YUMI (Your USB Multiboot Installer) is a popular tool used to quickly create multiboot USB flash drive containing several different ISO files. With YUMI you can easily boot all of your favorite ISO and IMG files from a single USB flash drive. Install any number of Linux live systems, diagnostic tools, antivirus utilities, Windows PE and installers, and more all of which all reside on the same bootable USB disk!
How YUMI works
This tool can be used to store multiple bootable ISO or Image files on one USB flash drive or (UFD). Then, during computer startup (assuming you have set your computer to boot from the flash drive), you can navigate from an organized folder structure and choose which one to boot from. Bootable distributions and tools can also be uninstalled or removed with the frontend of this tool.
What is a Bootable USB Drive?
A bootable USB drive is a portable storage device (typically a USB flash drive) that has been configured to boot from a computer. It might contain system utilities used for diagnostic troubleshooting, malware and antivirus scanning, OS startup repair, etc. Or Operating Systems such as Linux or Windows that can be run entirely from the removable device or used as an installer.
Here are some common uses for bootable USB drives:
- Operating System Installation: Bootable USB drives are often used to install or reinstall operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, or other specialized operating systems. Users can portably boot from the USB drive and follow the installation prompts to set up the operating system on their computer.
- System Recovery and Repair: USB boot from system recovery tools or system diagnostic utilities. Quickly troubleshoot and repair issues with a computer’s operating system or hardware components while running outside of the native operating environment.
- Data Recovery: Can include bootable data recovery software used to recover files from a computer that won’t boot normally due to system failures or malware infections.
- Live Operating Systems: Certain Linux distributions offer “live” versions that can boot from a USB drive. This allows you to run an operating system directly from a USB drive without installing it onto a computer. A Live Linux USB can be useful for testing or trying Linux or for using a specific Linux environment on a temporary basis.
How to Create a Bootable USB Drive?
To make a bootable USB drive, you can use specialized software that copies the necessary files from the operating system or utility to the USB drive and sets up the drive’s boot sector so that the computer can recognize it as a bootable device. YUMI is software that can automatically do all of this for you.
Keep in mind that while preparing, formatting, and making a USB drive bootable, existing data on the drive is wiped clean and overwritten, so you will want to back up any important files you wish to keep, before proceeding. Additionally, you may need to change the boot order in your computer’s BIOS or UEFI settings to boot from the USB drive instead of the internal hard drive.
How can I Boot from USB?
Here are the steps to get your computer to boot from USB:
- Insert a prepared drive into your computer’s USB port and power on or restart the PC.
- During the system post (as text starts appearing on the screen) you enter the system BIOS, UEFI or Boot Menu by pressing a key on your keyboard such as F2, F8, F9, F11, F12 or the Del key.
- From the list of devices that appear, select your USB drive to use as the boot device.
- Then click save or press the save key (F10 key is commonly used for this) to let your system proceed to restart and boot from the newly selected device.
If all went well, your computer should proceed to read and execute the software stored on the USB drive instead of the operating system installed on the computer’s internal hard drive.
The three YUMI Variants
Over the years there have been three different variants of this popular Multiboot USB software tool.
YUMI Legacy: The initial development was YUMI Legacy. It supports BIOS booting only and USB drives formatted with NTFS or Fat32 filesystems. It was originally created in 2010 and then later released for use to the general public in March of 2011.
YUMI UEFI: Shortly thereafter, the second YUMI UEFI iteration was created. This was done in an effort to support both BIOS and UEFI boot modes, as motherboard manufacturers began replacing BIOS firmware with UEFI. It only supports USB drives with a Fat32 filesystem.
YUMI exFAT: Then most recently, the final YUMI exFAT variant was released. It currently uses a Ventoy bootloader, supports UEFI and BIOS booting via a secondary hidden Fat32 partition, and utilizes an exFAT partition for storing the bootable ISO files.
NOTE: The exFAT variant is recommended going forward, as it utilizes boot methods derived from Ventoy. In fact, the frontend can even be used with Ventoy. Simply drop the YUMI executable into the same directory containing the latest Ventoy2Disk to prepare your USB with Ventoy.