Cheat Codes

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Cheatcodes and hints

from Knoppix DVD

                     CHEATCODES AND HINTS FOR KNOPPIX V7.6
                         (last update: 26.01.2016)

These options (can be combined) work from the boot prompt:

### General ###
adriane                             Start blind-friendly, talking desktop
debug                               Debug boot process step-by-step [→ Tip]
expert                              Interactive setup for experts [→ Tip]
knoppix                             Knoppix w/ 32bit Kernel
knoppix64                           Knoppix w/ 64bit Kernel [→ Tip]
knoppix 2                           Runlevel 2, Textmode only
knoppix init=/bin/bash              Start bash as process 1 instead of init

### Language/Country ###
knoppix lang=ch|cn|de|da|es|fr|it   specify language/keyboard [Hint: 1]
knoppix lang=nl|pl|ru|sk|tr|tw|us   specify language/keyboard
knoppix keyboard=us xkeyboard=us    Use different keyboard (text/X)
knoppix utc                         Use Universal Time [→ Tip]
knoppix tz=Europe/Berlin            Use this timezone for TZ
                                    (default: tz=localtime)

### Hardware/Workarounds ###
knoppix ide1=reset                  Try this if knoppix can't find the
                                    CD/DVD drive on old computers [Hint: 4]
knoppix no{apic,lapic,acpi,apm}     Skip parts of HW-detection (1)
knoppix no{hwsetup,udev,dhcp,fstab} Skip parts of HW-detection (2)
knoppix no{pcmcia,sound,swap}       Skip parts of HW-detection (3)
knoppix nousb                       Skip parts of HW-detection (4)
knoppix nolapic                     Disable local APIC (differs from noapic)
knoppix noideraid                   Disable IDE-Raiddisk detection
knoppix pnpbios=off                 No PnP Bios initialization
knoppix acpi=off                    Disable ACPI Bios completely
knoppix acpi=noirq                  Disable ACPI IRC routing only
knoppix acpi=force                  FORCE ACPI Bios initialization
knoppix noacpid                     Do not start ACPI even daemon
failsafe                            Boot with (almost) no HW-detection
knoppix pci=irqmask=0x0e98          Try this, if PS/2 mouse doesn't work [Hint: 2]
knoppix pci=bios                    Workaround for bad PCI controllers
knoppix ide2=0x180 nopcmcia         Boot from PCMCIA-CD-Rom (some notebooks)
knoppix mem=512M                    Specify Memory size in MByte [Hint: 7]
knoppix wheelmouse                  Enable IMPS/2 protocol for wheelmice
knoppix nowheelmouse                Force plain PS/2 protocol for PS/2-mouse

### Desktop ###
knoppix desktop=kde|gnome|icewm     Use specified WM instead of LXDE (1)
knoppix desktop=fluxbox|openbox     Use specified WM instead of LXDE (2)
knoppix desktop=larswm|evilwm|twm   Use specified WM instead of LXDE (3)
knoppix no3d                        Don't use compiz 3d fuctions
knoppix 3d                          Try compiz even on slow cards w/o dri

### Graphics ###
knoppix screen=1280x1024            Use specified Screen resolution for X
knoppix hsync=95                    Use 95 kHz horizontal X refresh rate
knoppix vsync=60                    Use 60 Hz vertical refresh rate for X
knoppix xmodule=fbdev|vesa|svga     Use specified Xorg-Module (1)
knoppix xmodule=nouveau|radeon      Use specified Xorg-Module (2)
knoppix xmodule=intel|vmware|s3     Use specified Xorg-Module (3)
knoppix norandr                     Disable Xorg RandR feature (may be
                                    useful if wrong resolution was detected)
knoppix noddc                       Don't query monitor for resoution
knoppix nocomposite                 Don't use Xorg Composite extension
knoppix vga=normal                  No-framebuffer mode, but X
knoppix nodrm                       Don't load graphics acceleration modules
knoppix nofb                        Don't load framebuffer modules
knoppix nomodeset                   Don't use Kernel Mode Settings for X
fb1280x1024                         Use fixed framebuffer graphics (1)
fb1024x768                          Use fixed framebuffer graphics (2)
fb800x600                           Use fixed framebuffer graphics (3)
fb640x480                           Use fixed framebuffer graphics (4)

### Configuration / Persistent image ###
knoppix nonetworkmanager            Don't start network manager
knoppix toram                       Copy to RAM and run from there [→ Tip]
knoppix tohd=/dev/sda1              Copy to Harddisk and run from there
knoppix fromhd=/dev/sda1            Boot from previously copied CD-Image
knoppix bootfrom=/dev/sda1/KNX.iso  Access image, boot from ISO-Image [→ Tip]
knoppix knoppix_dir=KNOPPIX         Directory to search for on the CD.
knoppix knoppix_name=KNOPPIX        Cloop-File to search for on the CD.
knoppix noswap                      Don't use existing swap partitions
knoppix nozram                      Don't use zram compressed swap-in-ram
knoppix forensic                    Don't use swap and mount read-only [Hint: 6]
knoppix secure                      Disable root access
knoppix mkimage                     Create persistent image as needed [→ Tip]
knoppix noimage                     Ignore persistent image or partition

### Knoppix Terminalserver/Client ###
knoppix nfsdir=hostip:path          Use nfsdir as /mnt-system for TS client
knoppix hostname=name               Set TS client hostname
knoppix hostname=auto-mac           Set TS client hostname from MAC address
knoppix hostname=auto-clock         Set TS client hostname from clock

### Various ###
knoppix noeject                     Do NOT eject CD after halt
knoppix noprompt                    Do NOT prompt to remove the CD
knoppix testcd|testdvd              Check live medium for defects [→ Tip]
knoppix splash                      Use splash.ppm in initrd as boot pic
knoppix trace                       create an open() trace in /open.trace

(1) Using the default DE-bootimage, SYSLINUX boots with german
keyboard layout. The '=' letter is located at Shift-0 on this keyboard
(just in case you want to change keyboard and language with lang=us). If
you need to change the keyboard layout later in X, and can't find a
convenient tool in the preferences, use "setxkbmap 'ca(multi)'" in order
to set up a new (multi-language canadian, in this example) keyboard

(2) Try "knoppix pci=irqmask=0x0e98" if (you have an old notebook and)
your PS/2 mouse doesn't work, Possibly caused by a BIOS-flaw on your
board, BIOS updates can sometimes help.

(3) If your KNOPPIX CD produces strange noises during boot, or you see
frequent errors like "cloop: read error", or programs on your desktop
are crashing randomly, then your CD image is probably defective or
incomplete, or your CD-burner created a defective CD due to wrong
writing speed or bad media. This is actually the most common error
reported. Please boot with "knoppix testcd" to check if the CD or DVD is
OK. Installing and starting Knoppix from flash disk is recommended and
much faster than running from CD or DVD.
(Read also "More explanations" → testdvd)

(4) In case of a failing hardware autodetection, try booting with any of
the "no-" options as shown in the table above, like in
   knoppix nodrm nomodeset no3d noaudio noapm noapic nolapic
           acpi=off pci=bios pnpbios=off nodma nopcmcia noscsi nousb ...
to skip some critical parts of the autodetection system.

(5)(6) The "noswap" and/or "forensic" boot option is useful for a
forensic analysis without touching existing swap partitions.

(7) Some Boards apparently don't pass the proper memory size to the
linux-kernel. It may cause the message "Panic: cannot mount root file
system" and the system hangs. Use "knoppix mem=512M" to solve that
problem if your system has 512MByte memory for example (caution:
you MUST use a capital "M" here).

When installing to read/write media, such as flash disks (using
flash-knoppix), you can add a swap file in order to replace missing
physical RAM by persistent storage space. You can create this swap
file like this from the running system:
  dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt-system/KNOPPIX/knoppix.swp
  mkswap /mnt-system/KNOPPIX/knoppix.swp
  swapon /mnt-system/KNOPPIX/knoppix.swp
Please be aware that swapping on flash media can be painfully slow, and
is no perfect replacement for real RAM. The zram ram-compression feature
(available from Knoppix 7.0.1) can extend the usable ram range to a
certain degree.


If you need additional modules for starting controllers needed at boot
time, just copy the corresponding *.ko files from /lib/modules/* over to
/modules in the initial ramdisk (remaster needed).

If you place an update*.zip or update*tar.gz file on the medium holding
the KNOPPIX data, it will be unpacked onto the overlayed filesystem
before starting "init", thus allowing quick reconfiguration of the

The file "", if residing in the main KNOPPIX directory, will
be execuded after autoconfiguration and before starting the graphical
desktop. It can be used in order to start additional services.

If you wish to remaster the CD, please don't forget to specify
    -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table \
    -b boot/isolinux/isolinux.bin -c boot/isolinux/
as option to mkisofs. Otherwise your CD or DVD won't be bootable. The
directory KNOPPIX, containig the compressed filesystem file "KNOPPIX",
must be located in the top level directory of the CD.

Caution: X-Screensaver: Don't start xlock or any screensaver that
requires a password. There are no default passwords on KNOPPIX,
i.e. all accounts are LOCKED unless you explicitly set a password.
about this issue.
If you accidentially hit the screensaver button in KDE,
switch to one of the textconsoles by Control-Alt-F1 and kill
the screensaver (or just set a password for the knoppix user).

If you would like to edit your X-Server configuration manually
(config file /etc/X11/xorg.conf), use "knoppix 2" to boot
into runlevel 2 (textmode only) and, after changing the X
configuration, start the X environment with "init 5". Note that
you can always leave the graphical environment with "init 2", and
restart it later with "init 5".


Cheatcodes are used to pass options to KNOPPIX to help with getting it working on difficult hardware. In the initial boot phase you'll see the Knoppix emblem with the little penguin and the commandline at the bottom of the screen. Type your cheatcodes after "boot: " in the commandline and press [Enter]. With [F2] and/or [F3] you can see some of the most usefull cheatcodes.

The format is "kernel option option option ...". Usually "knoppix" is the right selection for the "kernel". You can type more than one cheatcode before pressing enter. Also note that some options can take on values. Example:

 boot: knoppix mem=512 tz=America/Toronto
To run memtest86 instead of Knoppix only type this cheatcodes after "boot: " in the commandline and press [Enter]. With memtest86 you can determine if your memory is good (and if you have as much memory as you think you have). Press [Esc] after some hours to finish the test or when you see the first error messages.
Using this cheatcode Knoppix calculates the sha1sum of the most important files of the ISO and compares it with the values in the file „sha1sums”. If you cannot boot with the Knoppix CD/DVD and therefore you cannot use this cheatcode, then mount the CD/DVD within your OS and use
 md5sum /dev/sr0
Compare the value you get with the content of the KNOPPIX_V...iso.md5 file.
noapic nolapic ... 
Skip parts of Hardware-detection, In case of a failing hardware autodetection, try booting with any of the "no-" options as shown in the table above, like in
 boot: knoppix noagp noapm noapic nodma nopcmcia noscsi nousb
to skip some critical parts of the autodetection system.
This option is useful for a forensic analysis without touching existing swap partitions.
You can do a → Poor man's install on vfat and ext-Partitions.
With this cheatcode the CD-Roms are ignored, so you can finally boot your "Poor man's install".
Knoppix will load the contents of the CD/DVD into RAM and run from there. After boot up, the CD/DVD can be removed and the DVD drive will be available for other uses.
Note: Because this will take up a lot of RAM, it is recommended for those with at least 8 GB of RAM (2 GB for CD version). Cheatcode "toram" and "fromhd" work now together.
Just remember to use "knoppix64 toram" for the DVD version, if you want to copy the entire 4.1 GB into your ramdisk, since the "knoppix" keyword would be the 32bit kernel, which can't handle memory addressing larger than 4GB.
Access Image then boot from previously copied CD/DVD-Image (enables booting from NTFS / ReiserFS). After boot up, the CD/DVD can be removed.
Note: "bootfrom" needs access to a running Knoppix-System with the same Kernel as the Bootkernel, before it is able to mount the 'partition/ISO-Image'. This should allow a → Poor man's install from NTFS-partitions and makes it also possible to boot an ISO-Image directly; so you can test remastered Knoppix iso files before committing to a burn.
Pauses at various stages in the boot process. → Kernel panic
With DVD version 7.4.0 and upward the bootloader will start the 64bit kernel automatically if a 64bit-capable CPU is detected (if not manually specified otherwise).
You can only use UTC, if BIOS clock is set to UTC. Within '/etc/adjtime' you'll find the entry "LOCAL" instead of "UTC". Exchange this value if you want to use UTC and reboot. Knoppix uses the value of '/etc/timezone' for system (panel) clock. Perhaps you have to change the value for '/etc/timezone'; if so, have a look at '/usr/share/zoneinfo' for possible values.
You can check the proper settings with
timedatectl status
If Knoppix isn't started in forensic mode and if no persistent image or partition is found, then Knoppix DVD version 7.4.1 and upward only offers the option to create persistent image (ext2-formatted file, not partition) by this new cheatcode.


Boot options like "adriane" can easily be preset by changing '/mnt-system/boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg' after having copied the CD to a bootable memorystick using "Knoppix => Install KNOPPIX to flash disk": Change the upper line

DEFAULT knoppix


DEFAULT adriane

for automatically starting ADRIANE on boot. This is already default in all ADRIANE iso files.

To change other boot options look within the file 'syslinux.cfg' for the LABEL line of the way you always start with Knoppix. If you for example always use "knoppix" (and not "knoppix64") then look for "LABEL knoppix". Don't change the following KERNEL line but insert additional or change existent cheatcodes within the APPEND line. An example:

 LABEL knoppix
 KERNEL linux
 APPEND ramdisk_size=100000 lang=en keyboard=es xkeyboard=es apm=power-off ...
Note: If you are using Knoppix 64 bit, you have also to change the settings within '/mnt-system/boot/syslinux/syslnx32.cfg' and '/mnt-system/boot/syslinux/syslnx64.cfg'

Download Knoppix

moved to → How do I get the current DVD?

Check the ISO

moved to → What are these md5 files?

Exclude forgery

moved to → What are these asc files?

Use CD/DVD without burning it

Have a look →Test without burning a CD


Cannot boot

The burned DVD will not boot

  • You possibly only got a partial download or the download was corrupt. If you checked the → md5 file and know that you have a good download of the ISO, then be sure that you burn the CD at a slow speed, either 4x or as slow as your burner will let you go.
  • Problems are often seen booting with discs that have been burnt at a high speed. You my try the cheatcode → knoppix testdvd to check the DVD for defects. If you get an error message, then the ISO image is defective and the CDR burn of Knoppix is also defective.
  • If the ISO is good but Knoppix doesn't seem to be able to boot on your hardware, you may need to use one or more → cheatcodes to help Knoppix if it can't determine your hardware configuration on its own.

Memory problems

It's worth mentioning that you just might have a memory problem. The Knoppix disc includes the bootable memory test → memtest86. If you can't even boot into memtest86 then something is very wrong with the disc that you made or with your system.

Kernel panic

If you are unable to boot Knoppix (i.e. the screen goes blank, you see a kernel panic message, the screen flickers, you are dropped into a minimal shell, Knoppix simply freezes while booting, etc.), try these boot commands in order:

  • boot: knoppix vga=0
  • boot: knoppix acpi=off pnpbios=off noapic noapm
  • boot: knoppix vga=0 debug

Using the cheatcode 'debug' will cause Knoppix to wait at various stages in the boot process. Just type exit after each shell prompt "... job control turned off".

  • boot: failsafe debug

That will do the same as the previous boot command, except turn off most of the hardware detection.

If you still have issues, please post in the Hardware & Booting forum, tell us which of the above boot commands you've tried, and how far in the boot process you were able to go.


Most of the boot options are parsed by different programs and scripts during the booting process, roughly in this order:

  • the isolinux bootloader
  • the linux kernel
  • "init", which can be found in /mnt-system/boot/isolinux/minirt.gz -> init
  • /etc/init.d/knoppix-autoconfig
  • /etc/init.d/knoppix-startx
  • /etc/X11/Xsession.d/45knoppix
  • /etc/init.d/knoppix-halt

For more information on passing boot parameters to the kernel, see 'man boot' and 'man bootparam'.


Security considerations

from Knoppix CD/DVD


1.) There is no automatic start of external accessible services.

2.) There are no default passwords. All accounts are locked by default.
    Even local logins are not possible (unless you set a password or create
    new user accounts as root).

3.) Therefore, all local interactive processes are started by init without

    The graphical desktop is started with the unprivileged user id
    "knoppix". Programs that only work for root are started using sudo
    without password. This has the advantage of making faults caused by
    defective software very unlikely, but does not enhance local
    security, since it is fairly easy to switch between the "knoppix"
    and "root" account. The knoppix user should never be allowed for
    external logins (in the case that sshd or similar servers are being

4.) You can create valid passwords using "sudo passwd [username]" from the
    Shell, individually.

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