Creating a multiboot USB stick with MultiBootUSB and MultiSystem


Under the tool icon button, GRUB settings lets you liven up the appearance of the Start menu on the stick. The window that then appears (Figure 6) displays the current wallpaper in the upper right corner. With one click, you can choose your own image in PNG format. The yellow arrows let you mirror the image horizontally and vertically (but not rotate it, as the tooltip suggests).

Figure 6: These settings affect the boot menu (Figure 7).
Figure 7: MultiSystem installs not only the Live system on the USB stick but also a few useful additional programs, such as memtest86.

Be sure to select a wallpaper that lets you see the menu text, which you can define at the bottom of the window. By default, you get blue text on a black background. The text of the currently selected item is shown in green letters on a white background. If you want to change any of these colors, simply click a color and select a new one from the palette.

You can also do without wallpaper. To do so, press the Delete icon with the X next to the preview. MultiSystem now shows you "No parking" sign. The Start menu then only comes up with the Background screen color (magenta here). You can change it as you did the text colors. The buttons with an X to the right of the colors restore the defaults. If you want to restore the default wallpaper, click on the curved blue arrow at the top. Pressing Close takes you back to the main window.

Memory Training

Because Live systems reside entirely in main memory, you lose any documents you create in them after a reboot. Fortunately, MultiSystem can, on request, switch the distributions to Persistent mode.

The tool creates an empty image file on the stick. The distribution then mounts it when launched and saves any changed or created files there – with two catches: First, the distribution must support this method; and, second, MultiSystem must support the distribution. You can only find out whether the latter is the case by creating a persistent file.

To do this, select the desired distribution and click the icon with the floppy disk. If MultiSystem does not support the distribution, you will see an error message; otherwise, you can adjust the slider to define how much space you want later for your own files. This space must also be free on the USB stick.

After pressing OK, MultiSystem creates and mounts the persistent file. Although the progress bar closes after some time, MultiSystem is still hard at work. Keep the text window open and wait until the main window reappears. MultiSystem has now created a new entry that launches the distribution with the persistent file.


Once you have configured the USB stick to suit your needs exactly, you can create a backup copy. Just change to the Menus tab and select Backup/Restore. In the new window shown in Figure 8, select the Backup radio button, click OK, and then look for a location for the backup. MultiSystem then stores the complete contents of the stick in a .img file. To restore your backup later to a (new) USB stick, start MultiSystem again, access the Menus tab, select Backup/Restore, choose Restore, and select the .img file. Now there is no turning back: MultiSystem overwrites the entire USB stick.

Figure 8: The backup feature in MultiSystem is also ideally suited for creating several copies of a USB stick.

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