BOOT CAMP 503 (04/12/07)

Put a Puppy in your PC, part 5


It’s time to say goodbye to Puppy Linux but before you put your disc away, in readiness for a disaster that will hopefully never happen, here’s some more configuration tips and features you might like to try.


I mentioned in part 3 that the sound might not work when Puppy boots for the first time, if so here’s what to do. Go to Menu > Setup > ALSA Sound Wizard. Click OK and the audio devices on your PC will be displayed. Select the first one on the list, click OK, confirm the selection (a couple of times) and you will hear a test sound (a dog bark). If it doesn’t work go back and try the next option. If your PC is barking you can try out Puppy’s audio recorder and mixer, audio and video replay (most formats, including MP3 and DVD), ripping and burning CD and DVD features, which you will find under Multimedia on the Menu button.


Now let’s install your printer and Puppy has a huge library of drivers covering most makes and models. Go to Menu > Setup > Printer Wizard, select your printer from the list and click OK. Select the appropriate quality and resolution settings, if you are unsure stick with the defaults. Be careful when you come to the Colour Capability menu, it chose the wrong type of ink cartridges for my Epson printer. Next, select the connection method (USB, Parallel or Serial port). On the final Wizard screen make a note of the driver selection. Click OK to run the PDQ Print Manager then go to Printer > Add Printer and click Next. Enter the name make and model of your printer, then the driver reference you just noted. Click Next, select the connection method (Local Port for USB, Parallel or Serial), finally in the ‘Name of device’ box, copy the entry shown in the pop-up that appears when you click into the box. The printer won’t show up in applications like AbiWord until the PC has been rebooted. You will be asked if you want to save settings and configuration changes on your PC’s hard drive, (or a pen drive) when you exit Puppy, click OK to agree.


Puppy Linux on a CD is all well and good, and the best option for resurrecting most desktop PCs, but what happens if you are out and about with your laptop, it fails and it is one of those super slim models that do not have a built in CD/DVD drive? Here’s another scenario; you are travelling light, or leave home or the office in a rush and you can’t take a PC with you but at some point you need to work on some documents, or spreadsheets, access the net or send and receive some emails.


In both cases Puppy has the answer. It’s small enough to fit comfortably on a 500Mb pen drive, with room to spare for your files. That means you can carry a complete computer operating system, a suite of office applications plus all of your work on something that you can attach to a key ring. Most PCs and laptops made within the last three or four years will boot from a USB drive, it’s simply a question of changing the Boot Order in the BIOS program (see part 3).


To put Puppy on a Pen drive (make sure there’s at least 300Mb free space) boot up Puppy from the CD and plug in pen drive and click ‘Drives’ on the desktop to mount it. This will confirm that the drive is connected and the amount of free space available.


Next, go to Menu > Setup > Puppy Universal Installer. On the list that appears select your USB Flash Drive, click OK and confirm the selection on the next screen. Puppy checks the drive and if it is okay click ‘Install Puppy to…’. You will be asked one more time to confirm the selection. The next screen asks where the source files are located (normally on CD). Finally you will be asked if you want to modify the USB drive’s Master Boot Record, accept the default, which is to leave it alone and click OK. From now on just accept the defaults (‘Just Keep Going’, ‘Final Sanity Check’) and the files will be copied to the drive. This takes a minute or two, afterwards remove the CD and exit (Power Off) Puppy and reboot and if everything has gone according to plan you are now the proud owner of a portable Puppy.


Next Week – Digicam to PC to TV





Advanced Linux Sound Architecture – audio card and driver configuration utility in Linux



The sequence of storage devices (hard drive, CD/DVD drive etc.) a PC searches during boot up, looking for the computer’s operating system 



Process whereby a storage device is made accessible to an operating system




Here’s a couple of extra quick and easy customisation tips. As it stands the Puppy desktop is rather austere but you can easily change it by clicking the Menu button and selecting Desktop. There you will find a small assortment of backgrounds but you can use any image stored on the PC. Click Change Folder and navigate to where your pictures are stored and make your selection. While you are at it you might like to experiment with a different desktop theme. You’ll find plenty to choose from by going to Menu > Desktop > GTK Theme, try Red n Blue, which looks particularly good on LCD screens and laptops. When you exit Puppy these and any other changes you have made will be saved on your hard drive, or pen drive if one is plugged in or you are booting from it.



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© R. Maybury 2007, 1411

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