YUMI Multibootable Drive — Overview

I had recently installed multiple “live” operating system CDs (in ISO form) onto a single 32GB USB jump (a/k/a thumb, flash, stick) drive.  I had used YUMI for this purpose.  This YUMI setup ran into problems, however, and had to be redone.  I did consider trying something other than YUMI, but ultimately decided it was probably as good as, or better than, the alternatives.  (Note:  later learning about EasyBCD suggested that it might be comparable to YUMI for some purposes. I also had a good experience using XBoot to create a multiboot DVD disc and also, potentially, a bootable USB drive.)

Having already provided a detailed writeup of the YUMI process in the previous post, I decided to focus this post on an overview of the YUMI situation as I encountered it.  The basic idea was that I would collect or create ISOs for each of the operating systems (e.g., Windows, Linux) or tools (e.g., DBAN, GParted, Acronis) that I wanted to install on that USB jump drive.  It appeared best not to change the names of the ISOs, if I was downloading them as ISOs, and to name them without spaces, if I was creating them (from e.g., a CD, using e.g., ImgBurn).  I would then start YUMI and go through the same steps for each such ISO, choosing it from a list or adding it as an Unlisted ISO, and YUMI would add them to its collection there on the jump drive.

I’d had mixed luck with some of the ISOs that I had attempted to install, as described in the previous post.  At this point, my list consisted of three flavors of Linux (i.e., Ubuntu (32-bit, for maximum flexibility), Precise Puppy, and Knoppix Maxi), one working antivirus program (i.e., Bitdefender) and one or two to be tried (i.e., Avira and/or F-Secure), four partition editors (i.e., GParted, Partition Wizard, PING, and Parted Magic), two drive imaging programs (i.e., Acronis (not free) and Macrium Reflect Free), three system recovery programs (i.e., Redo Backup and Recovery, Rescatux, and Trinity Rescue Kit), several hard drive diagnostic tools (for Samsung, Hitachi, Seagate, and Western Digital drives, and also MHDD), two memory diagnostic programs (i.e., MemTest86+ and Microsoft Windows Memory Diagnostic, several Windows 7 variations (i.e., the 32- and 64-bit system repair CDs, and a full Windows 7 64-bit DVD), two isolated terminal programs (i.e., U.S. DOD LPS and, with YUMI, Webconverger), and a handful of miscellaneous programs (i.e., FreeDOS (Balder), DBAN, Hardware Detection Tool, and Ophcrack).  There was still quite a bit of redundancy in this list.  I figured that additional experience would help me to narrow it down further.

I had decided I wanted to try to keep the list to 16GB for now.  It had occurred to me that it could be handy to have a backup or a copy to take along with me, and at present I had only one 32GB and one 16GB USB drive.  So I figured I would install the programs on the 16GB drive first, and then use Acronis or some other drive cloning program to copy that installation over to the 32GB drive.  It had also belatedly occurred to me that I could use Acronis or another imaging program to keep a drive image of the finished product, so that I would not have to go through the entire setup if the USB drive got corrupted.  (A simple file backup had not worked.)

In this effort, I was using YUMI  At some point I observed YUMI’s version history and saw that each newer version of YUMI added compatibility with a few more programs.  New versions appeared to be coming out every couple of weeks.  So I figured that I would probably be able to add more programs next time around, especially if I was moving beyond my self-imposed 16GB limit.

To keep the list to a total of 16GB, I excluded certain programs that had not yet worked well, or at all, or that I did not presently think I would need.  These included Kaspersky antivirus, Webconverger, UBCD, UBCD4Win, Windows XP, Super Grub Disk, Super Grub2 Disk, Hiren’s Boot CD, and BootMed.

So now, using YUMI, I selected the 16GB jump drive.  It did not give me an option to format the USB drive, but I did want to start over.  I tried formatting in Windows Explorer and then restarted YUMI.  Now the format option appeared.  I selected that and also the first Linux flavor to be installed.  That worked.  I proceeded through the rest of the list (above).  The result:  13GB used.

The YUMI multiboot drive worked — partly.  When I tried to boot a machine with it, and chose the last of its menu options (“Directly Bootable ISOs or Windows XP”), it gave me a rapidly scrolling list of “Fatal!  Inconsistent data read from” errors.  I explored the solution to this problem in a separate post.  Improper formatting appeared to be the issue there.  A retry gave me a successful multiboot drive.  Later, in yet another post, I explored a booting problem that appeared, so far, to be limited to an attempt to use YUMI to set up a 2GB Philips USB drive.  A different post explored further uses and problems with YUMI.

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