Wouldn’t it be nice if you would be able to try out Linux distro without installing it on your computer? You can do it via virtual machine running under a host OS but that calls for some atrocious system requirements. The process though is simple but still demands a lot of time to get the OS up & running. To remedy this situation, most of the Linux distros offer a Live mode commonly referred as live environment.
Live mode/environment in simpler terms simply refers to running an linux OS without installing it. Majority of well known Linux distro bring out a Live version known as “Live CD” which lets you run the OS without installing it. The Live OS boots mostly via CD but it can be also installed to pendrive, memory cards etc. Once the Live media boots, the whole OS gets loaded in the system’s memory i.e RAM & works from there.
Booting into Live Environment :
To boot into a Live CD, download & burn the appropriate iso to the CD. Start your computer & press the predefined key to change the boot sequence (Mostly F2, F10 or Del key). Set the computer to boot via CD-ROM if you are using a LIVE CD. Incase you want to boot from pendrive, set your computer to boot via USB. Follow the onscreen instructions & you have your live environment up & running.
Live environment offers a host of advantages. Let’s have a look at them.
1) The primary advantage of live environment is to check a newly released linux OS before you decide whether to install or not onto your hard drive. This is what most of users use the live media for.
2) The secondary reason for you to use live environment is to check whether the linux distro is compatible with your hardware. At times you install an linux distro only to find that it doesn’t support your age old printer. To avoid the headache, you can just boot via live media & check whether all your hardware function just the way you expect them to.
3) When you work on a computer which is not yours, the owner of the system will most probably not let you install, remove or modify application & settings. To set yourself free from this tangle the linux live environment can be used. Since it (Live environment) doesn’t make changes to the host system the system owner would most probably not mind you booting into a live environment.
4) You have been taught not to access banking or other sites of personal interest on public computers. Again linux live environment comes to your rescue since you can boot into it on public computers without the fear of leaving any trail of your activities on the host system. Since live environment works from computers memory, the application data & settings are lost once you shutdown the pc or logout from the live environment.
5) In the event of crisis an linux live media can make your day. Imagine if the OS installed on your computer fails to boot & you need to access a very important file. What will you do? Simple. Just boot via linux live media & voila you can now access that important file. If you desire you can even try to repair your OS via the live media.
6) If you search around there are many full fledged linux distros which are designed to run off a pendrive. You get all your favourite applications & also the power of linux at your disposal if you hate the OS installed on the particular computer. A good example of full fledged linux distro which can via pendrives is Damn Small Linux.