Royal tool for USB flash drives
Until now, when installing an operating system, people liked to download an ISO file and write it bootable to a USB stick with additional tools.
If you want to install Windows 10 or Windows 11 or as in my case Openmediavault on a system, there was a procedure until now. You have downloaded an ISO file from the respective provider. With this ISO file you could create a bootable USB stick with tools like Belena-Etcher or Rufus.
With Windows Microsoft went a different way and offered its own Mediacreation Tool to create a bootable USB stick with Windows 10 or even Windows 11. With this I also clean installed my system from time to time.
But this method has the disadvantage that you either accumulate a decent collection of USB sticks (and hopefully they are all labeled) or you create a new stick every time.
Here comes the tool Ventoy into play, which chooses a different way. With the Ventoy tool you can also create a USB stick. Here it is recommended to choose a bigger stick, like 64 or 128 GB.
When writing for the first time, the tool recognizes the USB stick and installs its own boot loader on it. Two partitions are created on the stick, one for booting Ventoy and the other, larger one for the ISO files.
And there is the main difference. Ventoy can boot ISO files. This means that you don’t need to create a bootable stick from an ISO file, but can keep several of these images on a stick, depending on the space available and your needs.
After booting, you can select from a list which ISO file should be started.
So you can store the most important tools and operating systems on one stick and boot them as needed. As you can see here, I have Clonezilla on it to create disk images of my installation, but Windows or Ubuntu are not missing either.
Updates and Windows 11
The Ventoy 2 partition creation comes in handy when updating the tool. The partition with the ISO files is not touched and only the partition is updated with the Ventoy tool.
According to the documentation, version 1.0.88 should also be able to run a Windows 11 installation without an online account and avoid the annoying security prompts. Unfortunately, this did not work for me with a new image with the H2 version.
The story with Windows 11 would have been nice, but for me it’s no big deal. Nevertheless Ventoy remains a great tool to keep bootable ISO files in one place.