[aprssig] OT Knoppix Cheat Codes

Brian B. Riley brianbr at mac.com
Fri Apr 22 11:57:16 EDT 2005

I have spent a lot of time with the new Harv's HamShack Hack disk and its
very well set up. Xastir runs straight off the CD with fewer problems than
any install I have done yet! <grin> and there's some CW pactioce drills with
a pretty catchy rhythm! There is also a wealth of information at his


One thing I found which should be very useful not just to the AI9NL's
Hamshack Hack  users, but users of Knoppix/AFU Knoppix (v3.70) as well ,is
the below listing of Knoppix "cheat codes" (read that as "boot parameters").

Enjoy ...

As always, if you don't have access to broadband and want a copy of any of
these disks go to Ye Olde Disk Shoppe at


Cheers ... 73 de brian, n1bq, underhill center, vermont

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                     CHEATCODES AND HINTS FOR KNOPPIX V3.8
                         (last update: 22.02.2005)

These options (can be combined) work from the ISOLINUX bootprompt:

knoppix lang=cn|de|da|es|fr|it|nl   specify language/keyboard
knoppix lang=pl|ru|sk|tr|tw|us      specify language/keyboard
knoppix gmt                         Use GMT-based time
knoppix tz=Europe/Berlin            Use this timezone for TZ
knoppix desktop=fluxbox|icewm       Use specified WM instead of KDE (1)
knoppix desktop=kde|larswm|twm      Use specified WM instead of KDE (2)
knoppix desktop=wmaker|xfce         Use specified WM instead of KDE (3)
knoppix screen=1280x1024            Use specified Screen resolution for X
knoppix xvrefresh=60 (or vsync=60)  Use 60 Hz vertical refresh rate for X
knoppix xhrefresh=80 (or hsync=80)  Use 80 kHz horizontal refresh rate for X
knoppix xserver=XFree86|XF86_SVGA   Use specified X-Server
knoppix xmodule=ati|fbdev|i810|mga  Use specified XFree4-Module (1)
knoppix xmodule=nv|radeon|savage|s3 Use specified XFree4-Module (2)
knoppix xmodule=radeon|svga|i810    Use specified XFree4-Module (3)
knoppix 2                           Runlevel 2, Textmode only
knoppix floppyconfig                Run "knoppix.sh" from a floppy
knoppix myconf=/dev/sda1            Run "knoppix.sh" from a partition
knoppix myconf=scan (or config=scan) Try to find "knoppix.sh" automatically
knoppix home=/mnt/sda1/knoppix.img  Mount loopback file as /home/knoppix
knoppix home=scan                   Automatic search for knoppix homedir
knoppix no{apic,agp,apm,audio,ddc}  Skip parts of HW-detection (1)
knoppix no{dhcp,fstab,firewire}     Skip parts of HW-detection (2)
knoppix no{pcmcia,scsi,swap,usb}    Skip parts of HW-detection (3)
knoppix pnpbios=off                 No PnP Bios initialization
knoppix acpi=off                    Disable ACPI Bios completely
knoppix usb2                        Try to initialize USB 2.x controller(s)
failsafe                            Boot with (almost) no HW-detection
knoppix pci=irqmask=0x0e98          Try this, if PS/2 mouse doesn't work *)
knoppix pci=bios                    Workaround for bad PCI controllers
knoppix ide2=0x180 nopcmcia         Boot from PCMCIA-CD-Rom (some notebooks)
knoppix mem=128M                    Specify Memory size in MByte
knoppix dma                         Enable DMA accelleration for ALL
knoppix noeject                     Do NOT eject CD after halt
knoppix noprompt                    Do NOT prompt to remove the CD
knoppix vga=normal                  No-framebuffer mode, but X
knoppix blind                       Start Braille-Terminal (no X)
knoppix brltty=type,port,table      Parameters for Braille device
knoppix wheelmouse                  Enable IMPS/2 protocol for wheelmice
knoppix nowheelmouse                Force plain PS/2 protocol for PS/2-mouse
fb1280x1024                         Use fixed framebuffer graphics (1)
fb1024x768                          Use fixed framebuffer graphics (2)
fb800x600                           Use fixed framebuffer graphics (3)
knoppix keyboard=us xkeyboard=us    Use different keyboard (text/X)
knoppix splash                      Boot with fancy background splashscreen
                                    + animations + progress bar **)
knoppix toram                       Copy CD to RAM and run from there
knoppix tohd=/dev/hda1              Copy CD to HD partition and run from
knoppix fromhd                      Skip checking for Knoppix on CD-ROM
knoppix fromhd=/dev/hda1            Boot from previously copied CD-Image
knoppix bootfrom=/dev/hda1          Access Image then boot from previously
                                    copied CD-Image (enables booting from
                                    NTFS / ReiserFS) ***)
knoppix bootfrom=/dev/hda1/KNX.iso  Access image, boot from ISO-Image. ***)
knoppix knoppix_dir=KNOPPIX         Directory to search for on the CD.
knoppix knoppix_name=KNOPPIX        Cloop-File to search for on the CD.
knoppix testcd                      Check CD data integrity and md5sums
expert                              Interactive setup for experts

Hint: Using the default DE-bootimage, SYSLINUX boots with german keyboard
layout. The '=' letter is located at Shift-0 on this keyboard (just in
case you want to change keyboard and language with lang=us).

*) Try "knoppix pci=irqmask=0x0e98" if (you have a notebook and) your
PS/2 mouse doesn't work. (Possibly caused by a BIOS-flaw on your board,
BIOS updates can help.) Sometimes, switching to the text console with
Control-Alt-F1 and back to the X-screen with Control-F5 solves the
problem without rebooting, since the X server reinitializes the mouse
driver during that procedure.

You can also have your own splash-screen in putting an executable shell-
script to /cdrom/KNOPPIX/splash.sh. For an example how to do this see:
/usr/bin/splash-knoppix.sh. (Feature added by Fabian Franz.)

***) Bootfrom needs access to a running Knoppix-System with the same Kernel
as the Bootkernel, before it is able to mount the partition / ISO-Image.
This should allow a poor mans install from NTFS-Partitions and makes it
also possible to boot an ISO-Image directly. You can also use wildcards
in the ISO-Filename, but it must be unique. So: If you have just one
KNOPPIX.iso on /dev/hda1 you can access it as: bootfrom=/dev/hda1/K*.iso,
but if there are several, you need to make clear, which one you want.
(Feature added by Fabian Franz.)

If your KNOPPIX CD makes strange noises during boot, or you see
frequent errors like "cloop: read error", or programs on your KDE
desktop keep crashing randomly, then your CD image is probably defective
or incomplete, or your CD-burner created a defective CD due to wrong
writing speed or bad media. This is the most common error reported.
Please boot with "knoppix testcd" to check if the CD is OK, and/or even
better, verify the MD5 checksums that are present on the mirrors before
writing the CD. In some cases, defective IDE controllers cause this
error if you have DMA enabled. Also, please read the KNOPPIX-FAQ.

In case of a failing hardware autodetection, try booting with any of
the "no-" options as shown in the table above, like in
   knoppix noagp noaudio noapm noapic acpi=off nodma nopcmcia noscsi nousb
to skip some critical parts of the autodetection system.

The "noswap" option is useful for a forensic analysis without touching
existing swap partitions.

Some Boards apparently don't pass the proper memory size to the
linux-kernel. It may cause the message "Panic: cannot mount root file
system" and the system hangs. Use "knoppix mem=128M" to solve that
problem if your system has 128MByte memory for example (caution:
you MUST use a capital "M" here).

The "expert" mode provides a very simple interface to loading additional
Kernel modules from floppy disks (ext2 or vfat), plus interactive
configuration of mouse/keyboard/soundcard/xserver. "expert" mode supports
the same boot options as "knoppix".

The "floppyconfig" or "(my)config=/dev/partition" options allow you to
reconfigure the system after autoconfiguration by running a bourne
shell script called "knoppix.sh" from the root directory on the given
device (or floppy). There is a GUI to create such a configuration
floppy disk calles "saveconfig" (also located in the KDE menu under
"KNOPPIX", but experts also know how to do this by creating their own
shellscripts. From Version 2.1 and up, a file called "knoppix.sh", if
located in the toplevel KNOPPIX directory on CD, will also be executed
at startup. This makes ist easier to create customized versions without
having to change anything on the compressed filesystem KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX.

SCSI-Emulation is active for all CD-Roms (unless you switch it off by
using the "atapicd" option), so IDE CD-Writers should work with the
installed versions of cdrecord and cdrdao (or the graphical frontends
thereof, k3b for example).

If your BIOS does not support el torito booting from CD, you can create
two bootable floppy disks by issuing (from Knoppix running on a different
machine) the command "mkbootfloppy", which will create a bootable
Kernel-disk plus a disk containing the initial ramdisk, which will be
prompted for at boottime.

If you wish to remaster the CD, please don't forget to specify
        -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table \
        -b boot/isolinux/isolinux.bin -c boot/isolinux/boot.cat
as option to mkisofs. Otherwise your CD won't be bootable. The
directory KNOPPIX, containig the compressed filesystem file "KNOPPIX",
must be located in the top level directory of the CD.

Caution: X-Screensaver: Don't start xlock or any screensaver that
requires a password. There are no default passwords on KNOPPIX,
i.e. all accounts are LOCKED unless you explicitly set a password.
See also README_Security.txt about this issue.
If you accidentially hit the screensaver button in KDE,
switch to one of the textconsoles by Control-Alt-F1 and kill
the screensaver (or just set a password for the knoppix user).

If you would like to edit your X-Server configuration manually
(/etc/X11/XF86Config-4 for XFree86 V4.x), use "knoppix 2" to boot
into runlevel 2 (textmode only) and, after changing the X
configuration, start the X environment with "init 5". Note that
you can always leave the graphical environment with "init 2", and
restart it later with "init 5".

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