easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 drive

Post fully complete "how to" guides and tutorials here. This is a great place to get feedback on stuff you might put in the wiki.

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 drive

Postby danboid » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:42 am

Recently, in a thread on here discussing booting a new test release of KXStudio, the subject of trying to boot it off USB came up. unetbootin and dd were mentioned but it made me realise how very few are aware of easy2boot as nobody mentioned trying KXStudio via easy2boot so I wanted to try and enlighten more readers of this forum about this fantastically useful tool.

unetbootin only allows you to boot one ISO per USB drive - easy2boot lets you boot as many ISOs as you can store on your drive and adding new ISOs is as simple as copying them into the correct folder so its platform neutral in that respect, not requiring you to run an updater as you do with say YUMI, which is Windows only. I have tried other Linux-friendly apps (multisystem etc) that have claimed to do this but none of them worked properly. Every ISO I have tested with E2B has worked 100% and I have tried at least a dozen distros, diagnostic and recovery ISOs with it now.

Here's a quickstart guide to setting up easy2boot on your USB drive, based upon instructions from http://en.positon.org/tag/Easy2Boot

Your easy2boot drive can be formatted as FAT32, NTFS or ext2. FAT32 is compatible with more computers and operating systems but has a 4GB max file size limit, which is too small for some DVD images although very few Linux distributions exceed 4GB. If you use ext2, you will not be able to install Windows OS's from your e2b drive. NTFS does not have a 4GB file size limit like FAT32 but you can't read/write NTFS on as wide array of platforms as FAT and in addition I've experienced difficulties booting ISOs from an NTFS formatted drive that was created under Linux due to non-contigious files that can't be defragged under Linux. Hence, FAT32/vfat is the recommended filesystem for e2b drives. You can use gparted to graphically format drives or you can use a command like:

Code: Select all

sudo mkfs.vfat -n easy2boot -F 32 /dev/sdx1


to format a drive as FAT32. Replace sdx1 with the device to be formatted.

Download Easy2Boot ( http://www.easy2boot.com/download/ ) and extract all the files in the zip to the root directory of your e2b drive.

Download grub4dos ( https://code.google.com/p/grub4dos-chen ... loads/list ) and extract the archive on your PC (not on the usb stick). Its author seems to release a stable and a testing version but I'm unclear on their versioning and release scheme at present. For its current batch of releases, grub4dos-0.4.5c-2013-07-24.7z works fine with my Samsung R700 but grub4dos-0.4.6a-2013-07-24.7z does not so try an older or newer G4D version if you get an error like 'This is not a bootable device' when you try booting off a E2B/G4D enabled drive.

To install grub4dos on your USB drive, run this from within the grub4dos dir:

Code: Select all

sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx

to install grub4dos to the MBR of the specified device but make sure you use the right device! `df` and `fdisk -l` are your friends here.

Finally, copy some ISOs to the _ISO/MAINMENU directory then reboot! Make sure your machine is set to boot off USB storage first - many devices let you enter the boot menu by pushing F11 or F12 when they are booting BIOS/UEFI.



NB easy2boot requires the iso's be stored as contiguous files on your USB drive. When you start deleting iso's then copying new ones on, the files can become fragmented sometimes and refuse to boot. I found this tool to defrag drives under Linux. Maybe there's a better one? Its a perl script that must be run as root but seems to do the trick:

http://defragfs.sourceforge.net/

After downloading and un-gzipping the defragfs script, you'd run it with a command something like this:

Code: Select all

sudo perl defragfs.pl /media/dan/easy2boot/ -f


You need to change /media/dan/easy2boot to the path of the drive you want to defrag and defrag.pl to the name of the defragfs script.

Apparently defragfs is only intended for use with ext filesystems but in my experience it also works fine for FAT32/vfat drives. It does not work wth NTFS partitions.
Last edited by danboid on Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:59 am, edited 21 times in total.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - boot multiple ISOs via USB

Postby danboid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:09 am

Updated OP to include example defragfs command that I know to work.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - boot multiple ISOs via USB

Postby danboid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:41 am

Updated again to not only include the instructions from the link but enhanced with more/better examples etc.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - boot multiple ISOs via USB

Postby danboid » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:20 pm

I've just updated the link to the E2B homepage as the previous one was outdated and re-directed you. I've also added a hint to help people locate the download link which I don't think is as easy to spot as it could be.

It was a nice surprise to discover this guide is now linked to (and I get a shout out) on the E2B homepage! :D
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - boot multiple ISOs via USB

Postby danboid » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:15 pm

The latest (testing?) release of grub4dos doesn't work on my laptop so I've updated the OP to make a note of the latest current release that I have working which is grub4dos-0.4.5c-2013-07-24.7z. I added a note on trying earlier/later versions and made a few other small edits.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby danboid » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:08 pm

Added a bit more background info to the OP and posted the guide, with slight adjustment, to the Ubuntu tutorials forum to get it some more exposure:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2180790

I also edited this threads title to match the more descriptive name I gave it on the buntu forums.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

tnovelli
Establlshed Member
Posts: 250
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:52 pm

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby tnovelli » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Cool! Thanks for doing this. Should come in handy (assuming I remember to look up your post when I need it :)

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby danboid » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:25 pm

Thanks T!

E2B is one of the most useful computing tools I've ever found so I'm sure you'll be glad you gave it a go!

Here's what I have on mine currently:

Debian+firmware-7.1.0-amd64-netinst.iso
KXStudio_12.04.3_64bit.iso
ntfs4dos.iso - This is basically a bootable chkdisk for fixing most NTFS/FAT drive issues
systemrescuecd-x86-3.8.0.iso - fsarchiver, testdisk, photorec, supergrubdisk - all sorts of super useful tools
EasyRE for Windows 7.iso - repair Win7 boot issues
linux-secure-13.04-32bit.iso - fix UEFI boot probs
SpinRite.iso - check HD health
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby danboid » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:59 pm

Updated guide to note that easy2boot drives can be formatted as FAT32 or NTFS and included example NTFS formatting command.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

kahrkunne
Establlshed Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:48 pm

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby kahrkunne » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:50 pm

danboid wrote:Recently, in a thread on here discussing booting a new test release of KXStudio, the subject of trying to boot it off USB came up. unetbootin and dd were mentioned but it made me realise how very few are aware of easy2boot as nobody mentioned trying KXStudio via easy2boot so I wanted to try and enlighten more readers of this forum about this fantastically useful tool.

unetbootin only allows you to boot one ISO per USB drive - easy2boot lets you boot as many ISOs as you can store on your drive and adding new ISOs is as simple as copying them into the correct folder so its platform neutral in that respect, not requiring you to run an updater as you do with say YUMI, which is Windows only. I have tried other Linux-friendly apps (multisystem etc) that have claimed to do this but none of them worked properly. Every ISO I have tested with E2B has worked 100% and I have tried at least a dozen distros, diagnostic and recovery ISOs with it now.

Here's a quickstart guide to setting up easy2boot on your USB drive, based upon instructions from http://en.positon.org/tag/Easy2Boot

Your easy2boot drive can be formatted as FAT32 or NTFS. FAT32 is compatible with more computers and operating systems but has a 4GB max file size limit, which is too small for some DVD images although very few Linux distributions exceed 4GB. NTFS does not have a 4GB file size limit but you can't read/write NTFS on as wide array of platforms as FAT. You can use gparted to graphically format drives or you can use commands like:

Code: Select all

sudo mkfs.vfat -n easy2boot -F 32 /dev/sdx1

to format a drive as FAT32 or

Code: Select all

sudo mkfs.ntfs -f -L easy2boot /dev/sdx1


To format a drive with NTFS. Replace sdx1 with the device to be formatted in both cases.

Download Easy2Boot ( http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/72-- ... tain/e2bv1 ) and put all the files at the root of the partition. Search for 'Download E2B' to find the latest download link on that page.

Download grub4dos ( https://code.google.com/p/grub4dos-chen ... loads/list ) and extract the archive on your PC (not on the usb stick). Its author seems to release a stable and a testing version but I'm unclear on their versioning and release scheme at present. For its current batch of releases, grub4dos-0.4.5c-2013-07-24.7z works fine with my Samsung R700 but grub4dos-0.4.6a-2013-07-24.7z does not so try an older or newer G4D version if you get an error like 'This is not a bootable device' when you try booting off a E2B/G4D enabled drive.

To install grub4dos on your USB drive, run this from within the grub4dos dir:

Code: Select all

sudo ./bootlace.com --time-out=0 /dev/sdx

to install grub4dos to the MBR of the specified device but make sure you use the right device! `df` and `fdisk -l` are your friends here.

Finally, copy some ISOs to the _ISO/MAINMENU directory then reboot! Make sure your machine is set to boot off USB storage first - many devices let you enter the boot menu by pushing F11 or F12 when they are booting BIOS/UEFI.



NB easy2boot requires the iso's be stored as contiguous files on your USB drive. When you start deleting iso's then copying new ones on, the files can become fragmented sometimes and refuse to boot. I found this tool to defrag drives under Linux. Maybe there's a better one? Its a perl script that must be run as root but seems to do the trick:

http://defragfs.sourceforge.net/

After downloading and un-gzipping the defragfs script, you'd run it with a command something like this:

Code: Select all

sudo perl defragfs.pl /media/dan/easy2boot/ -f


You need to change /media/dan/easy2boot to the path of the drive you want to defrag. You can find this out using the df command, presuming the drive in question is mounted.


You can FAIRLY easy modify the resulting files from unetbootin and install multiple ISOs on 1 usb through unetbootin
still cool shit bro

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby danboid » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:53 pm

Maybe so, but thats not as easy as just copying an ISO over as is the case with e2b.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

danboid
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 am
Location: England

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby danboid » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:56 am

Updated guide to fix e2b download link to point to its new web site, removed NTFS formatting command (FAT32 is recommended for Linux users at least) and added notes on defragfs vs FAT32 and NTFS.
Are you new to Linux Audio? This manual explains how to install KXStudio, set up and use JACK, mimimize latency, lists the best Linux AV apps and much more all in a concise and easy to understand format.

http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

eltrkbrd
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:44 pm

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby eltrkbrd » Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:52 pm

Excellent, thanks for posting this how-to guide.

I've been searching for a way to multiboot live usb distros from a single usb flash drive.

I like that fact that the easy2boot app can be run from either linux or windows.

Is it possible to have persistence across multiple distros on a single flash drive?

I remember reading about casper-rw.

Is it possible to liveusb boot a 32-bit & 64-bit version of the same distro with persistence across both versions on a single usb flash drive?

This way my programs, settings & data follow me in a way that is portable and platform agnostic; even on older hardware...

Thanks again!

User avatar
raboof
Establlshed Member
Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Deventer, NL
Contact:

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 driv

Postby raboof » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:44 am

Semi-offtopic, but if you have a rooted Android phone you can also boot images from that (over a USB cable)!

I'm using DriveDroid (http://softwarebakery.com/projects/drivedroid), it was very easy to do.

SteveSi
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:19 pm

Re: easy2boot - How to easily boot multiple ISOs from 1 drive

Postby SteveSi » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:22 pm

This is an old post, but just wanted to say that E2B v1.83 and later can now be used with NTFS from linux as it includes udefrag which will defrag an NTFS drive under linux.


Return to “HOW TOs, Tips & Tricks”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest