What is Linux Live CD and Why You Should Use One

Updated on

What is Linux Live CD and Why You Should Use One

Like Windows and Mac, one other popular name in desktop operating systems is Linux. Some popular Linux distributions are Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Puppy and openSUSE, but you might have heard the names of many other Linux distros. Normally, we run the operating system from our hard drives, but these days, you can also run an entire operating system from removable drives, such as a USB drive or CD/DVD.

Linux live CDs enables you to run the complete OS from CD/DVD, but that’s not all—you can also install Linux on a USB drive. In case of USB drives, you get the advantage of faster speeds compared to CDs and DVDs. But you might wonder, why should you use live CDs when you can run the OS from the hard drive? Well, that’s a good question and that’s why we’ll also be learning about the advantages of using a Linux live CD. But first, let’s learn how a live CD works.

How does the Linux live CD/DVD work?

Normally, a computer boots from the hard drive. However, a computer can also boot from removable media like CDs and USB drives. Live Linux systems take advantage of this feature and run the entire OS from such a media, and the biggest advantage of this is that you don’t need to install anything to your hard drive. Everything runs off of CD, DVD or USB drive.

The live environment basically works by writing data to your RAM, and nothing to your hard drive. This means that when you reboot your computer, your system will be left exactly as it was previously. No more do you need to go through the hefty process of installing OS first, and then trying it out. Linux live CDs are very easy and convenient way to enter into the world of Linux. And you don’t even need to pay even a penny to anyone, as most popular Linux distros are FREE.

Why use Linux live CD or USB drive?

The first and foremost reason for using a Linux live CD is just to try out Linux. If you’re new to Linux, and Windows or Mac is your primary OS, then it makes sense to try Linux without installing anything to your hard drive, or making any other change on your system. Once you start liking the OS, you can then proceed to installing it.

You would be surprised to know that some banks actually recommend their users to use Linux live CDs before doing online transactions. Reason? Safety is of utmost importance for such transactions, and if you’re on someone else’s computer and not sure whether it’s secure or not, then you can boot from a live CD and do your online transactions/banking. In such a case, even if your Windows contains malware, those malware cannot run in the live environment, and thus whatever you’re doing is safe.

When you’re carrying a live CD, you’re carrying with yourself an entire OS. What’s more, if you’re using a live USB stick, then you can also carry your important work or personal files with you. When you boot from that stick, all your files would be there. You’ll feel just like home.

Viruses or other malware problems in your Windows? No problem, simply boot from the Linux live environment and then scan your computer with antivirus software. For example, you can install Avast and then scan your system, or if you know the exact file that’s the culprit, then you can safely delete it from your system.

Linux can be used to do Windows troubleshooting

Linux can be used to do Windows troubleshooting. For example, you can partition a Windows system, delete files (which you couldn’t do in Windows environment), recover files, backup your important files and do much more. Live environment is perfect to back-up your files, in case your Windows is not booting for some reason.

You can find plenty of other reasons to try out Linux by burning it on a CD or DVD or on a USB drive. If you can’t make up your mind about which Linux to try out, then I could leave you with two options: Ubuntu and Mint. You can’t go wrong with either of these. So go ahead, and try out Linux!

(Image credit)

Leave a Comment