Create a Multi-boot USB Stick with MultiSystem

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Feb 11, 2011 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Thanks to tools like Unetbootin and Ubuntu's Startup Disk Creator, creating a bootable USB stick with your favorite Linux distro has never been easier. But both of these utilities have one tiny shortcoming: they allow you to install only one distro on a USB stick. Enter MultiSystem, a nifty tool that can squeeze several distros on to a single USB stick. Not only that, MultiSystem lets you add a persistent storage for each distro, and the tool automatically generates a boot menu with a few handy options.

An older version of MultiSystem is available in the Ubuntu software repository, but if you want to install the very latest release of the tool, you can do so using a few simple commands:

deb http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot all main
wget -q http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot/multisystem.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install multisystem

Using MultiSystem to create a multi-boot USB stick is not particularly difficult. Insert the USB stick, launch the MultiSystem utility, and hit the Validate button to set up the stick. Grab then the ISO image of the distro you want to add and drop it on to the Drag/Drop ISO/img section of the MultiSystem window. The utility then prompts you to specify the size of a persistent storage space, and once you've done that, the utility takes care of the rest. In a similar manner, add other distros to the USB stick. To make sure that the USB stick actually works, MultiSystem conveniently provides the ability to test the stick using either the QEMU or VirtualBox virtualization software.

Comments

  • Multiboot install in Slackware

    Does anyone know how to install Multisystem in Slackware 14.I didn't have no problem installing it this precious tool in my Debian based linux but I'm having a hard time making it work in Slackware 14.
  • The first line is not a shell command


    The first line is not a shell command

    Terry Feb 16, 2011 8:48pm GMT
    To make it work using root privileges edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and on a new line at the bottom of the file paste the contents of the first line of the instructions which is actually a repository source and not a command. save the sources.list file. And the copy and paste the remaining lines into the shell. Then it should be installed under Accessories.

    I took another look at this idea using this post. In the end this is what I got:

    E: Unable to locate package multisystem
    brotherred@brotherred~ $ sudo -get install multisystem
    sudo: unknown group: et
    sudo: unable to initialize policy plugin
    brotherred@brotherred-USB ~ $ -get install multisystem
    No command '-get' found, did you mean:
    Command 'nget' from package 'nget' (universe)
    Command 'dget' from package 'devscripts' (main)
    Command 'cget' from package 'cget' (universe)
    Command 'wget' from package 'wget' (main)
    Command 'kget' from package 'kget' (main)
    -get: command not found
    brotherred@brotherred~ $

  • No command 'deb' found

    deb http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot all main
    No command 'deb' found, did you mean:
    Command 'debc' from package 'devscripts' (main)
    Command 'derb' from package 'libicu-dev' (main)
    Command 'dab' from package 'bsdgames' (universe)
    Command 'debi' from package 'devscripts' (main)
    Command 'xdeb' from package 'xdeb' (universe)
    deb: command not found


    So which "Main" or "Universe" should I choose?

    Regards
  • multisystem not confirming

    ERROR:
    Disconnect/reconnect your USB drive as the mount point does not match the label!

    This is what is happening whenever I hit 'confirm'. I've reinstalled twice according to your instructions in the article, but no luck. Also it's happening to all brands of USBs I've tried. Also, the virtual box stuff comes up with cancel - install(pay) options, on clicking this its own terminal appears running some scripts, asks for pressing 'enter', then conks out promptly on pressing enter!

    I'm running ubuntu 10.04 and hope you can help, though the last post seems a bit old.
  • Other option

    Check out the link...
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/multibootusb/files/Linux/
  • Multi Install Multiboot at the same time

    Is it possible the following?

    I want bootable USB drive with the follow options.

    1. Install Windows XP
    2. Install Windows 7
    3. Run Chrome OS
    4. Boot Normally

    When I select option 1 it should start installation of XP on my hard drive (not running Live XP on my USB).

    When I select option 2 it should start installation of Win7 (again not running Live Win7 from Windows 7).

    When I select option 3 it should start RUNNING (not installing) chrome os from USB (i.e. just like a live image of any OS).

    When I select option 4 it should proceed to boot normally i.e. whatever is installed on my hard drive.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  • WattOS - Persistence

    Appreciate if you could add support to WattOS (Ubuntu based open box Distro)..It installs fine but I am not able to enable persist feature
  • multiboot usb

    Ok, all working now. I got Quicktech Pro working perfectly.
    Defragment the quicktech pro iso, I used contig and a virtual machine of tiny xp. Copy the iso onto the root of the usb drive. Place the following into the menu.lst file. (Make sure your filename matches)

    title QuickTech Pro (Computer Hardware Diagnostics)
    find --set-root /Quicktechpro.iso
    map /Quicktechpro.iso (hd32)
    map --hook
    root (hd32)
    chainloader (hd32)

    Then save the menu.lst file and close out of the window. It will update grub, and you'll be able to run it without issue. Don't try to use the drag and drop import feature, it will return an "unsupported iso" error.

    Thanks to the creators of Multisystem I have all my tools on one bootable usb drive. PERFECT!
  • multiboot usb

    Ok, found ERD commander, hidden in the syslinux menu. Managed to get Hirens on, it wouldn't load the iso, but unpacking it to the usb got most of it into the grub4dos menu. So far I have Hirens, SystemRescueCD, Clonezilla, ERD 2007, PMagic 5.8 and Backtrack 4 working. If someone can help me get Quicktech on there I'll be a happy boy.

    Cheers and thanks, excellent application!
  • multiboot usb

    This works for me on a Debian Squeeze system. First time it failed, but after using the drive to install by another means a grub2 it is now working flawlessly with Clonezilla, System Rescue and Pmagic5.8.

    I have a question though, I'd like to also install another couple of programs, being Quicktech and Hirens, which currently return an unsupportediso response. Any ideas on making them work would be appreciated!

    Also, ERD Commander installed as Minint, and doesn't show up in any menu and so far I haven't found a way to get it onto the boot menu, so any help there would also be appreciated.

    Cheers, and well done on a nice app.
  • The first line is not a shell command

    To make it work using root privileges edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and on a new line at the bottom of the file paste the contents of the first line of the instructions which is actually a repository source and not a command. save the sources.list file. And the copy and paste the remaining lines into the shell. Then it should be installed under Accessories.
  • Multisystem

    <i>information provided to install into linux terminal does not work:
    ubunbtu 10.04 </i><br>

    I am not sure what you meant by "does not work". I just followed the procedure and it installed and launched OK on Kubuntu 10.10. I didn't go farther. I guess the confusion is with the first line "deb ....". I think the procedure failed to clarify what to do with it. Instead of being a command, it should say include the line in /etc/apt/sources.list.<br>
  • Multisystem

    Commands in your article as to "how-to install newest version"----
    copying them into terminal does not work on ubuntu 10.04.
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