Live CD faq

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  • Relevant to all editions PCLinuxOS.

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Using the LiveCD FAQ's

Once you have a live CD, you can boot from it (you may need to change BIOS settings to allow your PC to boot from the CD drive rather than the hard disk).

First Steps

It is absolutely essential that you:

  • Check your requirements
  • Check your hardware

Once that's out of the way, read through the contents below for your particular issue:

My CD is in my drive, but when I turn my computer on, nothing different happens

If your computer seems to be ignoring your CD, and not booting up into PCLinuxOS, then there could be a few reasons. Try each of these steps in order:

  1. Is the CD properly inserted? Remove it, think happy thoughts, and then re-insert it. Then try booting up again.
  1. Check your BIOS settings

PCLinuxOS tries to start, but something strange happens

If your computer hangs or gives error messages as it tries to start from the PCLinuxOS LiveCD, then there could be a few things wrong. Try each of these steps in order:

Check your CD

For people who download an ISO and burnt it themselves:

  • Downloading has instructions on checking your ISO before burning it.
  • When you burn the ISO your software should have been used to verify the disk after burning.

People who bought their CD usually don't have a problem with their disk, but if you are having strange problems then the disk itself could be bad so it's a good idea to check it.

You can still check a CD after it's been burned.

Try some LiveCD boot options

In most situations you will not have to use the boot options. Put in the CD, restart your computer and just press Enter when it prompts for input. There are a few situations however where you might want the live CD to start differently. In those situations you can change how the live CD starts by using the boot options. There are several different options that can be given to the live CD to change how it handles the boot process and the hardware detection.

  • Cheat codes

Some More Specific Possible problems

When I boot PCLinuxOS the cd hangs when probing usb

You might be able to get past this by typing "livecd nousb" at the boot prompt.

When I booted PCLinuxOS all I got was a black screen with a prompt?

The hardware detection (hwdetect) could not determine the correct video driver for your video card. You might be able to boot by typing "livecd xdrv=fbdev", without the quotes, at the boot prompt. fbdev is a generic driver that should work with most video cards.

When the live CD fails to detect your video driver you will probably see a message on how to proceed. This implies logging in as root (password: root) and starting video configuration by typing: "video", without the quotes. When you are done with configuring your video, start X by typing either "kdm" (for the graphical login) or "startx" to start KDE as root-user. Don't forget to log out the root when you start KDM!

After booting all I see is a black screen saying "login:"

See point above.

I logged in but all I see is "[root@localhost root]#"

See point above.

Why does live CD hang at starting non-interactive mode and nothing else happens?

This usually indicates a bad cd burn. Try another brand of CDR or burn the CD at a lower speed. I have had very good success at 16x speed Can I install software while running the live CD?

  • On recent live CDs you can install software from our repository. Once you restart your computer however, installed software is gone again. Also, you have to be running the unionfs functionality which in recent live cd versions is turned on by default. Interested in how unionfs works?
  • With the changes= boot option you can make changes to the live CD persistent. Not only the home folder, but any file modified during your live CD session. The changes can be saved to any partition (block device), except NTFS filesystems from Windows NT/XP/Vista.
  • Once you've installed PCLinuxOS on your harddisk, installed software is kept between restarts.

Why does my computer freeze when trying to boot the live CD?

Some motherboards require additional kernel options passed at the boot prompt. You may be able to boot by typing "livecd noapic nolapic acpi=off" at the boot prompt.

I'm not setup on broadband, how do I stop the livecd from trying to bring up eth0?

Type "livecd nonetwork" at the boot prompt.

I've setup my USB key but when I log in as guest it doesn't have my previous settings?

When booting the LiveCD type "livecd home=usb" to let the LiveCD know you have a key plugged in. Continue reading the Saving your work page for more information.

Where is the installer and the usbkey setup routine?

Log in as guest, not as root, and click the icons on the desktop.

How do I set up my desktop to see my other drives and partitions?

Type "livecd fstab=auto,rw" at the boot prompt

What is the password for root and guest users?

The password for root is root, and the password for guest is guest.

What does PCLinuxOS do to my Windows?

The live CD doesn't write to your hard disk or makes any changes to Windows. In fact, once you reboot your computer after using the live CD, everything will be exactly as before starting the live CD.

What happens with the documents I create with PCLinuxOS?

The live CD doesn't write to harddisk. You can make it do that, but by default this doesn't happen. You might have noticed that when you restart your computer, it returns completely to its original state and all documents you've written, bookmarks you've created, email you downloaded, are gone. You can very easily (just plug it into your computer) use your USB key to store your files, and even your settings. When you plug in your USB key, an icon will appear on the desktop. You can use this icon to access your USB key.

How is it possible I can make changes to the files on the CD?

As we all know, it's not that easy to make changes to files on a CD. So how come you can change files and install software when you are running the entire content from a CD? If you burn the PCLinuxOS to a CD-R, you can't rewrite files but you can install software and edit files while running the CD. Pure magic? Yes. Interested in how it works?

Why bother installing PCLinuxOS if it works perfectly fine from CD?

Starting the operating system and loading programs is quite a bit faster when you install it to your hard drive. Software available to PCLinuxOS users is being constantly improved and updated. While the programs on the live cd are perfectly acceptable for use, you can install new software easily when you've installed PCLinuxOS to your hard drive. Installing to the hard drive is truly advantageous, as some of the software updates really are amazing. Our resident expert in disk partitioning and installation will give you easy to understand instructions on how to do so.

If I take my CD and my USB key, I can work on my files everywhere?

We get this question a lot. ;) Yes, if you take the PCLinuxOS Live CD and your USB key with you, you can have a personalized working environment and your files on most PCs you come across.

I have a problem not listed here

We're really sorry to hear that.

  • Have you been careful about trying all the ideas on this page?
  • Have already checked that you meet the minimum system Recommendations?
  • Have you checked that your hardware is not on the known hardware issues list?

Things to try:

  • Pause, and meditate on your hardware. Is any of it really cool and new? This might be a problem if the manufacturer hasn't shared their technical documentation or drivers.
  • Check out the PCLinuxOS Hardware Database and look for your hardware.
  • Search through the forums.
  • Get on IRC - semi-live help, sometimes.

Things to avoid:

  • Do not write a note anywhere on this wiki asking for help. This is for documentation, not troubleshooting.
  • Don't pester your local computer-guru or Linux User Group until you've tried helping yourself and then asking the PCLinuxOS community for help.
  • Post on another Linux forum asking for help. The best place to get PCLinuxOS help is from the PCLinuxOS community Forums.