2-partion bootable usb stick

Hi all,

Here’s the scenario: I have an 8gb usb stick. I want to have two fat32 partitions on it. The first one will be used for storage and sharing files amongst windows machines and my laptop etc… In the second one I want to have a bootable copy of a recent manjaro iso so that in case of system failure I can use it to boot up.

I believe that in theory this is possible and I have been trying to follow the instructions on the arch wiki:


However, this seems to be one of the fundamental points where arch and manjaro diverge - I believe manjaro iso is using isolinux and the instructions on the arch wiki are using syslinux…Anyway I am not sure what to do… I tried just copying the contents of the iso over - but it doesn’t boot - I just get an isolinux error screen saying it’s unable to boot.

This is exactly what I did so far:

  1. Created two fat32 partions - 1st one is 7gb and 2nd 1Gb. Second one is flagged as bootable.
  2. mounted manjaro-jwm iso at /mnt/iso
  3. mounted /dev/sdb2 at /mnt/usb
  4. copied the contents of /mnt/iso to /mnt/usb.

So what’s next? Anyone have any pointers?

Alternative: partition drive as you please (or don’t), just copy the iso file to stick. Then install grub to the stick. Then add a custom boot entry that boots the iso file. Directions here: Booting Manjaro iso using grub2

You can use it also to boot multiple iso files: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Multiboot_USB_drive

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Isolinux is part of syslinux. But new manjaro isos actually use grub instead

Hmm sounds like a good solution… Just to check I got it straight, I would keep the first partition as a windows friendly fat32 and just install grub on the second and then somehow I can get grub to magically boot up from an iso?

Or just one big fat32 partition if you don’t mind mixing isos with your data. I would do it like that, make a directory /iso and put them there. Then follow the instructions in arch wiki, except use the boot entry from that manjaro link.

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Yea I never heard of syslinux or isolinux before trying to do this, as you can tell I’m highly confused and too lazy to read up on what they actually are too :wink:

Also, judging by the code, this project also seems support manjaro: http://mbusb.aguslr.com

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Hi, Oli. You can do better than this.
You can have a bootable usb drive with some (as many as you like) partitions, put in isofiles in one of the partition and boot these from the bootable grub in that usb (and one or two OS in that usb if you like). As Chrysostomus pointed out, you can boot lots more OS iso (more than listed in that Arch link) too. You can, of course have a partition containing isofiles in your internal drive and boot these from any grub 2 menu.

Oh, I don’t use windows ‘friendly’ (really? why?) partition, just ‘plain’ ext4 partitions.

Here is how you can make a bootable usb partition and here is how you…oh, Chrysostomus has provided the link - to boot isofiles.


Thanks for the help! I’m in the process of setting this up now… first attempt failed - now trying again. [quote=“gohlip, post:8, topic:23650”]
Oh, I don’t use windows ‘friendly’ (really? why?) partition, just ‘plain’ ext4 partitions.

Last time I tried to plug in ext4 fs into windows machine - it just told me to reformat it - apparently ext4 is linux only… (maybe unix??)…

Yep, ext FS are Linux. You can install ext2fsd in Windows, which will allow it to read/write but it’s not considered ‘all that’ stable… https://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsd/

EDIT: I’ve used it; it’s OK.

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Yes, don’t you know… windows will always try to sabotage linux. Not ‘friendly’, that’s what I would say.:slight_smile:
I’d just ignore that message. I don’t mount ntfs in any linux at all. Perhaps there should be a pop up in linux asking if we should reformat ntfs partitions. Reciprocity. Reciprocity. Confucious would say. (Actually he didn’t say that - I’m just twisting his ‘empathy’ words)

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