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List of live CDs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A live CD or live DVD is a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM containing a bootable computer operating system. Live CDs are unique in that they have the ability to run a complete, modern operating system on a computer lacking mutable secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive.

Rescue and repair[edit]


FreeBSD based[edit]

Other BSDs[edit]

Linux kernel-based[edit]

Arch Linux based[edit]


These are directly based on Debian:

  • antiX – A light-weight edition based on Debian
  • Debian Live – Official live CD version of Debian
  • Devuan - A fork of the Debian Linux distribution that uses sysvinit, runit or OpenRC instead of systemd.
  • Finnix – A small system administration live CD, based on Debian testing, and available for x86 and PowerPC architectures
  • grml – Installable live CD for sysadmins and text tool users
  • HandyLinux – A French/English Linux distribution derived from Debian designed for inexperienced computer users
  • Instant WebKiosk – Live, browser only operating system for use in web kiosks and digital signage deployments
  • Kali Linux – The most advanced penetration testing distribution
  • Knoppix – The "original" Debian-based live CD
  • MX Linux – Live based on Debian stable
  • Tails – An Amnesic OS based on anonymity and Tor
  • Slax – (formerly based on Slackware) modular and very easy to remaster
  • WebconvergerKiosk software that boots live in order to turn PC into temporary Web kiosk


A large number of live CDs are based on Knoppix. The list of those is in the derivatives section of the Knoppix article.


These are based at least partially on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian:

  • CGAL LiveCD – Live CD containing CGAL with all demos compiled. This enables the user to get an impression of CGAL and create CGAL software without the need to install CGAL.[3]
  • Emmabuntüs is a Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu and designed to facilitate the repacking of computers donated to Emmaüs Communities.
  • gNewSense – Supported by the Free Software Foundation, includes GNOME
  • gOS – A series of lightweight operating systems based on Ubuntu with Ajax-based applications and other Web 2.0 applications, geared to beginning users, installable live CD
  • Linux Mint – Installable live CD
  • Mythbuntu – A self-contained media center suite based on Ubuntu and MythTV
  • OpenGEU – Installable live CD
  • PC/OS – An Ubuntu derivative whose interface was made to look like BeOS. a 64 bit version was released in May 2009. In 2010 PC/OS moved to a more unified look to its parent distribution and a GNOME version was released on March 3, 2010.
  • Pinguy – An Ubuntu-based distribution designed to look and feel simple. Pinguy is designed with the intent of integrating new users to Linux.
  • Puredyne – Live CD/DVD/USB for media artists and designers, based on Ubuntu and Debian Live
  • Qimo 4 Kids – A fun distro for kids that comes with educational games
  • Trisquel – Supported by the Free Software Foundation, includes GNOME
  • TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library – Family of installable live CD appliances optimized for ease of use in server-type usage scenarios
  • Ubuntu and Lubuntu – Bootable live CDs

Other Debian-based[edit]




  • openSuSE – official Novell/SuSE-GmbH version – installable live CD; GNOME and KDE versions available

Red Hat Linux/Fedora-based[edit]



OS X-based[edit]


Microsoft representatives have described third-party efforts at producing Windows-based live CDs as "improperly licensed" uses of Windows, unless used solely to rescue a properly licensed installation. However, Nu2 Productions believes the use of BartPE is legal provided that one Windows license is purchased for each BartPE CD, and the Windows license is used for nothing else.[5]


Systems based on the former open source "OS/net Nevada" or ONNV open source project by Sun Microsystems.

  • BeleniX – full live CD and live USB distribution (moving to Illumos?)
  • OpenSolaris – the former official distribution supported by Sun Microsystems based on ONNV and some closed source parts


Illumos is a fork of the former OpenSolaris ONNV aiming to further develop the ONNV and replacing the closed source parts while remaining binary compatible. The following products are based upon Illumos:

  • Nexenta OS – combines the GNU userland with the OpenSolaris kernel.
  • OpenIndiana – since OpenIndiana 151a based on Illumos

Other operating systems[edit]

Live USBs[edit]

This list is for operating systems distributions that are specifically designed to boot off a (writable) USB flash drive, often called a USB stick. (This does not include operating system distributions with a simplified "installer" designed to boot from a USB drive, but the full OS is intended to be installed on a hard drive).

In addition, many other operating systems can be made to run from a USB flash drive, possibly using one of the List of tools to create Live USB systems.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Distribution Release: Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 2016.07.27". Distrowatch.com. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Free GNU/Linux distributions". gnu.org. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  3. ^ "CGAL LiveCD". ACG lab, Tel-Aviv University. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  4. ^ AVLinux – Install...Create Archived 2011-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Licensing issues". Nu2 Productions. Archived from the original on 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2006-12-31.

External links[edit]