Trying out multiple Linux distributions? Writing and rewriting to a single USB drive will test your patience, and managing a gaggle of drives quickly gets out of hand. Let’s learn to install Ventoy, a tool that can help you store and boot multiple distros with one USB stick.
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What Is Ventoy?
Ventoy is an open-source application for Windows and Linux used to boot multiple Linux distros from a single USB drive. Unlike other USB flashing tools that you’ll have to use and reuse each time you want to try another Linux distribution, you install Ventoy once, and you can add and boot from multiple distros without ever flashing your USB again.
You can also boot Windows and BSD operating systems using Ventoy. There’s no upper limit to how many distros or operating systems you can have on Ventoy; you’re limited only to the amount of storage space on your USB drive.
Ventoy also supports persistence via a plugin. If you’ve booted into a live Linux USB before, you may know that it doesn’t save your data and will start afresh if you reboot it. With persistence, your data will be saved the next time you boot into the same Linux live ISO. You can learn more about setting up persistence by referring to Ventoy’s documentation.
How to Install Ventoy on a USB Drive
If you’re using Windows, head over to Ventoy’s official GitHub repository and download the “Vetnoy-x.x.xx-windows.zip” file.
Right-click on the ZIP file and click on “Extract All.”
Click on “Browse,” select the location where you want the ZIP file to be extracted, and click “Extract.”
Go to the extracted folder and double-click “Ventoy2Disk” to start Ventoy.
Open your file manager and go to the file location.
Right-click on the file and click on “Extract Here.”
Open the terminal and the extracted folder side by side.
Drag the “VentoyGUI.X86_64” file into the terminal window and hit enter to launch Ventoy.
Installing Ventoy onto the USB and adding Linux distributions is the same as regardless of your operating system. Start by inserting your USB drive into your PC’s USB port and check if the device shows up in Ventoy. If not, click on the “Refresh” icon.
Once Ventoy detects the USB drive, click on the “Install” button.
Two warnings will be displayed saying, “The device will be formatted, and all the data will be lost.” Click “Yes” both times, and wait for Ventoy to install.
Once installed, you’ll see that the space below “Ventoy in Device” in the program, which was previously empty, will now show the Ventoy version. This is an indicator that Ventoy has been installed successfully.
Head over to your file manager, and you should now see the “Ventoy” directory. Click on it.
Copy and paste all of the ISOs you want to boot into the Ventoy directory.
Restart your computer and, as the boot-up process begins, press the key to bring up the boot menu.
The correct key might differ based on the manufacturer. The boot menu key on Acer is F12, Esc or F8 on Asus, F12 on Dell, F9 or Esc on HP, and F12 on Lenovo. Select the USB drive with Ventoy installed on it, and you’ll see this menu next.
Use the arrow keys to navigate and hit enter to boot into a live OS. You can now have fun trying out exciting new operating systems!
Choosing a Linux distribution could be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. To help you out, here’s a list of some of the best Linux distributions for beginners. If you’re a more experienced user, you may be interested in trying the most unique distros out there.
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