Run Linux from Windows off a USB Drive with Shared Folders

A while ago I came across this:

Apparently Damn Small Linux distributes an embedded version that is less than 60mb extracted that you can run from a flash drive. I installed it a while back and it works fine but I was upset that I couldn’t access my thumbdrive when I was running DSL.

I did some research and found that you can mount a subfolder using: -hdd fat:folder

This works great but you can’t edit the files in that folder, only read them. Then I found out that you can add write access like this: -hdd fat:rw:folder

That didn’t work! It turns out that DSL distributes an old version of QEMU with theire embedded package. I did some more research and found this link: This fella says that there is an error in the QEMU code and says how to fix it. I really didn’t want to download the source and do this because I am rarely successful at compiling other people’s source code.

I downloaded the newest version of QEMU form here:

I replaced the QEMU files in the DSL embedded  folder and it works fine! Now I can access the USB drive and write to it! Changes will be affected when you exit(cleanly).

What I did was extract the needed files and uploaded them here: Calvin’s QEMU

Here’s an overview of how to achieve this:

  1. Download DSL:
  2. Extract to your thumbdrive.
  3. Open the folder created and extract my QEMU files into the qemu folder, reaplce all.
  4. Create a folder that you want to use for shared content in the DSL main directory. I called mine share.
  5. Open readme.txt in the DSL main directory and follow the instructions for creating the harddisk image and whatnot.
  6. Once everything is setup edit dsl-vhd.bat or create a new batch file with this code:

REM Start qemu on windows.

START qemu\qemu.exe -L qemu/ -no-kqemu -m 128 -soundhw es1370 -localtime -kernel linux24 -initrd minirt24.gz -hda KNOPPIX/knoppix -hdb qemu/harddisk -hdd fat:rw:share -append “qemu frugal quiet restore=hdb mydsl=hdb/mydsl noscsi nousb nofirewire atapicd noideraid noacpi acpi=off noapm noagp ide1=noprobe ide2=noprobe nomce”


Use that new/fixed BATCH file to start DSL. This will use the harddisk image you created so you can download new packages and save settings while still being able to access your shared folder.

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One Response to Run Linux from Windows off a USB Drive with Shared Folders

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