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Operating Systems


Linux Live USB Creator review

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There used to be a time when Microsoft Windows ruled the operating system world. But in recent years, the free and open source Linux operating system has taken a big bite out of Windows' dominance. But Linux has always had an image problem of seeming too difficult and unwieldy to install and learn, with a steep learning curve attached.

Linux Live USB Creator (LiLi for short) aims to take the sting out of a newcomer's introduction to the operating system by making it as easy as possible to get started. All you need is a USB stick with enough space — a minimum 2GB should do the trick — and five minutes of your time to install it. No user manual required.

After downloading and installing the software (developer Thibaut Lauziere also offers a portable version), open it up and you will see a simple straightforward user interface, showing the various steps needing to be completed. Once each step has been successfully carried out, the traffic light icon on the right hand side will turn green.

First, you need to point the app towards the location of your USB stick in the computer. Secondly, you need to choose the source of the Linux installation file. For example, you may have it already downloaded on to your computer. If so, point it towards that file.

If not, you can click "download" and a big drop-down menu of various Linux distros (and some non-Linux options) will be presented as possibilities.  Just choose the one you want to download.  For newcomers, it's probably easiest to choose Ubuntu as it's an easy Linux distro to get started with.

Linux Live USB Creator

Once you've done this, the "persistence" level should be automatically at green. "Persistence" means that you can keep your preferences and data on your USB stick, after rebooting (normally this information is discarded).

Next come LiLi's personal options, which you must decide yourself. I enabled all three options but you need to decide for yourself what you prefer.

Finally, if everything looks OK, click the yellow lightning flash to begin the installation of your chosen Linux distro to your USB stick. In my case, it took only a few minutes and it was immediately ready to go.

There are two possibilities to run your new Linux distro. The first one is to reboot your computer and let Windows boot from the USB stick. However, this means you are running only Linux with no access to Windows. The second (and preferable) option is to go to the stick and choose "Virtualize This Key," which will launch the excellent VirtualBox software.

This is the software equivalent of a sandbox where you can run software programs inside, independent of the operating system you are currently using. In other words, you can be running Windows and at the same time, have Linux running inside the VirtualBox window.

The only downside to this option is that a huge amount of CPU is going to be required to run both OS's simultaneously. So you may notice things slowing down slightly as a result. If it gets too bad, try closing some non-essential programs.

In a word, Linux Live USB Creator should be on everyone's PC, as it is essential for everyone to learn that there is a world beyond what Microsoft has to offer. With it being portable, you can easily carry it about on a USB stick and introduce Linux to everyone you know.


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