Using FAQ

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-German Version: Deutsch Using Faq

-Versión española: Usando Faq

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Q: How do I get Knoppix to boot Knoppix when it tells me that it can't find the KNOPPIX filesystem and is dropping me to a shell?

A: The full error is:

Uncompressing Linux... Ok, booting the kernel.

Welcome to the KNOPPIX live Linux-on-CD!

Scanning for USB/Firewire devices... Done.
Enabling DMA acceleration for: hda      [Maxtor 2B020H1]
Enabling DMA acceleration for: hda      [LTN486S]
Can't find KNOPPIX filesystem, sorry.
Dropping you to a (very limited) shell.
Press reset button to quit.

Additional buitin commands available:
       cat       mount     umount
       inmod     rmmod     lsmod
knoppix# _

Knoppix does the very best it can to automatically figure out what hardware the PC has & it does this without human intervention. DMA is a feature that speeds up data tranfer on IDE devices such as CDROM drive& HD drives. Some chipsets and/or harddiscs are broken or buggy. Using DMA would cause problems on such systems and in many many cases, if the CDROM drive does not support DMA then it fails to fully boot Knoppix from the CDR. DMA was enabled by default in Knoppix 3.4 through 3.7 and has been disabled in 3.8.x and up. To boot Knoppix 3.4 through 3.7 and get around this DMA problem, I boot knoppix with the following Cheat Codes:

knoppix nodma

Q: Why is DMA disabled by default and how do I enable it?

A: Knoppix does the very best it can to automatically figure out what hardware the PC has & it does this without human intervention. DMA is a feature that speeds up data tranfer on IDE devices such as CDROM drive& HD drives. Some chipsets and/or harddiscs are broken or buggy. Using DMA would cause problems on such systems.

If your system works properly with DMA, and you are booting from HD, you can enable it by typing "/sbin/hdparm -c3 -d1 -m16 -k1 /dev/hda" or by editing the "/etc/init.d/" startup script and uncommenting the hdparm -qd1 /dev/hda line to have it permanently on at reboot, if the line is not there add it.

A cleaner way to do it requires installing the hdparm package (use the command "apt-get install hdparm" to do this) and edit the file "/etc/hdparm.conf".

Read more at:

Q: I see the partitions from my hard disk on the desktop and can access their contents when I click on them, but if I try to write to them I always get the error message "access denied". How can I write to my existing partitions?

A: The general philosophy of KNOPPIX is to allow as little write access as possible. For this reason, existing partitions are either not mounted or only mounted "read only". If you click with your right mouse button on an icon, the "read-only" attribute under item "device" can be un-checked. After this, the partition can be mounted "read-write" (for already mounted partitions, first click on "unmount"!). CAUTION: writing to NTFS partitions can lead to data loss, since Linux does not really support this file system! However, DOS and FAT32 file systems are safe for write access. Tip: In the shell the command "mount -o remount,rw /mnt/" can allow already-mounted file systems to be "made writeable".

Q: Knoppix 3.2: Errormessage during booting, when HOME-Directory is saved on HD?

I've saved the date on a FAT-32Partition, as an image and without password. I can't format the partition in a LINUX-Format, since it's used by other data. When I boot KNOPPIX with "knoppix myconfig=... home=....", a short time later the message appears, that is not found and I'm asked for a password with at least 20 signs length (but such a password does not exist). It's no difference whether I type "home=scan" or like "home=/dev/hda5". Never the less it seems to work fine, when I ignore the password request and negate the further enquiry with "n" for "no". When I leave out "home=..." Knoppix has forgotton -as expected- the Home-Directory. The behavior is some how unbeautiful. Does anyone know how to avoid the request of that password?

A: I encountered this problem when I placed both the config files and the persistent home on the same partition.If you do not have separate partitons then the config can be located on a floppy( I have not tried this.)

Q: What is the root password?

A: There is none; all passwords are locked/scrambled by default. You can set it by going Knoppix Menu->Root Shell and typing "passwd", then enterting a root password, also there are several sections you can read dealing with this subject in KNOPPIX/README_Security.txt. You can also type "sudo su" or "sudo -s" in any console window, or use <ctr>-<alt>-F2 to get at the text console with already opened root shell.

However, in some older versions of Knoppix, if you type 'sudo -s', it will ask for a password. If you simply press return without entering anything, it will tell you 'Authentication Failed."

See also the forum thread titled "Root Password (what is it?)"

Q: How can I write data on NTFS partitions?

A: Under most conditions, Knoppix can not write or change files on an NTFS partition. Forcing it to do so may end up scrambling the underlying NTFS filesystem. Knoppix (and the Linux kernel) can read NTFS partitions just fine, the danger is only present when attempting to write to it. Older versions of Knoppix included a program called Captive NTFS that used the existing NTFS drivers from a Windows system to acesss the NTFS drive. Even then it was slow and unstable. Captive NTFS has not been maintained for over a year and is not currently included in recent Knoppix versions.

Q: I want to copy files to a windows box over the network


  • First method

I boot with Knoppix from the CD drive. Once it has fully loaded to the KDE desktop, I open a konsole command window. I assume the the hda1 (C: drive) is a FAT32 drive, so I mount it with the command:

sudo mount -t vfat -o ro,users /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1

If instead the the hda1 (C: drive) is a NTFS drive, the I mount it with the command:

sudo mount -t ntfs -o ro,users /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1

Next I open up the GUI file manager (called konqueror).

sudo konqueror

Once that comes up, in the location bar, I use the following to authenticate to a Windows domain & then access a windows networking share.In the location bar:


If you do not need to authenticate to a domain, the form is:




This allows me to access windows shares. I navigate to where I want to save the data, then hit the keys CTRL-T to open a tnew tabbed window. Then in that location bar type:


Now I see the hda1 (C: drive) contents. Just like in windows explorer, select the file & folders you want to copy, CTRL-C or right-click & copy them. Use the mouse & move over to the other tab with the smb connection, then CTRL-V or right-click paste to initiate the transfer. When you are done copying files, close the konqueror window, click the KDE K menu and choose to reboot/shutdown the PC. TO shutdown the PC by command:

sudo init 0

  • Other method, in which both directions are possible. Either start SAMBA or mount the remote share.
    • "sudo /etc/init.d/samba start", add users with "smbpasswd -a knoppix". After this, the home directory of user knoppix will be shared as readonly. If you need other shares, edit /etc/samba/smb.conf and restart samba (replace "start" with "restart").
    • "mkdir tmp/share; sudo mount -t smbfs -o username=Administrator //otherbox/share /tmp/share" (maybe start samba too to get rid of the warnings, especialy when using "nmblookup")
  • Or you can obtain a ("wget" in console). After doing that, in console, type: "chmod +x", and then "./". After doing this, you can use the LAN browser in Konqueror.

Q: How can I watch a DVD?

A: First of all, you have to have Knoppix installed on your hard drive. You won't be able to execute the following proceedure if you are running it from the CD.

  • Add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb $(ARCH)/
deb-src sources/
  • Then do:
apt-get update
apt-get install libdvdcss2
  • Play the DVD (e.g. with Xine, Ogle, Videolan, Mplayer etc).
  • If your DVD plays but skips and jumps while playing the dvd, then you probably need to enable dma for the drive.
  • To see if dma is enabled, log in as root and type: "/sbin/hdparm -d <device name>" For example: "/sbin/hdparm -d /dev/hdc"
  • To enable dma type: "/sbin/hdparm -d 1 /dev/hdc"
  • If you want dma to be enabled automatically then simply add the line "/sbin/hdparm -d 1 /dev/hdc" to any startup script (/etc/init.d/ for example).
  • Enjoy watching DVD's in Linux :-)

-- The links for /etc/apt/soruces.list appear to be incorrect.

The right links are:

deb $(ARCH)/
deb-src sources/

Q: I've installed Knoppix to my HD and default language and keyboard setting is German. How do I change to US EN? I've changed KDE by fumbling through what I remembered of KDE Control Center. The keyboard is still in German with some of the keys in different places.

A: Right click on the German flag in the system tray of the taskbar and choose configure from the menu and set the keyboard to the layout you want to use.

You can use too KMenu > Settings > Control Panel > Regional & Accessibility > Country/ Region & Language > Locale > Country: "C - Default", Keyboard: English: US

That does it for KDE, for the rest of the system type dpkg-reconfigure locales

and choose one of the en_US options. ISO-8859-15 is nice (it includes the euro), although there is nothing wrong with ISO-8859-1.

Q: I've set the default language and keyboard in KDE, but some pages in Mozilla still come up in German instead of English? How do I fix this?

A: In Mozilla, under Edit >> Preferences... and check on Language. On the right-hand side of the page you'll see that German is preferred over English in multi-lingual pages. Move English up and it will be the preferred language.

Q: I think about using Knoppix to make Partition-Images with partimage - Did anybody try this out? Thanks in advance! --üßler

A: Yes, it works. -- LinuxWiki PartImage (in German)

Q: How do I save my preferences (language, UI...) at the end of my session, when booting from CD? How do I restore them?

Go to the K-menu > KNOPPIX > Configuration and choose "save config", you can save to floppy or to an already existing partition on the harddrive. (on a windows partition is fine)

To restore it, at the "boot:" prompt type in "knoppix myconfig=scan", and it should find and restore your saved settings at boot time.

Q: After Installed knoopix in HD with lang=es, if I remove all the user configuration files in the /home/knoppix directory, the keys "< >" of my spanish keyboard are no longer recognized in the new kde session. What is the configuration file resposible of this behaviour?

A: Check the small flag in the bottom right corner of the screen, and you have to boot up with lang=es as a kernel parameter for it to work. (check /etc/lilo.conf)

Q:From where does KNOPPIX start all the scripts at the bootprocess?

A:The init scripts are located in /etc/init.d and are symlinked to in the /etc/rcX.d directorys in a sysV like fashion.

Q: Where can I find where all the boot-time parameters are interpreted???

A:You can see them in /etc/init.d/knoppix-autoconfig script

Q: How do I use an USB memory stick to save myconfiguration?

A: First boot KNOPPIX with the memory stick inserted. Got to the KNOPPIX menu, Configuration, Save Configuration. When asked, choose /dev/sda1. When booting type knoppix myconf=scan home=scan at the boot prompt.

Q: After using KNOPPIX, my Dell computer does not start!

A: This is an issue with the Dell BIOS. Simply pull out the power cord from your computer for a few seconds, and your computer should start again. You can also try passing "apm=off" or "apm=real-mode-poweroff" to the kernel during startup. apm=real-mode-poweroff is better because it keeps other apm-features (advanced power managment) turned on.

Q: How can I see a film with subtitles that of course I have, I think Xine is useful but I can't do it?

A: in a console "xine name_movie.ext#subtitle:name_subtitle.ext" you have to replace .ext with the real extension

Q: Which program do I use for word processing, spreadcheat calculations, image processing, burning, scanning, surfing, chatting...

A: Take a look at the Knoppix Tutorial.

See also : * Using and Customizing Knoppix