A “bootable” CD or DVD is one that you put in your CD / DVD drive and use to “boot” (start up) your computer system.
You need to boot the free Linux OS (operating system) from a CD or DVD when you want to install Linux on a computer system - or when you want to run Linux from a Linux live CD / DVD.
To boot Linux, just put a Linux CD or DVD in your drive and restart your system. However, your may need to do one or two extra steps to get your system to boot from a Linux CD / DVD.
Linux Tips: If you are installing Linux from CD / DVD, there may be more than one Linux installation CD or DVD. Be sure to use CD 1 (or DVD 1) to boot the system and start the Linux installation routine. This Linux CD / DVD will be “bootable” and the others won’t.
After you have installed Linux, or run Linux live, you can get lots of practical Linux training experience. You can work at a Linux desktop and learn how to use Linux software programs. And you can also open a Linux “terminal” and work at the Linux command line and learn how to use Linux commands - the way the real pros do Linux system administration.
3 Ways to Boot Your Computer System from a Bootable Linux CD or DVD
1. Do nothing, except restart your system with the Linux CD / DVD in the drive.
Lots of systems are set up to automatically boot from the CD / DVD drive. So you don’t need to do anything to boot Linux from a (bootable) Linux installation CD / DVD or a Linux live CD / DVD.
To test to see if your system can boot from CD / DVD, just put a bootable CD or DVD in your drive and restart your system. If it worked, you should see something related to Linux on the screen.
For example, you should see the Linux installation intro screen, if you booted from a Linux installation CD, or you should see a Linux desktop, if you booted from a Linux live CD.
If you try to boot from CD / DVD and already have an operating system (such as Windows) installed on your system, and Windows starts, then either your system isn’t set up to boot from its CD / DVD drive, or the Linux CD / DVD itself isn’t “bootable”.
Linux Tips: Make sure your CD / DVD is bootable. If you bought Linux on CD or DVD, then it likely works and you’ll be able to boot from it. However, if you download Linux and burn a Linux ISO file to CD / DVD yourself, then there may be a problem with the Linux CD / DVD. The best solution is to try the Linux CD or DVD on a system you know boots from its drive, such as a system owned by friend from a Linux user group (LUG).
2. Hold down one or more keys to boot Linux from the Linux CD / DVD.
Watch the screen as your system starts and look for any messages that tell you which key (or keys) to hold down to boot your system from the Linux CD or DVD.
For example, on some systems, you need to hold down the letter “c” to get the system to boot with a Linux CD / DVD.
When the system starts, you may not see a message telling you which keys to press to boot from CD / DVD, but you may see which keys to press to go into SETUP (or you may see a similar term - more on this below).
3. Change a system setting to boot from a Linux CD / DVD.
On some systems, you can’t just hold down one or more keys to boot Linux from CD / DVD. However, when the system starts, you should see which keys to press to go into SETUP (or a similar term).
In this case, even though a bootable CD / DVD is in the drive, the system is starting from the hard disk because it is at the top of the “boot order”.
You need to go into SETUP and do the steps to move the CD or DVD drive above the hard disk in the boot order. This will allow the system to boot Linux from a Linux CD / DVD.
Once you can start Linux and get it running on a system, you can get easy Linux training by using Linux video tutorials. With this Linux training method, you can watch how to use Linux, such as watching how to use a Linux command, and then pause the video tutorial and try the Linux command yourself!