Slax on CD/DVD
If you plan to run Slax from a CD or DVD
disc then you need to download Slax as an ISO file. In fact,
the ISO file is a complete image of a CD, so what you need
to do is to burn it to a CD/DVD media. Actually it doesn't
matter if you choose CD or DVD, both will just work. The
most important part is that you can't burn it as a regular
file. That wouldn't work. Instead, you have to burn it as a
disc image. In Windows 7 for example, just right-click the
ISO file and select
Burn disc image from the context menu.
On older windowses, you'll need some special software for
the task, for example you can try Free ISO Burner. When
done, put Slax CD/DVD disc to your CD/DVD drive and reboot.
You may need to press some key to show a boot menu while
your computer starts and select to boot from CD/DVD. That
magic key which shows you the boot menu is usually
Esc, consult your BIOS documentation or watch onscreen
instructions when your computer reboots to make sure.
Install Slax on hard disk or USB flash drive
In order to run Slax from hard drive or
from an USB device, you need to copy the contents of the ISO file
directly to your disk's root. There is just one folder
/slax/, which needs to be copied.
For example Windows 8.1 will simply open the ISO file
for you as like if it was a directory. You may need some special
software for this task if your operating system can't access the
contents of the ISO file. Alternatively, you can burn the
ISO file to a CD/DVD disc and then copy it from there.
You should end up with
/slax/ folder on your
disk, for example like
E:\slax\. It is required
that your disk uses msdos partition scheme (use MBR, not GPT).
Furthermore, it needs to be formatted, FAT32 is recommended
for best portability.
When done, one more step is required in order to make the
drive bootable: navigate to
directory on your USB device or hard disk and locate
bootinst.bat file there (Linux users
bootinst.sh). Just run it by double clicking,
it will make all the necessary changes to your
device's master boot record so your computer's BIOS could
actually understand how to boot Slax from your disk.
Keep in mind that the boot installer does not support
multiboot, so only Slax will be bootable from the given
Next follow the same procedure like if you were booting from CD - reboot your computer and choose to boot from the USB drive or hard disk in your computer's boot menu. Again, you may need to consult your BIOS documentation to find out how to boot an operating system on your computer from your desired device.
Slax boot options
Before Slax itself starts loading, you can
see a big clover image in the middle of your screen. This is
the boot logo. It is displayed for a short while, and you
have exactly four seconds to press
Esc key during that time
in order to fine tune the way how Slax is going to boot.
Esc will invoke a simple boot menu like the
Run Slax (Keep changes persistent) Run Slax (Fresh start) Run Slax (Copy to RAM)
You may use this menu to copy
Slax data to RAM during startup or to run Slax in
"fresh start" mode, in case if your persistent changes are broken.
Use arrow keys to navigate and
key to select any option.
When running from a read-only media such as CD/DVD,
Slax stores all system changes
in memory only and you lose them when you reboot. If you start
Slax from a writable media, such as USB drive, then all the changes you
make to the operating system itself are saved and
restored next time you boot. If your device uses FAT
filesystem, which is most common on USB flash drives,
then all file modifications to Slax itself are saved into
a special file
changes.dat, which is created
on your boot device in
directory, and grows automatically in size up to 4GB. If
your boot device uses a native Linux filesystem such as
ext4, then the changed files are saved natively to
/slax/changes/ directory without any need
for intermediate changes.dat file. If you, for any
reason, do not like persistent changes, simply select a different
option in the boot menu and your Slax will start
using the default 'fresh' configuration and won't save
any modifications. It may be useful also in cases you'd
like to test something system-wide, since you can always
revert to the default state by simple reboot (in case
things screw up).
changes.dat is designed to work
even on FAT filesystems, which are commonly used on most USB
flash drives. Unfortunately FAT is limited to 4GB file size;
for that reason, persistent changes can't grow more. In case
you need to save more, please format your storage drive with
some Linux filesystem such as EXT4 or BTRFS and install Slax
to it. Slax will be able to save changes natively and will
be limited only by the actual capacity of your device.
Persistent Changes functionality does not (of course) affect
files on hard drives in your computer. If you modify these
files, they will always be modified regardless of your
persistent changes settings.
Shutting down Slax safely
When Slax is running, it reads system data
from the device it booted from. If you're using Persistent
Changes then Slax even writes data to your boot device.
Unplugging or ejecting it would make the operating system
crash. Due to that, you can unplug the boot device only
after your computer is switched off or reboots to other
operating system. Similarly, if you access your computer's
hard drives while running Slax, those will stay mounted and
will be marked as 'in use'. Be sure to always shutdown Slax
properly, either from the shutdown menu or using
reboot commands, and always wait until the system ends.
Running Slax from memory
There may be situations though when you
need to unplug the boot device as soon as possible while
keeping Slax running. This is indeed possible; it
requires your computer to load (copy) all Slax data to
RAM memory during startup, so it is accessible even after
your boot device is no longer plugged in. In order to put
this "Copy to RAM" feature into action, make sure to start
Slax with this boot option in boot menu. The time
needed to start Slax will increase, since it will need to
copy the entire
/slax directory from CD or
USB to your computer's memory, but then it will run Slax
from there, letting you disconnect your boot device. Your
computer will need at least 512 MB of RAM to hold all
Slax data while still having enough free RAM for the
operating system itself. Remember that even if you run
Slax from memory, you have to properly shut it down when
needed in order to safely unmount your hard drives (if
Cheatcodes for Slax
Boot parameters (also known as cheatcodes)
are used to affect the boot process of Slax. Some of them
are common for all Linuxes, others are specific for Slax
only. You can use them to disable desired kind of hardware
detection, to start Slax from hard drive, etc. To use
Esc key to activate boot menu during Slax
startup as usual, and when you see the boot menu, press
A command line will appear at the bottom of the screen,
which you can edit or add new boot parameters at the end:
|from=||Load Slax data from specified directory|
or even from an ISO file
|noload=||Disable loading of particular .sb modules|
specify as regular expression
|nosound||Mute sound on startup||nosound|
|toram||Activate Copy to RAM feature||slax.flags=toram|
|perch||Activate Persistent Changes feature||slax.flags=toram,perch|
|text||Disable starting of X and stay in textmode console only||text|
|debug||Enable Slax startup debugging||debug|
Separate commands by space. See manual pages
man bootparam for more cheatcodes common for all Linuxes.