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Old 12-14-2008, 04:48 PM   #1
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I am trying to boot a live cd from my hard drive

KI know this question has been asked before but I never saw any real definitive solutions. Just alot of "hey, this might work" but it never does.

So, I am trying to boot live cd's from my hard drive. Weather it be from ISO files (preferably), or from unpacked ISO's. now I'm not a newb...I can do whatever I need to with instruction..edit grub, edit and format partitions if I need to...whatever it takes. Ive tried a few different methods and none have worked. It's not imperitive that I do this, but it would be nice to be able to....has anyone made this work before? I think I just dont understand enough about the advanced features of grub to make it work. any help out there?
Old 12-14-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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The short answer is no. You can't boot a machine to ISO's of unmodified operating systems. There is some trickery you can do by having GRUB boot and initrd that mounts the ISO and loads the rest of the OS from (Knoppix is able to do this, I believe), but it isn't something you can deploy on standard live CDs without going through some manual setup.

Your best bet would be to load the ISOs through a virtual machine and play around with them that way, assuming your machine is powerful enough to make that practical.
Old 12-14-2008, 07:14 PM   #3
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2 ways to boot iso images without burning a disk:

Use a virtual machine such as virtual box and select the iso as your cd drive.

Use unetbootin to add the iso image to your grub menu.
see If you want to do an install off the iso it will need to be on a separate partition.
Old 12-14-2008, 07:50 PM   #4
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Well, some isos do boot off a hard drive. The procedure is like this:
- first you need to mount your iso and extract the kernel (vmlinuz) and initrd files
- next, you copy/move them to a boot directory (most convenient is if you already have a linux system set up although this should work even on windows)
- add an entry for the kernel and initrd to the bootloader (GRUB or windows bootloader)
- reboot and select the new entry
That is it, not all that hard. Unfortunately, I cannot say which distros will boot that way and which will fail.
Old 12-14-2008, 08:09 PM   #5
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It would be a lot easier to get a cdrw or use a usb stick(best buy had 8gb sticks for $24 today, sandisk ultra II).


boot, boot loader, grub, iso, mount

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