Making the ultimate IT flash drive multitool

In this guide we are going to create a flash drive with pretty much any tool you could need to diagnose and repair a pc as well as other useful tools for your everyday life. You will be able to run diagnostics, install a new OS (windows or Linux), boot into a live Linux environment, fix boot issues, run penetration testing, do data recovery, scan for malware and have a useful suite of programs of all kinds on the go.

Selecting the right flash drive

For what we are doing you will need a decent flash drive, a capacity of 128 GB or higher is recommended. Also, USB 3.0 and higher speeds are highly recommended, we will be writing a lot of data during the initial setup and when used as boot drive speed will be crucial. Now the most important characteristic is the thermals of the drive, unfortunately the majority of flash drives suffer from thermal throttling. Making them unusable after a few minutes of heavy use, like writing a large image or using them as a boot drive. The flash drive I chose is the Kingston DataTraveler Max (256 GB). And so far it has been a good choice, fast, stable and reliable.

Step 0: Yumi multiboot

Yumi is going to be the heart of this project, it enables us to make the flash drive bootable. And be able to pick every time the OS we want to boot. That way we will be able to quickly and easily boot into rescue environments, and run diagnostics, repairs, malware scans and much more!

Installing Yumi

The best version of Yumi in my opinion is the exFAT version, it supports both UEFI and BIOS boot. Also supports files larger than 4gb. You can get Yumi from their site here. Installing Yumi is very easy, just follow the steps below, and it will be ready in no time. Also make sure the flash drive is empty, because it will format it.

The whole process is pretty straightforward. Just be mindful of the selected drive to prevent any data loss. After the initial setup, all you will have to do to add a bootable image is select drive, then the distribution and lastly browse the ISO. Yumi is so awesome that it has integrated download links for the majority of ISOs! It’s a good idea to keep a copy of Yumi on the drive, you never know when you will need to add an ISO on the go.

What to install ?

There are many choices here, depending on preference and usage scenarios. I am going to split them into categories and mention the ones I installed. Having multiple tools for the same job is not always bad, one tool might work when another doesn’t.

  • Penetration testing: I went with Kali Linux on this one, one of the best, if not the best penetration testing distro. I chose the “everything” image (over 9 GB).
  • Antimalware: In this category it is a good idea to have multiple options, malware that cant be detected by one Antivirus it may be detected by another one. I used the following:
    • Bitdefender rescue CD
    • Kaspersky rescue environment
    • GDATA boot CD
    • ESET Rescue live CD
  • Diagnostics & system rescue
    • Memtest86: The best utility to test your RAM.
    • Memtest86+: An older and abandoned version of Memtest86, but it is good to have alternatives. Just in case.
    • Hirens Boot CD (HBCD): Perhaps the most useful tool when it comes to diagnostics, it is a live windows environment packed with tools. But the most important part is you can run almost any windows app. (If you can find the older version based on Windows 7 it can also be very handy to have).
    • Gparted live: A great partition manager in a live environment.
    • grml: A live environment with multiple Linux tools for system administration and rescue.
    • SystemRescueCD: Its a live Linux image with various tools to help you recover a crashed system.
    • Trinity Rescue Kit : An image containing many tools for system recovery
    • Boot Repair Disk: Incredibly simple and it just works. Fixed most cases of unbootable systems.
    • Rescuezilla: A basic Linux rescue environment
  • Data backup & recovery
    • Clonezilla: A useful backup and cloning utility
    • EaseUS Disk Copy: Copy/Clone drives.
    • HDD Regenerator: There are many conflicted opinions about HDD regenerator, from my experience as a last resort it is pretty effective most of the time. It will at least render the drive in a state where data recovery is possible.
  • Live Linux: A live linux image is always useful for a magnitude of uses
    • Ubuntu: Your Standard well known ubuntu desktop
    • CentOS: One of the best free enterprise linux distributions
    • Arch Linux: Not for the faint of hart, it provides you the tools to set up your distribution EXACTLY as you want it. You will have to set up EVERYTHING.
    • ArchBang: Arch Linux but it is already set up with a light weight interface
    • Manjaro: By now you must have noticed, i love arch linux! Manjaro is my favorite distribution, based on arch linux but it is a complete system that just works.

Step 1: PortableApps

A very important part of our ultimate flash drive. It is an open source suite with a plethora of apps that can run directly from the flash drive. Once installed, you can download over 450 apps available directly from the integrated downloader. The apps that you will choose depend mostly on the size of the flash drive, below you will find how to install it and a list of the apps I used. You can get PortableApps from here.

Installing PortableApps

Installing portable apps is as simple as it gets. Bellow you will find the steps i followed.

One thing to notice on step 5 you should select a custom folder location and on step 7 create a folder in your flash drive and install it there. Otherwise, there is a good chance it will change the name of the drive and affect the functionality of Yumi. Once installed on your first run as you can see in step 11 you will be prompted to select the apps you want to install. If your network is limited or the flash drive is slow, I would recommend downloading and installing in batches. If you want to add more programs just click the button in step 13. I highly recommend taking a look at the options menu where you change things like the theme etc.

The apps I chose

Below you will find a list of the apps I chose to install, the apps that you will choose depend mostly on the drives size. Games are not required, but you never know :). Again, having multiple options is not a bad idea.

Show apps

  1. 2048Portable
  2. 2XClient
  3. 4stAttackPortable
  4. 7-ZipPortable
  5. ADarkRoomPortable
  6. AIMPPortable
  7. AndreaMosaicPortable
  8. AniFXPortable
  9. AntRenamerPortable
  10. ArmagetronAdvancedPortable
  11. ArthaPortable
  12. AssaultCubePortable
  13. AtomicTanksPortable
  14. AudacityPortable
  15. BabelMapPortable
  16. BalabolkaPortable
  17. balenaEtcherPortable
  18. BeretPortable
  19. BigSolitairesPortable
  20. BleachBitPortable
  21. BlenderPortable
  22. BrutalChessPortable
  23. BYONDPortable
  24. CaesiumPortable
  25. CamStudioPortable
  26. CanabaltPortable
  27. ccPortable
  28. CelestiaPortable
  29. ChecksumControlPortable
  30. ChromiumBSUPortable
  31. ClamWinPortable
  32. ColourContrastAnalyserPortable
  33. CommandPromptPortable
  34. ConsolePortable
  35. ConvertAllPortable
  36. CookTimerPortable
  37. CppcheckPortable
  38. CPU-ZPortable
  39. CrystalDiskInfoPortable
  40. CrystalDiskMarkPortable
  41. CubePortable
  42. DamnVidPortable
  43. darktablePortable
  44. DaveGnukemPortable
  45. DatabaseBrowserPortable
  46. DiaPortable
  47. DiffImgPortable
  48. DiffpdfPortable
  49. DOSBoxPortable
  50. DrawioPortable
  51. DuplicateFilesFinderPortable
  52. DVDStylerPortable
  53. EkigaPortable
  54. EmsisoftEmergencyKitPortable
  55. EraserPortable
  56. EraserDotNetPortable
  57. EraserDropPortable
  58. Explorer++Portable
  59. FastCopyPortable
  60. FileAlyzerPortable
  61. FileZillaPortable
  62. FirefoxPortable
  63. FoxitReaderPortable
  64. freacPortable
  65. FreeCADPortable
  66. FreecivPortable
  67. FreeCommanderPortable
  68. FreeDownloadManagerPortable
  69. FreeMatPortable
  70. FrhedPortable
  71. FyrePortable
  72. GetSudokuPortable
  73. GIMPPortable
  74. GnuCashPortable
  75. GnumericPortable
  76. GoldenDictPortable
  77. GollyPortable
  78. GoogleChromePortable
  79. CommonFiles
  80. GPU-ZPortable
  81. grepWinPortable
  82. HDHackerPortable
  83. HedgewarsPortable
  84. Hex-A-HopPortable
  85. HexChatPortable
  86. HijackThisPortable
  87. HMNISEditPortable
  88. HWiNFOPortable
  89. IceBreakerPortable
  90. IcoFXPortable
  91. IHaveNoTomatoesPortable
  92. InfraRecorderPortable
  93. IniTranslatorPortable
  94. InkscapePortable
  95. IObitUninstallerPortable
  96. IObitUnlockerPortable
  97. IrfanViewPortable
  98. IsotoxinPortable
  99. JooleemPortable
  100. JPEGViewPortable
  101. KasperskyTDSSKillerPortable
  102. KeePassPortable
  103. KeePassProPortable
  104. KeePassXCPortable
  105. KeepNotePortable
  106. KiTTYPortable
  107. KoboDeluxePortable
  108. KVIrcPortable
  109. LameXPPortable
  110. LANMessengerPortable
  111. LBreakout2Portable
  112. LibreCADPortable
  113. LibreOfficePortable
  114. LightscreenPortable
  115. LinksPortable
  116. LMarblesPortable
  117. LucasChessPortable
  118. LynxPortable
  119. MarblePortable
  120. McAfeeStingerPortable
  121. MicroSIPPortable
  122. Mines-PerfectPortable
  123. MoneyManagerExPortable
  124. Monster2Portable
  125. mssPortable
  126. MumblePortable
  127. NetHackPortable
  128. netPanzerPortable
  129. NeverballPortable
  130. Notepad++Portable
  131. NSISPortable
  132. NVDAPortable
  133. OBSPortable
  134. On-ScreenKeyboardPortable
  135. OpenTTDPortable
  136. PaintDotNetPortable
  137. PasswordGorillaPortable
  138. PathologicalPortable
  139. PCI-ZPortable
  140. PDF-XChangeEditorPortable
  141. PeaZipPortable
  142. PeerBlockPortable
  143. PidginPortable
  144. PingusPortable
  145. PngOptimizerPortable
  146. PokerTHPortable
  147. PortableApps.comAppCompactor
  148. PortableApps.comInstaller
  149. PortableApps.comLauncher
  150. PowderToyPortable
  151. ProcessHackerPortable
  152. ProjectInvinciblePortable
  153. PushoverPortable
  154. PuTTYPortable
  155. PuzzleCollectionPortable
  156. QuickBlackjackPortable
  157. QuickBridgePortable
  158. QuickCribbagePortable
  159. QuickPokerPortable
  160. QuickSolitairePortable
  161. RAMMapPortable
  162. RapidCRCUnicodePortable
  163. RawTherapeePortable
  164. rcvPortable
  165. RegAlyzerPortable
  166. RetroSharePortable
  167. RevoUninstallerPortable
  168. RocksnDiamondsPortable
  169. RufusPortable
  170. SauerbratenPortable
  171. Scorched3DPortable
  172. ScreenToGifPortable
  173. SigilPortable
  174. SimpleSudokuPortable
  175. SmartDeblurPortable
  176. SmartDefragPortable
  177. SpybotPortable
  178. SQLiteDatabaseBrowserPortable
  179. SqlitemanPortable
  180. SSD-ZPortable
  181. StellaPortable
  182. StellariumPortable
  183. SudokuPortable
  184. SumatraPDFPortable
  185. SuperTuxPortable
  186. SuperTuxKartPortable
  187. T-3Portable
  188. TeamViewerPortable
  189. TEncoderPortable
  190. TheLegendOfEdgarPortable
  191. TheManaWorldPortable
  192. ThunderbirdPortable
  193. Tick5Portable
  194. TileWorldPortable
  195. Tipp10Portable
  196. Toucan
  197. TransmissionPortable
  198. TreeSizeFreePortable
  199. TwinDistressPortable
  200. TypeFasterPortable
  201. UltraDefragPortable
  202. UNetbootinPortable
  203. USBSudokuPortable
  204. UUID-GUIDGeneratorPortable
  205. VeraCryptPortable
  206. VirtualMagnifyingGlassPortable
  207. VirtualVolumesViewPortable
  208. VLCPortable
  209. VMMapPortable
  210. WarMUXPortable
  211. WAtomicPortable
  212. WesnothPortable
  213. WinBoardPortable
  214. WhoDatPortable
  215. WhyNotWin11Portable
  216. WinDirStatPortable
  217. winMd5SumPortable
  218. WinMergePortable
  219. WinMTRPortable
  220. WinObjPortable
  221. WinSCPPortable
  222. WiseDataRecoveryPortable
  223. WizznicPortable
  224. XAMPP
  225. X-MotoPortable
  226. XonoticPortable
  227. XyePortable
  228. YUMIPortable
  229. YUMI-UEFIPortable
  230. ZazPortable
  231. ZintPortable
  232. ZoteroPortable
  233. ZSoftUninstallerPortable

Step 2: installing other apps and utilities

Now we will be installing more useful apps that are not available from portable apps. Most of these apps, that can run directly from the flash drive. Can be placed and run from the PortableApps Launcher if you want. I chose to keep them in a separate folder.

Nirsoft Launcher

NirLauncher is a great set of tools with a launcher similar to PortableApps. The base version contains more than 200 tools. Tools that can recover stored passwords, product keys, show useful device information and many other tools. NirLauncher can be downloaded from here.

Installing NirLauncher

Installing NirLauncher is as simple as it gets, just download the zip and extract it to the directory you want. You will notice in the downloads there is a section with additional tools you can add, I highly recommend that you get the sysinternals package that offers a set of troubleshooting utilities from Microsoft. Installing the pack is also easy. All you need to do is download the pack and extract it In the Nirsoft directory, then drag and drop the sysinternals6.nlp to NirLauncher. The final directory will look something like the image on the right.

Antivirus issues and usage

One issue you will most likely encounter is that your antivirus will very likely recognize most of the apps as threats, because in the wrong hand they can be easily used as hack tools. For that reason I highly recommend once you are done, to add everything to an encrypted zip file so that they are protected from AVs. Also, keeping the password in the file’s name is not a bad idea either. Changing packages is done easily through the packages menu as seen in the image below.

Step 3: Additional tools

Most of the hard work is done, now it’s time for some finishing touches. The only thing left is to add some very useful tools not included in the above steps.

Unstoppable copier

Roadkil’s unstoppable copier is amazing, works very well with backups as well as recovering files from damaged drives. You can get it from here, and it is completely portable. It might be old and dated, but it works flawlessly.

Antivirus removers

When removing an antivirus there is always a high chance it will not be removed, or it might be only partially removed. To solve this, almost all manufacturers have separate uninstallers for those occasions. Depending on the manufacturer you might have to do a bit of digging to find them, but you should definitely keep a copy of everyone you can find in a folder.

DHCP Server

Sometimes you might find yourself connected directly to a device without a static IP, and you need to give it an IP address to access its interface. What you can do is give yourself a static IP and run a DHCP server to give that device an IP. This tool in incredibly useful in this scenario, you can download it from here.

Post format installers

Just keep a folder with anything you need to install on a fresh machine. Bonus points if you automate the process with a batch script ;), might make an article about this some day. Below you will find what I use.

  • Ninite installer: A convenient way to install most of the apps toy want, you just go to and select the apps you want. It will then create an executable that will automatically download and install those apps.
  • AnyDesk: Another handy utility, great for providing tech support.
  • Driver Booster: Installing it might be a bit annoying trying to avoid installing other stuff, but it works. Just make sure to uninstall it afterwords, or it will annoy you with ads. You can get it from here.

Future ideas

There is always something useful to add, I will update this post with anything useful I find. I am particularly interested in APP virtualization, meaning that you can have any app you want portable and run it from your flash drive.

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