Monday, 25 March 2019

MPI Tool Kit v0.093 Beta with rEFInd (UEFI-multibooting of different .imgptn files is now possible)

New Betas for UEFI-multiboot support without needing to MBR-boot!

E2B v1.B0i Beta and MPI Tool Pack v0.093 Beta will allow you to select any UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file without needing to CSM boot or needing to run SWITCH_E2B on a different Windows system.

Each .imgPTN file must include rEFInd so that when it UEFI-boots, the rEFInd manager is loaded.

You can then choose to boot to the UEFI payload (linux, KonBoot, Windows Installer, etc.) OR boot to WinPE and run SWITCH_E2B.exe where you can choose to load a different .imgPTN file.

The new MakePartImage only fully supports adding a 64-bit WinPE UEFI, but you can add both 32-bit and 64-bit WinPEs using the X4 method or the second partition method (see below). Since pure 32-bit UEFI systems are quite rare, I have not catered for them in MakePartImage.

Outline of new changes:

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

E2B v1.B0h available

This version v1.B0h has a few very small tweaks to the Make_E2B.exe GUI but I also have removed nircmd.exe from the SDI_CHOCO folder because this was causing some AV software problems when downloading or extracting E2B.

nircmd.exe is still used by SDI_CHOCO and it still speaks to you as the installation proceeds, because it extracts the file during the Specialize pass.


Friday, 15 March 2019

Add 'SuperinSecureUEFI-Boot' to your E2B USB drive

There are two projects on GitHub which are of interest to USB-booters.
This was mentioned on reboot.pro recently and also pointed out to me by Alex G.

The first project (by thias) is a multiboot menu system based on grub2 called 'glim'. It automatically detects .iso files and builds a menu each time it boots (does it sound familiar?). It supports UEFI and MBR booting.

The second project (by ValdikSS) includes 'glim' and is a UEFI+MBR multiboot project which allows you to UEFI Secure Boot, UEFI-boot or MBR-boot and then run secure or unsecure payloads from the grub2 menu system.

The downside is that for Secure Boot, you have to register the bespoke grub2 efi file using a certificate that is provided. This adds the certificate into the NVRAM of the system UEFI firmware and so it 'changes' the target system.

Set the timeout so it autoboots if you like!


Use the GRUB Live ISO Multiboot menu entry...

I only added one ISO...

Comparison between UEFIinSecureBoot and E2B grub2 menu system v10


  • E2B grub2 allows Secure Boot without using MokManager and so does not change the target system.
  • Both systems can Secure Boot and run both secure and insecure ISOs and other non-EFI payloads.
  • UEFIinSecureBoot should Secure Boot and run non-secure EFI payloads ??? (not tested).
  • UEFIinSecureBoot can Secure Boot and access files on an NTFS partition, when Secure booted however, E2B grub2 can only access a FAT partition.
  • Both systems can be expanded by adding more menu files.
  • UEFISecureBoot uses a graphical grub2 theme menu, this type of menu runs very slowly on some systems (E2B grub2 menu system dos not use a theme for this reason).
If you want to try this you can download the ready-made .imgPTN23 file here.

Instructions

Thursday, 14 March 2019

E2B v1.B0g Beta now available (Make_E2B.exe now automatically creates 2nd partition if large USB disk)

v1.B0g is now available.

If you make a new E2B USB drive and the USB drive is larger than 128GiB, then the cmd script will now use Windows Diskpart to create a second maximum-sized partition. Note that if you have a >128GiB USB Flash drive (removable-type) then Windows 10 Build 1703 or later is required, otherwise you will just get the usual small 31K 2nd partition.

The filesystem choice is left up to Diskpart to decide - if the second partition is less than 32GB, it will be formatted as FAT32, if larger then it will be formatted as NTFS.

You can still make a single large first partition if you wish, if you run the .cmd file instead of the clicking the big red button in Make_E2B.exe.

Changes from the current v1.A0 released version are:

Sunday, 10 March 2019

E2B 1.B0f available

The latest version is v1.B0f Beta version which has a few small bug fixes.
Check the Version History for details.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

At least two pupils in the same school class will have the same birthday - probably! (the 'Birthday Paradox')

Our old Maths teacher always used to do this trick with every new class intake each year...

First, he would ask the question 'What are the chances that at least two pupils in this class have the same Birthday'?

After asking for our guesses, he would ask anyone in the class to raise their hand if they had a Birthday in January. Then he would ask each of the pupils who had raised a hand to shout out the day they were born on, e.g.Tom shouts '21st', Victor shouts '12th', etc. and then he would go on to February, etc. until someone else shouted out 'YES' if they had the same Birthday.

Theoretically, with a class size of 30 pupils, there is a 70% chance that two or more pupils in the same class will share the same Birthday (and probably the same birth-year as well). Our Maths teacher would tell us that he would explain this when we came to study probabilities, but he also said something else which peaked our curiosity...

He said that he had been doing this test for many years now and with many classes, and that he has found that the probability was actually much better than the theoretical 70% figure!

He would then ask if anyone could think of why this should be?

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

E2B v1.B0b Beta available (install windows 7 on modern USB 3 systems)

Download latest E2B v1.B0 Beta
  • Bugfix in countfiles.g4b for windows ISOs with .iso324GB suffixes not being counted properly (the Windows folder had to have at least one .iso or .imgPTN file to be shown in menu - now it will work even if only one .iso32 or .iso4GB etc. file is present).
  • ALT_ISO variable support added and \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\Install Windows 7 with USB 3 (WinNTSetup).mnu for installing Win7 on modern systems.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

E2B v1.B0a Beta now available


This version (E2B v1.B0a Beta) has a few new features:
  • Some new file extension suffixes are now recognised:
       NCQ (non-contiguous+quiet)
       QUIETP (redir+redirp)
       QUIET   (redir)
  • .isoboot file extension now supported - will boot a non-contiguous linux iso using isoboot only

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

E2B v1.A9 is now released!

v1.A9 2019-02-19 Includes a new file extension override feature, a new WinNTSetup feature and a new filename sort prefix feature.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

E2B v1.A9k Beta available (with new sort override prefix feature)

This version also has a new 'sort prefix override' feature,

As you know, E2B will alphabetically sort the menu entries.

This means that Mint.iso will always be listed before Ubuntu.iso unless you rename the Mint.iso file to zMint.iso.

However, the E2B menu will then list the file as zMint.iso, so then you need to make a .txt file (zMint.txt) so that the menu entry looks nice.

The new feature in E2B 1.A9k allows you to avoid having to make a .txt file - you just rename the payload file using a sort prefix override.

The new sort prefix override

Sunday, 10 February 2019

E2B v1.A9h and v1.A9i

Note: Version 1.A9i has now been added.

1.A9h has the following changes from v1.A8:
  1. New feature: can use extension override xxxxxx_.(override).iso in filename - e.g. hirens_.isowinvh.iso - override must start with _. and works for any extension. The extra _.fileext.xxx text is removed from the menu entry if EXTOFF=1 is set.
  2. New feature: xxxxx_.WinNTSetup.iso now causes any Windows install ISO (except XP) to run WinNTSetup automatically and supports dual x86+x64 ISOs - you can also use your own batch file to automate WinNTSetup by using the STARTUP variable in a .mnu file (blog here).
  3. Improvement: Make_E2B.exe now has graphical buttons.
  4. Improvement: E2B_Editor.exe revised to add 4 extra options for centering menu text, etc.
  5. Improvement: minor changes to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst for small speed improvements.
  6. Improvement: remove countiso.g4b to speed up enumeration of Windows ISOs.
  7. Improvement: .imgPTN code in QRUN.g4b now checks for grub4dos backup sector at LBA1.
  8. Improvement: QRUN.g4b now detects HAIKU ISOs and suggests using the .HAIKU file extension.
  9. Improvement: Windows Install ISO 'Repair only' prompt now changed to 'Repair\Setup' because pressing ENTER will now boot using WIMBOOT and so the ISO will be loaded as a virtual DVD and Setup will run without using an XML file.
  10. Improvement: Util_Man.exe hack now launches control panel automatically.
  11. Extra: added netrunner+persistence sample mnu file.
  12. Bugfix: in QRUN.g4b for redir not suppressing all output if NOSUG is set.
  13. Bugfix: fix QEMU_MENU_TEST bug when 9 or more drives in system.
  14. Bugfix: TimeAccess.g4b sometimes miscalculated.
  15. Bugfix: QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b now does not use reserved memory at (md)0x230.
  1. Improvement: extension override now works for '32', '64', '3GB' and '4GB' suffixes so the menu entry is not listed in the E2B menu - e.g. Win10x64_.isodef64.iso - the menu entry is only listed on 64-bit systems.
  2. Improvement: use --mem --top instead of --mem where the payload may be very large, e.g. Win10.vhdmem.



Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Microsoft have now blocked the Windows UtilMan.exe password hack... but you can still use it - if you know how!

Since about September 2018, Microsoft's malware detection software will attempt to detect if the UtilMan.exe file has been changed and will delete the 'bad' UtilMan.exe file.

This should mean that replacing the UtilMan.exe file with the cmd.exe file as a means of gaining access to a Windows OS without knowing any user password should no longer be possible and the E2B UtilMan Hack will no longer work.

However, if you boot to Windows in Safe Mode, it delays the removal of a 'bad' UtilMan.exe file by approx. 30 seconds and this is long enough for us to use it to run a cmd batch file and create a new ADMIN user account.

I have updated the UtilMan hack instructions now and revised the .cmd files in E2B v1.A8f Beta to work around the new protection.

Monday, 28 January 2019

E2B v1.A9e Beta available

I have improved the WinNTSetup and WIMBOOT support in E2B.

Download v1.A9e here.

Changes are:

Sunday, 27 January 2019

E2B v1.9Ad Beta available

The v1.9Ad Beta version supports the automatic launching of WinNTSetup from a Windows ISO.

You can now cause a Windows NT6-based install ISO (Vista to Server 2019) to boot and run WinNTSetup and automatically load the same Windows install ISO as the WinNTSetup source file.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

E2B v1.A9b Beta has new extension override feature

By special request, you can now make an ISO run as if it had a different file extension under E2B by changing it's filename...

v1.A9c allows any extension to be used (not just ending in .iso) and does not display the ._xxxxx part in the menu either (so Ubuntu 64-bit_.imgptn23auto.imgptn appears in the menu as Ubuntu 64-bit).

ubuntu64_.isodef.iso will run without prompting the user.

Force a different file extension (E2B v1.A9+)


Filename format:                filename_.forceextension.iso

Note: _. is mandatory, forceextension can be any extension recognised by E2B.

Examples:       msdart6_.isoPE01.iso                    (runs as if .isoPE01)
                       Windows8_x64_.isodef.iso            (does not prompt user with suggestions)

For example, if you have an ISO file but you want it to run as if it had a .isofira01 file extension, you can add _.isofira01 as a file override to the end of the filename but before the file extension of .iso.

A file  'myxp.iso' can be run as if it had the .isofira01 file extension if you give it a name myxp_.isofira01.iso.

This means that the file will keep the .ISO extension which may be more convenient if you are using a Zalman\IODD device as your E2B drive or if you want to keep the file extension unchanged for other reasons such as loading it into ImDisk or an ISO editor or mounting it with Windows Explorer.

E2B grub2 menu system Beta10 is now available

You can download the new grub2 menu system files from the Alternate Download Areas or click here.

The web page http://www.easy2boot.com/uefi-grub2-ptn2/ has been updated with the new changes.

Secure Boot

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Cheap SSDs for your E2B USB drive from Amazon



The TC Sunbow SSD 120GB $21 ($29 for 240GB) plus a $10 enclosure is a cost-effective alternative to a Corsair GTX 128GB $73 or Sandisk Extreme Pro $39.50.




You can buy an Inatek USB SATA disk enclosure for just $10.

And when you don't need it anymore or if you want to buy a bigger drive, you can use it to upgrade your old laptop.

We all need plenty of flash memory...

The rover's Mars mission was almost a failure on 21st January 2004 due to software, a DOS-based filesystem and not enough flash memory - here's what happened...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Boot Windows Install ISOs from the E2B grub2 menu system

If you want to, you can add all your Windows Install ISOs to the E2B grub2 menu system which uses wimboot to load the boot.wim from inside the ISO and then uses ImDisk to load the ISO as a virtual DVD under WinPE. You do not need to modify the Microsoft Windows Install ISO in any way.

BUT you can only MBR-boot from them, UEFI-booting from ISO files is not supported.

I have added instructions at the bottom of Tutorial 145 on the RMPrepUSB site for the E2B grub2 menu system.


E2B v1.A9a Beta available

v1.A9a Beta



  • New version of Make_E2B.exe with graphical buttons (because many non-English speaking users seem to ignore the big red button and click on the small Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd button and then they don't understand all the English questions!). 
  • Changes to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst for small speed improvements.
  • Improve speed on Windows ISo counting and remove countiso.g4b batch file.
  • Bugfix in .imgPTN code in QRUN.g4b now checks for grub4dos backup sector at LBA1 to prevent unnecessary LBA30 error message. 
  • Add netrunner+persistence sample mnu file.
  • Bugfix QRUN.g4b - redir not suppressing all output if NOSUG set.
  • Bugfix in TimeAccess.g4b - sometimes miscalculated.
  • Bugfix in QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b (used reserved memory at (md)0x230).

Saturday, 19 January 2019

How to switch back to the E2B partition from a linux OS when using .imgPTN files and UEFI-booting

When you UEFI-boot from a FAT32 .imgPTN file (after you have 'switched' it in), then there is no front-end boot manager. Whatever payload you have used is directly booted to. In this way E2B can secure-UEFI-boot to many different types of payloads without any issues or complications caused by other bootloaders/bootmanagers getting in the way.

The problem is that if you only have access to systems which will ONLY UEFI-boot, then it is difficult to change the payload to something else!

Friday, 18 January 2019

Fix issues with VirtualBox v6 and VMUB (fix --startvm error)

The new version 6 of Oracle VirtualBox has changed executables and so it has (deliberately!) broken backwards compatibility with all earlier scripts, shortcuts and applications which call VirtualBox.



This includes DavidB's VMUB application. To make VMUB work with the new VBox 6 version:

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Add NetRunner ISO with persistence to E2B

You can add persistence to a NetRunner Live ISO using a .mnu file.



Here is one for 19.01. Just follow the instructions in the .mnu file. I used a 500MB persistence file.

The kernel parameters were discovered by looking at the live.cfg file from inside the ISO.

The name of the persistence file does not have to be netrun-rw. You can have multiple .mnu files and multiple persistence files if you wish.

If you want to move the persistence file to the same folder as the .ISO file, then specify $HOME$/netrun-rw for the PF variable value.


Prevent Windows 10 from blocking 'infected' downloads

If you have the default Windows 8\10 antivirus features  active, you may find that sometimes Windows will prevent you from downloading a file that it 'thinks' is infected with malware but that you know is clean.

If you have installed a 3rd-party AV solution, you are often given the choice to keep and use the file anyway, but not with the standard Windows 10 download manager.

The registry fragment below allows you to download the file and keep it (but you may still get a warning from Windows Defender if it thinks it contains malware).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Attachments]
"ScanWithAntiVirus"=dword:00000002


Save these 3 lines to a file called DontBlockDownloadedFiles.reg and double-click on it to change your Registry setting.

Then reboot (or log off and on again) to make the setting active.

The default value is normally 3. A value of 1 prevents any warning from being given.

1 = always allow downloads
2 = warn if positive
3 = block if positive

Tip: After downloading the file, check it using virustotal.com (if you install the app, you can right-click on the file to check it).

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

E2B v1.A8 is now released!

The new v1.A8.exe download is released and can be downloaded here.

It can also be used to update the DPMS version of E2B.

The E2B website will be updated with this new version in a day or so.

Note: If you updated to RC1 previously, you may find two copies of Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI) in the \_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST folder, delete the Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI).imgPTN file and keep the Passmark Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI).imgPTN file.

I have also updated the two E2B eBooks. You can use the link in your confirmation email to download the new version(s) if you wish. The changes are very minor and just add that you may no longer need a WinHelper flash drive if your E2B drive is of the fixed-disk type.

List of changes since v1.A7:

Sunday, 13 January 2019

E2B v1.A8 Release Candidate 1 now available

v1.A8_RC1 is now available for testing.

E2B v1.A8 RC1
Press ENTER to Skip WIMBOOT if it causes a problem (e.g. <1GB RAM)

List of changes since v1.A7:

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Has anyone ever seen this error when using E2B?

One user gets this error after selecting any .imgPTN file...



I have never seen it so I would like to know if anyone else is having problems with .imgPTN files before I release the new version of E2B.

You can email me at steve (at) easy2boot (dot) com.

Friday, 11 January 2019

E2B v1.A8j Beta available

v1.A8j Beta has a few more tweaks and a new default background.

Ctrl+F8 hotkey now reloads E2B (useful if the menu stops working properly due to a bad payload failing to boot).

Almost ready for release...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

E2B eBook New Year sale ends Sunday 13th January 2019

The 'Getting started with E2B' eBook is currently available at a reduced price of only $5.

If you also purchase the 'How install Windows' eBook, you can get them both for $11.69 (inc. discount).

Click here for details.

I intend to update both eBooks soon to incorporate the new changes in E2B v1.A8. If you purchase them now, you can get up to 4 revised versions as they become available, by using the email link that will be sent to you at the time of purchase.

E2B v1.A8h Beta now available

v1.A8h - A few more tweaks. Ready for release soon, I think!

I am keen to fully release it because it means USB Hard Disks can now directly boot Windows Install ISOs without needing a WinHelper USB Removable flash drive - also testing them in a VM is now easy!


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

E2B v1.A8f/g Beta available

This Beta v1.A8f  has extra code so that typical All-In-One ISOs such as the Murphy Install ISOs will hopefully 'just work' when placed in either a standard menu folder or one of the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxxx folders. This means you can run a 'Murphy's 24-in-One Windows Install ISO' and his scripts will run correctly.

Note: v1.A8g has a couple of bug fixes: (1) XP install using WinPE now can use WIMBOOT, (2) repair option when user hits ENTER when selecting Windows 8/10 install ISO now works, (3) .iso01 file extension fixed.

I have been experimenting with the startup files in WinPE but found there is a lot of bad, inaccurate and misleading information about the WinPE startup process on the web! I could not find a complete and accurate description or flowchart anywhere, even the Microsoft documentation was inaccurate (no surprise there then)!

I think I have now worked out how WinPE actually starts up and how the various files are used.

I have done quite a bit of testing using Windows Install ISOs...

The 'correct' WinPE startup process is actually this...

Sunday, 6 January 2019

E2B v1.A8e available

This version v1.A8e has a few more tweaks including a fix for Setup giving a 'We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" error which prevents installing from a Windows ISO when booted from a standard folder.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

E2B v1.A8d updated

Version v1.A8d was updated on 2019-01-05 for language strings + other tweaks. Please download it again and update your E2B drive.

Version v1.A8e has a few more tweaks including a fix for Setup with WIMBOOT giving a 'We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" error which prevents installing from a Windows ISO when booted from a standard folder. It turns out this error message which you see when selecting a drive to install to at the beginning of Setup, is due to Windows Setup identifying the Removable USB flash drive as the 'boot' disk or 'system' disk - Windows needs to install the boot files to the 'boot disk' of the PC but it refuses if it thinks that a Removable drive is the boot disk. The usual fix is to remove all other Removable media, including SD cards and other USB drives, then switch off (not restart) and on again.This is also the reason why sometimes you can install Windows using a USB hard disk, but when you reboot, you find that the boot files have been installed onto the USB hard disk instead of the internal 'first' hard disk - and the system will only boot to Windows if you boot from the USB hard disk!

One main difference is that if set NOHELPER=1 in your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file, then WIMBOOT will not be used if there is not sufficient RAM in the system (Vista requires 800MB, Win8/10 requires approx 1.3GB).

NOHELPER is a variable which means that your USB drive is of the Removable type (hence E2B does not need to look for a WinHelper flash drive). It is usually set by the Make_E2B .exe or .cmd file when you make the E2B USB drive.

WIMBOOT will still be used if you place your Windows Install ISO in a normal E2B menu folder however.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

E2B v1.A8c/d Betas now available

This version v1.A8c  now has support for the .isoPELD and isoPELD1 file extension.

Also version v1.A8d now includes support for dual-architecture 32\64-bit Windows Install ISOs with WIMBOOT. Note: v1.A8d was updated on 2019-01-05 for language strings + other tweaks.

Using the .isoPELD file extension causes an ISO containing a \sources\boot.wim file to boot as usual, but then uses WIMBOOT and ImDisk to load the ISO as a Virtual CD\DVD (usually as drive Y:) so that the files inside the ISO are automatically available to WinPE. .isoPELD runs image #2 in boot.wim while .isoPELD1 runs image #1 in boot.wim. I have not actually found a use for these yet however!

This new Beta version also fixes some typos in all the Sample Disk1 XML files for use with VMs. It seems that Setup is case-sensitive and I had accidentally used...

<Diskid>1</DiskID>

instead of

<DiskID>1</DiskID>

which causes Setup to complain about a bad XML file at line xx in C:\AutoUnattend.xml!

By using VirtualBox+VMUB and the Disk1 XML files, you can now test out an automated install (including an SDI_CHOCO install). Note that you need to allocate 1.5GB or more of RAM to the VM.

See also the previous blog for other changes.

Brief instructions for testing an SDI_CHOCO installation under VBox

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

E2B v1.A8b/c Beta now available

This version v1.A8c should now automatically boot Windows Install ISOs (Vista to Server 2019, but not dual 32\64-bit ISOs) from any of the E2B menu folders.

The E2B USB drive does not need to be of the Removable type.

For example, just copy your Windows 7, 8 or Windows 10 install ISO to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

\_ISO\MAINMENU\Windows 10 1809 64-bit UK NCQ.iso

The ISO does not need to be (very) contiguous, so you can prevent E2B from complaining if it is not contiguous and prevent it from showing the usual E2B messages and prompts by ensuring the name ends in 'NCQ.iso'.  You can instead use .isodef as a file extension to suppress E2B suggestions but E2B will expect the file to be contiguous and may complain if it is not!

The file name can contain spaces if you wish or you can make a matching .txt file for it in the usual way.

Note that for Win8, 8.1 and early Win 10 ISOs, you will need to input a generic installation Product Key when prompted by Windows Setup. You cannot specify an XML file (you must place the ISO file in one of the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders if you want to use an XML file and suppress the Product Key prompt).

Let me know if you find any issues...

Monday, 31 December 2018

E2B v1.A8a Beta available

Booting Windows install ISOs no longer requires an extra WinHelper USB flash drive!

If your E2B USB drive was a 'fixed disk' then previous versions of E2B required you to also connect a WinHelper USB Flash drive to the system because on all versions of Windows NT6 (Vista to Win10 1609) the \AutoUnattend.xml file had to be on a 'Removable' USB drive in order for Windows Setup to detect and use the XML file.

The alternative was to convert the ISO to a .imgPTN file.

This new version of E2B uses 'wimboot' which is part of the open source iPXE project here.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Add Manjaro Live UEFI-64 to E2B

If you convert a Manjaro ISO using MPI_FAT32 (MakePartImage) the resulting .imgPTN will not MBR or UEFI boot.

The grub2 EFI boot file included with Manjaro, only seems to support the CD iso9660 file system and does not understand FAT32 filesystems.

If you use Rufus, you must use the 'dd' raw copy option and not the UEFI FAT32 or GPT options.

To fix this, find a Ubuntu or Mint x64 Live CD ISO file, and...

1. Switch the Manjaro.imgPTN file on the E2B USB drive so that the \EFI\BOOT folder is visible in Explorer.

2. Use 7Zip or some other program to extract the two EFI\BOOT\*.EFI files from the Ubuntu ISO.

3. Copy the two files into the \EFI\BOOT folder on the E2B drive.

4. For CSM Legacy booting, add these 4 lines to the end of the \menu.lst file (see \boot\grub\tz and the \boot\grub\locales\keyboards file for your country codes - e.g. en_US New_York us).

title Manjaro x64\n Manjaro Live

kernel /boot/vmlinuz-x86_64 misobasedir=manjaro misolabel=EASY2BOOT systemd.show_status=1 lang=en_GB tz=London keytable=gb

initrd /boot/amd_ucode.img /boot/intel_ucode.img /boot/initramfs-x86_64.img

boot

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Saturday, 22 December 2018

E2B eBook - special Xmas offer!

Christmas day and it's 3 p.m. - so you've opened all your presents, uncle Fred is snoring his head off (and you are vaguely wondering how he had any room for Turkey after having consumed so much sherry, wine and port), auntie Doris is making the room virtually uninhabitable due to eating too many Brussels sprouts and Dad is tactfully blaming the dog for the awful smells!

Everyone else is watching 'Suits' on Netflix (though Meghan Markle maybe worth watching again for the tenth time this year).

You will have to wait hours for the batteries of your new Xmas present, a 'Gatwick special' drone, to charge up before you can try it out over nearby Heathrow airport... and you are feeling very bored.

Well now is a perfect time to get to know how to use E2B properly. Why not add some DOS games, add a bootable version of KODI (OpenElec) or play 100's of retro games using your old USB games controllers (LAKKA) or boot to a full Windows 10 installation (WinToGo).

So, just for this Christmas period only, I have reduced the price of the E2B eBook How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot to just $5 (but you can give more if you want to ;-) ).

Merry Christmas!

Steve

How was the Raspberry Pi made for only $35?

Having a background in PC design and test s/w, I found this ZDNET article interesting.

Friday, 21 December 2018

E2B v1.A7 now released

This new version is available from the Alternate Download Areas now (download link for OneDrive here).

It will be uploaded to the E2B website in a day or two.

E2B v1.A7 (changes from v1.A6):

Thursday, 13 December 2018

E2B v1.A7h Beta with Server 2019 support added

E2B v1.A7h Beta now has an extra folder added for Windows Server 2019 ISOs and .imgPTN files.

The Beta is available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Please let me know if you find any issues. I hope to release v1.A7 before Christmas.

So if anything requires tweaking, now is the time to tell me!


Saturday, 8 December 2018

Add COMSS Russian/English AV+Utilities Boot Disk to E2B

The COMSS boot disk comss_boot_usb_2018_07.iso  does not seem to be bootable as a .ISO file, so I converted it to a FAT32 .imgPTN file and used Syslinux v6.03 (603) when prompted by MakePartImage.

Once the .imgPTN was switched to, in order to get F-Secure to boot, I also needed to rename the
\boot\iso\rescue-cd-3.16-73600\boot\isolinux folder  to...
\boot\iso\rescue-cd-3.16-73600\boot\syslinux.

Once that was done, most of the menu items seemed to work as expected.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Endless OS - an easy-to-use Linux-based OS for schools, businesses and everyone!

I just came across Endless OS. It seems to be very easy to use and install apps onto - you would hardly know it was Linux-based!

I downloaded the Basic ISO (eos-eos3.5-amd64-amd64.181116-185419.base.iso 1.8GB) and it boots fine on E2B as a LiveCD.


Booting from a .ISO file + persistence does not seem to be available, so when booting from the ISO as a LiveCD you will not be able to install any large apps, etc. so you may want the 'full' version, however even the Basic version seems quite useful.

MPI Tool Kit v0.088 available

v0.088 2018-12-05
  • Add syslinux v6.03 option
  • Default to syslinux v4 instead of v3
  • Now uses 7z.exe instead of the 7zg GUI for unpacking (doesn't stop if 'extra data found' warning and seems to be faster)
  • Menu.lst updated and some small bugs fixed plus options to disable some menu entries
  • User can now add their own menu.lst file if using a GFX menu file
  • Forcibly auto-dismounts the .imgPTN file after a small delay
  • Sample MyCSM files updated
  • Bugfix in menu.lst for text mode MyCSM.cfg menu heading/footer to be displayed
  • Try to fix timing issue as occasionally can get 'access denied' errors when running LREPLACE.cmd and ssed.exe.
This new versions has had quite a few changes but should be faster and more reliable.

Please let me know if you find any issues.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Is your laptop running slow ever since you bought a replacement AC power adapter for it?

Did you know that some AC power adapter connectors for laptops have a 'smart' pin?
If this pin does not carry the correct voltage or signal, your notebook will run very slowly.

Friday, 30 November 2018

About E2B v1.A7g and using the 2nd partition on the E2B drive for payload files

If you have a large (>128GiB) USB hard disk, I recommend that you use the first partition (up to 128GiB in size) for E2B and use the second partition for other purposes such as for storing utilities, hard disk backups, documents, etc. Note that only  recent versions of Windows 10 (1703+) can access the 2nd partition if it is on a Removable (flash) drive.

However, you can place most payloads such as linux .ISO files, Windows VHD files, etc. on the second partition and add the PTN2_MNU.mnu menu file to one of the menu folders (e.g. add it to \_ISO\MAINMENU). The PTN2_MNU.mnu will take you to a sub-menu where all the files in the folder on the second partition will be listed and you can then boot to any one of them.

Note: Windows VHD files will only boot from partition 2 on a Removable USB drive if the VHD contains Windows 10 1703 or later. However, there should be no restriction if the USB is a hard disk.

The 128GiB USB BIOS bug
Note that due to some BIOSes (e.g. Asus EeePC's) having a bug in their USB driver, they are not able to access files past 128GiB on the USB drive. This bug is quite common, especially on older USB 2.0 only systems. This means that grub4dos will not be able to access the file if it has a sector address higher than 128GiB on the disk. This is why I suggest you do not use a USB drive larger than 128GiB - or at least keep the E2B partition below 128GiB in size.

If the file is beyond 128GiB on the drive (e.g. in a 2nd partition on a >128GiB USB drive) then grub4dos may be unable to access it.

E2B will warn you if the BIOS has this 128GiB bug as soon as it starts to load.

Sometimes, you can fix the BIOS bug by loading the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver which replaces the buggy BIOS driver (hold down the SHIFT key just as E2B starts to boot to load the grub4dos USB driver). However, the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver only works on older USB 2.0 systems and not with newer chipsets or USB 3.0.

Tip: If your system has this BIOS bug but does not have any USB 2.0 ports and you have a USB 3.0 E2B drive, then connect the E2B drive to a USB 3.0 port using a USB 2.0 cable - this may allow the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver to work because it will use the USB 2.0 connections instead of the USB 3.0 set of contacts.

Windows ISOs
You may have noticed that I said that you can place most payloads on the second partition - well  Windows Install ISOs were an exception, but not now!

I have tweaked E2B v1.A7g so that you can, if you wish, add Windows Install ISOs onto the second partition (all types of Windows ISOs - except XP ISOs).

Here is how the 'cheat' works...

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

E2B v1.A7f Beta available (and a bug found in robocopy!)

E2B v1.A7f Beta is here. The change is just in the new Backup .cmd script.

I failed to notice that the Backup_E2B_drive_to_MASTER.cmd backup script actually made a hidden folder on the Desktop instead of a normal, visible folder!

This was because I have 'view Hidden files' ticked in my Explorer options and so I didn't spot that the Desktop E2B_MASTER folder was actually changed to be a hidden folder by robocopy!

It turns out that there is a long-standing bug in robocopy!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Build your own Windows 10 ISOs and include the latest updates

If you want to build your own Win10 ISO with the latest MS updates rolled-in, check out this article from ghacks.net.

The uupdownloader_1.0.0.exe can be downloaded from here.

Make sure that you disable your AV and that you have plenty of disk space, a fast internet connection and a lot of patience though! It also helps if you whittle down the number of Editions that you want to modify (e.g. just choose Professional if that is all you are likely to use, to save build time).

I managed to build an ISO successfully (it took over an hour!) but I haven't tested it yet.

When I ran it again to make the same ISO again however, it seemed to want to download the UUP files all over again...

Adding 32-bit UEFI boot options to Strelec WinPE

The English build of Sergei Strelec WinPE only contains entries to boot to Win10 64-bit in the UEFI BCD - no 32-bit UEFI boot options are present for Win10 or Win8. However the 32-bit EFI boot file \EFI\boot\bootia32.efi is already present, so to support booting from 32-bit UEFI systems we just need to edit the BCD...

Friday, 23 November 2018

E2B v1.A7e available

This version v1.A7e just has two Robocopy .cmd scripts added which you can use to quickly backup the files of your E2B partition to a folder (E2B_MASTER) on your Desktop and then you can restore it to the same USB E2B drive or a different E2B drive using the Restore script.

Files which are already present are not re-copied so only the changes are updated.

The contents of the target USB drive will be a duplicate of what is in the backup folder. This means that if you have extra files on your USB drive which are not in the backup folder, then the extra files will be deleted from your USB drive - i.e. it will be an exact duplicate.