As an exercise, I've created a bootable 3" MiniCD that contains several small operating systems, tools, and oddities. This document discusses the MiniCD and provides a free downloadable copy.
There are two good things about MiniCDs of this type: they'll fit in a shirt pocket and they'll boot on almost any X86 PC. I've only noticed two “boot” problems over the years:
Some machines set BIOS Boot Order (incorrectly) so that Hard Disk comes before CD. BIOS Boot Setup can be used to fix this.
A few machines don't have CD drives or they don't support 3" CDs.
Presently, the following ten bootable systems or environments are provided:
Puppy Linux 5.0.1: A small but reasonably complete Linux desktop distro.
Recovery Is Possible 9.3: A Linux sysadmin distro. This version is CLI only; i.e., it's intended for experts.
Memtest86+ 4.10: A memory test program.
Windows Memory Diagnostic: An alternate memory test program.
Offline Windows Password and Registry Editor 080802: A set of tools that can be used to fix MS-Windows password problems. This release dates back to 2008; therefore, it probably doesn't work with Windows 7.
FreeDOS 1.0: This is a free (and open source) clone of good old DOS.
KolibriOS 0.7.1.0: This is a tiny operating system written in assembly language. It's GUI-based and provides a number of applications, but the whole thing fits onto a 1.44MB floppy.
MikeOS: This is another tiny assembly-language operating system. It doesn't do much, but the complete system fits into 32 kilobytes.
Arachne 1.90: This is a bootable DOS-based web browser.
GRUB Invaders 1.0: This is a simple video game. It works on some machines; however, on others, it may simply lock up.
Note: This software is free, but you use it entirely at your own risk. The MultiOS MiniCD includes sysadmin tools that are specifically designed to do things like format disks and resize partitions. If you don't understand what one of the tools does, proceed with caution.
For more information, see the following sections.
To download the MiniCD, use the link shown below.
If there's more than one link in the preceding list, note that some of the links may take you to hosting sites that have ads and popups. If possible, use a web browser that blocks popups. Additionally, if you've got NoScript, you may need to turn it off temporarily.
The MiniCD is provided in a ZIP file. Download the ZIP file. Use WinZip or a similar program to unpack it. If necessary, use 7-Zip, which you can obtain from the following page:
This should give you an ISO file. Burn the ISO file to a 3" MiniCD and you're in business.
For some machines, one change may be required. If BIOS Boot Order has Hard Disk before CD, use BIOS Boot Setup to modify this. CD should be before Hard Disk.
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