How to use Zorin OS without installing on a PC or Mac

In the previous tutorial I explained how to create a Linux bootable usb drive in Windows and macOS. As already explained one of the many incredible features of most Linux distributions is the ability to boot and use a distribution directly from the USB stick you created, without the need to install Linux and affecting your hard drive and the current operating system on it. It is not necessary to perform a complete installation to first use and try out Linux to see if it is something for you. This short tutorial will explain how to boot from your previously created Linux usb drive so you can use Zorin OS without installing it on a PC or Mac.

About this course

In my free Zorin OS tutorial series I try to explain in an accessible and beginner friendly way everything you need to know to get the most out of Zorin OS. Click below to see a complete overview of all chapters of my free Zorin OS beginner course.

Zorin OS beginner course – an overview

Note: This course is still in progress, so not all chapters are finished yet. Be patient

Content

  • How to use Zorin OS without installing on a PC
  • How to use Zorin OS without installing on a Mac

How to use Zorin OS without installing on a PC

Okay, so you have the Linux USB drive now. If not, then first follow all the steps in my tutorial How to create a Zorin OS bootable usb drive in macOS and Windows and then come back here to proceed.

How to create a Zorin OS bootable usb drive in macOS and Windows

The nice thing of having this magical fresh Linux bootable live drive is that you can try Linux now on whatever desktop or laptop you want. Well, of course it needs to have a working USB slot to be able to use it, but that is basically it. So take the following steps:

1) If you have not already done so, first shut down your computer.

2) Then put the Linux USB stick into a free USB slot.

3) Start your computer.

If all goes well, in the first couple of seconds, right after seeing the logo of your motherboard supplier, you will see an option to go to Setup or to go to the Boot menu.

How to start up your boot menu depends on things like the brand, type and age of your computer. But for example if you have an ASUS computer it can be Esc or F8, if you have a Dell computer it probably is F12, for most HP computers it is Esc and for a Lenovo it is probably F8 or F12. So take a good look at the notification on your screen as it normally pops up only for a little while, or search the internet for your specific model. And you can find more information on hot keys for boot menu and BIOS Settings at disk-image.com or webtechmag.com.

4) So hit the correct option on your keyboard (sometimes it is required to hit this option each second till the boot selection screen appears) to go to your boot menu.

Now you see a new screen with hopefully the options to boot from your hard drive or from USB.

5) Choose the generic USB option or if applicable choose the correct USB drive.

6) After a little while a menu with some Zorin specific options will be presented. Choose the option “Try Zorin OS without installing”.

7) Now a menu with some options will be presented. Choose the option “Try or Install Zorin OS”.

Now a complete live session of Zorin OS will be created, ready for you to use and test without actually wiping your hard drive.

If everything went well you will see a desktop environment that shows a selection screen that probably looks something like the screenshot below.

Try Zorin OS on a PC

8) Select Try Zorin OS to use the live environment.

Now that Zorin OS has been booted into a live session the real fun can begin. In this environment you can use most of the options Zorin OS has to offer to see if you like it and to check if all your hardware works properly.

How to use Zorin OS without installing on a Mac

Disable Secure Boot

Before I start explaining how to boot the Zorin OS USB stick on an Apple Mac computer, it is important to know that the newest Apple computers have the T2 “Security” chip that prevents you from installing “unrecognized” operating systems if you don’t change some settings first in the devices hardware settings (p.s. the newest M1 based Macs can’t run Linux yet, so are out of scope for this tutorial). This does not only reflect Linux, but also “older” Apple OSX operating systems like macOS Sierra and older.

Overview Apple computers equipped with T2 Security Chip

Older 64 bit macs without the T2 chip can run Linux without a problem from a bootable USB stick.

To disable Secure Boot on T2 equipped Apple computers you can do the following:

1) Press Command + R while starting up your Mac, until you see a macOS Utilities screen.

2) Click on Utilities in the menu bar and select Startup Security Utility.

3) From the provided options choose “No Security”.

4) Now Shut Down your Mac via the Apple menu item.

Boot Zorin OS from USB

Ok, so now you have an Apple Mac computer that could already or can from now on boot from a Linux USB stick, and you have the Zorin OS USB bootable stick now. If not then first follow all the steps in my tutorial How to create a Zorin OS bootable usb drive in MacOS and Windows and then come back here to proceed.

How to create a Zorin OS bootable usb drive in macOS and Windows

The nice thing of having this magical fresh Linux bootable live drive is that you can try Linux now on whatever 64 bit Apple computer you want, like the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini. Well, of course it needs to have a working USB slot to be able to use it, but that is basically it.

To be able to boot into the Zorin usb drive, you’ll need to hold the option (alt) key while you boot your macBook. So let’s start.

1) If you have not already done so, first shut down your Mac computer.

2) Then put the Linux USB stick into a free USB slot.

3) Hold the option key.

4) Start your Mac computer while holding the option key, and wait.

If everything went well you see a screen with graphical presentations of at least your internal drive and the Zorin OS usb drive (presented as EFI boot).

5)You can let go of your option key now.

If you don’t see the usb drive, unplug it and plug it in again while this screen is visible. Now the usb drive should pop up on this same screen.

6) Select the usb drive (EFI boot) and hit Enter.

7) Now a menu with some options will be presented. Choose the option “Try or Install Zorin OS”.

Now a complete live session of Zorin OS will be created, ready for you to use and test without actually wiping your hard drive.

If everything went well you will see a desktop environment that shows a selection screen that probably looks something like the screenshot below.

Try Zorin OS on a Mac

8) Select Try Zorin OS to use the live environment.

Now that Zorin OS has been booted into a live session the real fun can begin. In this environment you can use most of the options Zorin OS has to offer to see if you like it and to check if all your hardware works properly.

Final words

Now you are being able to have some first looks at this Zorin OS distribution. Just browse around and try things out. In next tutorials I will show you the basic elements of the Zorin OS distro and go much more deeper in specific functionalities of this operating system.

What is next

You want to learn more about Zorin OS? Click below to see a complete overview of all chapters of my Zorin OS beginners course.

Zorin OS beginner course – an overview

Zorin OS beginner tutorials – an overview