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Yumi - A Workhorse of a Different Colour

by Alan German

Yumi is a really neat utility program, extremely useful for those who have need of its features, but a real oddity nonetheless. The program can create a multi-boot USB drive, capable of booting any one of a number of different operating systems or disk utilities. The odd thing is that, although the resulting drive will boot various Linux systems, Yumi itself is a Windows application.



Utilities, such as UNetbootin, that produce a bootable USB drive from an ISO distribution have been around for some time. Essentially, these burn an ISO image to a USB memory stick rather than to a CD. For many modern computers, that are capable of booting from an external USB drive, this provides a useful way to live-boot any given Linux distro or bootable utility system. If the resulting product doesn't suit the user's requirements, the USB drive can simply be reused rather than having to throw away yet another "coaster".

Now that storage is so cheap and, in particular, that USB memory sticks are very affordable in capacities of 8, 16, or even 32 GB, using a single USB drive for an individual operating system becomes rather inefficient. Enter Yumi - with its capability to store a variety of different bootable systems on the same stick.

Clearly, this can be very useful for the Linux user who wishes to maintain a live-boot version of the current distro, plus utility programs such as Gparted and Clonezilla, all while trying out various new distros. However, the product also has some application for Windows users who, for example, wish to keep a bootable version of Gparted handy to tweak their disk partition scheme, or who require a bootable antivirus rescue disk (e.g. for AVG or Kaspersky).

Yumi downloads as a self-contained EXE file. Running the program produces a simple dialogue screen. To install a bootable system, one first selects the target USB memory stick using the initial drop-down menu, then the distro to be installed from the list provided in the second drop-down menu. The program now provides a link for the relevant web site where the specified distro package may be downloaded or, if this is has already been done, lets the user browse the hard disk to locate the existing ISO file. The next step is to select the ISO file itself and press the Create button. A progress report indicates the steps being taken to install the software. Finally, a message indicates "All finished, Process is Complete!"

Removing any installed item is even simpler. Check the "Remove an Installed Item" box on the main dialogue box, select the desired product to be removed from the list displayed, and press the Remove button.

So, there you have it, a free and extremely efficient utility to provide multi-booting capability from a USB memory stick.

Bottom Line:

Yumi (Open-Source)

Originally published: January, 2013

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