I'm trying to create a custom multiboot USB using ISOs. I don't want to extract the ISO like most utilities do and I would really like to customize this exactly how I want it.

I have formatted a USB with a DOS partition table and created a FAT16 partition. I added a MBR to the USB and I can boot from the USB.

What I can't figure out is how to boot the ISO image.

This is my syslinux.cfg:

DEFAULT menu.c32


LABEL Debian
LINUX memdisk
INITRD debian-8.5.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso


I forgot to add memdisk to the drive. All is well now!

  • 1
    USB = Universal Serial Bus. It is standard for communications between computer components. On the one side is probably your computer, but you forgot to mention what component you are you talking about on the other side of the USB connecton. A USB connected harddrive? Memory stick adapter? CF card reader? – Anthon Aug 21 '16 at 4:43
  • Most of Linux distributions' ISO images don't work with MEMDISK module of SYSLINUX. Especially the ones that require to specify initrd and vmlinuz to boot will not work. This wiki page hinted this already. – clearkimura Aug 21 '16 at 16:39

You need to install boot sector

dd conv=notrunc bs=440 count=1 if=mbr.bin of=/dev/sdX
parted /dev/sdX set 1 boot on

Just follow the official HOWTO: http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=HowTos#How_to_Create_a_Bootable_USB:_For_Linux

|improve this answer|||||
  • I did that ("added a MBR to the USB") – bkvaluemeal Aug 21 '16 at 15:30

Try www.easy2boot.com. Just copy the ISO files to the USB drive and boot.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.