Instructables

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

Step 1: 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. dsl-x.x.x-embedded.zip(where the x.x.x is will be the version) http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/damnsmall/current/
2. Syslinux once again click the link and download the zip file syslinux-x.xx.zip(once again where the x.xx is will be the version) the link is http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/

(optional but recommended )
1. HP USB Format Tool can be found here http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197

Step 2: 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

Extracting DSL.JPG
Destination Syslinux.JPG
Extracting Syslinux.JPG
Extract Damn Small Linux to your usb flash drive and syslinux to you HDD
randofo6 years ago
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)  randofo6 years ago
hey thanks for the tips i wrote a full instuctable check it out let me know how i did
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)  randofo6 years ago
hey thanks again i got it fixed now
atomhax1 year ago
Worked. Thanks
rmalik31 year ago
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.
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....
Anyone know how to boot this from grub2. I already have several other distributions, and don't want to wipe my master boot record.
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 zero6 years ago
ok i can help, where did you extract syslinux?
i extracted to a folder on my desktop called syslinux
twenglish1 (author)  absolute zero6 years ago
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
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)  llingbeck3 years ago
Check that you extracted the files to the correct place on the flash drive
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 zero5 years ago
yah i don't use it either but i knew how so i made an instructible
w00tn3ss, i cant believe my patheticness a year ago..........im 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 drives..it just takes a while to get the hang of it
twenglish1 (author)  absolute zero5 years ago
yah i know i got it to work on my first attempt
fireguard3 years ago
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)  fireguard3 years ago
Are there advanced boot options? Is there anything that says USB in the boot options?
meh3013 years ago
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)  meh3013 years ago
what is it called?
DSL Linux = Damn Small Linux Linux?
twenglish1 (author)  M4industries3 years ago
my bad, hahaha after how many years i never noticed that
You're not the first. Check the comments on this Instructable.
zack2474 years ago
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!
cubester8084 years ago
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)  cubester8084 years ago
it should, but i am not entirely sure
Noodle936 years ago
I finally installed it, but I'm just running it in Windows for now. It looks good. Next computer will be linux. ;)
And now I'm typing from it, bit slow on web pages though.
try a dual boot of ubuntu. it's fast for web surfing, and keep windows for games.
hellstudios5 years ago
how do I download the links you provide? do I have to download each one individually? I'm on Ubuntu....
twenglish1 (author)  hellstudios5 years ago
this tutorial only works on windows
Chikara5 years ago
hey guys i do not reccomend doin this manually, it can have damage.
I also recommend http://unetbootin.sourceforge.com
enjoy the easiness of downloading it onto a flash drive with UNETBOOTIN

nicksam1125 years ago
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)  nicksam1125 years ago
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)
alright ill try on valentines day(sigh,...no love yet...) ill post if theres progress
ReCreate5 years ago
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
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