Porteus OS : Portable Linux

What is Porteus OS ?

Porteus OS is a complete linux operating system that is optimized to run from CD, USB flash drive, hard drive, or other bootable storage media. It does not require installation and can be run from fixed and removable media, such as a USB flash drive or compact disc. It’s small (under 300Mb) and insanely fast which allows you to start up and get online while most other operating systems are left spitting dust. Porteus comes in both 32 & 64 bit and aims to keep on the bleeding edge. It also supports several different languages and the user forum has language sections.

Who would be interested in Porteus OS ?

Anyone who likes .an extremely fast and light operating system that boots in seconds and stays up to date with the latest software and kernel versions. Porteus is also a great way to try out linux from a USB device if you want a taste of linux without having to partition and format a hard drive.

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Why choose Porteus ?

Looking for a fast, portable and affordable operating system? You may have found the solution in Porteus. Porteus is a member of the Linux flavour of operating systems which is designed to be portable and lightning fast. It started out as a bleeding edge version of ‘Slax’ called the ‘slax remix’ headed by ‘Fanthom’ and from there ‘changed it’s form’ into Porteus (God of the sea).


The option to load Porteus into RAM results in a freakishly fast system that has almost all the functionality of a fully fledged Slackware install and twice the speed. Even when Porteus is loaded from a flash device or locally from your hard drive it is still very speedy — you are ready to go only 25 seconds (depending on system specifications) after pushing the power button.


Porteus OS is stored in a squashed format resulting in XZM files which decompress very quickly. While stored it weighs in at under 300Mb making it a lightweight contender with the speed of a cat. This is accomplished by stripping down the full slackware install to a bare minimum which is quite a feat. The linux live and boot scripts have been rewritten by Fanthom to increase the speed at boot time and shutdown time.


Another nice feature of Porteus is the modular design. Unlike other distros where one has a package manager that connects the internet and downloads a package (program), Porteus uses modules. These are pre compiled packages that you activate and deactivate. The traditional ‘installation’ of a program is now redundant as simply double clicking on a module, causes it to be mounted and injected into the file system ready for use. This happens in a fraction of a second and the application is ready for use. Double click on it again and the module is deactivated and removed from the directory structure. This means that you are only using a program as you need it, and the system is not bogged down with thousands of files that are rarely used. Modules can be downloaded and stored somewhere locally for activation as you require it.

THE PORTEUS COMMUNITYThe Porteus OS community is a great help to new comers provided you follow the correct etiquette when posting in the forum. Be sure to use the search function before asking basic questions as nobody likes to answer the same old questions over and over again. Especially when the person asking the question hasn’t bothered to help themselves by doing a little searching. If you find Porteus doesn’t work nicely on your system, find the appropriate thread in the forum and make a polite request for help, giving as much information as possible. Inside the ‘Porteus Settings Centre’ there is an option for displaying system info (also available in text mode by typing psinfo in a console) which will dump a text file full of system information onto your dekstop.


Lightning-fast boot time
Can be run from USB Flash drives, CDROM’s, DVDROM’s, hard disks, flash card devices, or just about any device you can get your PC to boot from!
LZMA2 (xz) compression for modules
Changes to the system (customization, downloaded files, browser history and favorites, etc) can be saved persistently to your USB or hard drive, or you can boot into ‘Always Fresh’ mode, and no changes to your system will be saved anywhere
Support for dozens of languages
A dependency-resolving package manager written just for Porteus, with built-in access to 5 slackware repositories.
Porteus-specific scripts for creating and manipulating modules, network configuration (wifi included), language selection, and much more
Updated installers for linux and windows
“Porteus Settings Centre” which serves as a central location for updating, installing, managing settings, viewing system information, and much more!

Default Boot options (Standard Editions*):

Graphical Desktop Environment (KDE4, LXQT, MATE, or XFCE) with Saved Changes, autoconfigure xorg
Always Fresh, boots to a desktop without saved changes, rootcopy or magic folders; autoconfigure xorg
Copy2RAM, boots to a desktop without saved changes, all modules copied to RAM; autoconfigure xorg
Text Mode (boot to command line)
PXE Boot (run as usual, but start Porteus as a PXE server, allowing you to boot other computers over the network)
PLoP BootManager – allows you to boot from many kinds of devices, even some from which your BIOS may not support booting.
Boot from first hard drive – attempts to boot an operating system that resides on the first hard drive, such as Windows.

How to use | Installation

Steps to install for Windows

1) Insert your flash drive and open it to view the contents. Make a note of the Drive Letter assigned to this drive (e.g. E:\)

2) Copy the folders ‘boot’ and ‘porteus’ from the .iso file to the top-level directory of your flash drive (meaning the files should not be placed inside any other folders on the drive. For example, they should be located at E:\boot and E:\porteus, assuming your flash drive is device E:\).

3) Navigate into the boot folder that you just copied to your flash drive. You should see a file there called Porteus-installer-for-Windows.exe. Right click on this file (make sure it is Porteus-installer-for-Windows.exe and not Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com) and choose to run it as an administrator. A window will appear asking you to confirm that the correct drive or partition is beign selected for installation. Double check that the information shown is correct, and press Enter to complete the installation.

4) After running the installation program, you should be able to boot Porteus from your flash drive. Reboot your computer, and make sure that your BIOS is set to boot from the USB device first, before it boots to your hard disk.

Steps to Install for Linux

1) Insert your flash drive. If a window automatically pops up when you plug it in, click to open the device. This will mount your flash drive and you can see it’s path by opening a console and typing:


If the device is not mounted automatically, then you can open a console and type:

fdisk -l

to get the path of your flash drive (e.g., /dev/sdb1), and then:

mkdir /mnt/sdb1
mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb1

(substitute sdb1 with the name of your device if it was listed differently in fdisk)

Make note of the device’s name, as this is the device which will need to be modified by a script later in the process.

2) Copy the files /boot and /porteus from the Porteus .iso file (or from a Porteus CD) to your flash drive. These folders can be placed in the top level directory on your drive, but as of Porteus version 2.0, you can place these folders inside a subdirectory and your bootloader configuration file will be adjusted automatically to boot from that location.

3) Open a console and change directories to the boot folder that you just copied into the flash drive, e.g.

cd /mnt/sdb1/boot

Execute the Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com script:

sh Porteus-installer-for-Linux.com

*NOTE* If you are not running as root already, you must use the su or sudo command and enter your root password before starting this script, or it will not be able to configure your device properly.

This script will ask you to confirm the drive or partition on which you are installing Porteus. Make sure the information displayed is correct, and then press Enter to complete the installation. The extlinux bootloader will be installed on devices that are formatted with ext2/3/4, FAT16/32, ntfs and btrfs filesystems. LILO will be installed on partitions formatted with any other filesystem.

4) After running the install script, you should be able to boot Porteus from your flash drive. Reboot your computer, and make sure that your BIOS is set to boot from the USB device first, before it boots to your hard disk.

I hope you like this post “Porteus OS : Portable Linux”. Do you have any questions? Leave a comment down below!

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Harshvardhan Mishra

I am an IoT (Internet of Things) Enthusiast and Blogging is my Passion. Follow and send tweets me on @harshvardhanrvm

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