A live system is ideal if guests want to use the Internet or the youngsters do not yet have their own PC to look at holiday photos. It does not allow system changes and is therefore also a candidate for secure banking.

A live system, and even better a personally adapted live system, is a nice, carefree system for second or old devices that are quickly used by different people. User administration becomes unnecessary, the system boots immediately to the desktop without logging in, changes in the running system are possible, but will not survive the next restart, any hard drive in the device remains untouched and can be used entirely as data storage, and finally is the system can also be switched to the next hardware quickly and mobile.

Live systems off the shelf

The classic live system is Knoppix . Due to its primary focus as a mobile admin tool, however, it is not necessarily the first choice for a secondary domestic system. Currently, however, practically every well-known Linux distribution appears in the form of a live system that you can try out as you wish before installing it on your hard drive using the install link on the desktop – or not. These live systems with installation options are practically all suitable for use as frozen second and guest systems. Whether you have a more sophisticated Ubuntu or Mint or a smaller Lubuntu , Antix , Point Linux or Elementary OS The choice depends on taste and, above all, on the hardware used: Antix can revive very old devices (with CPUs without PAE capability, Lubuntu, Point Linux or Elementary OS are – in this ascending order – suitable for older or less equipped devices.

For frequent use as a second system, a DVD however too slow and also not accessible for devices like netbooks (without optical drive). Therefore you should transfer the respective ISO image to a USB stick. As soon as you have downloaded the required ISO files, the best way to transfer them to a stick is in the terminal with dd (example):

dd if=pointlinux-mate-core 3.0-32.iso of=/dev/sdc

You must adapt the identification of the target device (here “/ dev / sdc”) so that it refers to the USB stick. If you use the Win 32 Disk Imager for the transfer under Windows , carefully check the drive letter of the target device in the top right corner.

Adapted live systems

A ready-made live system off the shelf offers, depending on the selection, an attractive desktop and sufficient software equipment. It does not require any maintenance, is unchanged after every reboot and starts directly on the desktop of the generic “Live User” without logging in. However, some live systems ask for the system language every time they boot or ask whether you want to “install” or “try it out”. What is of course completely missing is the ability to add or remove programs. And even more restrictive: control centers such as browsers, mail clients or messengers cannot be configured individually, which at best still seems reasonable for the browser.

The ideal live system costs some setup time, but then offers a perfectly adapted environment with an individually configured . How to proceed:

You can completely dispense with login controls and general user administration.
You can completely dispense with login controls and general user administration.

Step 1: You install the system suitable for the target hardware using an image from the Internet. With some distributions you can choose an “automatic login” during installation. This will start the system later directly to the desktop without a login dialog. If this is not the case, activate the option later in the respective user administration. A secure password is still useful to keep other users away from apt commands or programs such as Gparted.

Step 2:The most complex part is customizing the system. This can be limited to only setting up a browser synchronization for the bookmarks or an account in the mail client. The detour via the installed system only becomes really worthwhile if you carefully remove unnecessary software ballast from the future live system (also under the “start programs”), install additional programs or, for example, prepare the file manager in detail for access to home network shares (through bookmarks and passwords). The “energy management” options should also be used if the live system is to run frequently or permanently later. You have to take the time to check to what extent the hardware is playing along and actually waking up from a hibernation.

The system (Ubuntu Mate) that was temporarily installed on the hard drive and optimized there is now written to the USB stick as a live system.
The system (Ubuntu Mate) that was temporarily installed on the hard drive and optimized there is now written to the USB stick as a live system.

Step 3: Now copy the optimized system as a live system using the Systemback tool . At this point we limit ourselves to a brief introduction to the “Create Live System” function. In this dialog, by clicking on “Create new”, an image of the running system is created in the “/ home” directory. When the process is complete, this image appears in the window under “Create Live Images” (meaning: “Created”, ie finished images).

Here you mark the image you just created and a previously inserted USB stick under “Write target” (“Write target” is again unhappily translated and means the “write target”, ie the target device). The copying process begins by clicking on “Write to the destination”.

Step 4: If the USB stick is set as the primary boot device in the BIOS settings, the live system boots, with Systemback using its own boot environment with boot selection. You can then delete the system temporarily installed on the hard disk by formatting the partition or the hard disk.


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