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Dj Brimstone 03-27-2005 08:23 PM

Having Trouble Installing Damn Small Linux
Okay, here goes...

Alright, I have a laptop that had windows 95 on it. I had to restore it, but didn't have the serial to complete the setup. Since I had always been interested in linux, I decided to get a linux distro. I chose DSL. Now, I need help installing it. You see, My laptop won't recognize my cd drive until I run a certain program in dos, so it won't boot from the disc, therefore, I'm having a hell of a time. I was wondering if there was anyway I could copy the ISO to my hard drive (when in DOS) and run it from there (perhaps in Windows Safe Mode?). Should I get a program to run it? If so, what would you recommend? I'm sorry for my newbness, but I'm just now starting to seriously check into linux.


btw, I chose DSL because it is small, and looks nice. I have a slow dialup and it took 2 h 45 min to get it downloaded, so I really would like to get it to work.:)

twsnnva 03-27-2005 10:14 PM

I'd just make a boot floppy. There should be a boot.img file on the CD for this. Download rawrite2 and create the floppy on a windows PC.

Dj Brimstone 03-27-2005 10:36 PM

Finally, some one replies. Well, the link you gave me did give me a program, but my system (XP) said that it wasn't suitable to run MS Dos and Windows applications.

Dj Brimstone 03-27-2005 10:52 PM

I downloaded another version of Rawrite, and put it on my laptop. I got it in Safe Mode, and then ran it. As I said earlier, my computer Doesn't recognize the cd rom drive until I run a program in dos, then I cannot do anything with Rawrite, so I copied the file to my computer using dos. Now, all there is is an ISO file. No IMG file. So therefore, Rawrite isn't helpin me any....

DeadPenguin 03-27-2005 11:14 PM

I'll take a stab at this.

If you have a network you can install from another computer.

If you have a usb on your notebook. You can install DSL on a usb key.
If you have usb. Maybe you could boot from usb cd drive?????(you would have to get a usb cd drive.)

Do you have a floppy drive and do you know anyone with highspeed?
You could boot from floppy with boot.img and do a network install via high speed. (never done this...Think this is right..there are instructions for this somewhere on this forum.. I have dial up also. 28.8.... God I hate Verizon.)

There are other ways....Compact flash, but I'm still trying to figure that out for myself.

Good luck.
Blair :newbie:

Dj Brimstone 03-27-2005 11:34 PM

Thanks for tryin to help me blair, but, Nah, no USB drive, no Network, none of that. Is there perhaps a program that makes a boot floppy that could point to the ISO on my hard drive? So that the system would start to read the floppy, but it would point to the ISO, and it would boot from it instead? Something similar to a Windows Shortcut, you know? (I wish it was that simple, I actually tried copying a shortcut to the ISO and pasting it to the Floppy Disk :o)

DeadPenguin 03-28-2005 12:07 AM

I hear what your saying, but I think you need something the computer can see at boot time.

If you shortcut a .iso wouldn't still have to be read by windows?

If you have a bottable floppy you might be able to install old school via floppies, but I am guessing you would need alot of 'em?????????
If I remeber correctly DSL is like 60 MB's....divided by 1.44...='s

Found this on dsl website --

try here too.


twsnnva 03-28-2005 07:28 AM


Dj Brimstone 03-28-2005 01:25 PM

Thanks man, but I tried it, and it didn't work...I used that same Boot img too. It wants to read the shi off the cd rom drive, but it can't, because the system doesn't recognize it. I have to go through some shi before it does, then when I reboot, it forgets all about it. If it did recognize my cd rom drive, then I could probably go into the BIOS and just tell it to boot from it, like everyone else does...It worked to a certain extent, the boot screen came up, then i typed in boot, and then it went into a lil black screen with the Linux Penguin on it, it started up, but it said it couldn't find the Knoppix filesystem, I believe, and then it said it was dropping down to a very limited shell. The shell is similar to SlimLinux, but I wanted a desktop interface, not just text, you know? Also, that boot img has a different version name then my DSL, mine's dsl-0.9.3
It said in the bootup that i could load it from a previously copied cd image, but when i put it in, it seemed to seach for it, but found nothing...

Dj Brimstone 03-28-2005 05:41 PM

come on me out, somehow...I broke down and downloaded DragonLinux as well, but it didn't work either. I went into dos, typed in the correct path for the setup, and it said "Bad Command or File Name" dammit!!! I'm having trouble people, help me out with DSL! There's got to be some way.

Dj Brimstone 03-28-2005 07:07 PM

If any of you cannot figure this out, please suggest a distro that will work for me.

I want something like this:
Hard Drive Installation, without the use of .iso files
Desktop interface
small filesize < 50 Mb
I want to keep away from hard drive partitioning
fairly easy for a newbie...

Now, this was what I thought Dragonlinux would be, the installation used a .Bat file, but it didn't work for me, for unknown reasons.

DeadPenguin 03-29-2005 01:50 PM

I guess you didn't try the floppies?

Here are a couple more small distros.

Feather Linux

Puppy Linux.

If you have another pc you could install laptop hd in that computer an install there.
You would need an adapter to make laptop hd work with desktop.

There is no magic or easy way for your machine to install linux.
It is going to be a pain in the a**. If it was me. I woulod try.

1.Network install.
2. Floppies
3. Swap Hd's
4. Compact Flash.

My .02

Good Luck

Dj Brimstone 03-29-2005 04:41 PM

Thanks for suggesting the distros. I actually found Puppy last nite, and was thinking about installing it tonite, but thanks for tryin to help me out. If Puppy doesn't work, I'll try Feather Linux. I think puppy's the one for me, but thanks for the help.

DeadPenguin 03-30-2005 07:26 AM

Good Luck. Just post how you make out.


Dj Brimstone 03-30-2005 05:00 PM

Haha, I actually got Damn Small Linux to (sorta) work. I copied the Knoppix directory to my c:\ drive, and Bam! It booted up! It's not working though, I'm pretty sure it's because I didn't burn the iso on the cd-r correctly. I've come to this conclusion, because at one point I had the wrong cd in, and it did the same thing as when I had the one with the ISO in. lol.

dping 03-30-2005 11:31 PM

This may help you or it may not.

Have you tried the SmartBoot Manager? It can be put on a floppy and used to pass the boot sequence on to other devices (like cdrom's) in cases where the bios doesn't support that.

You can find it here:

Dj Brimstone 03-30-2005 11:40 PM

Well, thanks. I got it to boot up though. I just got to get the ISO on the cd rite, so it will work.

DeadPenguin 03-31-2005 08:29 AM


I am curious.

my laptop has bootable floppy, but cdrom is not.
The problem is they go in the same slot.
Could I use smart boot manager to start boot selection process and the swap the floppy for cd.
*does this make sense???*


dping 03-31-2005 12:56 PM

Haha. Sounds interesting ;).
It would depend on how SmartBoot is designed to work. If it loads itself completely into ramdisk, then you could do that. It's worth a try.

Also, if you don't mind overwriting your current bootloader, you could install SmartBoot to your hard drive. Just boot with it and when it asks if you want to "save changes" choose yes (I believe that would do it... I've never tried. Had a fellow I was helping do it once though).

I know the RIP disk has a nice tool for saving and restoring MBR's so you could make the install temporary.

Dj Brimstone 03-31-2005 04:33 PM

DeadPenguin, You sure there's not a cord that can come from your floppy drive? I thought I had the same problem when I went about restoring windows. But, I noticed that in the side of the floppy drive, it looked a little different. I pulled on it, and it became a cord that hooks up to the side of my laptop. Haha, and most of that time i was thinking that the only hookup from the floppy was the one in the back (the one that connected in the slot my cd drive was in.) What model of laptop do you have?

DeadPenguin 03-31-2005 09:05 PM

The sbootmgr just has to work once so I can install DSL to HD on Lappy.

The Laptop is a old behemoth of a machine. It is the IBM 760el.
Someone I knew gave it to me instead of throwing it away. I figured it could at least be a dhcp server..or....something for my kid to beat on.

I wish I could just install hd in another computer,but it's got some crazy connector on it.

Best Regards,

Dj Brimstone 04-01-2005 05:20 PM

Ok...well, it wasn't the ISO. I burned it to the cd a gray screen with little black criss crosses...I tried perhaps copying the files from the iso to my c! What am I doing wrong? It goes through the little Linux command thing...with the little penguin? Loads all the stuff, autodetects, an configures my files...appears to work fine. Then, when the desktop SHOULD come up, there's just that gray screen....mouse won't work...I'm pretty sure this isn't how it's supposed to, something's wrong, please help....

dping 04-01-2005 05:31 PM

What are your computer specks? (ram, cpu speed, etc...)

From what you say, it sounds like you may be a little underpowered for livecd mode.

Dj Brimstone 04-01-2005 05:36 PM

166 Mhz Intel Pentium Processor (MMX)
64 Ram

It's an older computer...but, They have put this distro on much older systems...i would really like to get it to work on my lil laptop (OmniBook 5600CT). I'm so sick of Windows. Like I said earlier, my modem is hella slow, so I don't want to dedicate 4 hours to downloading a "relatively small" distro. Please help me out, if you can.

dping 04-01-2005 05:54 PM

That's a pretty old one. I have DSL installed on an older laptop though :), which had the same problem you describe.

You probably won't find any livecd distro's that run any better on that laptop. DSL should run fine when installed on the hard drive assuming that it detects the hardware properly. Mine performs slightly better than it did with windows.

You will have to boot into text-mode. To do that, if I remember correctly, type the following at the boot prompt:

dsl 2
It's one of the "boot options." Hit the F2 key at the boot prompt to double-check me.

Then once it has booted follow the instructions found here:

EDIT: Keep in mind that once it is installed it may take some tweaking to get working properly. Old laptops can be finicky that way.

Dj Brimstone 04-01-2005 06:59 PM

Okay, I'll start workin on it. I tried creating another partition for linux, but haven't had much luck. Fips didn't work...said all the partitions were taken? Even though i have probably 1.5 gigs of free space...I'll keep tryin though.

dping 04-01-2005 07:09 PM

I like to use the linux program called parted. It is included on the RIP Rescue floppy. A quick google will bring it up.

Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 07:02 PM

Thanks, I downloaded a program called parted, but it needed a bootdisk and another for the program...but the program isn't fitting on a floppy...Which is somewhat frustrating...Can you run the program from your hard drive when the floppy boots up?
Also, on another, related, note. I was thinkin "hey, I'll try DSL on my XP", and did works, but the graphic is pretty bad...sorta like running a newer program on a MUCH older 95...the graphics are's confusing, because my computer is pretty nice...At first, it appeared that it was gonna do what my laptop did, which was weird...had the grey background and all that...i changed the style, but the graphics are still lookin kinda crappy...Any help? Now I'm lovin DSL, and would really like to get it to work...on both my laptop, and pc...

dping 04-04-2005 07:20 PM

You can get the RIP rescue floppy [ here ]. It is a "live floppy" if-you-will, with a *very* minimal linux operating system. It has parted installed on it.

As you are noticing, the grey background at startup is normal, it comes up while the X graphics server starts.

In what way, specifically, are the graphics bad on your other machine?

calcon 04-04-2005 07:48 PM

Could smart boot manager be used to boot up a computer from a usb flash drive when the bios doesn't allow it?


Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 07:49 PM

The colors are distorted...Umm, i'm trying to explain exactly WHAT to say...If you are familiar with Macromedia Flash MX, then if you "Trace an Image", it will give you a similar effect...It's almost like my video card isn't good enough to support it...but i know better, of course...otherwise everything I had on this computer would be distorted as well...

Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 07:54 PM

Also, I've been to the link you gave me...All i saw was ISO files, and files that were too big to fit on a floppy...sorry if i'm overlooking something...

dping 04-04-2005 08:32 PM

I have never tried using the smartboot manager to boot a usb stick before. It would be easy to try it out though (if you've got a stick).

The smartboot manager scans the system at boot for all the bootable media it can find, and then loads the findings into the boot menu. If the recent versions have been made to scan for usb sticks, then it may do it.

calcon 04-04-2005 08:45 PM

I'll have to try it sometime when I get another USB stick.


dping 04-04-2005 09:09 PM

The distorted colors sound like possibly a graphics driver problem. It may be easy to fix. Unfortunately, I don't have *any* experience debugging graphics drivers. Comments anyone?....

You could try booting a different livecd distribution (like knoppix or mepis) to compare how it handles that computer.

I am quite surprised that the RIP project discontinued the floppy version! That's rather dissapointing. You could use PAUD in replacement of RIP. I used to use PAUD years ago, but since then it had gone stagnant. I just checked the PAUD site, and it looks like someone has been working on it recently.

You can find PAUD here:

Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 09:37 PM

Ok, I will try Paud...I would try out some of the other distros, but i simply do not have the time to download them...I still have dialup...Otherwise I would have already given up, and gone for Knoppix...or Mepis...or some other distro...I did look at DragonLinux...similar to Amigo, it ran on a Fat32 partition, but I couldn't get it to work...damn..i'll try paud...

DeadPenguin 04-04-2005 10:13 PM

You can buy Knoppix.
I have a 28.8 connection.
Downloading anything over 10mb's is out of the question.
I had to buy Gentoo 2005.0 for AMD 64.
I would have downloaded it if Broadband was available here.
But, at least I got to do something to help out a decent distro.

I am still trying to load DSL and PUPPY via Compact Flash.
No luck so far.
I can't get the CF card partitioned right.
no /boot
just one big sda1 /

DJ you sound close to a breakthrough keep it up.


Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 11:22 PM

Well...ladies and gentlemen...this has now become necessary...After I ran Paud, and it hung, I had to turn off my computer...after THAT I had to restore my computer...and now my c:\ drive is all messed up...i can't copy things there from the cd in that's out of the question...I'm going to need a lot of help...even more than recently, because this is a lot for a newbie to tackle...please is gone...dos might as well be gone, it's still there, but I can't copy things to my c:\ drive...

Dj Brimstone 04-04-2005 11:38 PM

I'm sorry for sounding like a pain, but paud aint workin for me...I downloaded the latest version, but it aint I said, it hangs..on "Partition Check: hda"...I gave it plenty of time...but nothing...It's so frustrating...I'm SOO close to getting DSL to's bootin up off the cd and everything (which at one time it wouldn't)...If i could just get passed that Gray Screen...

dping 04-05-2005 12:25 AM

Which computer was this on? The old laptop or your other computer?
What did you do when you "restored" the computer?
What do you mean when you say you can't copy files to the c:\ drive from the cd?
What is happening when you try to boot into windows?

I just tested out the latest version of paud, and I think that it is a poor disk image. It hung for me too. Use the older 1.0.3 version. That one, from my experience, should work well.

Dj Brimstone 04-05-2005 04:42 PM

This was on my old laptop
When I say restore, I mean using the windows disks to restore all of the settings on the windows system back to default...reinstalling...
Well, if I try copying files to my C drive, it says "Bad media reading C drive" I I cannot copy anything to it...
When I try to boot into windows, it gives me this message saying that I cannot boot from the partition (my windows partition)...I think the restore changed it to a hibernate partition for some odd reason...I tried the restoration process again, didn't help any...

dping 04-05-2005 06:06 PM

Sounds like the restore disk didn't. :)

If you can get paud to boot, then we can run through some partition checks.
Use version 1.0.3, and be sure to do a *full* format of the floppy before writing the image. Also, keep in mind that "live floppies" can be finicky -- I have sometimes had to write the image to them several times before it takes properly.

I am surprised that you had to restore the system after the floppy hung in its boot sequence. Paud is not supposed to touch the filesystem unless you tell it to. What happened when you tried to boot windows after the hang?

EDIT: Did the restore mention what it was doing while it did it?

Dj Brimstone 04-05-2005 06:11 PM

Yeah, funny thing was, it was doing some weird stuff...It went and said it was changing my filesystem to Fat16..and something about a hibernate partition...but I did the same thing that I did last time I had to restore the system...I'm not really sure what happened...Maybe it was a coincidence that I had to restore it after I ran PAUD...I got PAUD to come up, not sure what to do next...I'm not familiar with these commands...please gimme a step-by-step...

calcon 04-05-2005 06:33 PM

You can buy a linux cd from many places, like LinuxCentral or CheepLinux. If the developers offer cds, you should buy from them to support them instead of another site. But if they don't, then buy from whomever!


dping 04-05-2005 06:40 PM

I keep expecting paud to have the same tools as rip does, but it doesn't. We will need paud later, but we'll start out with dsl. Can you boot dsl into text mode?

Dj Brimstone 04-05-2005 06:48 PM

Yeah, I can boot into text mode if I don't put the cd in.

dping 04-05-2005 06:58 PM

What do you mean? Are you talking about booting into DOS, or about damn small linux (dsl) ?

What I was talking about was damn small linux in text mode (ie: no desktop, just a shell -- similar to dos)

To do that, you need to boot the cd, and at the "boot:" prompt (the very beginning) type:

dsl 2
(I'm doing this along with you so I don't make any mistakes...)

Dj Brimstone 04-05-2005 07:02 PM

I see what you're saying, I use a boot floppy, and if I don't have a cd in, it already goes into that shell, but I'll do what you're doing right now.

dping 04-05-2005 07:10 PM

Once it has fully booted, you should see a prompt that looks like this:

At the prompt, type

That will give you a nice print-out/menu of your partition table. Copy what it says about each partition and post it. Are the partitions what you think they should be?

EDIT: When I say "print-out", I mean printed to the computer screen. Sorry, computer-speak. I forget sometimes that not everyone knows.

Dj Brimstone 04-05-2005 07:21 PM

Primary Free Space 4.13
hda1 Primary OS/2 hidden C: Drive 70.19
hda2 boot Primary FAT16 2146.96
hda5 Logical FAT16 1028.07
Pri/Log Free Space 4.13

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