Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Multi-Boot Revisited
by Alan German


I have gone through a couple of iterations of multiple boot systems for large-capacity USB memory sticks. The first piece of software that I used for this purpose was Yumi (see: Yumi - A Workhorse of a Different Colour). This program worked fine – until I purchased a new laptop which used the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) to manage the boot process rather than the traditional Basic Input/Output System (BIOS).

The introduction of UEFI required a switch to Easy2Boot (see: Multi-Boot for UEFI) since, at the time, Yumi didn’t support UEFI. Now, in my view, Easy2Boot was something of a misnomer. Sure, it booted several operating systems from the same USB drive, but it wasn’t necessarily all that easy to set up and use. It needed a supplementary program (RMPrepUSB) to initialize the USB drive; it required renaming the .iso files to .isodefault in order to simplify the boot process; and I found the final boot menu to be somewhat cumbersome.

The good news is that there is now a new version of Yumi that supports UEFI. At present, it is in beta, but my testing has shown it to run almost flawlessly on my UEFI laptop. And, it has the simple user interface, operating procedures, and the straightforward final boot menu that I liked the first time I used the program.

YUMI is an acronym for “Your Universal Multiboot Installer” and is available from Pendrivelinux.com. I downloaded the current beta version of the software as the file UEFI-YUMI-BETA-0.0.0.2.exe. There is no installation required. Simply running the .exe file brings up the main screen (see screenshot) where you can select the target USB drive, a “distribution” to copy to the target drive, and the .iso file for the distro of choice.



In the sample screenshot, Drive G: in Step 1, labelled MULTIBOOT, is the target drive. In Step 2, Linux Mint has been selected as the distro to be installed and, in Step 3, the 64-bit version of the current release, Linux Mint Mate Edition (Version 18 - Sarah) has been set for copying from Drive M: (my LINUXDISTRO USB drive containing the downloaded file). I only use the resulting multi-boot disk to either install a distro to my hard drive or to run a bootable utility such as GParted. Consequently, in Step 4, I don’t set any persistence on the final drive for use as storage.

Hitting the Create button starts the copy process with a progress bar counting down the time required. On completion of the installation, a dialogue box offers an opportunity to copy more distros to the target drive or allows exiting the program.

Note that, while the principal use of Yumi is normally to install multiple operating systems, it is also possible to add anti-virus software, system utilities (e.g. GParted), and rescue disks (e.g. Windows 10 Installer), to the target drive.

There appears to be an issue with Yumi’s built-in disk formatter in the current beta version of the software. A “Failed to open device” warning message appears in the log window, and the USB drive is not actually formatted, when the format option is checked under Windows 10. The program’s developer is aware of this issue and it may be fixed by the time that you read this. In the interim, the workaround is to format the external USB drive in Windows, should this be required in order to create a blank disk.

Other than the above-noted issue, the beta version of the UEFI-enabled Yumi is working just fine. So, it looks as though this will be my multi-boot utility of choice going forward.


Bottom Line:

Yumi (Open-Source)
Version Beta 0.0.0.2
Pendrivelinux
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/


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