Picture of P.O.S Pocket Operating System
I am going to show you how to Install SLAX on your flash drive(from a windows computer). Slax is a small USB portable Linux distribution. Its a great way to get started in linux, because nothing gets installed to your hard drive. Its built on the KDE desktop environment, which is much like windows, so it should be easy for most windows users to use.

What you will need.

-A Flashdrive 256mb will do the trick but I would recommend 1gb or more.
-A copy of SLAX. You Can download it here
-About 20 mins
-And a file extractor capable of extracting .tar files. You can use 7 zip

Note: This is more of a desktop operating system, it is compatible with little to no wireless cards.

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Step 1: Preaparing your flashdrive

Picture of Preaparing your flashdrive
FIrst we have to format your flash drive as FAT. You can do this by opening my computer, right clicking on your drive and selecting the format option. Make sure the file system is FAT.

Step 2: Instalation

Picture of Instalation
If you have 7-Zip installed, right click on the slax archive and select extract, browse for the root of your flash drive. Extract, and were almost done.

Step 3: Making the drive bootable

Picture of Making the drive bootable
Now that we have all the files on our drive, we can make the drive bootable. This means that a hidden file will be installed into your flashdrives MBR (master boot record).

To do this, navigate to x:\boot\ in windows explorer, you should see a file called makeboot.bat, double click on it and it will pop-up in Command Prompt. Make sure the batch file is displaying the correct drive letter, and proceed with the installation of the MBR.

Now restart your computer and enter Bios usually the DEL key on the P.O.S.T Screen (sometimes its F8,F10,F2)

You should see a blue screen use the arrow keys to select BIOS FEATURES SETUP press enter.
Then move the button to Boot Order, set usb flash drive, usb zip disk, and usb hdd near the top, just make sure that your master hard drive is still somewhere on the list.
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so when we boot from flash drive it doesn't do anything to the hard drive right? I won't have to worry about losing anything on the hard drive correct?
zygote903 years ago
when i chose to make the bootdrive it selects the L: drive (which is my usb drive) and it says:

setting up boot record for L:, wait please...
accessing physical drive: access is denied.
did not successfully update the MBR: continuing...
disk L: should now be bootable. installation finished.

read the information above and then press any key to exit...

when i try to boot off of the usb it says that the boot file is non-existant

account3r24 years ago
Does Dial-up interwebz work?
reid01474 years ago
i downed and excracted to usb drive i open boot and there is no makeboot.bat
helloworld15 years ago
i can only format it to FAT32 and exFAT, will that do?
he says FAT or FAT32 will do
uhh... he said make sure its FAT not FAT32
account3r24 years ago
you can download drivers for wireless cards
account3r24 years ago
My BIOS only says "USB ZIP, USB FDD, and USB Legacy" or something like that. what should I select?
Mario15 years ago
I have a 256mb Medion mp3 player
when i open the makeboot.bat file it says Setting up boot record for G:, wait please...
Reading boot sector: The parameter is incorrect.
Disk G: should be bootable now. Installation finished.

Read the information above and then press any key to exit...

To boot from usb on a bios that doesn't support it:

I thought that might be helpful.  :  )
baken4115 years ago
does the portable system access facts off the flahdrive or the actual computer you booted from?
ERCCRE1235 years ago
I think now the file you have to open is bootinst.bat
ERCCRE1235 years ago
Maybe you should change the name of the instructable because it looks like Peice of sh** pocket operating system
ERCCRE1235 years ago
i think this is a cool idea, and i want to do it, but i don't think i will because i see no practical use for this. Can someone give me an idea of why i should do this? all i really need is a 256mb flash drive and i have an unused 512mb one, since i dont want to use my main 2 GB drive
also, when you say it is compatible with little to no wireless cards, i have a laptop, will it be compatible? and if you change any settings, will it be saved onto the flash drive or the hard drive on the computer's hard drive? and also i found a practical use for it so i will probably do it
nedfunnell7 years ago
Doesn't running an OS from the flash drive use up your otherwise plentiful number of rewrites due to swap files?
littlechef37 (author)  nedfunnell7 years ago
WHA ? It works for me and its pretty fast to.
Flash drives have a limited number of writes/rewrites before they die. Normally not a problem, but operating systems use swap files, which will burn through these limited number of requires fairly quickly, killing your drive. How quickly, I don't know.
yes, flash drives have a limited number of writes/reads before they die, but most mini OS's like this load the swapfile into RAM if you have enough. So if youre worried about killing your thumbdrive, make sure your comp youre booting this has 250+ MB of ram. (most do) You can also chose to dump the hole os to ram at boot of slax, but regardless, the swap goes to ram
ReCreate6 years ago
I haven't been able to get slax to fully boot up once First my mouse is not supported only usb mouses work second the thing errored me and shut down third it takes a good 2 hours to boot slax fourth the latest version of slax is not setup for VGA,but instead something else See?
littlechef37 (author)  ReCreate6 years ago
YOUR hardware may not be supported. But it works with more than just USB mouses. 2 Hours ? are you trying to boot it on a P1@100mhz ?
Erm no. My specs are 800MHz processor 512Mb of ram 1TB of hardisk space it also fails in VirtualPC,Virutal Box,Quemu,Bochs,and 3 other computers their specs are: PC1: 700MHz processor 700MB RAM PC2: 1.5GHz processor 512MB of ram
littlechef37 (author)  ReCreate6 years ago
Well I have run it in VIrtual Box (on windows) and it worked fine. I Have also ran it in quemu (on a mac). I have run it on several other computers fine. My laptop 2.0ghz (Dual Core) 3gb RAM (My wireless doesn't work) My AMD box 1.8ghz 756mb ram Several School computers 2.0ghz 1gb ram A freinds computer 2.4ghz P4 256mb ram An older machine I had 933mhz 128mb ram Virtual box with 1000mb ram on my laptop. Quemu with 300mb on a mac.
In fact,puppy Linux runs very good on my 15 year old laptop,400MHz 128RAM
Well Slax is by far too hard for me to setup,im using puppy linux,it has a PC emulator(so i can run windows within it) Dosbox and VirutalBox And it fits in my 128MB SD card perfectly fine
zafiros6 years ago
ummm... When I go to the BIOS setup there's no usb hdd. What's going on?
its a lie,for most computers It only works on recently bought PCs
littlechef37 (author)  ReCreate6 years ago
a lie ? I have booted it on a 2001 amd 1.5ghz box and it works fine. Some motherboards don't support it, and as I recommended do a bios update. It really depends on the motherboard. Saying its a "LIE" just because it dosen't work on your computer is wrong.
You just misunderstood my point. I meant lie by no No for most computers that are not too modern
littlechef37 (author)  zafiros6 years ago
Your bios doesn't support booting via USB. You can try a bios update.
mrjubjub6 years ago
Will wired ethernet work with this? (so I dont need a usb wifi adapter)
littlechef37 (author)  mrjubjub6 years ago
Ethernet will work fine.
tokymaru6 years ago
great Instructable and I friggin love this thing
tokymaru6 years ago
works without a hitch ps with Toshiba after you press f12 and it opens the boot menu, you have to go into the advanced settings and its under hard drive not removable devices
tokymaru6 years ago
will you still be able to use the internal wireless card on a laptop through slax? would I just be able to download some third party software (i already have it that way for xp)?
fwjs286 years ago
you should add in a step for vista and another for mac...for mac include a dock like AWN or Ksmoothdock....and another thing, i need help configuring ndiswrapper for a netgear wg111v1....any help is apreciated.....the forum topic is
mrbob10007 years ago
when i get a gigantic external harddrive thats small and needs no extra power, im going to do this with ubuntu. then install all my major apps and stuff. then copy my major files.
littlechef37 (author)  mrbob10007 years ago
If you are going to run ubuntu I would use a firewire drive usb might be a bit slow.
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