Five uses for an Ubuntu Live CD.Once you’ve installed Ubuntu from a LiveCD you might never give much thought to what else you could use it for. If so, then meet today’s Daily 5…

1. Get some privacy

If you’re stuck using a computer other than your own for the day then you may be apprehensive about accidentally leaving passwords, cookies or other data advertently on the hard-drive.

With a LiveCD everything is run from memory and/or the CD drive itself with no data being permanently stored, saved or squirreled away on the computers hard-drive without implicit say-so.

No files stored, no problem!

2. Protect your computer from errant hands

You know the score: a younger sibling or ‘know-it-all’ Joe has asked if they can ‘quickly borrow your computer’ to check facebook/football stats/Britney Spears tour dates. You feel a pang of worry that they’ll accidentally press/touch/delete something they should for nothing breeds breakage like over-enthusiasm!

Ubuntu has a great ‘Guest session ‘feature that is perfect for using in cases like this but if you want super 100% assurance that nothing will end up broken, busted or borked then let the aforementioned eager users do their deeds from the crèche-pen of a Live CD.

In many, for most casual user needs, the web browser is all they will need so they can run amok in Firefox or Chromium and you can retain your calm safe in the knowledge that GRUB, Windows or your secret directory of Spice Girls music videos is left intact.


3. Fix GRUB

The a-cursed ol’ GRUB failure has surely plagued all Ubuntu users at one point or another (it hasn’t, don’t pass go, don’t collect £100). Fixing it is a lot less stressful than you’d think, providing you have an Ubuntu Live CD knocking about the place…

  • Boot into a LiveCD and mount the partition or drive where GRUB is to be installed to
  • Install GRUB to the appropriate drive using
    • sudo grub-install –root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/MBR_PARTITION_HERE
  • Reboot
  • Update GRUB
    • sudo update-grub

4. Save your files even when the world is ending*

The situation: Ubuntu/Windows is broken and beyond fixing. Your files are trapped. What do you do?

The solution: Boot up a live CD, plug-in an external drive/mount a safe internal one and copy, drag, move, backup, etc.

5. Scan Windows for viruses from a safe distance

If someone you know – or hell, even you – are suspecting that your Windows set-up has been KO’d by malware & viruses’ then grab your Ubuntu LiveCD, install ClamAV (or one of the other virus applications in the Software Centre) and target it to check your Windows partition and remove anything untoward it may find.

Be aware that running a virus scanner from the liveCD will not be as efficient or quick as running it natively.

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