Making a Multiboot USB Drive (All-In-One).

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Introduction: Making a Multiboot USB Drive (All-In-One).

I always wanted an All-in-One USB boot drive to do the following:

1. Perform a fresh install of Windows.

2. Use Macrium Reflect to backup and restore my PCs.

3. Have all my necessary program installers, hardware drivers, Macrium Reflect backup images, personal files etc.

Read on for how I did this!

Step 1: The Hardware

Any USB drive will do but I prefer the 3.0 type for faster access. The 3.1 type is rare right now but in the future I will get a few. There are flash drives with a write protect switch and I highly recommend these as an all-in-one rescue USB drive (you don't want viruses crossing over). The capacity can be as large as financially reasonable (I use a 32Gb).

Step 2: The Software.

WinSetupFromUSB! This neat freeware program allows for multiple boot platforms to be put onto one physical USB drive. The download is available at their website:

http://www.winsetupfromusb.com/downloads/

It is a zip file that once expanded allows you to select the 32 or 64bit versions.

Step 3: Using WinSetupFromUSB

First plug the target USB drive into the PC and open the exe for WinSetupFromUSB. Next tick the checkbox 'Auto format it with FBinst'.

I don't use UEFI in my bios boot options so I format the drive using NTFS. This allows me to copy large files (>4Gb) to the USB drive. If you plan to use this on a UEFI boot system then format to FAT32 (but you lose the ability to copy large files).

Next, in my case since I use Macrium Reflect and Windows8.1, tick the Windows Vista/7/8/10... checkbox. Click the three dots and browse for the image file. A warning will appear concerning the NTFS file system, just click OK and continue to browse for the iso image file. Once selected, click the GO button.

4 message boxes will appear in succession: click YES YES YES OK. The process will start for the first boot application to be written. When it is completed, simply click OK add any others you want to include by ticking the appropriate checkbox. Luckily after the first boot application is written, the Autoformat checkbox is un-ticked.

Once the boot applications are written you can copy across any folders containing installers, personal files, PC backup images etc. I prefer to have just one folder on the USB root drive to dump my personal stuff into (you can have as many sub-folders in there as you desire).

Step 4: Using the New MultiBoot USB Drive!

Make the target PC boot from USB drive. The blue background menu will show up listing all the options. The first two will take you to the multiple boot applications. The last option will boot from the internal (main) drive of the PC.

Now you have a multiple boot capable USB complete with application files and personal data! No more walking around with a bunch of drives to repair a PC!

Please note that you can add as many Bootable images to this usb drive. Just make sure the drive's storage capacity can accommodate all you need. Have fun folks!

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    36 Comments

    Where do you find the various image files?

    user

    If you use that WinSetup tool, can you also boot linux from that USB later??

    Is there a UEFI boot in this ? :)

    you can but format the usb drive in FAT32.

    I am guessing that this will also work with Nlite?

    Great tutorial.

    Thanks for this :)

    Nlite will make a custom windows OS image. That image you can put onto the multiboot USB drive. So basically any valid bootable image you can bundle onto a big enough USB drive.

    Thanks for the thumbs up!

    How do you include or add hardware or device drivers in the OS?