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What can a Windows user do with live Linux CDs

With Knoppix, Linux is no longer just for Linux users.

Live Linux CDs are a simple concept with many possible uses. Here are 5 things which a Windows user can do with a live Linux CD.

1. Try Linux without installing it - Knoppix is the "mother" of all live Linux CD's. It comes with 2 GBs of software making it the perfect distribution to try Linux with.

2. Maintain hard drive/recover data - SystemRescue CD includes a host of tools for maintaining a hard drive including a partition manager and resizing software and drive imaging software. SystemRescue CD can read a variety of file systems including Windows NTFS.

3. Reset forgotten Windows passwords - Austrumi is a good little live CD distribution that includes a tool at boot that allows you to reset forgotten Windows passwords (including Administrator).

4. Watch/listen to multimedia - Movix is a live distribution designed just for playing audio and video files from the internet, CD and DVD.

5. Scan safely for virus's - INSERT is the INside SEcurity Rescue Toolkit and includes an anti-virus package making it a great way to clean an infected computer.

Via (:^ 10 things to do with a live linux cd

David Brickner adds

One useful hack tells the reader how to scan their Windows machine for viruses offline (well, from Linux running from CD actually), without fear of infecting the machine further, infecting other machines on the network, or sending keystrokes (and passwords) to someone else. If you've ever been frustrated by the need to connect an infected machine to the network to download virus definitions and had that machines infect others while you were doing this, you know why this hack is important.

A related hack tells you how to download patches from Microsoft's website and put them on the Windows partition so you can apply them from within Windows when you aren't connected on the network. This is useful because a freshly installed Windows XP machine on an unprotected network, like that which exists in most users homes, can be infected in just a few minutes. If you downloaded these patches while running the unprotected machine you could possibly get infected before the first service pack had downloaded.

Another hack allows you to restore corrupted system files. Using this hack I was able to instruct someone on how to replace a deleted explorer.exe on a Windows Me installation which was preventing Windows from booting.

One of the most useful hacks covers the ability to boot Knoppix and access a Windows hard drive to backup or retrieve important data. This is useful when you can't boot into Windows because a virus, malware, or user mistake has rendered Windows inaccessible. Windows users sometimes find themselves having to resort to the OEMs restore CDs, and by using Knoppix they can safely backup their data before they blow everything away.

With the Resize Windows Partitions hack there is no need to purchase a third party tool like Partition Magic if you need to reconfigure your hard drive partitions. Likewise, the Clone Hard Drives hack in Chapter 5 makes it easy for users to backup an entire hard drive, or migrate to a new larger one without the use of third party software that needs to be paid for.

Many of the other hacks in the book also apply to Windows and Linux users alike. And since the book starts off with several easy hacks on using the Linux desktop, it is even a mini-tutorial on capabilities of Linux as a desktop system. Which means it is a good tool for Linux evangelism to your open source deprived friends.