Live CD

Also see: Compact Disc

A Live CD is a full blown OS bootable from CD, without any installation, without touching the hard disk. A Live CD has certain advantages and disadvantages over an install on a HDD, which is currently the most common way to install an OS.

Linux distributions like Slackware, Debian, Gentoo as well as *BSD‘s are Live CD’s which provide a CLI. If required, tasks can be done with such CD’s, provided that the user has the required knowledge about the CLI and installs some additional software. However, their purpose isn’t aimed at to be a production system. There are also Live CD’s which are meant to be used as ‘Rescue CD’. GUI Live CD’s are more user friendly, and aim rather to average users.



  • No (re)partitioning of harddisk is needed.
  • After the ISO image has been burned, runs directly after being booted.
  • The bridge between experiencing certain software out is therefore smaller.
  • Most can be used as a rescue CD with GUI.


  • Somewhat slower than running from a modern harddisk.
  • Installing new software isn’t always possible. A medium which contains software packages is required, like a CD, a HDD or a network connection over for example HTTP and FTP for which a fast network connection is advised.
  • Changed configuration files, settings, produced material, these are all lost after a reboot.

Permanent installation

It should be noted some Live CD’s allow ‘nesting’: installation on harddisk. However, free space and/or partitioning is then required.

Here are some full out of box Live CD’s:


Two fairly simple BSD distributions that allow for high strength firewall for networks without a lot of configuration or fuss. Runs on the most basic hardware.

Rescue CD’s


TakeDown.NET -> “Live-CD