Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have got a DVD-RW on which I'd like to install some linux distributions, but I've tried a few (Ubuntu 13.10, Crunchbang, ElementaryOS and some others, don't really remember), but they didn't work, which has me worried that it might not be possible.

The problem is that I will be using both my USB ports and my HDD for data, so that is not an option.

I'd just like to know if it was possible to install a distribution to my DVD-RW?

If I need to change some config files in the source and compile it myself (which I think is what I need to do), I can do that myself if you could tell me where to look.

share|improve this question
Why don't you buy just another USB flash drive? How many USB ports do you have? – bayindirh Nov 8 '13 at 14:42
2, of which I use 2 – user1009013 Nov 8 '13 at 14:46
I don't see the point of this... you can use a USB hub – RSFalcon7 Nov 8 '13 at 14:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Use a Ubuntu liveCD with persistant storage.

create a file called casper-rw.

touch /media/casper-rw

Then run the folowing command.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/casper-rw bs=1M count=128

You will then be able to boot into the liveCD like normal, but any changes made will be saved in the casper-rw file.

share|improve this answer

I don't see why you couldn't do this. I'd approach in the same manner as doing an installation to a USB thumb drive. Take a look at the ArchLinux wiki.

You can also use tools such as Universal USB Loader - Windows and UNetbootin - Linux to install ISO images onto USB thumb drives. You may be able to use these types of tools to do what you want as well.

share|improve this answer

You can install a linux distro onto a dvd-rw no problem, if you using windows just download some kind of ISO burner. As for them not working have you checked that your primary boot device is set to rather than your hard disc in the bios?

share|improve this answer
I'm not talking about running a live DVD, I'm talking about the actual install, as in using my DVD-RW as the medium that it's installed on. – user1009013 Nov 8 '13 at 14:35
I do apologize i misunderstood your question, then no it is not possible as Dvd re writer drives don't have any storage (other than perhaps a cache area). Use a live CD it's probably the best way alternatively get an E-SATA drive to install linux on – daark Nov 8 '13 at 14:38

If you are not fixed to a distribution, have a look at the debian live project. It is a set of scripts which installs a debian (other distributions are possible too) in a chroot environment.

The system will be compressed to a squashfs or similar filesystem and you get an .iso for your DVD after running some scripts.

This DVD will look and feel like a local installation with your personal settings and boot like from hdd.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.