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Wanted to create a list of all the benefits of always running from a live CD (with or without persistence/as long as personal data is saved on encrypted drive locally)?

closed as too broad by muru, Michael Homer, Jeff Schaller, Kusalananda, Romeo Ninov Mar 22 '18 at 8:26

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Using a live ISO without persistence means the main filesystem is read-only, so nothing can be changed or "broken" permanently. It also means all changes (new files & data) are in ram and lost on reboot/shutdown.

Saving your personal data manually could lead to better backup habits...

If you have enough ram to use the toram option, all file reads & writes will be at ram speeds, maybe 2GB-5GB per second, much faster than a regular cd/dvd/hard drive or ssd.


The "best encryption" part of the question really is too broad, but just use the defaults the big distros use: GPG, LUKS, eCryptfs

  • Can the iso access all filesystems it connects to, eg; running ubuntu live on ntfs file system but connecting to and saving to encrypted fat32 or ext4? Benefits and limitations list somewhere of live OSs? – freedemrain Mar 22 '18 at 1:56
  • They can generally access anything a regular system can. What do you mean "running ubuntu live on ntfs file system"? A live filesystem is in ram, and reading static files from it's own ISO. Sometimes a live DVD or USB uses fat, sometimes ext, ntfs might be supported by some, but since it doesn't generally write there it doesn't generally matter, and if it's running toram then you can remove the DVD/USB completely – Xen2050 Mar 23 '18 at 9:01
  • The biggest benefit and limitation is that all changes are lost, unless saved. You might want to try a distribution that can easily create a new ISO or "update" (save changes to) a live USB like MX-Linux (running live you can install updates & make config changes then create a new ISO or save back to the USB from the live system. I'm pretty sure AntiX and Puppy Linux have similar features. – Xen2050 Mar 23 '18 at 9:08
  • So when running live the os can save files and changes to a local drive and then when you reconnect its all there? – freedemrain Mar 23 '18 at 10:24
  • That's basically how persistence works, usually saving changes to the live USB, some distros can run "live" from a hard drive (some easier than others). Without persistence only mounted physical partitions (a hard or USB drive) have changes saved. Being familiar with mount (lsblk's nice too, or gnome-disk-utility) and general linux filesystems is good, to check what's mounted where, since all the other system files are in / which is ram – Xen2050 Mar 23 '18 at 10:43

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