I tried out the linuX-gamers live DVD and like it so much that I want to have it as the main operating system on my desktop. The FAQ says:

Can I install or copy the medium to my hard disk? No, the software is only designed to boot from a live medium.

However, as the live DVD is said to be based on Arch Linux I think it is pretty much possible to put it onto the hard drive. A painful way to do this would be to install Arch and try to make it look like this DVD. The download page says that the ISO is isohybrid, I don't know if it makes any difference.

Is there a (reliable) way to turn an ISO like that into a working installation? I wouldn't mind spending a few days to mess with it.

4 Answers 4


I emailed the author of the distro and was told that dding the content of the ISO to the hard drive might work. So I'm all backed up and trying that right now. I think this makes an answer, whether it works or not. I will update this after seeing the result.

Update: This actually works, to the extend that it gives me a working system on the local hard drive. The file system is volatile (all changes are gone after shutting down). The disk is left in an "unpartitioned, invalid" state so I don't think this counts as a full installation.

  • Worked for me with the Caine distribution!
    – Luc
    May 7, 2018 at 15:28

As of today I have successfully installed this distribution and can use it as if it were Arch :) Below is the simplest way to do so:

  1. Install Arch on the hard drive
  2. Remove everything in / (in the local disk), except for /boot
  3. Mount the root-image.sqfs image in the linuX-gamers live DVD and copy everything inside to /
  4. Repeat the previous step with the overlay.sqfs image

Step 2, 3, 4 may have to be performed with a live CD. Further customization is needed but the system can boot and function correctly after step 4.

This answer is really specific to this live DVD and thus not applicable to other live CD/DVD.


You could test this by using Virtualbox. Also, the ISO is not likely to contain a hard disk fs, therefore you would need to copy files, not dd the raw data.

Install Virtualbox, and get a Linux distro running on it. Then create another virtual hard drive, attach it to the Linux distro and partition it. Create a filesystem on the VHD such as ext3fs. Then attach the ISO to this VM, i.e. mount the CD, and copy everything to the partition that you created.

tar cvf - /mountedcd | (cd /mountedVHD; tar xf - .)

Shutdown this VM.

Then create another virtual machine using the partitioned HD as the hard drive. When you start this VM it should boot up into the live distro except it is now on a hard drive. You will may need to do something to the partition before going much further, such as remount it read-write, or editing some of the init files.

Write down everything you do, and then you can repeat it with a real system and real hard drive.

  • I tried dding to a partition, the thing would not boot (the error is something like "Cannot mount root device")
    – phunehehe
    Feb 4, 2011 at 4:57
  • CD's don't use hard drive filesystems so dd is never going to work well. I have edited the answer to use tar instead of dd for copying. And that is the beauty of using Virtualbox to test this stuff beforehand. Feb 4, 2011 at 5:07

You can use unetbootin to boot iso images from harddisk. Else the commands depend on your bootloader. Example: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/boot-iso-image-from-hard-disk-294744

  • This would create a read-only system, not really what I want.
    – phunehehe
    Jan 30, 2011 at 3:58
  • This is true for unetbootin. However in the link I gave the Iso is mounted and the contents copied to harddisk (including kernel and initrd.gz). The steps to boot then depend on your bootloader and the details of your distribution (which I do not know) Jan 30, 2011 at 8:44

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