New way to make a multiboot device with no third party tools


hsehestedt

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I've posted one or two previous attempts at making a bootable disk to allow for the installation of multiple versions of Windows. I've come up with a new approach that I think is way better than previous attempts.

This solution consists of a set of 3 batch files and requires no third-party tools. Only the Windows ADK and Windows PE add-on are needed.

In my case, I have a thumbdrive with several different version of Windows 10, the original Windows 11 as well as 22H2, a Macrium Reflect recovery disk, a Windows Recovery disk, and a Veritas System Recovery boot disk.

Simply grab the ZIP file and review the Readme.txt for instructions.
 

Attachments

  • Multi Version Boot Disk Creator.zip
    9.5 KB · Views: 3

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    Intel i7-11700K
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    ASUS Prime Z590-A
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    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
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    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
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    2560 x 1440
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    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
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    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
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    Additional options installed:
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    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
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    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
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    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
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    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
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    Windows Defender
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    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

Ghot

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Doc Brown - prebuilt.png




Superb method and delivery.
Only thing I could possibly think to add would be links for the ADK and PE, in the readme.


I was very near the bottom of the readme and I thought... yeah, but how to "reset" the USB stick.
Sure enough, that's covered too. :cool:
 
Last edited:

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    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22621.525
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    PC/Desktop
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    Built by Ghot® [May 2020]
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    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Pro WS X570-ACE (BIOS 4201)
    Memory
    G.Skill (F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW)
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    EVGA RTX 2070 (08G-P4-2171-KR)
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    Realtek ALC1220P / ALC S1220A
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    Dell U3011 30"
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1600
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 860 EVO 500GB,
    WD 4TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    WD 8TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling 750W Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Cooler Master ATCS 840 Tower
    Cooling
    CM Hyper 212 EVO (push/pull)
    Keyboard
    Ducky DK9008 Shine II Blue LED
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    Logitech Optical M-100
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    100/100
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    Bitdefender Internet Security
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    Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
  • Operating System
    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot®
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
    Motherboard
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
    Memory
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX (2 x 1GB, DDR2 800)
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SSC
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic G90FB Black 19" Professional (CRT)
    Screen Resolution
    up to 2048 x 1536
    Hard Drives
    WD 36GB 10,000rpm Raptor SATA
    Seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA
    Lite-On LTR-52246S CD/RW
    Lite-On LH-18A1P CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Generic Beige case, 80mm fans
    Cooling
    ZALMAN 9500A 92mm CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-BT96a
    Keyboard
    Logitech Classic Keybooard 200
    Internet Speed
    100/100
    Browser
    Firefox 3.x ??
    Antivirus
    Symantec (Norton)
    Other Info
    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?183088-5000-B-E-on-M2N32-SLI-Dlx-Overclocked&p=2891724#post2891724

hsehestedt

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Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

You are right of course, I should update that to provide more details on each file.

The startnet.cmd is a file that Windows PE runs automatically. By default, it contains only a single line that runs "wpeinit". However, I make use of that file to do the main job of reconfiguring the disk.

So, here is the workflow...

Run the batch file called Create_Disk.bat". That file will create the bootable disk and deploy Windows PE to it. It also modifies Windows PE by injecting a replacement "startnet.cmd" file into it. When that batch file is done, the user copies any ISO images that they may want to boot into the "ISO Images" folder on the disk.

The next step is to boot the disk. When booting from the disk, it is Windows PE that is being run (just as would happen when booting from Windows installation media). However, because we replaced the startnet.cmd file, Windows PE starts to run our version of that file. The job of that modified startnet.cmd file is to display a list of available ISO images to the user. The user selects a file and the startnet.cmd then performs a backup of the current configuration and then turns the disk into a bootdisk for the selected image.

If you now reboot the disk again, it will boot the selected image.

Finally, to return the disk to the state it was in before you selected an image from the disk, you would simply run the Restore_Disk.bat file.

The key to this was when I realized that Windows PE loads entirely into memory using a RAMdisk. Since it is running entirely out of a RAMdisk, I'm free to re-write the contents of the disk even while WinPE is running.

I simply thought that it was a fun little exercise to see what could be done without any third-party tools.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

Try3

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Might it be possible for the startnet.cmd file to not only boot the computer but then to run the Restore_Disk.bat file automatically after booting is completed?
That would make this impressive USB fully automatic in use. The only maintenance required would be replacing ISOs when updated ones are available.

All the best,
Denis
 

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Ghot

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Next up ofc... will be the GUI. :D

Something like RUFUS maybe.

Run the program , point it to the USB, then ask if you want to update the ISOs or just add ISOs, then click "Create".
If you want to update the ISO(s), you will just point it at the newer ISO.
It will then delete the older one and add the newer one, you just pointed it at.
You will probably have to pad each ISO added so there's room for the updated ISO, if it happens to be larger.
Ofc it will auto download the latest ADK and PE .

And then like @Try3 said... after you boot from it and pick the ISO, it will auto-reset for the next time. :)




I know... it's a lot of work, But don't worry. Ten years from now you'll be wasting away the days in Margaritaville, living off the proceeds of the worlds greatest bootable media creation tool. You'll need a catchy name for it. Something like...

Boot-o-matic or Wonderboot or Easy-Boot... etc.

And a logo ofc...



Image1.png


Image1.png


Get @badrobot or @kado897 to do the logo. :)
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22621.525
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® [May 2020]
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Pro WS X570-ACE (BIOS 4201)
    Memory
    G.Skill (F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW)
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA RTX 2070 (08G-P4-2171-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC1220P / ALC S1220A
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3011 30"
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1600
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 860 EVO 500GB,
    WD 4TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    WD 8TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling 750W Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Cooler Master ATCS 840 Tower
    Cooling
    CM Hyper 212 EVO (push/pull)
    Keyboard
    Ducky DK9008 Shine II Blue LED
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-100
    Internet Speed
    100/100
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Bitdefender Internet Security
    Other Info
    Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
  • Operating System
    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot®
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
    Motherboard
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
    Memory
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX (2 x 1GB, DDR2 800)
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SSC
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic G90FB Black 19" Professional (CRT)
    Screen Resolution
    up to 2048 x 1536
    Hard Drives
    WD 36GB 10,000rpm Raptor SATA
    Seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA
    Lite-On LTR-52246S CD/RW
    Lite-On LH-18A1P CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Generic Beige case, 80mm fans
    Cooling
    ZALMAN 9500A 92mm CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-BT96a
    Keyboard
    Logitech Classic Keybooard 200
    Internet Speed
    100/100
    Browser
    Firefox 3.x ??
    Antivirus
    Symantec (Norton)
    Other Info
    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?183088-5000-B-E-on-M2N32-SLI-Dlx-Overclocked&p=2891724#post2891724

hsehestedt

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Denis, I was thinking about but not sure how I would implement that. After all, the end result is that you have a disk that runs whatever image you selected. It runs 100% unmodified so as not to interfere in any way whatsoever with that image.

But, you can easily recover the disk back to its previous state even while booted from the disk itself.

As an example, suppose you have chosen to boot a Windows 11 installation disk. Once you get to the first static screen (where Windows is asking what language, keyboard, etc. to use), press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt and run the Restore-Disk.bat file.

As before, Windows setup loads entirely in a RAMdisk (not the files that it copied to HDD, but the entirety of the executable code) so that allows one to rewrite the disk even while Windows setup is running.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

hsehestedt

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Windows 11 21H2
Next up ofc... will be the GUI. :D

Something like RUFUS maybe.

Run the program , point it to the USB, then ask if you want to update the ISOs or just add ISOs, then click "Create".
Ofc it will auto download the latest ADK and PE .

And then like @Try3 said... after you boot from it and pick the ISO, it will auto-reset for the next time. :)
LOL. I'm working on it. I already have the foundation working and I know exactly how to proceed. I'm only struggling with how to revert the disk back to the original state because I don't want to interfere with the native code of the Windows / Win PE / Win RE boot media.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
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