grml, the No-Frills Linux Rescue CD–USB

“You want a good end-user live CD? Go with Knoppix. You want an
admin’s toolbox with minimal fluff and maximum usability? Go with
grml, a Debian-based live CD/USB that packs in more than 1,700
applications and utilities.

“If you’ve only used standard Linux distros, you’re going to be
in for a treat with grml — and also a few surprises. Most
distros default to Bash as a shell, but grml uses zsh. (One of the
grml taglines is “Linux for zsh lovers,” so they really must dig
zsh.) Be aware that you won’t get a standard desktop experience. By
default grml will start at the command line with a menu of options,
including starting X.

“Booting grml

“You don’t lack for options with grml. The boot menu not only
offers the standard options to get into grml, but a FreeDOS option,
a minimal BSD (MirOS bsd4grml), PXE boot, hardware detection tool,
and Memtest. You also can choose to load grml entirely into RAM in
case you need the CD-ROM for something, and it’s faster. You can
use it on a USB stick instead of a CD. There are several failsafe
options if you have trouble booting grml due to incompatible
hardware. In short — you have options.”