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Is it possible to create a functional USB drive with three different partitions:

  • Bootable Linux installer
  • Bootable Windows installer
  • Storage

If so, is it as simple as creating three partitions for example 8GB FAT32 for Linux installer, 8GB NTFS for Windows installer and the remaining capacity (FAT32/NTFS) for storage?

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  • I know it is possible to have a Bootable Linux installer (or multiple ones) and storage and it SHOULD be possible to have a Bootable Windows installer - although I suspect you will need to tweek things so GRUB loads Windows
    – davidgo
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:30
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    Windows treats USB flash drives (if that's what you mean) as "superfloppies," on which only one partition is visible. Thus, the split you suggest won't be possible if the storage partition must be visible from Windows. I don't know offhand if this same restriction applies to USB hard disks (I suspect not). If you want to set up a USB hard disk this way, it may be possible, but I don't have a step-by-step procedure to do it.
    – Rod Smith
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 17:35
  • @RodSmith Thank you for the clarification. You can add your comment as an answer - I'll accept it.
    – Key-Six
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 0:52
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    @RodSmith just FTR (and the search engines): up on from 2017 Windows 10 is able to mount several (even several primary) partitions from one USB stick
    – Jaleks
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 9:21
  • If you don't want to partition it, you can instead use something like Ventoy. It's a life saver and super easy. Just pop on the ISO files.
    – asheroto
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 7:52

1 Answer 1

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You don't have to have multiple boot partitions to facilitate the desired functionality.

You can have a choice between multiple bootable images that are on the same USB drive partition.

I've been using WinSetupFromUSB to create a bootable USB drive with installation images of different windows and linux versions plus utilities like UBCD, various rescue disks and so on, quite handy really. Once it boots it gives you a menu to choose how to proceed.

And you can still use the additional space on the drive for additional storage, just make sure you don't mess with the pre-existing file structure. Put it in a uniquely named folder just to be on the safe side.

There are other utilities that can do the same, but I haven't tested them, as the first one I tried worked out for me.

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  • Thanks. What file system does it use? The only file system I know which works well with every OS is Fat32, and it supports files only up to 4GB in size. That's smaller than the .iso files for Windows 10. Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 5:22

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