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Knoppix install to hard disk HOWTO

KNOPPIX is a full featured Linux-on-a-CD that comes with KDE and a collection of Windows Managers, Office programs, Tools and more. It automatically detects everything on boot. KNOPPIX is a must have for many people and here's just a few things you can do with KNOPPIX

Here you can find the instructions on installing a Debian system.

Note: These instructions are a little old. This installation system still works but there is a better one that you can start by running knoppix-install in Knoppix.

This is a local copy of

Knoppix install to hard disk HOWTO

by David McNab <david@freenet.org.nz>


Full GNU/Linux Desktop installed in 20 minutes flat!
No more excuses for running W--dows!

Knoppix is a remarkable Linux 'demo' distribution, in that it can run totally from a CD, without disturbing any existing software or disks on the system it's running on.

Even better, Knoppix can auto-detect hardware as it starts up, and does quite a good job of configuring this hardware.

And still better, Knoppix is chock-full of the best desktop software which GNU/Linux has to offer - office software, games, productivity suites, software development tools, multimedia - you name it!

After seeing a Knoppix demo, many users decide that they'd like to have Knoppix permanently installed on their system. This HOWTO gives a simple step-by-step guide to putting Knoppix on the hard disk, with the added bonus that it will run faster from then on.

This guide covers a couple of obvious points which are strangely missing from the Knoppix website, and will help you to go from first boot to a fully set up GNU/Linux desktop in 20 minutes flat!

System Requirements

To install and run Knoppix on your PC, you'll need:

Installation Procedure

To get Knoppix installed onto your hard drive:
  1. Boot the Knoppix CD.

  2. When the boot prompt comes up, choose your language.
    Most of us speak English, so we'll type:
    boot: knoppix lang=en
    then press ENTER (you don't type the 'boot:' part, of course)

  3. Wait till the system is fully launched, including the KDE desktop

  4. Press CTRL-ALT-F1, to get a root console. You should see a shell prompt

  5. Type: knx-hdinstall

  6. Follow the guided installation menus. This will include:

    • Creating a Linux partition (at least 2.5GB
    • Creating a Linux Swap partition (at least 256MB)
    • 'Mounting' the Linux partition as root
    • Initialising the swap partition
    • Copying all the required files (automatically)
    • Setting up networking
    • Setting passwords
    • Setting up the bootloader (Note: take care with this stage - it could render your system incapable of booting into Windows. If you really need Windows, then it might be a good idea to set up GRUB Bootloader with a 'chainloader' entry, so that you can dual boot. Working this out is an exercise left to the reader - there are too many possible scenarios for me to cover in this short guide. Also see man grub and the files in /usr/share/doc/grub)
    • Rebooting (without the CD)

  7. When you've rebooted Knoppix from your hard disk, click on the KDE Control Centre icon in the launcher at the bottom of the screen (icon of a colour monitor with a card in front of it)

  8. Within the Control Center, click on Personliche Einstellungen

  9. Click on Land und Sprache

  10. Choose the locale and language of your choice

  11. Click on Andwenden at bottom of that window

  12. Close and restart the Control Center

  13. Click on Peripherals, then Keyboard, and choose your preferred keyboard layout (which will probably be US.English. Click OK and close the window

  14. Press CTRL-ALT-F2 to get to the root console, and log in as root (using the password you chose when you ran the installer)

  15. (Optional) - type apt-get update (followed by ENTER). This will update your list of available packages, and takes about 5-10 minutes.

  16. Hey, presto, you've got a fully installed GNU/Linux desktop

From here on in, you'll probably want to fine-tune a few things, set up themes, backgrounds etc. But most of the hard work is already done for you!

And lastly, note that Knoppix is based on Debian, which is arguably the finest GNU/Linux infrastructure available. To learn more about your system, and how to add/change/remove software, go to the Debian website and read the documents. If you get really stuck, start up X-Chat and log into irc.debian.org or irc.openprojects.net and join channel #knoppix. That is one busy chat room, with Debian Linux experts present 24/7, willing to help. Please also know that, even though Knoppix is based on the Debian distribution, your enquiries in #debian may not be welcomed.

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Hooman Baradaran <webmaster_AT_hoomanb-dot-com>
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