Configuring USB HD to Boot Multiple ISOs using GRUB
Posted on 2006-07-06
I work in a dedicated server environment where it's very common to need an install or rescue disc for various Linux distributions and FreeBSD. What I'm trying to do is create an external USB drive that can be configured with GRUB (or any bootloader that will do what I need) to boot ISOs from the drive using a menu at boot. I already have a fairly good idea of how I can do this and have already done some testing:
I used Knoppix to create an initial partition, sda1, for GRUB and installed it cleanly. It now boots to the GRUB menu, but I am having trouble with how to have GRUB then pass the booting responsibilities to the ISO bootloader. I'm first trying this with the CentOS binDVD ISO as it's the one most commonly used where I work. I initially thought I would be able to just copy the ISO contents to a seperate partition and point to the ISO boot loader using the "kernel" option in GRUB - but I haven't been successful with this as I'm not sure what file this is or if it can even be configured like that.. I'm thinking what I need to do, since (and I'm no expert on this) bootable CDs have their their own boot sectors, is use dd to copy the ISO bit by bit to the seperate partition so that the boot sector remains intact, and I can then just use the GRUB "chainloader" option to pass it off to the ISO.
Now for the questions...
1.) If my idea to use dd sounds reasonable, does anyone know the best way to issue the command to best copy the ISO to the partition so that GRUB will find it seamlessly? (The options seem a bit arcane to me.)
2.) If I'm way of course with this, what other options are there that will permit me to have multilple ISO images on the drive that I can boot from?
Thanks in advance!