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The following chapter will cover most of the basic installation procedures for the Slackware Linux operating system. Much of this material has been collected from the Internet and from my personal Slackware experiences.

After reading this chapter, you will know:

  • What the system requirements for Slackware are
  • How to obtain Slackware CD's
  • How to prepare for installing Slackware Linux
  • How to allocate space and format your hard drives
  • How to become familiar with the install tool
  • How to choose your installation media
  • How to choose what you want installed
  • The basics of the actual operating system install
  • What your post installation options are

Pre-install preparations

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Before installing Slackware Linux on your system, there are a few things that need to be done.

2.2.1 Know your system

It is a good idea to make a list of components inside your computer. The easiest way to do so is to use an application on an installed operating system. If you don't have an OS installed you can maybe use a Live CD or you could just open up your case and see what's inside. Once you have the information you need, you can check the internet to see if there are any known problems between Linux and your hardware. Slackware requires at least:

  • a 486 processor
  • 16MB RAM
  • a 3.5" floppy drive, however you can now perform the installation with a CD set, so a CD-ROM drive is recommended

Another good thing might be to run "lspci" from inside a Linux environment on your computer, whether during install or from a Knoppix or other bootable environment.

2.2.2 Backup

When you want to install Slackware Linux on a disk which contains valuable data it is recommended to backup that data. Also make sure the backups are usable! Slackware Linux asks for confirmation before erasing or overwriting data on your disk, but once you have confirmed there is no way to undo the action.

2.2.3 Installation Location

If you want Slackware Linux to install to the whole disk and don't want to keep any of the data on that disk, you can skip this section.

A hard disc can be divided into different pieces. These pieces are called partitions. Originally PC's only supported upto four partitions, these 'main' partitions are therefore named the primary partitions. Because four partitions in some cases were not enough, a new kind of partition was created: the extended partition. This is a special partition because it contains other partitions, these partitions are named the logical partitions.

To install Slackware Linux you need at least two partitions: one primary partition to install Slackware and a swap partition.

A swap partition is used by the kernel to write unused memory blocks to the hard disc, it can be either a logical or a primary partition. The size can be anything up to 2 Gb for Intel machines. However, there is no official rule to the minimum size although a lot of people use the same size for their swap as they have in RAM. These two, swap size and RAM size, are added together and make virtual memory. On older machines the minimum virtual memory is 12 MB. The total size depends on what kind of applications you are going to use.

Partitions are defined by a number which represents the kind of data the partition contains: the partition ID. For a Linux swap partition the ID is 82 and for a normal Linux partition the ID is 83.

The normal primary Linux partition only has a minimum size which differs from every distribution. Slackware Linux needs approx. 200-500 MB for an minimal installation (without X or extra applications) and 2 GB for a full installation.

For those of you into the security aspect, you can visit to read "Securing Slackware 8" by a SANS graduate.

The partitions on your disk(s) can be modified in several ways.You can use:

   * fdisk in DOS or Windows.
   * the built-in fdisk with the Slackware Linux installation CD.
   * PartitionMagic®, which is a commercial program for Windows which can resize NTFS and other partitions.

Be careful with using these programs though, if you make a mistake, you can lose all your data. Be sure to make backups!

Note: A software RAID installation paragraph should also be considered. For this, John Lange should be contacted and asked if he agrees to put in here his tutorial from . LVM/EVMS installation instructions could also prove useful.

2.2.4 Network configuration information

During installation the installer will ask you for your Network details. It is a good idea to write these details down, from maybe your Windows settings. If you don't know your networking details, ask your Internet service provider or Network Administrator.

If you connect to the Internet with DSL or Cable you may need the following information:

   * IP address (example,
   * IP address of the gateway (example,
   * IP address of the DNS server (example,
   * Hostname (example, "mybox")
   * Subnet Mask (example,

If you do not need this information because it is configured automatically with DHCP you do not have to write down anything, but remember to select DHCP.

If you connect to the Internet using a modem you will need the following information:

   * Your ISP's phone number to dial.
   * The COM: port to which your modem is connected.
   * Username and password to login with your ISP.

2.2.5 Download installation files

You should consider what kind of install you would like to do. The easiest and recommended method is to purchase Slackware on CD or burn it to CD yourself. At the Slackware website, simply click "Get Slack" and from there pick a location and mirror you would like to download from. Simply download the .iso files and burn them to CD. As of Slackware 9.1, there are two CDs to Slackware. The first CD is essential, containing the kernel, GNU applications and utilities, the graphical environment ( and some graphical environments and applications. The second CD contains only KDE and Gnome desktop environments, and is optional.

Starting the Installation

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  1. Start with your computer turned off.
  1. Turn on the computer. As it starts it should display an option to enter the system set up menu, or BIOS, commonly reached by keys like F2, F10, Del, or Alt+S. Use whichever keystroke is indicated on screen. In some cases your computer may display a graphic while it starts. Typically, pressing Esc will dismiss the graphic and allow you to see the necessary messages.
  1. Find the setting that controls which devices the system boots from. This is usually labeled as the ``Boot Order and commonly shown as a list of devices, such as Floppy, CDROM, First Hard Disk, and so on.

If you needed to prepare boot floppies, then make sure that the floppy disk is selected. If you are booting from the CDROM then make sure that that is selected instead. In case of doubt, you should consult the manual that came with your computer, and/or its motherboard.

Make the change, then save and exit. The computer should now restart.

Installing from CDROM

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If you have the bootable CD, available in the official disc set published by Slackware, Inc. or by downloading the cdrom image from, a CD-based installation will be a bit simpler for you. To start the installation you are going to have to put the cd in the cdrom and restart the computer, granted that you changed the bios options to accommodate for the cdrom boot. If everything goes as planned you should see this prompt.

ISOLINUX 2.10 2004-06-18 Copyright (C) 1994-2004 H. Peter Anvin

Welcome to Slackware version 10.0 (Linux kernel 2.4.26)!

If you need to pass extra parameters to the kernel, enter them at the prompt

below after the name of the kernel to boot (scsi.s etc). NOTE: In most cases the kernel will detect your hardware, and parameters are not needed.

Here are some examples (and more can be found in the BOOTING file): hdx=cyls,heads,sects,wpcom,irq (needed in rare cases where probing fails) or hdx=cdrom (force detection of an IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM drive) where hdx can be any of hda through hdt.

In a pinch, you can boot your system from here with a command like:

For example, if the Linux system were on /dev/hda1.

boot: bare.i root=/dev/hda1 noinitrd ro

This prompt is just for entering extra parameters. If you don't need to enter any parameters, hit ENTER to boot the default kernel "bare.i" or press [F2] for a listing of more kernel choices.

Installing nvidia graphical drivers

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NOTE: this guide assumes you have already gone run though xorgconfig and are already using working video drivers.

If you own a nvidia based Geforce video card than installation of the drivers cannot be easier. Head over to the nvidiadriver selectionpage and select the latest released drivers suited to your computers architecture.

It is highly recommended that you read the README which will explain in depth a whole lot of stuff about the drivers installation and settings of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. But basically all you need to do is log out of X and as root cd to where the drivers were downloaded to and run:

(arch being the architecture and x representing the version)

  1. sh

This will unpack the self archiving package and take you though the nvidia-installer's step by step driver installation.

Once this is done open up your xorg.conf file (/etc/X11/xorg.conf) and found in the "# Graphics device section" and change the line:

Driver "nv" (or) Driver "vesa"


Driver "nvidia"

and in the Module section make sure you have the following line

Load "glx"

and remove these lines if they exist

Load "dri" Load "GLcore"

Now you should be able to start up X again and everything should be fine.