This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (May 2021)

A live CD or live DVD is a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM containing a bootable computer operating system. Live CDs are unique in that they have the ability to run a complete, modern operating system on a computer lacking mutable secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive.

Rescue and repair


FreeBSD based

Other BSDs

Linux kernel-based

See also: Comparison of Linux distributions § Live media

Arch Linux based


These are directly based on Debian:


A large number of live CDs are based on Knoppix. The list of those is in the derivatives section of the Knoppix article.


These are based at least partially on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian:

Other Debian-based




Red Hat Linux/Fedora-based



OS X-based


Microsoft representatives have described third-party efforts at producing Windows-based live CDs as "improperly licensed" uses of Windows, unless used solely to rescue a properly licensed installation. However, Nu2 Productions believes the use of BartPE is legal provided that one Windows license is purchased for each BartPE CD, and the Windows license is used for nothing else.[5]


Systems based on the former open source "OS/net Nevada" or ONNV open source project by Sun Microsystems.


Illumos is a fork of the former OpenSolaris ONNV aiming to further develop the ONNV and replacing the closed source parts while remaining binary compatible. The following products are based upon Illumos:

Other operating systems

Live USBs

This list is for operating systems distributions that are specifically designed to boot off a (writable) USB flash drive, often called a USB stick. (This does not include operating system distributions with a simplified "installer" designed to boot from a USB drive, but the full OS is intended to be installed on a hard drive).

In addition, many other operating systems can be made to run from a USB flash drive, possibly using one of the List of tools to create Live USB systems.

See also


  1. ^ "Distribution Release: Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 2016.07.27". Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Free GNU/Linux distributions". Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  3. ^ "CGAL LiveCD". ACG lab, Tel-Aviv University. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  4. ^ AVLinux – Install...Create Archived 2011-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Licensing issues". Nu2 Productions. Archived from the original on 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2006-12-31.