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How do I make a multi-boot USB drive with multiple partitions using only Diskpart

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  • Boot
  • USB Drive
  • Windows 7
Last response: in Windows 7
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April 6, 2013 5:11:40 AM

Hi guys,

I would like to collect my 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate DVDs, all my device drivers and documents etc. plus a bootable toolbox for my SSDs(an ISO file) in a 64 GB USB stick.

The thing is, I do not want to do this with a multi-boot software. I want to manually create partitions with Diskpart in Windows and be able to decide on the file systems for those partitions. I know that there is not going to be an option menu for booting without a software, but again I believe this won't be strongly necessary. So actually I wonder whether the whole thing is doable or not. I'm sorry I could have just tried it out but I wanted to hear from you before investing on the USB stick(SANDISK Extreme USB 3.0 64 GB).

Here is what I have come up with after reading several threads:

-Clean the disk for just in case.
-Create four partitions. Three of them will be sized according to Win 7 Ultimate 32-bit, Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit and the SSD toolbox. Fourth will be sized with what's left on the disk. (In fact for future I will size the Windows partitions considering Win 8 also)
-Select and format the partitions one by one.
-Copy Win 7 DVDs to two of the partitions.
-Mount the SSD toolbox ISO to a virtual drive(I use PowerISO) and copy the contents to the third partition in the USB drive. (Here is the link for the toolbox page that includes the ISO and describes its own way)

Although I have some idea, I haven't really had any practice with Diskpart so these may sound silly :) 

1) Am I going to be able to see all those four partitions at once as storage drives in My Computer after partitioning the USB drive or only one partition is going to be visible? Does it have something to do with the 'active partition'? I don't have to see all four at once but need to chose and see the desired one for copying the DVDs, the SSD toolbox to it, and when I'm finished with the bootable stuff i can chose the fourth partition and use the USB drive as a regular storage drive for documents etc.

2) Related to the first question, again is it possible to boot from Win 7 32-bit/64-bit setups or SSD toolbox by setting the respective partition as active beforehand(in Windows). I mean can the 'active' command be used for this purpose?

3) What file system should I prefer for those partitions? I just know that no more than 4 GB files are recognized with FAT32, so I should not prefer that for my fourth partition in which I'll have drivers and also some large video files. In the ssd toolbox page the USB drive is formatted with FAT32, so do I have to stick with this file system? This might be too common but can you inform me about the pros and cons of NTFS, FAT32 and even exFAT for my situation? (I think exFAT is not for Windows setups but could be considered for other partitions however I'm not sure)

4) They recommend using Universal USB Installer for placing the SSD toolbox ISO to the drive. Does that mean it's not as simple as just mounting and copying the contents of the ISO to the partition, and I have to use that software?

5) Will the 64 GB capacity of the USB drive lead to any issues considering booting procedure etc. because some people speak of a maximum size, or does just the partition size matter? (Partition sizes will be set according to Win 7 DVDs)

6) In the BIOS, among several USB devices such as USB-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP etc. which one should I select while booting from the USB drive(SANDISK Extreme USB 3.0 64 GB)?

Sorry that it's been a long story :)  Thank you for your time..

More about : make multi boot usb drive multiple partitions diskpart

April 10, 2013 1:03:15 PM

Answering to my own question:

-Just use BOOTICE.
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May 24, 2013 11:37:39 AM

Have a look at my Easy2boot Easy2Boot. It is not a multiple partition solution but you can put all your ISOs on it and just boot! It is on the RMPrepUSB website. There are also YouTube videos.
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May 24, 2013 12:59:49 PM

Thank you, ssi.
I'll check it out...
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