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Install Tinycore to a USB Drive

This method may be used to install Tinycore on a USB drive.

For other installation methods, see the Index.

Before installing Tinycore, save a copy of all files you want to keep. All files will be lost.

Be aware: Older computers may not be able to start an operating system on a USB drive.

Things You Need

A computer.

A USB drive.

The CorePlus CD.

Download Tinycore

Download the latest version of Coreplus or Tinycore ISO from one of the mirrors, and write it to a CD.


coreplus ISO contains many extras like tc-install (used for installing tinycore to a drive), wifi tools and firmware extensions, etc. etc..

tinycore ISO does not contain any required install extensions but will likely boot to a tinycore desktop where you may download tc-install-GUI and hardware specific extensions for a more compact installation.

Run Tinycore

Place the coreplus or tinycore CD in the drive, and restart the computer, selecting Tinycore with the installer (if coreplus is used).

Mount the ISO

Click on the Mount Tool.

Click on the CD drive so it becomes mounted. It will be green when mounted.

The CD drive naming scheme will be something like sr0.

Hard drive and USB drive partitions are normally something like sda1.

Run the Installer

If tinycore.iso is used, download the tc-install extension

tce-load -wi tc-install-GUI.tcz

To run the installer, click TC-Install in the wbar or menu.

Another option is to click the Run icon, and type


Select the location of the tinycore initrd file. It should be “/mnt/sr0/boot/core.gz” If not sr0, use the correct drive.

Select Frugal.

Select Whole Disk.

Select the correct drive. Warning: If you select the wrong drive, everything on that drive will be lost.

Click the Forward arrow.

Formatting Options: Select ext2.

Click the Forward arrow.

Boot options: waitusb=5

(note: waitusb=5:UUID=“xxxxxx-xxxxxx” bootcode is automatically added when a removable drive is connected)

Click the Forward arrow.

Click Proceed.

Tinycore will be installed.

Restart the Computer

You can restart the computer and run Tinycore. Remember to remove the CD.

Have fun using Tinycore.

If the computer will not start Tinycore on the USB drive, see If a Computer Won't Start from a CD, DVD or USB Drive

Also see: Install Applications, Make Extensions for Settings, Backup, Options when Installed on a USB Drive and Maximize the life of a USB Drive.


The most common install error results in booting to a command line with no extensions loaded. This scenario often occurs when third party iso2usb tools are used. Primarily due to the tinycore boot process running ahead of kernel hardware detection, otherwise known as “Slow USB” A simple resolution for this is to add the “waitusb” bootcode to your boot config file (typically = /mnt/sdb1/boot/extlinux/extlinux.cfg)


In a default install this would be the expected extlinux.cfg entry:

title Core
kernel /boot/vmlinuz loglevel=3 waitusb=5
initrd /boot/core.gz

There are scenarios where it's better to specify the USB thumb drive by UUID (or Label)

First identify your USB drive (often /dev/sdb1) If necessary load util-linux extension

tce-load -wi util-linux.tcz


blkid -s UUID /dev/sdb1
/dev/sdb1: UUID="B854-8FE0"

Next modify the waitusb bootcode. Example:

title Core
kernel /boot/vmlinuz loglevel=3 waitusb=5:UUID="B854-8FE0"
initrd /boot/core.gz

Other Options

Using the Core2usb installer from Windows

Core2usb is a Windows native program that makes it easy to install Tinycore or Core from the downloaded ISO image to a bootable pendrive. Core2usb can be found on Sourceforge.


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