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James352

can an ISO contain multiple bootable files?

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hi everyone. I did some research and I'm not able to figure out the following:

I have about 10 programs I regularly install onto machines for people. I am trying to mount an ISO containing multiple programs, but I dont think there is logic to allow multiple programs to boot when mounting an ISO.

for clarity, I am trying to create an image on a drive that contains say.... 10 programs. The goal would be for all 10 programs to install when mounting the file. It doesnt seem possible as each program needs to finish installing before the next one can begin.

any thoughts or experience with this? Maybe I need to look more into cloning the C: drive onto a virtual drive vs. taking the ISO route?

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When you say "multiple bootable files," I am guessing you mean can an ISO have multiple bootable sectors.  And as far as I know, a bootable ISO can only have one boot track.  Although, technically, you could extract, say, 10 boot sectors with ImgBurn as "files" and store those 10 files in an ISO, but they wouldn't do you much good.  They wouldn't boot, just reside in a track in the ISO separate from the boot sector.

 

I don't see a way to automate this, but what you could do is try this.  You could make ISO files of these 10 installable discs and store those ISO's on a DVD/BD.  You can then navigate into them from the disc natively via Windows and run the installers from them.  Or copy the contents to a temporary location for execution.  However, as I said, you probably can't automate this process.  And each time you navigate the contents, you're mounting the ISO as a virtual drive, so you'll need 10 available drive letters, unless you Eject each one after each installation.  So, the downside side, each installation must be performed on its own one after the other and I don't think it can be automated.

 

And, I'm not entirely sure this process would work as I describe it.  It's theoretical at this point, but it might work.

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Try the YUMI route... on a usb stick.

https://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

If you must stick with an optical disc, are your programs just DOS EXE files? Boot a DOS image via floppy emulation, make sure it loads optical drive drivers / extensions and then access the rest of the disc that way.

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Is that what YUMI does?  I've seen it many times passing through websites, but never knew what it was for, beyond something to do with flash drives.

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To be honest, I’ve only seen it recently and used it once!

I used it to stick the acronis rescue disc iso image on usb. I think it allows you to put a menu in front of a bunch of bootable iso files and pick which one you want to load.

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I hadn't thought of using anything like YUMI or Rufus to put Acronis rescue media ISO's on flash drive.  I no longer use the application, but I have several 10 to 20 year old backup sets still in my possession.  Acronis does release latest updated rescue media ISO's on Softexia, but you can't edit those ISO's to inject files into.  So, I can't put Acronis backup sets on DVD's with the rescue media ISO.  But, I could burn the ISO to flash drive and have that drive's free space.

 

Does YUMI use all available space when writing an ISO to flash drive?  The drawback I found to Rufus for burning ISO's to flash drive is if the ISO is 1 GB and the flash drive is 16 GB, the resulting ISO burned to flash drive leaves you with a 1 GB flash drive and 15 GB of unallocated space.  I could, I suppose, create a 2nd partition on the flash drive with the remaining 15 GB of space, but I'd prefer a situation like when Macrium Reflect creates Rescue Media on flash drives.  As long as Reflect doesn't have to format the flash drive, it will leave all extra space available on the single Rescue Media partition.  If it has to format the flash drive, it creates a 1 GB bootable flash drive and the remaining 15 GB is unallocated, requiring creating a 2nd partition on the flash drive.  I'd like to avoid having to create a 2nd partition.

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I think it actually just copies the iso as-is to a folder on the usb somewhere. Meaning you can just keep adding boot options (bootable iso) until all the space has been filled up.

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@James352

I'm not sure what you really want to achieve but from what I conclude from your description is that you want to automate the install of a bunch of programs launching a single file.

You can create a .cmd or .bat file and point to each program you need to install. Put that file in the same folder with the .exe or .msi you have and just execute the file you created.

To be seamless/unattended you need to know the silent switch commands to all the programs you put in chain. You can also do copy files to certain location or import .reg settings you need.

You can learn more here http://unattended.sourceforge.net/installers.php

Here is my silent install of ImgBurn .cmd file. Open it with Notepad or any text editor to see the structure. The first part is to get the admin privileges that you can start to install any program.

I modified it to add some more programs (Adobe Reader DC and WinRAR) to the list before the exit line, like so,  you can add more. Don't use spaces in the path or you need put them between quote marks like "Path to the program.exe"

Install ImgBurn_x64.cmd

 

@dbminter 

@LUK!

You should give a look at Ventoy https://www.ventoy.net/en/index.html

 

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