LiveCDs accessing hard drives?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Uitlander, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    I had always heard that when running a distro in LiveCD mode, it does not touch the HDD. This is not the case for two of the four distros I am test-driving in LiveCD mode, namely MX Linux and Linux Mint. Within about half hour of runtime, both cause my hard disc to go into superspin cycle for at least a couple minutes. I am curious as to what is happening, and if it could harm the XP Pro on my HDD?

    The other two distros (AntiX and TAILS) does not affect my hard disc drive...and yes, I can tell the difference between the sounds of my DVD burner and HDD. My second question is related. If I go ahead and actually install MX Linux on my secondary HDD ('new' Western Digital bare drive #WD1001FALS in a mobile-rack), would that isolate it enough to stop it from messing with my primary HDD?
     
  2. FastGame

    FastGame Registered Member

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    Are you sure it isn't a cooling fan spinning up ? HDD's don't have "superspin cycle" they spin at rated speed. I just tried MX live CD on two laptops and one desktop, MX doesn't auto mount any drives. Would need to manually mount drives with root password to do so.
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    You need to define what you mean by access. Do you mean driver level or filesystem level?
    Because it could be a simple matter of an interrupt and the disk spinning up, or it could be actually mounting and reading or writing to a device.
    Mrk
     
  4. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    Linux is pretty much hard-wired to identify and enumerate the drives attached to the system, regardless of whether it should or will access or mount the disks for read or write. It's possible that some of the LiveCDs are doing that at minimum.

    The only time I've had trouble is when actually installing, it's sometimes tricky to avoid grub being popped on the main disk. I tend to remove the hard drive when doing those operations.
     
  5. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    I'm running a Dell Optiplex 755, I bought used off Ebay, hauled down to the local computer shop, and had them do a malware purge (none found), and some alterations. Had the 4GB RAM replaced with better brand of 8GB. Replaced the CD-ROM with DVD burner. Installed a mobile-rack in the spare 5.25 bay to eventually use as secondary HDD for Linux (its currently empty). Other than these changes nothing was touched, so everything else is as it came. I'm sure the superspin sound is not the DVD burner...turns out one does not buy a bargain burner if you want quiet operation. Go figure! Only other things I can think of able to make that sound is the internal HDD (that has my XP Pro), and fans. Could it be the fans? I don't know, but tend to think the HDD is the more likely suspect. Firstly, I've heard similar sound from public library computers while I was complaining to their IT guy about something, and he said it was "just the hard drive". Secondly, MX Linux has a littlle graph thingie (conky?) that lists % of RAM, HDD, and other stuff in use....the HDD was spiking around 40%. I know that does not prove it ain't the fans, but does fuel my suspicions.

    Whatever the source of the whirl is, it only happens with MX Linux, and Linux Mint. Been using XP Pro for as long as I had this PC (over two years) and never once heard that sound. I'm on the PC at least six hours a day, pretty much every day, so I would of noticed it. The sound also never happens when I run AntiX or TAILS in LiveCD mode. Not once. Now the sound itself is not the problem, as I have good headphones. My problem is just that Linux in LiveCD mode is not supposed to touch the HDD, I'm very protective of my XP Pro, and paranoid of it getting damaged.
     
  6. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    So is this any danger to the XP Pro on the HDD? Am I putting XP at risk everytime I use MX Linux or Linux Mint in LiveCD mode?
     
  7. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    No idea! All I know is the HDD is silent using XP Pro, and AntiX or TAILS in LiveCD mode. HDD goes into overdrive for at least a few minutes within about thirty minutes of using Linux Mint or MX Linux in LiveCD mode. If the distro is "reading or writing to" the HDD that holds my XP Pro, I'm fairly sure that would be a problem, as XP is not known for friendly coexistence with another OS.

    So would actually installing MX Linux on my secondary HDD force it to leave my primary HDD (that has my XP Pro) alone? I really like MX, but right now I'm restricting LiveCD use to AntiX (not good) and TAILS (great for darknet exploring but useless for online shopping/banking).
     
  8. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Agreed 100%. MX is not stealing data off your XP drive.
     
  9. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    I would be more concerned that if MX is writing or adding to the drive, such changes would negatively affect the XP Pro. After MX Linux has already booted (and automatically established internet connection), I do activate the firewall, which does require the root password. However the spincycle does not begin til I'm like half-hour into exploring the internet, so I don't see how that would be connected....I'm assuming any mounting of drives would happen at the beginning, not half-hour later.
     
  10. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    @Uitlander

    I'm running MX 18.2 on a USB with persistence (a far better option than a live CD imo) and in no way does it write to or read my Windows partition or my Storage & Backups partition. My Windows 10 partition is full Bitlocker-encrypted so MX doesn't even "see" it, and for my Storage & Backups, I'm prompted for the root pw when I attempt to access it.

    Do you by chance have persistence enabled, with the persistence files being written to your XP drive? I'm not sure that's possible on MX 18.x with a live cd, but thought I'd ask.
     

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  11. Uitlander

    Uitlander Registered Member

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    I got no clue. If having "persistence enabled" is something I'd have to do, then no. I just stick the CD in the burner, close it, hit restart on the XP Pro, which then shuts down and restarts with the MX, already on the LiveCD mode by default, so I hit 'enter', and walk away. When I come back , MX Linux is ready to go. First thing I do is enable firewall. Next I start gawdawful Firefox, install addons (Popup Blocker Ultimate, Youtube Adblocker, Remove Redirect, & Behind the Overlay), then lastly go through 'preferences' to terminate Mozilla Mothership's 101 ways to invade privacy. At that point I am ready to start on the internet. About 30 to 45 minutes later my hard drive starts into superspin cycle for 3 or 4 minutes. This happens every session with MX Linux or Linux Mint. It never happens with AntiX or TAILS. Recently I have started trying Robolinux and Kodachi...so far it has not happened with them either, though it's too soon to know as I have not used them enough yet. As a side note, I'm really liking Kodachi 6!
     
  12. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Well then I really have no idea what's going on. For a few weeks now I'm running MX-18.3 dual-booted with Windows, and in this setup, just as with the live USB, there is no high speed spinning of my hard drive.
     
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