A while ago, I saw a video (I think it was on PC perspective but not sure) for a USB storage device that can emulate a USB CD ROM drive that you can store your ISOs on, and then plug into a computer and install from. The device had a screen that you could cycle through your ISOs on before selecting one to be used. Unfortunately, I forgot what video it was and the name of the device. Could anyone link me such a device? I'm always having to install new Linux machines and installing from a USB thumb drive (using unetbootin) never seems to work, whilst burning and reading from DVDs is slow and I never seem to have the relevant disk on hand.
The closest thing I can think of is YUMI for Windows.
It allows you to load multiple ISOs onto one USB drive, with a boot menu at startup. It works very well with Windows, Ubuntu and Mint in my experience, but it supports many distros and tools, and probably lots of unlisted stuff as well.
It is however limited to one Windows installer.
There is a similar program for Linux called MultiBoot. There is an article on UnixMen, or you can find it on PenDriveLinux:
I've never used MultiBoot, but it looks very similar to YUMI.
EDIT: With regards to making one-off installers, it's a good idea to learn how to put an ISO on a USB drive using DD. DD is a handy thing to know for data recovery or ad-hoc media creation (like DVD to USB).
Back when this site used to be TekSyndicate, this is the device that they were talking about in one of their videos, which describes EXACTLY what you're looking for. I'll make sure to link the video for you too, hope this helps!
EDIT: I have come to find out that the company that specializes in the devices you are looking for is called IODD, and the enclosures tend to have better overall reviews. (Amazon search: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dcomputers&field-keywords=IODD)
Pretty cool device. Nice that it appears as an optical drive, gives better compatibility for older or OEM systems.
Thanks for sharing :)
Yeah, it's now on my "Someday" list on Amazon so that i can remember to pick it up once my wife and I get some more money. Definitely a nifty little device that helps for those that need a full-on bootable Windows/Linux/etc. environment to repair something and/or dink around. I'm glad that you enjoyed it though!
Yep, thats definitely the video/device I remember and was looking for thanks!
I decided to get this instead due to availability and what you said about iodd.
I got the device, plugged in a 128 GB samsung 840 SSD I had lying around, formatted it with a single primary NTFS primary partition and put a load of ISOs on the drive in a folder called _ISO. Tested it out on a spare computer lying aruond and the device works perfectly and I highly recommend to others. It should definitely been in those handy tech under 100 dollars videos I saw everywhere in the run up to christmas. Soo much easier, faster, and less wasteful than burning and carrying DVDs everywhere.
For anyone else who gets the initial problem I had which was a "defrag" message when having selected an ISO on the device, make sure there is just one partition on the drive. That SSD I whacked in still accidentally had a swap partition on there.
Cool man, I'll definitely be looking to pick one up as soon as I can. A 120GB SSD is more than large enough for ISOs I presume, but I was researching and it looked like you could maybe boot an entire Windows OS off of there, does that sound accurate or am I thinking of one of their other devices? I'm glad that it works though, so glad that these devices are still around!!
I reckon you could probably boot windows from it but you probably wouldn't want to (if your thinking of carrying your computer everywhere and just using hardware in different locations). In the past, I used to be able to move a linux machine installed on a drive between computers and just boot up, but I think these days the UEFI installations prevent you from doing this anymore. Also, unlike Linux, I think windows makes a note of the computers hardware for licensing information and will throw a hissy fit if it notices a different motherboard and will say the license is invalid.