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Fedora 11

Fedora Live images

How to use the Fedora Live image

Fedora Documentation Project

Nelson Strother

Paul W. Frields

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How to use the Fedora Live image

1. Introduction
2. What Should I Do With My Live Image?
3. Suggested Hardware
4. Booting
5. Benefits
6. Caveats
7. Experimenting with the Live image
7.1. Sharing Existing Data
7.2. Making a Backup Copy of Data
8. Installing Fedora from the Live Image
9. We Need Feedback!
A. Revision History

1. Introduction

A Live image is a safe and easy way to test-drive the Fedora operating system on your own familiar hardware. If you enjoy this experience, you can install the Live system software to your system's hard drive. The installation can either replace your existing operating system, or co-exist separately on your hard drive. This Live image provides you with an experience that is very similar to running Fedora, but there are some benefits and caveats. Refer to Section 5, “Benefits” and Section 6, “Caveats” for more information.

2. What Should I Do With My Live Image?

Before you use your Live image, read the next section to learn how to maximize your enjoyment of Fedora. You may also want to read Section 4, “Booting” for hints on booting from this media. Then insert this media in your computer and boot from it.

3. Suggested Hardware

This Live system successfully boots and runs on most computers with 256 MB or more installed system memory, or RAM. Your computer must have the ability to boot from the device holding the Live image media. For instance, if the Live image is on a CD or DVD, your computer must be able to boot from the CD or DVD drive.

4. Booting

This section gives additional guidance for users whose experience with starting the computer, or "booting," is limited to pushing the power button. To set up your system to boot from the Live media, first shut down or hibernate your computer if it is not already off. Power your computer on, and watch the initial BIOS screen for a prompt that indicates which key to use for either:
  • a boot menu, or
  • the BIOS setup utility
The boot menu option is preferable. If you cannot see such a prompt, consult your manufacturer's documentation for your computer system, motherboard, or mainboard for the correct keystroke. On many systems, the required key will be F12, F2, F1, Esc, or Delete.
Most computers boot from hard disk (or one of the hard disks, if there are more than one). If you are reading this document from a CD or a DVD, then set the computer to boot from the DVD or CD drive. If you are reading this file from a USB device such as a memory stick or thumb drive, set your computer to boot from the USB device.
If you are making changes to the BIOS configuration, record the current boot device selection configuration before you change it. This record allows you to restore the original configuration if you choose to return to your previous computing environment.
The BIOS on older computers may not include a choice you desire, such as network booting. If your computer can only boot from floppy diskette or hard disk, you may be unable to experience this Live image on your computer.
You may wish to see if an updated BIOS is available from the manufacturer of your computer. A BIOS update may offer additional boot menu choices, but requires care to install properly. Consult the manufacturer's documentation for more information. Otherwise, ask a friend if you can try running this Live image on their newer computer.

5. Benefits

The following benefits accrue with a Live image:
  • While running this Live image, you are in control, and are not limited to a set of screenshots or options chosen by others. Select which tasks or applications to explore with complete freedom.
  • You can experiment with this Live image with no disruption to your previous computing environment, documents, or desktop. Hibernate your current operating system, restart with the Live image, and restart the original operating system when finished. Your previous environment returns with no changes made.
  • You can use the Live image to evaluate whether all of your hardware devices are recognized and properly configured.

    Full Hardware Recognition

    In some cases, the Live image not offer the full range of hardware support seeing in an installed Fedora system. You may be able to manually configure support in the Live image. If you are using the Live image from a CD or DVD, you must repeat these steps each time you use the Live image.
  • You can use the Live image to try different desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, XFCE, or others. None of these choices require you to reconfigure an existing Linux installation on your computer.
  • Live images on USB can include both a persistence overlay and a separate area for user data. The persistence overlay allows you to make changes to the Fedora environment and retain these changes across reboots. These changes can include system software updates, configuration changes, and new packages you choose to install. The separate user data area allows you to reinstall the Live image with a newer version of Fedora later, while retaining your documents, media files, and other important information.

6. Caveats

The Live image also involves some drawbacks in exchange for convenience:
  • While using this Live image on CD or DVD, your computer may be much slower to respond or require more time to complete tasks than with a system installed to hard disk. CD and DVD discs provide data to the computer at a much slower rate than hard disks. Less of your computer's system memory is available for loading and running applications. Running the Live image from RAM trades higher memory usage for faster response times.
  • To fit space constraints, fewer installed applications are included than in a full installation of Fedora. Your favorite applications may not be present in this Live image, even though they may be present and run quite well in a full installation of Fedora.

    Live USB persistence

    Live USB images with persistence allow you to install new applications on your Fedora system. There is a limit to the space available for new applications. If you decide to make many changes to the software installed, you may wish to install Fedora to a hard disk first.
  • At this time, you cannot permanently install new applications in the Live image on CD or DVD. To try other applications, or newer versions of existing applications, you must either use a Live USB image with persistence, or install Fedora on your computer. You may be able to temporarily install or update applications, however, if you have sufficient system memory. Most systems require more than 512 MB RAM for installations or updates to succeed. These changes will be lost when you shut down the Live image.
  • Changes may also evaporate if your system's memory usage forces the system to reread the original software or settings from the Live image on CD or DVD. This behavior is peculiar to a Live CD or DVD image and does not occur in a full installation of Fedora.

7. Experimenting with the Live image

As you explore the the cascading menus on or around the desktop, look for application programs you may wish to run. In addition, you may wish to explore other capabilities.

7.1. Sharing Existing Data

You can share data via mounting existing storage devices, such as:
  • floppy diskettes
  • USB drives
  • disk partitions

7.2. Making a Backup Copy of Data

You may use this Live image to make backup or archival copies of data, if your computer system includes:
  • a CD or DVD burning drive
  • a hard disk with ample free space
Files normally in use by your previous operating system when it is running are not in use in the Live image. Therefore you can use the Live image to copy files that are problematic for backup software in the previous operating system.

8. Installing Fedora from the Live Image

To install the system from this Live image, run the LiveOS as described above, and select the Install to Hard Disk application on the Desktop. Using the resulting Fedora installation, you can customize the software and configuration to your liking on a persistent basis.

9. We Need Feedback!

If you find a typographical error in this manual, or if you have thought of a way to make this manual better, we would love to hear from you! Please submit a report in Bugzilla: against the product Fedora Documentation.
When submitting a bug report, be sure to mention the manual's identifier: readme-live-image
If you have a suggestion for improving the documentation, try to be as specific as possible when describing it. If you have found an error, please include the section number and some of the surrounding text so we can find it easily.

A. Revision History

Revision History
Revision 11.2.0Sun Aug 09 2009Paul W. Frields
Add information about USB persistence
Correct some character entities
Revision 11.1.0Mon Jul 21 2009Rüdiger Landmann
Convert to build in Publican
Revision 11.0.0Fri May 08 2009John J. McDonough
Update for Fedora 11
Revision 10.93.0Mon Apr 20 2009John J. McDonough
Update for Fedora 10.93
Revision 10.0.0Fri Nov 07 2008Karsten Wade
Update for Fedora 10
Revision 9.92Sat 19 July 2008Paul W. Frields
Update for Fedora 9.92