How to boot an Ubuntu ISO without a thumb drive or a CD. Read more to find out.

I was wanting to try out an older version of Ubuntu on my netbook; but I did not want to write the ISO image to a thumb drive to boot it; therefore I copied the ISO image to a subfolder of my /boot folder; /boot/iso and then I added this section to my /etc/grub.d/40_custom file to enable me to boot a live Linux distribution ISO from the hard disk instead of the hassle of booting from a USB thumb drive and all that jazz.

#!/bin/sh
exec tail -n +3 $0

# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.

menuentry "Ubuntu 10.10 ISO" {
	set isofile="/boot/iso/ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso"
	loopback loop (hd0,1)$isofile
	linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=$isofile noprompt noeject
	initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz
}

I am doing this with Linux Mint 12 Debian edition and this is working perfectly. A good trick if you have downloaded an ISO on your laptop or netbook or even a desktop PC and you want to try it out before writing the ISO to anything. Just fill out the file above like I have and then run this command.

sudo update-grub

This will update the Grub bootloader and add the custom boot menu that will allow booting the ISO on your machine.

About Author

John Cartwright
Linux user that loves sharing all kinds of Linux information with the world. I love Linux and sharing information about how to use it and get the best out of your desktop is the best way to give back to the community.

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