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timbim
June 28th, 2012, 06:03 PM
Hi All,

I've given up using live CD's for installing on systems now, preferring to use a USB formatted as a boot disk. The only annoying thing about that is that I find myself constantly reformatting the thing to get a different distro. I've been thinking for quite a while how neat it would be to have a single usb stick with several distros installed, and then to be able to select which one to use when the system boots off it. So I could have a USB with ubnutu, lubuntu, fedora, ubuntu server, centos and system rescue cd all on one USB stick.

I'm thinking something of this nature might be possible with a reasonably large stick and careful use of GRUB, am I thinking right here or is this idea a no-goer. Any hints on how I might do it?

Thanks,
Tim

C.S.Cameron
June 28th, 2012, 09:16 PM
I think what you are looking for is MultiBootUSB,
You can boot multiple iso's on an USB drive using Grub2 and install from each.

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

oldfred
June 28th, 2012, 09:35 PM
MultiBoot is one, there are several, some using different boot loaders. I did it just with grub2 manually before all the scripts. You just need to install grub2 to the USB and create a grub.cfg with the correct loopmount of the ISOs. I use the same procedure not to install from one hard drive to another by adding loop mount of the ISO from a hard drive partition on a different drive.

This is a script to install many ISOs. Some that will not loopmount by installing a kernel and boot image.
MultiSystem Another LiveUSB Multiboot French(translate) w/grub2
http://liveusb.info/dotclear/
MultiBootUSB - Install and boot multiple Linux from Pendrive / Flash drive / USB disk w/grub4dos
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1518273
http://sourceforge.net/projects/multibootusb/files/
Another: multiboot055.sh
http://blog.p-mt.net/blog/2009/12/27/multiboot-usb-stick/
See yumi for multi-boot versions
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
older MultiBoot USB with Grub2 (boot directly from iso files)
Is full script, I only used some commands
http://www.panticz.de/MultiBootUSB

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/showthread.php?t=1535864
Install grub2 to USB -general info
http://members.iinet.net/~herman546/p20/GRUB2%20Bash%20Commands.html#GRUB_USB

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1498903&highlight=usb
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1451184
http://members.iinet.net/~herman546/p20/GRUB2%20CLI%20Mode%20Commands.html#cli_loopback
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1224417

This will boot an ISO from a hard drive. USB drive is just another drive and drive, partition of folder with ISO is the vital boot info.
ISO Booting with Grub 2 from Hard drive - drs305
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
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1535864