Some links below are Amazon ad affiliate links but I only recommend products I have actually used and tested. It does not cost you any extra but it helps to earn me a few pennies…
USB drives should have a metal shroud around the USB connector. If you use a USB drive that has a plastic shroud or no shroud, then you will get connectivity problems on some computers (don’t ask me how I know!).
Always buy a USB 3 drive as they will be much faster than USB 2 drives even if you only have a USB 2 port available.
E2B will work with any USB drive from 8GB up to 2TB in size. For best legacy\BIOS compatibility, it is best to keep the first and second partition below 128GB but you can use the Gear Wheel button and choose any size you like. For drives larger than 128GB, I recommend you use 127GB NTFS+1GB FAT32+remainder for Partition 3 (NTFS\exFAT).
Important features for a USB multiboot drive
- Use a reputable brand. If it is too cheap then it will be a fake (e.g. 2TB USB flash drive for $20!)
- Always choose a USB 3 drive
- 4K sector hard disk drives are not legacy-bootable – some external USB drives are 4K drives and are not suitable for Easy2Boot or Ventoy.
- Benchmark data – the sequential I/O wr/rd speeds quoted by the manufacturer is NOT that relevant. When running an OS from a USB drive or using persistence, compare the 4K random rd/wr speeds as reported by Crystal DiskMark (check Amazon reviews). For a USB 3 Flash drive you should look for a result of over 1MB/s (4K Q1T1).
USB Flash drives (Removable type)
Sandisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 (Gen 1) CZ880 (#Amazon ad link) (review) Fast and most compatible
Transcend JetFlash 920 (#Amazon ad link) (review) As fast as a SanDisk Extreme Pro but cheaper!
USB Flash drives (Fixed/Hard Disk type)
Silverstone 2242 M.2 SATA III SSD to USB 3.1 Gen 2 Enclosure with Retractable (SST-MS09C-MINI) – add M.2 card for a superfast USB Flash dive!
USB HDD/SSD (Fixed)
For USB booting I recommend using a USB 3.0 enclosure (not USB 3.1 or 3.2) and an SSD drive (lower power requirement than HDD, more robust, no spin-up delay).
USB CD\DVD Emulator
IODD range – e.g. The IODD Mini SSD (recommended) also supports encryption. Can emulate Removable or Fixed USB drive. Can be write-protected.
IODD’s can be loaded with 100’s of ISOs and VHD files. You can then load one or more of these via the IODD controls to emulate a CD\DVD\Removable drive\Fixed drive.
USB Flash Encrypted
USB 3 Y-cable – Useful when using USB HDD with higher power requirements. Connect both ends of the Y to two laptop ports or connect one end to the laptop and one end to a USB battery power pack to provide extra power.
USB 2 extension cable – Use between USB 3 port and USB 3 drive to force system to use the slower USB 2 protocol and USB 2 drivers (USB3 has blue connectors). May work when USB 3 drivers are not included in an OS or when the USB data lines have I/O rd/wr data integrity issues due to bad design or poor quality cable.
Note: Buy good quality shielded USB cables with metal USB shrouds around each connector.