Puppy Linux Install Problems – Before, During and Right After Installation

Puppy Linux Install Problems – Before, During and Right After Installation
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Puppy Linux is a light weight distribution we review almost every release in Bright Hub. If you have decided to install Puppy on your computer, I recommend you to go through Miagon’s in-depth guide for this excellent distribution. In it he covers initial setup, choosing the right hardware, preparing your computer, installing the distribution, standard applications and installing new applications. Throughout the article, we will see what could possibly go wrong during installation and what you can do to avoid or fix these potential problems should you encounter them.


If you have a dual boot setup on your computer and one of them is Windows, we advise that before installation, you should first go through the disk defragmentation process and then proceed to open up free space for the Linux install. If you are using WIndows vista you can use the included partitioning tool to free up space on your hard disk however there are some users who report that their hard disks are messed up after resizing it with Vista’s partitioner. At this point, since you will be installing a Linux distribution, why not use GParted by booting your Puppy Linux Live CD and loading up GParted? This will help you avoid any potential partitioning problems before you encounter them!

Broken Installation: Setting Up the Layered Filesystem

After your Puppy Linux install the operating system may initially seem to be working well but in some cases you may receive an error on your screen saying “Broken installation: Setting up the layered filesystem. Kernel panic – not syncing and no killable process.” In most cases this error is a result of you not checking the integrity of the file you have downloaded and burnt on a CD/copied to USB. Immediately after you download Puppy (or any other distribution), make sure that you check the md5sum of the file with md5sum distro-name-version.iso and compare it with the md5sum that the developers announce on the website. If the md5sums do not match, then the ISO file you downloaded has problems, and the safest way to make sure you have a valid ISO is to re-download it or get it elsewhere (from a friend, from a magazine etc.).

Puppy Linux won’t Boot without CD After Installation

Puppy Saving GRUB

During the installation, if you did not install GRUB (the bootloader, which takes care of booting the operating system) to /dev/sda1 (or /dev/hda1) or the Master Boot Record, then you have crippled the installation. You will either have to go through the installation again or edit GRUB manually. If you choose to reinstall, make sure that the GRUB is installed to /dev/sda1 (or depending on your computer /dev/hda1; the installer will give you options for your specific system).

Puppy Linux won’t Boot to Graphical Screen

A common cause of this problem is a hard power off, which means that you have cut the power to your computer when it was still running. In this case, Puppy will prevent itself from booting to X, which will tell the user to not autostart the X server (the graphical screen) after a hard power off and will display a dialog about this and how to proceed.

If this is not the case, another possible cause would be that there is another X Server running. If your computer has halted and has not booted successfully to the graphical screen, this may seem ridiculous, because the X server has not even started a first time let alone a second time. There is a file in /tmp, named bootcnt.txt which holds information about the running graphical screen. If Puppy is shut down properly, the contents of the file are cleared. If not, Puppy checks the file during boot and sees a non-blank bootcnt.txt file and thinks the graphical screen is running and avoids starting another one. The solution is to run the command startx (or xwin) to start the graphical screen. You should get back to normal. To prevent this from happening ever again, open up your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file and add rm -f /tmp/bootcnt.txt to the end of the file.

XP won’t Boot After Puppy Installation

GParted Manage Flags

Boot Puppy from a CD (or USB) and then run Gparted. In Gparted, use “Manage flags” and make sure that the “boot” flag is set on the Windows partition. If this is not the case, do this manually and make the Windows partition bootable. Then insert your Windows XP CD, exit the installation and run the commands fixmbr and fixboot from the command line. This process should make things come back to normal but if you still experience problems, it is a good idea to use grub4dos.

No Problem During Installation but Sound doesn’t Work

Puppy Linux ALSA Configuration

It is most probably due to having two sound devices on your computer; one may be on-board (your motherboard has an on-board audio chipset) and one may be an internal/external sound card. If this is the case, Puppy configures the one which it detects as primary audio device during boot. If it configures on-board chipset, you will not receive audio from your internal/external card or vice versa. To check whether this is the case, run lspci | more from the command line and read the results. If you see more than one audio controller, then go to your computer’s BIOS and disable the on-board sound card. Then boot Puppy, delete your pupsave file and run ALSA wizard. When you complete this process the sound problems should be gone.

My Webcam (Or Any Hardware Component) is not Recognized

This is due to a hardware incompatibility. Be sure to go through the hardware compatibility list (HCL) and check the hardware you are considering purchasing carefully making sure that it is supported under Linux. If not proceed at your own risk: either you will be storming to the forums to make the component work or waiting for a good guy to publish a Linux driver for it. Do your homework, check the HCL and save yourself future headaches. This also holds true for notebooks, netbooks and other OEM computers.


It is not possible to list all the installation problems that users can face in one article. If your problem is not listed here, I strongly recommend you to go to Puppy Linux forums, which I find to be very friendly and active, and ask your question there.