How to Install DSL to a MS-VPC Virtual Hard Disk

How to Install DSL to a MS-VPC Virtual Hard Drive
by Chris Flamig

Many MS-Windows users are using the MS-VPC application in order to better get aquainted with Linux, before fully committing a full native hard drive install. This is good because it gives more exposure to the Window's community of the possibilities of Linux becoming not only an alternative OS, but their main OS.

The following assumes that you are booted into a native Windows 2000 environment and want to install DSL as a virtual hard drive OS under Microsoft VPC.

1.) Put your DSL-1.4 LiveCD into your CD-drive (or copy the DSL-1.4 ISO file you downloaded to a partition on your Windows hard drive.)

2.) Set your resolution to 800x600, or 1024x768, or whatever resolution mode you normally run MS-VPC in. (If this is your first time using MS-VPC, I would recommend setting your screen resolution to 1024x768.)

3.) Start up the Microsoft Virtual PC application.

At the Virtual PC Console:

4.) Select New.

5.) Click Next.

6.) Choose: Create a virtual machine, then Next.

7.) Choose a name and location for your DSL virtual machine. (I use D:\My Virtual Machines\DSL-1.4 so that it goes on my D: drive or partition, so I won't lose it if I have to rebuild my Windows C: partition.)

8.) Click Next.

9.) Choose Other, then Next.

10.) Choose Adjusting the RAM. Or just go with Using the recommended RAM of 128MB. Personally, with 512MB of system RAM available and since this is the only VM I will be running (outside of Sun Java VM) I chose to use 224MB of RAM. It just works for me.

11.) Click Next.

12.) Choose A new virtual hard disk, then click


13.) For Virtual hard disk location enter x:\DSL-1.4 VM\DSL-1.4 VM Hard Disk.vhd.

Where x is the drive or partition you wish to use for your DLS virtual machine's storage.

NOTE: Chosing the default Name and location will result in the virtual hard disk living on your C drive. If this is the only drive you have, make sure you really do have room for at least another 3GB of storage without cramping the Windows' host OS. Win2K likes to have about 1GB of free space to itself on the C drive, some of which is used for it's own swap file. I put MS-VPC virtual drives on another windows partition, or even a separate drive just so I know I have room for them.

14.) click Next

15.) Click Yes to create the folder for the DSL-1.4 machine.

16.) Click Finish.

You are now done with setting up your MS-VPC for use in installing DSL-1.4 to your computer as a guest operation system under the Windows 2000 host OS.

Now we need to install DSL to our new virtual machine.

17.) In the open Virtual PC Console highlight

DSL-1.4VM and click Start.

18.) Select the CD menu option from the top menu.

19.) Chose either Use Physical CD OR CD Image.

20.) Pick the Physical CD drive, OR browse to where your DSL-1.4 ISO lives (clicking Open when you find it.)

When the DSL graphic boot screen comes up, just let it begin its boot up, with its defaults. Continue DLS boot up. After you see the Penguin, you can go full screen.

Once the desttop is loaded we need to first setup our network card.

21.) RightClick on the Desktop.

22.) Select System / Net Setup / netcardconfig from the pop-up menu. This begins the network card setup. Answer the questions fully and hit Enter.

for a Class C private network.)

23.) Click on the XTerminal Icon, which will bring up

BASH in user:DSL mode. If you are viewing this in text only mode and not HTML, you will have to strip out the HTML tags.

We want to create two partitions in our new VHD, which will be hda.


24.)dsl@box:"$ sudo su
25.)root@ttyp0[dsl]:"$ cfdisk

Having brought up cfdisk we find the prompt at the bottom of the terminal screen that reads: No partition table or unknown signature on partition table. Do you wish to start with a zero table [y/N]?. We need to get rid of MS-VPC default FAT, FAT16, or NFTS signature, or tables so that we can use a Linux file system on our virtual hard disk.)

26) Type y.

This brings up the cfdisk 2.11z screen.

27.) Using the arrow keys select New and hit


28.) Using the arrow keys, select Primary and hit Enter.

Our first partition will be our SWAP partition. We want this to be at least 128MB. Most specs recommend it be twice the size of your system's physical RAM (in our case, our Virtual Machine's RAM, of 224MB, so I set it to 448MB).

29.) Type in 448 and hit Enter.

30.) Hit Enter again at the Beginning prompt.

31.) Now DOWN ARROW, in order to select the Pri/Log Free Space

32.) RIGHT ARROW to NEW and Enter.

33.)Enter again at the Primary prompt.

34.)Type in 3074. This selects 3GB of our remaining virtual hard disk for our second or hda2 partition. Its size will initially read 16730.22. I haven't yet tried creating more partitions
so I don't know what will happen if I do. But at any rate you want at least 3GB for DSL. Leave the unused space free for future use in DSL.

35.) Hit Enter at the Beginning prompt.

36.) Making sure the partition cursor is on hda2: hit Enter at the Bootable prompt to make hda2 bootable. hda2 will be our DSL system partition, or root.

37.) ARROW over to Write and hit Enter.

38.) Type in yes at the "Are you sure..." prompt.

You are now writing the partition table to the virtual disk.

39.) ARROW over to Quit and hit Enter.

This exits cfdisk and brings us back to BASH.

We are now ready to run the dsl-hdinstall script to install DLS to our new virtual hard disk. But first there are a few more things to do, like turn on our SWAP drive.

As root:

40.)root@ttyp0[dsl]# mkswap /dev/hda1
41.)root@ttyp0[dsl]# swapon /dev/hda1

As root:

42.)root@ttyp0[dsl]# dsl-hdinstall

Follow these dsl-hdinstall script user inputs EXACTLY.

43.) At Enter the target partition type hda2.

44.) At Do you wish to use the Standard or Enhanced Install

(s/e) type e (Unless you don't have an internet connection then type "s".

45.) At Do you currently have a working internet connection

(y/..)? Answer accordingly (I answered y)/

46.) At Do you wish to install with multi-user logins (y/...)?

type y, if that is what you want.

47.) At Use jouralized ext3 filesystem... Type


48.) At Continue... type y.

You are now in the process of installing DSL to your virtual hard disk.

Using the defaults I have given here it will take about 15 minutes (on a 1GHZ Athlon) to install including anything downloaded from the DLS module server.

49.) At the prompt Do you want to run mkliloboot now?... type y. This will install the mkliloboot loader on your virtual hard disk.

50.) Reboot, y.

DSL will now reboot.

51.) Exit the MS-VPC full screen mode, Alt+Enter.

NOTE: Watch your hard drive light. You will have only a blank MS-VPC screen and will not see any reboot action.

52.) At the MS-VPC menu, select Action / Close to close down the virtual machine completely.

DO NOT select Reset! doing so will cause you to have to repeat the last 52 steps.

The next seven steps are critically important.

53.) At the Close dialog box, select Save state.

54.) click OK.

55.) Now, WAIT until MS-VPC has exited.

56.) Now bring up the MS-VPC console, select DSL-1.4 VM as the VM you want to run, and click Start to boot up your DSL Virtual Machine.

57.) After a couple of moments, after the hard disk light is no longer pulsing, goto menu Action and select Close....

58.) This time (at the Close dialog) select Turn Off and click OK.

59.) With DSL-1.4 VM still selected in the Virtual PC Console click Start.

Congradulations, your Damn Small Linux is now installed and running as a Windows 2000 hosted guest operating system.

60). Go full screen with Alt+Enter.

61.) Live Long and Prosper.

NOTE: you will have to setup your passwords, and login, and startx.
Then you will want to recreate your internet setup.

Comments and corrections are welcome, just leave your comments on the DLS talk blog.

--- Does "publish" mean to post something on the walls of a pub? ---

Chris Flamig

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Can't seem to shutdown/reboot

I got dsl running on vpc, thanks a lot to your tutorial! :-)
But there is a problem, i can seem to reboot or shutdown properly.

The trouble seems to be with fluxbox. On any attempt to exit the windows manager, the screen goes blank and just stuck there.

Anyone experiencing the same problem? Any solutions?

Excellent work. I do in fact

Excellent work. I do in fact now have it running in MS VPC. Now whenever I change to the VPC by clicking my mouse, My DSL mouse does not work. During set up it did ask if I had USB mouse, which I do but no go. Since I am new to DSL I just thought I'd ask before I hacked away at it. Running on a Toshib Satellite pro with extrenal logitech first mouse attached ( Lap top point does not work either) All other version of Linux Distys I have do work. Thanks for the guide!