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Ventoy - The USB Multi-Boot Utility!

Although it is not the first of it's kind, what is Ventoy? Ventoy is an open source utility for creating bootable USB media containing multiple OS installers. This does away with the traditional re-formatting of thumb drives again, and again, and again every time you need to install something different. Once you install Ventoy to a reasonably sized thumb drive all you have to do is download the .ISO's that you need and save them to the open partition the Ventoy installer creates.

 

777948310_Screenshotfrom2021-12-1800-19-28.thumb.png.c050f831f5ffcab9ef70e41f5f1eb623.png

 

The software is compatible with a broad array of popular Windows, GNU/Linux, & UNIX based Operating Systems including but not limited to:

NOTE: Not every OS and OS version are fully tested. Your mileage may vary. Test what you need before relying on Ventoy. For a full list of compatible operating systems refer to their compatibility list linked here.

 

1. Installation

Spoiler

1.1 - Windows

Spoiler

Start by going to the Ventoy Github Repo linked here and downloading the latest ventoy-1.0.##-windows.zip release file.

 

Now unzip the file by using your choice of 7zip, WinZip, or other compression/decompression application.

 

After extraction navigate to the extracted folders directory. Inside the folder the file we want is Ventoy2Disk.exe. Double-click this executable. You should see the programs main page pop-up.

 

Screenshot_22.png.0e87736a0fb24640c59405c3ce0fd904.png

 

From here you can select or toggle options from the Option drop-down menu. These include:

  • Secure Boot Support
  • Partition Style
    • MBR
    • GPT
  • Partition Configuration
    • Preserving Space
  • Clear Ventoy
  • Show All Devices
  • Generate VTSI File
  • Non-destructive Install

From the main page after choosing your options select the device you wish to install Ventoy to. If you have multiple USB storage devices connected you can scroll through the drop down to find the one you want. Alternatively you can also insert the one you want and click the refresh button. From here click Install.

 

A warning will pop-up on screen that your drive will be formatted.

 

Screenshot_21.png.0aa4c1daed65d2ad9c4428f00a13ac22.png

 

If you're sure you selected the correct one click Yes.

 

An additional warning will pop-up to make sure.

 

Screenshot_24.png.63cfdf29979837fa3af5e6d68d96c044.png

 

If you're certain you have the correct drive click Yes.

 

At this point in time the installation will begin. When it completes you should see the following output.

 

Screenshot_23.png.9e4e0ba142739824ba51583ab83fc0f0.png

 

Additionally a folder should have opened in the background. This is the folder where you can drop your .ISO files.

 

1.2 - GNU/Linux

Spoiler

Start by going to the Ventoy Github Repo linked here and downloading the latest ventoy-1.0.##-linux.tar.gz release file.

 

Now unzip the file by double-clicking it from your downloads folder and clicking Extract or by using your distros provided CLI unzipping tool.

 

Now open a Terminal and navigate to the extracted folders directory. Inside the folder the file we want is Ventoy2Disk.sh and it's options work as follows:

**********************************************
      Ventoy: 1.0.62  x86_64
      longpanda admin@ventoy.net
      https://www.ventoy.net
**********************************************

Usage:  Ventoy2Disk.sh CMD [ OPTION ] /dev/sdX
  CMD:
   -i  install Ventoy to sdX (fails if disk already installed with Ventoy)
   -I  force install Ventoy to sdX (no matter installed or not)
   -u  update Ventoy in sdX
   -l  list Ventoy information in sdX

  OPTION: (optional)
   -r SIZE_MB  preserve some space at the bottom of the disk (only for install)
   -s/-S       enable/disable secure boot support (default is disabled)
   -g          use GPT partition style, default is MBR (only for install)
   -L          Label of the 1st exfat partition (default is Ventoy)
   -n          try non-destructive installation (only for install)

 

For example:

sudo sh Ventoy2Disk.sh -i -g /dev/sde

 

F.A.Q. - How do I locate the thumb drive I want to use?

Spoiler

In the above example command /dev/sde is the directory to the thumb drive the installer will use.

 

To locate your storage drives run the command lsblk:

NAME        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sde           8:64   1  57.3G  0 disk 
├─sde1        8:65   1   1.2G  0 part 
└─sde2        8:66   1   3.9M  0 part 
nvme0n1     259:0    0 953.9G  0 disk 
├─nvme0n1p1 259:1    0   512M  0 part /boot/efi
└─nvme0n1p2 259:2    0 953.4G  0 part /run/timeshift/backup

This system only has one thumb drive connected so it's easy to distinguish from other storage drives on the system.

 

One thing you have to make sure of is that the drive is not mounted. To un-mount the drive use the command:

umount /dev/sde*

Make sure to substitute e for your drive letter if it's different. It won't hurt anything to run this command if the drive is already not mounted.

 

From here you're ready to proceed.

 

When you run this the following prompts should occur. First you'll get a warning:

**********************************************
      Ventoy: 1.0.62  x86_64
      longpanda admin@ventoy.net
      https://www.ventoy.net
**********************************************

Disk : /dev/sde
Model:  USB  SanDisk 3.2Gen1 (scsi)
Size : 57 GB
Style: GPT


Attention:
You will install Ventoy to /dev/sde.
All the data on the disk /dev/sde will be lost!!!

Continue? (y/n) 

 

When you type y then hit enter you will receive a second warning:

Continue? (y/n) y

All the data on the disk /dev/sde will be lost!!!
Double-check. Continue? (y/n)

If you're certain the drive you have is correct and contains no data you wish to save type y again and hit enter.

 

From here you should see the following output before you're brought back to a prompt:

Create partitions on /dev/sde by parted in GPT style ...
Done
Wait for partitions ...
partition exist OK
create efi fat fs /dev/sde2 ...
mkfs.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
success
Format partition 1 ...
mkexfatfs 1.3.0
Creating... done.
Flushing... done.
File system created successfully.
writing data to disk ...
sync data ...
esp partition processing ...
Open ventoy efi file 0x610ac0
ventoy x64 efi file size 1757184 ...
Open bootx64 efi file 0x610ac0
Open ventoy ia32 efi file 0x610f10
ventoy efi file size 1183744 ...
Open bootia32 efi file 0x610ac0

Install Ventoy to /dev/sde successfully finished.

 

At this time depending on your distribution the new partitions may or may not automatically mount themselves for your use. In the latter case simply unplug and re-plug the thumb drive. If we run lsblk we can see the new partitions and their mount-points:

NAME        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sde           8:0    1  57.3G  0 disk 
├─sde1        8:1    1  57.3G  0 part /media/user/Ventoy
└─sde2        8:2    1    32M  0 part /media/user/VTOYEFI
nvme0n1     259:0    0 953.9G  0 disk 
├─nvme0n1p1 259:1    0   512M  0 part /boot/efi
└─nvme0n1p2 259:2    0 953.4G  0 part /run/timeshift/backup

The 32M partition is for Ventoy's operating files but the large partition is where you drag and drop your .ISO files.

 

 

From here Ventoy is ready to use! :old-grin:

 

Ventoy is still an active project which receives periodic updates. For this reason in both Windows & GNU/Linux you have the ability to update Ventoy itself without reinstalling all of your .ISO files. This brings feature updates which may increase .ISO compatibility helping in edge cases where certain Operating Systems don't want to work with Ventoy.

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It does also work with things designed to run as a live environment. I've used Memtest86, Tails, Clonezilla, etc. no problem with it. It works great.

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2 minutes ago, Jtalk4456 said:

Seems pretty cool, what's the cost?

 

I actively stray away from writing instructionals about paid or licensed software if it can't be used for free indefinitely. Ventoy is open source. Free to use and distribute. I didn't look very hard on their website bit they might have a donation button somewhere if you're so inclined.

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11 minutes ago, Windows7ge said:

I actively stray away from writing instructionals about paid or licensed software if it can't be used for free indefinitely. Ventoy is open source. Free to use and distribute. I didn't look very hard on their website bit they might have a donation button somewhere if you're so inclined.

can't argue with free! I'll look into it more

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2 hours ago, Jtalk4456 said:

can't argue with free! I'll look into it more

It's nice. Ran into some issues with a couple Linux distros that I just wanted to test. PopOS, one or two others that I can't remember. All with a similar error. "Cannot load kernel." So definitely test all of the OS's you plan to put on it before going wild assuming it'll run everything. It's good if you're the kind of power user who installs and re-installs to various machines on the regular.

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Wait, there wasn't one written here? /s

But seriously thanks for this

If you think I'm wrong, correct me. If I've offended you in some way tell me what it is and how I can correct it. I want to learn, and along the way one can make mistakes; Being wrong helps you learn what's right.

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