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Thread: Multiple "Live CD" USB

  1. #1
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    Multiple "Live CD" USB

    I've been banging my head against a wall for three solid days now on this issue, and I'm just not getting anywhere. So, I figured I'd finally stop being stubborn and ask someone else...

    What I'm trying to do seems - I think - to be fairly simple. I've got 15 different "Live CD" ISO's that I'd like to place on a USB drive so that I can boot from it and try each one out to figure out which one I want to go with. It'd be nice if I could just install from the USB once I've figured that out, but it's not necessary.

    I've tried so many things that I've lost track, but the two most recent are:

    MultiBootUSB
    This looks like it should do exactly what I want, but even after chosing "Install syslinux and copy all required files" it does not seem to actually install the bootloader correctly.

    UNetbootin
    This does extract and install the bootloader correctly, but it only supports one distro at a time.

    I know there can be some issues with the different "Live CDs" and how they handle the boot procedure, however, other than Arch, CrunchBang, Peppermint and Mint, all the desired ISO's are Ubuntu or derivatives, and all recent (13.04 & 12.04).

    Any help?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    I found these two, which promise to do the trick (haven't tested it myself):

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/boot-mu...-yumi-windows/
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/39747...b-flash-drive/

  3. #3
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    Not all ISO can be booted with grub2's loopmount, but many can be. All the Ubuntu Desktop versions (not server nor alternative), gparted, Boot-Repair, Supergrub and Parted magic work as I have them all on one partition in a hard drive and on some flash drives.

    I just install grub2 to the flash drive. Copy ISO into a /iso folder and modify grub.cfg (you have to create your own with just a grub install) to boot ISO.

    Once you install grub to flash drive it is identical to this.
    This will boot an ISO from a hard drive.
    ISO Booting with Grub 2 from Hard drive - drs305
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot
    Examples - you may copy & edit for your path & ISO version
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Gr...OBoot/Examples
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1549847
    Boot ISO from harddrive. To install it would have to be different partition
    [SOLVED] Using grub 2 to boot an iso off hard drive old examples
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1535864


    Install grub2 to USB -general info
    http://members.iinet.net/~herman546/....html#GRUB_USB
    Label partition & mount:
    sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/grub2 /dev/sda
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...tly_From_GRUB2

    Now older info, but some of the info I used.

    MultiBoot USB with Grub2 (boot directly from iso files)
    Basically you just install grub2, create a folder for the isos and edit a grub.cfg to loop mount the isos.
    HOWTO: Booting LiveCD ISOs from USB flash drive with Grub2
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1288604
    http://ubuntu-ky.ubuntuforums.org/sh....php?t=1535864

    I can post my examples, but I think the examples in the threads above cover the issues. On my hard drive I have changed to a config file so every ISO update I do not have to edit 40_custom and run sudo update-grub.

    If the distribution will loopmount, often finding the exact paths and parameters requires looking at the ISO and seeing what it uses in its boot files.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  4. #4
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F4U View Post
    I found these two, which promise to do the trick (haven't tested it myself):

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/39747...b-flash-drive/
    I FINALLY got MultiSystem to install and work, and so far QEMU is showing that it's actually working correctly. The Google Translate of the home page for MultiSystem sucks, and actually screws a few things up. Their installation script didn't work for me, so I had to add the repository - but I had to manually at a sources.list file for them instead of using sudo apt-add-repository. I'm not sure if that's because I'm using Linux Mint 15 at the moment, or if it's a failure to update the instructions.

    I should probably write down what I actually had to do vs. what the translated page says before I forget.

  5. #5
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    I remember reading through some of these, but for some reason I could not get GRUB2 to install the bootloader in the MBR, despite following the instructions to the letter.

    I've finally got MultiSystem working, though I had to jump through a bunch of hoops. We'll see if that actually works for me - so far QEMU says it is.

  6. #6
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    And I spoke too soon. I can get the USB drive that MultiSystem builds to boot under QEMU, but I cannot get it to boot at system start up - it just acts like nothing is there and goes to the GRUB2 menu on my harddisk.

    I don't get it. fdisk/GParted show the partition on the USB drive is bootable; GRUB2 is installed... but it just won't boot, despite chosing the device at boot time from the menu. Something has to be missing.

  7. #7
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    You can always post this if running another live install or Ubuntu.


    Post the link to the BootInfo report that this creates. Is part of Boot-Repair:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Info
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  8. #8
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    I have had very good luck with MultiBootUSB.
    I was using a multiBoot thumbdrive just today to install 13.04 to another thumb drive.

  9. #9
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    You can always post this if running another live install or Ubuntu.


    Post the link to the BootInfo report that this creates. Is part of Boot-Repair:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Info
    Here you go: http://paste2.org/hW54L7mc

    /dev/sdc is the USB drive. I'm a n00b at reading this stuff, but it looks to me as if it says everything is ok - but that there's no bootloader installed on /dev/sdc1

  10. #10
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    Re: Multiple "Live CD" USB

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    I have had very good luck with MultiBootUSB.
    I was using a multiBoot thumbdrive just today to install 13.04 to another thumb drive.
    I wish I knew what the problem was. I had to go through all kinds of hoops to get it to install - the shell script wouldn't work for me (kept popping open the repository GUI); and then I couldn't automatically add the repository via add-apt-repository - kept getting a message that there was no valid JSON file there, so I ended up having to manually create a sources.list file for that, and then I was able to install it from there but... still can't seem to get it to do what I want it to do.

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