Preparation is key to any operating system installation. And with Puppy Linux, it is no exception. Preparing your computer to accept this small, yet, feature-packed distro is quite simple and quick. All you need is a fully operational computer system and your live CD.
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Preparing Your Hardware
First thing's first, you need to make sure that the computer you have allotted for the installation of the distro is fully functional. While older systems are great candidates for distributions such as Puppy Linux, it is always safe to run a full diagnostics check on the entire system, with an emphasis on the hard drive itself. After all, you do not want to go through all the trouble of having the system go down on you a few days into its use. Most of the time, the hard drive is the first component to fail, so make sure that it is thoroughly diagnosed.
When in doubt, it might not be a bad idea to get yourself a small refurbished, or new hard drive. With costs plummeting, they will be worth the tiny investment. And because Puppy Linux is such a small distribution that consumes less than 100 MB, there will be room to spare with just about any sized hard drive on the market today.
Getting Puppy Linux
With your hardware ready to go, the next step is to download a copy of the ISO file that will allow you to create the installation CD. This is actually easier than you might expect it to be. And because the computer you are about to install Puppy Linux on is probably out of commission without an operating system, you may want to perform the following task on a fully functional system. Perhaps another household computer or a friend's. But make sure that an optical drive is present so that you can burn a copy of the CD you will need for the installation process.
Start by navigating over to the official Puppy Linux site and select the Download link from the front page. As of this writing, the latest version is 4.1.1, so if you find a newer version of the distribution it is OK to download it. From the download page, select the link to download the file and save it to your computer. Once the download is complete, you will create an installation CD from the ISO image file you just downloaded. You can use a program such as Nero or Roxio if you already have them. Or you can download one of many CD/DVD burning programs such as InfraRecorder to perform the same task. InfraRecorder is a personal favorite because it is small, quick to install and very easy to use.
While you are at it, make two copies of the installation and keep one in a safe place. You never know when it might come in handy for use as a Live CD which will allow you to run Puppy Linux on any other computer capable of booting to its optical drive.
What do you get when a Linux-based operating system distribution is designed for all user levels, from beginner to pros; is feature-packed with every essential application you need; runs on just about any PC; takes less than 100 megs of space; and is absolutely free? A Puppy: Puppy Linux, that is.