Welcome to the Tiny Core Linux Wiki at tinycorelinux.net!

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Getting Started

This page explains how to get started using TC (Tiny Core Linux) and applications.

These brief instructions are intended for users who are new to Linux as well as Tiny Core.

Getting TC running

Tiny Core starts from a CD called a “LiveCD”. This runs on the system without needing to be installed (handy if your version of MS Windows isn't working)! Actually one of the core tenets of Tiny Core is that it doesn't expect anything to be installed.

  1. Download the Live CD image
    The image of the CD is an .iso file (about 12MB) which can be downloaded from downloads page.
  2. Burn the ISO to CD
    1. - Your CD burning software needs to have an option (menu item) to burn an ISO image file or bootable ISO file. Use the bootable if both choices are available. Don't burn the ISO file as regular file, or an audio track.
    2. - After burning the CD, re insert it and open it in a file browser. If your see “tinycore-current.iso” … it won't boot. You must see a folder called “boot”. If you have trouble, search for notes on your software. Generic notes on common platforms: Linux - burn iso, Mac - burn iso, Windows - burn iso
  3. Boot the CD
    The BIOS setting on your computer must be set so the CD drive is booted before other media(like the Hard Disk). Different manufactures use different keys to enter the utility to modify the BIOS settings. Watch intently when your system boots for a message like: “Press F10 to change system settings” or “Press DEL to enter setup”. If you see the MS windows logo it you missed it. Try holding down the Ctrl key while the system boots.
    in 2-3 seconds you will see:
    Simply press enter or include special options as shown by pressing F2 are

    tce={hda1|sda1} Specify Restore TCE apps directory
    restore={hda1|sda1|floppy} Specify saved configuration location
    waitusb=X Wait X seconds for slow USB devices
    swapfile{=hda1} Scan or Specify swapfile
    home={hda1|sda1} Specify persistent home directory
    opt={hda1|sda1} Specify persistent opt directory
    lst=yyy.lst Load alternate static yyy.lst on boot
    base Skip TCE load only the base system
    norestore Turn off the automatic restore
    safebackup Saves a backup copy (mydatabk.tgz)
    showapps Display application names when booting

Shown with F3

Color 640×480 800×600 1024×768 1280×1024
256 8 bit 769 771 773 775
32000 15 bit 784 787 790 793
65000 16 bit 785 788 791 794
16.7M 24 bit 786 789 792 795

vga=7xx 7xx from table above
xsetup Prompt user for Xvesa setup
lang=en C only unless getlocale.tcz is installed
kmap=us US only unless kmaps.tcz is installed
text Textmode
superuser Textmode as user root
noicons Do not use icons
noswap Do not use swap partition
nodhcp Skip the dhcp request at boot
noutc BIOS is using localtime
pause Pause at completion of boot messages

Shown with F4
{cron|syslog} Start various daemons at boot
host=xxxx Set hostname to xxxx
secure Set password
protect Password Encrypted Backup
noautologin Skip automatic login
tz=GMT+8 Timezone tz=PST+8PDT,M3.2.0/2,M11.1.0/2
user=abc Specify alternate user
desktop=yyy Specify alternate window manager
laptop Force load laptop related modules
noembed Unpack initramfs to tmpfs
nozswap Skip compressed swap in ram
xvesa=800x600x32 Set Xvesa default screen resolution
mydata=yyyy Specify alternate name for backup file
blacklist=ssb Blacklist a single module
multivt Allows for multiple virtual terminals

For example to boot tiny core and avoid the timezone from defaulting to GMT you might use something like:
tc tz=US/Eastern hostname=DG12S-TESTBOX

Just a few screen blinks and 20 seconds later and
You will see the Tiny Core Desktop!

The TC Desktop

The TC desktop will appear after about 30 seconds. It will look something like:


(And here are some more Tiny Core screenshots.)

Four icons float at the bottom of the screen in an area referred to as wbar.


  • The circle :shutdown, reboot or exit to a login prompt.
  • The monitor : a Linux terminal ( aterm). You can type *nix-style commands in this text-only window. Sometimes, If you know *nix commands, the Terminal window is the fastest way to get things done.
  • The screwdriver : Control Panel. The Control Panel gives buttons to access basic Tiny Core utilities.
  • The gears : Appbrowser window enables you to get applications.

The Desktop Menu appears when you mouse click the desktop.

Base/stock Tiny Core intentionally includes no applications. Typical applications (like a web browser, word-processor, music player, etc.) must be selected by you, downloaded and installed. Fortunately, this is fairly easy thanks to … Appbrowser!

The Internet

(but I thought I was going to learn about Appbrowser!?)

First you need to connect your computer to the Internet. Tiny Core includes only a few modules (drivers), so your wireless connection may not work. Tiny Core does auto-magically connect just about every wired Ethernet cable connections, though.

If you only have a wireless connection (or if that is the only one that works), you will have to do some other configuration first. Read Setting up Wifi.

If you're one of the few that Tiny Core didn't set up right away, you can troubleshoot your network connection:

  • Reboot, ideally without cycling the power. Some network cards act funny on a cold boot, but will work fine after a reboot.
  • The first stop for help is usually the Tiny Core forums. Search for your problem there.
  • If you know about command-line arguments to the kernel … try waitusb=5 (about 5 seconds). Some network cards don't boot up as fast as Tiny Core does. This will give them time to do that.
  • If you know how to use the command-line tool ifconfig, use it.

Getting Applications

Tiny Core uses the Appbrowser to install “application extensions.” Briefly called “extensions”, these are the applications you want to use.

Appbrowser requires an internet connection (or at least having the extensions available locally). When you're set, check out the Appbrowser tutorial.

The Appbrowser gives users access to a lot of apps. Hundreds of apps, going on thousands. Each one is contributed by users just like you. The Appbrowser repository is generously hosted offsite (by ibiblio.org as of 2009/2010 - thanks, UNCCH!).

Is the repository missing something you want or need? Here are the current guidelines - submit it for a Tiny share of fame, glory, and honor.

Where now?

If your LiveCD worked (and especially if not), the next stop is the Tiny Core forum. You can learn about the people on the project, and become a contributor yourself.

You can also contribute by:

  • Reporting on your Tiny Core installation and hardware
  • Adding to (correcting/updating) this wiki
  • Creating new items for the Appbrowser repository
  • Using Tiny Core and reporting on your findings - not just bugs, but preferences, suggestions, etc.

Thanks from the Tiny Core Team - thanks for checking out Tiny Core, and for joining the project.

If your LiveCD did not work, it might with a different boot code? See http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/faq.html#bootcodes

Please check out the other wiki pages Index