MultiCD – Create Multiboot CD, DVD, and USB Images

Do you often install different operating systems in your office? Well, I have got a good news! Today, I have stumbled upon an interesting, and useful application called MultiCD that can be used to create Mutiboot CD, DVD, and USB images. You don’t need to carry lot of individual CDs or DVDs or USB drives when installing any OS. MultiCD is a simple script that will combine all ISOs and make a single ISO, so that you can burn it in a single CD, DVD, or USB drive. Sounds pretty cool, yeah? MultiCD is a command line tool, so you can use it on Desktop and Server editions.

MultiCD supports almost all kind of popular distributions including,

  • Arch Linux,
  • CentOS,
  • Scientific Linux,
  • Fedora,
  • Debian,
  • Ubuntu,
  • Linux Mint,
  • openSUSE,
  • Mageia,
  • Kali Linux,
  • PCLinuxOS,
  • Pinguy OS,
  • Zorin OS,
  • Slax,
  • Puppy Linux,
  • GParted Live,
  • Hiren’s boot CD,
  • FreeDOS,
  • Windows
  • and many.

Visit the following link to find out the complete list of supported distributions.

In this brief tutorial, let me show you how to create a multiboot CD/DVD/USB images in Linux. MultiCD should work on almost all Linux operating systems.

Install MultiCD in Linux

MultiCD is hosted in GitHub.

In order to get the latest version, Git clone to the MultiCD repository as shown below.

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

Sample output:

Cloning into 'MultiCD'...
remote: Counting objects: 3017, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (15/15), done.
remote: Total 3017 (delta 6), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 3002
Receiving objects: 100% (3017/3017), 921.05 KiB | 210.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (2040/2040), done.
Checking connectivity... done

The above command will clone the MultiCD repository, and save it the local system in a folder called MultiCD.

Go to the MultiCD folder, and make the script executable as shown below.

cd MultiCD/
chmod +x multicd*.sh

Now, copy the ISO images that you want to combine into one, and paste them in the MultiCD folder.

Important Note:

In most cases, you can use the original filename of the ISO and it will be detected by MultiCD, or you can use the filename in the supported distros list.

If the ISO you want to use is not in that list, or if MultiCD’s plugin for that ISO is too old to work, you can try using the generic plugin instead, which will load the ISO into RAM and boot it with memdisk. To use the generic plugin, name the ISO [something].generic.iso.

For example, if your ISO name is archlinux-2016.02.01-dual.iso, you must rename it as arch.iso, and for Linux Mint Debian Edition ISOs, rename it as mintdebian.iso. Clear? Check the supported distros lists page for other distributions.

Still confused? Well, look at the following screenshot.

As see you above, I have changed ArchLinux 2016 ISO name as arch.iso. We can leave Ubuntu ISO file name as it is. MultiCD will detect the Ubuntu Live CD/DVD ISOs without renaming them.

Now, execute the following command from the MultiCD to create Multiboot image.

./multicd.sh

Wait for few moments. You’ll see the following message when the process is completed.

Total translation table size: 2048
Total rockridge attributes bytes: 350932
Total directory bytes: 1867034
Path table size(bytes): 15572
Max brk space used 35f000
663690 extents written (1296 MB)
Running isohybrid...
Cleaning current directory...
Cleaning up - removing symlinks to files in current directory
removed ‘ubuntu-alternate.version’

Congratulations! You have combined two ISOs into a single ISO file. You will find the newly created image in the MultiCD folder.

Now, burn the multicd.iso in any DVD or USB drive, and boot your system using the muticd.iso.

Choose your OS to boot, and start installing it.

Similarly, you can create as many multiboot images as you want, and burn them in a single DVD or USB drive. When the new version of the ISO is released, just download ISO, and put it in the MultiCD folder, and run the script again to create a new multiboot image. Just be careful about the ISO name. You should rename the ISO as mentioned in the supported distros lists page. Otherwise, MultiCD script will not detect the ISO.

Summary

MultiCD is one of the must have tools in a System administrator’s arsenal. If you ever wanted to create the Multiboot CD/DVD/USB drive, it is perfect choice to try. When I was working as a Desktop engineer, I used to follow this method. I bought a large size pen drive, and created it as mutilboot USB along with all essential softwares that are necessary for a daily usage computer. So, whenever I go to a customer place, I will carry only one multiboot pen drive, and a screw driver kit in case of any emergency.

Hope this guide helps.

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Cheers!

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