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Thread: Multi bootable USB drive?

  1. #1
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    Multi bootable USB drive?

    Wasn't sure where to put this so I'll stick it here. Is there a way that I can place multi copies of an OS onto a single USB drive and make them all bootable? I have a 32GB USB thumb drive that I've used with Startup Disk Creator when I want to install Ubuntu onto a system but I always format it and only have a single bootable copy of the OS(32 bit for my system, 64 bit for my wife's) and I'd like to store both in bootable form onto the USB drive for future use. Can this be done or will it confuse the computer as to which copy to boot to on startup? It seems I saw a TechZilla show where they did just this thing but until I get my WiFi problems worked out my Roku player is off line ad I can't watch the shows.
    Would it just be easier to buy a couple 2GB USB drives and put a copy of each OS on each drive for future use or maybe I could just try to burn a bootable copy to CD again(something that didn't work too well first time I tried it) and just use CDs. Anyway, thanks for any help ya'll can give.
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    Is there a way that I can place multi copies of an OS onto a single USB drive and make them all bootable?
    Yes, check this!

    As far as I know, you just install GRUB 2 on you USB drive. Copy needed iso files. Configure your grub.cfg accordingly and you should be ready to go.

    check ajgreeny post with some examples

    Is this what you needed?

  3. #3
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    I'd like to make bootable CD's but here's the problem I run into. I open "Startup Disk Creator" and I see my downloads but I don't see my CD drive with the blank disk in it so I can choose it to make a bootable startup disk.
    Now if I install the USB drive it'll see it and I can write to it and make it bootable, not sure what gives here. Does the Boot Loader take up so much space that the 700MB CD isn't a large enough volume to write to or what?
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  4. #4
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    I plug in my USB drive and it automatically sees it and wants to write a bootable "disk" to it but it won't see the CD drive, what gives???????
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  5. #5
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    Ok, I opened the files and looked to "extract" them and they're both over 727MB so that may be why the startup disk creator isn't seeing the CD, there's just not enough room on it to write the file to. Funny that they're both under 700MB at download though.
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  6. #6
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    All recent versions of Ubuntu are too large to fit on a CD, you need to write the iso file to a DVD.


    If you have access to a Windows machine then you should take a look at YUMI for creating a USB drive with multiple bootable iso's on it.

    Alternatively there are also hardware solutions such as the Zalman ZM-VE300, ZM-VE400 and the isostick. I'm quite tempted by one of these hardware devices myself as it will get rid of my massive piles of installation media CD's as well as boot from any iso (grub cant boot from Microsoft or some other iso files).
    Cheesemill

  7. #7
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    So I guess I either need to buy a couple 2GB USB drives to store the .iso's on or get a couple DVD's. Either way I'd like to keep a bootable copy of both 32 and 64 bit Ubuntu 12.04 on hand "just in case" I need to do a reinstall on my or my wife's computer. Anyway, thanks for the help.
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  8. #8
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    So I guess I either need to buy a couple 2GB USB drives to store the .iso's on or get a couple DVD's.
    No, you don't. (Did you check links in #2 post??)

    In fact, I just did it myself.

  9. #9
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    MultiBootUSB automates the process of making multi boot grub2 USB drives and works with dozens of different distributions.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1518273

  10. #10
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    Re: Multi bootable USB drive?

    I'm not trying to create a "Live" USB Drive to boot to, I'm trying to store each op system on something so if I need to install it onto a computer I'll have it to boot to for a complete install. Seems like if I had two differen Op Systems on a single USB the computer wouldn't know which one to boot to. Or does it open up and give me the option of installing the 32 bit op sys or the 64 bit op sys??

    Let me try and explain it this way. I'm not trying to create a USB disk to boot to for the purpose of running an op system, I'm just trying to store an os so I can install it on either my computer if something happens to it or on other computers in place of the current op system.
    Yes, I understand I can boot to and run another os from a USB but that's not what I'm wanting to do. I want something akin to an install disk to install an os on a computer.
    Last edited by TNFrank; June 11th, 2013 at 05:53 PM. Reason: add info.
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

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