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Create Multi-Boot Multi-Partition USB flash drive


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#1 VeeK727

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:41 AM

Hey Guys. How are y'all doing today?

 

Its been 2 days since I've been trying to overcome this problem and I've still not stumbled upon a solution yet. What I'm trying to do is create multiple partitions on an 8gb flash drive so I could install a few operating systems from it (win 7,8.1,hirensbootcd). I used YUMI to install ubuntu, windows 7 and Hiren's bootcd all on 1 partition, thats no big deal but I also want to be able to install win 8.1 from this drive. Because of the file arrangements that win 7 and 8 uses, I can't have both on the same flash drive so I want to create a separate partition of about 4gb to install win 8 from there. It doesn't have to be visible from windows as it can only detect the first primary partition.

 

I created the partitions using Gparted from Hiren's but I can't seem to find a way to make the second partition available for writing the iso image to it. So how do I do it? Is it possible to change the order of partitions to make second partition first, so windows could detect that?

 

Also, once I have two partitions, both with bootable iso's, how will I select which partition to boot from when I boot from usb?

 

You got any other alternatives?



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#2 NickAu

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:57 AM

 

Also, once I have two partitions, both with bootable iso's, how will I select which partition to boot from when I boot from usb

I wonder if setting the PC to boot from USB then having some sort of bootloader thats on the usb stick take over giving you optiion of drive a, drive b. etc?

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_setup_boot_loaders



#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 08:04 AM

I think Easy2Boot will let you put Win8 and Win7 installers on the same partition but not 100% positive on it.

 

http://www.easy2boot.com/



#4 VeeK727

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 06:59 AM

Quick Update: I was finally able to create partitions using BootIce. I wanted to use first partition for storage because thats the only partition windows can see by default, but that also rendered the usb unbootable. It seems your first partition must have a bootable software. I've tried understanding the MBR and PBR but I don't get it. For the time being, I'm using first partition as storage and it also has Hiren's Boot CD. Once I load Hiren, I can  boot into any partition I like.

 

But that's not what I wanted. If any of you know how to tell the computer to boot from second partition, please do share. I want to hide my tools from people. So when they plug in they would see it as a regular old drive with some files in it.

 

Thanks



#5 NickAu

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 07:10 AM

 

If any of you know how to tell the computer to boot from second partition, please do share.

I do not know if Windows can boot from a second partition.

If it was a Linux OS you would just install to the second partition

 

I want to hide my tools from people. So when they plug in they would see it as a regular old drive with some files in it.

try encryption.



#6 VeeK727

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 07:17 AM

Hey Nick, thanks for the link but that got a little too geeky for me  :P 
But thats what I'm looking for. Could you simplify it a bit?

 

 

I do not know if Windows can boot from a second partition.

If it was a Linux OS you would just install to the second partition

Where does the windows come from? Shouldn't this happen before the OS is loaded?

 

It has to be something about the MBR. Maybe I have to install grub in the first  partition and configure it to boot the second partition. Does that make sense?



#7 NickAu

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 07:27 AM

 

I have to install grub in the first  partition and configure it to boot the second partition. Does that make sense?

that may work.

 

Hiren's Boot CD. Once I load Hiren, I can  boot into any partition I like.

I think Hirens uses Grub4dos 4 thats why you can.

 

 

thanks for the link but that got a little too geeky for me

Could you simplify it a bit?

:hysterical:  That is the simple version.



#8 VeeK727

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 07:32 AM

:hysterical:  That is the simple version.

 

 

I'm an ape then. lol

Well, I'll take a look at installing and configuring Grub then. Will get back to you.

 

Thanks



#9 SteveSi

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 03:53 AM

If you put Windows installers on the 2nd partition then Windows will not be able to access it (even if you can start to boot to it using grub or grub4dos).

 

Easy2Boot will do what you want and you don't need two partitions, just one will work.

You can have two partitions with one hidden if you like though.

You make two partitions and copy the ISOs to the Easy2Boot partition.

Also add a special .mnu file which allows you to re-order the two partitions so that the E2B partition is the first one before you run the Windows ISO - this way Setup will work.

See http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/protection-and-security/


Edited by SteveSi, 24 May 2014 - 03:55 AM.


#10 VeeK727

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:05 AM

Hey Steve. Thanks for pitching in but your method seems a lot of work and I won't get the results I wish. I basically want first partition to be used for data just like any other drive. The second, third and fourth partitions would have bootable isos that everyone doesn't need to see. If you plug the device in a computer, it'll show you first partition and hence only data, but if you boot from it, you can access more stuff hidden away in otherwise unaccessible from windows partitions.



#11 VeeK727

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:26 AM

Anyways. I got it working and here goes how. Really Excited. It worked!!!

 

First of all, thank you NickAu1 for the tips. I read up a lot on Grub4Dos and I took the time understand how it works. It was worth it. For those who wanna learn how it works, I would suggest this guide. Below I'm posting the steps I took to help someone who needs something similar of a result.

 

So I used BootIce v1.3.2 which you can find here. Download Grub4Dos from here

  • Plug in your USB and it'll be detected by the software, select it.
  • Click on Parts Manager, then Re-partitioning. You'll get a window to select which type of partitioning you want
  • Select USB-HDD Mode (Multi partitioning) to create multiple partitions on the drive.
  • There are a lot of options but you don't need to mess with all of them. You can have upto 4 logical partitions and the fourth partition cannoot be zero. So if you want 2 partitions, you select the size of 1st and remaining size will go to 4th option. Note that even if the partition is numbered at 4 in the software, it'll be the second partition according to the bios and bootloaders (assuming you made 2 partitions)
  • Choose Fat32 or NTFS as your file system on the partitions and thats pretty much all you need. Go ahead and partition it.
  • After the partitioning is done, you will see the partitions in the Parts manager. Close it for now.
  • Back in the Main Menu, Click Process MBR and Process PBR and Install Grub4Dos on both. (Pick the same version at both places). Now you have Grub4Dos installed in the MBR and PBR of your usb. You can backup your old MBR and PBR if you wish so.
  • Now open up your Grub4Dos folder and copy grldr and menu.lst file to any partition on your usb. If it doesn'w work, move them to Partition 1. You can hide these files later.
  • The only thing remaining now is to configure menu.lst to boot different partitions. Use this code to do so:
  • title Boot Partition 2
    root (hd0,1)
    chainloader (hd0,1)+1
    

    I'm assuming you know how this code works. If you don't, use the link above to read up on it.

That's it. You are done. Test it out. Clicking on Boot Partition 2 should boot the second partition of first hard drive.

Enjoy


Edited by VeeK727, 25 May 2014 - 03:31 AM.


#12 NickAu

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:40 AM

Hi VeeK727 I am glad to hear it worked.

I am also happy to see that you read up and took the time to understand grub, It's realy not that hard is it?  The added benifit of this is that now you understand how a pc boots, how the MBR and Grub work .

You have now taken your first step as a geek, When convention said no you cant do that , You went out and found a way to do it anyway.  Remember that next time somebody says it cant be done.

Now just think what you can do with Linux, You seem smart to me and will grasp it fast. Have fun.

 

Nice work on the tutorial too.

 

Nick

 

 

I'm an ape then. lol

Not .

 

 

I'm assuming you know how this code works

Whats code? :crazy: .

Look who went from "this is too geeky for me" to "I'm assuming you know how this code works"


Edited by NickAu1, 25 May 2014 - 04:16 AM.


#13 SteveSi

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:24 AM

Hey Steve. Thanks for pitching in but your method seems a lot of work and I won't get the results I wish. I basically want first partition to be used for data just like any other drive. The second, third and fourth partitions would have bootable isos that everyone doesn't need to see. If you plug the device in a computer, it'll show you first partition and hence only data, but if you boot from it, you can access more stuff hidden away in otherwise unaccessible from windows partitions.

Hi Veek727

Sorry to dampen your spirits, but now you have made a multipart grub4dos (note grub4dos NOT grub which is a different thing!) drive, you need to actually put payload files on it.

 

You originally stated that you wanted to install Windows from the drive. If you try this, you will find that although it will boot to Windows Setup, if you actually go any further, you will get a 'Windows requires a CD\DVD drive driver' message. This happens if booting from ISO or from a flat-file (extracted) partition.

 

This is because (as I tried to explain in my previous post and as you well know), Windows can only see the first partition on a USB Removable-type drive.

 

Even if you used a USB HDD, you would have a problem if you have more than one Windows installer on more than one partition. What Setup does once it has booted to WinPE is to look for any Volume in the system which contains a \sources folder which contains both Setup.exe AND install.wim or install.esd or install.swm. It will use the FIRST volume that it finds - so if you have 3 partitions on a USB HDD, Setup will always find the first volume with install.wim in it and never use the install.wim on the  2nd volume (so if you had Win7 on ptn 2 and win 8 on ptn3 and you booted from ptn  3, Setup would find the install.wim on ptn 2 and use that!).



#14 VeeK727

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 08:42 AM

Thanks Nick. I knew how a pc boots, I just never gave it a deep thought. And I've used Slacko puppy in the past. Your final comment made me laugh on myself. BTW are you a teacher? I think you are a teacher. Thanks man.

 

Steve, I am not sure about if it works or not. I guess I'll give it a test run on a spare hdd. I dont have Win 8 but I'll try win XP and Win 7 on different partitions. Do you know of a workaround to the problem? Just to be clear, I dont want to boot windows from flash drive, I want to install it.



#15 SteveSi

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

You will be OK if USB HDD and XP + Win7 (assuming you have an XP installer that works - e,g WinSetupFromUSB which has DPMS support for SATA (copied from Easy2Boot)).

Look at my website www.rmprepusb.com for lots of articles on Win install + grub4dos.

 

P.S. You will find it a lot less painful if you just use Easy2Boot (but maybe not learn as much!).


Edited by SteveSi, 25 May 2014 - 09:07 AM.





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