Live CD

21 Oct 2009
Posted by admin

Thought I'd share this...

Imagine that you had an old PC that the had a HDD which had died/corrupted on you, what do you do with it... Spend hours trying to fix it, buy a new PC and shelve the old one.

This is a common theme for peeps, and all you want is to be able to browse the web.

LIVE CD is the answer. All you need is a working PC with no HDD's and a CD player!!! and you have an OS/apps running directly from the LiveCD which loads the OS/apps into RAM (some of this LiveCD's only take up 300MG to run).

The story goes...

I've had various peeps over Xmas asking if I can fix their PC's. They have all had differing issues, ranging from faulty power supplies to HDD failures to corrupt boot sectors.

Hardware prices for legacy pc's seems to be on the rise (recently been quoted £50 for a crap old IDE 80GB drive where you can pick up a 500GB SATA for the same price).

So I was looking for another solution to resolve peeps problems as most of them just wanna browse the web.

After a bit of researching a lightweight solution to get an old PC's back on line I found http://www.livecdlist.com/.

So this morning I created one of these liveCD's, specifically Slax (http://www.slax.org). The CD image (ISO) is pretty small so didnt take long, then popped the CD in the PC and restarted it to see if it would work...

Within about 60 seconds my PC had rebooted from the CD and was running an operating system just from the CD - ie not using my HDD's at all!

I have a WEP key for my internet access on this network, so I thought, "ah it wont connect straight away to the internet", but blam, it could. I was surfin on www.bbc.co.uk straight away. Next I thought would it be able to see files on my local HDD's without doing various HDD mounts. Yup it could see them too, not just that but it could run media files and movies!!!

All in all I have only spent about 20mins playing with Slax, but I am very impressed.

In addition to this as I browsed through http://www.livecdlist.com/ I found that there were different flavours of liveCD's, some of which you can customise before downloading the build you want to burn to CD (ISO) these being

Desktops: provides a working GUI desktop environment with a collection of desktop programs, such as browsers and text editors. Many also include utilities for other purposes, such as home entertainment, but are only listed here because the additional functions are not their primary focus.
OS Replacement: provides an option to transfer the cd to the hard drive, or to install an OS in a different form
Education: provides a collection of educational programs, or was created to be used in the educational field
Rescue: provides tools needed for data recovery
Clustering: provides tools for making clusters
Security: contains network security tools
Home Entertainment: geared towards playing video and audio
Gaming: video games!
Medical: contains medical programs
Diagnostics: contains utilities for testing hardware
Firewalls: distributions created to be used as firewalls
Forensics: distributions containing forensic tools
Servers: distributions used for various server functions