Live distro and Full Linux Install/Live HDD
To run the Live distribution (either CD or DVD) from a hard drive:
1. Copy the folders from the CD or DVD to your hard drive.
2. Enter the following text in your /boot/grub directory, member menu.lst if you use the old version of grub:
title the distro name (when using the first partition of the first hard drive - hd0,0) root (hd0,0) kernel /live/vmlinuz ramdisk_size=100000 boot=live persistent username=lintian hostname=puredyne initrd /live/initrd.img
This is for when it's on the hard drive your system thinks of as 'first' - for /dev/sda1 you'd enter hd0,0 for root, for /dev/sda2 you'd enter hd0,1, for /dev/sdb1 you'd enter hd1,0 etc.
I don't know how to set up Grub 2 - the developers de-simplified it. A friend tells me that for Grub 2 there is now a set of templates in a grub directory under /etc which can be edited, and the last of these (they are named starting with 10, 20, etc) is for free-form old style grub instructions like the above. Good luck with it.
3. boot, and select the distro from the menu.
HOWEVER - if you just do it this way, any changes you make will NOT persist between sessions. To set up persistent storage, you must also have a Linux partition labeled live-rw
This is easiest on a flash drive. Get a flash drive you can re-format that has a fair amount of space - at least 4 GB. 8 or 16 is better, if you're going to do a lot of new installs. You can use a USB stick, an SD card, whatever you have. Use Gparted or some other utility to re-format it as:
A. A primary partition B. filetype EXT2 or EXT3 C. with the label live-rw. This label, live-rw (lower case, as typed) is what the system looks for. If the distro finds it, it stores any changes you make to that partition, and reads them from that partition the next time you boot.
With this persistent storage on a flash partition, you can boot the distro from a CD or DVD at a friend's house and have your environment right there, or use it on your computer or laptop to have the same persistent environment.
If you boot up and none of your changes are there - the system for some reason didn't recognize your flash drive. Unplug it, re-plug it, and reboot.
BACK UP THE CONTENTS OF YOUR FLASH DRIVE REGULARLY to your hard disk or somewhere - you don't want to lose those directories. You can format a new flash drive with the label live-rw and copy the contents to that, too - two copies of your personal environment.