I'm soon to acquire several new computers on the grounds that I wipe their hard disks. I don't need the drives to be randomized, just zeroed out with dd.

How can I can boot Linux from a flash drive that will load into RAM, so that I can boot it, remove the drive, and boot the next machine to have several going at once?

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If you're using an Ubuntu live CD/USB disk, you can accomplish this with the toram kernel option. Add it to the boot options before you start the OS.

If you want a different distro, this list might help.

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You could also use DBAN for cleaning drives. It's been around a while and works well. You can boot from a CD or from a USB drive directly into the utility.
The image is only 15MB.

EDIT: Upon further research DBAN does load into RAM once it starts running and the media can be removed. See Using DBAN section

Hope this helps.

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  • I hate when people downmod without an explanation. I was going to recommend DBAN as well, my only guess is you got downmodded on the "boot, then remove media for another box" requirement. – Rich Homolka Feb 3 '14 at 19:08
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    Well, regardless of the up/down vote, DBAN has worked well for me for YEARS and I'd recommend it again. I've never tested removing the media once it started so it may or may not work in that aspect. I just discovered YUMI the other day and now have a 'diagnostics' USB drive with DBAN, Ubuntu, Knoppix and Kali Linux for just about any diagnostics you need. Maybe this will help someone out anyhow. – Mike Naylor Feb 3 '14 at 19:17
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    Answer edited as DBAN does run in RAM and media can be removed. The user did not forgo the question but simply had not tested that functionality. Hopefully this answer satisfies the elders of the internet... – Mike Naylor Feb 3 '14 at 20:56
  • @MikeNaylor Reversed to +1. Sorry for all that. – DanteTheEgregore Feb 3 '14 at 21:03
  • No worries, I had never removed the media before with any live cd so I didn't recommend it. DBAN is small enough that the download takes no time and it fits on almost anything but a floppy disk... great tool to have. – Mike Naylor Feb 3 '14 at 21:07

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