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wiki:tiny_core_utilities - Tiny Core Linux Wiki

Welcome to the Tiny Core Linux Wiki at!


When you start up bare-bones Tiny Core, it includes command line utilities (mostly busybox) and custom utilities. This document lists and explains the custom utilities, specifically the ones accessible from within X.

The Tiny Core Utilities grow very slowly with each TC release, but they do change. They are not an exhaustive collection of tools, they're just the basic ones you need to survive.

This document was last edited to reflect Tiny Core version 2.10. If you find a glaring error … fix it! Or, at least drop a note in the forum. The wiki depends upon volunteers to keep it up to date - join the team and help.

#Access Locations

Some of the Tiny Core Utilities were written for FLTK, others for sh. In any case, they get the job done.

You can access these utilities from one or more of a few places:

#Control Panel

In X, the Control Panel is the second icon from the left in wbar quicklaunch bar at the bottom of the screen. When you hover over the icon, it will show the label “Panel.” Just click the icon to pull up the Control Panel. Individual tool descriptions follow below.

#Desktop Menu

In X, you can also click on the desktop to bring up a menu. Some utilities appear in that menu as well as (or instead of) the Control Panel.

If you change your Window or Desktop Manager to OpenBox, XFCE, IceWM, or another … your Desktop Menu items may change. The list below is created from stock Tiny Core 2.10.


Once X starts up, wbar is the cool quicklaunch bar. TC 2.10 includes just three icons. Left to right: Aterm, Control Panel, and the Appsbrowser.

Other installed applications/extensions add quicklaunch icons to wbar on boot.

#command line

Many of the Tiny Core utilities can be started from the command line ( aterm). You can dig up filenames yourself, but most are in /usr/bin or /usr/sbin.

#The Utilities

This is mostly a reference page. Search these brief descriptions using your browser's find function.

Each listing includes:

  • location(s) where you can find the utility (in X)
  • brief description of what the utility does


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Appbrowser LOCATION: wbar Menu Bar (3rd icon - gears; “Apps”)

Tiny Core stays tiny by not including a web browser, document editor (unless you count vi …), and lots of other tools. Instead, users may browse the Tiny Core Applicatin Repository - a giant and growing collection of Tiny Core Application Extensions.

Fire up the Appbrowser, connect to the TC repository servers, and browse through the applications you can add to your base TC installation.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Applications

This is not a utility. It is simply a menu folder/division where installed extensions can place entries.

#Control Panel

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Control Panel

This is not a utility. This is a link that pulls up the Control Panel. Besides just being redundant, this ensures you can open the Control Panel if you cannot access it via the wbar entry.

#Refresh Menu

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Refresh Menu

This is not a utility. It is included with FLWM to update the Desktop Menu when changes are made.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Shells → (various) LOCATION: wbar, first icon on the left (“Aterm”)

These links are not custom utilities. Aterm is terminal shell included with stock TC. Aterm supports various backgrounds (black, white, transparent, etc.). Be careful when using the root shells. You won't need sudo to gain root permissions.

#Add to Bootlocal

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Add to Bootlocal

Just before the boot process ends (and just before X starts), Tiny Core runs user-defined commands via the bash script at /opt/ You can use “Add to Bootlocal” to attach your custom scripts to the end of

For command line savvy users, can be edited like any other bash script. Use full file names, however, as the system PATH may not be available during execution of

#Add to Filetool

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Add to Filetool

Just before shutting everything down, Tiny Core makes a back up of your home directory and a list of other files. That list is located at /opt/filetool.lst, and can contain whatever files or directories you put in it. Those files will be restored on next boot.

When using filetool, it is important to consider:

  • entries in filetool.lst _must_ exist, or filetool will exit with an error. This halts shutdown until you deal with it.
  • As filetool.lst grows, shutdown and reboot times increase. It is best to limit filetool.lst to truly required configuration and settings files. It would be a bad idea to put cache and temporary directories in filetool.lst.

#Add to Xfiletool

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Add to Xfiletool

Just before shutting down, TC creates a backup file using /opt/filetool.lst (see “Add to Filetool”, above). Items in /opt/xfiletool.lst are blacklisted from back ups. In particular, Cache and temporary directories are a good thing to put here.

#Apps Audit

LOCATION: Desktop → Tools → Apps Audit LOCATION: Control Panel → Apps Audit

The Apps Audit utility does a variety of things to help keep your TC application extensions up-to-date.

As of Tiny Core 2.10, Apps Audit includes the following:


In order to run, an extension may require other extensions. The former is dependent upon the latter to run, so the latter are called dependencies. Since extensions are under continual update, however, it is important to be sure that your dependency lists and files are accurate. This menu item includes tools to list, check, and update your dependencies, etc.

!#Install Options

(Help! the last guy here didn't really know what “Install Options” is meant to do. Write a summary, or check the forums.)


Update your extensions en masse!


This option lets you select what extensions are loaded at boot. Extensions that are loaded at boot are those that were installed with the App Browser using the “Install” button as opposed to the “OnDemand” button.

This list is actually stored in your tce directory (cat /opt/.tce_dir) as onboot.lst.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Screenshot

Yep, take a screenshot. The file will be stored in your home directory (/home/tc) in PNG format. The cursor is hidden just before the pic is taken. Good for showing off your cool new TC-based toy.

#Picture Viewer

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Picture Viewer

Once you have a screenshot (see Screenshot, above) you need a way to view it. Picture Viewer provides a small FLTK-based wrapper around the command-line tool flpicsee.

#Run Command

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Run Command LOCATION: Control Panel → Run Command

This is a FLTK wrapper to issue a command-line command. Alternatively, use the Terminal.

#TC Terminal Server

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Terminal Server

Yep, run a tiny, TC-based terminal server. Scourge the forum for using one computer to support netboot in another, to operate an extension repository, or do other cool network-type stuff.

#Set Time

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Set Time

Update your computer's time via an internet server. Pretty self explanatory. Good if your system has a bad CMOS battery, for example.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Top

Top is the terminal-based procedure monitor. Great for checking out what is running, how much CPU time it is taking, etc. In particular, note process ids in order to kill rogue processes.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Vi

Vi is the ubiquitous terminal editor. If you have never used vi … you'll probably need a tutorial. Google for vi tutorials. Vi is found on most *nix systems, so it is a good skill to have handy.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Tools → Xkill

There will be times when an X (graphical) application locks up or just won't go away. These things happen. You could pull up a terminal, call top, find the process id, and then issue kill/pkill/killall or something else. Or you could just use Xkill to point and shoot.

#New Desktop

LOCATION: Desktop Menu → New Desktop

This is not a utility. For FLWM, the stock window manager, you can use this entry to add a new virtual desktop. To switch desktops, FLWM expects Ctrl+F1, Ctrl+F2, …, Ctrl+Fx.


LOCATION: Desktop Menu → Logout

Yep, log out. Select one of Shutdown, Restart, or Exit to Prompt. Use the latter if you just need to restart X. The Logout screen now also asks you to define your backup location. It will need a drive and folder in the form drive/folder, e.g.: hda2/tce.

To add suspend or hibernate, search the forums for instructions (that's just beyond this doc).

#Xvesa Setup

LOCATION: Control Panel → Xvesa Setup

When you first run TC, it usually does a great job of detecting your video settings. If you prefer, you can adjust those settings using Xvesa Setup.

If you are on a netbook, try out the 915resolution extension. It may help produce the screen resolution needed for your screen.


LOCATION: wbar (first icon on the left - Monitor; “Aterm”)

See Shells, above.


LOCATION: Control Panel

From the Control Panel, you can set the Backup device for Filetool (see “Add to Filetool,” above). If needed, you can also recall a backup (“restore”) or clear the backup location (“none”).

The Backup/Restore dialog expects a location in the form like “Logout,” above.

The full name of the backup location is stored at /opt/.tce_dir.

#Wiki to-do

Unfortunately, this collection is incomplete. Add some! In particular, some Control Panel entries need coverage:

Backup/Restore Mount Tool Cron Daemon Date/Time Backgrounds Swapfile Tool DHCP Client Floppy Tool Netcard Config Select Mirror TFTP Server Mouse Tool System Stats Set TCE Drive Update Apps USB Install - Console wizard to help you install TC to a USB device. Swapfile (Swapfile tool) (Backup Restore) (OnDemand) - Allows you to manually load extensions using a CLI menu system. (Mount Tool) (Select Mirror)

Deprecated tools:

Make tclocal Makes a partition inside a file. This file can be used as a raw partition in an emulator like QEMU, or as a Tiny Core Virtual Disk.


It's hard to know exactly who wrote what in Tiny Core … that's often the way open source goes. If you'd like to thank people, though, make a point to get on the forum and express your thanks. The right people will get the message, and they'll appreciate it.

When you start writing extensions and utilities, you'll appreciate it, too!