This is how to install DSL to a USB Key from Windows XP (98,NT,2000?) workstation without burning the ISO and without having to boot into DSL from the CD and partition theUSB key. (of course if you want to partition it you'll have to use a partitioning tool, cfdisk, or something else like
1. Procure USB Key and make sure it is formatted with FAT, just to be sure its working. (ugh.)
2. Download the images necessary (as of this writing, bootimage 0.8 was used and filesystem image 0.9.0.1 was used.) and also download WinImage (a share/freeware program -- google it.), and install Daemon Tools or some other ISO viewing/manipulating program.
3. Open winimage, Select the boot image you wish to use, select "Use removable disk (x:) with x: being the drive letter of your USB key you wish to install DSL onto.
4. Select write image. It may say 'image must be resized' blah blah. Do it.
5. Once that is complete, view the USB drives contents in windows Explorer. Mount the filesystem image to another drive. The filesystem image contains a directory called 'boot'. You can overwrite the files in the root of the USB Key with the files from boot/. This basically replaces
bootimage 0.8 (since it seems to not be updated with the system release) with what I'll just call bootimage-current. (basically the boot files for whatever filesystem image you're using) In this case, 0.9.0.1.
6. Confirm overwriting of the files. Assuming your bios is up to date, and you've read a lot of the other facts on 'making sure your usb key will work with your bios, etc') then all you should have to do is reboot and set the USB drive as the boot drive. DSL boots up, loads, and thats where
I'm writing this from.
7. For more help on 'customizing' your DSL install check doom4's post in this forum about 'DSL on USB-stick HOWTO' It also goes over some DSL basics that I didn't cover. http://damnsmalllinux.org/cgi-bin/forums/ikonboard.cgi?;act=ST;f=11;t=3613
For the record, stay away from cheap knockoff USB keys...they're fine for windows and stuff like that but apparently it doesn't like DSL.