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First of all I'm somewhat of a noob, but not a total noob, and then only when it comes to using Linux and not anything else computer related. I have ...
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  1. #1
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    Question YUMI + Full Install as Choices in Bootloader


    First of all I'm somewhat of a noob, but not a total noob, and then only when it comes to using Linux and not anything else computer related.

    I have studied Linux from reading online articles, forums, and tutorials and such, I just haven't actually used it much at all yet, but I really want to now.

    I'm very good at learning and following directions if they are good, properly descriptive, and detailed.

    For me I've found the best way to learn, play with, and use Linux for now is from a bootable USB pen-drive.

    I used YUMI to install Mint and a few other distros on my pen-drive. Now, from what I can tell, booting into and using a distro from YUMI has me in a "Live CD" mode, without persistence, at least with system changes. So what I've done is used Unetbootin to install Ubuntu on the drive with persistence set during the install to test it out there.

    Here's my question:
    When I boot from the drive now, I'm no longer getting the YUMI installed bootloader, but rather the standard bootloader installed with Mint from Unetbootin. So I no longer have any of my YUMI installs coming up as boot options.

    What I'd like to have is both my full Mint install AND my YUMI installs come up as option choices in my bootloader.

    Is this possible, and if so, how can I do this?

  2. #2
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    Are the directories/files from your other non-Ubuntu distributions still on the flash? That's the first thing to check if you haven't. If you have all the directories/files then you would probably be able to put an entry in the syslinux.cfg file which I believe is what Unetbootin uses. I've never used YUMI so I have no idea how it works. If you are not seeing the old YUMI bootloader menu, it may have been overwritten?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Are the directories/files from your other non-Ubuntu distributions still on the flash? That's the first thing to check if you haven't. If you have all the directories/files then you would probably be able to put an entry in the syslinux.cfg file which I believe is what Unetbootin uses. I've never used YUMI so I have no idea how it works. If you are not seeing the old YUMI bootloader menu, it may have been overwritten?
    From what I can tell, what YUMI does is create a special directory that contains ony the YUMI installed distros and all required support files. But it looks as though they are essentially maintained in a "Live CD" format and functionality.

    I think you may be on to something regarding the YUMI installed bootloader, because I'm sure at least the bootloader file would have to be stored in the root of the drive and not within the YUMI directory, so either the bootloader installed by Unetbootin has overwritten it completely, or is simply conflicting with it and preventing it from launching.


    Here's an excerpt from the programmers website,

    "YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer), is the successor to MultibootISOs. It can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. Contrary to MultiBootISO's which used grub to boot ISO files directly from USB, YUMI uses syslinux to boot extracted distributions stored on the USB device, and reverts to using grub to Boot Multiple ISO files from USB, if necessary.

    Aside from a few distributions, all files are stored within the Multiboot folder, making for a nicely organized Multiboot Drive that can still be used for other storage purposes."


    The part I bolded there probably makes a lot more sense to you than it does to me.

    Here's the link to the YUMI page:
    YUMI - Multiboot USB Creator (Windows) | USB Pen Drive Linux

    I'll have a look around at the files on the pendrive and see what I find and post back what I find out, thanks!

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    I'm going to wipe my pendrive and use YUMI to install a few distros, take a look at what directories and files are in root, and then do the full install of Mint using Unetbootin and see what if anything is changed in root afterword. I'll report back here with my findings.

    Also, if you have a spare pendrive and some free time give this all a try and see what you think. I think it’s a great idea and tool, and fun to learn something new, but I just need to learn more about it, and primarily here if it’s possible and how to run the YUMI installs and a full separate install, and then have a boot menu that gives me a choice among them all.

  6. #5
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    Contrary to MultiBootISO's which used grub to boot ISO files directly from USB
    Grub2 can boot iso files directly so what you would do is install Grub2 to your flash drive and then just copy the respective iso files to the root of the flash. Below is the output of the ls -l command on the root of the flash drive:

    boot/ kubuntu11.iso* mint12.iso* ubuntu11.iso*
    lubuntu11.iso*
    There is a grub directory in the /boot directory with all of the Grub2 files EXCEPT the grub.cfg file. That needs to be created manually and the entries must be loopback entries rather than the standard entries you see on a hard drive. An example of a loopback entry from the above flash:

    menuentry "Kubuntu Live 11" {
    loopback loop (hd0,1)/kubuntu11.iso
    linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/kubuntu11.iso quiet splash--
    initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.gz
    }
    All of the above systems boot from the flash drive. You can also use Grub Legacy to multi-boot systems but it won't boot iso files. You would need to extract the iso by loop mounting and copying each to the same directory. If different distributions have the kernel in the same location or if you have directories with the same name in the root such as the Casper for Ubuntu derivatives this will be a problem. With different distributions you can simple install the stage2_eltorito file and create a proper menu.lst and be able to boot from a CD/DVD. I've done this with a CD or DVD but haven't tried it with a flash drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Grub2 can boot iso files directly so what you would do is install Grub2 to your flash drive and then just copy the respective iso files to the root of the flash. Below is the output of the ls -l command on the root of the flash drive:



    There is a grub directory in the /boot directory with all of the Grub2 files EXCEPT the grub.cfg file. That needs to be created manually and the entries must be loopback entries rather than the standard entries you see on a hard drive. An example of a loopback entry from the above flash:



    All of the above systems boot from the flash drive. You can also use Grub Legacy to multi-boot systems but it won't boot iso files. You would need to extract the iso by loop mounting and copying each to the same directory. If different distributions have the kernel in the same location or if you have directories with the same name in the root such as the Casper for Ubuntu derivatives this will be a problem. With different distributions you can simple install the stage2_eltorito file and create a proper menu.lst and be able to boot from a CD/DVD. I've done this with a CD or DVD but haven't tried it with a flash drive.
    OK, thanks for all the great information, I will study what you've shown me here and learn it.

    btw, after reinstalling and reading more since my last post, I found out that even though a persistance directory can be created during the install process using Unetbootin, the OS is still booting as a "Live CD", which I didn't realize it was, and is defeating my purpose in using it. So now what I'm going to so is a standard full insall of Mint on my pendrive, but in doing so I wonder if I could then use YUMI to install assorted "Live CD" distros on the same pendrive, which would install those distros in their own directories as YUMI already does?

    In the end if all of this just doesn't work out, I could always just use two seperate pendrives, one just dedicated to my Mint install, and then the other just for my YUMI installed "Live CD" distros.

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    I've now learned more about all fo this, but still have much to learn.

    Unetbootin does not reformat your drive, but only installs one bootable distro to your drive and leaves all other directories and files untouched as far as I can tell. However, from what I can tell so far, it appears as though YUMI stores the syslinux bootfiles/bootloader in its own directory rather than in root, whereas Unetbootin is installing them in root. I'm now thinking that because of this, the bootloader that Unetbootin is installing is being read first because it is in root, and that is why the distro that is installed by Unetboootin is coming up, and not those installed by YUMI. I suppose there may be a way to unify them so that you would be able to choose among them at boot.

    So far the only main differences I can see between YUMI and Untebootin is where the bootloader files are placed upon install, that YUMI offers to reformat your drive if wanted, allows the installation and removal of more than one distro and manages them through its own interface, but does not have an option to set a persistence directory for the distros. Unetbootin on the other hand does not offer reformatting as an option and does not allow the installation of more than one distro, but it does provide the option upon installation to create a persistence directory.

    YUMI does have an option to reformat the drive prior to installation of distros, but it is not required. Note that one of the listed requirements for YUMI is that your drive be formatted as either FAT32 or NTFS; of course NTFS is preferred if possible.


    Here are the listed requirements for YUMI,

    "Basic Essentials to create a MultiSystem Bootable USB Drive

    Fat32 or *NTFS Formatted USB Flash or USB Hard Drive
    PC that can boot from USB
    Windows XP/Vista/7 or WINE to create the Bootable USB
    YUMI-0.0.8.0.exe
    Your selection of ISO Files"

    I believe these requirements are essentially the same for Unetbootin. It is said that if your drive is not being recognized formatted as NTFS, then you should try Fat32, being mindful of the limitations of Fat32.

    I have gotten to run a few different distros now on my drive, and they are lightning fast! I am now going to do a full version install on my fastest pendrive, which is a Patriot Memory - Supersonic Magnum 64GB "USB 3.0", which is one of the fastest, if not the very fastest pendrive currently on the market. This pendrive is testing as faster than many dedicated SSDs! That being said, such high levels of performance are not really necessary.

    I have another older USB 2.0 drive that I'm going to use YUMI to install distros on for additional fun, testing, and learning purposes, but I will likely also install several Rescue type distros on it as well!

    I see so many fantastic uses for these pendrive installs! Not the least of which is that they will provide an opportunity for newbies like myself to be able to install several distros at will, and be able to use them in full functionality, and without even having to install them on your system drive at all if you canít or simply donít want to.

  9. #8
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    You can install multiple distros with unetbootin. I have a 4GB flash with Fedora, Mint, PCLinuxOS and Sabayon. You need to use distros which do not have the same directories and/or files in the / (root) of the system. All Ubuntu derivatives I have seen have a Casper directory so trying to install multiple Ubuntu derivatives will be problematic. The syslinux.cfg file in unetbootin has entries like this for each distro: label ubnentry0. So for the second distro, you would need: label ubnentry1 changing the number for each entry. You could copy an entry from the YUMI syslinux.cfg file to the unetbootin syslinux.cfg file and try that.

    I've not used YUMI so I don't know what their boot entries in syslinux.cfg look like. You will probably have to modify the entry after putting it in the unetbootin syslinux.cfg file to point to where the boot files are if the YUMI files are in a separate directory, modify the path: /YUMI/pathtokernel. Assuming the main directory is YUMI?

    I've never tried to set up a persistent flash so don't know anything about it.

    After installing Mint to the flash, you should be able to install Live distros also. You would just need to watch so that you don't overwrite a current directory/file with a new one and will likely need to manually create entries in the syslinux.cfg file. One thing you might try is creating two partitions, putting Mint on the first and your other OSs on the second. If YUMI creates a separate directory in the / of the system which contains all the files, I guess a separate partition would not be necessary.

    Take a look at the youtube video below which describes multibooting. His examples only include one full size system (Mint) but the process should be the same.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH-khdiXqYs
    Last edited by yancek; 12-05-2012 at 03:05 PM.

  10. #9
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    That vid is really helping me to understand what you've said here, thanks!

    I'm really having fun learning this, and I hope in the end I can be a regular Linux user.

    Once I get a better handle on configuring and managing Linux, I will try and get my mandatory Windows apps working with it one way or the other, either through Wine, or through the use of virtualbox or something, but I am hopeful that all this can be accomplished.

  11. #10
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    I found that video when I first tried what you are trying to do and also found it to be very helpful, clearly explains the process. I found the process interesting as well as enjoyable, learning usually is. I've found that although this can be done with programs like unetbootin, pendrivelinux and YUMI, it is also possible to do manually with either Grub Legacy or Grub2. Once you get the basic process down, it becomes fairly easy to do. Grub2 booting iso files on either a flash or DVD is probably the simplest.

    Good luck and have fun with it!

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