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Will booting from a Live CD (I was thinking Anonym OS) have any risk to the native OS? I wanted to try it out on my school´s computer, but I´d rather not have to explain why I accidentally reformatted the HD and deleted everything.. I know once you´ve booted the right way, it shouldn´t leave any trace on the HD, but is it possible I can push some wrong button and end up trying to overwrite the native with the Live OS? Also, since the computer itself is connected to the internet, will the network administrator be able to see that i´ve booted from a Live CD? I´m thinking yes, but just thought I´d check.

Thanks for any help!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The network admin would see the box, yes, if the school's network is set up for DHCP. If it's not set up for DHCP, you probably won't get a network connection, but it's hard to say if the network admin keeps an eye out for IPs which aren't responding.

As far as the underlying OS, normally LiveCDs will boot into an environment and you'd have to double-click the "Install to HD" option for it to do damage. This is, of course, assuming there's not some odd bug in the LiveCD. Test out the LiveCD you want to use on another computer and verify.

I'd be very careful, some schools don't take kindly to students messing with their hardware.

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I don't know Anonym.OS, but the hard disk is normally detected during the boot, so running the wrong program can cause damage (a horror example is disk formatting).

To be absolutely sure, disable the hard disk in the BIOS.

Otherwise, you can just unmount the hard disk: umount /dev/hda (or similar).

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@harrymc: Disabling the HD via the bios will not help. Most Unix-like OS ignore the bios completely. And even more important, unmounting the disk doesn't help. The first thing I do before I format a disk is unmount it. And I've formatted or wiped hundreds of unmounted disks using dd. – hotei Aug 5 '10 at 3:13
@hotei: Just wonderful. – harrymc Aug 5 '10 at 7:43

I use live disks to reformat the host OS hard disks all the time, so YES, you can do damage accidentally or otherwise. If you have access to the physical hardware the best way is to unplug the data and power cables to the hard disk(s). Most modern OSs don't give a damn about the bios settings so setting those won't give you any security.

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While unplugging is the best option, I think its a little impossible given the OP's situation. And btw, at least in XP, BIOS settings do matter. They cause pain when you've disabled them for one reason or another, and then can't figure out why your newly installed CD drive isn't being detected – TheLQ Jul 30 '10 at 4:57
@LordQ: I was attempting to impress upon the poster that there's a risk. He asked. The answer he accepted (which states otherwise) is wrong. As far as XP, that's not really relevant because that's probably not on his live CD. I own plenty of live CDs that don't bother to look at the BIOS. Your mileage may vary. – hotei Jul 30 '10 at 12:28
Thanks for the warning! I figured there would be some risk in any operation, but I'm going to keep the accepted answer as it is, since it addresses network connections on a live OS – Brett Johnson Aug 4 '10 at 13:18

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