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Install Tiny Core on a USB Drive without being Connected to the Internet - Version 3.6

There are more recent versions of Tinycore, with improvements and additional features, and easier installation methods. For these see the Index.

This method may be used to install Tiny Core on a USB drive using a computer not connected to the internet. It may be used by people who don't have an internet connection. It may also be used by people using wireless or dial up internet connections, which can't be connected to the internet until after Tiny Core is installed.

Before installing Tiny Core, 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.

Use the Latest Version

Use the latest version of Tiny Core. New versions have improvements and additional features.

To use this method of installation, you need Tiny Core 3.6.

Things You Need

A computer.

The Tiny Core CD.

A USB drive.

The Parted Magic CD.

Either install.gz

Or the dosfstools-3.tcz and syslinux.tcz extensions. If you plan to use the USB zip option in the installer, you also need perl5.tcz.

Download Tiny Core

Download the latest version of Tiny Core from one of the mirrors, and write it to a CD.

Download Extensions

Download either install.gz

Or the dosfstools-3.tcz and syslinux.tcz extensions. If you plan to use the USB zip option, also download perl5.tcz.

These may be downloaded from the same mirrors.

Download Parted Magic

Download the latest version of Parted Magic.

Run Parted Magic

Start the computer, running Parted Magic.

Partition the Drive

Before installing Tiny Core, the drive needs to be partitioned appropriately.

Before partitioning the drive, save a copy of all files you want to keep. All files on the drive will be lost.

Start the GParted Partition Editor.

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

Delete the existing partition.

Create an Ext2 partition using the entire USB drive.

Set the flag of the partition to Boot or Active.

Create tce Directory and Paste Extensions

Open the file manager, select the drive (on the left side - this mounts it), then find the partition you created. It may be something like /media/sda1/.

If using install.gz, create a new directory in the partition, and name it “tce.” Copy and paste install.gz to the tce directory (not /tce/optional).

If using the .tcz extensions, create a new directory in the partition, and name it “tce.” Create a new directory in the tce directory, and name it “optional.” Copy and paste all .tcz files you downloaded to the /tce/optional directory.

When installing from a hard drive or USB drive, put install.gz or extensions in the tce directory of the operating system you are installing from.

Run Tiny Core

Put the Tiny Core CD in the drive, and restart the computer, so it runs Tiny Core.

Install Local

If using install.gz, skip this.

If using the .tcz extensions, open the App Browser, click Local, click on an extension, and click OK. Repeat this to install each extension.

In some situations, you may need to mount the USB drive before running Install Local. To mount the drive, start the mount tool. If the drive is green, it is already mounted. If it is red, click on it, so it becomes green.

Run the Installer

Run the installer from Control Panel, then HD/USB Install.

Select Tiny Core.

Select the location of either the tinycore iso file, or the tinycore.gz file.

Select Frugal.

Select Existing Partition. Then select the partition. Warning: If you select the wrong partition, everything on that partition will be lost.

Click on the square preceeding “Mark Partition Active (bootable)” so it becomes ticked.

Click the Forward arrow.

Formatting Options: Select No formatting, use existing.

Click the Forward arrow.

Boot options: You may leave this blank.

Click the Forward arrow.

Click Proceed.

Tiny Core will be installed.

Restart the Computer

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

Have fun using Tiny Core.

If the computer will not start Tiny Core 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.

Use Passwords

If you want to use passwords to prevent other people from logging in, you can set up a menu, as explained in Extlinux Bootloader, and add passwords, as explained in Extlinux Passwords.

Another option is to use Tiny Core Passwords.

Persistent opt

If persistent opt is used on a USB drive, in most situations, it results in less writing to the usb drive. Most people change settings in opt, less often than they backup.

When setting up persistent opt in a USB drive, it is ideal to use the UUID.

To set up persistent opt, edit the bootloader configuration file, adding persistent opt (/mnt/sda1/boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf. It may be a partition other than sda1.).

You should already have tce=UUID=“9aff3da3-474d-440d-bb6c-3240afe84ac6” (the number will be different). To set up persistent opt, copy the UUID number for opt, like this

opt=UUID="9aff3da3-474d-440d-bb6c-3240afe84ac6" tce=UUID="9aff3da3-474d-440d-bb6c-3240afe84ac6"

Use the UUID number for your USB drive.

After setting up persistent opt, edit /opt/.filetool.lst, and remove all references to opt, so it is not included in backup.