How to Boot Puppy Linux From the SD Card

By Jack Gerard

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Puppy Linux Live CD

  • SD card

  • USB SD card adapter

SD memory cards are typically used for digital cameras and camcorders.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Puppy Linux is an open-source operating system designed to use minimal system resources, ensuring that the operating system runs well even when installed on older systems. Because of the small size of the system's core files, Puppy Linux can be installed and run from a CD as a "Live CD" or from other sources such as a hard drive or USB drive. With an SD card adapter, it is even possible to install Puppy Linux to a standard SD card and use it to boot your computer.

Installing to an SD Card

Insert the Puppy Linux Live CD into your computer's CD or DVD drive. Reboot the computer.

Press a key to boot from the CD when prompted to do so. If you are not prompted to boot from the CD, reboot the computer again and press the indicated key to access the "Boot Menu" on the computer's initial start-up screen. Select the drive containing your CD, and then allow the computer to reboot so that it attempts to boot from the CD first.

Click the "Install" icon on the desktop to open the installation options window. Click the button indicated to launch the "Universal Installer" from the "Install Puppy" portion of the window.

Insert the SD card into the SD card adapter and plug the adapter into a USB port on your computer. Select the "USB Flash Drive" option from the Puppy Universal Installer menu and click "OK." Then, select the USB adapter from the list of installed devices.

Follow the on-screen prompts to finish installing Puppy Linux onto your SD card. Once installation is complete, you may reboot your computer. Choose the option to not save your session information, and then allow your computer to boot normally.

Booting from an SD Card

Insert your SD card into the SD card adapter and plug it into your computer. Reboot the computer.

Press the "Boot Menu" key on the initial boot screen. Choose the "USB Drive" option from the boot menu choices.

Press a key when indicated to boot from the SD card in the adapter. Puppy Linux will boot up and launch.


A Puppy Linux Live CD can be made by downloading the latest Puppy Linux ISO file from the Puppy Linux website and burning it to a blank CD. If the ISO is burned to a CD-RW, the operating system can even save files directly to the Live CD after each usage session.


Not all motherboards allow booting from USB drives, and some motherboards have the option turned off. If there isn't a USB option in the boot menu, restart and press the indicated key to enter your computer's BIOS setup mode. Check the boot options available in BIOS setup, selecting USB as an option if it is available.