How to Create a Bootable USB With Various Operating Systems

Bootable USBs can be really useful if you need to reinstall an operating system or want to carry a portable version of a Linux distro in your pocket.

This type of pendrive allows you to load an alternative operating system directly from the BIOS, but it is not enough to copy the ISO image of the operating system on the USB. It is necessary to make certain previous configurations so that the pendrive can start automatically.

Of course, in addition to that, it is also essential that the BIOS/UEFI of the PC is configured to boot from the USB.

How to create a multiboot USB with various operating systems

Among the bootable USB drives are the “multiboot” drives. This type of bootable USB drives are characterized by being able to contain two or more ISO images installed on the same pendrive.

Multiboot flash drives are very practical since they let you have several versions of Windows to install on a single flash drive (for example, Windows 7, Windows 10 and Windows 11). If you are Linux fans, you can also use these multiboot pendrives to have different Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, etc.) in one place. Or you can also use the USB flash drive to have a version of Linux and another of Windows.

1- Download the WinSetupFromUSB application

To create these multiboot  USBs, you can use a well-known Windows program called WinSetupFromUSB. You can download the application for free from its official website.

The most recent version at the moment is version 1.10, which is also compatible with Windows 11. Once the .EXE file has been downloaded, run it and click on “Extract” to extract the contents of the program. Don’t worry, the program doesn’t even install on your hard drive.

Before you start, make sure that the USB flash drive you are going to use is connected to the PC and that the PC detects it correctly.

Finally, go to the folder where the content has been extracted and open the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version of WinSetupFromUSB depending on your operating system.

2- Make the relevant configuration settings

Once inside the program, check that in the “USB disk selection and format tools” section the USB drive that you are going to use is selected. Then check the “Auto format it with FBinst” box.make relevant configuration settings on your USB

As for the rest of the boxes that are checked, leave the “FAT32” format option activated if your PC uses a UEFI system instead of the classic BIOS. If your PC uses BIOS then select NTFS format. Note: UEFI systems do not support the NTFS format.

Next, click on “Advanced option ”. This will open a new window where you will simply check the “ Custom menu names for Vista/7/8/10/Server Source ” box. Then, close the window by clicking on the “X” button at the top.

3- Select the ISO image of the first operating system

Now, select the ISO image of the operating system that you are going to copy to the flash drive. For this example, we will use a version of Windows 10. Therefore, in the “Add to USB disk” field we will activate the “Windows Vista/7/8/10/11/Server 2008/2012 based ISO” box. Then, we will click on the 3-dot button that we see next to the box and select the Windows ISO to create a Bootable USB

At this point, it is important to mention that the tool is not compatible with dual ISOs. That is, those that have 32-bit and 64-bit versions in the same ISO image. If we select one of these images, the application will return an error.

4- Burn the ISO image

If you already have everything ready, proceed to click on the “GO” button. Please note that this will format the USB drive and delete any data stored on it. If there were multiple partitions they will also be deleted.burn the ISO image

Before starting to burn the ISO image, the application will show several warning messages. Click on “ Yes ” to continue.
Then select a folder to save the Windows configuration files. If you do not choose any name, the name that comes by default will be taken.
From here the recording process will begin, which can take a couple of minutes. Once completed, you will see a message on the screen indicating “Job done” (work done). Click on “Accept”.

To finish, press “Exit” to close the application.

5- Select and save the second ISO image

Now that the USB already has the first ISO image recorded, proceed to install the second ISO that will contain a different operating system. The steps to follow are practically the same, although with a small but important difference.

  • Open the WinSetupFromUSB program again.
  • Make sure that in “ USB disk selection and format tools ” the USB drive is correctly selected.
  • DO NOT CLICK on “Auto format it with FBinst ”. Don’t check this box for the first time. Doing so will format the USB drive, erasing the ISO image you just burned a moment ago.
  • Next, in “ Add to USB disk ” check the corresponding box and select the type of ISO image you want to burn this time, either Windows or Linux. For this example, we’ll be using an Ubuntu ISO, so we’ll check the “Linux ISO” box and add the Ubuntu ISO file.add to USB disk
  • Finally, click on “GO” to start recording the image.

And ready! Once the recording of the second ISO image is complete, we will have our multiboot USB with various operating systems ready. If you wanted to record a third, fourth or fifth ISO, you would only have to repeat this same process as many times as necessary.

6- Boot the multisystem USB

At this time, you only have to test the USB. Connect the pendrive to a PC. If it is configured to boot from the USB, once the BIOS is loaded, a menu will be loaded. Here, you can choose between a list with all the operating systems installed on the USB.

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