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I have a project involving a Linux Live CD.

My users hate manual reboot, which from windows means selecting shutdown, waiting through the reboot process, finding the Boot menu key (usually F10 or F12, but it varies by PC), pressing it like crazy, and finally pulling out hair when windows reboots anyway because they were not fast enough or paying attention.

Ideally, there would be a way to have an autorun or a windows program on the CD, which could ask the user if they want to shutdown and reboot to the CD, and would then do it. This may be wishful thinking.

Is there a way to do this that is simple and universal and will work in the various flavors of windows...? I'm guessing no, because the Linux distros would have it already, but there may be a genius out here who knows how.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally: No.

In specific: Yes.

You must have physical access to each and every computer or use network book.

You can setup the BIOS that the CD/DVD drive has the first boot priority. Then you can create a Live CD that has a autorun that only executes the following:

shutdown -r -t 0

The live cd will be inserted and the autorun executed.
It will immediately reboot the computer. The live cd will boot because it has a higher priority than the HDD.

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Note that shutdown requires SeRemoteShutdown privilege even for local use (this is a bug), so it may be better to write a small program of your own, to start the reboot. (This also would allow it to work on older Windows releases in which there is no shutdown.exe.) – grawity Oct 15 '09 at 15:52
Nice hint, thanks! So how would you reboot your pc, if you haven't this right? – guerda Oct 16 '09 at 7:53
Thanks for answering. New users, who are remote and have downloaded an iso and burned it but don't really know or care anything about linux, are our main problem and we can't anticipate their BIOS settngs or tell them how to do that to change boot order because that will be computer dependent. Still, thanks for your time. – Paul Oct 18 '09 at 4:10
So you would like to have an ISO that will install from Windows? It will work, see my 2nd answer. – guerda Oct 19 '09 at 6:40

If you would like to install a Linux OS from Windows, you could try Wubi.

Wubi is an abbrevation for Windows Ubuntu Installer and will install Ubuntu on a NTFS partition. It's slower than the real installation, but it will act as a real Ubuntu.

This installer is for people only trying to see if they're ready for Linux (or vice versa? ;) ).

You can look under Wubi#Similar Projects on the Wiki page if you need an alternative.

I hope it will help you!

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