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How to install Slackware Linux

Slackware is an excellent Linux distribution, but many people don’t use it due to how difficult it is to install. Due to how complicated the installation process is, we’ve decided to create a step-by-step walkthrough that will help you install Slackware Linux.

The requirements to install Slackware Linux are:

  • A hard drive of at least 10GB.
  • At least 1GB of RAM.
  • A decently fast CPU.
  • DVD drive or ability to boot from USB.

Create USB installation disk

Before we can install Slackware Linux, you must create a USB installation medium to boot on your computer. Head over to the official Slackware website and download the latest version of the operating system. On the page, they have torrent downloads for both the 32-bit or 64-bit ISO.

When the ISO image is done downloading on your Linux PC, plug in your USB flash drive, download the Etcher USB creation tool and make a bootable Slackware installer. Then, restart your computer and configure your BIOS to load up Slackware.

Install Slackware Linux

As the Slackware installer loads up, a welcome message will appear. Read the welcome message, then, press Enter on your keyboard to load the default Linux kernel.

After loading the default kernel, you must press 1 to choose a keymap.

Note: if you live in the USA, do not press 1. Instead, press Enter to continue with the default USA keyboard layout.

Now that the default keyboard layout is set, Slackware drops down to the login window. Type in “root” then press Enter to drop down to a terminal window.

Partitioning

In the terminal window, type cfdisk to open up the Cfdisk terminal partition manager.

Use the partition manager to create a Root partition (of at least 10GB in size,) and a swap partition (of at least 2GB in size).

Note: in our tutorial, the Root partition is 16GB and the Swap is 2GB.

When you’ve made the root and swap partitions on your hard drive, use the up and down arrow keys to select the Swap partition. Then, highlight Type in Cfdisk to bring up the partition type menu.

Inside the partition type menu, look for “Linux swap.” Then, press Enter on the keyboard to set the partition type.  With your partitions set, select the “Write” option to finalize them.

When the partitions are how you’d like them, exit Cfdisk and return to the terminal window.

Installing the system

Start up the Slackware installation tool by typing out “setup” in the terminal prompt.

In the setup window, select the “ADDSWAP” menu item and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your swap partition.

With Swap setup, the installer will ask you to choose the default partition to install Slackware on. Select /dev/sda1, then “Format” and press enter to continue to the filesystem chooser.

Select Ext4 as the filesystem to use for Slackware; then press Enter to finalize your choice.

On the “Source Media Selection” page, choose the “Install from a Slackware USB stick” (or the CD/DVD option if you’ve burned the ISO to a disk).

At the package series selection page, don’t select any packages. It’s best to go with the defaults. Press Enter to move on to the “Select Prompting Mode” section of the installer.

Select Prompting mode allows the user to choose the way Slackware should be installed. Choose the “full” option and press Enter on the keyboard.

When you’ve chosen your prompting mode, Slackware will start installing itself to your hard drive. Sit back and be patient, this may take a while!

Configuring the system

After Slackware finishes installing the system, it’ll prompt you to install the LILO bootloader. In the prompt, select “skip” and do not install LILO!

Once you’ve gotten past the LILO bootloader prompts, the Slackware installer will ask you if you’d like to “try out some custom screen fonts.” Select “no” to skip this part.

Skipping the LILO section brings you to the “Network” section of the installer. Highlight “Yes” to be walked through how to set up your internet connection in your new Slackware installation.

After network, the installer asks what services should run at startup. All of the services in this menu are for servers, so don’t select anything in the menu. Press the Enter key to move on to the next page of the configuration section of the installer.

Setting up your PC’s hardware clock is next, after Network. Choose a time option and follow the on-screen prompts to get it working.

Now that the clock is set up in Slackware, it’s time to set the default desktop environment. Choose either KDE or XFCE and press Enter.

With the default window manager set, you must choose a root password. Enter something secure and memorable, then click Enter to finish the configuration section of the installation tool.

Installing Grub

Slackware uses Lilo by default. It’s a terrible bootloader, and it’s confusing for new users. A better bootloader to install on Slackware is Grub.

To install Grub on your new Slackware setup, highlight “Exit” in the installation menu, then select “No” to the terminal prompt.

Once there, enter the commands below to install Grub on Slackware.

Grub for BIOS

grub-install /dev/sda
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Grub for GPT

grub-install --modules=part_gpt /dev/sda -f

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

When done, reboot your Slackware PC and load it up with the Grub bootloader.

Log into your new Slackware system with the root user, then start the desktop with the startx command.

startx

Post installation

Slackware is installed on your Linux PC! However, you’re not done configuring! Once you’ve logged in, open up a web browser and visit the Slackware post installation guide. Read through it so you can create a new user and learn the basics of your new operating system!

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