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Windows to Puppy Linux: Step by step


So many articles we see on the net like 'How to make dual boot Windows and Linux'. Yes it is hard, an issue something for experts or challengers. But as for the Puppy Linux, it is so easy and safe. You need not re-construct your hard disk drives or new drives.

Assume your PC is running any version of Windows 95 to 7, and can run Puppy from the live CD or with another measure. And you want to boot Puppy off from your hard disk drive. The version of the Puppy can be any 4.x or 5.x or their derivatives. How to run the Puppy Live CD shall be another article. And i assume you are already used to handling files on Puppy, like one-click the desktop icon 'file'(or 'Home') on the desktop to open the filer, drag and drop files to copy, etc.

You need 3 tools to do this, but the last is optional.
Note: DO NOT use the 'Puppy Universal Installer' nor 'Grub config' both classic Puppy tool.

The Lucid Puppy Quiset edition has all the 3 tools above, but i recommend to update the package as for the Grub4DosConfig. Recent Puppy's like Wary and Quirky have the Grub4DosConfig, but also update the package is reccomended. Anyway, all the recent packages above are available here.

Follow the next steps.

  1. Windows preparation
  2. Frugal installation
  3. Make rescue media
  4. Arrange the boot loader
  5. Setting the swap space
  1. Windows preparation

    You can skip this step if you are sure your Windows is healthy and has no problem. But I recommend to clean up your drive before you install Puppy.

    We are going to install puppy frugally on the Windows system partition, the drive 'C:'. You need to clean up the drive to be ready for the new comer, Puppy. Desired free space is 640MB and larger. If you canot, drive 'D;' or another is OK if available.

    If you have already made the pupsave on the hard disk drive, I recommend to remove it. If it has files you do not want to loose, read this.

    1. Run Windows and remove files those you are sure they are not in use. Remove the applications those you are sure you never use. If you are not sure, leave them.
    2. Clean up the drive with the Windows tool.
    3. Defragment the drive 'C:' with the Windows tool. It takes long, long time. I recommend to start it when you go to bed. You can see the drive clean next morning. See the How to for Windows XP

  2. Frugal installation

    The drive 'C:' in Windows is normally 'sda1' in Puppy, but can be 'hda1' or 'sda2'. Run Puppy and see where is the Windows system files, the directory named 'Windows'. You can do it (one-)clicking the drive icons on the desktop.

    You can use the GUI tool 'Frugal Installer'. In this case, run the 'Frugal Installer' Menu > Setup (> Installers) > Frugal Installer
    But also you can do it manually. DO NOT use the 'Puppy Universal Installer'. The 'Puppy Universal Installer' can do, but is complex and you may be confused with the verbose messages.

    Doing frugal install manually is quite simple.
    Assume the Windows drive 'C:' is 'sda1' in Puppy.

    1. Make a directory with any name you like on the top layer, say '/mnt/sda1/puppy' for an example.
    2. Copy all the files in the live CD into the directory, '/mnt/sda1/puppy' for the example. To see what files are essencial, read this.

    If you have the pupsave made before, and you like to continuously use it, read this.

  3. Make rescue media

    I recommand the most recent version of the Grub4DosConfig. Get or later available here.

    See which way you can take for the rescue boot. You may need to look up the BIOS settings.

    For the last case, a hope is LupQ-511 live CD. It has Windows boot menu, but not always work. Try and confirm whether it can boot up your Windows.

  4. If you can use floppies, prepare a floppy. New one is preferable. Used one maybe also OK, but remind that all the contents will we wiped away.

    If you use a USB flash drive(any small size is enough), i recommend clean up it using gparted.

    1. Delete all partitions on the USB devide.
    2. Create new partition table. (Device >> Create Partition Table)
    3. Then make new partition and format. Any file system is allowd. For example, FAT32.

    For floppy or USB drive, follow next step.

    1. Insert a floppy(it will be erased all the data), or USB pen drive.
    2. Run from the main menu, 'System' > 'Grub4Dos'(grub4dosconfig).
    3. Select the Floppy(fd0) or the USB device for the 'Where to install' at the first dialog.
    4. All off on the checkbox. Answer 'OK' for all the dialog.
    5. Reboot PC. You may need BIOS or boot device selection.

    If you failed to boot up, check the BIOS settings, and check the above proccess. If you cannot get rid of, do NOT install MBR, skip the step and only make the swap space. You can continue using Puppy from the Live CD. The boot up time must be remarkablly shortend with the frugal instalation you did.

  5. Arrange the boot loader

    If you feel some anxiety for loosing your existing boot measure, read this.

    1. Run the Grub4DosConfig, select install to the 'MBR'(in most case 'sda').
    2. Click 'OK' for all dialog. That is all.
    3. Remove the CD's if in your drive. Reboot PC.

    If you failed to boot up, check the BIOS settings. Boot again with the Live CD, and check the frugal installation process.

  6. Setting the swap space

    If your PC has RAM less than 512MB, you need to set up swap spaces, in other name, virtual memory. You can use the same file on the hard disk drive as the virtual memory both from Windows and from Puppy.
    You need to install the Winfonts if your Puppy does not have. Install available here.

    Run the Winfonts. Menu > System (> System memory) > Winfonts

    The GUI automatically detects the Windows virtual memory and fonts. Tick on the virtual memory, and optionally the fonts.

Enjoy Puppy!


Backup the files in pupsave

Move the your important files on Puppy to the disk drive, /mnt/home or /mnt/sda1, etc. Another USB drive is more safe if they are available. If you are not sure what to do, leave the pupsave as is, but copy the pupsave with Windows to a USB drive if available.

Duplicated directory names

The directory name you use for the frugal install should be unique as the top layer of the partitions on your PC. If the same name at the top laye, say '/mnt/sda1/puppy' and '/mnt/sda2/puppy', exists, the boot loader may confuse. No problem with directories other than used for the frugal install.

Essencial files for frugal install

Essencial files are only 3 or 4, that is, vmlinuz, initrd.gz, *.sfs. Other files in the live CD are no need for the frugal install, but they are small and no harm you leave them.

Using old pupsave

If you have the pupsave made before, and you like to use it with the new installed Puppy, you can move or copy it into the directory of the frugal install.
But I do not like to do so. No one pours new wine into old wineskins.

How to make a rescue FD/USB

See the article

NOTE on the MBR

Grub4DosConfig usually overwrites the existing MBR(Master Boot Record). If you like to recover the MBR of windows, you can use Windows Installer CD. But you cannot recover for the PC's which has special MBR made by the manufacturer. Don't fear if you can boot with the rescue media you made here.

Some PC's without CD drive and the Windows recovery system is on the HDD. In this case from the beginning, it cannot boot up the Puppy Live CD. For the case, we developed the installer for the Windows(95 to Vista and 7-32bit, but Me not supported. Problem reported with Winodws 7-64bit), Lucid-Puppy-Quickset-edition-511-Installer.exe. It need not CD and does not replace the existing MBR.
See the topic.

If your PC is running Windows Xp, visit THE Lin'N'WinNewB PROJECT

Feed back

Any question and suggestion on this article is welcome at the Forum.

Shino's Bar

Lucid Puppy QuickSet edition