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Re: installation from USB w/ multiple ISOs?


Greg Marks wrote:
> In order to install Debian from a bootable USB drive, the procedure is:
> format a thumb drive to FAT32,

This first step is quite useless. The dd run to put the ISO onto the stick
will overwrite the partition table.

You should rather consider to make a backup of the whole stick if its
content is of any value:

  dd if=/dev/sdX bs=1M | gzip >backup_of_sdX.gz

> Assuming the bootable USB
> drive has enough capacity, as most do nowadays (13 GB should suffice),
> can the second and third ISO files be saved to the same USB drive?

The main problem will be with telling Debian that the ISOs contain
packages which shall be installable.
is an entry point for exploration. Maybe other users here can give examples.

For storing the ISOs on the USB stick you need one or two new partitions
after the first ISO was copied to it. The stick will then already have
two MBR partitions, like

  $ /sbin/fdisk -l /dev/sdc
  Device    Boot Start     End Sectors  Size Id Type
  /dev/sdc1 *        0 7798783 7798784  3.7G  0 Empty
  /dev/sdc2      20216   21047     832  416K ef EFI (FAT-12/16

The partition editor fdisk is tolerant enough not to take offense from the
type "Empty" of partition 1 and of the fact that partition 2 is inside
partition 1. It will also ignore the (invalid) GPT and its backup at the
end of partition 1.

The actual choice of partition layout depends on your solution for the
problem of presenting the ISOs to Debian, 

You could create one partition that covers the rest of the stick. This
would be formatted with a filesystemi. The two ISOs would be put into
the filesystem either as two big data files or unpacked into trees of
the ISOs' content files.

Alternatively you could create two partitions, each of the size of one
of the ISOs. Then you'd put each ISO as filesystem into its own partition:
  dd if=DVD-2.iso of=/dev/sdX3
  dd if=DVD-3.iso of=/dev/sdX5
(I assume you'd use partition 4 as extended partition and create logical
 partition 5 as storage for the DVD-3 ISO.)

Have a nice day :)