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Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

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Richard
Posts: 1954
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:31 am

Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#1 Post by Richard » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:33 pm

Thanks to Libre_Things for showing me the way. See the original link at the bottom.
As he states, many have looked for a true multiboot USB that can be built in Linux.
Libre_Things wrote:I’ve spent days looking for a good live Multiboot USB solution. I mean a way to include many downloaded ISO files in a single USB stick. I was looking for a system allowing to drop the ISOs in a folder on the key, just showing a menu with the ISO files to boot. Easy2Boot does exactly that!
Preparation:
1. Download grub4dos from https://code.google.com/p/grub4dos-chen ... loads/list
.a. extract the archive on your PC. (easy2boot.com suggests that grub4dos-0.4.5c works.)
.b. If you try another that won't boot, look for this one.

2. Download Easy2Boot_v1.41_DPMS.zip, is the latest as of today:
.a. http://files.easy2boot.com/200000592-d6 ... 1_DPMS.zip
.b. extract all the files in the zip to the root directory of your, soon to be, Easy2Boot pen drive.
.c. keep this handy in case your files become non-contiguous.

3. Partition the USB drive, as follows:
.a. Create the 1st partition --the largest, less 33 MiB for the 2nd partition.
.b. Create the 2nd partition --33 MiB, MINIMUM for FAT32!, to ease potential boot problem.
[NOTE: 12 MiB worked before, but gparted said 33 was minimum; however, with 64 MiB seems better.]
.c. Format both partitions as FAT32.


Build a multiple boot USB:
1. Install grub4dos onto your USB drive, by running this from within the grub4dos dir:
.a. in a console:

Code: Select all

$ sudo blkid -o list -c /dev/nul
;; to determine the device number of your USB drive, then run

Code: Select all

$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx
;; where "sdx" could be sdb, sdc, sdd, etc. If all goes well, you will see something like this:

Code: Select all

[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdd
	Disk geometry calculated according to the partition table:
	Sectors per track = 63, Number of heads = 255
	Success.
[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$
2. Now, copy some ISOs into the _ISO/MAINMENU directory, then reboot!

3. The ISO files MUST BE CONTIGUOUS.
.a. If you erase some ISOs, add others,
.b. then it won't boot, do the following:
copy all of _ISO/MAINMENU on to another device,
adjust, change, etc, the ISOs in the MAINMENU directory, then
copy the MAINMENU directory back into the _ISO/ directory.
.c. Make sure it all still fits on your USB pendrive.
.d. Make sure to maintain the directory structure as found in the Easy2Boot.zip,
and keep all files contiguous.

====================================================================
derived from Libre_Things
http://positon.org/the-ultimate-live-us ... -easy2boot
The ultimate live USB MultiBoot solution: Easy2Boot 2013-03-16 17:41

Please advise any problems, inconsistencies, errors, etc.
I built my first one on Windows XP, then got it to work on Linux.
Last edited by Richard on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Jerry3904
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#2 Post by Jerry3904 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:13 pm

Out of my league, but thanks.
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Richard
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#3 Post by Richard » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:17 pm

Nah. Just looks that way.
Depends on need I suppose. :)
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lucky9
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#4 Post by lucky9 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:26 pm

I'm curious as to the difference in installing to a USB HDD and a FlashDrive?
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Richard
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#5 Post by Richard » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:49 pm

I suppose it would just seem like a very large USB pendrive.
You set it up the same way with grub4dos
and all the goodies from Easy2Boot_v1.41_DPMS.zip.

I have a 64 GiB, actually about 59 usable which works fine.
I thought it was bad when I tried to put OpenSuse DVD on it;
until I realized that it was 4.7 GiB and the FAT32 limit is 4 GiB.

It's kind of fun for a while, but I end up with mostly those utilities
that I would like to always have handy on an 8 or 16 GiB USB:
Hirens, Pmagic, SystemRescueCD, MX-14, Peppermint5,
LinuxMintXfce-LTS, etcetera.

I run MX-14, use Peppermint on older boxes
and the Mint17Xfce-LTS is for Windows refugees.
MX171: Lenovo T430-2017: i5-3320M, 8 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-amd64, intel_pstate, 119 GB SSD
MX171: AA1(ZG5)/EeePC-1005HA: DualCoreN270, 1 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-686-pae, 150 GB HDD
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male
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#6 Post by male » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:51 am

Salve!
The starting point of my experiments in January 2014 were these two links:
https://wiki.archlinux.de/title/Multiboot_USB_Stick
http://www.panticz.de/MultiBootUSB

I used a 16GB USB stick, formatted in FAT32.

Code: Select all

fdisk -l /dev/sdb

Disk /dev/sdb: 15.5 GB, 15518924800 bytes
255 Köpfe, 63 Sektoren/Spur, 1886 Zylinder, zusammen 30310400 Sektoren
Einheiten = sectors von 1 × 512 = 512 Bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00038f89

   Gerät  boot.     Anfang        Ende     Blöcke   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *        2048    30310399    15154176    b  W95 FAT32
It was Grub2 installed on the stick and the grub.cfg manually created.
VerzStruktur.jpg
MX14_1.jpg
There were two main problems:
1. the live ISO's often found not the stick
that did not help
grub.cfg

Code: Select all

# das ist meine eigene multiboot-usb-grub.cfg
# zur freien verwendung/male/2014-01-15
# folgend de-tastatur-layout (wieder entfernt ist derzeit unbekannt)

insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
insmod png
insmod gzio
insmod vbe
insmod vga
insmod video_bochs
insmod video_cirrus
#loadfont /boot/grub/fonts/unicode.pf2
#set locale_dir=/boot/grub/locale
#set lang=en_US
#insmod gettext
#terminal_output gfxterm

set gfxpayload=1024x768x32
set menu_color_normal=white/blue
set timeout=20
set default=1

set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
search --no-floppy --label --set=root MULTIUSB
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root E70D-D399
...
The solution was as simple as brilliant a user from the mageia-forum:

Code: Select all

...
# set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
# search --no-floppy --label --set=root MULTIUSB
# search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root E70D-D399

set ruuid="E70D-D399"
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid $ruuid --set=root
...
2. Find out what parameters the ISO's of the start Kernel and the initrd use.
Examples

Code: Select all

# das ist meine eigene multiboot-usb-grub.cfg
# zur freien verwendung/male/2014-01-15
# folgend de-tastatur-layout (wieder entfernt ist derzeit unbekannt)

insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
insmod png
insmod gzio
insmod vbe
insmod vga
insmod video_bochs
insmod video_cirrus
#loadfont /boot/grub/fonts/unicode.pf2
#set locale_dir=/boot/grub/locale
#set lang=en_US
#insmod gettext
#terminal_output gfxterm

set gfxpayload=1024x768x32
set menu_color_normal=white/blue
set timeout=20
set default=1

# set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
# search --no-floppy --label --set=root MULTIUSB
# search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root E70D-D399

set ruuid="E70D-D399"
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid $ruuid --set=root

# set sysresciso="/boot/isos/systemrescuecd-x86-4.0.0.iso"

menuentry "SystemRescueCD 4.0.0 (i586 load to RAM)" {
      set isofile=$sysresciso
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/isolinux/rescue32 docache -- rescue32 docache isoloop=$isofile setkmap=de
      initrd (loop)/isolinux/initram.igz
}

menuentry "SystemRescueCD 4.0.0 (x86_64 load to RAM)" {
      set isofile=$sysresciso
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/isolinux/rescue64 docache -- rescue32 docache isoloop=$isofile setkmap=de 
      initrd (loop)/isolinux/initram.igz
}

menuentry "Parted Magic (load to RAM)" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/pmagic_2013_05_01.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile 
      linux (loop)/pmagic/bzImage iso_filename=$isofile edd=off load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 rwnomce sleep=10 loglevel=0 keymap=de-latin1 de_DE
      initrd (loop)/pmagic/initrd.img
}

menuentry "antiX-13.2_x64-full.iso" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/antiX-13.2_x64-full.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/antiX/vmlinuz fromiso=$isofile antiX=MLX lang=de_DE
      initrd (loop)/antiX/initrd.gz
}

menuentry "Gparted_live-0.18.0-1-amd64" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/gparted-live-0.18.0-1-amd64.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/live/vmlinuz boot=live config union=aufs noswap noprompt vga=788 ip=frommedia toram=filesystem.squashfs findiso=$isofile
      initrd (loop)/live/initrd.img
}

menuentry "Mageia-4-KDE4-x86_64-DVD.iso" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/Mageia-4-LiveDVD-KDE4-x86_64-DVD.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/boot/vmlinuz root=mgalive:LABEL=Mageia-4-KDE4-LiveDVD ro isofrom=$ruuid:$isofile lang=de rd.luks=0 rd.lvm=0 rd.md=0 rd.dm=0     
      initrd (loop)/boot/cdrom/initrd.gz 
}

menuentry "Run-Slax-7.0.8-x86_64.iso" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/slax-German-7.0.8-x86_64.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/slax/boot/vmlinuz fromiso=$isofile load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 rw printk.time=0 slax.flags=xmode
      initrd (loop)/slax/boot/initrfs.img 
}

menuentry "antiX-14-alpha1_i386-full.iso" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/antiX-14R-alpha1_386-full.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/antiX/vmlinuz fromiso=$isofile antiX=MLX lang=de_DE
      initrd (loop)/antiX/initrd.gz 
}

menuentry "Mageia4-x86_64-DVD-full.iso" {
      set isofile="/boot/isos/Mageia-4-x86_64-DVD.iso"
      loopback loop $isofile
      linux (loop)/isolinux/x86_64/vmlinuz isofrom=$ruuid:$isofile automatic=method:cdrom ro rd.luks=0 rd.lvm=0 rd.md=0 rd.dm=0 lang=de   
      initrd (loop)/isolinux/x86_64/all.rdz
}
Generally, it works with diagnostic ISO's (grml; system rescue; PartedMagic etc.) very well. For other ISO's the stick is m.E. too slow. ;)
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Richard
Posts: 1954
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:31 am

Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#7 Post by Richard » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:05 am

@male,
You did well getting it to work.
I tried earlier this year with Manjaro.
MultiBoot seemed to work for some, but not for me.
Probably, I just didn't read the directions close enough.
MX171: Lenovo T430-2017: i5-3320M, 8 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-amd64, intel_pstate, 119 GB SSD
MX171: AA1(ZG5)/EeePC-1005HA: DualCoreN270, 1 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-686-pae, 150 GB HDD
DC9, LibO610, Dbox, PM, FF, mPDFed, CherryT, Vbox. ____ Linux Counter #288562

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asqwerth
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#8 Post by asqwerth » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:17 pm

Hi, Richard, I have some questions on your post:
Richard wrote:...
2. Download Easy2Boot_v1.41_DPMS.zip, is the latest as of today:
.a. http://files.easy2boot.com/200000592-d6 ... 1_DPMS.zip
.b. extract all the files in the zip to the root directory of your, soon to be, Easy2Boot pen drive.
.c. keep this handy in case your files become non-contiguous.
So this particular easy2boot pen drive is just a handy place to store the extracted files? It's not the actual USB device that is to be your multiboot device?

3. Partition the USB drive, as follows:
.a. Create the 1st partition --the largest, less 33 MiB for the 2nd partition.
.b. Create the 2nd partition --33 MiB, MINIMUM for FAT32!, to ease potential boot problem.
[NOTE: 12 MiB worked before, but gparted said 33 was minimum; however, with 64 MiB seems better.]
.c. Format both partitions as FAT32.
I assume this could be a smallish 8GB thumb drive as well? And I just need to partition the thumb drive accordingly? But it's not the aforementioned pen drive?

If it's the same device, I would have extracted all the files in the easy2boot zip to what will become sdc1 after partitioning (I have 2 hard drives sda and sdb), right? And once the thumb drive is set up, any changes or resaving of the iso files to ensure they are contiguous is done in the already-created sdc1?

*scratches head*
Build a multiple boot USB:
1. Install grub4dos onto your USB drive, by running this from within the grub4dos dir:

.a. in a console:

Code: Select all

$ sudo blkid -o list -c /dev/nul
;; to determine the device number of your USB drive, then run

Code: Select all

$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx
;; where "sdx" could be sdb, sdc, sdd, etc. If all goes well, you will see something like this:

Code: Select all

[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdd
	Disk geometry calculated according to the partition table:
	Sectors per track = 63, Number of heads = 255
	Success.
[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$
Am I replacing the "nul" in /dev/nul with /dev/sdc?

Your multiboot USB/thumb drive has 2 partitions, but there's no sdc1 and sdc2 in the above commands?

Thanks in advance.

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Richard
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#9 Post by Richard » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:58 pm

asqwerth wrote:Hi, Richard, I have some questions on your post:
2. Download Easy2Boot_v1.41_DPMS.zip, is the latest as of today:
.a. http://files.easy2boot.com/200000592-d6 ... 1_DPMS.zip
.b. extract all the files in the zip to the root directory of your, soon to be, Easy2Boot pen drive.
.c. keep this handy in case your files become non-contiguous.

>>So this particular easy2boot pen drive is just a handy place to store the extracted files? It's not >>the actual USB device that is to be your multiboot device?
No. It is the boot pendrive.
You copy your desired ISOs into the /_ISO/MAINMENU folder on the 1st partition.
The second 33 MiB partition is not used by E2B.

Reboot, it starts and shows a menu of the available ISOs.

In the attached image, you can see my E2B_builder folder.
I extract the E2B.zip into a folder on my harddisk and copy
the contents when I want to build another.
or
if it warns that files are not contiguos,
I can erase the 1st partition on the USB,
copy back the contents of /Easy2Boot_v1.40_DPMS (I unzipped it into a folder).
then copy desired ISOs into the /_ISO/MAINMENU folder
and reboot to try out a new iso.

You don't have to fill it up. Put 1 or 2 and test them.
When another comes along, copy it into /_ISO/MAINMENU
When the pendrive is full or you wish to change them out,
just erase and start over --it's easier to keep all files contiguous.
3. Partition the USB drive, as follows:
.a. Create the 1st partition --the largest, less 33 MiB for the 2nd partition.
.b. Create the 2nd partition --33 MiB, MINIMUM for FAT32!, to ease potential boot problem.
[NOTE: 12 MiB worked before, but gparted said 33 was minimum; however, with 64 MiB seems better.]
.c. Format both partitions as FAT32.

>>I assume this could be a smallish 8GB thumb drive as well?
>>And I just need to partition the thumb drive accordingly?
>>
>>But it's not the aforementioned pen drive?
No. It is the same pen drive, that now has 2 fat32 partitions:
The 1st as large as possible and the
2nd of 33-36MiB, is to guide the operating system to mount the 1st.
>>If it's the same device, I would have extracted all the files
>>in the easy2boot zip to what will become sdc1 after partitioning
>>(I have 2 hard drives sda and sdb), right?
>>
>>*scratches head*
Yes, it is the same device, sdc, in your case;
however, it is always a good idea to check with blkid or lsblk to be sure
that the designation is as expected.
E2B only uses the first partition. The larger one.
The 2nd partition is at least 33 MiB. (you can make it larger ifyou wish.)

As I mentioned above, the 1st partition should be the largest since the 1st partition is usually the first partition to be mounted. That's what I understand as the reason for making 2 partitions when you will only use one of them for easy2boot. Some OSs only mount 1, others mount both.
We ignore the 2nd for our purpose. You can use it if you wish.

The 2nd partition is only a dummy to help the OS read the 1st fat32 partition.
It is never used at all by Easy2Boot, in any manner. It is only done to ease the boot process for some operating systems. You can try it without it if you like, but you will probably have to use the key combination for your OS to get to the boot selection menu, (F12 on some, F11, F8, on some others).
>>And once the thumb drive is set up, any changes or resaving of the iso files
>>to ensure they are contiguous is done in the already-created sdc1?
Yes. The first partition is the only active one so far as e2b is concerned.
.a. in a console:

Code: Select all

$ sudo blkid -o list -c /dev/nul
;; to determine the device number of your USB drive, then run

Code: Select all

$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx
;; where "sdx" could be sdb, sdc, sdd, etc. If all goes well, you will see something like this:

Code: Select all

[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$ sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdd
	Disk geometry calculated according to the partition table:
	Sectors per track = 63, Number of heads = 255
	Success.
[richard@mx14 grub4dos-0.4.5c]$
>>Am I replacing the "nul" in /dev/nul with /dev/sdc?
No.
The blkid command is to help determine which is your USB device.
You may use

Code: Select all

lsblk
just as well. That's all the code is doing.
>>Your multiboot USB/thumb drive has 2 partitions, but there's no sdc1 and sdc2
>>in the above commands?
Well, no, because we are writing directly to the first partition,
opened with Thunar, usually, so no need to specify.
>>Thanks in advance.
I wrote this out, because it took me several trials before I understood. Like you, I was making it more complicated than it is. :)

You can try it more simply if you wish:
1. Format a USB pendrive.

2. Put grub4dos onto a USB stick, drive or whatever.
You will need to unpack the grub4dos (or just extract the bootlace.com as I did)
then from that grub4dos folder, run the following:

Code: Select all

$sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdc
(if sdc is your pendrive)

3. Copy the E2B contents to part-1 of the USB
(E2B will occupy approx. 65 MiB on the pendrive.)

4. Copy desired ISOs into /_ISO/MAINMENU of part-1 of the USB.

5. Reboot.


Ok. You study a while. Just practice a bit.
Put only 1 ISO and then reboot it.
Helps if you have a second computer for testing.
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Last edited by Richard on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
MX171: Lenovo T430-2017: i5-3320M, 8 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-amd64, intel_pstate, 119 GB SSD
MX171: AA1(ZG5)/EeePC-1005HA: DualCoreN270, 1 GBRAM, 4.15.0-1-686-pae, 150 GB HDD
DC9, LibO610, Dbox, PM, FF, mPDFed, CherryT, Vbox. ____ Linux Counter #288562

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asqwerth
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Re: Easy MultiBoot USB--put Easy2Boot on Linux

#10 Post by asqwerth » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:40 am

Gotcha, Richard.

I'll do my homework, probably after the World Cup final.

:number1:

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