Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO Image

multicdslogo   Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO ImageThere 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.

caveats   Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO Image

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:

setupfolder   Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO Image

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

commands   Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO Image

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!

createdimage   Combine Multiple ISO Files To Burn A Single Bootable ISO Image

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.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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15 Comments -

0 votes

Henry

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?

0 votes

Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware

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

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

0 votes

SRK

Do you have a tutorial for windows?

0 votes

Ron

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

0 votes

David Gilson

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

0 votes

netkillercat

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

0 votes

David Gilson

Thank you!

0 votes

maccolar

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.

0 votes

colarmac

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

0 votes

netkillercat

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

0 votes

Phil D.

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.

0 votes

Phil D.

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.

0 votes

netkillercat