This page explains many of the boot parameters that are used by antiX Live systems. Most users will get by just fine by making selections in the bootloader menus. The boot menus provide a convenient GUI for setting some of the options documented here. Use the F12 key in the bootloader to see what boot options are selected by your current menu choices.

New since antiX-15!

These boot parameters have been recently added.

  • blacklist=<list> A list of kernel modules to blacklist. These modules won’t get automatically loaded.

  • blacklist=VIDEO If you add VIDEO to the list then all KMS video modules will get blacklisted.

  • bootchart Create /var/log/bootchart.tgz. Use the program +pybootchartgui to convert this to a .png image to view what happens when the Live system boots. It is designed to stop recording a few seconds after conky starts.

  • desktheme=dark|light Choose either a dark theme or a light theme for the desktop. Use the command set-desktop-theme to change the theme from the command line.

  • earlyvid Try to load KMS video modules earlier in the boot process. This is mainly for debugging but if it works, it may give a a higher resolution console slighter earlier in the boot process.

  • failsafe This has the effect of combining several different boot parameters that should allow antiX to boot on most systems and get to X-Windows. Some older system may need to use acpi=off and so forth. These options are not enabled by default because they may be rarely needed and each one has a cost associated with it such as poorer graphics resolution and performance in X-Windows. We hope on one will ever need to use the failsafe option. These are the boot options it enables:

  • hwclock=local|utc Assume that the hardware clock is set to either UTC or to localtime. If you are dual booting with Windows then you should set the hardware clock to localtime. Otherwise, UTC is preferred.

  • menus Enable a series of text-based menus to make the selections that are normally made by the function key popup menus in the Live bootloader. This is primarily for booting via UEFI since the UEFI bootloaders don’t provide support for separate menus.

  • plink Enable pseudo-links in the AUFS file system. If you don’t know what this means then you probably don’t want to use it although it shouldn’t do any harm.

  • private Get prompted for new root and demo passwords during the boot process. The well known and well advertised default passwords for the root and demo accounts on the Live system are a security risk. Using your own passwords instead of the defaults should make your system a little safer.

  • savestate (LiveUSB Only) Save certain "state" files across reboots even without persistence enabled. Also save certain machine-specific state files across reboots. You can control which files get saved by editing the files /live/boot-dev/antiX/state/general-state-files and /live/boot-dev/antiX/state/machine-state-files. Those files and the directory they are in will be created automatically the first time you boot the LiveUSB. This is enabled by default and it is "sticky" so once you enable it it will stay enabled until you turn it off. See below.

  • nosavestate (LiveUSB Only) disable saving state files. See description above. This too is sticky so when you use it saving state will stay disabled until you re-enable it.

Boot LiveCD/USB

These options control how the Live media boots. In particular the control where we look for the linuxfs file. The location of this file will be used for other Live features such as persistence and remastering.

The Boot Device

The primary job of Live initrd is to find the compressed file system called a squashfs file. For antiX and MX this file is normally named linuxfs. We need to find the device this file is on and find the file on that device.

Normally we scan all cdrom (and dvd) and usb devices for that file. This default behavior can be modified with the following options. The easiest way to specify the boot device is the from option which specifies what type of device to boot from.

  • from=<list> The type of boot device. Valid values: cd hd usb, and all. More than one is allowed. The default is usb,cd so by default we will only look at cdrom/dvd devices and usb devices to for the boot directory. You can also specify a device more specifically by giving a device name (like sda1), a partition label, or a partition UUID.

The bdev, blab, and buuid options allow you to specify which device we look on to find the linuxfs file.

  • bdev=<name> The name of the boot device. For example bdev=sda..

  • blab=<label> The partition label of the boot device.

  • buuid=<uuid> The UUID of the boot device.

New since antiX-15: the buuid option accepts simple wildcards such as * and ?. For example: buuid1234*" will instruct us to look on all partitions that have a UUID that starts with "1234".

You can combine from with bdev, blab, or buuid. For example: from=usb blab=antiX-LiveUSB will instruct us to only look for partitions on usb/removable devices that have the label antiX-LiveUSB.

The Boot Directory

By default, we look for the linuxfs file and and persistence files in the antiX directory on the boot device. If you want to boot more than one Live system on the same device or if you want to do a frugal install, you should change that directory and use the bdir parameter to point to the new directory.

  • bdir=<dir> The boot directory. This is the directory where we look for the linuxfs (squashfs) file, persistence files and live-remaster files. The default is /antiX. The leading slash is optional.

  • sq=<dir/file> Specify the linuxfs file plus the boot directory all at once. The default is /antiX/linuxfs but the leading slash is optional.


Sometimes booting problems can be tracked down to a missing driver or a driver that is not getting loaded. These two boot parameters can be helpful in tracking down such problems.

  • bp=N Set one or more breakpoints in the live-init script separated by commas. Use bp=? to get a list of breakpoints to choose from. The meanings may change with different versions so use bp=? be sure.

    breakpoint 1  before welcome
    breakpoint 2  before coldplug
    breakpoint 3  before looking for linuxfs file
    breakpoint 4  after mounting boot device
    breakpoint 5  after mounting persistence device
    breakpoint 6  after mounting aufs
    breakpoint 7  before prepare switch_root
    breakpoint 8  before running init.d scripts
    breakpoint 9  right before starting init
    breakpoint F  After fsck
    breakpoint F  Before fsck
    breakpoint e  On possibly fatal error
    breakpoint f  in frugal install
    breakpoint i  after init= chroot
    breakpoint m  before makefs
    breakpoint r  After resize homefs rsync
    breakpoint r  Before resize homefs rsync
    breakpoint tr After copy to ram
    breakpoint u  final umount
    breakpoint v  before check VID
    breakpoint x  before select device
  • verb=M Control how much gets printed out during the early boot process. The default level is verb=5. Lower numbers print less, higher numbers print more. Usually 6 or 7 will show you more info without being too obnoxious. The full output is available in the /var/log/live/bootloader.log file. A partial version of the log file is available at /init.log from within most breakpoints.

Loading Modules

One of the primary tasks of the live-initrd is to mount the device that holds the linuxfs file which contains the final file system. Modules (also called drivers) sometimes need to be loaded to allow the kernel to talk to certain types of hardware. Most of the time this is taken care of automatically but if you have very old or unusual hardware, there might be a glitch.

  • load=<list> Load one or more specific modules, separated by commas. You need to know the name of the module or modules that you want loaded for this to be useful.

  • load=all Load all modules in the initrd. This is a shotgun approach just in case there is module that is available in the initrd that needs to be manually loaded for your system to boot that is not getting loaded automatically. In addition, extra debugging information is added to the initrd.log file.

Other Booting options

These options affect the boot process but the don’t fit into any of the categories above.

  • fromiso=<file> Use this to boot from a iso file. This feature is deprecated because it defaults some of the more advanced features of the Live system but is supported due to popular (or otherwise) demand. This can be abbreviated as iso=<file>.

  • try=NN The maximum number of seconds to try finding the linuxfs file. The default is 15 seconds. This replaces rootdelay which is no longer used.


These options enable and control Live persistence which allows you to make changes that will persist across reboots. These options are normally used on LiveUSBs but if you specify a persistence device (or use the default LiveCD persistence device) then you can make use persistence on a LiveCD. In this case, the changes will have to be saved on some other device that allows for read-write access.

New since antiX-15: If you enable persistence on a LiveCD and and device with the label antiX-Persist is not found then we will give you a list of partitions to choose from and offer to give that device the label antiX-Persist. If a form of persistence is required but the persistence file is not found then we will offer to create it for you. We do not offer to create a persistence file if it is merely requested with one exception. If root persistence is required and home persistence is requested and neither rootfs nor homefs persistence files exist then we will offer to create both a rootfs file and a homefs file.

  • persist=<list> This is the main option for controlling Live persistence. It can be given one or more of the following parameters, separated by commas:

    • auto,a Automatically create rootfs and/or homefs files if they don’t already exist and they are required. Normally, we will prompt the user for size and file system type.

    • hd Only look on internal hard drives for the persistence device. This is analogous to from=hd for finding the boot device.

    • home!,h! Enable and require home persistence. The exclamation point means this form of persistence is required. A non-fatal error will be thrown if it cannot be enabled.

    • home,h Request home persistence but don’t require it. We will try to enable home persistence but if we can’t then this fact is briefly noted and the boot continues normally.

    • root!,r! Enable and require root persistence. The exclamation point means this form of persistence is required. A non-fatal error will be thrown if it cannot be enabled.

    • root,r Request root persistence but don’t require it. We will try to enable root persistence but if we can’t then this fact is briefly noted and the boot continues normally.

    • static,s If root persistence is enabled then use the static version of root persistence. Normally, dynamic root persistence is used.

    • usb Only look on usb partitions for the persistence device. This is analogous to from=usb for finding the boot device.

The Persistence Device

Just like the boot device can be specified generally with the from= option and more specifically with options like bdev= the same choices are available for specifying the persistence device.

On a LiveUSB or a frugal install, the default persistence device is the boot device which is what you would expect. Normally the persistence files will sit alongside the linuxfs file that we are booting from.

On a LiveCD the default persistence device is whatever device has the disk label antiX-Persist. If you specify a persistence device with one of the three options below then the defaults are ignored.

  • pdev=<dev> The name of the persistence device. For example: pdev=sdb2.

  • plab=<label> The partition label of the persistence device.

  • puuid=<uuid> The UUID of the persistence device.

Other Persistence Options

  • ptry=NN How many seconds to wait for the persistence device to appear. This is only relevant if the peristence device is different from the boot device. The default is 10 seconds.


These two options affect remastering. Normally, remastering is done automatically whenever there is a file in the same directory as the linuxfs file.

  • noremaster (LiveUSB Only) Disable remastering even when a file is found.

  • rollback (LiveUSB Only) Roll back to the previous version of linuxfs. If you remaster and for some reason things go horribly wrong, then use this feature to get back to the state right before you did the remaster.

Frugal Install

New since antiX-15! Automatically do a frugal install from a LiveCD or LiveUSB to a hard drive or a usb drive. Persistence files can also be created automatically so you can literally create and boot into an installed system in just a minute or two (depending on the speed of your hardware).

There are two modes of operation that are triggered by the same frugal boot parameter: install mode and boot mode. Normally the frugal device is a partition with the label antiX-Frugal If such a device is not found then you will be given a list of partitions to choose from. Once you have selected a device, you will be given an option to have it give the antiX-Frugal label. If an antiX frugal install has not already been done on the device you selected then an frugal install will be performed.

The next time you boot with the frugal option, we will automatically boot from the antiX-Frugal device into the frugal system that was installed. Again, if a frugal install is not found on that device, we will automatically install one.

If persistence is requested and the persistence files are not found then we will offer to create them after we do the install. If you want to force a persistence file to be created in a later boot then require that form of persistence with an exclamation point.

frugal=root     (requested)
frugal=root!    (required)
  • frugal Enable frugal mode. Either boot into the existing frugal system or create a new one if it does not already exist.

  • frugal=<list> A contraction of frugal and persist=<list>. It is common to add persist options when enabling frugal mode so you can add the persist options directly to the frugal boot parameter. Example: frugal=root,home.

The Frugal Device

Just like you can select the boot device and the persistence device with device name, label, or uuid, you can do the same with the frugal device. If you specify the frugal device this way and it is not found then we will give you a list of devices to choose from, just like with the frugal parameter, but we will I<not> offer to label the device you have selected.

  • fdev The name of the frugal device.

  • flab The partition label of the frugal device.

  • fuuid The UUID of the frugal partition.


These options affect X-windows. They will all be carried over when you do an install. The various keyboards options are carried over in the file /etc/defaults/keyboard. The other options are carried over in the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Keyboard Options

A rather complete list of keyboard options and variants is usually available at /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/xorg.lst

  • kbd=<layout> Set the keyboard layout. This is usually one or more 2-letter country codes separated by commas. For example: kbd=gr,us. This will allow users to quick switch between the US and the Greek keyboard layouts.

  • kbopt=<options> Keyboard options. These give special meaning to certain keys or key combinations. For example kbopt=ctrlnocaps: turns the Caps Lock key into an extra Control key.

  • kbvar=<variant> Keyboard variant. These are variants to the keyboard layout. For example kbvar=dvorak will give you a Dvorak keyboard layout when you use the us layout.

X-Windows Video Options

These options affect the graphical X-Windows interface. If the console frame-buffer is enabled, the X-Windows default graphics driver is fbdev which will force X-Windows to have the same resolution as the consoles. Since the antiX sets the default console resolution to 800x600, using the default fbdev graphics driver results in very poor resolution in X-Windows. Therefore we write a default xorg.conf file that uses the vesa graphics driver (which used to be the default) whenever we think the default fbdev driver is going to be used. We also create an xorg.conf file with the sisimedia driver when we detect SiS hardware.

We use the /sbin/make-xorg-conf script to make xorg.conf files. The list from the xorg=<list> boot parameter gets passed to this program.

  • dpi=NNN DPI stands for "dots per inch". It controls the size of most fonts. A larger DPI value will give you larger fonts and as smaller value will give you smaller fonts. The default is 96. This setting is stored in the Display Manager configuration file. On antiX this is /etc/slim.conf.

  • xorg=<parameter-list> Force a particular driver to be used, set the screen resolution or even set the horizontal and vertical frequency ranges. Accepts a comma separated list of parameters. Any other xorg= parameter that is not specified below is treated as the name of a video driver to use. If that driver cannot be found on the system then there will be a large error message in red explaining the problem.

    • WWWWxHHHH any parameter that looks like a resolution, a set of digits, an "x" and then another set of digits is treated like a resolution and sets the resolution of the X display. We usually add fallback resolutions in case the one you specified does not work out.

    • h=XXXXX set the range of horizontal frequencies

    • v=YYYYY set the range of vertical frequencies

    • safe use the "vesa" driver and use a conservative set of resolutions

    • default use the vesa driver and use a slightly less conservative set of resolutions

    • vbox set frequencies and resolutions that are optimized for some uses inside of Virtual Box

  • noxorg Don’t make an xorg.conf file.


These options control automatic and semi-automatic mounting of block devices in the Live system.

  • automount|amnt Enable automounting. All the partitions on a usb stick will get mounted automatically when the usb stick is plugged in.

  • automount=all|usb In addition to enabling automounting as above, also mount some or all partitions are boot-time.

    • automount=all Mount all partitions at boot-time.

    • automount=usb Mount partitions on usb devices at boot-time.

  • mount= Mount partitions at boot-time without enabling automounting. The options are just like those for automount above.

  • fstab=<list> This option controls the fstab hotplug feature. Normally, fstab entires and /media mountpoints will be created for you automatically when you plug in a usb-stick. These are the values than can be used with fstab= parameter:

    • off Turn off all fstab hotplug and automount features. An fstab file will still be created for you at boot-time and mountpoints for partitions will be added under the /media directory at boot-time but after that, no automatic changes to fstab or the /media mountpoints will be made.

    • nolabel Don’t use disk labels for /media mountpoints. Use UUIDs or device names instead.

    • uuid Use UUID as the fallback for mountpoint name if a label isn’t used. A label won’t be used if it doesn’t exist or if labels were turned off with the nolabel directive.

    • encode Normally, if special characters are used in a partition label, the are converted to underscore in the mountpoint name. Use this directive to use have the special characters encoded in hex instead. This should match the names of the symlinks in /dev/disk/by-label/.


These options let you customize or personalize your system. They will all be carried over to the hard drive when you install.

  • desktop=<icon-wm> This option sets the default window manager and desktop icon manager (if any). For example: desktop=rox-icewm will set the window manager to be IceWM and will use Rox to handle desktop icons. The only other icon manager available is SpaceFM. So desktop=space-fluxbox will use Fluxbox as the window manager and use SpaceFM to handle desktop icons. New since antiX-15:: a min- prefix is allowed. This turns off the icon manager and all extra goodies (such as conky) so you get just the bare-bones window manager.

  • hostname=<name> Set the hostname of the system. The default

  • hostname is antiX1.

  • lang=<LL> In antiX, this option sets more than just the language. It also sets the keyboard layout, the Debian mirror, and the timezone. If you set any of these others explicitly then that setting will over-ride the value set via lang.

  • mirror=MM Set the country of the Debian mirror. Usually this option is set to a 2-letter country code such as mirror=gr. Note that we now use the /sbin/localize-repo program to select the Debian repo and the antiX/MX repo based on the time-zone.

  • tz=<zone> Set the timezone. Example: tz=America/Denver. Some languages, such as en_US (United States English) cover more than one timezone so setting the lang may not set the correct timezone for you. More languages choices have been added to the F2-Language menu in the bootloader in order make it easier to set both the language and the time-zone with that menu.

Other Live System Features

These options control features that are specific to the Live system but don’t fit into any of the previous categories. Some of these are available in the bootloader menus.

Disable Some SystemV Services

This option will disable some startup services for faster booting and less memory consumption.

  • disable=|antiX=|aX=

Valid values are a combination of the following letters:

L = lean        Turn off some services
X = Xtralean    Turn off even more services
M = mean        Turn off some networking services
D = nodbus      Dont' launch dbus

Lean services:

acpid           acpi-fakekey    acpi-support    bootlogs        bluetooth
cpufrequtils    cron            cups            gpm             ifplugd
irqbalance      loadcpufreq     nfs-common      rpcbind         rsync
rsyslog         saned           smartmontools   ssh             stop-bootlogd
sudo            wicd

Note that acpid and wicd will not be disabled if we detect laptop hardware.

Xtralean services:

bootlogd                    cryptdisks                  cryptdisks-early
dns-clean                   hdparm                         ifupdown-clean              lm-sensors       mountoverflowtmp            nfs-common
pcmciautils                 policykit                   pppd-dns
ufw                         urandom

Mean services:

networking resolvconf

Other Live Options

  • checkfs (LiveUSB Only) Perform file system check on the LiveUSB. This won’t check the file system of a LiveCD. Will also check the filesystem of the persistence device (if different from the boot device) and the file systems on the persistence files rootfs and homefs if they exist and are enabled. It will only check the following types of file systems: ext2, ext3, and ext4.

  • gfxsave=* (LiveUSB Only) Set the bootloader current bootloader settings as the defaults. Valid values: custom, menus, both, and reset. Note: the gfsave options will usually not work on a frugal install.

  • md5|checkmd5 Check the md5sum of the three primary files needed to boot a live system: linuxfs, vmlinuz, and initrd.gz. If this test passes then your boot media should be good although this won’t necessarily catch intermittent problems.

  • nocheckfs The LiveUSB acts like an installed system and will automatically check its own filesystem based the time since the last check and/or the number of mounts since the last check. Use this option to turn this feature off.

  • toram Copy the entire linuxfs file into RAM. This takes up RAM. The amount of RAM used will be about the same as the size of the .iso file used to create the LiveCD or LiveUSB. It will also take some time when you first boot to copy the file into RAM. But after this, the system will run very fast. You can also eject the LiveCD (or remove the LiveUSB while the system is running.

List of All Boot Parameters Described

amnt         buuid=       flab         kbd=         nocheckfs    puuid=
amnt=        checkfs      from=        kbopt=       noremaster   rollback
automount    checkmd5     fromiso=     kbvar=       nosavestate  savestate
automount=   desktheme=   frugal       lang=        noxorg       sq=
bdev=        desktop=     frugal=      load=        pdev=        toram
bdir=        disable_srv= fstab=       load=        persist=     try=
blab=        dpi=         fuuid        md5          plab=        tz=
blacklist=   earlyvid     gfxsave=     menus        plink        verb=
bootchart    failsafe     hostname=    mirror=      private      xorg=
bp=          fdev         hwclock=     mount=       ptry=