How To Create Multiboot USB Drives With Ventoy In Linux
Ventoy is a free, open source and cross-platform program to create multiboot USB drives. You don’t need to format your USB devices over and over. Just create a bootable USB drive once and add as many as ISOs you want in future. Ventoy will automatically create the menu entries for the newly added ISOs and add them to the boot menu. Once you created the multiboot USB, boot your system with the USB drive, select the ISO you want to load and start using it in no time. It is that simple!
Ventoy ships with dozens of useful features as listed below.
- Very easy to install and use.
- Fast (limited only by the speed of copying iso file).
- You don’t need to extract the ISOs. Just boot from the ISO file directly.
- It supports Legacy + UEFI.
- Supports UEFI Secure Boot.
- You can create bootable drives with ISO files larger than 4GB.
- Almost all type of OSes are supported. The developer claims more than 200 ISO files have been tested with Ventoy.
- Auto installation supported. Meaning – you can add your template or script for unattended deployment. For instance, kickstart script for Redhat/CentOS, autoYast xml for SUSE, preseed script for Debian. Put a script or template in the USB drive and tell ventoy to use it for unattended installation. You can also update these scripts at any time. No need to create a new ISO file, just use the original ISO.
- Read-only to USB drive during boot.
- The normal usage of USB drives is unaffected. Meaning – you can use the USB drives for other purposes (E.g. File copy)
- Upgrade Ventoy when a new version is available without recreating the bootable USB drive again. Data nondestructive during version upgrade.
- No need to update Ventoy when a new distro is released.
- To add a new OS, just copy/paste the ISO into the USB drive. No need to start all over again.
- Supports Memdisk mode. On some machines the ISOs may not load. In such cases, you can use Memdisk mode. In this mode, Ventoy will load the whole ISO file into memory and then boot it.
- Plugin Framework.
- Native boot menu style for Legacy & UEFI.
- Cross-platform. It supports Linux and Windows.
- Free and Open source!!
Create Multiboot USB Drives With Ventoy In Linux
First, you need to find your USB drive name. Refer the following guide to learn different ways to find disk drive details in Linux.
I am going to use fdisk command to find my USB drive details:
$ sudo fdisk -l
[...] Disk /dev/sdc: 14.54 GiB, 15597568000 bytes, 30464000 sectors Disk model: Cruzer Blade Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x4d924612
As you can see, my USB drive name is /dev/sdc.
Next, download the latest Ventoy script from the releases page. As of writing this guide the latest version was 1.0.10.
Go to the location where you downloaded the script and extract it. I have extracted it in a folder named “ventoy” in Desktop. Cd into the Ventoy directory:
$ cd ventoy
Now, run the following command to create multiboot USB drive:
$ sudo sh Ventoy2Disk.sh -I /dev/sdc
Replace /dev/sdc with your USB drive name.
You will be prompted to confirm the USB bootable creation process. Double check the USB drive name and type Y and press ENTER to continue:
*********************************************************** * Ventoy2Disk Script * * longpanda [email protected] * *********************************************************** Disk : /dev/sdc Model: SanDisk Cruzer Blade (scsi) Size : 14 GB Attention: You will install Ventoy to /dev/sdc. All the data on the disk /dev/sdc will be lost!!! Continue? (y/n)y All the data on the disk /dev/sdc will be lost!!! Double-check. Continue? (y/n)y Create partitions on /dev/sdc ... Done mkfs on disk partitions ... create efi fat fs ... mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24) success mkexfatfs 1.3.0 Creating... done. Flushing... done. File system created successfully. writing data to disk ... sync data ... esp partition processing ... umount: /home/sk/Desktop/ventoy/tmp_mnt: target is busy. rm: cannot remove './tmp_mnt': Device or resource busy Install Ventoy to /dev/sdc successfully finished.
After a few seconds, the multiboot USB drive will be created. The above command will create two partitions. You can verify it with fdisk command:
Disk /dev/sdc: 14.54 GiB, 15597568000 bytes, 30464000 sectors Disk model: Cruzer Blade Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x9f2f0556 Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/sdc1 2048 30398463 30396416 14.5G 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT /dev/sdc2 * 30398464 30463999 65536 32M ef EFI (FAT-12/16/32)
Now copy the ISO files in the first partition. You will see this first partition only in your file manager.
Alternatively, go to the location where you saved ISO files and copy all ISO files from command line with rsync like below:
$ rsync *.iso /media/$USER/ventoy/ --progress -ah
Please note that in some Linux distros, the USB might be mounted under /run/media/ location.
Done! We have just created multiboot USB drive with Ventoy.
Boot your system with USB drive and you will be pleased with the Ventoy boot menu:
Choose the OS that you want to boot and hit ENTER to load it!
Here is the short visual demo of multiboot USB flash drive created with Ventoy:
Cool, isn’t it? Indeed!
If you want to boot the USB in Oracle Virtualbox, refer the following guide:
Load ISO images to RAM
Like I already mentioned, the ISO images may not boot in some machines, especially in Legacy BIOS mode. Here is where Memdisk mode comes in help. When Memdisk mode is enabled, Ventoy will load the whole ISO image file into memory and boot it from there.
To enable Memdisk mode, press F1 key before selecting the OS. You will see the notification on the top right corner when the Memdisk mode is enabled.
Now the ISO will be loaded to memory:
To switch back to normal mode, press F1 key again.
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Believe or not, Ventoy is one of the easiest, quickest and ingenious tool ever I have used to create a multiboot USB flash drives. It just works out of the box! Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!