There are a bunch of tools that let you load an operating system onto a USB flash drive, allowing you to boot from that drive and either run or install the OS. But most of those tools are only designed to support one operating system at a time.

Ventoy is a new tool that turns a flash drive into a multiboot system, allowing you to load as many operating system as you can fit on your flash drive. And it’s extraordinarily easy to use.

ventoy

In a nutshell, here’s how to use Ventoy:

  1. Download the application.
  2. Plug a flash drive into your computer (one that you don’t mind reformatting and losing data on)
  3. Run Ventoy.
  4. Click the Install button.
  5. When it’s done, just copy/paste or drag/drop ISO (disk image) files to your flash drive.

That’s it, although there are a few more options you can play with if you want to adjust the partition setup or leave some free space on the drive.

When you’re done preparing your flash drive, you can put Ubuntu, MX Linux, Fedora, or even Windows on the drive and eject it. When you plug it into a computer and boot from the flash drive, you’ll be greeted with a menu showing the list of operating systems.

Ventoy

Choose the one you want to run, and you’ll be taken to whatever menu you would normally see if you were booting from a drive that only had that operating system on it.

Behind the scenes Ventoy creates two partitions on your drive, only one of which will be easily visible. That’s the one you copy your ISOs to. The other is where Ventoy does its thing, automatically detecting any disk images and adding them to the boot menu.

Ventoy

Ventoy isn’t the first multi-boot USB flash drive creator. YUMI has offered similar functionality for years, but Ventoy is simpler to use and it’s cross-platform: you can run it on Windows or Linux, while YUMI is a Windows-only application.

Ventoy has been tested with 475 operating systems so far including Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, and a whole bunch of popular GNU/Linux distributions. I took it for a spin and not only is it a nifty method for loading multiple operating systems onto a single USB flash drive, but it’s also one of the simplest/fastest tools for preparing a bootable flash drive even if you only want to boot a single OS.

Although I have to say, up until now I’ve been using Rufus to create bootable flash drives, and it’s almost as easy to use, offers more options, and is still pretty quick. I’m not sure I’ll be throwing Rufus away just yet, but it’s nice to have another option.

via Hacker News

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7 replies on “Easily boot multiple operating systems from a USB flash drive with Ventoy”

  1. Brad, I took your reviews on YouTube to heart of the GPD P2 Max, mainly because I want to use Linux on it, and while I see you appear to easily boot up the unit with a Linux flash drive, I think many of us would benefit from a tutorial or article on the basics, because it’s not as easy as simply installing a Linux OS on a flash drive as this Ventoy article demonstrates. I’m told that we need a “USB installer” first (is that what Ventoy and Rufus are?), And then there is the matter of what keys and commands to navigate through in the BIOS section when booting from said flash drive – and whether it’s wise to actually install the OS or simply use it from the flash drive. Have you done any such tutorial? Are there any articles here on your site? I’ve looked through your YouTube channel and haven’t found anything yet – outside of “out of the box” experiences with Linux on the UMPCs you reviewed. I’ve spent hours already watching Linux videos by various users on YouTube, but nothing really tailored to new users and these newer UMPCs.
    Thanks for all you do.

  2. There is a lot of communication around Ventoy !
    This tool will probably get better in the futur but at the present day, after some tests, it has a lot of compatibility problems notably with Windows PE.

    I will stay on « easy2boot », I use it with iso files since 10 years and I can say that this tool is less easy to use but more powerful and compatible.

    I don’t like how e2b manage uefi isos but it changes recently… so don’t hesitate, try it 😉

  3. This is great! I’ve been using Rufus in the past, but now I won’t have to reformat my thumb drive every time I want to install a new OS from an image.

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