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Location: Melbourne, Australia
|Posted: Mon 05 Aug 2013, 12:21 Post subject:
Dual Boot Puppy Linux / Microsoft Windows Interoperability
Subject description: Sharing email, bookmarks, fonts, address book, passwords, history etc
Dual Boot Puppy Linux / Microsoft Windows Interoperability
For many of us it's an unfortunate fact that sometimes we're forced into the world of the devil, when all our cherished possessions, our daily needs, our bookmarks, fonts, address book, mail folders, passwords, history, recently downloaded but yet to read mail etc, are in another world.
I would like this thread to be continued with as many methods of making a Dual Boot Microsoft (MS) Windows / Puppy Linux inter-operate with ease.
The act of modifying Puppy Linux, as per sections 2 to 5 of the following, happens to also provide additional benefits. It speeds up puppy as it takes a large part of the data out of the save file. In effect, or as a side effect, it implements equivalents to the suggestions made in the sticky Howto thread 'Keep your savefile slim and healthy' at
SPECIAL NOTE ON SECURITY
No matter how thick the walls of a castle are, when a wooden horse is made so enticing that the castle inhabitants drag it in, the walls are for naught.
Currently, many if not most Microsoft (MS) Windows users end up getting viruses and other malware regardless of spending much time, effort, resources and money attempting to stop them. On the other hand, Puppy Linux users devote almost no time, effort, resources or money to these problems and don't have the problems. I don't know of a user who's had such a problem with their Puppy Linux.
This security is often one of the main reasons for making the change from MS Windows to Puppy Linux. Of course, this security is going to be somewhat compromised if you're sometimes forced back to using MS Windows.
For typical home users the majority of malware is caught through email, particularly attachments that have been made to appear so enticing that the user runs them.
With current malware, if you open each email while running Puppy Linux you are safe against the malware. The current problems are only occurring within MS Windows. While this is theoretically possible to change, it's not likely to change to any great degree in the near future.
A number of the following methods provide the ability to share email between MS Windows and Puppy Linux. For security reasons, it's best to minimize the opening of any mail within MS Windows. This includes the re-opening of email that has already been opened in your Puppy.
All is not that bad though. When you ultimately do get that virus in your MS Windows system, you normally find that Puppy Linux continues to operate unaffected. Consequently, it's best to get as much of your world into Puppy Linux as possible.
When you do get the malware or other problem like bad registry etc with you MS Windows, check out these forums for how to use you dual boot Puppy Linux to fix the problem. In particular check out the threads at
Note that the above mentioned better security only applies to bringing malware into your computer. Whether you're in MS Windows or Puppy Linux, you are equally likely to get taken in by an email that purports to be your bank or something you are dealing with. When you click on a link from that email that asks for your login details, and you give it, both Linux and MS Windows are equally powerless to stop scammers from accessing your bank account etc. Similarly, Linux also doesn't help you if you susceptible to any of the many email scams such as the Nigerian scams.
1) PUPPY INSTALLATION
There are many ways to install Puppy Linux and different people have different beliefs as to best. Consequently, the following is probably controversial:
With hard disk drive installs of Puppy, I've found that installing as a partitionless frugal install, that is placing all the Puppy system files inside the standard single partition that Microsoft (MS) Windows runs in, provides the best interoperability with MS Windows. It is also the simplest installation. My instructions assume an installation similar to that.
With an all in one single partition you use directories ('folders' in Microsoft speak) rather than partitions to separate MS Windows files, Puppy files, system files and data files etc from each other. You don't need to know before hand how much of any type you're going to use. You can just keep adding to what you have in any proportion of system files, data files, Windows or Puppy related until you run out of disk.
For MS Windows users, I particularly recommend the Lin'N'WinNewB dual boot installation method described in detail at
As well as the safety of no partition changes the Lin'N'WinNewb dual boot method performs the installation without changing your systems MBR (Master Boot Record). Both changing the partitions on a disk and modifying the disks MBR are potentially dangerous operations.
Currently, the Lin'N'WinNewB instructions are a little out of date as far as the instructions for downloading Puppy Linux. Unless you have an extremely old computer, I'd suggest that you simply download the latest Puppy from
Otherwise follow instructions at Lin'N'WinNewB.
At the time of writing the latest (and best) Puppy versions are referred to as 'Precise' Puppies. These are compatible to current (precise) Ubuntu systems allowing you to use the Ubuntu repositories for adding additional needs.
2) SHARING WINDOWS FONTS
Creating the following symbolic link allows most of the main Linux programs to use all the fonts in your MS Windows system for their list of fonts. Note that not all Linux programs use it. Linux programs that do use it include Abiword, Geany, LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
After following the instructions below, the list of fonts showing in most Linux programs is the full set of fonts in Windows plus the fonts (TTF and Type1) inside your Puppies
directory. MS Windows programs will simply continue to use the fonts in the Windows Fonts directory.
TTF Fonts are reasonably large. The DejaVuSans fault that's currently included in Puppy takes up over 2 Megs. It's probably best to move all these ttf files from the /usr/share/fonts/default/ttf directory into the Windows Fonts Directory
a) Quick instructions:
Create a symbolic link that redirects
to the Windows 'Fonts' directory.
b) Ultra Detailed instructions:
Creating Symbolic links (sym links) is easiest with a clean desktop. Start by clicking the 'show desktop' button which is just to the right of the menu button.
Now bring up a File Manager by clicking on the appropriate disk icon (typically labeled 'sda1' or 'hda') at the bottom of your desktop.
Click on the 'Home' icon on the toolbar. Yes, it's the one with a picture of a house. This will put you in your '~' (home) directory.
In the list of directories displayed, some may have names starting with a full stop '.' These are the hidden directories. If you don't see them, then click on the eye symbol on the toolbar. Each alternative click of the eye will show or hide the hidden directories. You need to have the hidden directories showing. When they're showing you will have '~ (all)' displayed in the top bar of the File Manager instead of just the '~' symbol. The '(all)' indicates showing all items, including the hidden directories.
After you have hidden directories showing, scroll down so that you're mainly looking at files rather than directories. In this case you will have plenty of files there, but sometimes when you do this, there will only be directories or an empty folder. In those cases you'd scroll to the bottom and then resize the window so that there's some blank space at the bottom of the File Manager window.
Now bring the mouse up to the top bar of the File Manager, hold the left mouse button down and use the mouse to drag the file Manager around. Drag it to the right so that the drive icon ('sda1' or 'hda1') is showing and drag it so that the bottom of the file Manager is near the bottom of the desktop.
Now bring up a second File Manager and use it to find your Windows 'Fonts' directory. Note that we want to be in the directory containing the 'Fonts' directory, not in the actual 'Fonts' directory. Typically the Fonts directory is
so you probably just have to click on the Windows Directory.
If you are in the Fonts directory looking at all the fonts you need to use the up arrow on the toolbar to go back to the Windows directory so that you can see the 'Fonts' directory in the list of directories.
Now move or resize this File Manager so that you can see below it, or to one side, some of the files in the first File Manager yet can still see the 'Fonts' directory. To resize, bring the mouse to a bottom corner of the File Manager, hold down the left mouse button and drag the corner.
Now bring the mouse to the Windows 'Fonts' directory. Hold down the left mouse button and drag this directory icon out of this second File Manager and onto the top of a file icon in the first File Manager and then release the left button. When you do this, a menu with about 4 items should appear. Select the 'Link(Absolute)' item. This is probably the last menu item.
Now click on the scroll bar on the right hand side of that first File Manager (the one that is showing files in the '~" home directory). This mouse click will give it the focus. Then scroll up to the list of directories in it (that is within the '~' directory) and you should find an item named 'Fonts' of type 'Link'. It shows the type 'Link' in the column to the right of the name. It should also have an arrow symbol to the left of the name. When you see this 'Fonts' symbolic Link it means you've created the sym link and all that remains to do is rename it to '.fonts'
If the symbolic link that you just created doesn't appear, it's probably because you dropped it onto a directory instead of onto a file. In this case, try again. The lost link won't cause any problems.
When you see the 'Fonts' sym link within your home directory you need to right click on it holding your right mouse button down. This should bring up a double menu next to your mouse cursor. Your mouse should now be in the left menu on an item labeled
Sym link 'Fonts'
From there, move the mouse to the right menu and select 'Rename...'
Now rename this sym link to
Yes, it must start with the full stop and the small f.
If all went well you have finished, but I suggest that you do the following checks to ensure that it did go well.
First check that you can see the '.fonts' sym link. Then check to see if this link is actually in the '~' directory. That is, check that above the arrow or house symbol of the toolbar it shows '~ (all)'. If we don't see that squiggly line '~' then we have put it in the wrong directory.
Now click on the created '.fonts' sym link and ensure that the File Manager ends up displaying all the fonts in the Windows 'Fonts' menu.
Finally, you can check that this worked by bringing up the Abiword word processor from the 'Document' menu. If Abiword is already open you will need to close it and then reopen it. Inside Abiword, when you click on the arrow to the right of the font name, you should see a list of fonts that you can scroll through by placing the mouse on top of the arrow at the top of the list.
Before creating the .fonts sym link you would have had about 11 fonts in this list. After creating the sym link you will probably have over one hundred fonts.
3) SHARING SEAMONKEY PROFILES
The most complete way to share bookmarks, history, address book, mail folders, passwords, recently downloaded but yet to read mail etc is for MS Windows and Puppy Linux to share the same SeaMonkey Profile. SeaMonkey gives you a complete suite of programs including a good Internet browser, email client, newsgroup reader, address book, web page editor/creator and an IRC chat client.
This solution requires that you install and use a compatible SeaMonkey version on MS Windows. First, obtain the version number of the SeaMonkey that is installed on your Puppy Linux system. You will find it by clicking on the 'About SeaMonkey' item within the 'Help' menu of the SeaMonkey Browser.
After rebooting the computer and logging into Microsoft Windows you can download SeaMonkey from
Try to get the same SeaMonkey release. It should work OK with a minor difference in release numbers (no guarantees) but it generally won't work with a major difference such as Version 1.x and a Version 2.x
SeaMonkey is a remarkably small program, given that it contains such a phenomenal suite of programs. It's amazingly quick and easy to download and install.
Once SeaMonkey is working within MS Windows you are best to add a few unique bookmarks to the browser for your first checks after you get these synchronized. Other than the unique bookmarks it's best not to do any further setup and data additions yet.
You need to reboot into Puppy Linux in order to make the modifications needed to share profiles. The following assumes that you only have one (default) profile in both the MS Windows installation and the Puppy installation. You should not have any of the SeaMonkey suite of programs open as you do the following.
First rename the Puppy Linux SeaMonkey profile directory by adding a -orig suffix to the name. That is,
Where xxxxxxxx is a unique alphanumeric profile name created by SeaMonkey when it was first installed into Puppy Linux.
Now create a symbolic link that redirects
to the profile created in the MS Windows SeaMonkey installation. The profile created in MS Windows is typically (at least for Windows XP) located and named as follows:
/mnt/home/Documents and Settings/USER/Application Data/Mozilla/Seamonkey/Profiles/yyyyyyyy.default
- Where USER is your MS Windows User Name
- Where yyyyyyyy is a unique alphanumeric profile name created by SeaMonkey on its installation into MS Windows
Once the Symbolic link is made it should now work. When you bring up the SeaMonkey browser in Puppy you should be able to see the unique bookmarks you added within MS Windows.
Note that creating the Symbolic Link for the whole 'seamonkey' directory, currently doesn't work. Within the 'seamonkey' directory there is a directory structure difference between the MS Windows and the Linux Versions. This means that if you have multiple profiles that you want to use, you will have to make a separate Symbolic Link for each.
Note also that there are alternatives to the above where you only utilize part of the profile directory such as only redirecting the 'Mail' directory.
If, previous to creating the above symbolic link, you already have data such as bookmarks, history, stored mail in mail folders, unread mail already downloaded, addresses etc in your Puppy Linux version of SeaMonkey then at this stage you will have lost the use of this but the data is still stored within
To utilize this data, perform the following steps. First, exit out of the SeaMonkey browser and/or any other SeaMonkey suite programs that are running. Next rename the SeaMonkey profile directory created within MS Windows by adding a -orig suffix to the name. Typically that is
/mnt/home/Documents and Settings/USER/Application Data/Mozilla/Seamonkey/Profiles/yyyyyyyy.default
/mnt/home/Documents and Settings/USER/Application Data/Mozilla/Seamonkey/Profiles/yyyyyyyy.default-orig
Now copy the whole
directory into the directory that contained the MS Windows SeaMonkey profiles. Typically that is to copy it into
/mnt/home/Documents and Settings/USER/Application Data/Mozilla/Seamonkey/Profiles
Now rename it to the yyyyyyyy.default name. You should be able to go back and click on the
symbolic link and find that you are looking at all the files in it.
Bring up SeaMonkey and now all your normal data should be there but you will have lost those few unique bookmarks created for the first test when you were adding SeaMonkey into MS Windows.
You have a copy of a lot of data still at
as you copied it rather than moving it. I would suggest keeping it as a backup for some time, but you don't want it in your save file. I would suggest that you move it to somewhere within the /mnt/home directory.
If you need more detailed instructions on how to do the above symbolic link, then I suggest that you first implement the '2) SHARING WINDOWS FONTS:' above by following the Ultra Detailed Instructions in b). Once you understand that method of creating symbolic links, following the above instructions should be easy.
Note that the easiest way to copy a directory is almost identical to that described for creating the symbolic link. As for creating a sym link, you first set up a File Manager to show where the directory is going to, making sure that it is showing files or blank space at the bottom of it. You then bring up another File Browser, locate the directory that you are going to copy and relocate the File Manager for the drag. Then you drag the directory across holding the left mouse down as for creating a sym link except that when you drop the directory on one of the files or on empty space, you choose the 'copy' item rather the 'Link(Absolute)' item from the menu.
4) SHARING FIREFOX PROFILES
SeaMonkey allows you to do some things that Firefox doesn't (eg mail and newsgroups) while Firefox does some things that SeaMonkey doesn't. Consequently, many people run both programs on each system.
The methodology and method of implementing sharing of profiles is essentially the same as for SeaMonkey profiles above.
5) SHARING MAIL BETWEEN MOZILLA, THUNDERBIRD, NETSCAPE, CLASSILA AND SEAMONKEY
Some years ago when I first shifted from being a predominately Windows user with Thunderbird as my email client, to being a Puppy Linux user, I copied out the 'Mail' directory from within the Windows version of Mozilla Thunderbird and used this to replace the 'Mail' directory within Puppy's SeaMonkey profile directory. After doing so, SeaMonkey came up with all my old folders and email without any problems.
Whether this means that it could be shared between Puppy SeaMonkey and MS Windows Thunderbird, I do not know. SeaMonkey may have recognized it as an old version and done an upgrade on the files to make it work. The easiest way to find this out is to back everything up and then try it. Once you follow the principles of the above, it is only a matter of some renaming and creating a symbolic link.
Of course today, you also have the option to add Mozilla Thunderbird into Puppy Linux. The Thunderbird email client is in the Ubuntu-precise-main repository and is easily added to Puppy using the Puppy Package Manager. Once it's added it should be easy to share the mail directory via a symbolic link in the same manner as for SeaMonkey above.
The same group or company (now generally called Mozilla but was called Netscape) is also responsible for all the following email clients and consequently there is likely to be some compatibility:
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- Mozilla Mail & Newsgroups (also referred to as Mozilla Mail/News or simply Mozilla Mail)
- Netscape Mail & Newsgroups
Please add to this thread any experiences in trying to set the sharing of these up.
6) BROWSER SYNC SERVICES
a) SeaMonkey & Firefox Internet Browsers
The SeaMonkey/Firefox Sync service provides for sharing bookmarks, history and passwords between installations of SeaMonkey and/or Firefox between your Puppy Linux and your MS Windows system. Actually, it is more than that as it also allows you to share between other computers (eg home and work) or even mobile phones that support Firefox Sync.
This is particularly handy if you using both SeaMonkey and Firefox.
You will find 'Set up sync...' on the tools menu of SeaMonkey or Firefox. You'll be required to create an account. Getting this running should be self explanatory.
Note that the data for this is stored offsite in a server provided by Mozilla. They state that it's stored securely in a way that allows only you to access it (encryption happens on the client side). Mozilla provides a default Sync server free of charge but there's also an option for you to run your own server.
As part of the setup, you are given a Sync Key (Recovery Key) for the Sync account you just created. If you lose it, the data on the Sync server is irretrievably lost!
b) Chrome and Chromium Internet Browsers
A similar sync system also exists for the Chrome Browser. In this case the bookmarks are synchronized with your Google account. The feature can be found by clicking the wrench icon and going to Settings, then clicking on the 'Sign in to Chrome' button. The Chrome browser doesn't seem to be available from either Puppy or Ubuntu repositories. You can download the latest Linux version from
Once downloaded, click on the file and that should get Puppy Package Manager to install it for you.
The same sync is also available for the Chromium Browser. Chromium is available from Ubuntu repositories via the Puppy Package Manager and on some of the latest Puppy versions, chromium is also available as an SFS file.
Chromium is the open source version of the browser. Google takes this and adds a few extras to create the Google Chrome browser.
c) Opera & Safari Internet Browsers
Opera and Safari offer similar sync systems. Opera offers Opera Link, which syncs your bookmarks and Speed Dial across computers and devices. With Safari you can set up sync to iCloud. I have not used either and don't know much about them, so please add into this thread any experiences you have had.
7) OTHER METHODS OF SHARING BETWEEN MS WINDOWS AND PUPPY LINUX
Instead of using an email client on your own computer, you can collect mail using an external mail system such as GMail
With these you use your web browser to read the email. This allows you to read your email, along with all the folders of stored email, from any computer that's connected to the Internet.
Note that setting this up doesn't always require changing your email address. If you check through the facilities provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or whoever is providing your current email server, you will generally find that there's an option to redirect all your incoming email.
Social and private bookmarking sites such as
Google Bookmarks (http://www.google.com/bookmarks),
and Delicious (http://www.delicious.com/home).
offer an alternative method of sharing bookmarks that allows you to share bookmarks from any computer connected to the Internet.
Most of these offer toolbars that you can use in some browsers on some platforms. An alternative method of using them is to use the browser's own bookmark bar. These services normally provide a button on their webpage that you drag onto the browser's bookmark bar. This allows you to use it from almost all browsers on all platforms.
A number of companies offer addons to your browsers that allow you to synchronize your bookmarks across different computers. By far the best known of these is
Xmarks supports a wide selection of browsers and Operating Systems. For Linux systems this includes support for Firefox and Chrome while for MS Windows this includes support for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.
There are many other user programs that have similar versions for both MS Windows and Linux where the principles used to set up SeaMonkey in Section 3 should work. If you have implemented, or attempted to implement any of these, could you please post the results to this thread.
Joined: 23 Nov 2006
|Posted: Wed 07 Aug 2013, 11:34 Post subject:
A comprehensive post indeed...
Alternative approach for sharing profiles between systems is to edit the profile.ini file... eg I share thunderbird with an entry of
on windows its...
to use the same profile as windows paths are needed. The shared profile can be anywhere convenient and is just taken from the desired profile.
This is the official mozilla way and does avoid symlinks too. The need for matching software versions still applies.
Note if you are sharing profiles there are odd addons that are only windows friendly.
Joined: 24 Jul 2005
|Posted: Sun 18 Aug 2013, 11:55 Post subject:
Thanks for the comments about Lin'N'WinNewB. As writer I much appreciate comments.
I do have a comment regarding the choice of Puppies on Lin'N'WinNewB. I find it almost impossible to keep up to date with the latest and greatest. However, the ones I stick with I have used and know work for me. What is best for some people is not always best for everybody. The promotion of Lucid Puppy (Lupu) is very deliberate. I, along with many others, still think it takes some beating for ease of use and what is available for the newbie. I appreciate it will not work on the very latest PCs, which is where Slacko or Precise may be useful. I also realise the version of Wary is out of date and I will probably correct that at some point - however I am not sure of the direction Barry is taking Wary now. It seems to be increasing in size to way beyond what a small fast distro Puppy used to be. My other choice of Lighthouse Puppy is up to date in the 32bit arena and I have no qualms about maintaining this recommendation. It doesn't look like other Puppies but it is solid!
Now for some more tips about having a dual boot machine.
I have had a Windows 7 machine for quite a while but, until recently, I used a Windows 98 vintage machine to access the Internet via a usb modem. Recently, my broadband connection went faulty and I was without a service for 3 months. It was a very sobering experience going back to dial up. Perhaps Barry should try it and then Wary may not get so large!
Anyways, my broadband connection was fixed and I was supplied a modem router gratis by my ISP. Now this will not work with my vintage PC so recently I have been configuring my Windows 7 machine to use it. I will not connect Windows 7 to the internet so it was time to dual boot with a Puppy that would allow me to do all my internet work. Apart from surfing I need a secure file transfer program to maintain my web site and I need a web site downloader for those occasions where Help manuals are online only.
My solution was to choose Lighthouse Puppy because it had a browser and mail client built in (Opera) and also came with Wine already installed. The latter meant I had no extra task to get Wine and make it work with Puppy.
Now, I uploaded to my web site using a Windows program WinSCP. It isn't written for Linux, although it was possible to use something else on Linux - Nautilus was mentioned a lot but I did not know whether it worked with Puppy.
Anyways, I am a newbie with regard to getting programs to work with Puppy. I want things out of the box. My solution was to get a portable version of WinSCP and see if it ran under Wine - it did! All I had to do was put WinSCP Portable in a directory and then click on the associated exe file to run it. Simple to install and simple to run!
Now my web site downloader, HTTrack, does have a Linux equivalent, WebTrack. Unfortunately, it comes as source and you have to compile it. Far too complicated for a newbie. My solution was again to get a portable version and run it under Wine. It worked again.
One advantage of this approach of running under Wine is you are already familiar with the interface and no learning curve to worry about.
The reason I choose portable versions of my Windows programs is that since they do not mess with the registry or the Windows system they are more likely to work under Wine. I may be completely bonkers in this thinking but it worked for me.
So my tip for dual booters is when faced with having to run a Windows program is - see if there is a portable version of the program available and try it under Wine. Maybe this will lessen the need to boot up Windows!
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