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

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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. 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

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

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

Step 4: 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

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

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

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    139 Discussions


    11 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.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    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....


    8 years ago on Step 6

    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

    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    11 replies

    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


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    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


    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