How to Boot Knoppix From USB

By Melissa Worcester

Knoppix, a version (or "distribution") of the Linux operating system, is known for being formatted so it can run from a CD without being installed on a computer's hard drive. It is a good choice if you want to try Linux without changing your computer's configuration, or if you want to run Linux and still allow other users to use a computer with its original operating system. It's just as easy to run Knoppix from a USB drive as it is to run it from a CD.

Download the Knoppix installation file from the Knoppix website. Select the icon that looks like a combination of the British and American flags to translate the page into English. Select the download link and then scroll to one of the mirror sites from the U.S. (near the bottom of the list) or whichever one is closer to your location. Select it and then download the ISO file to your computer.

Download the Universal USB installer (see resources). Save it in the same folder where you saved the Knoppix ISO file on your computer.

Insert a blank USB thumb drive into a USB port on your computer. A drive with a capacity of at least 2 Gb is best, and it should either be blank or filled with files you no longer need, as the process will erase its contents.

Double-click on the Universal USB installer to run it. In the program window, choose Knoppix from the list of Linux distributions, the ISO file's location on your hard drive, and the location and drive letter of your USB flash drive. Click on the "Install" button.

Edit the BIOS of the computer on which you want Knoppix installed. Set it to boot from a USB device before it attempts to boot from the hard drive. The procedure for this will be different for each model and version of Windows; consult your computer's manual for specifics.

Restart the computer with the USB flash drive inserted in the USB port. The computer will boot into Knoppix and run it off the flash drive. No changes will be made to the computer's hard drive. To use the computer's original operating system, simply remove the USB drive and restart the computer.