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There are hundreds of Live How To Make Your Own Windows Live CD How To Make Your Own Windows Live CD Read More  CDs Put your Linux Distro on a Live CD Put your Linux Distro on a Live CD Recently, Live DVDs and Live USB have cropped up as well. These live systems are full versions of the operating system that run completely from the given medium. Read More  available online, almost all absolutely free. Many are indispensable for a variety of purposes, such as desktop recovery.

For instance, you can have GParted for partitioning, Backtrack for penetration testing, System Rescue CD as a rescue CD, CloneZilla to clone your hard disk, and DBAN to completely wipe data from your hard drive. And then there are hundreds more Linux distributions The Best Linux Operating Systems The Best Linux Operating Systems There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More that you can find as a bootable CDs.

While all these tools are great, carrying multiple CDs around is a hassle. So let’s try something else: like using MultiCD to build a multiboot CD image How to Create a Bootable Multiboot USB for Windows and Linux How to Create a Bootable Multiboot USB for Windows and Linux A single USB flash drive is all you need to boot, install, and troubleshoot multiple operating systems. We'll show you how to create a multiboot USB, including Windows and Linux installers and recovery tools. Read More . Let’s look at how it is done.

What Is MultiCD?

MultiCD is a shell script designed to build a multiboot CD image. MultiCD works with a massive range of bootable Live CDs What's the Best Way to Run Multiple Operating Systems on Your PC? What's the Best Way to Run Multiple Operating Systems on Your PC? Undecided between Windows and Linux? It's possible to run multiple OSes on a single machine either by dual booting or using a virtual machine. Let's find out which one is best for you. Read More , including Arch Linux, Debian, Mint, Hiren’s BootCD, NetbootCD, and Tails. Check out the full list right here. There are numerous options. Subsequently, you’ll only be limited by disk space.

Here’s how to do it.

Build Your CD

Start by creating a new folder. I’ve named mine MultiCD to keep things easy.

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Now you can download the MultiCD archive, using this link. The latest MultiCD version is hosted on Github. Use the following command 40+ Most Used Linux Terminal Commands 40+ Most Used Linux Terminal Commands Whether you're just getting started or simply curious about the Linux terminal, here are the most common commands that will carry you through your entire time on Linux. Read More to download the latest developmental version of MulitCD:

$ git clone git://github.com/IsaacSchemm/MultiCD.git

The MultiCD archive should download quickly. On completion, extract the contents of the archive to the MultiCD folder we created earlier.

Copy or Symlink Your Files

You’re almost ready to create the multiboot CD. Next, copy or symlink the ISOs you’d like to install to the MultiCD folder. Remember, only distros on the supported list will work. Furthermore, MultiCD requires specific filenames. These are listed alongside the distro links on the supported ISOs page. For instance, dban-2.3.0_i586.iso must be renamed dban.iso.

Run the Script

Open a terminal in the MultiCD folder. To do this, press Shift + right click, then select Open in Terminal from the context menu. Now, run the following commands:

chmod +x multicd*.sh

./multicd*.sh

The script will automatically detect which images are present in the folder and create an ISO for you. The resulting ISO will is named multicd.iso.

Burn the ISO

We need to burn our ISO to a CD or DVD to finish up. I’m going to use Brasero for this segment of the tutorial. To download Brasero using the Terminal, run the following commands in sequence:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install brasero

Once installed, open Brasero. Next, insert a compatible black CD or DVD.

Select Burn image, then browse to the MulitCD ISO created in the previous section. Select Burn, and you’re good to go.

Multiboot USB

MultiCD is a great way to create a multiboot CD or DVD. However, many people now prefer to use a USB drive 5 Best Linux Distros for Installation on a USB Stick 5 Best Linux Distros for Installation on a USB Stick USB drives are great, not just for installing portable versions of Linux but for protecting your computer when things go awry. Here are the 5 most useful Linux distributions for installing on a USB drive. Read More instead of a disc. Luckily, there are numerous utilities for the creation of a multiboot USB drive, such as MultiSystem or LiveUSB Install. Using the former, I’m going to quickly show you how to create a multiboot USB.

MultiSystem

Use this link to download the latest version of the Multisystem LiveUSB Tool script.

Once downloaded, extract the script to your desktop. Next, double-click the extracted file and select Run in Terminal. If you do not have this option — or the script opens in your text editor — press Shift + right-click, then select Open in Terminal. Now run the following command:

./install-depot-multisystem.sh

You will have to enter your password, then wait for the script to complete.

Open MultiSystem. Select the USB drive you would like to use in the bottom panel and press Confirm.

Your MultiSystem USB drive is now ready to receive your ISOs. Drag and drop any ISOs into the box at the bottom of the window. The ISOs must be added one at a time, as well as entering your password. Unfortunately, this makes the construction of a large multiboot USB drive somewhat time consuming.

MultiSystem has an advanced menu, containing a download option. It is a lengthy list, containing a mix of popular — and, some more obscure — tools and operating systems. Selecting an option will open the website download page for the specified tool. Once downloaded, it can be added to your multiboot USB drive.

The advanced menu also contains the options to test your multiboot USB drive using QEMU or VirtualBox. In addition, options are available for GRUB Settings, as well as the addition of command line boot options.

You’re All Ready

Multiboot discs are extremely handy. You can keep all manner of utilities and rescue discs 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore Every Windows user should be aware of at least one bacon-saving, data-recovering system restore disk. It can help you access your computer to make repairs and backups, even when it won't boot. Read More stored in one handy, easily transportable location. You now have the tools to make a multiboot CD, DVD, or USB drive. What combination of tools will you keep handy?

What is your favorite multiboot tool? Do you know of any other tools that yield similar results? Let us know your multiboot tips below!

Image Credit: Pavel Kirichenko via Shutterstock.com

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  1. William Peckham
    March 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I have used all of the tools mentioned here, but settled on easy2boot as my go-to tool for usb loading. It works under linux and windows, and allows me to boot multiple windows and linux iso images from one usb device.

  2. Phil D.
    March 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I´m stunned that no one has mentioned SARDDU http://www.sarducd.it
    It´s been around for a while now (featured in several tech blogs) and it allows to create a multi-boot CD/DVD and live usb as well. If it would support Ubuntu and Windows DVD/CD it would be perfect... Also looking at the list it looks like Multi CD and SARDU supports different bootable utilities and else Multi CD is a linux utility while SARDU runs under windows, but the final bootable CD/DVD may work in any OS...

    Other than that I feel that CD/DVDs are at some point obsolete. I know they are very cheap and still a good way to have a copy of your movies / music etc but they inevitable lose data faster than you think and are hardly reusable read-only media. On the other hand, if you can afford an external hard drive you may store all that in a lot more reliable place and even create a special multi-boot partition for all your bootable OS and tech support tools in an all-in-one place.

  3. Phil D.
    March 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I´m stunned that no one has mentioned SARDDU http://www.sarducd.it
    It´s been around for a while now (featured in several tech blogs) and it allows to create a multi-boot CD/DVD and live usb as well. If it would support Ubuntu and Windows DVD/CD it would be perfect... Also looking at the list it looks like Multi CD and SARDU supports different bootable utilities and else Multi CD is a linux utility while SARDU runs under windows, but the final bootable CD/DVD may work in any OS...

    Other than that I feel that CD/DVDs are at some point obsolete. I know they are very cheap and still a good way to have a copy of your movies / music etc but they inevitable lose data faster than you think and are hardly reusable read-only media. On the other hand, if you can afford an external hard drive you may store all that in a lot more reliable place and even create a special multi-boot partition for all your bootable OS and tech support tools in an all-in-one place.

  4. netkillercat
    February 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    tip the pendrivelinux multiple iso boot works on usb external hardrive just copy the partition to a emty partition on the external drive then right click and select flag manager and check boot using gparted make sure is in the first partition of the drive did this with out losing data i just resize and moved the original partition to the end of the drive with gparted "this will takes time if you have a big drive" like i do then i used 15g of unallocated space and copied the usb partition to it and flag it to boot booting 10 iso from it lol great tool for my tool box lol
    my english suck

  5. colarmac
    February 22, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Absolutely what I want. Thank you so much. I followed this guide to burn ISO file to DVD, but it can burn only one ISO file at a time, it really piss me off.
    http://www.freedvdripper.net/how-to-burn-song-photo-data-video-to-dvd-cd-bluray.html

  6. maccolar
    February 22, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Nice guide, it's really useful for me. I used to use this DVD Burner to burn ISO file, it can burn one ISO file at a time.

  7. David Gilson
    February 20, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Thank you!

  8. netkillercat
    February 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    pendrive linux has a multiboot iso from usb http://www.pendrivelinux.com/b...

  9. David Gilson
    February 19, 2010 at 1:16 am

    I'm with Henry. This is a great post and I'd like to know how to do it for a USB drive too!

  10. Ron
    February 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Doesn't seem like there is an equivalent Windows script to create the image file, is there?

  11. SRK
    February 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Do you have a tutorial for windows?

  12. Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware
    February 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Absolutely love this post, wish I had stumbled across this earlier :)

    I second Henry's question.. would be great if that is possible.

  13. Henry
    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    This is a good one, been looking for a way to get this done. One question though. Is it possible to use a tool like live usb creator or unetbootin to move the new iso file into a bootable flash/thumb drive?