Slax is an operating system designed to be run from a USB flash drive, allowing you to carry all your software in your pocket. Just plug it into a computer to boot into Slax, then shut down the PC and remove the flash drive when you’re done.

While it’s actually pretty easy to do this with a number of Linux-based operating systems, Slax is designed specifically for this purpose, and it’s a pretty simple, versatile, and powerful option that’s easy to set up and easy to use.

Today the developer of Slax announced that version 9.5 is ready for download. And if you don’t want to set it up yourself, for the first time you can buy a USB flash drive with hardware-based encryption and Slax 9.5 pre-installed.

Slax 9.5 is based on Debian Linux 9.5 and 32-bit and 64-bit downloads are available at the Slax website. Both are disc images that are less than 270 MB, and you can burn the image to a CD or DVD to create a disc that you can boot from. Or you can copy the contents of the disc image to a /slax/ folder on a USB drive and then run a boot installer to make your flash drive bootable.

Once that’s done, you should be able to boot into Slax on most modern computers.

The operating system allows you to simply run the operating system or run in persistent mode, meaning any changes you make will be saved. So if you install a program, save passwords, or connect to a wireless network, you won’t have to do those things over again the next time you run the operating system.

Since Slax is Debian-based, you can install software by firing up a terminal window and using the APT package manager. But you can also download modules and add them to the /slax/modules folder on your flash drive. This allows you to set up your environment before you even boot Slax the first time. You can find a list of available modules at

If you opt to buy a flash drive with Slax pre-installed, the developers will send you a 16GB Kingston DataTraveler 2000 with AES 256 hardware-based encryption, an alphanumeric keypad, and top write speeds of 20 MB/s (which sounds slow… but the operating system should still be pretty zippy since it loads into your computer’s RAM to run).

The Slax USB drive sells for 0.017 Bitcoin, which is currently about $131 US. That’s not too bad a deal though since shipping is free, Slax comes pre-installed, and the Kingston DataTraveler 2000 usually sells for around $100 and up anyway.

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7 replies on “Slax 9.5 released: light-weight, modular Linux distro that runs from a flash drive”

  1. So, I tried creating a usb and completed all the steps but I cannot make it boot. I tried both my GPD WIN and Acepc ak1. Is there a special requirement to be able to boot it?

  2. I remember enjoying slax a lot 10 years ago, tiny, simple.. I thought it was comatose.. very happy to hear about it.

  3. It’s good to see somebody still supports 32 bit hardware! Even better if it can run without PAE support. There are lots of perfectly good older PCs that won’t run a 64 bit OS. But Microsoft and Intel want you to throw all those older PCs in a landfill and buy their latest and greatest (and more expensive) stuff. Sent from my 6 year old 32 bit ARM powered fanless Chromebook, with NO WinTel Inside!

  4. Ubuntu runs off a flash usb drive just fine. I usually turn off logging and don’t have a swap partition to ensure the minimal writes to the drive. I don’t use entire drive encryption, but it is an install option. I recommend the sandisk ultra fit 16GB for $8.

    1. Is there an advantage to hardware based encryption vs software? The only security advantage that I can see is that by entering the password on the physical usb drive, a hardware key logger in the keyboard would not be able to steal the key.

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