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Install Tinycore on a Hard Drive

This method may be used to install Tinycore on a computer hard drive.
See also: http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php/topic,308.msg1857.html#msg1857

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.

Use the Latest Version

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

Things You Need

A computer.

The coreplus (or tinycore) CD.

Optional: The Parted Magic 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.

When installing Tinycore on a hard drive, it is ideal to have a swap partition. However, some people may choose not to have a swap partition in a computer with large RAM. Computers with small RAM should have a swap partition. To have a swap partition, you need to set up partitions before beginning installation. If you don't want a swap partition, you can skip this section.

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

An easy way for new users to partition a drive is using GParted. People connected to the internet may install GParted in Tinycore, and use it for partitioning. Others may download the latest version of Parted Magic, and use it for partitioning.

Start the GParted Partition Editor.

If you have more than one drive in the computer, select the correct drive. If you select the wrong drive, everything on that drive will be lost.

Delete existing partitions.

If you plan to install only Tinycore using the entire hard drive, make an Ext4 partition and a swap partition. It is common practice to make the Ext4 partition first, using all of the space on the hard drive except that left for swap. A suggested size for the swap partition is double the RAM.

Experienced users may use fdisk, mkfs.ext4 and mkswap, instead of GParted.

Also see Partition a Hard Drive to Install more than one Operating System

Run Tinycore

Put the tinycore CD in the drive, and restart the computer, so it runs Tinycore with the installer.

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 will be something like sdc, without a number at the end. Hard drive and USB drive partitions are normally something like sda1, with a number at the end.

Run the Installer

If tinycore.iso is used, download the tc-install-GUI 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 Tiny Core.

Select the location of the tinycore.gz file. It will be in /mnt/sdc/boot. If not sdc, use the correct drive.

Select Frugal.

If you have partitioned the drive, select Existing Partition. Then select the partition. Warning: If you select the wrong partition, everything on that partition will be lost. Then click on the square preceeding “Mark Partition Active (bootable)” so it becomes ticked.

If you have not partitioned the drive, select Whole Disk. Then 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 ext4.

Click the Forward arrow.

Boot options. Type:

opt=sda1 home=sda1 tce=sda1

If not installing to sda1, change sda1 to the correct partition.

For foreign system language and keymap (in this example german) add additionally

lang=de_DE kmap=/qwertz/de-latin1-nodeadkeys

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.

Optional: Remove waitusb=5 from extlinux

The same installer is used to install Tinycore on a hard drive or a USB drive. When booting from a USB drive, the computer may take some time to read the USB drive. To give it time to read the USB drive, waitusb=5 is included in the boot options. This tells the computer to wait 5 seconds.

When installing to a hard drive, waitusb=5 is included, but is not needed. If this is deleted, Tinycore will start 5 seconds quicker.

To remove this, open the terminal and type:

sudo editor

Open the file /mnt/sda1/boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf. If installed on a partition other than sda1, use the correct partition.



Save the file and close the editor.

You may also add, modify or remove other boot options using the same method.

Save Application Settings

If you included the “norestore” boot option, backup will not be used.

If you install certain applications, you may want to save settings related to those applications. For example, if you install a printer, and want to save printer settings.

There are various ways to save settings.

1. The ideal method in most situations, is to make a new extension with settings. For more information, see Make Extensions for Settings.

2. Settings can also be saved in /opt. For an example of this, see Tinycore Passwords.

3. Another option is to use backup. If you want to use backup, don't include the “norestore” boot option. Then edit /opt/.filetool.lst. If you are using persistent home and opt, delete all references to the home and opt directories. In the version I am using, that is everything. Add a list of files and directories you want backed up to /opt/.filetool.lst.

Also see Install Applications, Make Extensions for Settings, Backup and Options when Installed on a Hard 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 Tinycore Passwords.

Other Options

Install with Tinycore CD and install.gz

Tinycore can be installed using the tinycore CD and install.gz, instead of the multicore CD.

To use this method:

Format the partition as ext4 before beginning installation.

Create a tce directory.

Copy install.gz to the tce directory (not /tce/optional).

Restart the computer for it to be loaded.

During installation:

Select Existing Partition. Then select the partition.

Formatting Options: Select No formatting, use existing.

Install from a Hard Drive or USB Drive

To install from a Hard Drive or USB drive, copy install.gz to the tce directory (not /tce/optional) of the Hard Drive or USB drive.

Restart the computer for it to be loaded.

Load install.gz

install.gz can be loaded from any directory by opening the Control Panel, then clicking Load Starter Pack.

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