For those of you who aren’t familiar, Knoppix is a variety of Linux designed to be booted from a CD. The images that are distributed by the Knoppix project contain an awesome variety of software. With nothing but the Knoppix disc, you can do anything you would normally do with Windows – burning CDs, playing music, word processing, checking email, or surfing the web. The disadvantage to this is that it still requires you to burn a CD and have the disc physically in the computer. Some bright star realized that they had extra USB ports to spare, and wrote tools take the image that would normally be burned to a CD, reorganize the contents, and create a USB stick that would boot it up.
It sounds complicated, and it probably was. Thankfully, today there are small applications to do the task for you.
The first thing you will need is a copy of Knoppix. They come out every few months with a new release. These contain new software and new drivers. There are dozens of mirrors of the files, some are faster than others and some are slower than others. I prefer kernel.org’s mirrors, as they have always been fast whenever I use them. Hop on over: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/01/18/2160154/0/en/xtra-pc-reviews-best-linux-usb-stick-product-review-by-rick-finn.html.
Scroll to the bottom. You’re looking for the release with the highest version number – right now the most recent version is 5.1.1. There are six files there. There are two sets – one end in -DE and one end in -EN. There are German and English files, respectively. If you speak German, you want to downlod the -DE. Most of us probably want the -EN, however. You want the .iso, not the .asc files. It should be almost 700 megabytes exactly. This is, not coincidentally, the capacity of a CD.
Next, you’ll need to get this utility. It actually reorganizes the image file. Download it and extract it to a folder. Next, you’ll have to move the Knoppix .iso into the directory you extracted the utility into. Insert your USB stick and double click fixkp2.bat to begin the process. Open up My Computer and note what drive letter your USB stick is assigned – it’s usually D,E,or F, but it depends on the system.
The utility will now ask you if you want to format the flash drive. Type y unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing. One case where you would not want to reformat is if you are updating an older image to a newer one. The utility will format your flash drive and begin copying files to it. It will then ask you to make the image bootable. Do this.
Finally, you will have to restart your system. The Knoppix splash screen should appear, and you just have to press the Enter key to boot into it. You can now take your USB stick anywhere you go and have a set of tools that you know will work when you need them.
Not that if your system didn’t display the Knoppix splash screen, you might need to set the BIOS to boot from USB drives. This is usually the case with older systems.