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Multiboot USB Drive Using Syslinux

To make a multiboot USB drive using syslinux as a bootloader:
1. Format your USB drive and install syslinux. Syslinux can be download from The syslinux.exe is in the /win32 folder
syslinux [usb drive letter]:
2. Create a file named syslinux.cfg on the root of usb drive
the syslinux.cfg contains all the boot options. see for how to use.
To add a dos floppy image add the following lines to syslinux.cfg:
label dos
kernel memdisk
append initrd=dos.ima
- then also copy the memdisk file from the syslinux download.
To add XP PE2USB as described in thread :
- add the following lines to syslinux.cfg:
label XP
kernel pe2usb.bss
- copy the file pe2usb.bin from
- rename pe2usb.bin to pe2usb.bss * very important, this tells syslinux it is a Boot sector and to patch in the DOS superblock.
- then build bart pe2usb as normal on the usb drive. * PE2USB will overwrite the syslinux boot sector, so will need to run syslinux [usb drive letter]: again.
- If you recieve “Invalid System Disk” or similar error when booting you need to:
+ Copy the pe2usb.bin to the usbdrive bootsector using bart’s mkbt utility: mkbt -x pe2usb.bin x:
+ Reinstall syslinux: syslinux [usb drive letter]:
To add boot XP directly from USB drive as described in thread
- make a disk image using winimage and add only the three boot files, boot.ini (last line doubelt), ntldr and start memdisk with this image.
-save image as xp.ima on root of usb drive
label XPPE
kernel memdisk
append xp.ima
- then build as described in thread.
* PE2USB will overwrite the syslinux boot sector, so will need to run syslinux [usb drive letter]: again.
*linux rescue / utility boot options can also be added in. From my one USB drive I can boot Dos, XPPE, Linux.
If this process seems clumsy you can use Multiboot USB Software to make a bootable USB. You can also use multiboot usb to make Windows Vista/7 Install Disk from your DVD ISO file.
Here are few add on script for menu.lst
# create filesystem on usb pen
sudo mkfs.vfat -n ${VOLUME} ${DEVICE}1
# mount usb
mount ${DEVICE}1 /mnt/
# install grub2 on usb pen
grub-install –no-floppy –root-directory=/mnt ${DEVICE}
# create grub config
cat <<EOF> /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg
menuentry “Ubuntu Live 9.10 32bit” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso noeject noprompt –
initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz
menuentry “Ubuntu Live 9.10 64bit” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/boot/iso/ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso noeject noprompt –
initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz
menuentry “Grml small 2009.10″ {
loopback loop /boot/iso/grml-small_2009.10.iso
linux (loop)/boot/grmlsmall/linux26 findiso=/boot/iso/grml-small_2009.10.iso apm=power-off lang=us vga=791 boot=live nomce noeject noprompt –
initrd (loop)/boot/grmlsmall/initrd.gz
menuentry “tinycore” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/tinycore_2.3.1.iso
linux (loop)/boot/bzImage –
initrd (loop)/boot/tinycore.gz
menuentry “Netinstall 32 preseed” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/mini.iso
linux (loop)/linux auto url= locale=en_US console-setup/layoutcode=de netcfg/choose_interface=eth0 debconf/priority=critical –
initrd (loop)/initrd.gz
menuentry “debian-installer-amd64.iso” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/debian-installer-amd64.iso
linux (loop)/linux vga=normal –
initrd (loop)/initrd.gz
menuentry “BackTrack 4″ {
linux /boot/bt4/boot/vmlinuz BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent rw vga=0×317 –
initrd /boot/bt4/boot/initrd.gz
menuentry “Memory test (memtest86+)” {
linux16 /boot/img/memtest86+.bin
menuentry “BackTrack ERR” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/bt4-pre-final.iso
linux (loop)/boot/vmlinuz find_iso/filename=/boot/iso/bt4-pre-final.iso BOOT=casper boot=casper nopersistent rw vga=0×317–
initrd (loop)/boot/initrd.gz
menuentry “XBMC ERR” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/XBMCLive.iso
linux (loop)/vmlinuz boot=cd isofrom=/dev/sda1/boot/iso/XBMCLive.iso xbmc=nvidia,nodiskmount,tempfs,setvolume loglevel=0 –
initrd (loop)/initrd0.img
menuentry “” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/netbootme.iso
linux16 (loop)/GPXE.KRN
menuentry “debian installer amd64 netboot XEN pressed” {
linux /boot/debian/linux auto preseed/url= console-setup/layoutcode=de netcfg/choose_interface=eth0 debconf/priority=critical –
initrd /boot/debian/initrd.gz
# create iso directory
mkdir /mnt/boot/iso
# download images
# Ubuntu Live 9.10 32bit
# Ubuntu Live 9.10 64bit
# grml
# tinycore
# netinstall
# xbmc
# debian
# umount
umount /mnt/
# test
# debian
menuentry “debian-502-amd64-netinst.iso” {
loopback loop /boot/iso/debian-502-amd64-netinst.iso
linux (loop)/install.amd/vmlinuz vga=normal –
initrd (loop)/install.amd/initrd.gz
menuentry “debian installer amd64 netboot” {
linux /boot/debian/linux auto=true priority=critical vga=normal –
initrd /boot/debian/initrd.gz
# update debian installation files (/mnt/boot/debian/
# links

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