How To Boot Multiple ISO from USB using Multiboot USB Menu

Multiboot USB menu developed by PendriveLinux.com helps a user to easily boot into multiple ISO files from a USB flash drive. Multiboot USB is a very easy to use application that helps you format and prepare your USB drive to boot into multiple supported ISO disk images.

At present Multiboot USB supports a number of Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, DSL, etc. and other ISO that helps in carrying out administrative and system tasks like Memtest86+, Parted Magic, Ultimate Boot CD, etc. The complete list updated by the developers is available at this page. The page also provides direct download links to the ISO it supports.

The application uses Syslinux and loads GRUB4DOS to present you with a nice GUI MultiBoot menu when booted from the configured USB.

MultiBoot-ISOs

The basic requirements to create a MultiBoot USB Flash Drive are:

  • FAT32 formatted USB Flash drive with a minimum space of 512MB (The size of the drive will decide how many ISO’s you will be able to use at a time).
  • MultiBootISOs.exe setup file to set up your USB drive.
  • Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 host machine to create the Bootable USB.
  • The ISO files which you want to boot to.

How to use MultiBoot USB Menu to Boot Multiple ISO Files from USB?

  • Download and run the MultiBootISOs.exe setup.
  • Follow the wizard carefully to configure your USB flash drive and setup the drive for multi-boot.
  • Download the supported ISO Files (A complete list is available here) and simply place them on your USB Flash drive.
  • Restart your PC, setup the first boot device as the USB device from BIOS settings. (Please refer to your motherboard manual to configure this if you don’t know how to set up the first boot device.)
  • After booting from the MultiBoot USB drive, select the Linux distribution or Administrative tool you want to boot from.
  • If you face any difficulty or any problem, just comment below with the details about your problem, I will try my best to troubleshoot and help you out!

Note: If you don’t have a floppy drive and get fd0 errors while booting, simply add floppy.allowed_drive_mask=0 to the kernel line for that menu entry.
While trying to run an ISO from USB, If you get a Boot error saying:

Error 60: File for drive emulation must be in one contiguous disk area

You’ll need to defragment your ISO using one of the following tools:

  • contig – Command line tool to defragment ISO files.
  • wincontig — GUI tool to defragment ISO files.

Update from the developers:

IMPORTANT: Starting version 2.0, the tool copies your select ISO to the drive and adds the menu entry (in order) based on the Distro you choose to install each time the tool is run. This enables each user to create a custom Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing only the Distributions chosen.

NOTES: ISO Downloadeds are stored in an ISOFILES Directory created where the tool is run. Any matching ISOs placed there will be autodetected.

MultiBootISOs-2.1.2.3.exe — September 3, 2010 — Changelog: Now uses fbinst.exe to paritition and format the drive and then embed grldr when MultibootISOs is first run on the chosen drive. Added System Rescue CD and Trinity Rescue Kit.

Here is another good third party guide that explains how things work.