How to install Quirky

Download and install

Quirky is deployed as a compressed image that can be installed to either an external (plugged in) Flash drive (minimum 4GB), or to a partition in a hard drive. These are Methods A and B. Or, if you already have Quirky installed, there is a simple method of upgrade using a Service Pack, see Method C. I have also provided a ready-to-go image for an 8GB (or greater) Flash memory, that just needs to be copied to the drive -- that is Method D.

Method A: install to any size Flash drive

Firstly, the steps to install to any size Flash drive. This will optimise the installation to whatever size drive you want to install to (anything 4GB or bigger), but you must be comfortable with running a script in a terminal, and be running a very recent Linux distribution (that understands f2fs). Go for it:
  1. Download three files:
    *.usfs.xz, sha1sums.txt, 4install-quirky-to-drive.gz
  2. Verify download.
    Open a terminal window where you have downloaded the files, and execute this:
    # sha1sum *
    ...check against contents of sha1sums.txt
  3. Run script to install.
    Plug in a spare Flash drive, then:
    # gunzip 4install-quirky-to-drive.gz
    # chmod 755 4install-quirky-to-drive # ./4install-quirky-to-drive
    ...this script will ask questions, then write the image to the drive. 

Some people found the script to be troublesome in certain Linux distributions -- this may just be a matter of installing needed packages, for example with Ubuntu you might need to install 'mtools', 'syslinux' and 'f2fs-tools' -- if the latter is not in the repo, then the distro is too old!). If you encounter a problem that you can't solve, go to the Forum to discuss it, or try Method B or D.

An update on this: feedback indicates that other distros are just not "up to it". You need to be running a very recent official release of Puppy, or Quirky. If not, I recommend Methods B, D, or the live-CD (scroll down).

Method B: install to a partition

This is to install Quirky to any internal hard drive partition. This requires that you have setup your own boot manager, such as GRUB, GRUB4DOS, or LILO. The script will install to the desired partition, then offer a suggested entry to be made in GRUB's menu.lst file.

This is as per Method A, you download *.usfs.xz, but instead you download and run this script:
# gunzip 4install-quirky-to-partition.gz
# chmod 755 4install-quirky-to-partition
# ./4install-quirky-to-partition
...it will ask questions about which partition, etc.

Method C: upgrade

With a running Quirky, it is very simple. In the menu at bottom-left of screen, Filesystem category, choose "Quirky Version Upgrade Manager". That's it, you click a button and the upgrade happens. This is for the future!

Alternatively, the Package Manager will check for an upgrade, known as a "Service Pack", at startup, as long as there is an Internet connection -- after starting the Package Manager, after a short delay, a window should pop up informing you of an available upgrade.

Note: There is no Service Pack to upgrade to 7.0 from an earlier version. It is intended they will be provided to upgrade beyond 7.0.

Method D: 8GB image

This ready-to-go for a 8GB (or greater) USB Flash stick or SD card. The steps, for Linux:
  1. Download *-8gb.img.xz.
  2. Expand and install (for example of Flash drive being sdb) (in a non-Puppy distro, you might have to do the 'sudo' thing, to run as root). Substitute correct name of .img.xz and drive for that of example given here:
    # xz --decompress --stdout quirky-6.1-8gb.img.xz > /dev/sdb
    # sync
    # xz --decompress --stdout april-6.89-8gb.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=4M conv=fdatasync
    # sync
The first example works, but I recommend the second, using 'dd'.
Be careful, write to entire drive, for example 'sdb', not to a partition, example 'sdb1'.
Also be extra careful that it is the desired USB drive you are writing to, not your main hard drive!

Further documentation is required to do this from Windows. Well, you might look here:
...but, you will need to first install an application such as 7-zip (http://www.7-zip.org/), that can uncompress an .xz file -- and be prepared, it will expand to a 7.6GB file, so make sure the partition has enough space!

If you use a 16GB or bigger drive, no problem, you can use GParted (which is in Quirky) later to create an extra partition to fill the drive. Note, f2fs can not yet be resized.

If Method A did not work for you, method D should do it, and then you have "pulled yourself up by your boot straps", as they say. You will then have a running Linux that is capable of doing method A.


Yes, there is a live-CD .iso file that you can download.

Warning: Unlike Puppy Linux, the Quirky live-CD boots into and runs entirely in RAM. For those who know something about the architecture of Puppy, Quirky does not support SFS files, nor support a "save file".
So, one restriction is that at least 2GB of RAM is required.

The live-CD does have some uses. It can be a means of booting and evaluating Quirky. It can also be a means of implementing Method A and B described above -- as you would be running an environment that is compatible with the installation scripts.

Another use for the live-CD is that it does have a "save" icon on the desktop, for remastering the CD, that is, creating another live-CD (or DVD). The point of doing that, is it would be configured for your video, network, etc. The remastered CD can be used to bootup without touching the hard drive, surf the web, then shutdown without having left any "footprint".

The live-CD also has an "install" icon on the desktop that will do a frugal installation to hard drive -- "frugal" is a term familiar to Puppy Linux users. This frugal installation has the same limitations as running from a live-CD. It also runs in RAM, and sessions are not automatically saved -- it does have a "save" icon on the desktop, and can do a save, to save settings, in the same manner as for the live-CD -- however, there is no "save file"!

Windows 8.x PCs

Before the advent of Windows 8.0, all PCs and laptops had a BIOS, which is code that runs at power-on of the PC. By pressing a certain key at power-on, it is possible to enter the BIOS Setup, which enables setting of which drives/partitions can be booted from.

"Win8" PCs have replaced the BIOS with UEFI, and there is also a UEFI Setup, that is invoked the same way, that is, by pressing a special key at power-on.

Quirky requires that legacy boot be enabled in the UEFI Setup, and this requires some preliminary steps.
Basically, you have to disable fast startup in Windows 8.x, and also disable, if set, Secure Boot.

Probably the first thing to do is turn off fast startup, as described here:

Then disable (if enabled) Secure Boot:
http://itsfoss.com/disable-uefi-secure-boot-in-windows-8/, and

The UEFI Setup should have an option to enable legacy boot, that is, to boot media designed for a BIOS-based PC. However, the option might be called something else, for example CSM (Compatibility Support Mode) -- my Acer laptop has this.

The "hotkey" to invoke UEFI Setup, varies. It may typically be F1, F2, or DEL key.

An extra note. With my Acer laptop, I found that it took a bit of extra effort to get the CSM selection to "stick". With a Quirky USB stick inserted, I invoked UEFI Setup, chose CSM, but had to reboot, then invoke UEFI Setup again and rechoose CSM, then reboot.
In fact, this site advises not just reboot, but power right down, unplug then replug power cord:

Drive partitioning

Puppy and Quirky have Gparted, a drive partitioning tool. A Win8 PC typically has Windows installed in a large partition, usually the "C: drive", and it is unwise to decrease the size of that with Gparted, if you want to create a partition to install Quirky.

Instead, Win8 has its own disk partitioning tool, as described here:

Of course, booting Quirky from a USB Flash stick is no problem. But if you do want to install Quirky in a partition in the hard drive, then you will need to use the Win8 Partition Manager, then checkout how to install a Boot Manager.

Barry Kauler
February  2015

The advice given on this page is given in good faith, however there is a disclaimer of all responsibility if anything unexpected happens. That is, you take full responsibility for anything that you do to your PC.