Roll Your Own Multiboot USB Flash Drive

How To Create Your Own Multiboot USB flash drive

For the longest time when I do computer repair house calls, I often depended on a satchel full of CD’s with my favorite tools on them.
Some of them being ERD Commander, Ultimate Windows Boot CD, Knoppix Live, Ubuntu Live, NTpassword, and so on. I hated to have all these cd’s with me at all times.
I often thought about how to accomplish this, but always got sidetracked.

Recently I made up my mind and said the ultimate goal was to have a bootable USB flash drive with a nice menu. I fiddle with this for at least two months with little to no headway, but alas I figured out how to do it and I would like to share it with all of you techies out there willing to read my blog.

I am going to teach you what I have learned throughout this process, and I’m sure you will feel technically empowered when this is all done.

Today you are going to build a USB Multiboot toolset complete with customized boot menu ready to launch many of your favorite tools.

Are you Ready? Good, lets get started!


First we are going to need a few tools to get started.
- USB flash drive

Any USB flash drive should work. I first used a Kingston DataTraveler 4 GB. Then I later used a PNY 8 gig Flash Drive. Currently I am using this bad boy right here the Kingston DataTraveler 150 – 32 GB USB
Prepare the USB drive by formatting the drive fat32.  You can do this in Windows Disk Manager

To get to Windows Disk Manager in windows right click on My Computer and choose Manage from the context menu.
Next look for disk management. In here you should see your USB flash drive.  Select it and right click on it and choose format.

Next what you will need to do is run grubinst_gui.
Select the disk option and pick your USB drive. Be SURE to select the correct drive number.
If you’re not sure which drive is your USB drive check with Windows Disk Manager.
You should see your main hard drive as 0 and maybe your USB drive as 1, look carefully as this next step could erase your hard drive and I am not responsible for your laziness.
Read … Read… and Re-Read….
Once you are assured the correct drive is selected, go ahead and click Install.
No options need to be checked, the defaults are fine.

You will then need to copy the grldr file from the grub4dos package to the root of your USB drive. Also while you are at it copy memdisk to the root of the USB drive.
Finally finish off the install by creating a blank text file in the root of your USB drive called “menu.lst”.

Ok this USB flash drive is now bootable, so let’s move on to adding all our favorite tools and toss those cd’s.

For most of the distributions I added, I started off with an ISO version of it. I then extracted the ISOs using 7zip either to my desktop or directly to the root of the thumb drive (or you could just copy the files from a burnt version of the distro, just as long as you get the files to the root of your thumb drive).

Most Linux distros come with 2 folders: a boot folder and another folder that actually holds the meat and potatoes of the distro.

Since it would be impossible to have 6 or 7 different boot folders that don’t overlap on the same thumb drive (without multiple partitions…a route I tried to take for way too long before I realized the magic of grub) I simply renamed the boot folder to something like “bootbt3″ (backtrack3) or “bootknop” (knoppix) depending on the distro, and just left the other folder as is.

I did this at first and had lots of issues with some distros, then I read a little more about grub and realized I could boot the iso, so I will save you tons of time for some of the problem distros and show you how to boot the ISO.

Here is my menu.lst feel free to copy and tweak it. Download it here

splashimage /bgimage/yourimage.xpm.gz
color blue/black yellow/blue
timeout 120

title Hiren’s Boot CD ver 10
kernel /memdisk
initrd /HBCD/boot.gz

title Ultimate Boot CD For Windows
map (hd0,0)/UBCD.iso (hd32)
map –hook
chainloader (hd32)

title BackTrack 4 Linux Penetration and Security
root (hd0,0)
kernel /bootbt4/vmlinuz persistent vga=0x317 ramdisk_size=6666 root=/dev/ram0 rw quiet

title Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop
find –set-root /ubuntu904.iso
map /ubuntu904.iso (0xff)
map –hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/ubuntu904.iso quiet splash locale=en.UTF-8 —
initrd /casper/initrd.gz

title Puppy Linux
root (hd0,0)
kernel /puppy/vmlinuz root=/dev/rd/0 pmedia=usbflash
initrd /puppy/initrd.gz

title Gparted 0.4.5-2 Partition Editor
root (hd0,0)
kernel /gparted/vmlinuz1 live-media-path=/gparted bootfrom=/dev/sd boot=live union=aufs noswap noprompt vga=789 ip=frommedia
initrd /gparted/initrd1.img

title Ophcrack (Password Revealer, Resetter, Cracker)
kernel /bootoph/bzImage rw root=/dev/null vga=normal lang=C kmap=us screen=1024x768x16 autologin
initrd /bootoph/rootfs.gz

#this is for a space

title Restart The Computer

If you will notice in the menu.lst above, I didn’t use an ISO for every single one.
Not all distros boot well from ISO on a USB flash drive, so I had to extract some of them.

For Hiren’s boot CD I extracted the ISO with 7zip and copied the contents to the root of the USB flash drive as HBCD.
For the Ultimate Boot Cd for Windows you can see I booted the ISO. I just copied it to the root of the USB flash drive.
For Backtrack 4 beta I extracted it using 7zip and copied the bt4 folder to the root and also renamed the boot folder to bootbt4
For Ubuntu 9.4 you will see that I used the ISO
For Puppy Linux I extracted the ISO (this one was just for fun, its FAST!)
For Gparted I extracted the ISO to Gparted folder on the root of the USB flash drive.
For Ophcrack I extracted the contents to the folder called bootoph and I also put the tables folder on the root of the USB flash drive.

Here is what the Root of my USB Flash Drive looks like

Add what ever you wish to add to this USB flash drive. You can refer to my example and some of the grub manual for details on how to boot different distros.


When it comes to customizing the USB menu with a splash image, its simply a matter of creating a 640×480 – 14 color splash screen image.

This is easy to accomplish with the Gimp. Gimp is like Microsoft Paint on Steroids for Linux users. Once you have the files on your USB flash drive you can boot into Ubuntu and use gimp from there. Just acquire yourself some sort of image and place it on the root of your USB flash drive. It needs to be a 640×480 image. You can crunch the colors in gimp by selecting Image, Mode, Indexed and entering 14 as the maximum colors.
Click Convert. Save this file as a XPM, then gzip it.  To gzip it in Ubuntu right click the image and create archive. Choose .gz from the drop down beside the name of the file.  Copy the gz to the root of your USB flash drive and prepend “splashimage /image.xpm.gz” to your menu.lst file. I inserted another USB Flash Drive in and copied it to that one whilst in Ubuntu.

If you dont want to mess with all that Download mine here

Further information on customizing the grub menu.lst file for your specific distros can be found in the grub manual.

Ok now that our files are in place, wouldn’t it be nice if you could mess with it for testing without having to reboot all the stinking time?

Well…there is an app for that….its VMWARE player and its free.
This way you can test your USB flash drive in a virtual environment without having to reboot your computer. That way you can continue to read my blog.

USB-TestVM ->
VMware Player direct download ->

Tools I use:
Backtrack 4 Beta (the backtrack login is root/toor
Ultimate Boot CD for Windows
Ubuntu 9.04
Hirens Boot CD
Gparted Partion Manager
ERD Commander Now a Microsoft Product

Some of these tools are downright dangerous in the wrong hands. It would be terrible if say you were an IT Specialist at ohh I dunno… a  “college” and you forgot it in one of the computers one day, and a student got their hands on it and used it for malicious mischief. YIKES !!!

Well I have an idea for that as well.

A password can be added by obtaining a UNIX md5. This can be done from Grub by:

1. Booting up the drive and pressing “c” at the grub prompt (you can do this in the VMWARE player)
2. Typing in “md5crypt” then entering in your desired password
3. Copying the resultant md5 hash on paper, etc. ( write it down. If you cant read it because of your splash screen, comment out your splash screen entry with a #  and try again)
4. Adding the line password –md5 *your md5 here* either after the preliminary lines (i.e. – after timeout, splash image, etc.) (This will require a password to make any changes to the menu.lst from the grub prompt) AND/OR after the title of a distro (This will require a password to boot the distro) Sometimes I have had to place it right before the word boot.

UPDATE -11-20-2009
I took the liberty of creating you one in case you didnt want to do all that. You will need to copy and paste the following in your menu.lst


That is the md5 encryption for the password …..once again in case you missed it, the password is
You will want to place it at the end of your item to be booted so that it prompts you before the item is booted.
Like this:

title DBAN (Darriks Boot and Nuke, Disk wiper)
kernel /dban/memdisk
initrd /dban/dban.ima
password –md5 $1$DnF0$t0Mb7RQFOfYgaTV13mY7t0

And if you have one with “boot” in it, put it before the “boot” like this:

title Ultimate Boot CD For Windows
map (hd0,0)/UBCD.iso (hd32)
map –hook
chainloader (hd32)
password –md5 $1$DnF0$t0Mb7RQFOfYgaTV13mY7t0

This way if someone discovers your USB swiss army knife, this will slow them down a great deal.

There are many benefits to having one of these. Not only can you rescue computers, but you could also us it as a means to get on the internet while you are on vacation. Just insert the usb flash drive in one of those computers that you use in the hotel business office, and reboot into Ubuntu or Puppy Linux. This way you can securely check your banking and leave no tracks.

Sponsored Ad

91 Responses to “Roll Your Own Multiboot USB Flash Drive”

  1. zac Says:

    the memdisk link that u provide does not work could u send it to me at or repost on site please.

  2. USERBYTES Says:

    I fixed it. I zipped it up and now it will download.

  3. Vinny K Says:


    I love this tutorial but had one question:

    I see you have Ghost11.iso on the root of your usb drive but I don’t see the menu.lst entry for it. Can you tell me how you would get grub to boot this particular iso. I originally tried the following with no luck..

    title Ghost
    find –set-root /Images/Ghost.iso
    map /Images/Ghost.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    Any advice?
    Thanks for your great tutorial!

  4. USERBYTES Says:

    I have Ghost on my pc and I made the iso that you would normally make a cd with, there is an option for usb stick and iso, I had it save to a file and not burn directly. Then I added it to the menu like this:

    title Norton Ghost 11
    map (hd0,0)/ghost11.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    Hope that helps. Thanks for reading!

  5. Vinny K Says:


    Thanks for your timely response. Not to sound too silly but when you say there is an option for usb stick and iso, are you referring to a specific tool?
    I have ghost 11 on a cd and I used ultraiso to convert it to an iso.
    I’ve been at this ghost thing for a while now and this is the closest I have gotten!!!!


  6. USERBYTES Says:

    No I have Symantec Ghost installed on my computer and within it there is a Ghost Boot Wizard. With that you can create a bootable USB stick, or Bootable CD. I chose to make a bootable cd but without the option to burn it when done. Instead I took the iso it created and tossed it onto the custom usb multiboot stick.

  7. Vinny K Says:

    Thanks. Will give it a try!

  8. Vinny K Says:


    I did what you said. I created the iso from ghost boot wizard. But still no luck.
    I am using a HDD formatted with NTFS. I also tried with fat32. The problem I get is that it says:

    Autodetect number of heads failed.Use default value 255
    Autodetect sectors per track failed. Use default value 63

    Error 12. Unrecognized device string..

    Any help is appreciated.


  9. Vinny K Says:

    I created the iso from ghost boot wizard. But still no luck.
    I am using a HDD formatted with NTFS. I also tried with fat32. The problem I get is that it says:

    Autodetect number of heads failed.Use default value 255
    Autodetect sectors per track failed. Use default value 63

    Error 12. Unrecognized device string..

    Any help is appreciated.


  10. Vinny K Says:

    Got it to work. Thanks guys!

  11. Scott C Says:

    Thank you. As you stated, all too often am I needing more utilities to fix computers. I also like the idea that I can use the USB drive to keep my utilities and virus defs current with out the constant need for a stack of older CD/DVDs (coasters). I would also add, you should include Avira’s AntiVir Rescue System.

  12. Richard Says:


    I see you are using the ISO for ERD Commander. How did you set the syntax in the menu.lst file for that?


  13. Richard Says:

    Here is what I have for ERD Commander so far:

    title ERD Commander for Windows XP
    find –set-root –ignore-floppies /ERD50.iso
    map /ERD50.iso (0xff)
    map –hook
    root (0xff)
    chainloader /i386/setupldr.bin

    It boots fine, but shorting after the WindowsXP splash, I get BSOD 7B error. Any ideas of what I’m doing wrong?

    Thanks again!

  14. USERBYTES Says:

    Mine is like this:

    title Windows Vista/Win7 32bit Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset
    map (hd0,0)/ERD60_x86_WinVista_SP2.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    I too get the 7b BSOD at times and this is because it doesn’t have the sata drivers for the machine. Sometimes you can go into the bios and enable legacy mode for hdds and it will not bsod.

  15. Richard Says:

    Thanks for the reply. Here’s what I get when using that one.

    Booting ERD Commander for Windows Vista

    map -hook

    ERROR 11: Unrecognized device string, or you omitted the required DEVICE part which should lead the filename.

    Thanks again!

  16. Richard Says:

    I got it to work! Here is what I had to use:
    title ERD Commander for Windows Vista
    find –set-root /ERD60.iso
    map –mem /ERD60.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    Now I just have to find Vista SATA drivers!! LOL

    Thanks again for all your help!

  17. Jake Says:

    I’m having trouble getting ERD to work as well. I tried using
    title ERD Commander
    find –set-root /ERD60.iso
    map –mem /ERD60.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    But it first came up with
    find -set-root /ERD60.iso
    Command not recognized

    So I truncated that and now get:
    Booting ERD Commander

    map -hook

    ERROR 11: Unrecognized device string, or you omitted the required DEVICE part which should lead the filename.

    Any suggestions?

  18. Richard Says:

    one last question…as a tech, what do you use Ubuntu for?

  19. USERBYTES Says:

    make sure you have the iso at the root of your usb as thats what your string is calling for it to be at.

  20. USERBYTES Says:

    I have often used it to edit files on an NTFS drive, ftp files off a computer, etc. Its very handy

  21. Richard Says:

    Jake, I don’t know enough about Grub to really understand, but what I found yesterday is that it can be touch with case sensitivity. For example: ERD60.iso is the same as erd60.iso

    You may want to check the case on your actual filename.

    Now I have it loading okay, but my drives are SATA and I can’t get them to recognize any OS’s. So some programs in ERD will not work.

    USERBYTES, when you load ERD60, does it see your OS? Can you use programs like Locksmith?

  22. Jake Says:

    Got it working for an ERD based on a Win 7 image. Going to have to go the RAMDISK route for ERD COmmander 2005, though.

    At any rate, anyone found a reliable download for SATA drivers to incorporate into the ERD image? Boots fine and all but doesn’t detect an OS on SATA drives….

  23. Craig Says:

    Hey trying to use this method to load up various symantec ghostcast os’s so that i can use the central ghost server to push out various images. The custom made iso’s load up on multiple key singularily just fine but when attempting various coding in the menu.lst it does not boot whatsoever. Is there anything in specific i should try?

  24. USERBYTES Says:

    Post your menu.lst

  25. Brian Says:

    When I try my use my menu.lst file which contains the following with other entries:


    splashimage /bgimage/yourimage.xpm.gz
    color blue/black yellow/blue
    timeout 120

    title Dban
    map (hd0,0)/Dban.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title Restart The Computer

    I get the following error for all entries when selecting them from the menu. Note all .iso’s are on the root of the usb drive

    Booting Dban

    Map uhook

    Error 11: Unrecognized device string, or you omitted the required DEVICE part which should lead the filename.

  26. USERBYTES Says:

    try this, and make sure the dban.iso is at the root of your usb stick

    Here is an entry for an ima which is an image that you may can find on the net.

    title DBAN
    kernel /memdisk
    initrd /dban.ima

    Here is an iso version

    title DBAN
    map (hd0,0)/dban.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    Notice the two dashes before the word hook?

  27. yh Says:

    Is it possible to use the above method to load win7 and/or xp installations from their ISOs?

    Also, I tried booting Ubuntu 9.10 (ISO) via the method above (copying your bootstrings wholesale, only replacing filename in the process), no go too, got an “Error 15: File not found” msg.

    The ubuntu iso is confirmed at the root of my usb stick and the filename is exactly same as used in strings.

    Thanks much in advance!

  28. Brian Says:

    I gave that a try and get similar error. Do you know why in the error it is displaying a “u” in front of hook?

    New error:
    Booting Dban

    Map u-hook

    Error 11: Unrecognized device string, or you omitted the required DEVICE part which should lead the filename.

  29. Chip Says:

    What is the logic behind having memtest, ntpassword, and boot and nuke with their own menu entries as they are included in the UBCD and/or HBCD? Seems redundant and was wondering if I am missing something. Also is there a way of setting the path in the menu so you don’t have to have the same file on the root?
    ex. Kernel /HBCD/memtest

  30. USERBYTES Says:

    Hey Chip! The “logic” for me is I dont have to wait on the UBCD to boot. I can get right to them quickly. I guess you overthought it and missed that.

  31. amigaman Says:

    I’ve tried this in win7 32bit.
    it boots i see reboot and the file menu.lst but not the boot options
    in the file.
    then it goes to a grub prompt.
    this is on a 16gig drive.
    any help you can give would be great.

  32. Pieter Says:


    Can you tell me what the string is for installation iso win 7 32-bit and win 7 64-bit?

    thanks in advance!

  33. Jezzy Says:

    Just been looking at this and It’s brilliant, had some messing around to do though and I think maybe able to help the ubuntu issue.

    I was trying with 9.10 as it has a brilliant disk checking utility but it wouldnt work at all as per the previous posts, missing files etc.

    I extracted the contents of 9.10 iso and found the problem; initrd.gz needs to be changed to initrd.lz so to get 9.10 to work just use this (obviously making sure your iso name matches up etc)

    title Ubuntu LiveCD
    find –set-root /ubuntu.iso
    map /ubuntu.iso (0xff)
    map –hook
    root (0xff)
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/ubuntu.iso quiet splash —
    initrd /casper/initrd.lz

    Also for those who want the full menu available from Hiren you can just use this

    title Ultimate Boot CD For Windows
    map (hd0,0)/UBCD.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    Found that this command pretty much works with quite a few iso’s so testing what else I can put on, eg Acronis, Windows Installers etc..thanks for this!!!

  34. Jezzy Says:

    whoops I mean….

    title Hiren 10.2
    map (hd0,0)/Hiren.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

  35. DD Says:

    Hi all! Thanks I think this a brilliant topic. I am bit of newbee on this. Anyways I tried the bit of Ubuntu 9.10, but I get after the “map” command : Error 60: File for drive emulation must be in one contiguous disk area. What does this mean and how do I fix ? I have the iso file in the root of the usb drive. Had same thing with other iso’s.

  36. DD Says:

    Ok I manage to fix this one. See
    It refers to two utils Contig (
    and WinContig (

    never knew you can defrag iso files…..

  37. JoHa Says:

    DD read this–>

    U need desfragment ur ISOs


  38. JoHa Says:

    Hi, I need run Win 7 and Win XP installer, my conf is this –>
    title Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x86
    find –set-root /7600.16385.090713-1255_x86fre_client_es-es_Retail_Ultimate-GRMCULFRER_ES_DVD.iso
    map /7600.16385.090713-1255_x86fre_client_es-es_Retail_Ultimate-GRMCULFRER_ES_DVD.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    root (hd32)
    chainloader (hd32)

    title Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3 Corporate
    find –set-root /Microsoft-Windows-XP-Professional-SP3-Corporate.iso
    map /WindowsXPSP3.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    root (hd32)
    chainloader (hd32)

    no foud, show a ERROR on Win 7 and Ble screen on Win XP

  39. DD Says:

    I have another one: Does anyone knows if it possible to boot an iso of Win XP in this way off usb? I have tried, few times, and the process starts, but after some time I always get a fatal error showing “big blue screen of death”……

  40. Jerry Wilson Says:

    would love to be able to get Backtrack4 working but constantly get initrframs – busybox prompt that does nothing – any ideas?

  41. Donny Bahama Says:

    This is excellent, thank you! I have a suggestion for a tool you may want to add. It’s called BootIt NG ( and it does many of the same things as GPartEd plus it has disk/partition imaging capabilities similar to Ghost. It’s particularly useful for setting up a multi-boot system (*especially* if you need more than 4 primary partitions!) I copied the ISO over and added it to my menu.lst using the ISO syntax (as with your UBCD menu entry) and it works great. For Linux systems, GPartEd is a better choice for editing partitions, but for Windows systems, BING rocks.

  42. RonL Says:

    What determines whether a “root” specification is placed within some distro listings?

    What determines whether a “boot” instruction is placed at the bottom some distro listings?

    What does the line “color blue/black yellow/blue” do?

  43. Tevis Says:

    Can someone please answer the question regarding booting a Windows XP Install iso from grub. I currently have arrived at much the same problem as JoHa with a blue screen error after all drivers are loaded but before the options screen is shown. Current Menu.lst looks like this:

    title Windows xp
    map (hd0,0)/winxp.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    The Blue screen error is 0x07b. This iso worked perfectly when I burned it on a disk, so it shouldn’t be a problem there. The only thing I can imagine is that Setup attempts to read the cd, or that the drivers aren’t being loaded properly (copied to wrong place) Any help is very appreciated.

  44. USERBYTES Says:

    usually 7b refers to sata drivers not installed.

  45. lipsky Says:

    Guys! Help out with the windows problem please!
    I want to use this usb to boot multiple windows installs (xp/7).
    I’m having various problems. Can someone please explain it?

  46. Bryan Says:

    It should be map –hook and map –mem.

    you’ll get errors with you use just one -.

  47. Steven Says:

    Hi. I appreciate your instructions as I decided today to lose the cd case, or at least bench it. I managed to get everything I wanted to boot and run properly except for UBCD4Win.

    UBCD4Win boots, and makes it all the way to the Windows XP loading screen and then I get a BOSD. I am going to continue playing with it this weekend and see what I can come up with, but any advice would be great.

  48. manicmyron Says:

    does any1 know the command to put in menu.lst to boot from hard disk???????????

  49. brad Says:

    Here’s how to do it.

    title Windows 7 32-bit
    map (hd0,0)/Win7_32Home.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)


    No spaces allowed in the iso name.
    The title can be changed of course.

  50. USB Multiboot « TheITApprentices Work Blog Says:

  51. Halon330 Says:

    I am having trouble getting backtrack to work. I am using the full release of BT4. Since I don’t have any conflicting folder names I left boot as boot, and capser as casper.

    I added the following to my menu.lst


    title BackTrack 4 Linux Penetration and Security
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz persistent vga=0×317 ramdisk_size=6666 root=/dev/ram0 rw quiet


    When I go from the boot menu I get the following.


    Booting BackTrack 4 Linux Penetration and Security

    Filesystem type is fat, partition type 0x0B
    {Linux-bzimage, setup=0x3000, size=0x4760d0}
    {Linux-initrd @ 0x1f6b7000, 0x828d95 bytes}
    Loading, please wait…
    sd 3:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
    sd 3:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
    Gave up waiting for root device. Common problems:
    – Boot args (cat /proc/cmdline)
    – Check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enough?)
    – Check root= (did the system wait for the right device?)
    – Missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)
    ALERT /dev/ram0 does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

    BusyBox v1.10.2 (Ubuntu 1:1.10.2-1ubuntu7) built in shell (ash)
    Enter ‘help’ for a list of built-in commands.

    (initramfs) _


    Can anyone point me in the right direction here? Not sure why the ramdrive isn’t mounting. Is it in my grub menu.lst, or do I need to modify something in the BT4 files?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  52. Halon330 Says:

    Got it, All the references I was finding were using BT3, or BT4 Beta which looked like BT3

    I was also wanting to put each distro on a seperate partition so that I could not have to rename the dir’s and have possibly more problems as a result of the path being different.

    Below is the menu.lst statements that work!

    title start BackTrack FrameBuffer (1024×768)
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent rw quiet vga=0x317
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    title start BackTrack FrameBuffer (800×600)
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent rw quiet vga=0x314
    initrd /boot/initrd800.gz

    title start BackTrack Forensics (no swap)
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent rw vga=0x317
    initrd /boot/initrdfr.gz

    title start BackTrack in Safe Graphical Mode
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper xforcevesa rw quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    title start Persistent Live CD
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper persistent rw quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    title start BackTrack in Text Mode
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent textonly rw quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    title start BackTrack Graphical Mode from RAM
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper toram nopersistent rw quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    title Memory Test
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin

    Good luck guys!

  53. Zatanus Says:

    Hi, I need help with the list

    splashimage /zbackground.xpm.gz
    color blue/black yellow/blue
    timeout 120

    title Partition Master v6.01 Server Edition
    map (hd0,0)/PartitionMaster.v6.01.Server.Edition.iso (hd32)
    map -–hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title MemTest x86 v.4.10
    map (hd0,0)/memtestx867_mt410.iso
    map –-hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title Acronis True Image Home 2010
    map (hd0,0)/AcronisTrueImageHome2010_s_en.iso (hd32)
    map –-hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title Ultimate Boot CD For Windows
    map (hd0,0)/UBCD4WinBuilder.iso (hd32)
    map -–hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    No luck. Always in all of them I get the Error 12 Unrecognized device string. The files are placed in the root of the USB stick and the file names are ok.

  54. Michael Says:

    I’m having some trouble with the configuration of my grub on the disk. you see, when i boot up to the disk, grub goes directly to cmnd line interface. i’m using a diferent usb drive, mine’s a cruzer micro 4gb. here’s the menu.lst, tell me if you see anything funky please.

    splashimage /bgimage/USBlogo.xpm.gz
    color blue/black yellow/blue
    timeout 120

    title Ultimate Boot CD For Windows
    map (hd0,0)/UBCD.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title BackTrack 4 Linux Penetration and Security
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /bootbt4/vmlinuz persistent vga=0x317 ramdisk_size=6666 root=/dev/ram0 rw quiet

    title Memtest86 (Memory Tester)
    kernel /memtest/ISOLINUX/MEMTEST

    title Ophcrack (Password Revealer, Resetter, Cracker)
    kernel /bootoph/bzImage rw root=/dev/null vga=normal lang=C kmap=us screen=1024x768x16 autologin
    initrd /bootoph/rootfs.gz


    title Restart The Computer


  55. Michael Says:

    sry, my menu saved as menu.lst.txt
    now i have a whole new problem
    it says dev/ram0 doesn’t exist i’m not sure what this part of the code means.

  56. Sid Says:

    Thanks for this post, it works great!

    Has anyone tried to get Slax 6.1.2 to work using this method? It seems to die during the boot process as it can’t find it’s own directory to load the core OS.

    Please let me know if you’ve found a menu.lst setup that makes Slax work.


  57. Vic613 Says:


    Kindly need your advise for insert script for blacktrack 4R1 and unbuntu 8.

    title BackTrack 4R1
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /BT4/vmlinuz persistent vga=0x317 ramdisk_size=6666
    initrd /BT4/initrd.gz

    title Ubuntu8
    find –set-root /ubuntu8.iso
    map /ubuntu8.iso (0xff)
    map –hook
    root (0xff)
    kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/ubuntu8.iso quiet splash –
    initrd /

  58. Lee Whitehouse Says:

    Single most important post on the whole of the internet, best guide ever. TOTALLY AWESOME! :).

  59. Mike Says:

    Tried this with 5 of the above items, xp install, hirens, ubcd, puppy and gparted. All had some issues.

    XP Install: After final install and modifying rdisk(1) to rdisk(0) in boot.ini I got it to boot form hd but the HD shows up as E: instead of C:

    Hirens: Some of the stuff seems to work like memtest, only tried a few things but when going to the second menu and choosing grub4dos and then mini windows xp it gives a trap 00000006 exception loading windows

    UBCD: I get the same Error 12, Autodetect heads failed etc that Vinny K got above, he says he got it to work but did not say how

    Puppy: I get lupu-511.sfs not found, checked the dirctory and found lupu_511.sfs, renamed with dash instead of underline but same error

    Gparted: Goes through a lot of the driver loading etc and ends with “This Debian Live image failed to load”

    So, not a lot of luck here, any help appreciated, thanks.

  60. fernandus Says:

    This is a great write up, thank you very much, now for anyone trying to get Backtrack 4 to work and getting the dreaded “ALERT /dev/ram0 does not exist. Dropping to a shell!” This is the configuration that worked for me:

    title BackTrack 4
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper persistent rw quiet vga=0x317
    initrd /boot/initrd.gz

    I hope it helps someone. Also it’s possible to use it with persistent changes, you just need to make an ext3 partition in the usb key and name “casper-rw”. Once again thank you very much for the the tutorial.

  61. ata Says:

    what if i put:
    hirens bbotcd 13 reload v4
    win 7 64bit ultimate
    win xp sp3
    so how is the menu.lst look like??
    thx in advance!

  62. Sundar_ima Says:

    There is a script to automate above said process. Have a look at this link and this link

  63. steve Says:

    There are some typos in your password examples – you must use –md5 not -md5!!!

  64. steve Says:

    use minus minus md5

    (two minuses are coming out as one minus on this site!)

  65. Drevolution Says:

    Does anyone have a complete bootable USB GRUB. I am tire of getting around and can get it right.

    Please let me know need it bad. I want to add multiple tools to troubleshoot my computers in my office.

  66. luftiq Says:

    You can also create a multiboot usb using a tool such as Xboot. You can see how to here:

  67. Khofo Says:

    I have formated my usb to 2 partitions first one with is fat 2 GB has the hiren cd on it, i want to add a title in the menu with win7 setup pointing to an iso image into the second partition.
    here is my menu.lst

    timeout 60
    default 0

    title Boot from Hard Drive
    rootnoverify (hd0,0)
    chainloader (hd0,0)+1

    title ——————–

    title Start Hiren’s BootCD
    find –set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
    map –mem /HBCD/boot.gz (fd0)
    map –hook
    chainloader (fd0)+1
    rootnoverify (fd0)
    map –floppies=1

    title Mini Windows Xp
    find –set-root /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
    chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN

    title Windows Win7 32bit
    map (fd0,1)/WIn7.iso (fd0)
    map –hook
    chainloader (fd0)

    only the windows setup is not working, can you please tell me what to do

  68. A.c Says:

    how to change font color??
    my hiren boot only in green font and black background??
    can i change that??

  69. bootable usb anti-virus - PCMech Forums Says:

    […] Could I do something like this […]

  70. Eddy Says:

    I can not Get to work Booting Ultimate CD. I did what you told people to do. I downloaded the UBCD zip file and converted it to an ISO file. I copied the BSCD.iso file in to the root of the usb, but no luck. I got an error 13: invalid or unsupported executable format.

  71. Crazyfella Says:

    Hi there fellas, I followed this guide and got my Multiboot USB flash drive working pretty well.

    However, I had a problem with my ERDCommander2005.iso. It would start booting but bluescreen every time. I also had a problem with my ERD60 and DART_windows7 images booting successfully but never being able to recognise the windows installation on the fixed hard drive. This means the Locksmith and System Restore tools were useless (as some implied above).

    I solved the problem with ERDCommander2005.iso BSOD by extracting the files with a utility called PeToUSB.exe and placing them in the root of the USB flash drive. To be exact, this places ‘Documents and Settings’, ‘minint’, ‘bootsect.bin’, ‘LICENCE.TXT’, ‘’, ‘ntldr’, ‘WIN51′, ‘WIN51IS’, and ‘winbom.ini’ in the root of the USB flash drive. Now put into menu.lst:
    title Boot Windows ERD Commander 2005
    root (hd0,0)
    chainloader /ntldr
    The command comes from this link:
    It describes it like this:
    ‘To directly chainload the NT loader file ntldr (installed on the first partition of the first hard disk) use this command’
    This works perfectly to boot ERDCommander 2005. It also works on BartPE/WinPE images you have put together yourself. But this method only allows one ntldr-style system at a time on the USB drive, unless you want to invent some renaming or partitioning scheme for your stick.

    I also got System Restore and Locksmith, etc tools working on ERD60 by doing much the same thing. Only this time, you don’t need PeToUSB.exe. Just extract all the files and folders from the ERD60.iso using isobuster, WINRAR or similar and copy straight to the root of the USB flash drive. IE. This places boot, EFI, sources and bootmgr on the root of the USB flash drive. Now put into menu.lst
    title Boot msDART Windows 7 64bit
    root (hd0,0)
    chainloader /bootmgr

    Same deal as before. Grub chainloads, passing control to bootmgr which then boots into ERD60 environment. Same deal as before, only one such bootmgr-style system possible per flash drive, unless you invent some renaming/repartitioning scheme for your stick.

    What you can do is put ERDCommander2005 and 1 version of ERD60 (eg. Vista 32bit) onto the same stick though. The ntldr and bootmgr systems don’t interfere with one another.
    Hope this helps someone.

  72. Crazyfella Says:

    Just to correct myself, with regard to putting the ERDCommander2005.iso files on the USB I said, “extract the files with a utility called PeToUSB.exe and place them in the root of the USB flash drive”.

    That was not quite correct. First, you need to extract the files using winrar or isobuster or similar to a temp folder. Then you give this temp folder path in PeToUSB.exe where it says: “Source Path to Built WinPE/BartPE files”. Then click “Enable File Copy”. Untick “Enable Disk Format”, make sure your USB flash drive is set as the “Destination Drive” then click start.

    It works trust me.

  73. windows 7 boot screen Says:

    windows 7 boot screen…

    […]Roll Your Own Multiboot USB Tool | USERBYTES.COM[…]…

  74. Manoj Says:


    Thanks for all those information. One quick question, I like the tool MiniPE for various jobs which I use to do, I would like to add MiniPE to the the given menu lst. So will mini PE get loaded from an ISO image or has to be extracted to a folder in USB and then proceed. Please advice. If possible please let me know the menu list entries.


  75. josh Says:

    i would also like to know what Manoj asked
    miniPe & UBCD are both very helpful tools that i would like to incorporate but after many errors and much googling i haven’t stuck much success.
    could you be of assistance to this?
    thank you in advance for this wonderful guide
    please email me if anyone has some clues to this.

  76. kevin Says:

    everything is nice and all but it seems to me like an update is in order
    those date back to 2009 hiren’s boot cd is already at 15.1

  77. USERBYTES Says:

    IT the time of the post Nov 16, 2009 it was up to date. IF you would like to write for us, let us know.

  78. Syamsul 'Ulum Hasan Says:

    I am Indonesian and a complete newbie in computer matter. I would like to have a bootable UFD containg Hiren’s BCD 15.1 and Windows XP SP3 Installer (total : 2 items only). Could you guide me how to create it step by step?
    Thank you very much.

  79. Gbaker22 Says:

    Firstly great post!

    Secondly the code for WinPe can be found here:

    For BartPe this may work:

    title Bart’s PE (Win XP) (BSOD?)
    map (hd0,0)/bartpe.iso (hd32)
    map –hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    If not look here:

    I suspect this idea may have been stolen and used by this Internet Tv show :

    It’s since been turned in to a community project:

    It’s actually that show that got me interested.

    There are a number of other good USB multiboot tools at pendrivelinux which you could use to get the appropriate grub code for your menu ;-)

  80. Gbaker22 Says:

    If you add Hirens and want to use MiniXP from that follow this guide:

    Then use the code from The_Ghost on 29 Jul 2009 at 10:37 from this link:

  81. Gbaker22 Says:

    title Boot the First Hard Disk
    rootnoverify (hd1)
    chainloader +1

  82. Gbaker22 Says:

  83. Collection of Tools to Boot any ISO image from USB Drive | Moniroth Says:

    […] Roll Your Own Multiboot Usb Flash Drive […]

  84. Milspec Hardware Says:

    Hey there! I realize this is sort of off-topic however I
    had to ask. Does operating a well-established website like
    yours require a massive amount work? I’m completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new
    aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

  85. Larae Says:

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s
    new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  86. Is there a way that I can boot ISO images without needing to know exactly what the IS Says:

    […] the link you provided was exactly what I was looking for. The tinyapps link led me to this page, which did exactly what I wanted to. Thank you!!!! I'm now marking this as […]

  87. Pin2 Says:

    hi all i want to add winxp + win7 +
    hirenboot15.2 in 1 usb drive i successfully created all sapetately
    but now i want all in 1 usb stick
    please help me mail me step by step.

  88. grow lights tips Says:

    Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is simply cool
    and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me
    to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  89. ครีมหน้าใส Says:

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that
    I’m completely confused .. Any tips? Cheers!

  90. USERBYTES Says:


  91. Fix Grub4dos Bsod 7b Errors - Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7, 8 Says:

    […] Roll Your Own Multiboot USB Tool | USERBYTES.COM – Roll Your Own Multiboot USB Flash Drive. Nov 16, 2009 Gadgets, Hacks, Information. How To Create Your Own Multiboot USB flash drive. For the longest time when I do …… […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>