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We have covered plenty of Live CD related articles here on MakeUseOf. From creating your own Windows Live CD How To Make Your Own Windows Live CD How To Make Your Own Windows Live CD Read More , to creating a bootable USB drive from an bootable ISO image How to Create a Bootable USB Drive from Your Windows CD How to Create a Bootable USB Drive from Your Windows CD Do you have a Windows CD or DVD, but can't use your optical drive to install the OS? You can use a bootable USB drive to install Windows instead. We show you how. Read More . Today let us have a look at a piece of software called MobaLiveCD – which lets you run Live CD’s without having to burn a CD ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More or even restart your computer. Basically, it’s another quick way to try Linux from Windows.

You can download MobaLiveCD from here. A mere 1.6 MB download, MobaLiveCD presents an inviting prospect over virtualization solutions like Virtualbox, although it is not as feature rich. Under the hood, MobaLiveCD uses QEMU – the open source emulator. If you ever tried using QEMU, you would know that it requires a fair bit of configuration and know-how. MobaLiveCD does away with all that and provides you with a single executable file which launches the application, you don’t even need to install MobaLiveCD.

MobaLiveCD is a portable application, the interface is intuitive and straightforward. To run a Linux LiveCD:

  • Just click on the ‘Run the LiveCD’ button.
  • Browse to the iso image.
  • Choose whether to create a virtual hard drive or not and the LiveCD boots up.

MobaLiveCD needs to copy files to the system32 directory, so you should run MobaLiveCD with elevated rights if you see an error like the one below. To do with elevated rights just click on the exe file and choose Run as Administrator.

try linux from windows


Keep in mind that you are essentially running another operating system inside Windows thus the resources available to MobaLiveCD will be limited. So you should not expect the same performance levels you would get by restarting the computer and booting from the CD ROM. Nevertheless depending upon your computer’s configuration you can still get decent performance, enough to let you try out the Linux Live CD thoroughly.

try linux in windows

You can toggle full screen mode using Ctrl + Alt + F and Ctrl + Alt would bring the cursor back to the host operating system. In addition you can use the Right-Click Menu button that would create a right click context menu entry for ISO files, allowing you to run an ISO file directly within MobaLiveCD from the context menu.

try linux without installing

The latest version of MobaLiveCD can also be used to run a Live USB drive right inside Windows. Click on the Run Live USB button and follow the prompts. If you would like to save the state of your work MobaLiveCD also lets you create a virtual hard disk.

Oh and in case you are wondering which LiveCD you should download, check out the Unofficial(fake) Chrome OS. And now that we are on the topic, let me confess that it was out of an urge to try out the fake Chrome OS(and laziness to set up a virtual machine in Virtual Box) that I realized MobaLiveCD is a cool application we haven’t covered yet, so now you know about it.

MobaLiveCD is great for testing new Linux distributions with a Linux Live CD, downloading ISO’s before burning them or testing remastered Live CD’s that generally require some hit and miss to get things exactly the way you want. With MobaLiveCD you can test them without needing to set up a virtual machine or burning CD’s.

Have you used MobaLiveCD? Do you know of any other similar application? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Viralnexxus
    October 23, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Yeah, this is just an easier way to test drive Linux Distros without setting up a virtual emulator like: VirtualBox(FOSS), VMWare(3rdParty), etc..The performance will rely heavily on your hardware and how good it is. As always, more RAM, Bigger HD, and more Processors make running Virtualization Applications faster. I personally use VirtualBox because it is opensource, but VMware has better harware support. And faster?

  2. Robert M
    October 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    One program that I use is called UnetBootin. Its a simple program that lets u select from a long updated list of distros and with a click of a button, it will download the distro and create a live distro on your USB.

  3. Alyssa Myers
    October 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Is this just to test the software out? Or is there a real use for this? I guess I'd be concerned about performance.

  4. Chris McQ.
    October 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Very cool. I'm often messing with VMs either in VirtualBox or some VMWare product, but always disliked creating a VM just to take a look at a Linux distro. This is a good find. Appreciate the knowledge share.