Oct 05

I was looking for a small distribution to install on my old laptop for a while now. It’s a 7 year old pc, at 1.2GHz with 256mb RAM.

I had first tried Puppy Linux when it was at version 4.2 and I was very drawn to it. Version 4.3 was recently announced to my great pleasure. It is based on the Linux kernel and is advertised as “a superb, compact, super-fast and free operating system”. I gave it a go to check this for myself. 🙂

Below I describe a step by step, including screenshots, full installation of Puppy Linux 4.3 from a CD ,on an internal hard disk.

Booting from the Live CD

Obviously you first have to download the .iso file (105mb) from the site, and then burn it to a CD. Booting from the CD will get you to the initial boot screen, wait 5 seconds and then you get to choose your keyboard layout, local settings and time zone.

1. 2.

3. 4.


Then you get to setup the X server, monitor and video settings.

6. 7.


If all goes well you will then enter Puppy and you can start the installation process. Since you are using a Live CD, you can of course give it a try before that and check that all will work as intended on your pc!

Starting the installation process

9. 10.

11. 12.

If you have already partitioned your hard disk, then you can proceed to step no 21 after step 12.
If not, you will have to start GParted and setup the partitions as I did. I created a 512mb partition used as swap space, and a 4.5gb one to use for the PuppyLinux OS.

Using GParted to prepare the Hard Disk

13. 14.

15. 16.

17. 18.

19. 20.


After closing Gparted the installer will automatically start again and you can continue with the installation.

21. 22.

23. 24.

25. 26.


Setting up GRUB

Between these steps sometimes you may have to wait a minute or two so be patient and all will continue as planned.

28. 29.

30. 31.

32. 33.

34. 35.


Rebooting into Puppy

After installing GRUB the installation is almost finish. All you have to do is reboot into your newly installed PuppyLinux system. Don’t forget to remove the Live CD from the CD ROM drive when it automatically ejects.

Once you reboot, you may have to enter the settings from steps 3 to 8 again, but thats the last time you will be asked to.

37. 38.

39. 40.

Welcome to Puppy Linux 4.3! You are good to go now! After playing with it for some days I actually feel that my old laptop is resurrected. I hope you too enjoy the experience!

For those that might have trouble with getting online, I added  a quick tutorial on how to setup the internet connection.

Setting up the connection to the internet

Here I present the method used for the Wireless Internet. The method is the same (much simpler) if you want to setup an ethernet connection.

41. 42.

43. 44.


At this point, after you scan for and select the network you would like to connect to, you must select the encryption that it uses (Open, WEP, WPA, WPA2 etc.). Click on the corresponding button, then enter the key required, and remember to save the profile. After that you can use it to connect to the internet.

46. 47.

48. 49.

If all went well, you should be able to use Seamonkey and browse the web!

I hope you find the guide useful and practical!

If you have any questions, troubleshoots or feel that I left something out, don’t hesitate to place your comment here.

30 Responses to “Puppy Linux 4.3 (step by step installation with screenshots)”

  1. uchari says:

    That’s an awesome tutorial… add it to my delicious bookmark

  2. Most Excellent Tutorial!


    John and Dagny Galt

  3. immrlizard says:

    I have been using puppy for years to pull data off of infected windows machines but finally tried it on a laptop I was given. It was unusable with windows installed, a little slow with Ubuntu, but puppy has been a really good find. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that there are no updates. From what I have read, there is only one person that is really driving the development and he is concentrating on getting new versions out. The forum is a really helpful tool. It does have info on how to install new versions of the software, so the lack of updates isn’t really a big problem. Well worth a try

  4. I hesitate beetween PUPPY and Damn Small Linux
    My old laptops are 32 or 48 Go
    Is it enough for puppy ? you mention that YOURS is 256 !
    can you recomend a web that explain difference beetween PUPPY and Damn Small Linux

    Thanks a lot
    bernard from paris

  5. tetris4 says:

    I had similar problems with the same distros and that’s why I decided to switch to Puppy for my old laptop. I don’t mind the lack of updates, am just happy that I can perform the tasks that I need to with the current release!

    From what I read on the PuppyLinux site, the newer versions need at least 128 MB of RAM to run efficiently. The same thing is stated on the DSL site, however it does mention that DSL can “run light enough to power a 486DX with 16MB of Ram”. It is possible that both distros will run on your system, but judging from this info they will have reduced performance. A sufficient swap partition usually helps.
    If you just want to choose one, I would recommend DSL, am guessing it will run faster and smoother. If speed however is not the only thing that you care about, the best thing you can do is use a Live CD to check for yourself. Just go for the distribution that best suits your needs and likes!
    Good luck on whatever you decide! 🙂

  6. PsynoKhi0 says:

    Nice HOWTO, Puppy is definitely a fine little distro. I always keep a USB with the latest release on it. Something that could be pointed out though is that you always have root privileges (a.k.a. “Administrator” in Windows), so one has to keep in mind that it lacks a security layer present in more conventional “for HDD installation” distributions.

    @ elise
    DSL is nice on older hardware, though notice that it hasn’t been updated for a while, thus might quite a few security updates (on the top of my head, I could mention the recent NULL Pointer Dereference exploit). Of course it may be irrelevant to you, however here are some other alternatives:
    DeLi Linux (http://www.delilinux.org), specifically aimed at older hardware, version 0.8 requires at least 32MB RAM, a full install takes 750MB on your harddrive.
    TinyCore (http://www.tinycorelinux.com/welcome.html, by one of DSL’s founders), the ISO file is 10MB large, and the minimum requirements are roughly the same as DeLi.

    If you can’t choose yet, or if like me you’d rather burn well filled CDs, no problem!
    http://multicd.tuxfamily.org/ that script will allow you to create a burnable ISO from multiple smaller images.
    Puppy: 105MB
    DSL: 50MB
    DeLi: 250MB
    TinyCore: 10MB
    That’s 415MB (give or take a few megs), that will easily fit on a standard CD.

  7. Dyffdd says:

    Puppy is primarily intended to run from a live CD; the upgrade is to download the newer version and write it to another CD. Your personal files can be saved to a floppy or a USB or hard drive and then used by the upgrade.

  8. Bob K. says:

    Looks really good!.

  9. JTM says:

    I began using Puppy a short time ago ( 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and have tried the older versions also) on an averatec 3250 due to issues with the video card not being out of the box supported by many other distros. Everything works right at startup, except one small issue I had with setting up wireless using an ASCII 128 bit pass code for encryption under WEP.

    The only thing that needed to be set was found after I went through the man pages for iwlan was that it requires the use of the s:XXXXXXXXXXXX when setting the pass code in the wireless configuration. After I found that it has been smooth sailing.

    I have installed some additional PET packages and it is a ice distro on the averatec 3250. This is the only distro that has not taken huge amounts of tweaking to get to function.

  10. Paul says:

    after setting up the connection to internet I get the message:
    NETWORK CONFIGURATION of wlan0 SUCCESFULL.After clicking Done, I can’t get connection to the intenet.
    What can I do?

  11. tetris4 says:

    Sorry guys but I have no internet for a couple of days now..I hope I will be coming back in a few days..

    It might sound silly, but did you check to make sure that the connection is OK from another OS or PC?
    If yes, does Puppy report finding a live connection before trying to connect to it?
    And with which program are you trying to connect to the internet? Did you try with more than one just to verify the problem?
    In addition, this problem is usual in all OS’s if you have a low wi-fi signal.

  12. ciccio says:

    Hi guys,
    I have a little problem with the installation of Puppy.
    I followed each step of the tutorial and when I reboot the pc I obtain this massage:

    not found any active partition in hdd

    Can you help me?
    Thank you very much

    p.s.: I wish at all users a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

  13. tetris4 says:

    Thnx for the wishes..Happy New Year to all =)

    You can probably fix this by running GParted again (trough Puppy Linux live cd) and setting a bootable flag under the partition you installed Puppy.

    Select the partition> Right Click on “Manage Flags”> Select the Boot flag> Apply settings > Remove the CD and reboot

    I hope it helps!

  14. ciccio says:


    thank you for the answer.
    I did it, but now I see the grub menu but when I select linux I obtain a black screen and it doesn’t load the os…
    Thank you very much

  15. tetris4 says:

    Do you have any other OS installed on your system? Sounds to me like Grub never read your partitions right. Did you try reinstalling? If you still get the same problem, maybe fdisk can help, you can search a bit on how to use it.

    Don’t know if you already saw these, if this is your troubleshoot, they might be useful:
    and http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/puppy-71/unable-to-boot-puppy-from-hd-723394/

    g00d luck

  16. ciccio says:


    I don’t have other OS on pc. I tried reinstalling, but nothing…
    I am going to try with fdisk .
    Thank you very much

  17. Frank Cox says:

    Ciccio, I hope you did not give up!

    Your problem is you did not format the hard drive properly. Boot the live disk, select g-parted from menu-system an create a primary partition anywhere from 512mb to 1,256 gigs depending on how much you space you have , it does not take long to fatten puppy if you install wine ,open office etc. Format it to ext3, My advice is to install as frugal and boot off the cd. It is easy to back up or have multiple puppys and add sfs files like Open Office etc. The only place I ever do full installs is on flash drive.
    All you have to do is open the disk and shut down and create a pupsave file and copy everything it suggests to, You can back up the whole os in 2 minutes and restore even faster!

    If you do a full install you have to format the partition and then go back and add a boot flag as was suggested earlier.

    If you think you will add windows leave the first partition formatted to fat32-you can reformat to NTFS later if you install windows. Linux reads and rights to fat 32 better than NTFS, It is a bit harder to install windows after linux but not that hard if you have good directions,

    Puppy is different but once you get it it is super easy and super fast. Go to the forums for help or to freenode on irc and got to the puppylinux channel. If you click on the chat icon on the desktop it takes you there automatically.

    Puppy is jyst as fast on the cd once it boots as it runs in ram but I don’t like the seamonkey browser. If you are on dialup do a search for “FireDog , stylish , faster,puppy linux” and install it, Follow the instructions to remove seamonkey. Firedog is based on FF2 so some sites don;t support it anymore but it is way faster on dialup and is a cool setup. Firefox 3,6, opera and chrome all work well ,.

    You can install a different browser and remaster the cd but it is easier to do a frugal install or to a flash drive.

  18. gabe says:

    Hi. I have a fairly old laptop: HP Omnibook XE2 PII 400 Mhz, 192 mb ram 6 GB HDD which Im trying to install Puppy on but keep getting stuck at xorgwizard – which seems to have trouble finding the right video driver/resolution. Tried all versions, choose, Vesa, keeps going back to xorgwizard suggestion. xwin leads to blank screen.. I managed to boot up Knoppix live cd on it but DSL or Puppy both get stuck during hardware recognition. Any help would be good. Cheers.

  19. tetris4 says:


    Hey, I searched a bit on the net and there seem to exist successful installations of Puppy on the Omnibook XE2. Someone suggested using Xorg 1024x768x16, maybe that will do the trick(?). Also try looking for what Xorg configuration does the job for Knoppix and try that one too?
    What version of Puppy Linux are you using? Maybe you will have better results with the recent 5.1 release, which is based on Ubuntu.
    wish I could be of more help, g00d luck =)

  20. gabe says:

    Thanks tetris4. Yeah, at xorgwizard menu, i choose Vesa as it works with Gpartitioner and, Knoppix live (which incidentally fails to install if knoppix-installer is attempted – in this case with a partition error..) using the resolution you mentioned above, and other smaller rez’s, only to return to red text “If X didnt work, type xorgwizard, etc” every time… Puzzling.. The only distribution I successfully installed was SimplyMepis 6, but it wont recognize either usb dongle nor pcmcia card, so no internet, which renders it near useless. Kernel building is beyond my abilities as I am a novice at linux. I run Ubuntu on my machines which is great, but this old laptop is a challenge.. Hehe.. I’ll try some other variations of Puppy. Cheers

  21. gabe says:

    I downloaded the scsi-modem iso of Puppy and this one got through the vid driver hiccup… strange as it was exactly the same menu. At the moment Im struggling to connect to Internet as neither cable (to adsl modem) nor usb wireless dongle seem to be able to connect.. It finds my network but does not connect. I’ll keep looking..

  22. tetris4 says:

    I haven’t tried it yet but I would give Lupu (puppy 5.1) a try and see how that one goes.
    You might also want to try asking about this under Puppys forums and the support chat in irc.freenode.net is #puppylinux.
    glad to hear you are making progress! 🙂

  23. Puppyite says:

    Thanks for the article.

    I invite you and anyone reading this to join my forum:


    I think you will find it a refreshing change of pace.

  24. Larry Henry says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I am going to “dual boot” Lucid Puppy and Windows-XP on my old eMachines W3410 today…I have finally found a “distro” I can live with…”…nice little puppy…”…LOL… Woof. Woof…

  25. Candie Wells says:

    I’ve been usibg puppy 5.0.1 dor the past yr. now i cant boot says some error msg then gets stuck during the boot sequence. Im relatively new to linux and couldn’t get the iso copied but used a rescue cd last time & got to a site that let me download then boot linux forgot which 1 and it auto installed a newer browser but now i get on line but after download i cant get anything to auto install Please help! I’m currently using red hat fedora older version.

  26. tetris4 says:

    @Candie Wells
    Am not sure I completely understand what you tried so far. But for better support, you should try asking in the official PuppyLinux forums! http://www.puppylinux.com/forums.htm

  27. andru says:

    I cannot see any screenshot

  28. tetris4 says:

    It appears that imageshack which was hosting the images closed my account without previously letting me know. =S I contacted them but they ask for money to release the images, it feels like an extortion. I need to check if I have the tutorial images saved at some place else.

  29. Willow says:

    Hi guys and gals.
    Well I have been trying to install Puppy Wary 5 into a Sandisk Compact Flash 16 Gb. and after reebooting the PC I get this message:_GNU GRUB versiĂłn 0.97 (639 K lower /449472 K upper memory)

    Minimal BASH-like line editing is supported. For the first word, TAB lists possible command completions. Anywhere else TAB lists the possible completions of a device/filename.

    So I would like any help to solve the problem.
    I wanna to use this CF to start any PC out of HD or CD-ROM.

  30. tetris4 says:

    Hi Willow,

    Unfortunately this guide is outdated and as you can see the pictures are all gone.

    I would recommend asking for help in Puppy’s official forums: http://murga-linux.com/puppy/

    Good luck!

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