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Install multiple operating systems from single USB drive

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by JHeaton, Nov 5, 2009.

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  1. JHeaton

    JHeaton Thread Starter

    Nov 5, 2009
    Hiya folks :)

    At work, we install a lot of different operating systems on computers, both for use within the school and for staff members' personal computers. In order to make things easier, we want to be able to create a USB pendrive that contains all of the operating systems we want to use and some form of menu to start the installation of each. The problem is, I've not been able to find guides that explain how to do exactly what we want. The operating systems that would be going on this are:

    Windows XP Home OEM
    Windows XP Pro OEM
    Windows Vista Home Premium OEM (32-bit)
    Windows Vista Business (32-bit)
    Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit)
    Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)
    Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)
    Windows 7 Professional (32-bit)
    Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
    Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit)
    Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
    Ubuntu 9.10 (32-bit)
    Ubuntu 9.10 (64-bit)

    We have the CD/DVDs for all of these, but we don't like wasting consumables by writing multiple CDs (and of course they get scratched easily) and they fill up a lot of space when they're in those CD wallet things. Plus, my experience with installing from USB drives has been quite positive and seemed to go much faster than installing from CDs and DVDs.

    Now, there are a lot there, but we have drives big enough. I know that I could use WAIK if I was only going to put Vista and 7 but as far as I am aware I can't use that with XP and I wouldn't even think that there was a remote chance of installing Ubuntu that way. Does anyone know of any way to do this, or anyone who has done something similar in the past?

    I know it's a little complex and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody had asked about something like this before, but any help is greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards,


    (Note, I don't think this is the right section, but I couldn't decide where to put it >.<)
  2. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

    Sep 15, 2004
    You could use the Automated Installation Kit for Vista and W7 and the good old-fashioned unattended installation of XP across the network. Saves time, consumables and shoe leather.
  3. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

    Dec 9, 2004
  4. JHeaton

    JHeaton Thread Starter

    Nov 5, 2009
    This is true, but the idea was really to have everything in one place. I guess this is as much about the challenge of getting it to work as having a usable solution. Once I get an idea in my head and start making any progress with it (minimal so far, but enough) I can't seem to let it go. :p

    WDS is something we're currently (supposed to be) working on. We have a bunch of RIS images on the system, but the answer files in there are all tailored for the school system. Handy for half of what I'm hoping to achieve, but not the other half. A lot of staff machines come in but I'd rather not put a lot of images on to the server if I can avoid it.

    Having the flash drives of an appropriate size isn't an issue - we've got plenty of those lying around (see, want, get >.<). The other advantage of having these on a USB flash drive rather than on a server is that I can work on these machines away from a network point whilst using those for something else that I can't do without access to domain resources. Our office/work-room combo has a limited amount of network points and more often than not the vast majority of them are tied up by long-term projects.
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