Puppy Linux on Virtualbox


Trying to test Bionic Pup on a VM to see how it runs. I’m using “Puppy 18_04 bionicpup32-8.0-uefi.iso” and I’ve been playing with the settings, but I can’t get it to work. The live CD works, no problem. But when I try to install it on the VM, all it does is hang at the start - I don’t even get the scripting.

The basic settings for the VM are 512MB RAM, 2GB HDD, single core, 16MB video.

Any ideas, and do you need any other information?

Also, is this version still supported?


Why try to use Puppy with a virtual machine? Normally a live CD or USB will be slow, but Puppy avoids that by loading into a RAM disk, which will actually be faster than a VM. In fact, that’s how it’s designed to be run: the normal method of installation, a “frugal installation”, just puts a file on your HD that’s loaded into RAM rather than actually installing onto a partition in the normal way.

Incidentally, I once introduced a naval officer to Puppy, since the uninstalled mode was just what he needed. As he traveled from base to base, doing something mysterious, he just carried a couple of USB sticks instead of a laptop. At each base, he’d requisition a laptop and run Puppy off the USB; when he’d done there was no trace of him left on the computer.

The current version of Puppy is 95. Fossapup; Bionicpup dates from 2019.

I think there’s a misunderstanding. I’m trying to test it out to see how to eventually install it on an old laptop, but the installation does not appear to be working on the VM. I don’t want to try it on the laptop until I can install it properly on the VM.

I’m still not sure why testing needs a VM, but your computer, your rules. Of course, it may matter whether the VM is running on another Linux or on Windows. If you search “puppy linux virtual machine” you’ll get a lot of information from people who know more about it than I, like


I’m with David on this one.
Have you tried Puppy on a live DVD/USB? Very safe, a lot less hassle and quick to do.


Thanks Keith, David.

The live CD works fine on the VM, and will probably do so on the laptop. That’s not the problem. What I don’t want to do is attempt to do a full install on the laptop to find that it can’t. Admittedly, I could get it working perfectly well on the VM and then still find it won’t work on the laptop. However, my concern is that, if I can’t get it to install properly on the VM I’ve less confidence in it working on the laptop. I have Lite on it the moment which works fine - almost - so I don’t want to install OS after OS to find the one that works fine.

The VMs are a good way to try out various OSs before using them, both the way they work and the way they install. Some installations are relatively easy, but some are more complicated than they’re worth. Only trying them out will show this, and the easiest way is through a VM. It also means that I can have several OSs on the go at the same time allowing me to compare them. Each one running on its own live CD is a little impractical - particularly considering that I do not intend to run it on the live CD on my laptop.

...your computer, your rules.
This is true, but I value your opinions, even if I finally decide to take a different route. Which is probably true for most of us.


I think there's a misunderstanding. I'm trying to test it out to see how to eventually install it on an old laptop, but the installation does not appear to be working on the VM. I don't want to try it on the laptop until I can install it properly on the VM.

If I’ve understood correctly, you have two machines and you are trying to install Puppy in a VM before (all being well) installing it on “an old laptop”.
You say that the Live Disc works well on one PC (not the old one?) but not in the VM. If that’s the case, then I wouldn’t have any qualms about simply trying Puppy on the old laptop via a Live Disc and installing it if it runs well. I have not had any problems with installations and VMs always introduce an extra level of uncertainty.


Thanks, Keith.

The main reason for installing a new OS on a VM is so that I can fiddle about with it for a few weeks before deciding whether to install it properly on the laptop. It’s not that I’ve decided to use Puppy, but that I need to evaluate it long term. I don’t want to continually use a Live CD on the VM, and I don’t want to install it prematurely on the laptop. I’ve done this with many OSs. Many of them for fun, but some to seriously evaluate. With Win11 rearing its ugly head, I may find a distro that I’d prefer to change to (not that I’d necessarily consider Puppy as my main OS), so long term evaluation is useful.


If you don’t like LiveCDs, you still have “old school” options - do you a spare drive? Or you can always try to install straight onto a USB (and not your drive) also, Puppy seems to support dual boot…

There is always a chance that VirtualBox is part of the problem - it’s (least it was) quite heavy and needs plenty of RAM. I don’t have any experience with VirtualBox (I’ve not used it for years), but I do use QEMU/KVM which is a good stable option for Linux.

…Can I assume you’re old Laptop is only 32bit (hence why you’re ignoring the newer Puppy#9.5) - and are you selecting 32bit within the VM config?.. I’m not sure what options you have with VirtualBox for machine architecture, but some hypervisors provide extra support for Distros, so it may be worth have a poke about in the config/settings…

Yes, it’s a 32bit processor. What I’m really looking for is a well supported, 32 bit, comfortable to use, distro, that I can run on the laptop. It’s a Samsung NP-N110 - with some slight modifications (I think I remember upgrading it to 2GB mem - but it’s got at least 1).

So many currently supported OSs are now only 64 bit - which for an OS that is trying to be an alternative to Windows 10/11, then this make sense. However, it’s starting to leave a hole in the market for old 32 bit machines that require a supported OS.


A quick look and there seems to be a lot of Distros which fit the niche - here’s a few with rough specs too: 16 Best Lightweight Linux Distributions for Older Computers

I currently use Lubuntu 20.04 - on my old 2008 Laptop with 2gb, which is a 64bit dual core (1.4mhz) - which runs OK (OpenOffice can be slow), although I’ll caveat that with “I’m not a heavy desktop user”.

Oh… You can cross reference any Distro that fits your requirements against the details in https://distrowatch.com/ - which should help you narrow down your selection:
eg. if you really like (or really don’t) like how a distro works “under the hood”, you can check the “based on” to find/avoid similar ones
and/or… if you find a “Desktop” you really like, you can check for support of that too…
or anything else…

I would encourage you to find a distro which is still being supported, else you’ll be putting yourself at risk from security exploits or simply, you’ll stop receiving updates and have problems getting/installing software.

…but I was surprised how well supported 32bit still is…Although I guess there is a lot of really-old hardware out there, and with single boards growing in popularity - those will only help you too :slight_smile: