wtfplay-live installation guide

version 0.6, October 2020

1. Introduction

This document describes briefly how to install wtfplay-live as a livecd/liveusb. wtfplay-live is provided as a bootable hybrid ISO image. That means that you can burn it onto optical disk. It also means that you can write it onto your memory stick, SD card or even hard drive. After burning/writing the image to the medium you can boot your computer from that medium.

2. Installing on an optical disc

This is very straightforward. Just burn the ISO image with your favorite disk burning software on a CD-R or DVD-R. After burning is complete you can boot your computer from the disk.

3. Installing on a USB stick, SD card or hard drive

In the subsequent sections you will see how to write the wtfplay-live image onto a storage device. To demonstrate the writing process we will use wtfplay-live-0.4.1-core2.iso image. Your image may have different name, so adjust the commands shown below accordingly.

Writing the wtfplay-live image onto memory sticks, SD cards or hard disks will destroy all data on those devices. If you keep important data on there, please do a backup before proceeding with further instructions.

3.1. Writing under Linux/Unix

Use dd tool as root (system adminstrator) for that. Below is the example where wtfplay-live is installed onto /dev/sdc.

dd if=wtfplay-live-0.4.1-core2.iso of=/dev/sdc bs=4M

In this example:


is the distribution ISO image file.


is the path to the drive that the image will be written onto. This may be different in your configuration.

The value of the of parameter is the disk device (not the partition). In practice this can be /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, etc…
The same comment again - make sure that you do not specify your primary/secondary hard drive device where you keep your data as content of the drive will be deleted.

After the dd completes you may want to run couple of sync commands in a row:

sync; sync; sync; sync;

This will ensure that the Linux kernel flushes the buffers and completes writing to the device.

3.2. Writing under Windows

This can be achieved with help of Win32 Disk Imager that can be downloaded from:

Download and install the program by following the instructions on its homepage. The program requires administrator privileges to run. After starting the program you will see a small window where you can choose a image file to write and the destination drive. Select the wtfplay-live image, select the drive and click Write button. The program will ask to confirm the action as the writing will delete the content of the destination drive. Confirm and wait until the writing process is finished. At this stage the drive is ready to use.

Win32 Disk Imager main window

Win32 Disk Imager will not allow you to write onto hard disks. It will display only removable disks (USB, SD cards) as destination drive. To write the image onto hard disk under Windows you can use the dd tool for Windows. This is exact equivalent of Linux tool. You can find it at Make sure that you read the documentation of the tool.
After writing the the wtfplay-live image onto the memory stick or disk drive, Windows will fail to read it. This absolutely normal.

3.3. Writing under OSX

The procedure is very similar to the Linux/Unix one. The tools that will bee used are diskutil and dd and they must be run in the Terminal.

First, diskutil is used to figure out the name of the target installation disk and to unmount (detach) it from the OS. Second step is to use dd to write the image onto this device. In final step diskutil is used again to eject the disk.

As first step we want to determine the target disk device. This is done with the command below.

diskutil list

The comand will print the list of storage devices. The names are like: /dev/disk0, /dev/disk1, etc…

Let’s assume that /dev/disk3 is our USB memory stick where we want to install wtfplay-live. First we need to detach disk3 from the OS with:

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3

The next step is to use dd tool:

sudo dd if=wtfplay-live-0.4.1-core2.iso of=/dev/disk3

Note that we use sudo command to run dd. This is to gain administrative privileges. Sudo will prompt you to for your Administrator password.

The final step is to eject the media with diskutil command:

diskutil eject /dev/disk3

The image below shows the complete installation process on the memory stick (/dev/disk3). Each command is shown in red frame.

Installation on OSX

4. Troubleshooting

4.1. I burned the CD and it does not boot

Make sure that your computer can boot from CD. This may require changing Boot settings in the BIOS setup program. You can always use any other bootable CD and verify that your computer can boot from it.

4.2. UEFI systems

Since version 0.6.1 wtfplay-live does support booting in UEFI mode. Before using this mode please make sure that Secure Boot in your BIOS setup is disabled.

4.3. I wrote the image on a memory stick or SD card and it does not boot

If you are sure that you followed the installation procedure correctly and that your computer is able to boot from USB or SD card (check Boot settings in BIOS), then there is a possibility that your stick/card is broken. This happens sometimes with memory sticks and can happen quite often with SD cards.

The solution is quite simple: try a different memory stick or SD card. Try different models, try devices from different manufacturers.

4.4. "Something went wrong" message

If wtfplay-live boots from your memory stick or SD card, but you see following message on the screen:

Something went wrong - dropping to the emergency shell

it means that there were errors during the installation. In that case try writing the ISO image again on the same memory stick or SD card. If the problem persists that means your memory stick or SD card is broken. Try writing the image on a different one.

4.5. UNetbootin

UNetbootin is a piece of software that allows you to create bootable USB memory sticks from ISO images. It is also known for creating broken images in certain cases. That is why we do not recommend using it.

If you decide to use it and you cannot boot, please try to perform the installation again with the tools listed above.

4.6. How to remove wtfplay-live installation from a memory stick under MS Windows

As mentioned before, once wtfplay-live is installed on a memory stick, then this memory sticks is no longer readable under MS Windows. Unfortunately, the default Windows disk management tools cannot re-format that memory stick either.

The quickest way to remove an installation of wtfplay-live from a memory stick is to overwrite it with some other data. This will destroy the partition table and the filesystem information. As a result, the disk formatting tools under Windows will be able to properly format the memory stick.

For this purpose, the wtfplay-live download directory contains a file called zero.img. This file contains 4MB of zeroes.

To use it, just write zero.img onto the memory stick with Win32 Disk Imager. This will destroy all existing partition and filesystem information on the memory stick and Windows tools will be able to format the memory stick again.