There are hundreds of Live CDs available on the Internet these days free of cost. Many of them are indispensable for a variety of purposes. I consistently find use of one or the other. You can have GParted for partitioning, Backtrack for Pen Testing, System Rescue CD as a rescue CD, CloneZilla to clone your hard disk, DBN to completely wipe off data of your hard drive and then there are hundreds of Linux distributions that you can find as a bootable CDs. Make a pick and you add another one to the stack of CDs.
While all these tools are fine and dandy, carrying a number of CD’s along is too much of a hassle. Add to that the fact that many of the above are considerably smaller than a CD’s 700MB capacity.
If you ever wondered how you could combine multiple ISO files and how to burn a single ISO image file onto DVD that could let you use all of them, the answer lies in this article. We are going to combine multiple ISO images and show you how to burn an ISO image file comprising all of them. The tool that I would be using is a shell script appropriately known as the “Multi CD”. You can download Multi CD here. The process of creating a composite image is not so straight forward, but not rocket science either. There are a few steps that you need to keep in mind, and I will try my best to go through all of them here.
First off you need to make sure that all the constituent ISO images are supported by Multi CD. There is a complete list that can be accessed here. As you browse through the list you will notice that most of them have rather simplified names as opposed to what you get when you download an image from the Internet. This is a requirement of the script and you would have to rename the iso files to match these file names. That should of course be no major problem at all – all you need to do is change something like “ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386” to “ubuntu.iso“.
And while you are at the page, pay special attention to not only the names that you need to give the ISO files but also to any additional caveats that may be mentioned there. The entry for Linux Mint for example lists that it cannot be on the same DVD as Ubuntu. So now you must choose between Ubuntu and Linux Mint if you had both of them in your list of constituent CD images.
Next, download the tar ball from the downloads section and extract it to a folder. Now drop all the ISO images that you want to combine into the folder you just created so that the folder looks something like this:
Now its only a matter of executing the script. You would have to make it executable with a chmod +x and then execute it as:
- cd <path to the folder you created above>
- chmod +x multi.sh
- sudo ./multi.sh
Provide the password at the prompt and MultiCD sets out to work. The result is a bootable ISO image that would allow you to use any of the constituent images that you dropped in the folder. Burn it to a CD/DVD and it’s ready for use!
There it is sitting in the same folder as multicd.iso.
Have you even attempted combine multiple ISO files into one before? Do you know of any other tools that can yield similar results with such ease on Windows? Let us know all about them in the comments.