Hd Based HowTo

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HOWTO copy the Knoppix file to harddisk and Boot it.

The option of running Knoppix from a copy of the compressed file system has been around for years. Contributors have suggested numerous methods for accomplishing this, and it is frequently called a "poor man's" install. Despite the pejorative nature of this name, it can be extremely powerful in its function.

Recently, Knoppix has undergone some changes, and some of the older methods for accomplishing this are outdated and no longer work with newer versions of Knoppix. On the other hand, some of the newer methods do not work with older versions, so the older methods need to remain as a resource for those using older versions of Knoppix. Be aware of this, and choose an installation method adapted to the version you are using.

Listed below are some other viable methods of running Knoppix from a HD copy of the CD filesystem. Some are for previous versions of Knoppix, some use bootloaders, and some rely on the creation of bootable devices, and some appear to be scrambled remnants left over from previous versions of the WIKI. Use whatever works best for you, and I hope that the previous authors will edit their own contributions and forgive me for not sorting out what has become a jumble of alternative methods.(JD)

See also: Pivot Root Install (HD install to a non-bootable partition) and Poor Mans Install (copy the CD contents to the hard drive to free up your CD drive).

Q: how can i make my whole (not only 700mb) harddrive as compressed system? and the system is also writeable. (just like the old days' doublespace/stacker)

See Knoppix Hard Disk Scripts.

With this installation method you copy the file containing the compressed Knoppix filesystem from the CD or ISO to your HD, and then set it up to boot in some way.


  • The CDROM drive can be used for other things
  • It can be done without repartitioning (on FAT16/32 and Linux partitions)
  • It only uses ~700MB, compared to 2.3GB for the real installation


Knoppix will run as if it were from a physical CD, so you cannot install anything, unless you do a 'normal' install. Everytime you boot, the hardware will recognised new, so you can use this harddisk like a CD and plug it into new PCs. This is handy for preinstalling Knoppix on PCs/Laptops without CD-ROM.

This is different from Hd Based HowTo and Install FAQ, in the way that Install FAQ describes how to install Knoppix so it will run on a (single) PC like a normal GNU/Linux installation. If you want to install software, you should consider a real harddisk install.

Note: The compressed filesystem is NOT the ISO(!), it is a 700MB file named KNOPPIX within the ISO.




Please ask a friend, experienced with GNU/LINUX, or use KNOPPIX only from CD-ROM

Backups, Learning/Reading and talking with friends are always good ideas before trying new things. Like KNOPPIX itself, these ideas are to use on your own risk.

(Is this really necesary you can do this easily without hurting the system)

Okay, now you have read the warnings we can proceed with the real thing :-)

To run Knoppix from HD as it were from CD you can choose to:

    • Run Knoppix, copy it to HD & make the hd-copy bootable with a bootfloppy
    • Run Knoppix, copy it to HD & make the hd-copy bootable with LILO on HD
    • Run GNU/Linux, copy Knoppix to HD and configure LILO
    • Run Microsoft Windows, copy Knoppix to HD & make it bootable with a bootfloppy
    • Run Microsoft Windows, copy Knoppix to HD & boot with loadlin
  • Boot the Knoppix ISO directly
  • Boot with PXE via network
  • Boot from smartdisk, usb-stick, ROM....

NOTE ::: Many of these methods refer to versions of Knoppix Prior to 3.4 .... If you'd like a simple , safe and well-tested 'Poor-man's' install for 3.4 (_1.5. above ) go here ...Poor Mans Install

1.1. Run Knoppix, copy it to HD & make the hd-copy bootable with bootfloppy

I believe this has been deprecated by the cheatcode tohd, which copies the 700MB iso to the ext/FAT partition of your choice. Create a Knoppix boot floppy or boot from the CD and use fromhd to boot from the HD (then eject the floppy/CD). I just tested this and it works, but please delete this entry if I'm full of it :-)

  • Boot from a Knoppix CD (whatever version you already have).
  • Create a linux partition (see Partition Managers) large enough to hold at least 2 ISO images (at least 1.5GB). Let's call this /dev/hdXX.
  • Format this linux partition as an ext2 or ext3 filesystem.
    • mkfs -t ext2 /dev/hdXX
  • Mount this linux partition
    • mkdir -p /mnt/staging && mount /dev/hdXX /mnt/staging
  • Download a new Knoppix ISO image and md5 checksum (whatever version you want to test) into /mnt/staging. Let's call it Knoppix-new.iso
  • Use md5sum to check whether the ISO image is fine.
    • md5sum -c Knoppix-new.iso.md5
  • Mount this ISO image using loopback
    • mkdir -p /mnt/newknoppix
    • mount -t iso9660 -o loop,ro /mnt/staging/Knoppix-new.iso /mnt/newknoppix
  • Copy the contents of the ISO to /mnt/staging
    • cd /mnt/newknoppix
    • cp -a * /mnt/staging
  • Create a boot floppy using the boot.img from the downloaded Knoppix-new.iso
    • dd if=/mnt/newknoppix/KNOPPIX/boot.img of=/dev/fd0

Assuming everything went fine so far, we are ready to boot from the floppy. There should be no other filesystem on the machine with a valid KNOPPIX directory that come earlier in the search order.

  • Make sure to sync and unmount all filesystems mounted rw.
    • sync
    • umount /mnt/newknoppix/
    • umount /mnt/staging/
  • Reboot leaving the floppy in the drive.
    • shutdown -r now
  • Make sure the BIOS boots from the floppy drive.

As it boots the KNOPPIX directory should be discovered and booted into a full fledged Knoppix system as though running from CD. If it fails you will be thrown into a small recovery shell. If this happens, revisit the earlier steps, read the man pages for all the commands, fix any errors, come back and update this procedure.

I hope this is useful to you.

Comment: If the above doesn't work, perhaps you need to make a directory KNOPPIX on you partition and then copy the file also called KNOPPIX (which is about 690MB) into this directory. This worked for me with Knoppix 3.2

1.2. Run Knoppix, copy it to HD & make the hd-copy bootable with LILO on HD

1.2.1. Knoppix 3.4 version only

(rd) Because I couldn't find the info anywhere, I tried myself and succeeded in making a dual boot win98/knoppix3.4 with lilo and a persistent homedir. Here are the steps I took:


  • Partition the harddisk to make room for knoppix:
    • ext2 partition /dev/hda6 used to boot the kernel with lilo (10 Meg) (Note: I put the files lilo needs on the same partition as the Knoppix image, as I saw no reason to have a dedicated partition for them. - pestie)
    • ext2 partition /dev/hda7 for the knoppix image (I used 1000 Meg, but 800 Meg should be enough) (Note: for some reason 800Mb wasn't quite enough for me; I used 900Mb. - jansi)
    • swap partition /dev/hda8 (I used 256 Meg, but depends on your physical RAM)
    • ext2 partition /dev/hda9 for the persistent home (any value you can spare)
  • Boot the knoppix cd with the cheatcode "tohd=/dev/hda7". This will copy the knoppix image to disk.
  • Reboot the knoppix cd with the cheatcode "fromhd=/dev/hda7" and check if it runs without the cd.
  • Make the persistent homedir via the knoppix menu (penguin icon->configuration->make persistent dir).
  • Do not save your KNOPPIX configuration via the menu, all changes to the environment will be saved automatically because of the persistent home.
  • Copy the files from /boot to /mnt/hda6. Also copy the file "/mnt/cdrom/boot/isolinux/minirt24.gz" from the cd to /mnt/hda6.
  • Copy /etc/lilo.conf to /mnt/hda6 and make the following boot entries (do not forget to uncomment the line with "prompt", or else the lilo boot menu will not appear):
append="fromhd=/dev/hda7 home=/dev/hda9 apm=power-off lang=nl \
hda=scsi hdb=scsi hdc=scsi hdd=scsi hde=scsi hdf=scsi \
hdg=scsi hdh=scsi"

  • Mount the /mnt/hda6 partition temporary as /boot so lilo writes its map-file to the right place (sudo mount /dev/hda6 /boot)
  • Let lilo write the boot loader to the master boot record (sudo lilo -C /mnt/hda6/lilo.conf)
  • Remove the knoppix cd-rom and reboot. Now lilo will show you the menu and you can choose between win98 and knoppix.
  • That's it. Enjoy.

Note (jansi): These instructions would also work with Knoppix 3.7 except for lilo giving "device-mapper" errors. To work around this, I simply booted from a Knoppix 3.4 CD after finishing the above instructions, then entered these commands:

sudo mount /dev/hda6 /mnt/hda6
sudo mount /dev/hda6 /boot
sudo lilo -C /mnt/hda6/lilo.conf

Note (pestie): The device mapper errors occur because the dm_mod module isn't loaded at boot in 3.7+. Just do this before running lilo:

sudo modprobe dm_mod

Ignore any warnings about /proc/partitions not matching /dev, etc. They're purely informational, and lilo will still work fine.

1.2.2. Knoppix <= 3.3 version

Note: the short and detailed version seem to be different... uhm?

(rhk) I'm trying to do this, without success so far. I'll put some notes (in italics) at the place(s) where I have questions (maybe only one place at first. For information, I am trying to install Knoppix 3.1.

LILO can't boot ISO files, so it is neccessary to copy the Knoppix ISO content to hd. Also copy the content of boot.image to /boot. Because the Knoppix-boot-skript is not used, read about the Cheat Codes and add the one you need to your lilo.conf under append="..."

To learn more about Lilo, read the LILO-mini-HOWTO (dead link).

In short:

  • Boot Knoppix by CD-ROM
  • You need a partition with >700 MB free space (vfat, ext2 or ext3) in this example /dev/hda3
  • Open a root-shell (sudo bash)
    • mount /cdrom
    • mount /dev/hda3 /mnt/hda3
    • cp -R /cdrom/ /mnt/hda3/
    • mkdir /mnt/floppy-loop
    • mkdir /mnt/hda3/boot/
    • cp /boot/System.map /mnt/hda3/boot/
    • mount /cdrom/KNOPPIX/boot-en.img /mnt/floppy-loop -o loop -t vfat
    • cp /mnt/floppy-loop/* /mnt/hda3/boot
    • cp /etc/lilo.conf /mnt/hda3/boot
    • vi /mnt/hda3/boot/lilo.conf
    • ln -sf /mnt/hda3/boot/ />
    • lilo -C /mnt/hda3/boot/lilo.conf (or lilo -C /boot/lilo.conf)
  • Reboot without CD-ROM

Sorry people. Distro 3.4 has a different folders' structure, e.g. I couldn't locate the boot-en.img (I assume you mean /cdrom/KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX). Anyway I had problems with this instruction

mount /cdrom/KNOPPIX/boot-en.img /mnt/floppy-loop -o loop -t vfat

It says:

"/dev/loop0 damaged or fs not supported" ... really really strange. Could someone please update the info on this page? I mean info to copy knop image on hd and boot it by means of lilo? Thanks a lot!

With comments, step by step:

  • Boot Knoppix from CD-ROM
  • You need a partition with >700 MB free space (vfat, ext2 or ext3) for example /dev/hda3, but choose a partition you like. This partition must not contain these files and directories on root-level: autorun.bat, boot, index.html, knoppix.ico, Talks, autorun.inf, Demos, KNOPPIX. To be on save side, use an one empty partiton ;)
    • mount /dev/hda3 /mnt/hda3
    • cp -R /dev/cdrom /mnt/hda3
    • mkdir /mnt/floppy-loop
    • mount /cdrom/KNOPPIX/boot-en.img /mnt/floppy-loop -o loop -t vfat_
  • The directory /mnt/floppy will used as mountpoint, "-o loop" allows to mount a file as device.
    • mkdir /mnt/hda3/boot/
    • cp /mnt/floppy-loop/* /mnt/hda3/boot_
  • There are only 2 files needed "miniroot.gz" & "vmlinuz"
    • cp /etc/lilo.conf /mnt/hda3/boot
  • To configure lilo is lilo.conf needed. Take /etc/lilo.conf as example.
    • vi /mnt/hda3/boot/lilo.conf
/etc/lilo.conf - See: `lilo(8)' and `lilo.conf(5)'
boot=/dev/hda #This hd will use lilo to write into the MBR
delay=200 #Time in ms to chooce the lilo-menue
timeout=200 #Time in ms to choose with lilo-menue
vga=0 #You can choose other modis here

default=Knoppix #The default boot-profile

#Start of boot-profile 1 image=/boot/KNOPPIX-3.1-DE/vmlinuz # The kernel append="lang=de ramdisk_size=100000 init=/etc/init apm=power-off \ hda=scsi hdb=scsi hdc=scsi hdd=scsi hde=scsi hdf=scsi hdg=scsi hdh=scsi \ vga=791 initrd=KNOPPIX-3.10-DE/miniroot.gz nomce quiet \ BOOT_IMAGE=knoppix" #add initrd path to miniroot.gz

(rhk) I changed my append line to look like the above, but I get a bunch of errors when I try to run lilo, including things like KNOPPIX-3.1 not found. Maybe the errors are all due to the problem with the cp -R command, but I probably need some more explanation of what needs to be changed in lilo.conf.

label="Knoppix"# label of your profil
root=/dev/hda3 # partiton where lilo can found the directory /boot
  • LILO has to write to /boot/map. Because the CD-ROM is read-only this will fail. Link the new /mnt/hda3/boot/ directory over /boot. But be aware to use full pathnames and use only "/" as linkname.
    • ln -sf /mnt/hda3/boot/ /
    • lilo -C /mnt/hda3/boot/lilo.conf
  • LILO should say what's added. If you have an error here, check the steps before. (alternative you can use lilo -C /boot/lilo.conf)
  • Reboot without CD-ROM

Two things we still need to solve:

- read/write access to the partition we are booting knoppix from - save Knoppix.config on the HD and boot with it

(rhk) Below, Henk Poley asks if this German section is still required -- I think it is, although English would be better. I'm not sure I understand the questions -- do we want read/write access to the partition we are booting knoppix from? Is that in order to store data files and install other programs? I haven't read all the other FAQs yet, but it seems there are FAQs on putting your /home directory on the hard drive, and booting with something like Knoppix.sh for "persistent options" -- maybe those solve the problems?

Ideas how to do this:

probono am 10.02.2003 
Ich habe den Ordner KNOPPIX mit dem 700 MB File knoppix auf eine
ext3-Partition (bei mir hda2) kopiert und ein bereits vorhandenes LILO
so konfiguriert, dass Knoppix von HD gebootet wird.
Desweiteren habe ich in meiner knoppix.sh stehen:
mount /dev/hda2 /cdrom -o remount,rw
Jetzt habe ich von Knoppix heraus auch Schreibzugriff auf die ext3-Partition!
Idee: Ich hatte zufaellig schon eine bestehende LILO-Installation.
Koennte man aber nicht auf diese Weise Knoppix "from scratch" auf eine
leere HD aufspielen: 1. ext3 formatieren 2. Knoppix komprimiert
draufkopieren 3. LILO von Knoppix aus einrichten 4. remount,rw in die
knoppix.sh schreiben 5. /home/knoppix abaendern, so dass es auf
die HD zeigt ---> fertig! Was denkt ihr?

pr0ct0man 10.02.2003

Klingt eigentlich recht logisch, probono...
Let's try it !
Ich probier jetzt erstmal dein mount /dev/hda5/cdrom -o remount,rw in der knoppix.sh
Wo hast Du das eingetragen ? Meine sieht wie folgt aus:

[[[ "`id -u`" = "0" ]]] || { echo "You need root privileges to modify the system!" >&2 ; exit 1; }
[[[ -d "$1" ]]] && CONFIGS="$1/configs.tbz"
[[[ -f "$CONFIGS" ]]] || CONFIGS="/cdrom/KNOPPIX/configs.tbz"
[[[ -f "$CONFIGS" ]]] || CONFIGS="/mnt/floppy/configs.tbz"
if [[[ -f "$CONFIGS" ]]]; then
echo " [1mExtracting config archive $CONFIGS... [0m"
tar -jpPtf "$CONFIGS" | while read i; do rm -f "$i"; done
tar -jpPxf "$CONFIGS" ; chown -R knoppix.knoppix /home/knoppix
Grüsse, pr0ct0man

Nirro, 19/2/04 :
Anyone can translate that to english please ?
I'm facing the same problem - I can't mount /dev/hda1 after booting knoppix from this partition.
by the way I succeded to do something new and cool, I think, using the topologilinux grub bootloader, details - soon.
Update - I added to knoppix.sh the line : mount -o remount,rw /cdrom
Now I can mount hda1, but only root have a write permission to it. any solutions ?

Alternatively, you can boot Knoppix into a partition other than the default. This is very useful if you want to test your Knoppix hack and don't have a floppy (!!). It worked for me:

  • boot your Knoppix from cd-rom;
  • as root, mount a partition, i.e. /dev/hda3 under /mnt/hda3
    • knoppix$ sudo su; mount -o rw /dev/hda3 /mnt/hda3
    • cp -Rp /KNOPPIX /mnt/hda3
  • logout and reboot normally
  • mount /dev/hda3 under /mnt/hda3
    • cp /mnt/hda3/KNOPPIX/boot /mnt/hda3
    • cd /mnt/hda3; mkdir home; cd home; mkdir knoppix; chown knoppix.knoppix knoppix;
  • make a symbolic link for every dir from /mnt/hda3/KNOPPIX to /mnt/hda3 except home, i.e. ln -s KNOPPIX/etc .
  • copy the vmlinuz file into your /boot;
    • /mnt/hda3# ln -s boot/vmlinuz .
  • modify your lilo.conf in order to boot from hda3, I suggest :
I had to chroot in to the new environment in order to run lilo after editing /mnt/hda3/etc/lilo.conf -
knoppix$ sudo su; chroot /mnt/hda3; mount -o proc /proc proc 
  • As root in chroot, run:
    • lilo -C /etc/lilo.conf
  • reboot!!!

As a side effect, you have a persistent home for user knoopix in order to configure your environment and put the confs into /etc/skel ;-)

hope this help, every questions to maX (coccolesto@inwind.it)

1.3. Run GNU/Linux, copy Knoppix to HD and configure lilo

1.3.1 Follow the steps outlined in 1.1 to copy knoppix to HD

The first example assumes the KNOPPIX CD has been installed to HD using tohd=/dev/hda6 cheat code. Replace /dev/hda6 with the partition you used.

With version 3.7 it appears to be possible to run knoppix directly from an iso placed on a hard disk by using specific cheat codes. This would require one to change fromhd=/dev/hda6from append to those specific cheat codes but otherwise the following procedure should remain the same.

1.3.2 Configure lilo to load knoppix from HD

Verified for version 3.7 with kernel 2.6.9 :
  • Boot to a GNU/Linux system with lilo and a kernel with loop device enabled.
  • Make a copy of kernel and initial root system
mkdir /mnt/knoppix-iso
mount -o loop /path/to/your/knoppix-cd.iso /mnt/knoppix-iso
mkdir /boot/knoppix
cd /mnt/knoppix-iso/boot/isolinux/
cp linux26 minirt26.gz /boot/knoppix/
  • Add following to lilo.conf:
append="ramdisk_size=100000 init=/etc/init fromhd=/dev/hda6"
  • Rerun lilo

Verified for version 3.2 :
  • Boot your original GNU/Linux, mount a bootable Knoppix floppy, created in the paragraph 1.1:
mount /floppy
  • Then create a KNOPPIX directory and copy a knoppix floppy image over there:
mkdir /boot/KNOPPIX3.2
cp /floppy/* /boot/KNOPPIX3.2/
  • Add the following to the /etc/lilo.conf:
init=/etc/init initrd=KNOPPIX3.2/miniroot.gz BOOT_IMAGE=knoppix"
  • Run "lilo" and reboot.

1.4. Run Microsoft Windows, copy Knoppix to HD & make it bootable with bootmedia

Also called "poormans install" ;-)

NOTE: The partition (i.e. drive) that you are copying to (the D partition in the example below) must be a fat32 partition. If it is NTFS, the install will not boot.

  • Copy the CD:\KNOPPIX\KNOPPIX file to HD:\KNOPPIX\
    • E:\KNOPPIX\>mkdir D:\KNOPPIX

1 files(s) copied

  • Make the bootfloppy. Start "mkfloppy.bat" on the CD in the KNOPPIX folder.
    • E:\KNOPPIX\>mkfloppy
  • Boot from the floppy or the USB keydrive You need a BIOS that can boot from Floppy (all) or from keydrive (USB-ZIP option). It should scan for the KNOPPIX file and find it on the harddisk.
  • Enjoy

1.5 Run Microsoft Windows 98 or 95, copy Knoppix to HD & boot with loadlin

  • Open ISO with [Win Image] Extract extract the directory ISO:\KNOPPIX\ to C:\ (The C:\KNOPPIX\KNOPPIX file should be ~700MB)
  • Open the C:\KNOPPIX\boot.img with {tools {Win Image}} and extract vmlinuz and miniroot.img to C:\KNOPPIX\Loadlin (you will need to create this directory)
  • Download [tools loadling 1.6c] or later to C:\KNOPPIX}\Loadlin\ (remmember to extract it)
  • now reboot to DOS, you can do this by pressing F8 while rebooting the computer.
  • Change directory to the loadlin dir: "CD KNOPPIX\loadlin"
  • Execute loadlin "loadlin.exe vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 lang=en ro"

Now Knoppix should boot..

1.5.1 Loadlin with Win9x/Dos

This page need organizing and some translation cleanup. There is another possibility for people who don't have a floppy or CD-ROM drive, don't want to or can't mess with lilo, and only have dos or win95/98 with the knoppix iso extracted on to any hard drive partion. Loadlin (dead link) (be sure you have 1.6c!! 1.6 has lots of issues with many recent kernels). It is a simple program to load the linux kernel into memory. It's sort of mentioned above:

Extract loadlin.exe from that zip and extract the kernel from the KNOPPIX/boot.img file with software like [Win Image] (download installer)]] then move both the miniroot.gz and vmlinuz files into for instance c:/img. Boot to dos.

C:> cd img
C:> loadlin.exe vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 initrd=miniroot.gz lang=en ro

And with any luck Knoppix will load fine, like normal. Load Lin in spanish

Loadlin.exe vmlinuz initrd=miniroot.gz lang=es ro

  • Feedback:
    • I've tried this loadlin option and it almost worked. Knoppix booted but when it got to start the Xfree graphical desktop it said something like that it can not find a module for my graphic card. Booting from the CD works fine.
    • It is possible to simplify the method 1.3, to avoid using a floppy.
  • Here is how I did it :
  • instead of creating a floppy with dd and then to copy its content, just mount the boot.img file :
    • mkdir mnt2 /boot/KNOPPIX3.2
    • *mount /mnt/newknoppix/KNOPPIX/boot.img mnt2 -o loop
    • cp mnt2/ /boot/KNOPPIX3.2/
  • Yann Cochard

1.6 Dual booting Poor Mans Install with Windows using Grub on HD

The following steps have been used with several types of Windows installations to make them dual-bootable with a KNOPPIX Poor Mans Install, including Win2k and WinXP on NTFS, and Win98 and WinME on FAT32. These instructions assume that your hard drive is setup as one big partition with Windows already installed.

Be aware that GRUB (like LILO) will be erase whatever you currently have installed on your hard drive's MBR, so if you are afraid of losing whatever is on there now, you might want to back-up the MBR (google "dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/fd0 bs=512 count=1"), and anything else in your Windows installation you can't live without.


The biggest job is shrinking the size of the Windows partition (hda1) in order to make room for the two new partitions that KNOPPIX will need.

These are the guidelines used for setting up the partitions:

  • hda1 -- format: FAT32 or NTFS, Size: Big. This holds the entire pre-existing WinXX installation, and will be shrunk at least 1.2 gig to hold KNOPPIX PMI and swap file.
  • hda2 -- format: ext2, Size >= 950 meg. This will hold the KNOPPIX boot image, KNOPPIX boot file, GRUB files, persistent home directory, and (if desired) the KNOPPIX saved configuration file.
  • hda3 -- format: Linux swap, >=200 meg.

To prepare the HD, these instructions use the linux tool QTParted, following these steps:

  • Boot your computer from the KNOPPIX CD (preferably with the "noswap" option)
  • Open a terminal window and type "sudo qtparted &"
  • When QTParted opens, select /dev/hda in the upper-left pane. In a little while, the upper-right pane with a diagram of hda1 should appear.
  • In the upper-right pane, right-click hda1 and select "Resize." Then slide the right-edge of the hda1 partition to the left just enough to get the >=1.2 gigs needed to make hda2 and hda3.
  • When the free space (gray area) shows up in the right-pane, right-click in it and select "Create." Set the type to "ext2" and the size to >= 950 meg.
  • Next right-click in the last remaining free space in the pane, and set all of it to type "Linux Swap."
  • Select "Commit" from the Device menu.
  • Completely shut down the computer ("sudo shutdown -h now"), leaving the disk in the computer.
  • When the computer has completely shutdown, restart the computer and boot normally from the KNOPPIX CD.
  • Once fully booted, go under the KNOPPIX menu "Configure" entry and select "Create a persistent KNOPPIX home directory." When prompted, select "/dev/hda2", whole partition, no encryption.
  • Open a terminal and type the following:
mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/hda2 
cd /mnt/hda2/ 
mkdir boot 
cd boot 
cp /boot/* . 
cp /mnt/cdrom/boot/isolinux/minirt24.gz . 
cd .. 
mkdir grub 
mount /dev/hda2 /boot 
cd /boot/grub 
emacs menu.lst & 
  • In emacs, enter these lines:

title Win 
rootnoverify (hd0,0) 
chainloader +1 

title Knoppix 
kernel (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinuz fromhd=/dev/hda2 home=/dev/hda2 myconfig=/dev/hda2 /
  lang=en apm=power-off hda=scsi hdb=scsi hdc=scsi hdd=scsi hde=scsi hdf=scsi  /
   hdg=scsi hdh=scsi 
initrd (hd0,1)/boot/minirt24.gz 
  • Save the file (Ctrl-x Ctrl-s) and exit (Ctrl-x Ctrl-c). At the prompt type:
grub-install hd0 

Grub sometimes spits-out a lot of non-critical errors (at least I sometimes see them with certain machines), and it might act frozen for a spell. But it has always worked so far for me. Importantly, at the end of all the all the messages you should see "Installation finished. No error reported."

  • Now type
shutdown -r now 
  • Boot again from the KNOPPIX CD, but this time type with this option at the splashscreen to copy the KNOPPIX image to hda2:
knoppix tohd=/dev/hda2 
  • When KNOPPIX is completely booted, set-up your network card, printers, desktop, screensaver, passwords, clock, .kde/Autostart scripts, and anything else you might want persistent, then save your KNOPPIX configuration to /dev/hda2 via "Configure" under the KNOPPIX menu.
  • Take the CD out. You are done with the instructions for Dual booting Poor Mans Install with Windows using GRUB on HD.

Notes: in some cases, using the kernel option "myconfig=/dev/hda2" seems to interfere with expected persistent home directory behavior invoked by kernel option "home=/dev/hda2" - sometimes even failing to give user a persistent home directory. Just eliminating the kernel option "myconfig=/dev/hda2" seems to get the persistent home directory back. But that some installations work as expected with both kernel options suggests that possibly the timing or order in which the KNOPPIX state is saved to the configuration files is critical (i.e. before or after saving persistent home directory), or perhaps the order of kernel options is important.

1.7 Triple-booting Poor Mans Install with Windows and GNU/Linux using Grub on HD

(tested with Knoppix 5.3.1 DVD, on a dual-boot system containing Windows XP and Debian etch)

  • Create and format the new partition to hold Knoppix. Should be around 5GB, formatted as ext2 or ext3. You might have to resize existing partitions so be careful.
  • Know your partitions: in the following steps, hda9 is the new partition and hda2 is the partition of the current Linux system that holds its /boot directory. Make sure you change these to match the partitions on your system. Also these steps assume you are installing to the first hard disk on the system which grub calls hd0.
  • boot from the Knoppix DVD
  • copy Knoppix boot files to your existing boot partition:
# become root
# mount existing linux partition that contains /boot
mount /media/hda2
# cd to /boot in this partition
cd /media/hda2/boot
# make a knoppix/ directory
mkdir knoppix
# cd to the new knoppix/ directory
cd knoppix
# copy knoppix boot files to /media/hda2/boot/knoppix/
cp /boot/* . 
# Copy minirt.gz to /media/hda2/boot/knoppix/
# NB: if this fails, make sure /media/cdrom is accessible. You might have to type 'mount /media/cdrom' first.
cp /media/cdrom/boot/isolinux/minirt.gz . 
  • Reboot the system
  • Boot your existing Linux distro
  • Add the following to grub's menu.lst, usually located in /boot/grub/menu.lst. Grub counts from 0 so (hd0,0) means hda1, (hd0,1) means hda2 etc.
title Knoppix from HD
# boot from hda2 which grub calls (hd0,1)
kernel (hd0,1)/boot/knoppix/vmlinuz fromhd=/dev/hda9 /
  lang=en apm=power-off hda=scsi hdb=scsi hdc=scsi hdd=scsi hde=scsi hdf=scsi  /
   hdg=scsi hdh=scsi 
# boot from hda2 which grub calls (hd0,1)
initrd (hd0,1)/boot/knoppix/minirt.gz 
  • Update grub:
grub-install hd0
  • Boot again from the Knoppix DVD, but this time write this cheatcode at the splashscreen to copy Knoppix to hda9:
knoppix tohd=/dev/hda9 
  • When Knoppix has completely booted, shutdown the system and you're done. Next time you boot simply choose Knoppix from the boot menu to start Knoppix from your HD.

This will act exactly like the DVD (i.e. whatever changes you make to the system will be forgotten next time you reboot). You can create a persistent home directory/settings by saving these to the Knoppix partition on your HD (see Knoppix cheatcodes and FAQ). And you can add your own cheatcodes to the file menu.lst. Just remember to run 'grub-install hda0' from your existing Linux distro after modifying menu.lst. This is required to update grub.

2. Boot the Knoppix ISO directly

Now there is a solution for this. It is tested on Knoppix-5 and it works. Basically you convert on of your partitions on a cD/DVD player. It is great for remote servers without CD/DVD support. [Visit: http://azerthoth.blogspot.com/2008/04/want-to-install-dvd-release-of-linux.html]

OUTDATED: There really is no working solution to do this, this is just some ideas that some kind soul could improve. To do this you would need to do this:

  • Copy iso to a partion
  • Copy the boot.img from the ISO
  • Change the boot.img to mount the iso with loop and then continue with the ordinary boot up script.
  • Make the boot.img boot (in some of the ways described above)

another description

Create a mini boot image and mount the ISO at /mnt2/Knoppix.iso/ then mount the appropriate filesystem image from inside the ISO and mount or link the dirs inside. I guess doing a chroot (replace / ) will foobar things, that's why I try to mount the ISO at /mnt2/...

3. Boot with PXE via network

This is not by the PCs own HD ;), but see: Faq PXE

Would be nice to boot via TCP/IP and get the ISO from FTP-server.
Only for installing, not for daily use - please mirror Knoppix localy!

4. Boot from smartdisk, usb-stick, ROM...

Please write about your experiences to boot from your MP3-Player, or what ever...

See [Boot KNOPPIX from an USB Memory Stick] by Matthias Müller
For booting the USB stick it uses [spblinux]


Q:Does this work with any file system or does it need FAT?

A: Yes, it will work on any filesystem supported by the Knoppix build of the Linux kernel. Which means about all filesystem types you'll ever find on a IDE or SCSI harddisk.


If you have questions, comments, ideas about this wiki-page, and you don't want to write it directly in this page, please write it here as feedback:


- Use the persistent home scripts to keep your settings. It should be possible to copy the script to HD:\KNOPPIX\knoppix.sh (untested)

By Henk Poley 
Is the german discussion still needed on this page? Is it solved?

5. Another method.

We can totally avoid looking at contents of boot.img and get the same affect as booting from Knoppix CD using http://syslinux.zytor.com/memdisk.php This what I did starting with KNOPPIX iso file:

    • mount KNOPPIX.iso /mnt/tmp -o loop
    • mkdir /KNOPPIX
    • cp -R /mnt/tmp/KNOPPIX/* /KNOPPIX

Edit lilo.conf to boot boot.img in KNOPPIX directory:


You will get the full wonderful KNOPPIX boot menu.

7. How to run knoppix from a windows partition without burning a CD

  • Boot your existing linux
    • mount -o loop KNOPPIX_V3.X-XX-XX-XX.iso /mnt/iso (create that dir earlier)
    • cd /mnt/iso; cp -a * /mnt/win (your fat32 partition, mount it first)
  • mkdir /img; mount -o loop /mnt/iso/KNOPPIX/boot.img /img
  • cp /img/miniroot.gz /boot; cp /img/vmlinuz /boot/vmknoppix
  • edit lilo.conf to create a new image=/boot/vmknoppix with initrd=/boot/miniroot.gz
  • run Lilo, reboot
  • choose the name you gave knoppix in lilo.conf's label
  • done! now proceed to install knoppix to the hard drive if you want!

8. Yet another way (from a laptop with no floppy drive) with knoppix 3.4

(assumes a small boot partition as /dev/hda1, and that knoppix tohd=/dev/hda2)

  • boot into the command line mode <knoppix 2 hdfrom=/dev/hda2
  • mount your booting partition<mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1
  • mount your knoppix cd <mount -t iso9660 /dev/sr0 /mnt/test
  • copy the neccisary boot files
    • cp /mnt/test/boot/isolinux/linux24 /mnt/hda1
    • cp /mnt/test/boot/isolinux/minirt24.gz /mnt/hda1
    • cp /etc/lilo.conf /mnt/hda1/
  • edit lilo.conf with mcedit
    • mcedit /mnt/hda1/lilo.conf
  • make sure to remove the line towards the begining from klaus
  • I commented out most of this and added the following:

(( i realise there is alot more that could be done here,however for the sake of brevity thats all i did, the key parts are the linux24 and the minirt24.gz))

  • run lilo with the new lilo.conf, not the CDs one.
    • lilo -C /mnt/hda1/lilo.conf
  • unmout things
    • umount /mnt/test; umount /mnt/hda1
  • reboot
    • init 6
  • enjoy (one thing i found was the knoppix commands can be used at the LILO prompt, so personally I run
    • linux dma lang=en fromhd=/dev/hda2