Make a Damn Small Linux USB from Windows

USB Damn Small Linux (DSL)? This is a revisit of the Windows DSL USB installation tutorial: "Putting Damn Small Linux on a USB". Based on the 2.4 kernel, the tiny DSL distro is great to use for older and slower computers as well. It will fit and run on portable devices or drives as small as 64MB.

USB Booting Damn Small Linux

USB Damn Small Linux

What is (DSL) Damn Small Linux?

Damn Small Linux was originally created by John Andrews, and is basically a trimmed down version of an early Knoppix build, making it perfect for smaller drives.

It gained popularity for its incredibly small footprint, as the entire operating system could fit on a business card sized CD or USB drive. Despite its tiny size, DSL aimed to provide a functional and usable desktop environment, making it suitable for older hardware or situations where resource usage needed to be minimal. This tiny Linux distrribution incorporated a Fluxbox window manager and a selection of lightweight applications to help keep the system requirements to a minimum.

While the development of DSL has slowed down over the years, its influence on the Linux community and the concept of lightweight Linux distributions remains notable.

Damn Small Linux Specifications

  • Distribution Home Page: DSL Home Page
  • Developer: DSL was developed by John Andrews
  • Release Date: It was first released in 2003
  • Minimum Thumb Drive Size: 64MB (But YUMI requires >2GB)
  • Persistent Feature: Yes

DSL Bootable USB thumb drive creation essentials

  • Fast USB thumb drive
  • Windows Host PC (with Admin access)
  • DSL ISO file
  • YUMI (to install DSL to USB and make it bootable)

How to make a Damn Small Linux USB drive

  1. Download and run the YUMI Make Bootable USB Tool
  2. (1) Choose your flash drive from the dropdown.
    (2) Select DSL from the list of distributions.
    (3) Browse to your DSL ISO, and then click Create.
    USB Boot DSL using YUMI
  3. Once the script has finished, reboot your computer and set your system BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device

If all goes well, you should now be booting DSL from your Damn Small Linux Bootable USB.

I should mention that it is also possible to virtually run Damn Small Linux in Windows by using Qemu emulation, without the need to reboot the PC. For other options, see the readme file that was written by the author of DSL.