One of the benefits of Linux is that it can be run directly from a LiveCD without the need to install to a hard drive first.

A LiveCD or LiveDVD is a CD or DVD containing a bootable computer operating system and software. LiveCD’s are unique in that they have the ability to run a complete, modern operating system including productivity software on a computer lacking secondary storage, such as a hard drive.

While a LiveCD typically does not alter any operating system or files already installed on a computers secondary storage (such as hard drives), many LiveCD’s include tools and utilities for altering the host computers data stores, including installation of an operating system and system management tasks such as virus and malware removal, drive imaging, and system recovery.

The default option however, is to allow the user to return the computer to its previous state when the LiveCD is ejected and the computer rebooted.

LiveCD’s run without permanent installation by placing the files that would normally be stored on the hard drive into system memory (RAM), typically a RAM disk. However, this does cut down on the amount of RAM available to applications.


  • Allows you to “test drive” different Linux distributions
  • Can be used to fix problems with an existing installation
  • There are many “utility” LiveCD distributions
  • Check out Linux without worrying about your current operating system
  • Can be used as a high security non-invasive environment for a guest
  • Provides a secure platform for high-vulnerability tasks such as browsing
  • Allows you to install Linux to your hard drive from a user friendly GUI


  • Running from a LiveCD is much slower than running from a hard drive
  • Any files created and system configuration changes will be lost after a reboot

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