Sunday, August 21, 2011

Giving it the boot

…as in off-line system booting, not the GSD blog (despite the drought of posts strangely mirroring the lack of rain and rise in thee-digit temps here on the Texas coast).

I still continue to find joy and purpose for my portable iodd : Multi-boot madness device.  It is humming along and greedily continues to consume the bootable ISO files I toss at it.

I-Odd (South Korea) has released some newer firmware updates.  In summary, the i-odd is an external USB2.0/eSATA drive enclosure that allows you to store boot-disks in ISO format and then boot a system with any of them via the selector toggle.  The I-Odd site has gotten a refresh and much easier to navigate. They are offering firmware update versions 1.42.64N (for NTFS-formatted I-odd partitions, and 1.42.64F for the FAT32/exFAT formatted i-odd partitions. Download page.  There are also some utilities and whatnot listed there as well. Only drawback is that as none of the links are clearly time/date noted, it is hard telling if something is a new update or not.

The US i-odd site is (still) offering Firmware Version 1.42.48 (ISO) that supports either FAT32, EXFAT or NTFS partition handling for loading disk images.  I’m getting the feeling that this US branch isn’t providing a lot of product love considering the SK site is way ahead of their game.

The maintainer of TinyApps.Org Blog is the kind individual who first set me on notice and then use of the i-odd device.

Not too long ago he sent word of a Kickstarter project called the ISOStick which though not related to the iodd device, is likely to be a kissin’ kousin if all goes successfully.

That last link is really cool as the developer shows all the work that is going into the design and development. It’s a neat behind-the-curtain look at what it takes to make and bring these magical but ubiquitous “flash-drive” units to life.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a iodd or ISOStick device, you might want to check out these additional neat boot from a flash-drive projects:

WinToFlash - Install Windows from usb

From that project page link:

“WinToFlash starts a wizard that will help pull over the contents of a windows installation CD or DVD and prep the USB drive to become a bootable replacement for the optical drive. It can also do this with your LiveCD.”

YUMI - Multiboot USB Creator (Windows) via USB Pen Drive Linux

From that project page link:

“YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer), is the successor to MultibootISOs. It can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. Contrary to MultiBootISO's which used grub to boot ISO files directly from USB, YUMI uses syslinux to boot extracted distributions stored on the USB device, and reverts to using grub to Boot Multiple ISO files from USB, if necessary.”

The MakeUseOf Blog has a great review/how-to post on YUMI: Boot Multiple Live CDs From One USB Disk With YUMI [Windows]

LiveUSB MultiBoot - This is a French-based project but English-versions have been translated by community members.  It is a Linux boot CD project. Here is a Google Translate link for easier reading if you are interested.

Multi-booting systems via a USB device is still cool and useful, particularly for the sys-admin/incident responder crowds. While probably never to become a main-stream product for the masses, it is nice to see these projects and capabilities continue in development.


--Claus V.

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