Saturday, 6 February 2016

Install Windows 98/Me from E2B

I was asked about installing Win 98 recently and I pointed the user to an old blog post here (although why anyone would want Win 98 or Win Me is beyond me - it is hardly usable now!).

However, that blog post was written before we had .imgPTN files, and it struck me that we could use the MPI Tool Kit to create a .imgPTN file that we could map as a large floppy disk. That we we could boot from it as a large floppy and install Windows 98/Me.

I have updated that old blog post now with instructions on how to set it up for E2B.

The process should work for any DOS-based payload, not just Win95/98/Me installs. You do need to add the DOS boot files to the .imgPTN file before use, however.

Friday, 5 February 2016

How to boot Alt-Linux ISOs on E2B

Alt-Linux ISOs do not boot fully if you just add them to E2B. However, there is a trick, just follow the picture sequence below:

1. Choose the LiveCD option (regular-xfce-latest-i586.iso)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Auto-detect your computer model in E2B (for automatic BIOS upgrade or repair/install)

If you want to boot a different ISO or .IMA floppy image depending on what system you are running E2B on, you can detect what system it is running on by searching the BIOS for the model string.

The menu below can be used as a template.

MPI Tool Pack 0.061 (bugfix) available + E2B v1.77l

I found a bug in the MPI Tool pack where it did not replace all the strings correctly in menu\cfg files, etc. It also has a slightly modified menu.lst file. Please download v0.061 and use that  to make your .imgPTN files - e.g.

1. Unpack MPI Tool Pack v0.061 to a folder on the Desktop
2. Run the CreateDesktopShortcuts.cmd file (it will replace your existing Desktop shortcuts)
3. If you are running Windows 10, you may need to re-install ImDisk from the ImDisk folder in the download. It won't hurt to do this anyway!

If you had trouble with any linux .imgPTN files, you can try re-making them using the new MPI Tool Pack.

E2B v1.77l is the latest Beta with a few tweaks to QRUN.g4b and Sample mnu files, etc. Also latest E2B_Editor v1.0.84 (gives warnings if you are not using it on the E2B drive!) and latest TXT_Maker v1.0.5.

Please let me know of any bugs/problems as I intend to release this as the next E2B version soon.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

E2B 1.77k Beta available

The 1.77k version has the following changes from the previous 1.77 Beta:

1. Default Main Menu heading and all sub-menu headings now begin at the extreme left of the menu area instead of two spaces to the right (see screenshot). If you want to move them across to the right, use set HEADPOS=0002 or 0004 in a \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. This means all the default language STRINGS.txt files have been changed.
2. New default 'night sky' wallpaper
3. Sample E2B Menus .mnu file - Test_redir_redirp_EXTOFF_Patchme.mnu - allows you to test the effect of the redir, redirp and EXTOFF variables and also runs the patchme utility which patches grub4dos on the E2B drive so that you get no boot messages from grub4dos. Copy it to the \_ISO\UTILITIES folder if you want to use it (see screenshot). Note: I strongly suggest you do not use redir or redirp if E2B is to be used by naive users, because they cause important usage tips, warnings and diagnostic error messages to be hidden from the user.
4. Small changes to QRUN.g4b to improve error handling (e.g. if file is not contiguous, the blocklist is displayed - a contiguous file should only have one block).
5. Any .exe file accidentally copied to a menu folder (!) will not be listed in the menu.
6. New version of TXT_Maker.exe (small improvements)

You need to copy the Test_redir_redirp_EXTOFF_Patchme.mnu file
to the \_ISO\UTILITIES folder to get the new menu entries.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

New E2B TXT_Maker utility

I have spent a few hours knocking up a .txt file maker utility for E2B.

You can drag-and-drop an ISO or other payload file onto it or select a payload file on the E2B USB drive using the File... button.

Click on the Save .txt file button to save the text that is in the bottom text box to a .txt file in the same folder as the payload file.

I will add this into the next E2B download, but it is available on the Alternate Download Areas as a separate download.

Note: It does not read and parse existing .txt files. You can select a .txt file as the 'payload' file but it will not populate any fields from the existing .txt file.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

E2B v1.77h with AntiPanda NTFS bugfix!

I finally managed to get the Panda USB Vaccine program to work by running it on Win10 as admin instead of XP and using the USBVaccine.exe /experimentalntfs command line!

So I have been able to properly test the Antipanda.g4b and found a bug!

I have updated the AntiPanda.g4b batch file in v1.77h and it should now work on NTFS volumes!

Copy one or all of the  \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\$Pandaxxx.mnu files to \_ISO\MAINMENU folder

Note that after resetting the NTFS 'In Use' bit, you MUST run chkdsk /f U:
where U: is your USB drive (run from an Admin command prompt) or use Disk - Properties - Tools - Check to fix it.

AntiPanda running on an NTFS E2B USB drive.

You must run chkdsk afterwards!

Afterwards, you will have a \found.000 folder in the root which you can delete.

If there is a file called \AUTORUN_.INF then you can rename it back to \AUTORUN.INF and it should contain the original E2B contents.

P.S. I tested by using VirtualBox+DavidB's VMUB utility. This allows full rd/wr access to the USB file system and so the patches made by AntiPanda.g4b to the USB drive and remain even after quitting VBox.

Friday, 29 January 2016

E2B v.1.77g Beta available with new Panda AntiVaccine menu for all drives

I have reworked the AntiPanda.g4b script and added another .mnu file.

Note: NTFS bug in this version is fixed in v1.77h (you must run chkdsk /f afterwards!).
  1. $Panda_RestoreAutorun.inf_FAT.mnu - fixes 1st and 2nd partitions of an E2B FAT32 drive
  2. $Panda_RestoreAutorun.inf_FAT_NTFS.mnu - fixes 1st and 2nd partitions of FAT32 and NTFS E2B drive
  3. $Panda_RestoreAutorun.inf_Pick.mnu - fixes any partition on any disk in the system
The last .mnu file lists the partitions in the system and then runs the FAT and NTFS fix on the chosen partition entered by the user.

This means you can 'fix' any system or USB drive by booting to E2B.

Note that old versions of Panda converted the AUTORUN.INF file to an illegal directory entry for FAT volumes. This fix has only been tested on the more recent version of Panda v1.0.1.4.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Remove the Panda vaccine protection from the \AUTORUN.INF file (FAT+NTFS)

I have written a small grub4dos batch file (AntiPanda.g4b) which will attempt to fix both FAT and NTFS volumes (hd0,0) and (hd0,1).

NEWSFLASH: New version (that works!) in E2B v1.77g or later!

To use it, copy the .mnu file to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder and the AntiPanda.g4b file to the \_ISO\e2b\grub folder.

I will add this into the next version of E2B so that you can just copy the .mnu file from the Sample mnu folders file to one of your menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\UTILITIES).

I have not fully tested this on NTFS volumes because Panda Vaccine USB is unable to actually work on most of the NTFS volumes I have!

If you have an \AUTORUN_.INF file (with an underscore) then you may need to rename this to \AUTORUN.INF and run the fix before the drive icon will be restored. If you cannot rename the AUTORUN_.INF file, then just delete it.

E2B v1.77f (Beta) is now available and includes these new files. The next version will include a .mnu file and new version of the AntiPanda.g4b that allows you to pick any partition in the system (in case you want to un-Panda any internal drives or additional USB drives).

P.S. This won't work if you run it on a VM unless use either RMPrepUSB - F11 QEMU  or  VirtualBox+VMUB, because these allow full rd/wr access.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Remove the Panda vaccine protection from the \AUTORUN.INF file (FAT)

Some people who use Panda AV or Panda USB Vaccine may find that the \AUTORUN.INF file on their E2B USB drive has been hidden and write-protected. Although it will not affect E2B, it does affect how the drive appears in Windows Explorer and how it is listed by grub4dos:

  • The \AUTORUN.INF file is not visible in Explorer (even if 'Show all files' is enabled)
  • You cannot write a new \AUTORUN.INF file or copy it over the top of the existing (hidden) one
  • Windows Explorer does not show the E2B icon or display the Volume Label of the drive - it just shows 'Removable drive' or 'Local Disk'
  • Grub4dos will not detect or list the file

What Panda appears to do is (on a FAT volume)
  • Set the 'Hidden attribute' on the file
  • Set one of the 'Reserved' attribute bits which makes Windows (and grub4dos) ignore it.

For a FAT volume, we can remove protection with this bit of (seemingly wrong!) code executed from the grub4dos command line once booted to E2B:

errorcheck off
if not exist /AUTORUN.INF fat del /AUTORUN.INF

This looks incorrect, but works because the grub4dos fat utility does not use the grub4dos filesystem driver and seems to ignore the 'reserved bit' that makes the file 'illegal'.

After this code is executed, the AUTORUN_.INF file can be renamed to AUTORUN.INF.

I have added a $Panda_RestoreAutorun.inf_FAT.mnu file to the Sample menus and also to the Alternate Download Area - mnu files folder. Just copy it to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder to use it. You will only see it if there is no \AUTORUN.INF in the current volume.

iftitle [if not exist /AUTORUN.INF] Restore \AUTORUN.INF (FAT32 only)\n Undo Panda Vaccination and delete or unhide AUTORUN.INF
errorcheck off
if not exist (hd0,0)/autorun.inf /%grub%/fat del (hd0,0)/autorun.inf > nul
if exist (hd0,0)/AUTORUN_.INF /%grub%/fat ren (hd0,0)/AUTORUN_.INF AUTORUN.INF
if exist (hd0,0)/AUTORUN.INF echo (hd0,0)/AUTORUN.INF now restored!
if not exist (hd0,1)/autorun.inf /%grub%/fat del (hd0,1)/autorun.inf > nul
if exist (hd0,1)/AUTORUN_.INF /%grub%/fat ren (hd0,1)/AUTORUN_.INF AUTORUN.INF
if exist (hd0,1)/AUTORUN.INF echo (hd0,1)/AUTORUN.INF now restored!
pause Press a key to reload the Main menu...
configfile (md)0xa000+0x8000 || configfile /menu.lst

For NTFS volumes, it is a lot trickier as there is no grub4dos equivalent to the fat utility for the NTFS filesystem (see next blog post).

If you want to try directly editing the NTFS filesystem to fix the AUTORUN.INF file, check the post  by Vasily Ignatov  here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Adding >4GB UEFI-bootable NTFS .imgPTN files to E2B

This page on the E2B site describes 5 methods on how to add UEFI-bootable .imgPTN files to E2B that contain >4GB files. i.e. how to UEFI-boot from an NTFS image file. This is useful if your source contains a >4GB Install.wim or Install.esd file.

I have recently added Method 5 to this page which describes how you can add a 2nd small FAT Primary partition to your E2B USB drive which contains Pete Batard's (Rufus author) UEFI-NTFS boot files (which I provide as an EFI_TOGO zip download file).

Sunday, 24 January 2016

E2B_Editor v1.0.82 available

I have fixed a few niggly bugs in the E2B_Editor utility and hopefully made it more intuitive to use.

One problem was that on a 1600x900 screen, it defaulted to the 'borderless', fixed position mode.

Let me know if you find any problems, otherwise it will be in the next release of E2B v1.77.

Download from the Alternate Download Areas as usual and copy it to your \_ISO folder on the E2B USB drive.

It is intended to be run from the \ISO folder of the E2B USB drive and any bitmap that is used should be on the E2B USB drive in the correct location already, so that the path of the wallpaper bitmap file that is saved to the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file will be correct.
e.g. if you load a bitmap file from the Windows Desktop, then the .cfg file that you save will have an entry like:
set MYWBMP=/Users/Steve/Desktop/new800.bmp
so it is obviously not going to work when you use it on your E2B USB drive!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Switch_E2B v1.09 available

Following on from previous blog posts about using two partition image files for UEFI-booting of Windows installers with >4GB files...

As an alternative to using the MOVE_IMGPTN.cmd Windows script, Switch_E2B.exe v1.09 now detects the position of the two partition image files (e.g. FRED.imgptn and FRED) on an NTFS E2B drive and if they are in the wrong order for UEFI-booting, it will offer to attempt to re-order them for you.

It does this by copying the files up to 30 times and so it may take long time to do this, depending on the size of the files!

Since the file without the extension needs to be last one, this is the file that needs to be moved\copied. If this is a large file, it might take a while!

The re-ordering of the two files does not always work. If not, you can always try it again as it may work if you run it for a second time. Also, it may fragment the file (in which case you will need to run WinContig again and then try Switch_E2B again!

Note that this version shows you if a second partition image file is present that has no file extension.

It is available on the Alternate Download areas if you want to test it!

Let me know how you get on!

Note: SWITCH_E2B was only intended for use on NTFS E2B USB drives. The 'Restore E2B partitions' button should work on any drive, but switching to any .imgPTN file will only work on NTFS-formatted E2B USB drives - exFAT and FAT32 E2B drives will report an error.

Since the .imgPTN file needs to be first when using two partition image files and UEFI-booting on many systems, if SWITCH_E2B cannot move them, you could try just copying on the .imgPTN file, then defragging the whole partition (perhaps using Defraggler and WinContig?) and when all files are at the start of the volume, then copy over the 2nd file that does not have a file extension.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Netac U335 write-protected USB 3.0 flash drive for E2B

Today I got my new 32GB Netac U335 USB 3.0 Flash drive with a write-protect switch.

The write-protect slide switch is ringed in red.

The drive is not the fastest USB 3.0 drive I have ever seen (33MB/s read, 14MB/s write on a USB 3.0 port), but if you need a reasonably cheap USB drive with a write-protect switch then this would fit the bill.

Editing the MPI Tool Pack CSM menu (+ German version from Frettt)

The MPI Tool Pack only contains an English menu.lst file.

However, it does allow you to easily modify the files in the MPI Tool Pack to add your own menu.lst, background file and other files by using the CUSTOM folder.

When you run MPI, it starts by:
  1. Creates a file-backed RAM DISK
  2. Extracts the contents of the source (e.g. an ISO) to the RAMDISK
  3. Copies the contents of the csm folder to the  root of the RAMDISK
  4. Copies the contents of the CUSTOM folder to the root of the RAMDISK
  5. Processes the files on the RAMDISK to convert them for use with E2B, including modifying the menu.lst file, etc.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Problems UEFI-booting .imgPTN files - continued...

I have experimented some more with my Asus Z87 UEFI system and .imgPTN files, and it seems that the firmware will not provide the user with the UEFI boot option to UEFI-boot from an MBR-partitioned USB drive, if the partitions on that drive are out of order.

The Partition Table in the MBR (first sector) has 4 'slots' for 4 partition entries.

Each Partition Table entry has the following fields:
  • Drive number and Active/boot flag
  • Partition Type number (e.g. 0C = FAT32)
  • Start address of partition
  • Number of sectors in the partition
(there are also some parameters for old Cylinder/head/sector addressing).

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Problems UEFI-booting .imgPTN files!!!

Since about E2B v1.73, if the second partition is a small hidden type 21h partition that is placed there by RMPartUSB when you use RMPrepUSB or the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script, this partition is not removed when you switch to a .imgPTN file - this is only done if the extension is exactly ".imgPTN" or ".imgPTNAUTO".

This was done because some Legacy BIOSes would recognise  the USB drive as a floppy disk and thus fail to boot grub4dos and boot to the CSM menu unless a 2nd partition was present (e.g. some EeePCs).

Friday, 15 January 2016

Windows File Download problems - virus detected!

Windows 8/10 may not allow you to download files that it thinks are infected.

To be prompted to download it anyway, you need to change the Internet Properties setting:

You cannot download any file if the "File download" option is disabled in the Internet security settings. Follow these steps to check the Internet security settings:

E2B v1.76 RC1 available

  • SWITCH_E2B v1.0.6 with FlashBoot and WinToGo+.imgPTN support.
  • .isoBF fixed (did not work in 1.75!). 
  • Zorin 9 persistent sample .mnu files added. 
  • Fix for Zorin 9 in isoboot.g4b. 
  • New AuroraBin default wallpaper. 
  • Improve LZMA Encode/Decode scripts. 
  • Fix bug - if user deleted some of the Windows sub-folders  (e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP) then the other Windows sub-folders were not enumerated. 
  • Fix 'Trouble!' message if installing XP and >1 internal drive in system. 
  • New grub4dos 0.4.6a version \grldr. 
  • Add warning if Write-protected E2B USB drive found. 
  • Improve MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE to detect Removable USB drives and set NOHELPER=1 in MyE2B.cfg for faster boot if using a Removable E2B drive.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Persistent .mnu file for Elementary OS

Elementary OS is a free download (you just enter 0 for Custom amount to pay - took me a while to figure that out!). If you actually like and use it though, please make a donation as requested.

Elementary OS with changed background (using persistence .mnu file)

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Write-Protect your E2B USB drive

There has been a discussion on recently about how to write-protect a USB drive.

It is not advisable to hardware write-protect an E2B USB drive because E2B needs write-access to the MBR (to modify it) as well as needing to modify other files (e.g. \autounattend.xml, etc.). Some WinPE's and linux's (via ISOBOOT) may be able to boot from a write-protected E2B drive though. I intend to investigate this further at a later date, to see just what is possible if the whole E2B USB drive is hardware write-protected.

So the use of the write-protect switch on the Netac USB 3.0 U335 flash drive, for instance, is not a recommended option when booting from an E2B drive (although once it has booted to an OS from the flash drive, you could remove the USB drive - flip on the WP switch - and then re-insert it again and hope that it did not have enough time to get infected!).

Friday, 8 January 2016

Animated Britney Spears bitmaps for E2B

This example shows how to display a sequence of 26 bitmaps on E2B start-up.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Display an animated picture in grub4dos

We can display bitmaps fairly quickly in grub4dos if we load them into memory first. This could allow us to display an animation sequence on first boot of E2B (move over Walt Disney!).

The lines below can be added into a \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to show 3 bitmaps in a loop until a key is pressed by the user. It is assumed that the bitmaps have a black background and are each exactly 800x600 in dimension.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Automatically use a different menu wallpaper for E2B

Change background based on the day of the week

Add the lines below to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file (the first line should always be !BAT). Ensure that you have seven different .bmp.gz files in the \_ISO folder named Aurora0.bmp.gz to Aurora6.bmp.gz.

Friday, 1 January 2016

E2B v1.76BetaF with GFX Boot menu maker script now available

I have added some files to E2B that will allow you to easily make and alter your own GFX Boot menus. It does not use a GUI, but is very easy to use.

For more details see the E2B GFX Boot page.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

GFX Boot menu editor

Easy2Boot includes one example of a GFX Boot menu (\_ISO\docs\Templates\GFXMenu) which you can try out.

You can change the GFX menu by editing the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file and change the set GFX=message line (the file must be in the \_ISO folder).

You can now download a few examples by Laura too.

If you want to design your own GFX Boot menu, I have added a download link for GFX-Boot Customizer utility by SBond here to make a GFX-BOOT.GFX file to the GFX Menu page on the E2B website.

Make a Windows 10 To Go Removable USB Flash drive (MBR and UEFI)

Windows To Go allows you to boot from a USB drive, but Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 will not allow you to boot from a 'flat file' installation on a Removable USB drive.

You can MBR boot Win 10 from a Removable USB Flash drive if you use a VHD to contain the Windows system files however.

But what about UEFI-booting? We cannot have more than one partition visible to Windows on a Removable USB drive, but for UEFI, we need a FAT32 partition which is not able to hold the large VHD file.

Here is how to set up a non-GPT Removable Windows To Go Flash drive so it will MBR and UEFI-boot:

Note that if you use an x64 version of Windows, you will only be able to UEFI-boot from it on 64-bit UEFI systems. If you have a 32-bit UEFI system, use a 32-bit version of Windows.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Edition E2B v1.76BetaE available

  • SWITCH_E2B v1.0.6 with FlashBoot and WinToGo+.imgPTN support. 
  • .isoBF now fixed (did not work in 1.75!). 
  • Zorin 9 persistent .mnu files added. 
  • Fix for Zorin 9 in isoboot.g4b. 
  • AuroraSanta default wallpaper. 'Dustbin' wallpaper in \_ISO\e2b\grub folder if you want it!
  • Improve LZMA Encode/Decode scripts. 
  • Fix bug - if user deleted some of the Windows sub-folders then the other remaining Windows sub-folders were not enumerated and so no Windows Install menu entry was present in the Main menu.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :-)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How to make large files contiguous on an E2B USB drive

As you know, most files on the E2B USB drive need to be contiguous (one exception to this is the Windows Installer ISO files).

The easiest way to make all files contiguous is to click on the \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd batch file which runs WinContig.

Tip: If you don't use the CONTIG.ISO temporary file (only used by E2B when files are non-contiguous), then just delete it. This will add an extra 500MB of free space.

BUT - Do you ever find that one or two large files cannot be made contiguous by WinContig?

You may find that, even though there is enough free space on the drive to make a copy of the file, WinContig (and Defraggler) cannot make the file contiguous. This is because the 'free space' is scattered all over the drive volume instead of being all in one 'chunk'.

Motasem discovered this yesterday and contacted me for advice. Here is how you can fix the problem...

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Why not customise your E2B - be inspired by Laura's (German) E2B themes!

Laura recently contacted me to submit a few E2B Menu screenshots to the E2B Gallery page.

Her web site is in German (although she is Spanish) and can be found at It contains loads of lovely example E2B menus (including custom CSM menus) and she has offered her help and will answer any questions you may have!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Boot from a linux disk image with grub4dos\Easy2Boot

I came across the HDDGURU wipemydisks disk image yesterday (wipemydisks1.1.img). This is a complete linux disk image with a bootable MBR and partition table and was designed to be written to a USB drive using dd or a disk imaging program (e.g. RMPrepUSB - File -> Disk).

I wanted to try to add this to Easy2Boot and so experimented with a way of booting to it.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

New Switch_E2B.exe v1.0.6 available

There have been some recent changes to Switch_E2B.exe

  1. Bugfix - When E2B switches to a .imgPTN file, it changes the Disk Signature bytes (four bytes starting at 1b8h in the MBR) to be the same as the start LBA position of the .imgPTN file. This ensures the 'new' partition arrangement also has a new disk signature. Switch_E2B.exe did not change these Disk Signature bytes. This meant that if you had a BCD inside your .imgPTN file which used the disk signature to identify the USB disk, if you switched to the .imgPTN file using Switch_E2B.exe, it would not boot to Windows due to a mismatched BCD and Disk Signature. This has now been fixed in Switch_E2B.exe.
  2. If you made a FAT32 E2B USB drive using flashboot, Switch_E2B would not recognise it.
  3. If you had a large E2B USB HDD which contained thousands of files, it could take Switch_E2B a long time (20+ seconds) to search the whole volume for all .imgPTN files. The new version only searches under the \_ISO folder by default. To search the whole drive volume, you now need to untick the 'Only search \_ISO folder' checkbox.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Get Windows 10 for free!

The new Windows 10 Threshold 2 release allows you to use a Win7 or Win8 Product Key to perform a clean install of Windows 10 and activate it.

If you have an unused 'Retail' Windows 7 Product Key (perhaps you ordered a Win 7 Install DVD + Product Key a few years ago) then you can use the same Win 7 Product Key to install Windows 10 (on the same system).

Saturday, 5 December 2015

SWITCH_E2B v1.0.4 available (compatible with FlashBoot)

It was reported to me that SWITCH_E2B did not work on E2B USB flash drives that had been formatted using FlashBoot, so I have now made version 1.0.3 available for those of you that use FlashBoot with E2B. If you use FlashBoot, you can update your E2B drives and your MPI installation ( the MPI .\csm\e2b folder) with the new version of SWITCH_E2B.exe.

Update: v1.0.3 only worked if the volume name was kept as 'FLASBOOT'.
v1.0.4 should now work with any volume name.

If you often find yourself needing to USB boot from older systems a lot (e.g. repair shop), you should check out FlashBoot!

E2B drives prepared using FlashBoot should boot on a wider variety of systems, especially older systems with early (buggy) USB BIOSes that try to boot USB drives as a floppy disk or USB ZIP drive instead of as a hard disk.

If a BIOS boots from a USB Flash drive as a floppy/ZIP drive instead of a hard disk, this causes grub4dos to fail to boot. If you use RMPrepUSB\RMPartUSB to format the USB drive, it adds a second small hidden partition and this often helps to avoid the 'boot as floppy' problem - but not always!

If you prepare your USB Flash drive with FlashBoot, you may find that it will boot on some of these older systems that would not boot from a 'normal' E2B drive.

However, there are some drawbacks to using a drive that has been formatted with FlashBoot:
  1. You have to format the USB drive as FAT32 with FlashBoot (NTFS is not supported). So this limits your maximum file size to 4GB. FlashBoot is not limited to creating 32GB partitions however and will work with both large USB hard disks and removable flash drives.
  2. You cannot reboot to the CSM Menu once you switch into any .imgPTN partition image. You can boot to the E2B menu, switch to a .imgPTN menu and then run the CSM Menu, however you cannot reboot to the CSM menu (a fresh boot) because the code in the MBR is specific to FlashBoot and it expects a partition to be present which contains FlashBoot boot code and not the 'normal' .imgPTN image partition that has been switched in.
FlashBoot is a commercial product (25 Euros), but you can try it for free for a limited period and see if it works on your 'difficult' old systems before you buy the full version.

P.S. You can also try out the Emergency Boot CD (EBCD) .ISO download too!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

E2B v1.75BetaH available with Windows Server 2016 support + bugfixes

In E2B v1.75BetaH I have added a new \_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2016 folder for the upcoming Server 2016 release. It uses the 'Win8 install' grub4dos batch file and so allows you to specify a Product Key or XML file in the same way as for Win8 ISOs.

Please test it out and feed back any comments (steve at easy2boot dot com), as I intend to make this the new v1.75 release version soon.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Trouble with Windows 10 Threshold 2 ISOs and E2B?

A few weeks ago I downloaded an MSDN Windows 10 Threshold 2 preview of Enterprise and found that when the blue console (LOADISO) window ran (booting from a Removable E2B USB drive and using the .ISO file), ImDisk did not mount the ISO as drive Y:. This was repeatable but only that ISO gave a problem.

I reported this issue to Olof (the author of ImDisk), but a few days later when I tried to reproduce the problem I found that it worked OK and could not reproduce the problem!

A few days ago, an E2B user reported to me that he had MSDN and Retail versions of the latest Win10 Threshold 2 released ISOs and had encountered the same problem with all the new ISOs (older ISOs worked OK) using E2B v1.74.

I suspected that perhaps a different version of WinPE was being used in his ISOs (maybe because they were MSDN versions?) and updated ImDisk on E2B (v.1.75BetaC).

However, the same user then reported that the ISOs were now magically working with E2B v1.74 when he retested them!  A clear case of Deja Vu!

If you find a similar issue, please comment on this blog or contact me. There is something weird going on, but I am not sure where?

Friday, 20 November 2015

MPI Tool Kit 0.056 available for Windows 10 Threshold 2 systems

0.056 is the same as 0.055 but has the new version of ImDisk.
If you are using Windows 10 Threshold 2, you will need to download this and run .\ImDisk\imdiskinst.exe to install the new version of ImDisk to make the MakePartImage scripts work again.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New ImDisk version for new Windows 10 release now available

Olof has released a new version of ImDisk.

I will update the MPI Tool Kit in a day or so. Meanwhile you can install the new ImDisk and then check that MPI works on the new 'Threshold 2' version of Windows 10.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

MakePartImage problems with Windows 10?

If you are using Windows 10 and now suddenly find that you get an error when running MakePartImage (MPI) and cannot create .imgPTN files any more, it is probably because Windows Update has updated you to the latest version of Windows 10!

The original Win10 version is 10240, but the new (large) update called Threshold 2 is Version 1511 Build 10586. You can check your version by using the [Windows+R] key chord and run WinVer.exe.

You can update to the new version or download an ISO from here. Microsoft will soon enable the auto-update to Threshold 2 on all systems.

Olof is working on a new version of ImDisk to fix this issue and I will release a new version of the MPI Tool Kit when the new ImDisk becomes available.

Update: New ImDisk version for Win10 1511 from Olof here.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Easy2Boot v1.75 Beta B available

  • .imgPTN files now supported in all \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders (except XP)
  • new .isoBF file extension supported (permanently patches an ISO to remove the bootfix.bin file and so suppress the 'Press a key to boot from CD\DVD' message)
  • new .vhdgrldr file extension supported (boots a vhd file which uses a grub4dos menu or PBR boot code)
For info on the two new file extensions, see this page.

The main change is that if you have converted a Windows Install ISO to a .imgPTN file, you can now add these to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders and they will be listed in the appropriate Windows sub-menu alongside any ISOs you may also have present. You do not need to have any Windows Install .ISO files present if you don't use them.

The only exception is that XP Install .imgPTN files are not supported and so should not be added to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder (they will not be listed in the Windows Install menu). If you have any XP Install .imgPTN files, you should add them to a 'normal' menu folder - e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\WIN.

You can use a .txt file for .imgPTN menu entries in these folder in the same way as you can for normal folders.

You can now place your .imgPTN Windows Install files in the \_ISO\WINDOWS folders as well as .ISO files

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Add Win-UFO (Ultimate Forensic Outflow) to your toolkit

The Win-UFO download is a single .exe file which asks you which location to install to when you first run it. Actually it does NOT install anything to Windows, it merely extracts files to the designated location. There is a PDF manual file to download and which I suggest you study first before using Win-UFO and some YouTube videos.
 Win-UFO is now associated with CAINE.

Friday, 6 November 2015

E2B v1.74 released (fixes the firadisk.cmd copy bug with XP ISO installs)

It seems I made a typo in the grub4dos batch file \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS\DPMS2.g4b in E2B v1.73 which means that when you try to install from an XP ISO, you will get a 'cannot copy firadisk.cmd' error reported at the start of the file-copy phase in text-mode Setup and need to 'Skip' the file.
This is fixed in v1.74.
Thanks to watsupson for reporting it!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Windows Defender is deleting SWITCH_E2B.exe!

BEWARE: The latest definitions update for Windows Defender seems to think SWITCH_E2B.exe is a malicious file and promptly deletes it!
VirusTotal does not find any problems with it and, of course, it is not malicious!
You may find that this file has suddenly disappeared, now you know why!
Thanks to Steven L for pointing this out!

New Gandalf WinPE, XP SP3 install ISO and Dream Boot CD 2015

This post covers:

  • New Gandalf Windows 10 64-bit WinPE ISO
  • Windows XP 'Gold 2016' install ISO
  • Dream Boot CD 2015 (DLCD) ISO

Monday, 2 November 2015

FYI - new Kaspersky Ransomware decryptor software

Kaspersky have recovered the full list of over 14,000 encryption keys used by the criminals responsible for CoinVault and Bitcryptor ransomware. They have now updated their decryptor utility to include all of these keys. This means that if a system has been encrypted and held to ransom using this type of encryption, you should now be able to decrypt your drive! The 'How-to' guide is here.

However, it apparently does not work against CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Inateck FE2007 - is this the ideal Hard Disk USB 3.0 drive caddy for your Easy2Boot USB drive?

If you follow this blog, you may have read that I was not entirely happy with the Inateck FE200 drive caddy that I purchased a few months ago (previous blog post here),

After some email correspondence from Inateck, they sent me the FE2007 for evaluation.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Add UberStudent to Easy2Boot

The UberStudent ISO, uberstudent-4.1-xfce-64bit.iso does not seem to boot just as an .ISO file.
If you have a removable E2B USB drive, it will boot OK if you use the .ISOPE01 file extension (you can also use a fixed-disk E2B USB drive + an E2B WinHelper USB drive).

However, if you convert the ISO file to a FAT32 .imgPTN file it boots OK from both fixed and removable types of USB drive and you can install from it too.

Friday, 23 October 2015

E2B v1.73 released

v1.73 is now on the two Alternate Download Areas.
I will update the MPI Tool Pack with the new Switch_E2B.exe and also update the downloads on the main website in a few days.
I have changed SWITCH_E2B.exe to version 1.0.0 and added a Help button (no change in functionality).
Please let me know if you spot a problem!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

E2B v1.73 Beta G

Beta G has the new \grldr grub4dos 0.4.6a version which fixes the previous issue #84 bug that was in E2B v1.73 Beta E. non-ANSI characters should now appear correctly (e.g. ú or é).

full v1.73 Beta version history here.