Using Live CD without Burning the CD

Just found a good tutorial on how to install or run Live CD on hard drive without have to burn the iso image. There probably many people have known about this tutorial but at least i make it easier for me to find it. This tutorial is intended to the tester of any linux distribution (maybe just based on ubuntu, because i’ve not test it on not ubuntu-based linux distribution yet) so they won’t have to use many cd to test. This tutorial also available in

The benefits of installing without external media are that it can save you time if you are already familiar with the process, and you get a very usable system upon booting into the installer because it is running from a hard drive rather than a CD. Lets be started, enjoy the step ๐Ÿ˜€

Step 1

Use gparted or other partition tools to create a new partition and format it to the filesystem you wish (ext3, reiserfs, etc. I use the ext3 instead of other because i haven’t heard that they was tested yet). You need slightly more than 700MB of free space on it. 750MB should be sufficient. Let’s say the name of the partition is /dev/sdb1. If your new ubuntu install is going to coexist with your old system, you might find it convenient to create space for your new system as well at this point using gparted.

Step 2

Copy CD contents over to the new partition using the command

sudo mkdir /tmp/live_cd

sudo mount ubuntu-7.10-desktop-i386.iso -o loop /tmp/live_cd

sudo mkdir /mnt/installer

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/installer

sudo cp -r /tmp/live_cd/* /mnt/installer

sudo cp -r /tmp/live_cd/.disk /mnt/installer

sudo umount /tmp/live_cd

Replace the name of the iso to whatever you downloaded and /dev/sdb1 with whatever your new partition is.

Step 3

Edit your grub configuration file (typically /etc/grub.conf or /boot/grub/menu.lst) to boot from the new partition by adding the lines

title Live CD

root (hd1,0)

kernel /casper/vmlinuz boot=casper root=/dev/ram ramdisk_size=1048576 rw

initrd /casper/initrd.gz

The first line after the title tells grub which partition contains the installer. hd1 stands for “second hard disk,” and the 0 following it standards for first partition. You will need to change this if your installer partition is different from /dev/sdb1. sdaN becomes (hd0, N-1), sdbN becomes (hd1,N-1) and so on. As you can see, grub starts counting from 0, which can be confusing.

Step 4

Reboot, and choose “Live CD” from the grub boot menu, and continue as if you were booting from CD.


This tutorial can be use for either just booting the Live CD or to install it. You may see some more on the ubuntu documentation site. Thanx to zahris for the link.

Indonesian version


2 responses to “Using Live CD without Burning the CD

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