After using Puppy Linux on my 2004 edition of Dell PC for last few months, I have learned a few small tricks here and there. I now know how to get .sfs files loaded and used and hence has LibreOffice working. I have also found out how, using Puppy Package Manager to install more software.
The downside is, the more you install, the more you have to increase the personal file size, which I had to do a few times and to delete or move some downloaded files to other harddisk partitions.
Then it struck me that I have not learned how to upgrade my harddisk installed Puppy Linux (and the solutions provided from a website looked too scary to try!). The next option: to make Puppy Linux boot from a Pendrive and I read that it is easier to upgrade. So what start as a thought became my “weekend project” on 21 April 2012.
This article provide an account of what I had to do to get Puppy Linux LuPu 5.2.8 Ubuntu-Compatible) into a 4Gb Pendrive. This is purely my experience and may not be the most effective or correct way of doing things but it worked for me and I am sharing this. If you observe the image above, you would know that the current version of Puppy Linux is Slacko 5.3.1. But in my case, since I am very familiar with Ubuntu which has tons of software (most can be made to work in Puppy), it is in fact a no brainer choice to get LuPu 5.2.8.
So how did I go about it in the first place?
Of course checking the internet for Puppy centric sites are a must and the most effective and easy to understand site is Puppylinux.org, which is where I obtained most of my instructions on how to work on this project. You will preferably need to have 2 Pendrives, one could be and old one with at least 250 mb space left (“Pendrive 1”), the other will be reformatted and preferable a new one (“Pendrive 2”).
Get an iso (image of all the required software as packed in a CD-ROM) from the correct site. The latest version for me was in fact Lucid Puppy (Ubuntu-Compatible Build). Copy the ISO file into Pendrive 1.
You will need to have software that can read / extract and burn the CD image to a CD-ROM. I used Basero Disk Burner that came with my Ubuntu OS in my laptop to do this. If you have already had an older version of Puppy, it has Burniso2cd which does the same job.
Reboot your PC / laptop but with one of your fingers covering the F12 function key. Hit F12 as soon as the screen showing it is rebooting. You will be faced with a screen with choices of boot sequence. Use the down arrow to select CD-ROM (assuming you have done Step 2 correctly & had kept the CD-ROM inside). Be patient…Puppy will load in about 2 minutes. If your PC’s configuration is not too complicated, you will hear a bark from Puppy when it is fully loaded. Bear in mind that Puppy is operating from RAM (that is directly from your PC’s memory where it is loaded), the speed of its operation after loading is very high!
You need to prepare your Pendrive 2 to be a “bootable” flash drive. So go to Menu (bottom left of screen), select Setup–> BootFlash install Puppy to USB.
BootFlash will open a window. Select USB-HDD and follow the rest of the instructions. Do not plug in Pendrive 2 till you are instructed to do so by BootFlash. Once you have plugged in Pendrive 2, it will be recognised by BootFlash, do not click on the icon such as “sdb1” on the main PC screen as this will mount it and pause the formatting process. BootFlash will format Pendrive 2….so make sure you have all important stuff in it copied to somewhere else! Best of all, do like me, buy a new Pendrive to play with!
BootFlash will then ask you if you want to install Puppy. Select “Install Puppy” and you are on the last step of this process. But there is a problem. You are asked to locate the iso file with Puppy that you have downloaded and the selection from BootFlash is not too intuitive. Insert Pendrive 1 with the ISO file copied in Step 1 into your PC. You will see on your main PC screen that it is registered as something like “sdc1”. Click on “sdc1” to mount it. Then go back to BootFlash’s screen. At the top-middle, you can select which folder to access. Select “/” (that is the root drive), and select the folder “mnt”. When you are in /mnt you will see “sdc1” and click on it. All the files in “sdc1” will be shown on the right panel, including your Puppy ISO. Select this file. BootFlash will copy everything you need to your Pendrive 2. You are done!
Now remove Pendrive 1 and reboot (with Pendrive 2 inserted). Do not forget to hit F12 as soon as the PC screen shows it is rebooting. Select USB-HDD drive and hit enter. You will see Puppy is loading.
It is essential that in the first boot up you pay attention to the instructions on the screen. And always allow time for Puppy to save your personal sfs file etc. at shutdown. If not your installation is wasted.
Why would one wants to use Puppy in a Pendrive? In fact Puppy is written to be operated from a Pendrive or CD-ROM / DVD-ROM. It’s most important feature is that you now can carry a low foot print / low resource system with most of the software you usually use (Libreoffice, Skype, Google Chrome, GIMP, etc.) in a USB-flashdrive that you can insert into any PC and work on it. If my 2004 vintage Dell can be re-invigorated there are many old PC in internet cafe etc. that will be Puppy-friendly! Thus, if you have 2 Pendrives, one to carry Puppy (and associated sfs files etc.) and one to carry your data, you can travel and work without carrying a laptop!
In fact, I would strongly suggest to the Puppy user community to work on a USB-Pendrive version of all releases in the future to make life a lot easier for Puppy users. Imagine if you can just spend less than RM20 to get a Pendrive (4Gb) and just download a zip file and unzip this to the Pendrive…next reboot…zoom…you have your Puppy working!