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Old 11-05-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

Hiya folks

At work, we install a lot of different operating systems on computers, both for use within the school and for staff members' personal computers. In order to make things easier, we want to be able to create a USB pendrive that contains all of the operating systems we want to use and some form of menu to start the installation of each. The problem is, I've not been able to find guides that explain how to do exactly what we want. The operating systems that would be going on this are:

Windows XP Home OEM
Windows XP Pro OEM
Windows Vista Home Premium OEM (32-bit)
Windows Vista Business (32-bit)
Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit)
Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)
Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)
Windows 7 Professional (32-bit)
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Ubuntu 9.10 (32-bit)
Ubuntu 9.10 (64-bit)

We have the CD/DVDs for all of these, but we don't like wasting consumables by writing multiple CDs (and of course they get scratched easily) and they fill up a lot of space when they're in those CD wallet things. Plus, my experience with installing from USB drives has been quite positive and seemed to go much faster than installing from CDs and DVDs.

Now, there are a lot there, but we have drives big enough. I know that I could use WAIK if I was only going to put Vista and 7 but as far as I am aware I can't use that with XP and I wouldn't even think that there was a remote chance of installing Ubuntu that way. Does anyone know of any way to do this, or anyone who has done something similar in the past?

I know it's a little complex and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody had asked about something like this before, but any help is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Joel.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

I'm pretty sure this won't work with any of the Windows OSes due to the fact that when you partition a USB flash drive, only the first partition is usable. At least that's how it's been in my experience. If you've figured how to get past that hurdle, let the rest of us know how you did it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

Well, it's been suggested that I install GRUB on the flash drive as well to make it possible to boot each of those partitions. Whether or not that would work is something I plan on investigating tomorrow when I'm at work again.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

GRUB4DOS is capable of booting Windows, but you're probably going to run into problems when you try to have multiple partitions on the flash drive (and boot from them, no less). Good luck, though...
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

Thanks. Should I actually succeed in this increasingly daunting challenge, I'll be posting up a detailed guide on how to do it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

That would be awesome. I could really use something like this at work. Let us know if you even come close to doing it.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

I have never heard of GRUB before and have you thought about using an external hard drive because they have mcuh more space than USB's and I think would be great idea putting all the operating systems on the external hard and then you could change from one operating to another operating system and I think it would work.

Good Luck with it...
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

See 2 - How to create a USB drive that will install one of many choices of Windows OS's (Vista/Win7/Server 2008/XP) - RMPrepUSB for how to make a multi-install USB drive that works.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

Wow, nice method, I needed such, thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

If it's really working for you, then you are probably one of the few guys who would have tried it. I have never even thought that a single USB can do all the work together. But what I suspect is that it might not work because USB is actually a one partition and you can put a single OS in that. If you are dividing into further partitions, it might still not work. This is how I am thinking but the things might work differently as well.
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