Takeaway: Get instructions on how to use XBoot or UNetbootin to have a USB stick with more than one operating system.
XBoot in Windows 7Requirements
- ISOs of the operating systems you want
Download and run XBoot on your Windows 7 machine. To run XBoot, just unzip the downloaded file, change into the newly created directory, and double-click the .exe to run the software. When you run the software, you will see the main window (Figure A).
The operating systems listed will not show up on your XBoot window unless you installed them.To add ISO images, open Explorer and drag and drop the ISOs into XBoot. Some ISO images (e.g., Fedora 16) are automatically recognized. When you drag an unrecognized ISO into XBoot, a new window will appear (Figure B) where you must select the ISO (or the closest distribution) from a drop-down. For example, I selected Ubuntu for Bodhi Linux and Puppy Linux for MacPup. After you select the correct version from the drop-down, click Add This File.
XBoot window when you drag an unrecognized ISO into it.After all ISOs are added (make sure their combined size does not exceed that of the USB drive), click the Create USB button near the bottom right corner of the main window. Once this completes the process, you can reboot the machine (making sure it will boot from a USB device) and enjoy your multiboot on a stick.
UNetbootin from within LinuxRequirements
- ISOs to be installed
- Download the UNetbootin tool for Linux.
- From a terminal window, give the downloaded file executable permissions with the command chmod u+x unetbootin-linux-XXX (where XXX is the architecture).
- Run UnNetbootin with the command ./unetbootin-linux-XXX (where XXX is the architecture).
- From the main window, select the distribution you want to install or use a downloaded ISO (Figure C).
- After UNetbootin completes the install of the first OS, reboot the machine to test the OS on the USB drive.
Make absolutely sure you select the right USB device from the Drive drop-down before you continue; otherwise, you could wipe out the wrong drive.Now it gets a little tricky. You must copy everything from the USB drive to a new directory on your hard drive. Then, repeat the steps above, selecting the next OS you want on the USB drive.
Now open two file manager windows: one to the USB drive and one to the newly created directory containing all the files from the first install you did on UNetbootin. You want to copy everything from the hard drive to the USB drive except the following:
label ubnentry0 menu label DISTRIBUTION kernel /vmlinuz append initrd=/initrd.gz pmedia=cdwhere DISTRIBUTION is the name of the distribution you originally installed.
You must copy the above four lines between the “label ubnentry1″ and “label ubnentry2″ entries. Make sure to relabel the “ubnenetryX” entries so they are in consecutive numerical order. After you make the necessary edits, close and save the file and reboot the system.
You should now have a multi-boot USB drive that is in working order. Wth a large enough USB drive, you can carry around any number of operating systems that serve numerous purposes.