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Guide to multi-boot USB stick - - different look at memory


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Old 14-09-2010, 10:26 AM   #1
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Guide to multi-boot USB stick

Okay so you need to start by grabbing the Microsoft Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool,

This tool will initially copy a windows 7 iso to your USB stick and give you a base to build a multi bootable USB stick.

Preparing your USB stick

To make a copy of your Windows 7 ISO file: (taken from

1. Click the Windows Start button, and click Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool in the All Programs list to open the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.
2. In the Source File box, type the name and path of your Windows 7 ISO file, or click Browse and select the file from the Open dialog box. Click Next.
3. Select USB Device to create a copy on a USB flash drive or select DVD disk to create a copy on a DVD disk.
4. If you are copying the file to a USB flash drive, select your USB device in the drop-down list and click Begin copying. If you are copying the file up to a DVD, click Begin burning.

Stripping your USB stick

Now you can go and install windows 7 from your USB stick if you want, but what we want to do is strip it back and load all our iso/wim images directly on there for a multi-boot usb

Go to your usb and delete the following files/directories:

The only files that you should have left are the boot direction and the bootmgr and bootmgr.efi, this it he base you need to multiboot with BCD

Grab EASYBCD version 2.0.2 or greater

Install neosmart and then make a folder on your usb stick called ISO, if you have isos such as memtest, damn small linux, linux password reset tool, maybe something like ultimate boot cd and even windows xp iso, then drop them all in here.

Adding your content

For content such as Windows PE and Windows 7 installers, you need to open your iso file in either winrar or poweriso and extract the boot.wim located under the sources directory. The boot.wim contains all the 'content' the rest of the file structure is there just to load the boot.wim, and because we already have that on our freshly setup usb stick, we dont need any of that extra content.

When you have extracted a boot.wim, rename it to something meaningful, for example the windows 7 pe boot.wim I have just extracted, I have named it w7pe.wim, then copy it to your iso directory on the usb stick. Do this and repeat for any other wim you might want to boot.

Building the menu

Now we need to open EasyBCD, with EasyBCD we can manipulate the BCD, this is the Windows 7 boot loader and a very powerful bootloader, capable of booting VHD (virtual harddisk), iso and wim.

Go to
1. "File" menu, click "select store"
2. Navigate to your USB stick
3. Select the "BOOT" directory
4. Select "BCD"

Now you have selected the BCD store on your USB stick instead of on your own system (if you are running Vista or 7 that is).

First lets get rid of the legacy entry called Windows Setup. Go to "Edit Boot Menu" and select the "Windows Setup" entry, click delete. Now you have a fresh BCD store on the USB stick.

Go to "Add New Entry" on the left hand menu, now we will add a new entry. In this screen I generally ignore the top box marked "Operating Systems" and work exclusively in "Portable/External media"

1. Depending if you want to add a WIM file or a ISO select the appropriate option from the "Portable/External Media" menu,
"WinPE" for wim files
"ISO Boot" for isos

2. In the "Path:" selection navigate to your USB, the iso folder and and your wim/iso file.

3. In "Name:" give it any name you want, this is what you will see in the boot menu.

4. Click add.

You have added an entry to the EasyBCD menu, its that easy. Please repeat the step for each wim/iso you want to add.

The last step

There is one last step before you are home free if you have used an ISO file. When you just added the iso/wim file in the previous step, you have to specify a drive letter of the usb. When you plug this into different computers, the usb stick might not always get the same drive letter, so we need to tell BCD to look at the [boot] device instead of a specific drive. To do that we follow the next step. Remember you don't need to do this if you have used a WIM file.

1. Click "Advanced Settings" from the left hand menu.
2. In the "Pick an entry form the list below to tweak" menu select one of the items you just added.
3. Under the "Basic" tab, change "drive" to "BOOT"
4. Click Save Settings

Repeat this step for all of the iso/wim files you added.

You are done, the multi-boot usb is complete. Of course you can use easybcd to rearrange the order, add Linux/Windows iso and wim. A good tip is to backup your BCD file on the usb by copying it to another file on a regular basis, sometimes EasyBCD can corrupt this file and you would then need to repeat the whole process again.

If you really want to have some fun you can take a win98se iso, that we all use for flashing motherboard/vga bios. Edit the boot loader in that to navigate to a path in your usb stick, so when you select your win98se option from your BCD menu, you are dropped into the appropriate directory with doskey loaded.

Things like this take time to setup, but if you are a heavy overclocker or in a support environment and use them all the time it is worth the trouble.

Taking it a little further

Now if you want to leverage the power of Windows 7 PE to do your imaging you need to get a copy of windows 7 PE and grab its boot.wim for your multi-boot usb. WIndows 7 pe is very powerful offering a windows like interface that can be booted off usb, drivers loaded on the fly and applications like acronis disk director, true image and ghost sitting on top of that. In affect it doesn't matter if acronis doesnt have the latest drivers, as long as you have them, you can load them in your PE environment. I recommend looking at the W7 RescuePE project, it seems to be the best 7 PE.

Here is one I prepared earlier!

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Old 14-09-2010, 11:01 AM   #2
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nice guide - been looking for a way to do this for a while.
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Old 14-09-2010, 04:13 PM   #3
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sweet multi-boot too always wanted to do that and just got some new usb drives for this too

thanks James
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Old 15-09-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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nice man
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Old 16-09-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
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i found this useful to make a quick USB bootable acronis stick
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Old 17-09-2010, 10:54 AM   #6
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nice man, i am glad you got a solution that works for you!
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Old 21-10-2010, 12:38 PM   #7
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btw guys if you modify your ISO to include latest hotfixes or vlite it or whatever windows USB DVD tool will not work. You will get an error message saying this

"The selected file is not a valid ISO file. Please Select a valid ISO file and try again"

There is an easy fix for that.

Use PowerISO


Open your iso file in poweriso(full version)
Go to File>File properties
Check UDF box
Press ok
Save your file
Now use this Windows 7 USB DVD tool!!
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Old 23-10-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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wow dino haha well done thats a good tip
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bootable usb, multi-boot usb drive, multiboot, usb, win7 pe, windows multi boot, winpe

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