Installing multiple operating systems on a USB storage device

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On the Stick

After selecting the USB memory stick by clicking on its name, you should then click on the Confirm button in the lower right of the windos. First, the bootloader GRUB2 is written to the master boot record (MBR) on the stick. Next, the memory stick's configuration interface opens in the program window. You will see the distributions and operating systems that are sitting on the stick at the top of the window. At the bottom of the window, you will see an entry field for loading a new ISO image. If you have already downloaded ISO images from the Internet and stored them locally, then all you need to do is open a file manager and drag the ISO image to the Drag and Drop ISO/img entry field in MultiSystem. The routine immediately starts the transfer of the image to the stick. Another window will open that shows the progress for the transfer (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Instead of a progress bar, there is a terminal window that displays the individual steps of the transfer routine as it runs.

If it turns out that MultiSystem is unable to handle a particular ISO image, then it will show an error message, interrupt the routine, and stop (Figure 4). The program then returns to the input window. If the ISO image has been successfully transferred, then the operating system derivative appears at the top of the program window in the form of a small icon together with the name.

Figure 4: An error message indicates that the system does not recognize a distribution.

This is also where you will be able to see the size of the image that is on the USB stick, as well as the bootloader that is used. You can use this information to figure out whether there is enough space remaining on the flash stick for additional distributions. In the middle part of the window, gray-colored text informs you how much of the stick's memory is occupied and how much is still available (Figure 5).

Figure 5: You can go to MultiSystem's home screen at any time to figure out what is on the stick.

If various bootloaders are used, then these will automatically be integrated in the GRUB2 start menu. This lets you call the pertinent operating system without any problems when booting the computer from the stick.

In addition, MultiSystem has a function designed to let you conveniently install the desired operating system on the stick. If you have not downloaded the necessary ISO images from the Internet, you can call up a list of supported operating systems and distributions by clicking once on the Download Live-CDs: button in the Menu . Moreover, you can even filter and display these by topic with the Audio , Utility , Antivirus , and Gamer buttons. Double-clicking on one of the systems loads Firefox with the corresponding web page, thus saving you from having to find the appropriate source by yourself (Figure 6). The Back Home button at the lower right takes you back to the start window.

Figure 6: MultiSystem can also download ISO images from the Internet.


With live systems, it is usually not possible to save the user's settings and personal documents. However, MultiSystem offers an option by which you attach a persistent area. This lets you use the live medium like standard bulk memory. To do this, go to the main window and select the distribution to which you want to add a persistent memory area. Next select Add persistent mode from the Menu tab. Then you can define the size of the persistent memory in the subsequent window. The changes will be automatically saved to the bootloader. This means that the system will boot with persistent memory the next time you start it.

You should be aware that a fair number of the distributions listed do not support a persistent memory mode. MultiSystem will notify you with a special window if it is not possible to modify the system in this way.

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