How can I install an iso from a portable hard drive?

The guides that I have seen require using grub2 on the local drive to load the iso on the portable drive.

I would like to boot from the portable drive. I prefer methods that are automated or elegant.

I could perform the actions form Windows 10 or Cinnamon.

Edit: The portable drive must boot in UEFI and BIOS. And I'd like to leave one ntfs partition on the hard drive for shuttling data. Currently, I'm trying to work off of https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Multiboot_USB_drive. But I'm having some trouble figuring out how to incorporate uuin into the grub.cfg.

1 Answer 1


You can use a software (rufus, uui etc) for starters. This software will "burn" the iso file on the disk creating some sort of simulation to an actual OS CD.

Then, you restart the computer and press a key to take you to booting options. On the menu there, you change the preferences to boot from the disk containing the iso file and continue the booting process.

Then, the OS will boot from the disk and will offer you several installation possibilities to choose from, pick the one for you and follow the instructions.

During the installation process, grub will be installed as well (if you choose that) so no worries about that.

***EDIT: I think you should be able to get what you want, burning only a part of the disk using a software to divide the disk into different partitions. Unfortunately there is no other way to install grub. are you familiar with its functionality? I'd suggest you read some material about the MBR and grub software. ****

  • I should have said that I did not want to burn the entire disk. I added an edit. Tough, as you suggest, I could install linux onto the portable drive and then add entries to the grub for iso files. But I'd prefer a method that does not require a linux instillation, unless it includes a way to delete the installation while leaving grub intact.
    – kjl
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:09
  • Did you try to follow my tips? Jun 28, 2016 at 9:54
  • I read some more about MBR and grub. And I've started to figure out the guide at wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Multiboot_USB_drive. I got far enough that 2 out of 3 ISOs will boot.
    – kjl
    Jul 9, 2016 at 8:20

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