Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My laptop has a nomodeset problem; check the link for more info. Basically, I would need to add nomodeset in grub in order to boot any linux distro.

If I want to use a distro, I'd need to install it, boot it, press e on boot menu, add nomodeset, and when it boots, I fix the grub menu forever and update it.

Today I'm looking to try a new Debian distro, but I don't want to install it; my laptop is already dual-booted, I don't want to triple-boot it.

I don't like VirtualBox or VMware; I'm not a fan of virtualization. Besides, the distro that I'm trying doesn't play well on virtual machines.

All I want to do is to boot it from live CD but the problem is that when you boot it from live CD, you aren't presented with a grub menu and you can't press e to edit it, so there's no way for me to add nomodeset. Without that option, I'll never be able to see the screen.

How do I edit the grub boot menu when booting from a live CD?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I know you want to find a simple solution for your simple question, but I'm afraid that there is no easy solution for you, because almost all live cds are boot with isolinux, i.e., not grub, so there is no way you can edit grub when booting from the live cd.

You can re-create the live cd to boot with grub if you want. Ref: Booting CD with grub

Or your can learn how to use isolinux to put in that nomodeset. It's quite simple:

  1. press TAB at the live cd boot up screen
  2. appended nomodeset options at the kernel prompt
  3. press enter to boot the live cd with the nomodeset kernel option
share|improve this answer

If the live CD doesn't give you an opportunity to, I don't think you can just edit it. However, if you know the grub line used to boot the live cd, you can:

  1. Put the disk in
  2. Load GRUB from the harddrive
  3. Drop to the GRUB command shell
  4. Set the root device as the CD-ROM
  5. Use the same kernel options as the live cd, plus the nomodeset option to boot the live system.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.