PDF English version of this tutorial.

This document has been published as part of our reuse campaign together with Debian-Facile, Blabla Linux and Tugaleres.com which started in September 2020, following the diffusion of our method to realize of a refurbishing USB key, and the realization by our friends of Debian-Facile of a tutorial on this subject concerning the key based on MultiSystem. And our friend Amaury from Blabla Linux has made a set of videos about this, and moreover proposes to provide at cost price, plus shipping, refurbishing USB keys according to several configurations listed on this page.

To simplify the making of our refurbishing USB key (flash drive), we made a new tutorial on this subject in November 2021 using a Ventoy-based key,  and allowing the realization of this key under both Linux and Windows. Then in September 2022 we added a tutorial on using the Ventoy based refurbishing key in Secureboot mode.

We thought that it would be enough to use our refurbishing keys, but after seing small problems encountered by some users who bought these keys, it seems necessary to us to make a small tutorial explaining how to use these keys and exposing the details of the various menus present on them.

Launching the refurbishing key

To use the key, please please plug it into a USB port while the computer is turned off.

Note : if your computer has USB ports with a blue color instead of black color coding, we recommend you use that one which is a USB-3 standard much faster than USB-2 or 1.

Turn on the computer and regularly tap on a function key (F12, F9, F2, Esc, see on this page the key that corresponds to your computer) to bring up the “Boot Menu“.

You should land on a screen similar to this one:

Within this menu, you should see a line with the name of your USB key. Select this line and validate your choice by pressing the “Enter” key.

Note : If this line is not present in the menu, select the line <Enter Setup>, and go check that the USB ports are enabled, and that in the “Boot Menu”, the USB flash drive device is not excluded from the list of bootable devices. If this still doesn’t work, it is likely that your computer doesn’t support booting on this type of USB stick, so the last solution is to use a CD containing Plop Manager or our own ISO version of Plop, then boot on this CD which , in turn, will then boot the USB stick. Be careful, when using the Plop manager CD, it is important not to use a USB keyboard, which might not work properly.

Refurbishing key based on Ventoy

You should now land on this MultiSystem welcome window :

In the above window, you can run the reuse script with either 64-bit or 32-bit Clonezilla, and you will get one of the windows below to run the cloning script :

  • BIOS Legacy mode :

  • UEFI mode :

Note : The two previous screens allow you to launch one of these commands :

    • Clonezilla live : let you use Clonezilla in classic mode, in order for you to build your own clone ;
    • Clé de réemploi installation semi-automatique : allows you to select a clone when running the script in French ;
    • Clé de réemploi installation automatique : allows you to start the automatic cloning process in French ;
    • Sauvegarde du clone sur la clé de réemploi : allows you to automatically copy the contents of the referenced hard drive to the refurbishing key, in order to create a clone, with French messages;
    • Refurbishing key semi-automatic install : allows you to select a clone when running the script in English;
    • Refurbishing key automatic install  : allows you to start the automatic cloning process in English;
    • Clone backup : allows you to automatically copy the contents of the referenced hard drive to the refurbishing key, in order to create a clone, with English messages;
    • Information about the re-use key : describes the different ways to use these menus, and indicates the shortcut keys in English and French.
  • In this particular example, the last two lines allow you to launch DF-Linux or Emmabuntüs DE 4 in live mode, and you will get the window below if you launch Emmabuntüs DE 4

Refurbishing key based on MultiSystem

Warning: The MultiSystem based refurbishing key will no longer be updated following the announcement of the discontinuation of the MultiSystem development.

You should now land on this MultiSystem welcome window :

Or on this one, which features the same options, but with the theme of our refurbishing campaign :

In this one – which is an example of a type of refurbishnig USB key – you have several types of launch options:

  • clonezilla-live: is used to launch Clonezilla for the maintenance of the key, in order to make other clones;
  • Refurbishing key semi-automatic installation: allows you to start the cloning process in semi-automatic mode and to select a clone when running the script;
  • Refurbishing key automatic installation: allows you to launch the cloning process in automatic mode which will automatically install one of the clones pre-defined in the “clone.ini” file;

  • Clone backup : allows you to automatically copy the contents of the referenced hard drive to create a clone.

Semi-automatic and automatic modes differences

The semi-automatic mode allows you to choose a file among the different clones available on the “IMAGES” partition, as shown in the image below, when launching the refurbishing key script:

The automatic mode, on the other end, does not allow you not to choose a clone when launching the script, but let you define it beforehand inside the “clone.ini” file. This saves time when launching the script.

Note : The semi-automatic mode is suitable for the use of a single refurbishing key per user, but if you want to use several keys per user we recommend the automatic mode which is very handy for mass re-use.

The “clone.ini” file must be present at the root of the “IMAGES” partition and allows you to define the four

default clones via these four variables :

  • CLONE_UEFI_64=

To achieve this, enter the directory names containing the clones you want to install, for respectively the “ BIOS Legacy” in 32-bit or 64-bit and the “UEFI” 64-bit modes.

Note : The “Legacy_32” clone is installed if you are running a 32-bit version of Clonezilla, and the “Legacy_64” one if you are running a 64-bit version of Clonezilla. The “UEFI_64” clone can only be installed if you run a 64-bit Clonezilla version.

The “UEFI_64and “UEFI_SB_64” clones can only be installed if you run a 64-bit Clonezilla version.

What type of cloning to use ?

On your key, you can have a cloning via Clonezilla 64 and/or 32 bits. You should know that you can use 64-bit cloning in any case even to clone a 32-bit clone, except if your physical machine is a real 32-bit system. In this case, you are obliged to use a 32-bit Clonezilla with a 32-bit clone.

Which clone to use ?

Since the update of our refurbishing key in October 2022, it supports now the default installations of many GNU/Linux distributions. So we have decided to stop providing pre-configured clones as standard, and to stop updating the ones on this page, except for very specific requests coming from associations we work with.

If you still want to make your own clone, please look at our tutorial on “Making a clone for the Emmabuntüs USB refurbishing key“.

Refurbishing key stop

It is advisable to remove the key when the computer is turned off, and for this purpose the easiest way is to press the power button for more than 4 seconds when the PC is restarting after the cloning. If you don’t do this in time and your computer restarts after cloning, it will stop in the case you are using a MultiSystem refurbishing key, on the Clonezilla launcher configuration screen below:

In the case you are using the Ventoy refurbishing key, the computer will stop on the home screen of the Ventoy refurbishing key.

In these cases, simply press the power button for more than 4 seconds to turn off the computer, then remove the USB key.

Tips and Advice

The management of the UEFI or BIOS Legacy boot order is different for each computer: the procedures are standardized, but it sometimes happens that one manipulation works better than another… so here is a small list of tips and advice to take into account if you encounter problems during your tests.

  • UEFI management is automatically handled by the refurbishing script, however, it is best to disable UEFI on the machines to be refurbished in order to improve hardware and software compatibility. UEFI clones are only visible if the USB stick has been launched in UEFI mode;

  • If you use computers featuring the SECUREBOOT, we advise you to deactivate this option if possible (you have to go through the Setup menu when starting the computer);

  • Our cloning script let you clone one hard disk only, and if you have several hard disks present on the computer the script will ask you to select the target disk to be cloned.