Home > Linux > 10 Things To Do with a Live Linux CD 10 Things To Do with a Live Linux CD Submitted by Tux5 2004-12-18 Linux 34 Comments Live Linux CDs are a simple concept with many possible uses. Here are 10 things you can do with a live Linux CD. About The Author David Adams Follow me on Twitter @david_adams 34 Comments 2004-12-18 5:23 pm “6. Reset forgotten Windows passwords Austrumi is a good little live CD distribution that includes a tool at boot that allows you to reset forgotten Windows passwords (including Administrator).” Score one for swiss cheese security. 2004-12-18 5:37 pm What do you mean about “swiss cheese security”? You can also change the Linux root password with a boot CD. Boot up from a knoppix CD, mount your / partition, and change the root password in etc/shadow In other words: You can always bypass security in “OS A” by booting into “OS B” as root/administrator. 2004-12-18 5:47 pm Debunk the myths about Linux. So many times I have heard these myths about Linux: – There is no software. – Everything is done from the command line. – One has to go to the command line to print. – One cannot browse common websites. – There is no hardware compatibility. – Installing software is very difficult. All are so easily shown to be nonsense with a Linux Live-CD. The last myth is always so much fun to blast through with a quick demonstration of Klik. 2004-12-18 5:48 pm Yeah, windows security is weak. Even with the firewall that is included in SP2, I can crack the computer within seconds. I just use a sledgehammer. I heard it works with Linux computers too, but I haven’t confirmed that yet. 2004-12-18 5:50 pm “6. Reset forgotten Windows passwords Austrumi is a good little live CD distribution that includes a tool at boot that allows you to reset forgotten Windows passwords (including Administrator).” Score one for swiss cheese security. This isn’t really so bad. It kind of fits into the “If a hacker has physical access to a machine, then it’s compromised” category. I mean, I’m no hacker, but with most operating systems, if I want root access and you leave me in the room, with full physical access, unsupervised, with an assortment of liveCDs and other tools, I can have root access. 2004-12-18 5:57 pm 11. Run your old firewall box off a custom live CD. You can build a CD that just starts network, IPtables with masquarade. It means the box does not need a hard drive, always comes back up ok after a power failure, and makes any settings altered an intruder not last past a reboot. 2004-12-18 6:03 pm They work great a drink mat. c[_] salut! 2004-12-18 6:58 pm I use a bootable-CD based linux for on-line banking. IT takes the same time to boot as Windows and I get mozilla and my LAN connection up quite easily. Files and passwords aren’t cached and with CUPS, I can print out my transaction as confirmation. I find its really handy in this sense. 2004-12-18 7:05 pm I prefer the AOL CDs for this. 2004-12-18 7:19 pm does it run linux? I have to stop going to that slash site… 2004-12-18 7:40 pm Not really great for using as a portable desktop, since you can’t save your settings, bookmarks, email etc. For some of these you can use online storage, but it’s not ideal. 2004-12-18 7:41 pm 1. Try Linux without installing it 5. Try Linux software Aren’t these the same? 2004-12-18 7:50 pm i normally use Slackware as my main distro to use, i also keep an extra disk partition just for trying out other distros, right now i have Knoppix-3.7 installed to this extra partition and it runs good, i still prefer slackware for its clean and unclutted look & feel, Knoppix tends to throw in the whole kitchen sink but thats ok too – for when i want the whole kitchen sink i just reboot to knoppix which is actually the first distro to run a flatbed scanner i have with quality, other distros ran it but seemed to make scanned photos & documents appear grainy and have lines, knoppix sure cleaned up the appearence of scanned photos & documents – so kudos and thumbs up to knoppix :^) 2004-12-18 7:57 pm They are kinda the same, but sometimes, even though I have Linux installed on my computer already, it’s nice to use a live CD to check out software. When the software is tricky to set up, or really needs a lot of interdependent seperate pieces of software to work it can be handy. For example, fervent is a live Linux cd distro for music. It’s not free, but it contains a whole load of Linux music software+custom kernel that can be a little intimidating to configure for a beginner. (Try building ardour with VST support without some serious headwork.) http://www.ferventsoftware.com/ 2004-12-18 8:07 pm online storage is one solution, but a better one would be a thumb drive. beyond that, even, would be a usb/firewire external drive. it may not be a solution for you, but i know plenty people that this works out great for. 2004-12-18 8:32 pm This isn’t really so bad. It kind of fits into the “If a hacker has physical access to a machine, then it’s compromised” category. I mean, I’m no hacker, but with most operating systems, if I want root access and you leave me in the room, with full physical access, unsupervised, with an assortment of liveCDs and other tools, I can have root access. This is what encrypted filesystems are for. Your disk will be unusable even with fysical access. 2004-12-18 8:33 pm I agree i have a smart media or compact disk to save confiurations on knoppix on my computers, and it works as well as any hard drive install and when i want to go to xp i reboot. 2004-12-18 8:41 pm > Imagine a beowulf cluster of linux live CDs! Alright, I do… now what’s so marvelous about it? 2004-12-18 9:06 pm http://bofh.be/clusterknoppix/ 2004-12-18 10:40 pm Alright, I do… now what’s so marvelous about it? Well a beowulf cluster wouldn’t be too usefull as live cds just because the type of apps that run properly on a beowulf server…OTOH, if you had openmosix and you’re kernel was configured to run in this mode with the machines booted off the live cds….let’s say you had a linux computer as your main machine, you’ve got a couple decentl speed windows boxes sitting around on the network that don’t get a huge amount of use, but get enough use it doesn’t justify throwing linux on there. You’ve just ripped a DVD and now it’s going to take x amount of hours to encode to your favorite movie format….boot up the other computer on livecds and all of a sudden it takes half the time or even less depending on how many extra computers of what power you have sitting around…you could also use this for encoding music off CDs, a huge compile with distcc like open office or a gentoo install, or anything else that operates well on a mosix cluster. It’d be quite convenient to get that extra horsepower when you need it. The other area this would come in usefull is if you wanted to setup a cluster and you don’t have the money to invest in a hard disk for each node of the cluster and you don’t have the knowledge for a bootp/NFS setup, you could just use a bunch of machines with cdroms and not have to worry about anything other than, that it works. @cheapskate Clusterknoppix is based on openmosix and therefore is not a beowulf cluster. It is however to most people more usefull. 2004-12-18 11:08 pm You can always save your settings to a floppy. 2004-12-19 4:32 am 14. Show your _friends_ the light (about #11, #1, and #5). 2004-12-19 4:57 am They are great if you want to give people internet access who might mess up a hard drive based system. That might include young, old and me… Too easy to manage. Yes, almost all live CD’s have a simple way to save settings to a floppy, usb flash or other areas. Great idea. They could have mentioned live BeOS too. 2004-12-19 9:02 am 11. using a linux live cd and an antivirus you can also scan and desinfect files from the windows files even from NTFS partitions. here is the gratest tool that can do that : http://www.bitdefender.com/bd/site/mirrors.php (it’s free ofcourse:)) 2004-12-19 11:02 am Several live CDs are able to store user data including settings on a USB key. For instance, MandrakeMove (the paid-for version) can store a /home directory on a USB key – take the CD and the key with you, you’ve got *your* desktop. 2004-12-19 11:04 am Use it to clean up Windows spyware…I’ve found a few nasty pieces of spyware which use multiple processes to stop you killing them effectively while Windows is running. Boot to a Linux live CD, wipe ’em out. Won’t work on NTFS, of course, and you can do it from the Windows recovery console too, but heck, a Linux live CD is nicer. 2004-12-19 12:05 pm >>> Won’t work on NTFS, of course SystemRescueCD, INSERT and many others include Captive NTFS for about a year, so removal usually works too. 2004-12-19 12:58 pm When? Where? How much? 2004-12-19 4:41 pm Just because “can do” something doesn’t make it very unique or interesting. You could use the CDs for coasters, so what? (1) and (5) look the same to me: > 1. Try Linux without installing it 5. Try Linux software < (2) is something you “can do” but why? what is the advantage? > 2. Use as a portable desktop < (8) and (9) are hardly unique features, you can play games and listen to multimedia with any common desktop OS. > 8. Watch/listen to multimedia 9. Play games < 2004-12-19 5:26 pm “Hack a Gibson” didn’t make the list? 2004-12-19 6:27 pm ” You can also change the Linux root password with a boot CD. Boot up from a knoppix CD, mount your / partition, and change the root password in etc/shadow ” Or you can change boot options in grub to init=/bin/bash rw then, your root password is set to nothing, just press enter at prompt root login. Change it by passwd root 2004-12-19 8:50 pm Cool, I didn’t know there were any live CDs with Captive on. I’ll check those out. Thanks! 2004-12-20 2:55 am Anyone know if it is possible to run linux apps/access Linux files that are not on the knoppix cd on knoppix? I think it (obviously?) takes 2 CD-ROM drives. What I tried is 1) boot knoppix from a CD in one drive and then 2) access files on another CD in another CD drive from Konqueror. But it didn’t work – I get I/O error. 2004-12-20 4:26 am you can make one (google ultimate boot CD) but you won’t be able to download a full iso — you must roll it yourself and have a windows disk to do it from (the only versions I’ve seen have been with windows XP SP1, but I assume you can do it with others…) ERD commander is essentially a win9x live CD, from what I understand.