Mepis 8 Install

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This tutorial covers installing Mepis 8 from the Simply Mepis Live CD.

Tutorial Format

There are numerous screenshots. Inline images are limited to 600 pixels in width.

The flow of the article follows the steps in the install process. Where it does not this is noted.


This tutorial does not cover every possibility that may arise during an install. Please read the tutorial through completely before starting your installation. Links are provided at the end of the tutorial to other information and help sources.

Getting Started

The starting point of this tutorial will be from the desktop after you have booted the live CD that Mepis is distributed on. The live CD has two users demo and root. The passwords are demo for the demo user and root for the root user. The mouse is set to single-click mode.

demo user desktop

root user desktop

Simply click once on the install icon to start the installation process.


Enter Root Password

If you did not log in as the root user you have to enter the root password (root) to run the installer:


Hard Disk Setup

WARNING! Never delete a partition or reformat a partition unless you are sure that you do not need any data stored there.

There are two methods of installing Mepis. You can auto install using an entire hard disk or you can custom install on existing partitions.


Here is some important information from the directions in the left hand box:

Partition Requirements

A linux-swap partition is highly recommended. Your RAM memory plus swap space must be at least 192MB. A larger size can improve system performance but you should not need more than 512MB of swap space unless you develop software or edit video files or run a database server.

A separate linux /home (pronounced home) partition is recommended and should be at least 200MB and preferably as large as possible. This is where your work will be stored. A separate home partition will make it easier to backup, upgrade or reinstall MEPIS in the future.

A linux / ( pronounced root) partition is required. It needs to be at least 1.8 GB for Lite versions of MEPIS and 2.0 GB for other versions of MEPIS and it must be larger if you do not have a separate home partition. This is where additional applications will be stored and where the Linux kernel and drivers may be compiled. If you will be installing and/or testing a lot of applications, you should make this partition larger but, unless you test a lot software, it is unlikely you would need more than 6GB in this partition.

Auto-install Using Entire Disk

The selected disk will be reformatted and the installer will partition the disk as MEPIS prefers. Optionally you may request that a portion of the disk is left free if possible, for example so you can install a second OS later.

Custom Install on Existing Partitions

MEPIS will be installed on the existing partitions you choose. If the disk isn't already partitioned appropriately, you can modify the partitions here with GParted. Do NOT use parted or GParted if you are installing on an Apple computer boot drive.


To upgrade an existing Linux installation, choose to install on existing partitions and then choose to preserve the data in /home.

Auto-Install Using Entire Hard Disk

If you auto install on an entire hard disk the drive selected in the drop-down box in 1a of the image above will be used and you will lose any data that is on that drive. You should only make this selection if you want to use the hard disk's entire capacity (unless you optionally reserve a portion of the disk) and you are sure that there is no data on the disk that you need. Make sure that you a have a backup of any data you do not want to lose forever. For an auto-install:

  • Choose the hard disk you want to use from the drop-down in the 1a. section
  • Click the 'Auto-install using entire hard disk' radio button
  • Fill in the 'Leave free space up to' option if you do not want to use the entire disk
  • Click the Next button

Custom Install On Existing Partitions

This choice says existing partitions, but you can run the partition editor (GParted) to set up your hard disk the way you want before moving on to the next step or use existing partitions. To run GParted just click on Run Gparted button in section 1b of the window.

Using GParted

If you view the larger image you will see that the hard disk has some unused space and it already has a swap partition that can be reused. So we will set up a partition for root and one to use as home.

After Partitioning

In the larger image you can see that now there is a 30 GB and 95 GB partitions that can be used for this install. If your hard disk did not already have a swap partition you would need to create one.

Once you know which partitions you will be using for root, home and swap:

  • Select the 'Custom install on existing partitions' radio button
  • Click the NEXT button

Selecting the partitions to use


In section 2a there are 3 drop-down boxes. Use these to select the partitions you are using for the install. The image above shows the two partitions that were created and the reuse of the existing swap partition.

If you are not upgrading an existing install you only need to select the partitions here and select the NEXT button.

WARNING! All of the partitions will be formatted if you choose these options.

Preserving an existing home partition will be covered later.

Installer Limitations

No Usable Partitions

If there are no usable partitions on the hard disks in your system the Mepis installer will not show the 'Custom install on existing partitions' option:


You must run GParted and create partitions before moving to the next step.

Can Not Install /home to Separate hard Disk

The installer will not allow you to select partitions on two separate hard disks. All three of the drop-down boxes in step 2a are limited to partitions on the hard disk selected in the drop-down in step 1a of the install.


You are limited to partitions on the disk selected here.


These drop-downs only list partitions on the drive selected in step 1a.

Installing the System

Mepis does not give you any opportunity to select which packages (software) to install. So when you click next you will be prompted for an OK to format the three partitions:




This is your last chance to abort formatting the partitions. Click OK ion each window and the partitions will be formatted and the system will be installed.

WARNING! - Formatting these partitions will delete all data on them. Make sure that you do not have anything you do not want to lose stored there.

Preserving an existing /home partition or directory is covered later.

Install GRUB Bootloader


From the install directions in the left hand box:

Select Boot Method

MEPIS uses the GRUB bootloader to boot MEPIS and MS-Windows. If you have other versions of Linux already installed on your computer, GRUB will not be automatically configured to boot them. You will have to add them manually to the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

If you install GRUB here, by default it is placed in the Master Boot Record of your boot drive and replaces whatever boot loader you may have been using before. This is normal.

If you choose to install GRUB at root instead of MBR, then GRUB will be installed at the beginning of the root partition. In most cases, this will allow you to start GRUB from a third party bootloader. This option is for experts only.

The use initrd option will allow a special software called initrd to preload extra drivers, restore from suspend to disk, and start the splash screen earlier. Its use is recommended, but not mandatory.

If you do not select the Install GRUB checkbox, GRUB will not be installed at this time. You can install GRUB later by using the Reinstall GRUB function in the MEPIS Utilities. Reinstall GRUB will also give you the option to install GRUB on a floppy disk

Default - Install to MBR of System Boot Disk

The default choice is to install GRUB to the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the system's boot disk. If you want to do this you should select the system boot disk from the drop-down box.

Important: If you have multiple hard disks in your system the boot disk may not be the same one you installed Mepis on.

WARNING! - Installing GRUB in the MBR of the hard disk will overwrite any boot loader that resides there. Ensure you have the means of reverting to the original boot loader if required, for example Windows install/recovery disk.

Install to Root

This installs GRUB at the beginning of the root partition. You will have to use another boot loader to boot Mepis if you select this option.

Example: You have another Linux system installed and you want to continue to use the boot loader installed by that system. Install GRUB to the root of your Mepis install. You can then use the menu.lst file located in /boot/grub of the Mepis install to gather the information needed for the boot loader you are using.

No GRUB Install

Choose this option if you are sure that you do not need GRUB or the information that installing GRUB would provide about booting the system.

If you need to install GRUB later you can do so by booting the live CD and from the menu select:

System->Mepis->Mepis System Assistant


Confirm GRUB Install

If you choose to install GRUB you will be ask to confirm your choice:


and then a few seconds later (if all goes well) you will get an OK message:


Service Startup Selection

Once you install GRUB you will be asked which services you want to start at boot:


The services with an X in the box will be started at boot. Choose the ones that you need.

Network Names

The next step is to set the names your Mepis system will use on your network (if you have one).


The computer name should enable you and other network users to identify the computer. It should be unique on your network to prevent confusion.

For most users the domain name is not important. If you are on a network that uses them this will probably be assigned by the network administrator.

If you are going to share files using Samba with Windows computers you should set the same workgroup name used on your Windows computers.

Localization Defaults

Now you will be ask to set the settings for your locale:


Select the settings for your locale from the drop-down boxes. If the time on your computer is set to GMT click the box in section 7b. When the settings are correct click the NEXT button.

You are not given an opportunity to set the timezone or to finely tune the region settings. You will have to do this after you boot the installed system if you want to make changes.

User Accounts

The Mepis setup now has you create a default user and enter a password to be used for root access.


The passwords are entered twice here to make sure that you don't get locked out of your system by a typo.

Additional accounts must be setup after the install.

Install Finished

If you are doing a new install, after you enter the user information and click next you have completed the install process and will be asked if you wish to reboot the computer:


If you choose to reboot Mepis will shut down and the install CD will be ejected. When you close the CD tray the computer will complete the restart.

If you choose NO you can continue to use the live cd environment.

Preserving Home - Upgrading

You may wish to upgrade an older version of Mepis to version 8 or to save the settings from another linux install to use with Mepis. You can do this by preserving the existing directory.

WARNING! Do not count on everything going right. Make sure that you have a backup of the files in your home directory before upgrading

You can also do a fresh install preserving home if your existing install has problems.

This method will preserve settings in the home directory. The software may have to be re-installed.

Example: Mepis uses KMail as the default e-mail client. If you use Thunderbird the settings will still be there (assuming the default .thunderbird directory in your home folder) but you will have to re-install Thunderbird. The first time Thunderbird is run after re-installing the existing mailbox folders and settings will all be there.

Note: If you can not find the settings for a program after you upgrade check that the settings folder name has not changed, In the Thunderbird example above sometimes the settings folder is named .mozilla-thunderbird and sometimes just .thunderbird.

WARNING! Make a backup!

Important: Configuration files and settings not in the /home directory will be lost. Example: /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Separate Partition For Existing Home


Install using the "Custom Install On Existing Partitions" option


Make sure that you select "Preserve date in /home (if upgrading) In the drop-down box for the /home partition select the partition that you previously used for home

You will see the following prompt, instead of a reformat prompt when the system gets to the /home partition:


If everything is OK click OK then click the NEXT button and the system will be installed without overwriting the /home partition.

Root and Home On Same Partition

You can preserve /home even of your current install has /home in the root partition.

WARNING! Make sure that you have anything you want to save backed up to another partition, another computer, or external media.


Install using the "Custom Install On Existing Partitions" option

When you get to the select partitions screen select 'root' for your home partition:


Make sure that you select "Preserve date in /home (if upgrading)"

When you have the correct settings click the NEXT button.

You will see this prompt when the system gets to the root partition:


Rather than being formatted the old system will be deleted during the install:


Recycle Existing Users While Preserving Home

If you enter a user that existed on the system you are upgrading you will be prompted if you want to use the existing directory. If you want to save existing settings answer YES.


Further Reading and References

--Marvin02 21:28, 14 March 2009 (EST)

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