Target Hardware

This procedure is known to work on the 96/128 T20 (ie. 96Meg flash). The scripts work by patching an existing firmware image, so you need to have the correct file for your machine (download it from the hp website). The patched image is then flashed into the T20, so when it boots it loads our kernel and initrd (then they take control and load DSL from an external USB flash drive).

Different models of T20 have different operating system (OS) options - this procedure is dependent on there being an image for your machine which we know how to work with - this is why the original OS is important, even though it is going to be completely replaced by the new OS.

I'm confident that the scripts will work on any WinNT based image file - if there is a problem, you can contact me and we can try to figure it out.

It's not yet working for WinXP images. Fortunately, PXE booting is a standard capability in the WinXP machines, so you can boot linux that way if you need to.

For WinCE (.NET or otherwise), you need a different howto - see

These are the models of T20/T30 I am aware of, with emphasis marking the ones that this process should work with:


OS Flash size
CE (2.12) 16
CE (.NET) 16, 32
NTe 48, 64, 96, 128
XPe 192, 256


OS Flash size
CE (.NET) 16, 32
NTe 64, 128
XPe 192, 256

Assuming no problems occur, the process of flashing is reversible - only the disk image within the T20 image file has been modified, and the flashing system is left intact. As far as I am aware, there is nothing to stop you reflashing a T20 with its original image file and thereby returning it to its virgin microsoft glory.

This howto is primarily about running DSL on the T20, but in theory you could install an appropriate kernel/initrd and boot any linux from an external USB drive - I have used this method to boot Debian Etch, as well as the DSL setup described here.

Things you need

Imperfections & Oddities


Obligatory pointless photo of DSL running on T20:


Resource usage shown onscreen by DSL:

Resource usage

(this was not a completely clean boot - there was some superfluity)