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I have big usb drive, say it 128GB, and want to download popular installation iso distributions, like Windows 7,10, Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, FreeBSD, so on. I need ability to install any OS to some destination hard drive. I want to replace multiple OS deployment\installation DVDs with single usb drive. So this is NOT LIVE USB, from which you can run OS. I want to fit multiple installation DVDs on one USB drive. So its deployment USB, from which i can install any OS to PC hard drive at boot time, using iso files on that USB. Only.

Almost all OS installers just partition your HDD/SSD, copies installation files there, and do initial configuration. So goals are as following:

  • Easy to add: download distribution iso, put on usb, edit some Syslinux/Grub/WhateverBootLoader config
  • Absence of necessity to unpack iso contents/convert it to other formats
  • Must work on systems with 1GB ram (cannot load whole ISO on RAM, MEMDISK could not work?)
  • Must work on any x86 or x64 system

What is good way to achieve it and make USB with such properties?


PS. I am mainly asking of what software stack should be used for that:

  • Best bootloader?
  • Some tools or bootable stuff (called kernel/vmlinux/memdisk/so on)?
  • Sample configuration for 1-2 iso files?
  • You will love this: multibootusb.org/page_guide – confetti Aug 31 '18 at 17:13
  • Multisystem is also very easy to use and doesn't require any editing or setting bootloaders (it uses Grub by default). I'm not sure any of the suggestions allows for mixing Windows + Linux though. Multiple Linux ISOs is certainly possible, I've done a few sticks with it. – GabrielaGarcia Aug 31 '18 at 17:22
  • @confetti i dont need live usb, neither i want to install it to usb and use qemu. i need deployment usb, from which operating systems could be installed* to destination hard drive. – xakepp35 Aug 31 '18 at 19:05
  • @GabrielaGarcia reread question, i dont need live usb, but deployment usb, from which i can install any os to hard drive, using iso files on that usb.T – xakepp35 Aug 31 '18 at 19:11
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    @xakepp35 We usually install Linux distros from a live USB and any "live" can be booted directly to the installer. Or you can use any "minimal CD" and build from there. All the suggestions above and the answer do pretty much the same, with minimal variations and the resulting USB will do what you want. Am I missing some nuance? Please elaborate so I can understand why you think this aren't solutions. – GabrielaGarcia Aug 31 '18 at 23:56
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This is what you need.

http://www.easy2boot.com

Install in Windows, insert USB stick, run software, click big red button. It sets up an NTFS formatted bootable USB drive using grub4dos, then all you do is copy ISO files into its directory structure. On booting it scans those directories, then you just select from a menu.

My E2B stick has Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Fedora, Debian and Kali - all the body needs :)

You may have problems after adding & deleting ISOs as the filesystem will become fragmented; if that becomes the case download this:

https://rmprepusb.en.uptodown.com/windows

and launch WinContig. That will attempt to defragment any files on the drive, providing of course there's free space to do so.

I'm not sure what USB stick you have, but you want the fastest one possible... I use a Corsair Voyager 256GB, and it is fast

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