ventoy - the ultimate multi-boot live stick tool

on the search for instructions to create an ubuntu live stick with persistence I stumbled across Ventoy. This is a very cool tool to create a muti-boot USB stick. Basically what you do is, format a USB stick with and then you simply copy iso files onto the stick. When you plug the stick into a PC and boot it choosing the stick as your boot device, it Ventoy will automatically provide a nice menu listing all your iso's to choose from. Simply choose an iso and boot it. Like this you can carray a single usb stick with many different ISO's on it around and boot the one you need each time.

but there is more! so called plugins let you customize ventoy and the behaviour of the boot menu. One of the plugins is a persistence plugin, where you can create persistence files and then assign them to iso images to store persitence data for the specific linux distro onto it. very cool! you can even add multiple persistence files for a single image and then choose from a sub-menu which one to use on each boot.

Ventoy is configured using a json file in the following path on the stick /ventoy/ventoy.json. in there, you can configure all those plugins as described on the documentation

so here is an example. we will create a stick that contains the ubuntu desktop and ubuntu server image. after a timeout of 10 seconds, the desktop image will automatically boot with persistence enabled.

  1. download the latest ventoy release (tar.gz in my case, but there is also a windows binary, if you are on windows)
  2. untar it (it contains a sub-directory, so no tar bomb :))
  3. cd into the directory and then insert your usb stick. please note, ventoy will format the stick!
  4. run
    sudo -i /dev/sdc

    where sdc is your memory stick. If you want to force-overwrite an existing ventoy stick use -I (capital I instead of -i)

  5. now simply mount the larger partition of the stick and copy your iso's onto it, in our case an ubuntu desktop and server iso image.
  6. next we create an empty persistence file
    sudo ./ -s 2048

    will create a new file called persistence.dat in the current working directory. copy this file to the stick as well.

  7. now finally it's time for the configuration of all this. create a new directory and file on your usb stick ventoy/ventoy.json. here is the content which will do what I described above:
        "persistence": [
                "image": "/ubuntu-20.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso",
                "backend": "/persistence_ubuntu.dat",
                "autosel": 1
        "control": [
            { "VTOY_MENU_TIMEOUT": "10" },
            { "VTOY_DEFAULT_IMAGE": "/ubuntu-20.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso" }
  • ventoy_-_the_ultimate_multi-boot_live_stick_tool.txt
  • Last modified: 28.01.2021 15:11
  • by Pascal Suter