Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
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 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. 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, 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.
$ 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.
MultiCD is a great way to create a multiboot CD or DVD. However, many people now prefer to use a USB drive 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.
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:
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 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