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USB Linux Howto: Adding Another Distribution 7 October, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Backtrack, Linux, Live Disk, Live Linux, Live Usb, Puppy Linux.
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You should already have a bootable USB stick with a Linux distribution. The non destructive method uses a tool called “Syslinux” to boot up. You can modify the settings to boot multiple Linux distributions, and use other tools.

There should be file called “syslinux.cfg” on your USB stick. It will be on the root of the drive or in boot/syslinux. It should have something like this in it:

default vmlinuz initrd=initrd.gz ...

Change this to match this format:

LABEL default
KERNEL vmlinuz
APPEND initrd=initrd.gz ...

Next, copy everything from a Live cd or an extracted .iso file (using winrar or another program that can extract an .iso file) your USB stick. Copy everything inside the file isolinux.cfg and paste it at the bottom of syslinux.cfg. Now, in order to allow you to choose what to boot, add to the top of syslinux.cfg

DEFAULT default
PROMPT 1
TIMEOUT 150

This will give you a choice of what to boot when you boot off your USB stick, and will boot the default after a time of 15 seconds.You’ll need to type the label of each Linux distribution at the prompt. Make sure you set the distributions with obvious labels. It may be helpful to set the labels to numbers. Additionally, you can display information when you boot up off your USB stick. To do so, create a file called Menu.txt saying something like this:

Booting off USB
Choose one of the following:
1 - Puppy Linux (default)
2 - Backtrack
Press Enter to boot the default.

Then edit the top of syslinux.cfg, adding this:

DISPLAY Menu.txt

If you want to move any files, change the information in syslinux.cfg to reflect this.

Back to USB Linux Howto

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Comments»

1. Joey - Web Technologist - 10 October, 2008

Excellent tutorial. To the point, not too much information but still enough that even a total newbie could figure it out. Good work!

2. aronzak - 10 October, 2008

Thanks. I’ve tried to make it simpler to follow.


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