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Are you trying various Linux distributions? Writing and rewriting to a single USB drive will test your patience, and managing a bunch of drives quickly gets out of hand. Let’s learn how to install Ventoy, a tool that can help you store and boot various distributions with a USB stick.

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What is Vento?

Ventoy is an open source Windows and Linux application used to boot multiple Linux distributions from a single USB drive. Unlike other USB flashing tools that you’ll have to use and reuse every time you want to try another Linux distro, you install Ventoy once and can add and boot from multiple distros without re-flashing your USB..

You can also boot Windows and BSD operating systems using Ventoy. There is no upper limit to the number of distributions or operating systems you can have on Ventoy; you are limited only by 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 over if you restart it. With persistence, your data will be saved the next time you boot to the same live Linux ISO. You can get more information on how to configure persistence by consulting the Ventoy documentation.

How to install Ventoy on a USB drive

If you’re using Windows, head over to the official Ventoy GitHub repository and download the “Vetnoy-xxxx-windows.zip” file.

Windows Ventoy zip download

Browse to the location of the downloaded ZIP file (usually stored in the “Downloads” folder).

Go to the destination download folder

Right click on the ZIP file and click “Extract All”.

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Click “Browse”, select the location where you want to extract the ZIP file and click “Extract”.

Go to the extracted folder and double click “Ventoy2Disk” to start Ventoy.

If you’re on Linux, grab the “tar.gz” file from the release page.

Open your file manager and go to the location of the file.

Go to ventoy zip location

Right click on the file and click “Extract Here”.

Open the terminal and the extracted folder side by side.

Drag the “VentoyGUI.X86_64” file to the terminal window and press enter to start Ventoy.

ventoy running on Linux

Installing Ventoy on the USB and adding Linux distributions is the same 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 the “Update” icon.

Once Ventoy detects the USB drive, click the “Install” button.

Two warnings will be displayed saying, “The device will be formatted and all data will be lost.” Click “Yes” both times and wait for Ventoy to install.

Once installed, you will see that the space under “Ventoy on device” in the program, which was previously empty, will now show the version of Ventoy. This is an indicator that Ventoy has been installed correctly.

Head over to your file manager, and you should now see the “Ventoy” directory. Click on it.

Copy the ISOs and paste them into the ventoy directory

Copy and paste all the ISOs you want to boot into the Ventoy directory.

Restart your computer and when the boot process begins, press the key to open the boot menu.

The correct key may differ by 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 and you will see this menu below.

Boot Menu Ventoy
Image: Ventoy

Use the arrow keys to navigate and press enter to boot into a live OS. Now you can have fun trying new and exciting operating systems!

Choosing a Linux distribution can be challenging, especially if you are a beginner. To help you out, here is a list of some of the best Linux distributions for beginners. If you are a more experienced user, you may be interested in trying out the more unique distributions out there.

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