Saturday, 18 August 2018

Vote for the next default background for E2B v1.A1

It's that time of year when E2B has a default background change.

Here are some candidates:

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Quickly build a versatile WinPE ISO file with just a few clicks (AOMEI Windows PE Builder)

By using the AOMEI Windows PE Builder (free 30-day trial version), we can quickly build a useful 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE ISO in just a few minutes and with just a few clicks.

Note: I recommend building first the 32-bit ISO because the 64-bit version will not contain WoW64 and so will not be able to run 32-bit applications such as PortableApps (but you can add Desktop shortcuts to 32-bit and 64-bit apps in the \AIO folder using PEStartUp).

Also, because the WinPE has no added extra Windows components, some added portable applications (such as Chrome, Opera and Mozilla, etc.) may not run correctly (e.g. 'couldn't load XPCOM' error). The provided QtWeb browser Desktop link does work however.

Quick Instructions

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Bugfix in WinNTSetup v3.9.1

JFX's WinNTSetup.exe Windows utility can be used to install Windows directly from a Windows Install .ISO or .WIM or .ESD file.

You can format existing partitions first using the 'F' button, but if you want to delete\make partitions, you had to run Diskpart manually first.



WinNTSetup does also support command line switches too, so you could use it to automate a Windows install using a diskpart script and then run WiNNTSetup.exe with some command line parameters.

One advantage of using WinNTSetup instead of Windows Setup is that you can install a UEFI-enabled version of Windows from an MBR boot, you can also install a 64-bit UEFI version of Windows onto the target hard disk even if you are booting from a 32-bit MBR system, e.g.

1. Boot to WinPE 32-bit (I use a Windows 10 install ISO on E2B and hit ENTER to run it in 'Repair' mode). You can also boot to WindowsToGo or some other WinPE instead.
2. Press SHIFT+F10 to get a command console window open (after selecting Country\Language)
3. Use Diskpart to wipe\partition the target system
4. Run WinNTSetup (32-bit version) from the E2B USB drive, select any ISO from the E2B drive (from any folder or partition), select the Windows Edition and target disk volumes and then install Windows. You can instruct WinNTSetup to install for UEFI or MBR booting or both (or ask it not to install any bootmgr boot code).

Note: You can also specify an XML file (e.g. SDI_CHOCO XML file) and tweak some Windows settings using WinNTSetup, but note that if you use an XML file, the Edition that is installed (Home, Pro, etc.) is determined by the setting in WinNTSetup and NOT the XML file - so make sure you set the Edition that you want to install in WinNTSetup's 'Edition' drop-down list before you click on the 'Setup' button!

Secret WinNTSetup feature!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Special Offer - X-Way Forensics course for $30

For a 2-week period, Brett Shavers is offering us his X-Way Forensics course for $29.99.

Play the introductory videos (click on the Introduction link on the right-hand side of page for a 2nd video) to learn more.

Note: I have not personally taken the course myself. I am just bringing this special offer to your attention. If you have followed the course yourself, please let us all know what you thought of it.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

E2B v1.A1e/f/g Beta with new Windows All-In-One Install menu

This version now allows the user to add a \_ISO\WINDOWS\WINAIO folder which can be used to hold Windows All-In-One Install ISOs and .imgPTN files.

v1.A1g with improved language files + tweaks + Server 2016 hotkey changed from 6 to D. Some .hdr files now removed and MenuWinInstall.hdr added.



As using AIO ISO files can be unpredictable, if you find that they don't work, then you should convert them to .imgPTN files.

Note that the Menu entry and Menu Heading for the new WINAIO folder has been added to each of the STRINGS.txt files.

If you want to change these entries, create a new language folder and change the LANG variable to your new language (e.g.  ENG1).

If you have a translation for the new strings, please send a new STRINGS.txt file to me. The three new strings are:

# New for E2B v1.A1
$$STRhAIO=Windows AIO install
$$STRl0AI=^A Install Windows AIO    [A] (%CIO% present)\nInstall Windows All-in-One
$$STRl1AI=Install Windows AIO\nInstall Windows All-In-One

Please let me know if you spot a bug!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

How to set the Computer Serial number as the ComputerName - Take 2!

This method has the advantage that you can check what the auto-generated ComputerName+SerialNumber is going to be before the install is actually started and can then  change it if required.

The Sample .mnu file 'WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu' will allow the user to specify the UserName and ComputerName before the Windows Install ISO is run. It then copies your XML file to a BLANK.XML file and modifies it to use the new User and Computer Names that you have specified.

This is useful because you don't need to choose an XML file or an ISO file as they are already pre-defined in the .mnu file. You just boot, enter in the UserName and ComputerName that you want, and the rest of the build is fully automated. If you are using SDI_CHOCO, it even adds drivers and applications automatically too.

However, if you want the ComputerName to include the System Serial number (for instance), you would have to carefully type it in manually when prompted (assuming you knew what it was!).

I have now made a new version of this .mnu file so that it will automatically modify the XML file's ComputerName field with the System Serial number (e.g. PC-1234546) for you! It works in a very similar way to the WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu, but two boots are required.

Tip: If you run \_ISO\docs\SysInfo\sysinfo2.hta from the E2B drive under Windows, it will list the DMI values held in the Mainboard of the system.

It works in 2 stages like this:

Changing the Windows ComputerName after installation (e.g. to contain the system Serial Number)

It is often the case that the System Admin wants the Windows ComputerName to reflect some aspect of the system itself, such as the system serial number or DELL Service Tag (7,10 or 11 characters) or perhaps the MAC address of the Ethernet adapter.

The main problem is that the Serial Number of the target system cannot be determined until after Setup (WinPE) has booted.

I wanted to try to alter the ComputerName during an automated SDI_CHOCO install using Easy2Boot and a Windows 10 ISO + XML file...

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

E2B v1.A1d Beta available

Download v1.A1d

Here are changes from v1.A0 (italic font = new changes added since v1.A1c Beta)
  • Added 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file - the user can change menu settings, etc. from within a single menu.
  • Added \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files which are automatically used as wallpaper file can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg, \_ISO\DOS.jpg.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu - some of the other menus are now not added to make the Main menu tidier.
  • Sub-menu files \_ISO\xxxx.g4b, .bmp and .jpg are now automatically used if they are present (e.g. \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS.jpg will be automatically used when the AntiVirus menu is loaded)
  • SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd file also added to into the \_ISO folder for user convenience (same file as \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd).
  • PatchMe script updated to suppress the 'A20 Debug' message on bootup.
  • .bat, .xml and .bak files are now ignored if they are in a menu folder.
  • .jpg and .bmp files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as background wallpaper when selected by user from the menu.
  • .f24 and .uni.gz font files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as new font when selected by user from the menu.
  • Few very minor bug fixes.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Make your own E2B 'Launcher' utility

Linasoft's AutoPlay Menu Builder can be used to create your own 'Launcher' executable. You can use an existing template and then make changes to it - perhaps change the language, etc. or add more items.

Although originally intended to create auturun.exe + autorun.inf files for use with CDs that would auto-run when inserted into a computer's CD-ROM drive, it is a useful application to create your own 'Launcher' utility for E2B too (it makes a Windows .exe executable).

Here is a screenshot my current E2B Helper:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

E2B eBook progress report

The 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Book' eBook has proved far more popular than I ever imagined!

I thought that it might have interested only 10-20 people at most, but since mid-June I have now sold over 100 copies which really surprised me, but it's very nice to know that all my efforts were worth it! The 130pp book took me over 3 weeks from start to finish (sometimes with a 12-hour day and some weeks were 7-day weeks!). After writing the first draft, I carefully followed all the exercises myself to look for any problems in the instructions and I also added screenshots and diagrams. Glen kindly proof-read many drafts and final revisions and since then I have updated and improved the PDF - the latest version is now v2.3.

However, I have had very little feedback on the eBook, so maybe nobody has actually read it yet or they fell asleep trying to read it!

Version 2.3

If you still have the original receipt email from Payhip, you can re-download a later revision of the PDF for free (contact me if you have problems).

If you would like a version in ePub (.epub) form for your eBook reader device, please contact me. I do have a .epub file of v2.3 but it is not quite as nice as the PDF due to the limitations of the epub format.

eBook #2?

I am now thinking about writing another E2B eBook and there are a number of possible topics, three of which are listed below.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

E2B v1.A1b and c Beta now available

v1.A1c

  • Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu has been improved so it is now loaded as a separate menu.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to the PIMP folder.
  • E2B now automatically looks for menu wallpaper files for each sub-menu (see below). Now you can just add .bmp or .jpg files and they will automatically be used for the background image for that menu - no .mnu files are required.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

How to add new menu folders to Easy2Boot (e.g. BIOS Flash tools)

If you are a Tech, you may want to keep many BIOS Flash utilities on your E2B USB drive for each of the different models that you encounter.

So you may wish to have a menu structure like this:

Main Menu -> BIOS Flash Menu -> [Manufacturer] -> [Series]


For instance for Lenovo T-series systems, the menu structure would be:

Main Menu - BIOS Flash Menu - Lenovo - T Series - T560_v1.25.imgPTN


Sunday, 29 July 2018

E2B v1.A1a Beta available

1.A1a Beta

  • Add 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file so the user can change menu colours from within the menu. 
  • Add \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg.
I found that my Comodo AntiVirus software was causing Chocolatey (and thus ChocBox.cmd) to run extremely slowly. Just disabling it was not enough to fix the problem as the task was still running in the background - I had to either kill the Comodo AV task or uninstall it!

The Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample .mnu file now lets you change the menu text colours as well as other menu settings.

I have added a new \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder with instructions to help you set up your E2B USB drive to load a different background wallpaper for each menu. The most difficult thing now is actually making the 18 different 800x600 wallpaper jpg files required! You can add your own menu heading to each wallpaper graphics file and remove the E2B text heading from the menu if you wish.

1. Use the "\_ISO\docs\Templates\CenteredMenu\MyE2B.cfg" for your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
2. Follow the instructions in the \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds\ReadMe.txt file.
3. Tweak the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to remove the menu heading (and footer help text and menu entry help text) if you wish.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Amazon Prime day!

If you are an Amazon Prime member (hint: you can sign up for a 30-day trial for free!) then there are lots of bargains to be had today and tomorrow only.

Unsurprisingly, the best deals are available on Amazon kit, but there are also good reductions on some high-priced goods as well of over 50%!

Here are a few bargains for US and UK clients (affiliated links):

Amazon.co.uk





Note: Some deals don't start till later today.



$100 off Echo Show
$30 off Echo 2nd generation
$20 off Fire TV stick

Click here for more deals.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A0 is now released

Change from v1.99 are:
  • New grub4dos \grldr (2018-07-01) supporting centering of menu entries and menu help text (new grub4dos setmenu --middle-align command).
  • Three new Themes added to demonstrate centred text menu entries.
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu.
  • TimeDiskAccess.mnu added - allows user to test raw sector read speed under BIOS of all drives in system. Useful for comparing USB+BIOS driver performance.
  • New SHORT_HL variable can be used to set the highlighted menu entry to only highlight the menu text and not the whole menu line. 
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd now checks in case the user has renamed some of the standard E2B .mnu files (e.g. ZZSubmenuAll.mnu) and asks user if they want to delete them or keep them.
  • New version of E2B_Editor.exe now uses 24-bit colour values for the heading and footer colours.
  • STRINGS.txt files changed - no need to pad out menu headings.
  • Small bug fix to remove extra space after menu entries in sample .mnu files.
  • KBD_QWERTY_USA keyboard file added so can pick using E2B_Editor.
  • Bugfixes to internal handling of menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running Update did copy it across but Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd did not copy it across).
  • Small fixes to centre menu heading when UTF-8 characters used (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, etc.).
  • If the FONT variable's path contains ".f24" then 24-high fonts will automatically be used. 
  • Small changes to Check_for_Update.cmd and UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd to display E2B version numbers.
  • Some of the .cmd files are now modified to use %WINDIR%\System32\find.exe in case users Windows Path environment variable points to a different version of find.exe.
The new downloads are available on the Alternate Download Areas (see side bar of this blog).

The www.easy2boot.com site download links will be updated in a few days.


Sunday, 8 July 2018

MPI Tool Kit v0.083 now available

The new version is available from the Alternate Download Sites (e.g. OneDrive)

MakePartImage.cmd has now been modified to estimate the size of the .imgPTN file needed by using 7z.exe. It is now much more accurate (but takes a bit longer) and the 'Suggested size' seems to always work now (at least on the 100 files I have tested so far...). It also has better error handling.

Note that you should only run one instance of MakePartImage at a time and it does not seem to work if the target folder is a Microsoft Storage Pool volume (ImDisk issue?).

The script Convert_all_ISOs_to_imgPTN_Files (run as Admin).cmd which is in the Utils folder of the MPI Tool Kit folder has also been improved. This batch file allows you to convert all the isos in a folder (and subfolders) without needing to answer the usual questions from MakePartImage or press ENTER. Just go and get a cup of coffee and the .imgPTN files should all be there when you come back.

(You still need to answer the delete/make EI.cfg question though for Windows Install ISOs).

You can now specify a partial file spec (e.g.  fed*.iso) and ask it to re-make all .imgPTN files again or only the missing ones. It also does not have to be an iso (e.g. you can use *.ima or dlc*.zip).

If you select AUTORUN, it will also use the 'best guess' for the Syslinux version rather than prompt you for which version to use.


0.083 is not yet released on the official www.easy2boot.com website as it is considered a 'Release Candidate' at the moment.

Please let me know how you get on if you try it.

P.S. 0.083 is now available on the www.easy2boot.com website - it is a slightly different version from the RC candidate. The new version is dated 2018-07-10.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

E2B v1.A0b Beta now available

Download from Alternate Download Areas as ZIP file.

Changes are:
  • New grldr (2018-07-01)
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu
  • Bugfixes to internal menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for Make_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd did copy it across but Make_E2B did not).
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD now displays latest stable and Beta versions that are available (using web access).
Copy Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to your MAINMENU folder and you can tinker with moving the menu about instantly...


Thursday, 28 June 2018

E2B v1.A0a Beta available!

Since the last version was 1.99, the next version will be 1.A0.

So the first Beta is called v1.A0a

This version has a new Beta version of grub4dos (not yet officially released) to which the developer yaya has kindly added some new features.

We can now ask grub4dos to center the menu entries and the menu help text automatically.

Here are some screenshots:

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Revision 2 of the E2B eBook is now available

Revision 2 is now available. It has slightly more content, more pictures and hopefully less typos thanks to 'Glen'.

If you had previously ordered the Easy2Boot 'Getting started with Easy2Boot' PDF from Payhip, then you should be able to use the download link in the email that you received to re-download the new revision 2 PDF. If not, then contact me.

- o O o -

P.S. My cat is really annoying me at the moment because I can only feed him after sunset which, in the UK, is well after 9pm. Still, there are only a few more days to go until June 24th when Ramadan finishes (you see, he's a Persian cat!)...😹

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

New Hiren's WinPE 10 64-bit ISO


Just found this post on reddit about a new Hiren's type WinPE.

It is not an official Hiren ISO but is made by a 'fan group' - see here for more info.