Creating a live USB drive from a live CD image

Since most modern computers can boot from a USB drive, live USBs can be used in almost all of the situations a live CD can

Although live CDs have a lot of advantages, they don't fit in your pocket easily, which means you may not always have one around when you need it. Fortunately, most live CD images can be installed onto a USB flash drive, giving you most of the benefits of a live CD.

Since most modern computers can boot from a USB drive, live USBs can be used in almost all of the situations a live CD can. The fact that a USB drive can be written to is both a benefit and a drawback -- on one hand, it isn't as resistant to intrusion as a read-only CD, but on the other hand, you can save configuration details, store documents and other files, and download and install new software to a USB drive, which you can't do with a live CD.

If trading a bit of security for the portability of a flash drive seems worthwhile to you, there are several tools that will easily install a live CD image to a USB drive. Two of the easiest to use are the Universal USB Installer and the Linux Live USB Creator, both of which walk you step by step through the process of converting a CD image to a USB drive.

They have each been tested with various versions of Linux -- though the two lists of versions that each one has been tested with differ slightly -- and you can try any untested system with either and it might still work. However, there are just too many versions of Linux out there for either to guarantee 100% compatibility. One nice feature both offer is the ability to configure a USB-based Linux to run in a Windows-based virtual machine, so you can effectively launch Linux within Windows -- that's useful if you're using a public machine that you're not able or allowed to reboot.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Logan Kugler

Computerworld (US)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?