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#1 2010-04-03 22:58:49

estk
Member
Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 4

Multi boot USB

Hi all this is my 1st post on this forum.

I've been on Ubuntu for about a year, and wanted to set up a home server with arch. (i'm hoping it will be a learning experience)

But before I do that I wanted to put the arch install on a multiboot usb, so that I can share linux mint, and have utilities available such as gparted and backtrack.

So i've tried about every method over the last couple days, and I'm about 20hrs into just getting this usb stick to do a multi-boot.

I've tried the following:

Unetbootin both method 1 and 2:

@ Geza Kovacs

Unetbootin uses syslinux so you need to edit the syslinux.cfg file in the USB root folder.

@ DD Van Rooy

It is very easy to add more distros. I have added more than 22 distros in my pen drive (and keep on adding). Firstly download your favorite Live distro in iso format. I will considering Simply MEPIS 8 in this case. Basically you need to follow these steps :-

1. Extract the .iso file (Right click--> Extract Here)

2. Search for the menu.lst and open with Text Editor. (You have to open sylinux.cfg (or) isolinux.cfg depending on the distro)

Here is the menu.lst file o/p (only normal mode)

"title Default (for most systems)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz quiet vga=791 splash
initrd /boot/initrd.gz"

Read the lines carefully. You need to copy vmlinuz and initrd.gz files to your pendrive (you can create your own path)

3. Open syslinux.cfg file from pendrive root folder (simply open pendrive you will find syslinux.cfg) and add these following lines...

label ubnentry02
menu label Simply MEPIS
kernel /boot/vmlinuz quiet vga=791 splash
append initrd=/boot/initrd.gz

(Basically you need to copy paste lines from menu.lst to syslinux.cfg in syslinux format)

4. This is most important part... copy "mepis" folder to pendrive (with out changing directory structure). You must know which folder or files to copy. Normally this file or folder will be bulky. For example, for Linux mint, "filesystem.squashfs" which is 683MB so you will have to copy casper folder because filesystem.squashfs is there inside casper.

Now you are done. Boot your system from USB. Now you can see new entry "Simply MEPIS" select it to explore...

######################################################################

Another method::

Download multicd.sh script from here http://multicd.tuxfamily.org/ and follow the instructions given there. At the end of it you will get multicd.iso. Remember the path where the multicd.iso is been saved.

Open Unetbootin and select iso image and navigate to the multicd.iso path. Choose your USB drive and give ok. this will install multi distro in your usb.

Up on reboot you may encounter some distos may not boot properly. Note down the distro. Open pendrive and go to boot/isolinux and open isolinux.cfg (this is the file created by multicd.sh). Now go to root folder (just open Pendrive), and open syslinux.cfg file (this is the file created by Unetbootin). Now find the entry of kernel and append for a distro which is not booting. Ideally both the isolinux.cfg and syslinux.cfg file entries should be same. If not then copy entry from /boot/isolinux.cfg to /syslinux.cfg. Thats it. Boot from USB to login.

Gud luck and have fun :-))

With this method I can boot linux mint options, but backtrack, arch, and gparted either dont do anything, or commands execute, and it ends in kernel panic after trying to mount root fs.

I also tried to get it to work with grub2 bootloader which I like the Idea of much more than unetbootin, and would prefer help with this method as opposed to the previous(I seemed to get farther along on all boot sequences before error):

http://www.panticz.de/MultiBootUSB

using this method again, linux mint works, but when I choose the other boot options, it gives the kernel panic error (even gparted)

Anyways, I would really appreciate the help if at all possible
many thanks in advance!

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#2 2010-04-04 01:36:41

estk
Member
Registered: 2010-04-03
Posts: 4

Re: Multi boot USB

here is my grub.cfg:

menuentry "Mint" {
 loopback loop /boot/iso/LinuxMint-8-x64.iso
 linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/LinuxMint-8-x64.iso noeject noprompt --
 initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz
}

menuentry "arch" {
 loopback loop /boot/iso/archlinux.iso
 linux (loop)/boot/vmlinuz26 lang=en locale=en_US.UTF-8 archisolabel=ARCHISO_KE1AECIE ramdisk_size=75% --
 initrd (loop)/boot/archiso_pata.img
}

menuentry "BackTrack 4" {
 loopback loop /boot/iso/bt4-final.iso
 linux (loop)/boot/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/bt4-final.iso noeject noprompt nopersistent --
 initrd (loop)/boot/initrd.gz
}

menuentry "memtest 86" {
 linux /boot/img/memtest.bin
}

menuentry "memtest" {
 linux /boot/iso/memtest86+-1.70.bin
}

And here is the error im receiving:

:: Loading Initramfs
export: 36: .: bad variable name
Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!
Pid: 1, comm: init Not tainted 2.6.30-ARCH #1

Thanks!

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#3 2010-04-04 05:07:11

Diaz
Member
From: Lisbon, Portugal
Registered: 2008-04-16
Posts: 361
Website

Re: Multi boot USB

I am also interested in how you make a multi boot usb like the option you have showed but including other iso's?

like, i want to have my usb to boot anykind of iso, out of my mind rigth now i remember:
arch, ubuntu, fedora, parted, win7 and xp

don't worry i have windows isos legally through msdna.

i had tried using gujin and followed some pseudo-tutorial where i did something like cat someiso.iso > /dev/sdb7 creating the partitions  with the size of the iso i wanted, but the loader can't find them...


If someone knows something please tell roll

Last edited by Diaz (2010-04-04 05:25:49)


Owner of Asus 1215B :: User of Xfce :: Vasco Dias @blog

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#4 2010-04-04 09:34:51

demian
Member
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 709

Re: Multi boot USB

I haven't done it myself, but you should be able to create a multiboot usb stick using syslinux. Example: http://partedmagic.com/documentation/13 … veusb.html

Once you've done all the steps in the tutorial you'd probably just have to copy files from the arch image to a folder on the usb drive and edit the syslinux boot config.

I'll try it later today. Multi-boot would be very useful since i'm running low on usb sticks roll.

Last edited by demian (2010-04-04 09:35:00)


no place like /home
github

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#5 2010-04-25 23:59:52

demian
Member
From: Frankfurt, Germany
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 709

Re: Multi boot USB

Sorry for posting twice in a row but this thread was already a few pages down the list.
I finally got around to creating a multiboot usb pen drive. Here's what i did. I hope it works for you.

1) Get the desired distribution isos. I used these: archboot, clonezilla, parted magic, puppy linux.
2) Partition your pen drive with a tool of your choice. I used fdisk.
    Be sure to mark the partition as active and assign the right partition type.
    I've used "b" for W95 FAT32, mostly for reasons of compatibility.
3) Format the filesystem. For me it's mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdx.
4) Mount the USB stick and use Unetbootin to extract the contents of one of the .iso files to the pen drive and install a boot loader.
    Here's what you would do if you wanted to do it manually instead of using unetbootin.
5) You _could_ reboot now to see if you can boot into that one distribution you just installed to the usb pen drive.
    Otherwise you keep the usb stick mounted and now start copying files from the other images to your pen drive.
    To do that you first have to mount these images, I did it one at a time:
    mount -o loop /path/to/image.iso /path/to/desired/mount/point
    For every distribution you will _at least_ need to copy a kernel file to the pen drive. Usually, it's also an initrd image and some other files and folders.
    What you don't need to copy are boot loader files since unetbootin already installed syslinux for you.
    Two examples of what files you might need:
    Puppy Linux) Just three files: vmlinuz, initrd.gz and pup-431.sys
    Parted Magic) Two whole folders, boot and pmagic, with subdirs and files, although you don't really need all of the files (i.e. you don't need the boot loader files).
    If the names of kernels/initrd images of different distributions conflict you'll have to rename or move them to different folders. With the images i used, luckily
6) At this point you might want to reboot and see which distribution get's booted.
    I was a little surprised because i had installed Arch Boot first via Unetbootin and expected to get prompted for that.
    Instead i wound up with a Parted Magic Menu. Maybe because Parted Magic came with a folder called boot which might get searched first by syslinux.
7) Next, I rebooted into linux, mounted the usb drive and searched for the isolinux.cfg and syslinux.cfg belonging to Parted Magic. "find | grep .cfg$" should give a quick summary of all the config files on your pen drive.
    The two files belonging to Parted Magic, isolinux.cfg and syslinux.cfg,  were identical so i just edited one and copied the content to the second one when i was done. You might not have to edit both, i just did.
    What you'll have to do is adopt the syntax of the entries already present in the {isolinux,syslinux}.cfg and add coherent entries for the kernel files and initrd images of the other distributions you copied to your pen drive.
    For that purpose, i mounted the images again and just copied the boot entries of the corresponding syslinux/isolinux.cfg files to the one belonging to parted magic. I had to adpopt the syntax a little.
    Some distributions had large appends to the kernel line (boot parameters) which, i guess, you should copy, too. At least i did.
8) That's it. For the sake of completion, here's the content of my isolinux.cfg and here's the folder structure of my pen drive.

Regards,
demian

Last edited by demian (2010-04-26 12:00:00)


no place like /home
github

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#6 2011-05-02 13:53:57

sundar_ima
Member
Registered: 2011-03-14
Posts: 33

Re: Multi boot USB

Have a look at my shell script at https://sourceforge.net/projects/multibootusb/files/ . Tested it on Arch Linux (Kde) and works fine. Make sure that you have installed grub 2 on your host system.

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#7 2012-07-02 08:09:21

sundar_ima
Member
Registered: 2011-03-14
Posts: 33

Re: Multi boot USB

I know this thread is old but i want to say that i have updated the script in to proper GUI written in Gambas3. Latest package for various distros (including archlinux) can be found here
http://sourceforge.net/projects/multibo … les/Linux/

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#8 2012-07-04 18:50:14

OakRaider4Life
Member
Registered: 2012-02-08
Posts: 98

Re: Multi boot USB

This is a great thread. If someone knowledgable on the subject has the interest, this might make good information to append onto the Installing Arch Linux on a USB key or USB Installation Media wiki pages.

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