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Short help text to install and run the 9w 'NioWill' installer


9w is designed to install operating systems to computers, that have low specifications, e.g. low RAM, where the standard installers do not work.

I'm Nio, which means 9 in Swedish. Will Haley's blog post taught me how to do it. Hence 'NioWill'.

9w is based on a debian operating system with an i486 kernel.It uses 'mkusb' to install compressed images of any [free] operating system by flashing or cloning the image to a mass storage device, an internal drive (typically a HDD) or external drive (typically a USB pendrive).

After the installation you can use 'gparted' to grow the partitions to fill your target drive.

You can create dual boot systems with 9w 'proper' if there are two drives connected or with the OBI-9w in advanced mode also within one drive. But there is hardly any reason to dual boot computers with such low specs, often old computers.


9w overwrites the partition table, so the previous data will be erased. This means that you must backup all data from the target drive, before you start installing with 9w.

Installation A.B.C.

A. Download an iso file

Download an iso file containing 9w from

B. Check the md5sum

Check the md5sum

Linux: Run

md5sum filename.iso

for example

md5sum obi_Trusty-nonpae-txt5-9w.iso

Windows: Download and use

C. Create either a CD/DVD install disk or a USB install drive

C1. Use a good burning program for example to burn the iso file to a CD or DVD disk. Set 'verify data' and the slowest burning speed possible, and burn an iso image (do not copy the iso file to a data CD or data DVD)

Linux: 'k3b' or 'Brasero'

Windows: See this link or search the internet for iso burning in windows and you find several tools.

C2. or use a good tool to flash or clone the iso file to a USB drive (typically a USB pendrive)

Linux: Use mkusb or some other tool to 'flash' or 'clone' the iso file to a USB pendrive. The fastest way to start running mkusb to make USB boot drives is to download the quick start manual and the shell-script mkusb and check the md5sums.

Get mkusb from this link


Windows: You can use to 'flash' or 'clone' the iso file to a USB pendrive.

Anyway, if only the installer and the target drive are connected, you cannot overwrite any important data. So disconnect all drives, that are not necessary, while you install and edit partitions.


9w 'proper'

The installer 9w boots into a text screen as the user 'root'. Run commands as usual, you can even install tools, that you need (but only into the live system, it is not persistent). You are root, you need not use 'sudo', there is no sudo command installed. Be careful, an installer is powerful and can easily destroy valuable data.

If very low memory, you can run 'mkusb' from the text screen and install the system while running in this text screen. The commands in red text are recommended. Anything after the hash character # is considered a comment, and is ignored by the command line interpreter bash.

If there is enough memory (try!), you can start the LXDE desktop with the command 'startx'.


The OBI-9w boots into a menu where you can select a graphical user interface when there is enough RAM and the graphics chip/card is supported by a kernel driver. Use the desktop icons.

Otherwise you can run the One Button Installer in text mode.

Warnings and error messages

Often there are some warnings during the installation, for example 'unable to resolve hostname', which can be ignored. Some error messages appear while booting the installed system. These warnings are due to the fact that the system is ported between different computers, and in the end the correct drivers are installed, so the installed system works as intended.

Of course, in a perfect world, these warnings and error messages should be eliminated, but there has not been time for a deeper debugging effort yet.


Use the manuals in the folder 'Documents' (from the desktop in the LXDE session when the 9w installer is running live.)

9w 'proper' installs from compressed image files

You can use the manuals mkUSB-quick-start-manual.pdf and GrowIt.pdf locally in LXDE or via the Internet.

OBI-9w installs from tarballs (One Button Installer)

Start with the manual this OBI quick start manual file and continue with the other manuals available locally in LXDE or at if you want or need more information.

Terminal window

If there is an mkusb command line printed in red colour, when the terminal window is started, you can mark and paste it (and press Enter) to start the installation. The command TT toggles the touchpad on/off.


mkusb can install compressed images of any [free] operating system by flashing or cloning the image to a mass storage device, an internal drive (e.g. HDD) or external drive (e.g. USB pendrive).


A desktop icon with a green go-ahead-sign will automatically run mkusb and install from the compressed image file(s) included in the iso file. Close the terminal window with the x symbol at the top right corner when finished (it is 'xterm' with the hold option).

Unmount before unplug

After you have installed the system with mkusb, the drive is not mounted and it can be disconnected (unplugged in case of USB). If you have done other tasks with the drive, and it is mounted, you should unmount it before disconnecting. If pending write operations are interrupted, the drive's file system will be damaged, and it might be impossible to read.


'gparted' can move the swap partition and grow the root partition of the installed operating system, so that the whole internal drive is used.

'gparted' can resize an existing partition to create unallocated space, and in the next step create a new partition (root partition) or two new partitions (root and swap partitions). If more than four partitions are needed in an MSDOS partition table, create an extended partition and logical partitions inside the extended partition.

gparted works only in graphics mode. In text mode you need a text tool to edit the partitions (cfdisk, fdisk or parted). It is possible, but much more difficult.

Dual boot

Dual boot is created in a two-step process.

1. Edit the partition table with gparted

2. Run the One Button Installer at the advanced OBI level

There is a detailed description how to run the One Button Installer at the advanced OBI level in the README.pdf file. See

- Chapter i. The One Button Installer

- Paragraph 6. Advanced OBI level – Select OBI level at the starter menu.


When you want to shut off the computer, type 'poweroff' and press Enter in the terminal window or in the text screen. Type 'reboot' to reboot.

Do not unplug any USB pendrive until you are sure that the system is halted. Most computers switch off the power, but in some computers the system is halted and waits for you to press the power button. A short click on the power button should be enough, otherwise the system is not halted.

Login and password to the installed system

Boot into the installed system and log in with the user ID and password according to this text file

How to use other compressed images or tarballs

It is not straight-forward to install systems that are not contained in a 9w iso file. But it is possible according to this link.



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9w/Manual (last edited 2014-07-05 19:27:01 by nio-wiklund)