Have you had need to create a bootable USB flash drive, or perhaps would like to build a USB drive with alternate operating systems, or maybe several rescue programs to have in case of emergency? Whilst there are many apps to create bootable flash drives, there are not as many that can build multi boot drives. In this guide we are going to look at one such multi boot USB drive builder that is really easy to build and use. The program is called YUMI and is pronounced "youme" and YUMI stands for "Your Universal Multiboot Installer". It can be downloaded from the link at the top of this guide. YUMI is free, requires no installation, and is very easy to use. Yumi works on all modern Windows versions, on both 32 and 64 bit.
Another really good feature of YUMI is you can put any number of bootable applications on your USB flash drive and any remaining free space can be used just like any other flash drive.
FIRSTLY A WORD OF CAUTION. With this or any program that creates bootable media, please ensure you know the drive letter of the USB drive you are using. Double check it before you commit to creating your bootable drive. This is because the drive will be formatted and being careless here and formatting the wrong drive will really ruin your day.
Start off by downloading YUMI, and the desktop is a good place for it? YUMI comes as an executable file so all you have to do is double click on the downloaded file's desktop icon to open the program. Then click "I agree" to continue.
- Select your USB drive by clicking the arrow for the drop down selections.
- Do not click to "Show All Drives" as this may lead to an incorrect choice by showing all drives attached to the computer. In fact it would be advisable to unplug any USB drives except the intended target to help minimize incorrect choices here.
- Click the drop down box arrow shown below and scroll through the programs available that are known to work correctly on your drive. There are versions of Linux, Windows installers, System tools, and antivirus rescue type programs to choose from. Because it's not listed doesn't mean it wont work either, as you can try out other ISO's on your drive using a Syslinux or Grub bootloader.
- If you don't have your chosen program ISO on hand you can click the "Download Link" box on the right, or the home page of the program highlighted in blue, also on the right. Whichever way, download the program to somewhere you can find later.
Once you've downloaded your ISO file, or if you already have it, click the "Browse" button and navigate to it on your PC.
Another handy feature is the ability to set an area on the USB drive aside where you can add extra data to your bootable app. This area is called "Persistence" and in the case of our Linux bootable operating system could be used to save any changes, and add more apps to Linux. You won't always use this, but in the case of an Operating system would be most advisable. To set this persistence move the blue slider, with the mouse or cursor keys to set a size of your choice. In the example shown below we have set the persistence to a generous 2GB.
Then click "Create"
A summary box will appear displaying your choices and selections to date. Check if all is OK, and if you need to make any changes click "No" otherwise click "Yes" to create the bootable application.
The install will begin and depending on the size of the app and speed of your USB drive may take a while.
At the completion of the install you will be asked if you wish to add more applications to your USB drive, which you can do now or later. To add another app later simply click "No" now and later if you wish to add more just repeat the steps shown above to add whatever you wish. If you want to add more now simply select "Yes" Lets see how it works?
This will take you back to step 2 above, so we'll add "Ultimate Boot CD" application this time. Double check that the correct USB drive is shown in step 1 and select the app from the drop down menu in step 2. All that's needed is to repeat the process from step 2 near the top of this guide.
You can continue to add applications or not, and your USB boot drive will be ready for use. To use the USB drive as a boot drive you will have to refer to your motherboard or system manual to find the keyboard commands to boot from USB.
If you ever want to remove apps from your USB drive, open YUMI, and follow the steps below.
- Select your USB drive.
- Check "View or Remove Installed Distros?" Note this will change to "You're in Uninstaller Mode"
- Select the application to remove.
- Click remove.
Of course if you wish to remove all bootable apps, alternatively you can always just reformat your USB drive in Windows.
Give YUMI a try, and remember any remaining space on your USB drive can be used for pictures and documents etc, just like a normal drive. Should you require any further information on YUMI, or any other computer issue please don't hesitate to ask in our forums.
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Create Multi Boot USB drives with YUMI 126.96.36.199
How to create bootable USB drives