Quoting Wikipedia, “A live disc is a complete bootable computer operating system which runs in the computers memory through a DVD or USB Drive, rather than loading from the hard disk drive”. Live discs have been around for quite some time and here we tell you about the awesome things you can do with one.
Creating a Live Disc
The process essentially involves writing an ‘image file’, typically of extension .iso, .img etc on to either a CD, DVD, USB stick or USB external hard drive. Since USB drives are ubiquitous these days, we shall be using them instead of optical discs. The easiest method to create a live disc is through the Linux Live USB Creator. Although the name doesn’t suggest so, the software can create bootable drives from any image file (not just Linux). Get it from the site and point it to an image file and a DVD/USB drive to make the live disc.
After writing the image, reboot your computer and boot from the USB drive (you might have to select the boot device by pressing the corresponding button on the start-up screen)
If your primary OS is not Windows, try UNetbootin to write the image on to the drive
1. Try a new Operating System
Been meaning to check out Linux? or Chrome OS? or maybe even OLPC’s Sugar? But you don’t want to go through the hassles of dual-booting your system just to get the flavour. Live discs were created for this very purpose. Download an image and boot from it to test-drive a new operating system
2. Recover Data
Something wrong with your operating system? Can’t login/start up? Boot from a live Ubuntu disc to access your files and documents and back ‘em up.
3. Bypass Windows permissions and passwords
Let’s say you want to recover files that, for whatever reason, are not accessible to you from within Windows, because they are stored in a protected user account, and the password is lost. Start-up a live Ubuntu disc and open the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T). Type in gksu nautilus. A file browser will open with the ability to open any folder, regardless of permissions.
4. Diagnose your hard drive
To check if the hard disk is causing any troubles, run the disk checking utility included with Ubuntu to view all information about the disc.
5. Test hardware
The Ultimate Boot CD contains hundreds of different tests for a wide variety of different hardware. Fire it up to diagnose any device.
6. Crack Windows passwords
Ophcrack is a nice little live disc which specializes in crack Windows passwords. It works with Windows XP, Vista and 7 and has an astonishingly high success rate
7. Safely use /scan infected computers
Since most Windows viruses don’t work on Linux, a live disc is the way to go if you have to use an infected computer, especially when you want to plug in any other USB stick into it. You can also boot with the BitDefender live disc to scan your computer
8. Edit Partitions
You can modify the partition table (WARNING : Do this only if you know what you’re doing) easily from outside your primary OS by GParted – a partition editor. It is present in almost all live Linux discs, including Ubuntu, and also comes as a standalone image. Remember to always back up your data before editing any partitions.
9. Crack Wireless Passwords
BackTrack is a security-oriented Linux distro, capable of many things, including penetration testing. It comes with utilites like aircrack which can crack secured WiFi networks. Just google for the same for a step-by-step guide.
10. Carry your Windows with you.