how many years i never noticed that

M4industries (author)twenglish12010-07-01

You're not the first. Check the comments on this Instructable.

zack247 (author)2010-03-29

umm, help? i am trying to boot off of a 128mb flash drive, but on a different computer (so no hdd is needed) in the bios there is a startup option called usb boot device, and i have it set to that, but nothing happens! (pentium 3, 256mb, ram, ibm mobo) help please!

cubester808 (author)2009-05-11

Hey, I'm pretty nerdy with computers, so I hope you can catch me: My current computer (Inspiron 1525, 120 gigabyte SATA HDD) setup has four separate partitions: An 89 gig Vista Partition, a 5 gig Ubuntu Linux distro partition, a 10 gig XP partition, and the rest is unallocated. I already have created a bootable DSL flash drive; however, I want to install DSl to my soon-to-be-partitioned, unallocated space. XP, Vista and Ubuntu are all choices to boot from in my BIOS/kernel/weird thing when I start my computer. I am curious if DSL, due to its small format, will be shown in my BIOS. Your response would be great! Thanks, Adam

twenglish1 (author)cubester8082009-05-12

it should, but i am not entirely sure

Noodle93 (author)2008-03-29

I finally installed it, but I'm just running it in Windows for now. It looks good. Next computer will be linux. ;)

Noodle93 (author)Noodle932008-03-29

And now I'm typing from it, bit slow on web pages though.

hellstudios (author)Noodle932009-04-06

try a dual boot of ubuntu. it's fast for web surfing, and keep windows for games.

hellstudios (author)2009-03-25

how do I download the links you provide? do I have to download each one individually? I'm on Ubuntu....

twenglish1 (author)hellstudios2009-03-25

this tutorial only works on windows

Chikara (author)2009-03-11

hey guys i do not reccomend doin this manually, it can have damage.
I also recommend
enjoy the easiness of downloading it onto a flash drive with UNETBOOTIN

nicksam112 (author)2009-02-13

k i need help with the cmd. first i type cd d:\iAdmin\Desktop\syslinux-3.73(thats where its located) when i press enter nothing changes, it goes to the next command line then i tried cd d:\iAdmin\Desktop\syslinux-3.73\win32 same result then i try syslinux-ma :f says syslinux-ma is not recognized as a function(or something similar) i need help, plz!!!!

twenglish1 (author)nicksam1122009-02-13

type d: in command prompt then type cd iAdmin\Desktop\syslinux-3.73\win32 finally type syslinux -ma f: (in your above comment you forgot the space between syslinux and -ma, and you had the : before the drive letter)

nicksam112 (author)twenglish12009-02-13

alright ill try on valentines day(sigh, love yet...) ill post if theres progress

ReCreate (author)2009-01-03

I don't have an option to boot off of the usb! it only lets me boot off of the floppy cd drive and hardrive

twenglish1 (author)ReCreate2009-01-03

then i guess you can't do this, maybe if you know what you are doing you could try updating your bios

ultrauber (author)2008-11-09

Do you know how to disable the "getting started with DSL" page that always pops up? I know what file to modify, I just don't know where it is.

twenglish1 (author)ultrauber2008-11-09

i have done it before but i can't remember how if you figure it out let me know

Derin (author)2008-10-03

yay mine is also phoenixbios so things will be easy...

twenglish1 (author)Derin2008-10-03

cool if you need any help just ask

Derin (author)twenglish12008-10-04

yep...mine does not have usb hdd on the list,so i chose usb cd-rom,plugged the flash drive and restarted,it skipped usb even though the cd drive was empty and the usb was before hard disk!what should i do?

twenglish1 (author)Derin2008-10-04

look for usb-fdd or usb-zip

Derin (author)twenglish12008-10-04

thanks,will try that sometime soon

twenglish1 (author)Derin2008-10-04

ok cool let me know how it goes

Derin (author)twenglish12008-10-04

usb floppy was my next pick,skipped again,so usb zip it is,and i got dsl on it using a piece of software called unetbootin,will try your method

About This Instructable



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