Run any Live Linux CD from within Windows

Normally, the tutorials featured here pertain to running Linux from a USB flash pen drive or other portable USB device. However, this tutorial explains how to run that Live Linux CD/DVD you might have sitting around from within Windows using Qemu Emulation. That's right, you can run a Live Linux CD using your CD/DVD drive from your windows desktop without rebooting. The advantages are two fold. You can run Linux on top of Windows from a CD or DVD without any installation to another storage media. In addition, this process eliminates the need to restart your PC and set your BIOS options to boot Linux from CD or USB.

NOTE: This tutorial is Old and may no longer work as well as intended.

Pendrivelinux on Windows Screenshot running via Qemu:

Portable Pendrivelinux Screenshot

Qemu Home Page:


  • Windows Computer (Vista or XP)
  • Your favorite Live Linux CD
  • Custom StartLinuxCD files

Launch a Live Linux CD from Windows Process:

  1. Create a folder named STARTCD on your desktop
  2. Download the StartLinuxCD.exe and extract its contents to the STARTCD folder
  3. Insert your favorite Live Linux CD or DVD into your first CD/DVD drive
  4. Double click the LaunchCD.bat file to boot Linux from within Windows off of the installed CD/DVD

Notes: Use Ctrl+Alt+2 to switch to the qemu monitor (type help for options). Ctrl+Alt+1 switches back to Live Linux. Ctrl+Alt+f for full screen mode.

This configuration reserves 512MB of system memory for the virtual Linux operating environment. If you need to decrease this capacity, edit the -m value of the LaunchCD.bat file. Any

Although the Live CD is launched accelerated with Kqemu, running from a CD/DVD via emulation is a bit slower than running from an ISO. If your concerned about speed, use the Qemu ISO emulation method.

Update 9/24/07: Now supports booting Linux from CD using Windows Vista as the host.

Run any Live Linux CD from within Windows published under USB Virtual Machine Emulation