My love affair with Puppy is becoming quite torrid. I’ve recently installed it on an older IBM T21 which was running like a dog (nyuck, nyuck) with Ubuntu on it. Puppy is like a breath of fresh air – fast, smooth and easy to use. It’s turned this old laptop into a machine I can really use at work.

Here’s a step by step covering how to install and update Puppy to a hard drive.

First, download Puppy and burn it onto a CD. From there you want to boot into the liveCD. In IBMland that’s accomplished by hitting the F12 key when the computer first boots, and choosing a boot device (the CD).

You’ll see Puppy doing a bunch of stuff, and then It’ll start asking you questions.

First, you’ll be asked to choose your keyboard layout. In my case, having a QWERTY keyboard and being in the US, I choose US Qwerty.

Next it’s time to set up Xorg. I chose this over Xvesa because it’s a bit more powerful.

I know the T21 is able to do 1024×768 so this is the resolution I chose.

Now we’re given a chance to test our X settings. I highly recommend you do this. If it works, great! If not, choose another setting or go with Xvesa.

Puppy should now launch. You’re greeted with a nice desktop with most of the icons clustered in the upper left corner.

The first thing we’ll want to do is check to see how our hard drives are set up. To do this, click the Drives icon once. (Double clicking provides double the windows.)

Once the Media Utility Tool (MUT) launches, you should be able to see what you have for hard drive(s). You’ll want to make sure that the hard drive you’re going to install Puppy to is not mounted. If it’s not (you’ll have the option to mount it) then close MUT.

Because I had previously had another OS installed on this drive, I’m going to format it. To do this, go to the Menu button and choose Control Panel -> GParted Partition Manager.

Once this launches, I chose my partition (/devhda2) in this case, right clicked on it and selected Format to -> EXT3. The click the Apply button. Once it’s finished, exit out of GParted.

Now you’re ready to install! Go to Menu -> Setup -> Puppy Universal Installer.

Choose your hard drive – in this case it’s IDE (ATA) Internal hard drive.

Puppy should give you a brief summary of what it found on the drive. Then click the button next to Install Puppy to hda2 (or whatever drive you’re installing too.)

You’ll get a sanity check, so say yes again. Then it will ask you where you’re going to get all these Puppy Linux files from. I’m assuming you still have the liveCD in the drive so click CD and then click OK.

If this is going to be the only OS on the machine, choose a NORMAL install. If you have Windows or some other OS, choose COEXIST.

I’m going to have my machine boot from Grub, rather than a USB drive. You can have Puppy use a USB drive to host the bootloader if you so choose. I chose Install Grub. Then click OK again.

Puppy will ask if you want to install Grub automatically. This is fine, go with the default and click OK.

Next comes the Frame Buffer Console. Again, default and click OK.

You’ll have to choose where to put the Grub files. I went with the default, in this case /dev/hda2, where I’m installing Puppy itself.

Now you’ll have to choose where to put Grub itself. I would not go with the default here, and instead I chose MBR. This worked quite well on several installations on various machines.

You should get a message shortly after choosing this option informing you that Grub was successful. Click OK and then you’ll be prompted to reinstall Grub if need be. You don’t have to do this, so click NO.

You now have a Puppy Linux install! Remove the liveCD from your drive and reboot to verify that everything’s working. (Menu -> ShutDown -> Reboot).

You’ll be prompted to either SAVE_TO_FILE or SAVE_TO_CD_or_QUIT. Chose the SAVE_TO_FILE option as we don’t want any hard work going down the drain.

Puppy will let you know that it’s going to create a pup_save.3fs file on your drive. This is where all of your personalization to the OS is kept.

You’ll be able to chose which partition to save this file too. Since I’ve only got one on this machine (hda2) that’s what I went with.

I’ve got 27 GB of free space on this drive, so when the next option appears to limit the size of the .3fs file, I chose the largest option, 1.25GB. Choose a size that’s appropriate for the partition you’re working with.

You’ll get one final sanity check. Say OK. The file will be created, and Puppy Linux will reboot. If the file size is large, this can take a few minutes.

Note – if you have a problem with X starting and get a repeated error message mentioning line 35, check out this thread – see the last post.
Once you’ve rebooted, you can do all kinds of neat stuff to your system. First however you’ve got to get in online.

Click the Online icon and choose how you wish to get online. With the T21, I chose wireless, ran the WAG utility, and clicked the DHCP Toggle button and bingo! I was surfing.

Now it’s time to add neat things to your install. To install programs in Puppy, click the Install icon. You can choose to use either PupGet packages, which are the Official packages for Puppy, or use DotPup packages, which are user created.

Have fun with your Puppy!
Ben (for ArsGeek tutorials)