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Thread: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from a single USB drive

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    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Exclamation easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from a single USB drive

    I have already posted this exact tutorial on linuxmusicians.com but I realise its useful to ALL x86/x64 users, Linux-using musician or not. I thought I'd reproduce it here to get it the attention I feel this info deserves.

    unetbootin only allows you to boot one ISO per USB drive - easy2boot lets you boot as many ISOs as you can store on your drive and adding new ISOs is as simple as copying them into the correct folder so its platform neutral in that respect, not requiring you to run an updater as you do with say YUMI, which is Windows only. I have tried other Linux-friendly apps (multisystem etc) that have claimed to do this but none of them worked properly. Every ISO I have tested with E2B has worked 100% and I have tried at least a dozen distros, diagnostic and recovery ISOs with it now.

    Here's a quickstart guide to setting up easy2boot on your USB drive, based upon instructions from http://en.positon.org/tag/Easy2Boot

    Your easy2boot drive can be formatted as FAT32, NTFS or ext2. FAT32 is compatible with more computers and operating systems but has a 4GB max file size limit, which is too small for some DVD images although very few Linux distributions exceed 4GB. If you use ext2, you will not be able to install Windows OS's from your e2b drive. NTFS does not have a 4GB file size limit like FAT32 but you can't read/write NTFS on as wide array of platforms as FAT and in addition I've experienced difficulties booting ISOs from an NTFS formatted drive that was created under Linux due to non-contigious files that can't be defragged under Linux. Hence, FAT32/vfat is the recommended filesystem for e2b drives. You can use gparted to graphically format drives or you can use a command like:

    Code:
    sudo mkfs.vfat -n easy2boot -F 32 /dev/sdx1
    to format a drive as FAT32. Replace sdx1 with the device to be formatted.

    Download Easy2Boot ( http://www.easy2boot.com/download/ ) and extract all the files in the zip to the root directory of your e2b drive.

    Download grub4dos ( https://code.google.com/p/grub4dos-c...downloads/list ) and extract the archive on your PC (not on the usb stick). Its author seems to release a stable and a testing version but I'm unclear on their versioning and release scheme at present. For its current batch of releases, grub4dos-0.4.5c-2013-07-24.7z works fine with my Samsung R700 but grub4dos-0.4.6a-2013-07-24.7z does not so try an older or newer G4D version if you get an error like 'This is not a bootable device' when you try booting off a E2B/G4D enabled drive.

    To install grub4dos on your USB drive, run this from within the grub4dos dir:

    Code:
    sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx
    to install grub4dos to the MBR of the specified device but make sure you use the right device! `df` and `fdisk -l` are your friends here.

    Finally, copy some ISOs to the _ISO/MAINMENU directory then reboot! Make sure your machine is set to boot off USB storage first - many devices let you enter the boot menu by pushing F11 or F12 when they are booting BIOS/UEFI.



    NB easy2boot requires the iso's be stored as contiguous files on your USB drive. When you start deleting iso's then copying new ones on, the files can become fragmented sometimes and refuse to boot. I found this tool to defrag drives under Linux. Maybe there's a better one? Its a perl script that must be run as root but seems to do the trick:

    http://defragfs.sourceforge.net/

    After downloading and un-gzipping the defragfs script, you'd run it with a command something like this:

    Code:
    sudo perl defragfs.pl /media/dan/easy2boot/ -f
    You need to change /media/dan/easy2boot to the path of the drive you want to defrag and defrag.pl to the name of the defragfs script.

    Apparently defragfs is only intended for use with ext filesystems but in my experience it also works fine for FAT32/vfat drives. It does not work wth NTFS partitions.
    Last edited by allcoms; April 10th, 2014 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Updated e2b download link, added notes on defragfs vs FAT32 and NTFS

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