Sunday, May 10, 2009

UNetbootin - Boot Distros From Flash Drive

UNetbootin is a great free program that is available for Windows and numerous Linux Distros.

It allows you to boot your computer from a flash drive that has a pre-installed Distro or App on it.
Your computer needs to both boot from USB and recognize the flash drive as a USB Hard Drive. You will need to access your Bios and set it to boot from the USB port.

UNetbootin can either use a supported distro ISO file that has been saved on your hard drive or you can select a distro from the drop down box and it will download and configure the flash drive for you.

I've tried several distros found in the drop box with much success. The only distro I had a problem with was Slax. Not sure why I had a problem with it because I have used Slax in a 'Live' environment on this system before with no problems.

I'm planning to use UNetbootin to make a multi-boot USB flash drive.
I figure that if I use one larger distro like Mint, I can still get 2 or 3 smaller distros on a 1 gig flash drive.

I have several larger flash drives in the 2, 4 and 8 gig varieties but my system won't properly recognize these flash drives during the boot process.
So until I get a chance to find a work around like partitioning the larger flash drives into 1 gig partitions, I will stick with the 1 gig variety.

I don't see much of a problem setting up a multi-boot flash drive.
I'll install the distros one at a time. When one is installed I will copy the contents of the flash drive and save it on my hard drive then wipe the flash drive for the next distro.
Then I will install the 2nd and 3rd distros doing the same as the first between each download.
When the last distro is downloaded and installed on the flash drive I will copy the contents of the previous installs onto the drive one at a time.

The boot loader used is Syslinux which is easily modified to include the boot info needed by the other distros.
If I can get the larger flash drives working by setting up multiple partitions then I may need to use grub with a modified loader and menu but for a simple 1 partition drive Syslinux should be fine.

I'll update my blog with the results once I'm done playing.
I need some premium playtime and this project will be just what the doctor ordered.

Check my May 12 entry for a mini tutorial on making a multiboot flash drive using UNetbootin.




rokytnji said...

Got my wife into using Linux with Unetbootin. I made a live USB Easy Peasy Distro. Carved up Windows XP on her Acer Aspire One using Gparted. Now she is a dualbooter. Will see where it takes her and what Happens later. Thanks to Unetbootin.

TaZMAn said...

Good to hear that news.
I know you have been trying to get her to use Linux for a long time. LOL!!

Hope it works out for her.
Once someone gets used to Linux and not spend extra time on nonsense like virus scans and defrags they find it is superior.

UNetbootin is very powerful and versatile. A tool that belongs in everyone's goody box.

jallin said...

its a g8 program and its helpful for usb userslinux flash drive , thanks