Create a Multi-Bootable USB Drive with Linux and Windows

Unlike floppy disks and CD/DVDs, USB flash drives are portable, easier to use, and more reliable. If you are a long time Windows or Linux user, chances are there that you would have reinstalled the operating system several times. If you want to reinstall OS, you need a CD/DVD drive. But they are slow, unreliable and many laptops don’t even have a DVD drive. But with the use of a USB pen drive, you can now create a multiple installation USB key which has both Linux and Windows OSes. This means no more separate setup disks.

Update: The latest version of SARDU also supports creating multi bootable ISO or USB along with Windows 8.

Now I’m going to show you how to create a multi-OS setup USB key.

How to Install Multiple Operating Systems from a Single USB Stick

What you Need to Create a Multi-OS USB Drive:

1. SARDU

2. A USB pen drive – Preferably 8GB or more if you want more than two operating systems

3. The necessary ISO files

4. Internet connection (optional if you have all the necessary files)

SARDU is a really a versatile tool, using which you can create not just a OS setup drive but also make your pen drive an ultimate troubleshooter. Apart from operating system setup, you can create bootable antivirus, partition tools, password reset, password recovery, and much more, in a single pen drive. You can also create an ISO and make your own multi-utility DVD or BD.

To create a multi-operating system setup pen drive, follow these steps:

1. Extract Sardu.zip somewhere, preferably where there is a lot of disk space.

2. Open Sardu.exe. If you are using a 64-bit version of Windown open Sardu_x64.exe.

SARDU

Now, you will see that Sardu has a tabbed interface and different utilities are grouped under these tabs. All antivirus tools are grouped under Antivirus tab, partition and troubleshooting tools under Utility, Linux distros under Linux, Windows under Windowstab.

3. If you want to add an antivirus, click Antivirus tab and under that tab, click the desired antivirus. If you want to add any other tool under Utility, click Utility and click the corresponding button. If you want to add a Linux distro, click Linux tab and click the corresponding button of the desired Linux distro. Note that upon clicking these buttons, you will be prompted to download the file from internet. You need not search for these files on the internet as Sardu automatically does that for you (well, for most of the files). Clicking these buttons shows a popup window. Click Yes to add it to the download queue.

tabs

confirm download

4. Click the Downloader tab and click START. This will download all selected files.

start download

downloading

5. If you also want to add Windows to the mix, you must already have the ISO of the Windows version. If you have a licensed copy of Windows CD/DVD, you can make a legal backup of it. Place the ISO in /Sardu/ISO. (You need to rename the ISOs in a specific format. Hover the cursor on the buttons to know the specific file names).

Hover your cursor

6. Format your pen drive with FAT32 filesystem and insert to a USB port and click Search USB button in Sardu, then select the pen drive just under Select USB button.

search USB

7. To create a multi-boot USB key, click the icon that appears like the following image:

USB icon

You can also create a bootable ISO image by clicking the icon that appears like the following image:

make iso

In a few minutes, your multi-operating system setup USB key or ISO file will be ready.

success

Reboot your PC, enter the BIOS of your motherboard, and set it up to boot from USB. You may want to check the user manual of your motherboard for specific instructions.

Boot Menu

Live CD

To test your multi-bootable USB flash drive right under Windows, you can use Mobia Live CD.

Creating a multi-operating system setup USB flash drive is very easy using Sardu. It also lets you add lots more options. Do test yourself and provide your comments.

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  1. Very interesting Vijay! This allows you to install the operating system, but for OS customizations – such as application installation, domain join, and other environment variables – I still prefer Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (I rarely work with Linux). Thanks for commenting on my blog post (http://garvis.ca/2011/04/12/test-post/) though… Our articles definitely compliment each other!

    • kiran
    • May 5th, 2012

    very very good

    • bappy roy
    • June 28th, 2012

    its very good soft

    • James
    • July 2nd, 2012

    Once this has been created, can other files be put on the USB stick, or will this screw up the boot?

    • You can put anything after creating the multi-boot USB stick.

    • Anonymous
    • July 5th, 2012

    Its very useful, thank you..

    • AMOL
    • July 14th, 2012

    I got problem in installing windows xp pro sp2. it always show dump error, so can you help me.

    how install windows xp sp2 from sardu

    • Unfortunately, modified XP CDs don’t work with Sardu.

    • Patrick
    • August 4th, 2012

    Hi Vijay,
    I want to put multiple Windows 7 OS on one zip. but I see a choice for only one and in the new version 2.0.5 there is even a choice for Windows 8. Is it possible to install more than one OS version of Windows 7. ex. Win7 Home Prem, Win7 Ultimate etc.?

    • Yes, if you have a Windows 7 DVD that contains these versions.

        • Patrick
        • August 7th, 2012

        Thank you for replying.

        But how would I go about putting different flavors of Win7 on the USB if Sardu only show one option for Win7?

      • Stuart Thomson
      • September 23rd, 2012

      you can install any copie of windows from any dvd as long as you have a valid key. Just click next when it asks for the key select the copy that you have the valid key for then when whe it is installed input the proper key at the sytem part of the control pannel (clcik change product key), you must do this otherwise you only have a 30 trial

    • Mattias Karlsson
    • August 7th, 2012

    cant you add support for Debian linux? :p

    • zaim
    • September 6th, 2012

    wow exactly what i googled for :)

    • aang
    • October 19th, 2012

    can i add dlc boot 2013 ? thanks.

    • I don’t think so. But you can use HBCD itself.

    • Benjamin
    • December 7th, 2012

    Hi,May I know how to put the background ?
    sample : http://mytechencounters.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/live-cd.jpg?w=300&h=206

    how I put myself’s picture ? :) can help ?

    • kasperrr
    • January 3rd, 2013

    Sir, can i use sardu for creating a multiboot sd card(multiple os) similar to a multiboot usb?if yes please be kind enough to expian the process to a layman like me.

    • Hi, You should be able to do that. Insert your SD Card into a card reader, format it to FAT32 file system, and the rest is the same.

    • Simon
    • January 24th, 2013

    I managed to create 2 ISO
    – Install_XP_pro.iso
    – Installwin7.iso

    But it did not copy these ISOs to my pen drive at all; it only copied the utilities only

    I tried to change these ISOs to Install_XP_pro*.iso and Installwin7*.iso as requested in the program but my Windows does not allow to use asterisks (*) to rename files. What should I do next?

    • Simon
    • January 24th, 2013

    I have done it now. I realise I have to open the ISO folder and insert ISO images in there. Under Windows Installer, I notice there are 2 boxes for WindowsXP Professional and WindowsXP 64. I only see one Windows Seven AIO slot but I want to do TWO Windows7 32-bit as well as 64-bit. There is a Windows Vista AIO box. Is it possible to change the name of this box to Windows 7 64 so that it will be pointing InstallWin7_64?

    • Simon
    • January 27th, 2013

    All sorted now.
    Can you please add ‘HDD_Regenerator’ and ‘PCWin_Pro’ until Utility section please?
    Regards.

    • Simon
    • January 27th, 2013

    All sorted now.
    Can you please add ‘HDD_Regenerator’ and ‘PCWin_Pro’ within Utility section please?
    Regards.

    • galihsan
    • February 26th, 2013

    Hi, I have created multiple bootable usb using sardu, and now I want to add linux on my usb too, should I create it from begining?

    or can I add new os without re-format my bootable sardu USB?

    thaks,

    • Naruto
    • March 13th, 2013

    Sir I just want to know aside from creating a bootable usb using sardu.. what else do you do know ? I mean I have a problem with my other pc.. evry time i open it it says “NTLDR is missing press Ctrl+alt+del to restart” I did it and nothing happens.. Sir can you help..
    Thank you..

    • You may have to perform a startup repair. You can google it for the specific instructions for your OS.

    • Nalin
    • March 25th, 2013

    Can I add two different Win7 ISOs (for example one english and one german)? if yes then how?

    • Adnan
    • March 28th, 2013

    thnx vijay for such a nice review and tutorial. well I’ve a question (questions).
    Can we add softwares in this usb like Hiren Cd has?
    Can we add our custom image on choosing the option at startup?
    waiting for ur reply.

    • Hi Adnan,

      1. No and yes. You can only add those that are already supported.
      2. As far as I know, SARDU works only with the original images.

    • Adnan
    • March 28th, 2013

    Vijay :
    Hi Adnan,
    1. No and yes. You can only add those that are already supported.
    2. As far as I know, SARDU works only with the original images.

    Vijay thanks for replying.
    By image I mean the background image (wallpaper), while selecting the boot option.

    • kamal
    • May 2nd, 2013

    Hi vijay.

    when I downloaded and extracted the sardu it doesn’t have the ‘ISO’ folder where u have to place in all the small ISO’s. I’ve downloaded from many different websites n all r same. do u know what the problem is ?

    thanks.

    • Try clicking the ISO icon on the SARDU interface and see what happens.

    • atish
    • September 13th, 2013

    Sardu does not work with 32 gb pen drive. I selected more than 12 gb ISO file to create a multi boot pen drive. but It doesn’t cross 8 gb data. Please help me …

    • I need to check this. You may also want to look at their forums.

    • wpeckham
    • November 4th, 2013

    Sardu is nice, but my company implemented a windows domain policy that prevents Windows from writing any removable media. I still need to be able to run antivirus and Linux install images from USB and CD, so I was wondering if there is an application like this for Linux. I want to take Windows right out of the mix altogether.

    • Arslan
    • February 6th, 2014

    sir can we use usb for storing data after burning a linux in it ??

    • josef madrona
    • February 28th, 2013

    sir what software are you talking about??

  2. Sardu

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