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Install On USB Drive from Windows PC without a CD/DVD drive

!!!Caution: Please backup all important files before continuing, as we don't wish for anyone to loose their important data. To help prevent any kind of catastrophe we ask that you backup all important data and assign the Letter X to your USB drive. However, remember to change this and any commands within this guide as required by your system!!!



Option 1

Use Windows Disk Management Utility to format the USB, Manually install syslinux boot manager, then mount and copy contents of Tinycore/CorePlus ISO to USB and make minor (but necessary) file name adjustments for TinyCore compatibility
Things You Need

A Windows computer (A Windows10 based notebook was used for testing of this guide).

A bootable USB thumb drive.

The Latest TinyCore.ISO or CorePlus.ISO from http://tinycorelinux.net/downloads.html

Downloaded zip archive of syslinux-4.07.zip from https://mirrors.edge.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/


Step By Step - Simple
  1. Format the USB drive
    • format drive with Fat32,
    • assign letter with “X” to the USB drive
  2. Download latest Tinycore/CorePlus ISO
  3. Extract the contents (copy both “BOOT” & “CDE” directories) of either Tinycore/CorePlus ISO to the USB Drive
  4. Within the USB drive, rename the directory “cde” to “tce”
  5. Within the USB\”boot” directory,
    • rename the directory “isolinux” to “syslinux”
  6. Within the USB\boot\”syslinux” directory,
    • rename “isolinux.cfg” to “syslinux.cfg”
    • rename “isolinux.bin” to “syslinux.bin”
    • edit “syslinux.cfg” to replace all instances of “cde” with “waitusb=5”
  7. Download syslinux (syslinux-4.07.zip)
  8. Extract the syslinux-4.07.zip archive to c:\syslinux
  9. Open command prompt with administrator privileges (start > run > cmd (run as admin))
  10. Navigate to the c:\SYSLINUX\win32 folder.
  11. Type “dir” and verify that “syslinux.exe” is there
  12. Type “syslinux -mafi X:” to install syslinux to the USB Drive
    • Note: Assumes USB drive is assigned letter “X” (adjust as needed)
  13. Reboot and select to boot from your USB device.

Step By Step - Expanded
  1. Format the USB drive with Fat32 using Windows Disk Management
    • run diskmgmt.msc,
    • select desired Removable drive and verify identity of USB drive before continuing,
    • verify selected removable USB drive has correct volume size before continuing,
    • When sure you have selected the correct USB drive; delete existing volume,
    • create new Simple Volume,
    • select Max size (if not more than 127GiB),
    • assign USB drive with letter “X”,
    • format drive with Fat32 - default unit size - Label = TinyCore - Uncheck “Perform quick format”,
    • Next,
    • review every detail making sure the correct drive is selected & Finish (Formatting may take a while).
  2. Download Tinycore-current/CorePlus-current.iso ISO http://tinycorelinux.net/downloads.html
  3. Extract the contents of the Tinycore-current/CorePlus-current.ISO
    • In Win10 “File Explorer” is accomplished by double selecting on the desired ISO
    • In other Windows version = (Unknown at present)
  4. Copy the extracted “boot & cde directories (and contents) to the root of USB drive X
  5. Within the USB,
    • rename the directory “cde” to “tce”
  6. Within the USB\boot directory,
    • rename the directory “isolinux” to “syslinux”
  7. Within the “syslinux” directory,
    • rename “isolinux.cfg” to “syslinux.cfg”
    • rename “isolinux.bin” to “syslinux.bin”
  8. Within the “USB\boot\syslinux” directory,
    • edit “syslinux.cfg”, open with notepad (to replace all instances of “cde” with “waitusb=5”)
    • Keyboard select: “Ctrl+H” to bring up the edit>replace window
    • “Find What:” cde
    • “Replace with:” waitusb=5
    • select “Replace All”
    • close (x) “replace” window
    • Keyboard select: “Ctrl+S” to save changes to syslinux.cfg
    • Exit Notepad
  9. Extract the syslinux-4.07.zip archive to c:\syslinux
    • Open downloaded “syslinux-4.07.zip”
    • select “Extract All”
    • Enter in location to extract “C:\syslinux”
    • Select “Extract”
  10. Verify your removable USB drive is “X:” before continuing with next step!
    • Verify your removable USB drive is assigned the letter X
    • Verify your removable USB drive is correct volume size
    • Verify your removable USB drive is formatted “Fat32”
  11. Open a command prompt with administrator privileges (start > run > cmd (run as admin))
    • Search “cmd”
    • RightClick select “cmd” icon and select “Run As Administrator”
  12. Navigate to the c:\SYSLINUX\win32 folder.
    • Enter “cd c:\syslinux\win32”
    • Type “dir” and verify that “syslinux.exe” is there
  13. Type “syslinux -mafi X:” to install syslinux to the USB Drive
    • Note: Some systems may benefit from using c:\SYSLINUX\win64\syslinux64.exe (adjust as needed)
  14. Reboot and select to boot from your USB device.


Option 2

Use the popular RUFUS USB drive creation utility to format and install syslinux boot manager, then mount and copy Tinycore/CorePlus ISO contents to USB and make minor necessary file name adjustments for TinyCore compatibility
Things You Need

A Windows computer (A Windows10 based notebook was used for testing of this guide).

A bootable USB thumb drive.

The Latest TinyCore.ISO or CorePlus.ISO from http://tinycorelinux.net/downloads.html

Downloaded Portable Version of Rufus (popular bootable USB drive creation tool) https://rufus.ie/en_IE.html


    • Run RUFUS and make the following selections
    • “Device” - Select desired USB (Verify correct USB volume size)
    • “Boot selection” - Select “Syslinux 4.07” from drop down menu
    • “Partition Scheme” - Select “MBR”
    • “Volume label” - Enter desired USB name
    • “File System” - “Fat32” (Or Fat16 if necessary)
    • “Create extended label and icon files” - Uncheck
    • Leave all others - Default
    • “Start” - Select
  1. Download latest Tinycore/CorePlus ISO
  2. Mount and Extract the contents (copy both “BOOT” & “CDE” directories) of either Tinycore/CorePlus ISO to the USB Drive
  3. Within the USB drive, rename the directory “cde” to “tce”
  4. Within the USB\”boot” directory,
    • rename the directory “isolinux” to “syslinux”
  5. Within the USB\boot\”syslinux” directory,
    • rename “isolinux.cfg” to “syslinux.cfg”
    • rename “isolinux.bin” to “syslinux.bin”
    • edit “syslinux.cfg” to replace all instances of “cde” with “waitusb=5”
  6. Reboot and select to boot from your USB device.
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