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  How to create a "Live Bootable Linux CD" and why the heck would I ever want to?

First off we'll try to answer the question "Why would I want a "Live Bootable CD"?

Recently, I've been asked (and keeping really busy at) to remove viruses and ransomware from companies, friends and families Windows computers: also - most importantly - to somehow get, and backup, personal data (pictures, financial records, emails, etc..). Seems like Windows 10 is especially acceptable to either corrupting (so you can't even boot up) and/ or being effected by viruses,  malware or ransomware that sometimes means it will not allow you to backup your data much less do anything else. This, of course, is not a new problem but the times they are a chang'n - it's getting  worst;-(

If we can afford it - most all of us prefer to have health and life insurance: this protects us in case of the predicable things that are going to happen (death and illness). You know what? It's 90% predicable that you will be facing the computer problems mentioned in the first paragraph of this section(particluary if you are running Windows). If you are one that has a USB Drive and is constantly backing up your data then congrats! You are one of the very few. A little off the subject but - of course if you are real protective of your data - you are, more then likely,  running software to back it up on the cloud every so often? I personally don't have anything to hide BUT I really don't want all my stuff on some corporations computer (data on the cloud - that is being stolen every day). I consider it a security risk.

Most folks always have a very hard time figuring out how to backup data on a Windows or Linux system that was corrupted beyond repair (due to ransomware or the OS just being corrupted). Here's a proven , easy, solution.

Linux offers 100's of "Distros" (tech talk for versions) that are offered on what is called a "Live Disk". At this point I should explain what a "Live Disk' is for you folks that don't know.

A live CD, live DVD, or live disc is a complete bootable computer installation including operating system which runs in a computer's memory, rather than loading from a hard disk drive; the CD itself is read-only. It allows users to run an operating system for any purpose without installing it or making any changes to the computer's configuration. 

Live CDs can run on a computer without secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive, or with a corrupted hard disk drive or file system, allowing data recovery. Many Live CDs are used for data recovery, computer forensics, disk imaging, system recovery and malware removal: it needs to be noted that some allow you to access the Windows files and others make it very hard to do - so you need to pick the Distro being used with that in mind.  The functionality of a live CD is also available with a bootable live USB flash drive.

So.. lets get down to the nitty gritty,

Linux = Freedom - you have a lot of choice what "flavor" of Linux to use  - the following choices are just mine - you're mileage may vary. I have personally tested over 40 different Distros and have found that those listed on this page will allow you to access and backup the Windows file system easily (some easier then others as noted).

For those that are very security minded :

  1. Navigate your browser to "Tails OS" - this is a very useful recovery and forensic type OS.
  2. Click the "Install Tails" button - this will take you to a download page - personally I would just click the "Download as a ISO image". This will take well over an hour.
  3. Once you have download the ISO image (1153.1 Mb) - open up your CD/ DVD writer software and elect to "Burn an ISO Image. This will produce a "Live CD" of "Tails OS".
  4. Now - it would be advisable to have it in the CD drive *(assuming that your BIOS is set to boot from the CD drive first) and reboot the system. Give it a try (knowing that it will run a little slow due to certain factors) so you can get familiar with use: you'll find that (with this "Insurance Policy") it's very easy to  access then backup your data.

For those that are very tech minded:

  1. Navigate your browser to "RipLinuX" - you can download it here - this is a very advanced recovery and forensic type OS - BUT not for the average bear - it's complicated but IMHO is well worth learning use.
  2.  "Download the ISO image". This will take about 30 minutes.
  3. Once you have download the ISO image  - open up your CD/ DVD writer software and elect to "Burn an ISO Image. This will produce a "Live CD" of "RIPLinuX".
  4. Now - it would be advisable to have it in the CD drive *(assuming that your BIOS is set to boot from the CD drive first) and reboot the system. Give it a try (knowing that it will run a little slow due to certain factors) so you can get familiar with use: you'll find that (with this "Insurance Policy") it's very easy to  access then backup your data.

* For all Windows IT folks, hackers, tweakers and really most everyone interested in recovery and forensics: 

** INMHO - the very first  live CD disk or bootable thumb drive  you'll want is "Hirens Live CD"  -  don't be without it!

For the rest of us folks:

  1. If your system is fairly new (less then 5 years old)  -  navigate your browser to "https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php" and download "Linux Mint Cinnamon" ISO file. This will take well over an hour.
  2. If you have an older computer system (with very few resources)    -  navigate your browser to "https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php" and download "Linux Mint MATE"  ISO file. This will take well over an hour.
  3. If you find that neither of these Mint versions work for you (i.e. no sound, printer does not work, monitor resolution bad, or what ever) email me for a better solution or navigate to http://livecdlist.com/ and spend some time trying any other Live CD's out (i.e Ubuntu Linux or  Slitaz Linux would be a good choice).
  4. Once you have download the ISO image  - open up your CD/ DVD writer software and elect to "Burn an ISO Image. This will produce a "Live CD" of the version you selected.
  5. Now - it would be advisable to have it in the CD drive *(assuming that your BIOS is set to boot from the CD drive first) and reboot the system. Give it a try (knowing that it will run a little slow due to certain factors) so you can get familiar with use: you'll find that (with this "Insurance Policy") it's very easy to access then backup your data.

* Don't let this scare you off! If you really don't trust yourself to configure your BIOS - let the 14 year old  kid, living next door, do it for you - just joke'n ;-) The BIOS setup settings can be modified using the BIOS CMOS setup program. This program is available at system startup be pressing a specific key such as F10 or Delete.  Unfortunately there is no one set of steps to do this because the BIOS settings vary from computer to computer. You will need to check your computer manual or motherboard documentation for the exact steps you need to complete to enable your computer to boot from a CD - or if you're like me just experiment (try "playing" the function keys) or research how to do it on your system.. In any case, once you are in the BIOS setup program, you will want to look for a setting that allows you to define the boot order. The CD-ROM device should be listed first. Then save your settings and restart the computer.

Oh, rats.. I almost forgot this important point. After you have backed up all your data (and if you have a corrupted Windows operating system) you can play around with any of the Linux flavors (via the "live disk")  and consider clicking the Install feature. This will install the Distro on your system (choice of dual boot or clean install).

So - in conclusion - if you ever need to backup data on your, your friends, a family member or maybe even doing trouble shooting for hire - you'd find that having a "Live Bootable CD" and/ or " USB Thumb Drive" is a tool you'll want to have! Be sure to watch their eyes when you magically boot up a system that they thought was dead!

Hack'n the Linux - mikeB

a no nonsense Wyoming U.S.A. enterprise since 1997

Need any help or support? Please feel free to contact mb@code-it.com

UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF THIS (C) INFORMATION WOULD BE DEEPLY APPRECIATED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gambas-team/gambas3
sudo apt-get update