Quickstart work using LiveCD

Have you ever had that bsod and os crash when you are in the middle of something very important like finishing office reports or presentation? There is a way you can quickly go into damage control mode and finish off he work and/or copy the files to other pc/notebook without going through os reinstall or removing the hdd.


A Linux live cd is a bootable cd that has dual personality

1. Operating system installer

2. Boot into the os quickly without installing the os.

Where to get a liveCD:

Live cd’s from most of the Linux distros are available and the ones that I prefer are:

1. Ubuntu 9.10

2. Linux Mint

3. Fedora 12

Insert the livecd in the cd/DVD drive and you will get the boot menu as shown below

boot options

The boot process may take few minutes as it has to boot from cd.

After booting the OS from Live CD, you will get a desktop that is similar to KDE desktop and windows users should feel familiar to use.

mint home

Using Mint:

Once you boot into Mint, the partitions on the hdd will be accessible from Menu –> Computer

my computer

In this case, “100Gb Hard Disk: System” is my windows partition. Select the drive that you want to access/mount and the drive will be mounted and icon will be placed on desktop.


Applications required for doing basic tasks are already available like openoffice, kblogger.

The image below shows the content of my windows NTFS volume that is accessed using “My Computer”

my computer

Here an example PDF file opened using Live CD’s PDF reader:

file opened

In case the partitions are not mounted, you can open shell (Menu –> Terminal)

and you can try something like this:

The NTFS volume that has windows in my laptop is /dev/sda1 (first harddrive, partition 2)

1. Sudo su – ( set to administrative mode / root mode)

2. Fdisk -l ( check the partition layout and find the right partition to mount )

3. Mkdir /win ( create a directory to which I can mount the windows partition to)

4. Mount /dev/sda1 /win ( mount the partition to /win )

I can now access data by going to /win. I can either go to /win from command line or I can open this from “My Computer” like I did earlier.

The beauty here is that I can copy the content from the volume that contains windows to any other volume or to any other hard drive and go ahead with the reimage of windows (if reimage is the only option) without fearing the loss of data that was stored in active partition (windows partition). Nowhere will it feel like I am running an OS from a CD (just that the interface will be a bit slow)


One thought on “Quickstart work using LiveCD

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