USB boot compatability list

Forum: USB booting
Topic: USB boot compatability list
started by: John

Posted by John on Oct. 12 2004,05:20
I want to try to grow a comprehensive list of computers who's bios support booting from a USB device.

Here is the list I have so far:
Epia 5000
Epia ME6000
Epia 800
Epia 10000 C3

Microtel (Wallmart) PCs running Phoenix AwardBIOS on a VIA board -- have to enable USB keyboard recognition

All the above boot a pen drive fine recognized as a USB-ZIP drive.

What else have you guys had success with?

(lets keep this thread for successful attempts only please)

Posted by cbagger01 on Oct. 12 2004,17:13
The following computers have successfully booted using a Sandisk Micro 128MB USB device that was formatted using the Dell Memory Key utility to first boot FreeDOS and then launch DSL via the DOS "loadlin program":

Dell Poweredge 400SC (OEM version of the Intel 875PZD motherboard).
Dell Optiplex GX260 with latest BIOS (A05?) the original A02 BIOS did NOT boot properly from USB.
Dell Optiplex GX270 with default (fairly recent) BIOS

Important notes worth mentioning:

BIOS settings:

"Hard-Disk Drive Sequence"
1   USB Device
2   System BIOS Boot Devices

"Boot Sequence"
1   Diskette
3   Hard Drive

LegacySelect Options:
"USB Keyboard emulation"

"Fast Boot"

And finally:

Unplug any other USB mass storage devices besides your desired boot device (extra external USB CDRW or external USB hard drive).

If your USB device light does not turn ON by the time the POST progress bar reaches 100%, your boot will fail.  Sometimes you can give it a second attempt by quickly pressing CTL-ALT-DEL and your computer will reboot and the USB device will light up sooner and then it will boot properly from the USB device.

Posted by doom4 on Oct. 12 2004,19:08
The Kingston Travelmate 2.0 is working excellent!

I ve the 128 mb version and its working on dell laptops, futjise siemens laptops and dell workstations. and the p4s533 board.

happy dsling :)

ps: my transcend stick dont want to boot perhaps becaus its a sponsored one from microsoft :)

Posted by Geek on Oct. 12 2004,23:26
HP EVO 230, need to start in failsafe.
HP EVO 330, straight through.

Lots of old compaq stuff using the usb boot floppy with usb key.

Used a SanDisk Titanium 512, very quick :-)

Posted by bongski55 on Oct. 13 2004,13:28
USB drive=GENX 256mb microdrive
PC=MSI mobo self built.amd2400,
Bios set to boot usb hdd

running smoothly so far.writing this using dsl on the usb drive!

Posted by msuho on Oct. 14 2004,14:59
I did a frugal install onto a SanDisk mini-cruzer 128MB, usingthe instructions in the "frugal strikes again!" HOWTO thread.

I am able to boot (and am posting now) from a ChyangFun
Ecube Model S969L, running the Award BIOS.

BIOS settings:
Boot from USB-ZIP
USB Keyboard Support Enabled

I can now share this box with my dear wife, who will be none the wiser :)


Posted by dangermaus on Oct. 14 2004,16:39
hola, dunno which BIOS it is,
but i managed to install
damn small linux on
a LAKS clock with 64 MB RAM.
I am writing from the USB clock, it's damn small
inside here :)

steps done:

- format USB clock with FAT (not FAT32)
- write CD with dsl-0.8.2.iso using Nero Burning ROM
- copying knoppix directory of CD to USB Laks clock
- creating a floppy with dd if=bootusb-0.8.img of=/dev/fd0
(you can try this on your clock using /dev/sda1, only
that your clock will transform into a 1.44 MB floppy disk :)
- copying floppy content to USB
- downloading syslinux-2.11
- syslinux /dev/sda1 after unmounting /dev/sda1
with umount /dev/sda1 (both commands require superuser privileges)

btw visit our Open Source project at
GPU> a Gnutella Processing Unit
< >

Posted by blueillusion on Oct. 14 2004,21:08
Works beatifully on a
Asus A7N8x-uay motherboard
-Phoneix Bios
-Had to set boot from usb-hdd

Using a Sandisk 256mb Secure Digital Card with a cheapo 2 dollar sd reader. Never worked with my 80 dollar panasonic sd reader (came with mp3 player)
The 2 dollar sd reader i got off ebay. its small and looks silver. For people with SD cards, i recommend that cheap one. its made in taiwan (cant find it on ebay anymore, but there are some pretty good cheap usb 2.0 ones for like 5 bux that i wanna try.)

Posted by green on Oct. 14 2004,23:25
USB Boot Parameters.

USB boot successful using the following:

Aiptek Pocket DV II 1.3 Megapixel camera VM-1L
 128MB Compact Flash
 Two partitions
   sda1p1 = ~64MB
   sda1p5 = ~64MB
Gigabyte GA-7N400Pro
Award Dual BIOS
 USB Keyboard = ON
 USB Mouse  = ON
 Boot Sequence:
AGP 8x Video
AMD 2800+ Barton

On boot up:

Most helpful:
<;t=1688 >

Posted by John on Oct. 16 2004,20:04
A good friend of mine in Nottingham said his Dimension 4600 boots DSL off USB fine, he just had to hit F2 at boot and select USB.
Posted by NFFC on Oct. 16 2004,20:14
Waves from Nottingham.

Great tool, I'm one very impressed noobie.

Going to take it into work and try on a few more machines, will report back.

Posted by NFFC on Oct. 16 2004,20:16
Posted by on Oct. 18 2004,01:05
I'll review these posts tomorrow and add a FAQ about it tomorrow :)
Posted by thiothixene on Oct. 20 2004,04:34
** I am an hardcore Linux Newbie ** :-)

Ok now, the question ...

How do I do this !? I have a Lexar 512mb Jumpdrive ... Do I only need to put the "iso" (What's inside anyway) on it (Like on a CDR) or is there some manipulation to do ?

Thanx !!

Posted by John on Oct. 20 2004,14:19
Hey guys, lets keep this thread for confirmed USB boot compatibility.  Please post related questions in another thread.
Posted by msuho on Oct. 25 2004,01:31
A quick update-

I posted in this thread earlier saying I could boot from a 128MB SanDisk cruzer mini. I bought a 256MB cruzer mini last week. I ran usb-hdinstall on it, and am able to boot from it as well. My motherboard uses the Award BIOS: it's set to boot from USB-ZIP, and the USB keyboard option is enabled.



Posted by rrk on Oct. 26 2004,08:51
new change epia 800 with bios 1.03 usb keyboard must be enabled in BIOS
as well as usb-zip to boot

Posted by pdurys on Oct. 27 2004,17:06
HP Compaq nc4000
USB SanDisk Cruzer Mini 128 MB

with or without Port Replicator

Both network interfaces are working fine, just wi-fi is recognised as ath0 instead eth, but no problem.

Pawel Durys

Posted by usul on Oct. 27 2004,20:15

Hi All

I built a my Desktop around an Asus P4P800vm (bad move), it nearly booted when I disabled the floppy as a boot device and hit F8/12 (cant remember) to see the boot device list. My USB Key was at the top but failed to kick off.

However I have used DSL on an IBM T40 and an IBM T42 Thinkpad


Posted by Jay on Oct. 29 2004,19:35
Quote (cbagger01 @ Oct. 12 2004,13:13)
The following computers have successfully booted using a Sandisk Micro 128MB USB device that was formatted using the Dell Memory Key utility to first boot FreeDOS and then launch DSL via the DOS "loadlin program":

Dell Poweredge 400SC (OEM version of the Intel 875PZD motherboard).
Dell Optiplex GX260 with latest BIOS (A05?) the original A02 BIOS did NOT boot properly from USB.
Dell Optiplex GX270 with default (fairly recent) BIOS

Important notes worth mentioning:

BIOS settings:

"Hard-Disk Drive Sequence"
1   USB Device
2   System BIOS Boot Devices

"Boot Sequence"
1   Diskette
3   Hard Drive

LegacySelect Options:
"USB Keyboard emulation"

"Fast Boot"

And finally:

Unplug any other USB mass storage devices besides your desired boot device (extra external USB CDRW or external USB hard drive).

If your USB device light does not turn ON by the time the POST progress bar reaches 100%, your boot will fail.  Sometimes you can give it a second attempt by quickly pressing CTL-ALT-DEL and your computer will reboot and the USB device will light up sooner and then it will boot properly from the USB device.

How did you get it to work on the Dell GX260?
When I look in the BIOS Settings (Just upgraded to A08) I do not have an option for usb hdd, I have yes, no, & no boot.
I have a 512MB DiskGo 2.0 USB Key.  I can not get it too boot on any Dell.

Posted by Nimdae on Oct. 30 2004,03:19
Successful boot with the following:

FIC AN19E Mainboard
PQI Intelligent Stick 2.0 (tested with 512 mb model)

Notes: Several people say use USB-ZIP, but I had to use USB-HDD. Setup seems VERY picky on drive configuration. I don't know if this is the USB device, the mainboard, or something else.

Posted by cbagger01 on Oct. 31 2004,05:45
I do not have "usb hdd" option in my Dell BIOS for the Optiplex GX260.

I used the settings that are mentioned in my previous post and I used the Dell usb key utility program to format the USB device before I installed DSL on it.

It is important that you get your USB device's LED to light up before the power on progress bar reaches 100% or your computer will ignore the device and boot up via the internal hard drive instead.

Posted by XBaRt on Nov. 22 2004,07:22
Quote (Guest @ Oct. 14 2004,17:08)
Works beatifully on a
Asus A7N8x-uay motherboard
-Phoneix Bios
-Had to set boot from usb-hdd

Using a Sandisk 256mb Secure Digital Card with a cheapo 2 dollar sd reader. Never worked with my 80 dollar panasonic sd reader (came with mp3 player)
The 2 dollar sd reader i got off ebay. its small and looks silver. For people with SD cards, i recommend that cheap one. its made in taiwan (cant find it on ebay anymore, but there are some pretty good cheap usb 2.0 ones for like 5 bux that i wanna try.)

how do you make it ? i try it in a Asus A7N8X-Deluxe and i can't get it boot. I test the usb key in another mobo (gigabyte) and the usbfob runs good.


Posted by L.V.Gandhi on Nov. 25 2004,06:24
I have transend 128 MB USB stick. I have installed dsl in that. With that I could boot in dell 600m laptop and an office pc of Indian make. However  in my home PC with A7N8X deluxe MB, I couldn't boot with that same stick. why? Any solutions?
Posted by ispmike on Nov. 26 2004,02:31
I couldn't make my A7N8X-D boot from my usb jumpdrive either, I have been using a boot floppy. Works fine.
Posted by DiztortN on Dec. 01 2004,05:19
Agenie USB 2.0 2gig


Posted by ispmike on Dec. 01 2004,09:21

I flashed my A7N8X Deluxe to the latest bios (1008) and I can now boot directly from USB. You have to set it to boot from USB-ZIP and enable USB legacy support.

Posted by outanet on Dec. 03 2004,12:56
Im now talking to you from dsl on a Nokia N-GAGE with sd card!  works fine. on Epia Mii.
(quite chuffed that my phone runs linux. :)

Posted by ispmike on Dec. 03 2004,22:05

Are you kidding dude? The N-Gage doesn't even use sd cards.

Posted by tawalker on Dec. 20 2004,07:32
< Elsewhere in this forum >, it says that PNY Attache drives may not be bootable. I received a 256Mb Attache for an early Christmas present - should I return it to the store and find another make (e.g. DisGo)?


Posted by Keith on Dec. 20 2004,16:40
I have an ebuyer 64M, ebuyer 256M and Kingston 2G USB devices. All will boot up on my home-brew PC as the A: drive and I use loadlin to boot into Linux, as I need M$DOS for work - formatting etc tools.

The only one I have which works on a new Fujistu Seimens (P4 1.7GHz) as its seen by the BIOS as a hard drive, and then boots as C:

I guess what I'm saying is that it depends on the PC, more than the USB device. There is a nice little HP utility to format ANY USB device and put a M$ dos booting image onto it. Sorry if the URL wraps... < >


Posted by Keith (again) on Dec. 20 2004,16:45
The Kingston 2G USB is only one I have which works on a new Fujistu Seimens (P4 1.7GHz) as its seen by the BIOS as a hard drive, and then boots as C:

.. is what I meant to say!

Posted by T on Dec. 24 2004,19:59
I got a DiskGo! 128 mb Watch for a gift


I used
WinImage and IS0Buster to run it as described < here >

Now just have to get it configured like I want it to.

Posted by j0rn on Dec. 29 2004,20:06
Dell Inspiron 9100 - No problems, but could not find buildt-in lan.

Compaq(/HP) NE 400c - Had to upgrade bios. Running this with no HD or fans (no moving parts! QUIET!).  Only problem is that it has no mouse connected and I couldn't find any keyboard shourtcuts for xwin....  Buildt-in lan worked.

Wlan cards Compaq WL110 and D-LINK DWL 650+ didn't work on any of the laptops.

< >

Posted by cbagger01 on Dec. 30 2004,05:57
Individual X11 applications may or may not have keyboard shortcuts.

There is a fluxbox customized keyboard shortcut function that is available by editing the /home/.fluxbox/keys file.  Search the fluxbox website manual for more information on how to edit this file.  Also, there is a change that is needed in DSL to make the keyboard file active.  I think that it is in the /home/.fluxbox/init file but I am not sure.  Try searching these forums for more information. It is here somewhere.

Of course the best solution is to add a mouse to the system.

Posted by j0seph on Jan. 06 2005,22:13
The Compaq Presario S5000NX will boot from usb right out of the box ;)
Posted by tawalker on Jan. 07 2005,10:27
I have the "triple boot" 0.9.1 DSL installed on my Sandisk Mini Cruzer 256Mb. (The "embedded" option works in Windows but not Linux, but that's another story.)

My desktop system (with an AMI BIOS) appears to have BIOS options for USB booting - from memory, they are HDD, FDD, ZIP, MO and removable disk. Unfortunately, none of them seem to work with the Cruzer, even if I move the USB boot option to the top of the list.

I'd guess that one of these options should work, so is it possible that the DSL installation on the Cruzer is not bootable as it stands? (I understand the Cruzer itself should be bootable.)


Posted by bwalla on Jan. 07 2005,17:50
Has anyone had any luck booting from a Lexmark JumpDrive 512MB?? I have tried everything you can think of to make sure that DSL is loaded correctly, but everytime I try to boot, it gets to syslinux then says "Boot Failed" in the same line. Has anyone succesfully booted from a jumpdrive 512mb???
Posted by tawalker on Jan. 08 2005,00:05
I am one seriously happy DSL user tonight :D :p :laugh:

Why? Because I finally managed to boot my main desktop PC into DSL from my pen drive (see my post above). In fact, I'm posting this from Firefox, in a DSL session, just to prove to myself that it's actually working...

In the end, the problem - and the solution - were quite simple, and I hope my experience will help anyone else with an AMI BIOS-based PC, trying to boot from a pen drive:

I have a USB hub attached to my desktop PC, as the USB ports are round the back and it's hard to reach them during normal use. The pen drive was plugged into the hub, and this evening when I tried booting from it again, I noticed that the activity light on the drive did not glow until most of the way through booting the system from the HD.

It then hit me what the problem was: the USB hub was not being accessed until well after the system looked for bootable devices. My pen drive, and the BIOS, were both probably bootable - it was just that the system never got the chance to find the drive until it was too late.

I fished out a USB extension lead, plugged it directly into the back of the PC, connected the pen drive, and rebooted. Ta-daaaaa - the BIOS' list of bootable drives now included "USB RMD-FDD". I chose this, and was whisked straight to the DSL desktop.

Now I've set "USB RMD-FDD" as the first boot option in the BIOS, any time I want some DSL action I can just connect up the Mini Cruzer, and there it is. (Strange how the option was not USB-ZIP, as I've read elsewhere, but if anyone else has the same BIOS and can't get USB-ZIP to work, try USB RMD-FDD.)

Hope the above is of use to someone else - as for me, I love this system!!! :D


Posted by goldenratiophi on Jan. 17 2005,16:28
I have a 256 PNY Attaché and it runs DSL perfectly on my computer w/ USB-ZIP booting enabled.  I also had a 128MB SanDisk Cruzer Mini which ran DSL until it died 3 months after I buyed it :-(

EDIT: And both of these where on a home-built computer with Pheonix AwardBIOS

Posted by subarus on Jan. 29 2005,00:38
< Pretec 256mb usbkey drive > is bootable on IBM Thinkpad T41. But I suspect the filesystem that came with the drive has to be changed to a real FAT . read details < here >
Posted by eggman37 on Feb. 11 2005,03:16
I got my PNY attache 512 to work nicely with 0.9.3 and these steps:

< >

Good Luck

Posted by SaidinUnleashed on Feb. 11 2005,04:32
Eggman37, you deserve a medal.

Thank you for RTFMing. ^_^


Posted by eggman37 on Feb. 11 2005,22:12
yup - thanks.

Honestly I dont see too many of these just not working...

next I plan to build my ITX LInux router with the CF card and possibly scrap this old sh*t heap Im running now... honestly I love iptables but do not want to run a 200w power supply just for a ipmasq/firewall

Posted by cbagger01 on Feb. 11 2005,23:53
If you want a low-powered linux router, buy a LinkSYS WRT54g and install freely available custom firmware like OpenWRT or sveasoft.

You will then have access to the embedded linux shell commands via ssh and can configure the iptables according to your desires.

And it uses less power than an ITX.  However, it has limited RAM and flash storage and any new programs must be compiled from source  because the router is not i386 so it will not work with standard IBM PC precompiled software.

Posted by ssfc72 on Feb. 18 2005,01:41
Notebook computer - HP Pavilion ZE5610CA.
USB Flashdrive - 128 Meg UniversalSmartDrive

Changed Boot order in Bios so that USB is before the Harddrive.


Posted by wiredOr on Mar. 04 2005,08:56

Transcend JetFlash Mini 256MB - works perfect.

USB Stick preparation:
I used the WinImage method, described elsewhere in this forum, so I was able to prepare the USB Stick completely from within Windows. Just one point:
I had to use bootusb-0.8 with dsl-0.9.3-syslinux.iso instead of dsl-0.9.3.iso, because the boot image also seems to use syslinux. I also tried dsl-0.9.3.iso, but it didn't work for me ("KNOPPIX filesystem not found..." or so).

System preparation:
I use a ASUS P5GD1 with AMI BIOS v1007.
Steps required to boot from USB Stick:
1) insert prepared USB stick
2) reboot and enter BIOS (press "Del" at boot time)
3) Enter the "Boot" Menu. If your Stick is correctly prepared, a Sub menu "Removable Drives" will appear. Enter it.
4) Be sure to set "1st Drive" to "JetFlash"
5) Leave Sub menu "Removable Drives"
6) Enter Sub menu "Boot Device Priority"
7) Be sure, "[JetFlash]" appears in the list. Adjust boot priority, so the PC will boot from JetFlash instead of HDD.
8) Thats it. Leave BIOS by pressing "F10" and "Enter". Your system should now boot from the USB Stick.

System issues:
My SATA-HDD is not recognized.
The P5GD1 features an on-board Marvell Yukon PCI Express Gigabit Network Adapter, which seems not to be supported by DSL out of the box. Anyway, The Driver is available from Marvell (sk98lin), though I didn't have had the time yet to compile and test it.


Posted by axelm on Mar. 24 2005,00:27
HP zd7020us works fine with DSL embedded 1.01rc using a Kingston DataTraveler II Plus. You have to insert the pendrive, go into the BIOS, setup the boot sequence (the USB drive appears as a hard drive), and you are ready to go.
Posted by 9a6or on Mar. 30 2005,21:16
My Sandisk Cruzer Titanium 512MB USB 2.0 works fine with DSL. Just one little problem, the Cruzer PocketCache program (synchronisation tool for Win) did only run in evaluation mode (90 days!) when it was started from the Cruzer. Sandisk Customer Support have arranged a replacement as the program should run without any restrictions.

I suspect that the device has an identifier that is overwritten when DSL is loaded on it. I've looked at the MBR of the new Cruzer but haven't found any obvious identifiers.

(For completeness, I was using SLAX on the Cruzer as well so that might have overwritten something too.)

Has anyone seen this before?

Posted by cbagger01 on Mar. 31 2005,09:50
It probably uses something like the volume label of the driver partition as a kind of Serial Number.

It may be possible to keep this information intact if you "sys" the existing partition with syslinux instead of overwriting the whole thing.

Posted by 9a6or on Mar. 31 2005,22:29
Before I start experimenting, is there a way to backup the full content of the flashdrive including MBR etc.? Not just the files but the full content from byte 0 to the last one of the 512MB? I saw somewhere that dd will do this. What exactly is the syntax?
Posted by cbagger01 on April 01 2005,00:27
Yes, it is very easy to do with dd.

Here is the man page that explains how it works:

< >

Here is an example for you.

In this example my USB stick is located at /dev/sda and my Linux or Win95/98/ME hard drive partition is located at /dev/hda1

First, I make sure that no "sda" partitions are currently mounted like /mnt/sda1 for example.
Second, I make sure that my backup storage paritition is mounted and ready to go like /mnt/hda1

Then I open an xterm and type:

sudo su
dd if=/dev/sda of=/mnt/hda1/stick_backup_file.img

and restoration of the image file is the reverse of removal:

dd if=/mnt/hda1/stick_backup_file.img  of=/dev/sda

This will backup/restore the ENTIRE contents of device sda do you better double check and make sure that you are using the correct device and your command syntax is correct or you could accidentally nuke some other device like a SCSI hard drive for example.

Hope this helps.

Posted by 9a6or on April 01 2005,22:10

Thanks for your very clear description, I'll have a go.

Being able to do a full backup of a USB flashdrive before dedicating it to DSL sounds like a compulsory first step. Your guide should get into the documentation of DSL for those new to such levels of Linux.

Posted by john_apple on April 06 2005,11:18
iaudio M3 - DSL works good


Posted by penguin asylum on April 08 2005,11:35
I should've posted this a while ago, but here it is now :P

With a sandisk cruzer micro (256 MB), it works fine.  

Details:  With 9.6, it seems that on some dells that I tested it on, it boots well and then the display is sort of messed up unless you switch it to 640*480 (it definitely supports more than that).  On my computer, it needs a floppy to boot onto the flash drive, and it seems that with 1.0RC1 it doesn't boot well without the floppy on the dells (NTLDR is missing?), but with a floppy on my computer it's fine.

Posted by schemer on April 24 2005,23:31
Corsair Flash Voyager 1GB USB Flash Drive

Prepare the USB flash drive
    Boot Linux with the drive connected (I’ve used a live Knoppix 3.6 CD)
    Switch to root (not required if you boot “knoppix 1”)
      # su
    Check the current geometry on the drive (most likely recognized by the kernel as /dev/sda)
      # sfdisk -l /dev/sda
    Mine showed the following results:
      63488 cylinders, 1 head, 32 sectors
    Multiply the three to obtain the total number of sectors:
      63488 x 1 x 32 = 2031616
    Supposedly, the boot partition should be less than 1024 cylinders, and 32 sectors per cylinder.  So, I’ve adjusted the geometry as follows:  total number of sectors / 32 / 1024 = # of heads
      2031616 / 32 / 1024 = 62
    And so, I’ve adjusted my geometry using sfdisk
      # sfdisk -f -C1024 -H62 -S32 /dev/sda
    sfdisk will next ask for the partition info.  I’ve decided to have everything on one partition:
      sda1:0 1024 e *
    Press <ENTER> for all the others, (sda2, sda3, sda4)
    Basically, this sets the first primary partition (/dev/sda1) to start with cylinder 0 and end with cylinder 1024, it’s of type “e” (Win95 FAT (LBA)), and bootable (“*”)
    Reboot to reload with correct partition table for the USB flash drive

Format the USB flash drive
    Boot Linux with the drive connected (I’ve used a live Knoppix 3.6 CD)
    Switch to root (not required if you boot “knoppix 1”)
      # su
    Format the drive
      # mkdosfs /dev/sda1

Make the USB flash drive bootable
    Boot Linux with the drive connected (I’ve used a live Knoppix 3.6 CD)
    You will need to download the bootusb and the DSL image files.  I’ve used bootusb-0.8.img and dsl-1.0.1.iso, and put them in my /home directory.  If you’re not able to copy the DSL image file to the /home directory, then store it at another location on your hard drive(s) and use that instead of “/home” below.
    Switch to root (not required if you boot “knoppix 1”)
      # su
    Write the boot sector
      # syslinux -s -o /home/bootusb-0.8.img /dev/sda1
    Now, mount the drive
      # mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1
    Create a temp directory and mount the bootusb image file
      # mkdir /mnt/tmp
      # mount -t vfat -o loop=/dev/loop0 /home/bootusb-0.8.img /mnt/tmp

    Copy files over to the drive and unmount the bootusb image file
      # cp /mnt/tmp/* /mnt/sda1
      # umount /mnt/tmp

    Mount the DSL image file
      # mount -t iso9660 -o loop=/dev/loop0 /home/dsl-1.0.1.iso /mnt/tmp
    Copy files over to the drive and unmount the DSL image file
      # cp -r /mnt/tmp/KNOPPIX /mnt/sda1
      # umount /mnt/sda1

All done.  Try it on a PC that supports booting from USB.

Posted by muellerr1 on April 27 2005,00:38
Sony Microvault 256MB USB 2.0 works fine with qemu and booting from USB-ZIP in the bios.  This is the smallest USB drive I've ever seen.  Nice LED activity light too.
Posted by choekstr on May 04 2005,03:13
I can add the Seagate 5Gb USB 2.0 pocket drive to the list. < >

I have had it booting on several machines:
intel 865 mobo
Dell 875 mobo PE400SC
Dell Inspiron Laptop

Posted by rabinhood on May 04 2005,08:35
UFF, I have the ASUS A7N8X-X version bios 1010, LG 1G usbkey but nothing. I receive the message "missing operation system".
Some solution?

Posted by v_lestat on May 06 2005,16:21
PNY 256meg <-- system will only boot to this if bios is set to usb 1.1/2.0 it wont use it as a boot divice if its set to high speed (480 mbps) full speed is only 11mbps or usb 1.1

1) format with FAT
2) write boot.img to flash drive and tell it YES enlarge the image (all this does is copy the files to the root of the drive, i have no idea why its doing that)
3) open current.img and copy ONLY KNOPPIX and lost+found folder and index.htm fil do NOT copy boot folder over otherwise the thumb drive goes into kernel panic immediately after booting and it says it cant find a bunch of files.
4) after going thru the boot process it initializes all devices fine and says its initiateing run level 5 and then the screen goes black and thats all. nothing else. The monitor light is still green so that means its getting a signal but thats all nothing else. I've waiting like 20 minutes once and still nothing , should i wait longer ?

what is happening when the screen goes black and won't go any further and why is it happening ? does anyone know ?

AMD64 3200+
ASUS K8N-E Deluxe AMIBios
1 gig ram
Dell 2005FP using DVI connector

I've trie using the frugal, vga=normal and xsetup switches and nothing helps.
anyone have any ideas on what happening and how to fix it.?
ive tried all kinds of configurations with the files and nothing seems to fix it.

Posted by Egroc on May 09 2005,14:13
USB's thats works fine with DSL:

- Crystal Disk "Rambo" 128 mb
- BLIZZO USB Flash Disc (all)

To use this Flash, use de script dsl-usbinstall.

Posted by albertoshi on May 24 2005,00:13
Key dane-elec 256 Mo :

works fine with shinux, very easy to install, and fast, but i do not like shinux, and decided to try damnsmall, wich appeared to be much better (to me) AND with much more GPL/GNU spirit respect,

But i had MANY probs booting  damnsmall on it (as usb-zip booting)

As  a mater of fact i unzipped  dsl 1.1 embeded on the first fat partition  (128 Mo) and after  one  week of  cooking, it ended booting ONCE, worked fine,
and at first reboot told me "unable to find KNOPPIX image"...........

Here i am,  J.R.

Albertoshi frozensushi

Posted by edman on May 29 2005,04:18
hp pavilion zv5160us p4 2.8ghz, 1gb ram, 60gb hd
great quality gq3121 (dirt cheep desktop, 99usd) amd sempron2200+(1.5ghz), 384mb ram, 40gb hd

both systems boot dsl-1.0.1 using syslinux-2.11
lexar 128mb jumpdrive,
kingston 256mb data traveler

Posted by ASUS P4P800SE on June 02 2005,22:19
ASUS P4P800 SE - BIOS Version 1004.003

Lexar Sport 512mb USB

I had to turn off USB Hi-Speed (2.0) in the BIOS. When it was enabled, the knoppix image could not be found.

Posted by t12be on June 10 2005,20:38
I won't read this topic completely to make sure it's not already posted, so I'm just adding my info:

also works on my DELL Inspiron 510m

tried DSL on my MPMAN FUB-28 mp3 player which worked on my DELL (see above) after changing the 'online mode' of it to 'normal only'. On the ASUS A7V8X-X this didn't boot, it wasn't recognized. Also a larger FAT partition was needed to be able to play any songs so I altered the script (search posts)

Posted by Ibrahim on June 27 2005,04:52
would it work on a computer that the USB drive doesnt support, i.e. a windows 95 computer? because I have a sandisk cruzer micro 256mb that I want to run it on but I dont know if my win95 will recognize it at all. its an HP pavillion 8160 if that helps.
Posted by cbagger01 on June 27 2005,05:01
The main operating system choice that is installed on the hard drive does not affect the USB boot success or failure.

However, it is unlikely that any computer that is old enough that Windows 95 was the preinstalled OS is probably too old for USB booting, even with BIOS upgrades.  But I could be wrong.

However, it is still possible to boot from a USB stick if you use the USB boot floppy disk together with the USB stick.

Posted by MrArmyAnt on Aug. 10 2005,04:08
Shuttle SN85G4 V1-3
Posted by eco2geek on Aug. 15 2005,06:38
The ASRock K7VT4A Pro boots DSL fine from USB key.

(And, as mentioned somewhere above, that cheap Fry's < GQ 3121 (AMD Sempron 2200+ based) PC > with the < ECS 741GX-M motherboard > also boots DSL well from the USB key.)

Posted by SiliciuS on Aug. 15 2005,14:09
I'm using DSL 1.4 on my Toshiba Satellite M30-404 Laptop. Booting is no problem, once you access the bios with the stick plugged in. If you do, you'll find that there is the USB drive under "hard drives" and you can change the boot-order so that the stick precedes the harddisk.

The USB pendrive is an older USB1.1 64MB from Trekstor. Works without trouble after installing DSL 1.4 through the "install to USB Pendrive" from a running DSL.

Posted by kuky on Aug. 24 2005,16:37
intel dot station 2300 (the failure project intel-aol station)
celeron 300 motherboard intel 810 with the bios reprogramed , with the original bios with linux is imposible.(dónt meet external usb devices)

< >

it works with the bios in pos start with usb-cdrom.

its ok with external usb cdroms and dvd and with a noname usb-to ide cable (it works with hd , cdroms etc)

these pc dónt have diskett but if you make with nero a cd copy of image diskett bot-usb works with a pen-drive.

Posted by kuky on Aug. 24 2005,16:41
i forget that wiht sys linux ver dónt work only work with normal dsl.iso
Posted by chavster on Aug. 24 2005,19:29
Hooray!! After a couple of days' worth of attempts, following advice in here and in the DP, I got DSL working on a Kingston 512MB *Full Speed* - no fancy dan stuff. On two PCs. The main problem I discovered after much frustration was the drive's geometry - sfdisk revealed confusion over the CHS values. The drive reports 1011 cylinders (and warns you if you try & override it) - that config just didn't work, even when set by the native DSL USB-HDD install option. But the USB-ZIP option split the drive into boot and the rest, with a boot part of 50C it seemed that both PC BIOSes were happy. Non-system disk errors, boot failed, system boot failure all went away and it started booting. I just used the liveCD to get started. Key on both computers was on-screen detection of the drive during POST.

I'll do some more testing and see whether the boot partition size really was to blame for my problems. Huge thanks to the author of the drive geometry doc, it was the big insight that enabled me to solve the problem.

Excellent stuff, now to dive into the pocket-sized world of DSL!

Key: Kingston KUSBDTI 512MB (Full-Speed 2.0)
Mobo1: Asus A7N8X-X, BIOS 1009
Mobo2: MicroStar MSI-6714, BIOS 00
Boot Device USB-ZIP on both

Posted by share on Sep. 13 2005,13:13
Has anyone else tried the PenDragon (USB wireless & 128Mb on a pendrive). Uses prism chipset- Works really well. Be interested in your experiences.

< >

Posted by outanet on Sep. 22 2005,12:30
Quote (ispmike @ Dec. 03 2004,17:05)

Are you kidding dude? The N-Gage doesn't even use sd cards.

Im sorry its an mmc card not sd (however these are usually interchangable), all 64 meg, with usb connection to a via MII, and if you are going to tell me im lying, go ahead.....dude!

Posted by Juanito on Sep. 23 2005,00:43
DSL works with a Dell Latitude D400 (booted from USB - a 64Mb Sony MicroVault MSD USB 1.1)

The BIOS supports booting from a "USB storage device" so on boot you can hit F12 and choose this option.

The only problem is that the Intel 82855 graphics chip uses main memory to get resolutions above VGA (apparently) - this means that you either have to start DSL at VGA resolution (dsl vga=normal) or start at a higher resolution (dsl vga=791) and suffer a dim screen, wierd colours and no icons. A further problem with VGA resolutions is that all four sides of the EmelFM application window are off-screen rendering it unusable.

Apparently XFree86.dsl (or maybe the full XFree86 download) can fix the graphics problem but I did not get this to work yet - XFree86.dsl will not fit on my USB stick at the same time as DSL...

Posted by cbagger01 on Sep. 23 2005,05:54
Hold down the ALT key and click and drag the emelfm window down until you can see the "Maximize" button in the upper right corner.

Then click it.

See my other post about how to get DSL Xvesa to work with 1024x768 8bit color

Posted by Juanito on Sep. 23 2005,09:53
Thanks for the tip on Alt-drag, it worked fine.
Posted by hiro protaganist on Nov. 06 2005,12:35
After quite a bit of help from others on the forum i have managed to get my motherboard to boot to a usbpen.
The motherboard is an Asus PCH-DL and the pen is a Crucial 512mb stick.
Bios is set with legacy usb enabled, first boot device is removeable, second boot device is hard drive, third is disabled.
I suspect the hard drive is the working one as in the priority hard drive window it lists the crucial stick. Also quick boot is turned off.
Here is a very important point for all the impatient people out there. If your boot does not work first time just do ctrl-alt-del and try again. My system nerver boots first time but always boots second time!
Have fun, Hiro.

Posted by gadgetboy on Nov. 12 2005,17:14
Hi.  First posting here.

Got DSL 2.0RC running on the following hardware

- EPIA SP 1300
- 1Gb generic RAM
- Bios 1.04
- Bios set to boot USB-ZIP
- Kingston USB2 512Mb pendrive

Works like a dream!  Quiet and fast

Posted by linuxgimp on Nov. 21 2005,06:51
Howdy from the windswept plains of Wyoming,

Using DSL Mini-ITX Barebones Unit
LT210 VIA C3 Processor
512 Mg Ram
Booted from:
USB-Zip SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512M pendrive
USB-Zip OTi Flash Disk 128M pendrive (from DSL)
All boot system first time, everytime

Operator 'headspace" another story!


Posted by One_time on Dec. 08 2005,18:01
Using out-of-the-box Dell x300 laptop. Just change boot order to USB options first. Choose EXPERT, let it autodetect everything, and DSL boots in no time.
Posted by doobit on Jan. 03 2006,16:03
Dane-Electric 256MB USB 2.0 boots really, really fast on an eMachines notebook with an AMD Sempron 2800+ and 256MB RAM.
Posted by fetzo72 on Jan. 06 2006,18:08
A Dell Inspiron 6000 boots with a Crucial USB-Stick with 256 MB.
Posted by zave on Jan. 09 2006,01:18
Lexar Jumpdrive Trio with Sandisk 256MB SD card interserted works perfect
Posted by crew on Jan. 09 2006,10:11
Kingston Data Travler Elite 1 GB on HP nc8000 works fine
Posted by Siacono on Jan. 24 2006,08:51
SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512mb

Chaintech mobo running Phoenix AwardBIOS on a VIA board
Does support booting from specified usd device w/out having to unplug other usb devices

-> Advanced Bios Features
--> Hard Disk Boot Priority
-1- USB-HDD0 Cruzer
-2- ch1-m Maxtor 160
-3- ch1-s Maxtor 160

Save and exit

Posted by quintus on Jan. 26 2006,02:00
have you ever thought that damn small linux could be ported to the nintendo DS with a usb loader that comes with NDS/GBA flash carts?? is it possible?? ???
Posted by quintus on Jan. 26 2006,02:02
email me at to notify me
Posted by kenboyles72 on Feb. 15 2006,06:54
I have a Lexar 128mg jump drive, in which i just installed dsl 2.1b on. My mb, is a Gigabyte GA-8S661FXM and it recognizes it as a usb-hdd.
Posted by ILikeIT on Feb. 21 2006,23:03
DSL 2.2b doesn't like:
- SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512 - bad block device (Feather linux works on it no problem).
- Apacer HandyDrive 128MB (USB 1.1) - installs, but won't boot properly.

Installed DSL 2.2b on:
- Sony Micro Vault 256 and 512 (USB-HDD)
- Kingston Data Traveller Elite 1GB

My mini rig:
IBM ThinkPad T42
1GB RAM, 100GB 7200 HDD + 60GB 7200 (ultrabay), 15" Flexscreen, Mobility Radeon 9600, IBM 11a/b/g wifi, Intel Pro1000 eth,  fingerprint scanner.  

Everything works thus far except for ultranav, touchpad, fingerprint scanner.


Posted by dan on Feb. 25 2006,04:01
I cant get dsl to boot using a Chaintech MP4M266A P4 motherboard w/ Phoenix Award BIOS v 6.00PG and a Sandisk cruzer 1.0G stick. Seems to install ok using  dsl-2.2b.iso, but during boot I get a long list of sector read errors.
Posted by phil on Feb. 27 2006,10:53
If I am understanding right you want to know the Hardware that works with DSL

For me it was...

ASUS P4P800 E Deluxe (Main Board)
DANE ELEC 256MB (thumb drive)

Told it USB-ZIP and it all works fine.

Told it USB-HDD, I had to turn off "highspeed" in BIOS ( I get nothing) and it only would boot to console

The Asus p4p800 E Deluxe bios was Award.
So far I can't get the bios to remember to boot from USB, I always have to tell it, but that's no big deal, it's a fast box...

my early notes:
< >

Peace out . . .

Posted by Avinux on Mar. 17 2006,08:00
Acer 3003WMLi

using a SanDisk 512 MB cruzer micro with usb-hdd

note: every time you want to boot from it you must have the usb in it on startup and then you go to the bios and change it everytime

now if only I could  get it working with internet without the kernel carshing :;):

Posted by Avinux on Mar. 17 2006,08:02
Quote (Guest @ Feb. 21 2006,18:03)
DSL 2.2b doesn't like:
- SanDisk Cruzer Micro 512 - bad block device (Feather linux works on it no problem).

worked fine for me on USB-HDD
Posted by tahir on Mar. 23 2006,18:16
Successfully booted with the following:

128MB Peak flash drive

AwardBios - set first boot device as Hard Disk in one menu and in second menu set Hard Disk Boot priority as USB Peak flash drive (top priority).
Also, disabled usb 2.0 support in Bios so reverts back to the old usb 1.0.

Motherboard is Gigabyte GA-K8NE SKT754 Nforce4 PCI-E 8channel.


Posted by wavetel on Mar. 29 2006,00:29
I have 2 USB sticks here that boot on this mother board. One is an old stick and one is a new Flash drive. This mother board is a MSI K7T Turbo 2

Posted by bigguy_132 on Mar. 29 2006,18:33
works on a 1 GB Corasair Pen Drive
Posted by jackpal on April 17 2006,18:20
Boots from my Dell D600 laptop AFTER I enable  USB compatibility in the BIOS.  If you don't do this on Dells it won't even show up in the boot list.
Posted by RigasW on April 21 2006,20:43
After hours of trying I succeeded with the following:

Board: Asus A7N8X-X , Bios 1010
Kingston Data Traveller II 256MB
It works now with USB-Zip

The trick was that I had to enable not only USB-Zip, but also USB-Mouse and USB-Keyboard support in the bios ...


Posted by steady on April 21 2006,22:03
USB-HDD instalation works with ASUS, but I have a problem with My QDI KT400 Phoenix AwardBIOS.
First Boot Device - USB-HDD
USB Keyboard Support - Enabled
OnChip USB Controler - All Enabled
USB 2.0 Support - Disabled
It doesn't boot ... please help me !
What can I do ?

Posted by ~thc on April 24 2006,06:50
usb-hdd install boots successfull when you enable "hard disk" usb emulation on

- asus p4p800e deluxe
- asus p4p800-x
- asus p4p800se
- asus p4p800s-x
- asus p4pe2-x
- asus p5p800
- asus p5p800 se
- asus p5gd1 pro
- asus p5wd2 premium

Posted by beausimon on April 30 2006,15:33
Sony Microvault 256MB,  dsl 2.3 USB-HDD install. So far no problems.
Posted by axlgreasetires on Sep. 02 2006,17:41
I used an extreme preformance 128mb and it runs fast and flawless.
Posted by pkplonker on Nov. 15 2006,19:53
Just got it to boot on a dell inspiron 1300

so happy:D

Posted by madmarvcr on Nov. 17 2006,04:55
walmart had a sale on Lexar 256MB USB memory sticks, i got on for about $12 a week ago

so at home all from a windows computer

i re-formated the USB as FAT

Then used ALZip to copy the dsl current.iso file to the USB stick

copied all the files from \boot\isolinix to the \ root on the USB

deleted isolinux.bin

renamed isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg

downloaded the syslinux utility

and to make the USB bootable,  from windows command prompt typed
:> syslinux U:
where U: was the drive letter for the usb stick

boots very nicely on DELL's I use that recognize the USB as a boot option

on older Gateway Astro Pentium Celeron 400Mhz, 64mb and 4GB hard drive formated as FAT32, running dsl from USB is Fast!!. no more disk grinding

Running windowsME on this machine the disk constantly grinding

but I have to boot with a CDROM on the gateway Astro. bios does not boot from usb

then I use
dsl home=hda1 restore=hda1 fromhd=/dev/sda1

where hda1 is the FAT32 hard drive and sda1 is the USB stick

once in awhile this method craps out, dsl can't find /dev/sda1
then I use
dsl home=hda1 restore=hda1 tohd=/dev/sda1

dsl, has also brought back to life an old emachine Pentium Celeron 400Mhz, 128MB, 6gb NTFS hard drive. same as gateway, I have to boot with CDROM
then load from dsl fromhd=/dev/sda1...

also I run a full KNOPPIX 5.0 from a 1G memorex USB stick
split into 2 partitions, 700MB partition for the knoppix.iso and 300mb partion used as /home

I cant beleive how fast the DELL GX260 screams with that setup

Posted by pcfreak on Dec. 12 2006,08:02
Kingston DataTraveler 512 MB works.

tested on one of the newest HP computers and Computer with a MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD motherboard with AMD 2800+.

Posted by AgustinCórdoba on Dec. 22 2006,13:05
256 Mb pendrive, installed DSL-N from live disk.
Runs well on desktop system (PIV 1500 Mhz,512 Mb ram)

No luck on my Toshiba Satellite 4600, PIII, 800 Mhz, with same pendrive, as through BIOS there seems to be no USB boot facility. Is there no way I can just point a GRUB line to sda, or something like that? I already upgraded Bios.

Posted by Bios on Dec. 23 2006,01:57
Just got me a San Disk 2GB cruzer and I only uploaded the windows zip bios to it as a file, but it runs like that just fine.
Posted by will198 on Mar. 30 2007,07:47

boot from a USB-pen drive works in a IBM Thinkpad X24.

You have to get into de bios and change the booting priority in the harddisk menu, after plug in the stick (hard to find)

puss F12 for boot menu and chose "harddrive"

it will boot... and for me it was very helpfull becouse this thinkpad came with a USB cdrom no recognice by any linux distribution.


Posted by metalmaniacmat on July 19 2007,09:40
Hey I tried installing dsl on my USB while running dsl. I didn't work, and I couldnt be bothered playing around with the settings. So I booted windows, put my USB in, and Windows only reconized 49MB of my 512MB USB. I tried formating it but it still wouldn't work. How can I get the full compacity of my USB to work again.

Please help, I can't last on 49MB.

Posted by william99 on July 24 2007,16:27
u had created 2 partition on the stick. as windows always read the first partition and igonored the rest on usb stick. use fdisk to remove the partition. or u could search google on how to manipulate usb as hdd
Posted by william99 on July 24 2007,16:32
dsl 3.4 iso conversion
PIV 2.4G @ 3G

Posted by metalmaniacmat on July 24 2007,23:47
its ok now.... i but a windows xp boot disk in and delelted the old partition and made a new 1... oh yea i wanted to know if u could get past a network domain with dsl?? like if i was gonna use it on school computers or something..
Posted by Cork on Sep. 24 2007,15:13
Is this post limited to DSL?
Have Ubuntu running on 2G Kingston Data traveler and 8G Transcend JF V10. The 8G seem a little slower.
Works great on P4P800 MB and P5N32-SLI SE Delux MB.
Plan on trying DSL on Asus Z70va laptop with 2G Transcend SD today. (The laptop boots the pendrives ok but they are set up for Nvidia and the laptop has ATI X700 so no X)

Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 24 2008,09:09
I've succeeded in booting DSL 4.2.4 installed on a Kingmax 4GB USB drive using a Dell Dimension 2400 desktop with BIOS A05.

Bios set-up as follows:

HD Drive Sequence

1. USB
2. System BIOS Boot Devices

Boot Sequence

1. Diskette
2. CDRom
3. Hard Drive

Fast Boot OFF

USB external hard drive and USB external DVD/CD Writer were unplugged

The Kingmax 4GB USB drive would only boot when plugged into a USB downstream port slot on myDell 1707FP Flat Panel  Monitor. When plugged in to the slots on the front panel of the Dimension 2400 boot failed. The slots at the rear of the pc were not tried due to access problems.

Note added 27 Jan 08

An obvious nobrainer maybe but make sure the Kingmax 4GB USB drive is plugged in with the makers name facing you if vertically aligned or facing up if horizontally aligned. This might save you a fruitless half hour late at night.

Posted by roberts on Jan. 24 2008,16:32
We have heard this before, that front slots often are probelmatic. Rear slots usually are not. You can also try adding the waitusb boot option.
Posted by thegreatdane on Feb. 08 2008,22:08
I'm not sure if someone already stated any of this information, but I thought it might be of use.

Successful boot:

Dell Optiplex GX280 with A05 BIOS update
using SanDisk 256 Cruzer Micro Skin formatted as FAT
DSL 4.2.5

I used the Installing to USB HOWTO on the Wiki Method I, using windows and dsl-embedded and syslinux 3.61.

DSL works like a charm!  Using it right now on the above setup.

Word of warning:  when flashing the BIOS on the Optiplex GX280, DON'T USE rev. A08 to upgrade from rev. A04.  I accidentally fried an unsecured computer in a university computer lab by using the A08 upgrade.  I still don't know exactly what went wrong, but when using A05 everything went smoothly.  For some reason, BIOS revision A04 has problems loading DSL all the way.  Rev. A05 works without a hitch.

Posted by curaga on Feb. 09 2008,07:16
Well, I have booted several Kingston Datatraveler 128mb sticks with DSL on several comps.
They all seem to be high quality.

Posted by DmSmLxRep on April 16 2008,00:41
I used a Dell Inspiron 1300, the CD included with "The Official Damn Small Linux Book", which I think contains Version 3.3, and two Kingston Technology 2 GB DataTravler® USB Flash Drives.  I used the "boot install" scripts to create one USB-HDD installation and one USB-ZIP installation.  The USB-ZIP installation booted successfully.
Posted by humpty on April 16 2008,04:09
i would like to point out that some pen drives don't boot at all even with motherboards that boot others.
i have had sucesss with pqi, kingston and sandisk.
no success with less known brands like eagletec.
and surprisingly even corsair doesn't boot.


Posted by Juanito on April 16 2008,04:45
I've been using five or six sony microvault and sandisk cruzer usb sticks with dsl since 2005 - even to the extent of using them for temporary file space to compile large applications (although I would not recommend this). Not one of them has failed or refused to boot so far.
Posted by cmk77 on Jan. 02 2009,12:45

- usb stick of 256MB, created with USB-HDD install script in DSL 4.4.10
- set bios to boot from USB-FDD
- disable LAN BOOT ROM in bios (in the section "Integrated Peripherals")

Note:  USB-ZIP and USB-HDD boot options will *not* work, you will get the following message:

Verifying DMI Pool Data...

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