How to Use the Userful Live CD™

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Copyright © 2008-2010 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2010.01.04)

Step 1 - Download Userful Live

Both the traditional download and the torrent file will download an ISO image used to create a CD. Once written to disk the resulting Live CD will work on most computers with an optical drive. This includes most x86 machines and some Intel Macs.

What is a "Torrent"?

BitTorrent is a method of downloading files that uses peer-to-peer technology. To download a file using BitTorrent you'll need to have a "BitTorrent Client" installed on your computer. You can download one of the following free clients: µTorrent (Windows/Wine), Vuze (Cross-platform) or BitTorrent.

Or you can download the ISO by traditional download instead

Step 2: Write the ISO file to disc as a "Disc Image"

The ISO file you downloaded is used to create a Live CD. The ISO file must be written onto a blank, recordable disc (CD-R or DVD-R) as a "Disk Image". This is different than just writing the ISO file to disk.

You may be able to use the CD/DVD writing software included with your computer if it supports writing CD images. Or you can download Active ISO Burner, a free program for Windows, and follow the instructions provided below.

We recommend using good quality CD-R or DVD-R media for the most reliable results (CD-RW and DVD-RW's do not work properly). Write the CD at a low speed, preferably less than 4x.

To create an install disc:

(These instructions are specifically for the Active ISO Burner, but the steps are similar for other CD writing software.)

  • Download the free Active ISO Burner (optional).
  • Install the program by double-clicking on the downloaded IsoBurner-Setup.exe file.
  • Label a high-quality, blank, recordable CD or DVD "Userful Live CD" (plus the version number shown when you downloaded it) with a CD-safe felt-tip marker. Place the CD or DVD in the optical drive (the "burner").
  • Launch the Active ISO Burner software.
  • Click the Browse button.
  • In the window that appears, find and select the ISO file that you downloaded (most likely saved to your desktop), and click Open.
  • Click BURN ISO. A progress bar appears while the burning proceeds.
  • When the process is complete, close the Active ISO Burner program.

Step 3 - Running the Live CD

Insert the Live CD and reboot your PC or laptop. You should see the Userful splash screen then boot-up messages for a few minutes while the Live CD boots up. Once boot-up is complete you will need to choose your video card settings. We recommend pressing D for default settings.

Next, you'll be prompted to press the appropriate F-key on the keyboards to link them to their corresponding monitors. Once a station has a linked keyboard you'll see the welcome screen which offers the selection of profiles offered on the Live CD. Click on the profile you want to use then you should be up and running with two users on one PC.

See the FAQs for instructions on configuring network settings. Note: You will need to repeat this process each time you use the Live CD. Detailed instructions

If your computer is configured to boot from the CD or DVD drive, simply switch the computer on and insert the Live CD into the drive. If the PC does not boot from the CD/DVD, you will need to enable the CD/DVD boot device option in the BIOS.

Next, you'll be prompted to configure the computer's video cards. The "Software Configuration" screen lists the video cards that are in the computer and the default screen resolution settings.

If you want to accept the default settings (recommended), press the Enter key. If you would like to change the default resolution press A, select the number corresponding to the resolution you want to use, and then press Enter. Press Enter again to confirm your choice.

Note: The resolution you select will affect all monitors. There is currently no way to specify different resolutions for specific monitors.

Each monitor will display a prompt to press a function key (F1-F10) to link the keyboard/mouse pair to the monitor they are in front of, forming a station. After pressing the appropriate F-key verify that the mouse works by moving it, then proceed to the next station. If a mouse is connected to a separate USB port rather than its keyboard, you will be prompted to press a button on the mouse to link it with the correct monitor and keyboard.


Admin Mode can be accessed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+A followed by the Administrator password livecd on a logged-in station.

For more information you can read the full Userful Desktop Administrator Guide.