Live CD

As a result of constant need to upgrade, you probably have couple of old PCs or notebook computers laying around. Personally I have half a dozen computers pile stacked in my laundry room, and two notebooks. Interestingly enough all of them are still working, although sometimes I pull parts from some of them to fix the others.

What's even more amazing, every one of them can still be useful if you install a suitable operating system on it. I am not talking about an older OS that wouldn't know how to connect to the net with ADSL modem or play MP3 music or FLV video. I am talking about modern, up-to-scratch, fully functional operation system that is still in active development.

Not all operating systems grew big and hungry for resources, you know. More then that, downloading and installing one of them won't cost you a penny. The ones I'm talking about are open and free. They are distributed in the form known as Live CD.

Even if you run a modern and powerful computer, you still might want to have a Live CDs in your arsenal. They will allow you access to a virus-ridden or faulty computer, when all hope seems to be lost.

So, what is Live CD? Usually it's a bootable Linux distribution on a CD or flash drive. Some of them can be used to install a full version on your machine, but the main feature of them is you can start your computer in Linux mode from CD or flash drive, have it up and running for you, and then disappear after you turn off a computer and remove the bootable media.

Regardless weather it's installed or not, it allows you to surf the net, email, compose and process text documents, work with photos and videos, and pretty much do anything else we do with computers every day.
There's plenty of options to choose from.

Here is just a few of them I found interesting or amusing.

A Debian-based Damn Small Linux. It's under 50mb. Yes, you can put five of them on one smallish older 256 mb flash drive if you want to ;) You can also run it inside your host Windows operating system, making it secure and inaccessible to viruses environment in a snap. It can run on PCs with IBM 486DX processor and 16mb of memory (if you find one that was not thrown away or given away to a museum).

Puppy Linux is another small distribution with size of about 85mb

Knopix is a large and more features-packed system with different packages of CD and DVD size, used as both fully featured desktop system and rescue CD.