Sunday, 26 March 2017

Convert Windows MBR-partioned disks to GPT using MBR2GPT

FYI: MBR2GPT is now available in Windows 10 version 1703 (Windows 10 Creator's Update) and later versions. The tool is available in both the full OS environment and in Windows PE.

If apparently will convert an offline Windows MBR disk to a GPT disk.

Perhaps, useful if you want to transfer your OS to a larger 3 or 4TB Hard Disk. Once you have transferred the image to the new disk, you should be able to convert the new disk to GPT and then increase the size of the partitions or create a new partition to use the remainder of the drive.

I have not tested this myself yet...

Saturday, 25 March 2017

E2B Grub2 v0.08 Beta available

Thanks to an email from a user, I have now discovered that the 'openSUSE' menu heading comes from the English language translation file at \boot\grub\locale\en.mo.

For some reason the Windows Find&Replace utility FNR.exe which I used, did not find any strings inside this file which is why I missed it!

Anyway, Beta 8 now has a GRUBHEAD variable in the \menu.lst file inside the UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta8.imgPTNLBAa23 partition image. This allows me to change the grub2 heading to anything I like by using grub4dos to patch the en.mo file.

I also increased the length of the en.mo file to accommodate longer headings.

The grub2 menu heading can be changed by editing \menu.lst

The new beta is available in the Alternate Downloads Area only for now...

GRUB2 Beta 7 now available for Easy2Boot (bugfix for Beta 6)

The Grub2 Beta 6 release had a bug and you may find some 64-bit payload files (e.g. ubuntu.iso) were not listed in the menu.

This was due to the code which detects a 64-bit CPU having a bug in main.cfg - the BIT64 variable was never set! For example, \_ISO\MAINMENU\ubuntu.iso would not be displayed in the menu.

This is now fixed in Beta 7.

To update your Easy2Boot drive, download the new Beta 7 zip file and replace the UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta6.imgPTNLBAa23 file with the new UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta7.imgPTNLBAa23.

Sorry if this caused you any frustration!

P.S. Beta 8 is also available which now allows the grub2 menu heading to be changed to whatever we want!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Feedback from E2B users wanted on the QRUN 'auto-suggest' feature

For E2B v1.91, I am thinking of changing the default action (i.e. when you do not press any key and let it time-out or you press the ENTER key) for the E2B QRUN 'auto-suggest' prompt from 'No' (do not use suggested file extension) as shown below...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Beware when downloading files via a USB WiFi dongle !!!

Whenever I am using a WiFi USB dongle to download files, I always check the CRC/MD5 hash value of the file using the free Windows utility HashTab. This is a really handy utility which integrates nicely with the standard Windows - Properties feature to give an extra File Hashes tab...



The reason for checking the hash value of the downloaded file (even though it appears to be the correct size and it downloaded without error) is that external interference can cause the file to be corrupt!

Yes, honestly! I have tested this myself and proved that electromagnetic interference caused a perfectly good .ZIP file to be successfully downloaded from t'internet BUT it often was corrupt and 7Zip would tell me so when I tried to unzip it!

In this case, the interference was caused by a room-light dimmer switch (hence file corruption
occurred only at night!) - see my previous blog for more details here.

I don't know if the data corruption occurred in the USB data transfer or the WiFi-to-data decoding, but it was repeatable and reproducible!

So if strange things start to happen with downloaded files, always check that the file was downloaded without any data corruption by checking it's CRC\MD5\SHA-1 hash value!

Tip: As long as the last 4 characters are correct, then the chances are extremely remote that the other characters in the hash value are not also correct. So I just compare the last 4 characters.

P.S. I also know that USB 3 can interfere with Bluetooth/wireless mouse transmission, so you need to keep USB 3 devices well away from 2.4GHz dongles (see here for more details).

Friday, 17 March 2017

Split_WinISO utility by Chandra v1.0.8

Chandra's new Split-WinISO utility now will automatically add the missing bootx64.efi boot file to MS Windows 7 x64 ISOs when it makes a .imgPTN file to allow it to UEFI-boot.


Source Files: ISO or Folder  (most Windows Install and AIO ISOs should work)
Output File: .ISO or .imgPTN file

Split_WinISO will split large .wim, .esd files into smaller .swm split-wim files for you automatically.

It will even add the winpeshl.ini and mysetup.cmd files into the boot .wim for you and add an example \auto.cmd file plus XML files too (optional)! This allows you to UEFI-boot and then pick from a range of XML files to install different Windows versions or configurations. See here for more details.

To follow the development and get the download, see reboot.pro.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Easy2Boot v1.91c is available

E2B v1.91c/d
  • Fix 'WARNING: WinBuilder ISOs must have .iso file extension' message being shown even when not a WinBuilder ISO
  • Latest grub4dos version \grldr 2017-02-04 
  • 'blacklist' sample .mnu files (see previous blog post)
  • Latest version of RMPartUSB
  • New version of Make_E2B.exe (1.91c)
  • New SCROLL LOCK feature (1.91c)
  • New TSUG variable to control auto-suggest feature better (1.91d)

If you are bothered by the 'WARNING: WinBuilder ISOs must have a .ISO file extension!' message followed by a 5 second delay in v1.90, this bug is fixed in v1.91.

The new Make_E2B.exe now enables the QEMU button after you have made a new E2B USB drive.

The new SCROLL LOCK feature is added into QRUN.g4b. If SCROLL LOCK is on (press the Scroll Lock key once), then redir, redirp and NOSUG will be removed/cleared. This allows you to see all E2B messages when a payload is executed. This is useful if, for instance, you have used one or more of these settings in your MyE2B.cfg file but now wish to see the E2B messages when running a new payload file. (E2B v1.91+).

Only payloads that are run using QRUN.g4b are affected - the E2B messages displayed during menu file enumeration, etc. are not affected by the SCROLL LOCK key state.

If SCROLL LOCK is ON, then QRUN will show all messages.

P.S. It is no longer necessary to set the value of redir and redirp to exactly '> nul', you can now set any value and they will work (e.g. set redir=1).

I have also added a new page to the E2B website about how to reduce the number of E2B text messages here.


Stop Press: UK Mymemory Half-Price Offer on Lexar S75 128GB USB 3.0 (150MB/s read / 60MB/s write) for only £25. Not as good as a SanDisk Extreme 128GB (245/190MB/s) but much cheaper.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Official Windows ISO and Office download web page

A recent ghacks.net article has identified a new website which allows you to easily download various official MS Windows ISOs and Office installation files.

The downloads come from the Microsoft servers, similar to the sources used by the Windows Download app. but there is now no need to download the latest version of the download application first (as long as the new site page is kept up to date).

A direct link is here.

Note:
'Single Language' ISOs = Home\Core only (does not include Pro)
'English' = English USA only
'English International' = English UK plus other English-speaking countries

The rest of the rg-adguard.net site seems to contain various (Russian\English) Windows AIO ISOs and some invasive advert pop-ups appear if you try to download them, so browse/download the rest of the site at your own risk!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Instant BSOD when running WinContig (Acronis True Image issue)!

During testing of Acronis True Image 2017 NG, I noticed that as soon as I ran WinContig to make the files on my Easy2Boot USB drive contiguous, my Windows 10 64-bit system instantly gave a Blue Screen of Death! There was not even enough time to see the WinContig form appear!

I repeated this several times and it always gave an instant BSOD.

As WinContig has always been stable in the past, I suspected that the problem was with the trial version of True Image that I had just installed (downloaded from the Acronis website). So I uninstalled True Image and lo and behold, WinContig now launches and runs just fine again!

After a spot of Googling, I noticed many other users reporting BSODs with various versions of Acronis products, so I decided to report the issue to their technical department who confirmed that there were known BSOD issues...


P.S. True Image also prevented Switch_E2B.exe from working because it blocked writes to the USB MBR!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Boot Acronis True Image 2017 NG from .imgPTN file

If you want to boot a licenced version of Acronis True Image 2017 NG, you can simply add the .ISO file to E2B.

If you convert the ISO to a .imgPTN file, you can then UEFI-boot from it too, however the MBR\CSM boot entry will boot in 'Trial Mode' only with the linux version.

To fix this, add the following lines to very end of the  \menu.lst file in the .imgPTN file:

#Acronis 32 - must use quiet switch or will get busybox error!
iftitle [if exist /Recovery\ Manager/kernel.dat if exist /dat3.dat && if exist /dat2.dat] Acronis 32-bit \n Acronis True Image
kernel /dat2.dat  vga=791 force_modules=usbhid quiet
if exist /dat4.dat set d4=/dat4.dat
initrd /dat3.dat %d4%
boot

#Acronis 64  - must use quiet switch or will get busybox error!
iftitle [checkrange 2,3 is64bit && if exist /Recovery\ Manager/kernel.dat if exist /dat10.dat && if exist /dat11.dat] Acronis 64-bit\n Acronis True Image
kernel /dat10.dat vga=791 force_modules=usbhid quiet
if exist /dat12.dat set d12=/dat12.dat
initrd /dat11.dat %d12%
boot

GOTCHA! Note that you MUST include the quiet parameter or it will fail to boot!

The dat4 and dat12 files will contain the license data (if valid).

If you also want the report options which will save a zip file to the USB drive, add these lines:

iftitle [if exist /Recovery\ Manager/kernel.dat if exist /dat6.dat && if exist /dat7.dat] Acronis Report 32-bit \n Acronis True Image
kernel /dat6.dat  vga=791 product=system_report force_modules=usbhid quiet
if exist /dat8.dat set d8=/dat8.dat
initrd /dat7.dat %d8%
boot

iftitle [checkrange 2,3 is64bit && if exist /Recovery\ Manager/kernel.dat if exist /dat14.dat && if exist /dat15.dat] Acronis Report 64-bit\n Acronis True Image
kernel /dat14.dat vga=791 product=system_report force_modules=usbhid quiet
if exist /dat16.dat set d16=/dat16.dat
initrd /dat15.dat %d16%
boot

Saturday, 11 March 2017

E2B v1.91b latest BETA available

E2B v1.91b
  • Fix 'WARNING: WinBuilder ISOs must have .iso file extension' message being shown even when not a WinBuilder ISO
  • Latest grub4dos version \grldr 2017-02-04 
  • 'blacklist' sample .mnu files (see previous blog post)
  • Latest version of RMPartUSB
If you are bothered by the 'WARNING: WinBuilder ISOs must have a .ISO file extension!' message followed by a 5 second delay in v1.90, this bug is fixed in v1.91.

Monday, 6 March 2017

New 'Split_WinISO' utility by Chandra

Chandra has written a Windows utility that will split Install.ESD or Install.WIM files into .SWM split-wim files.


You just point it at the Windows ISO and it will create a new .ISO file containing the split-wim files.

If you place the utility in the MPI Tool Pack folder, you will get extra options which will allow you to create a FAT32 .imgPTN file directly from the original ISO (instead of creating a new ISO file).

Note: The Yellow MPI button does NOT convert to SWM, use the CONVERT button to split the WIM file (you will be asked to save as ISO or .imgPTN).

Split_WinISO will also insert the winpeshl.ini and mysetup.cmd files into image #2 of boot.wim for you and add a \auto.cmd file to the image (you will be prompted). This creates a .imgPTN file which will prompt you to select from a number of XML files which you can add to the image later. In this way, you can have various XML files containing say Home and Pro product keys, or even SDI_Choco XML files, etc. See here for more details.

This allows us to easily make FAT32 .imgPTN files for Windows Installers that can be UEFI-booted.

To follow the development and get the download, see reboot.pro.

I may add this utility into the MPI Tool Pack download for the next version.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Blacklisting modules for linux by detecting PC\NoteBook model strings in the BIOS

Stepdown recently asked on reboot.pro about how to detect specific makes\models of hardware so that the correct linux kernel parameters can be used automatically.

For instance, a certain model of system may not boot using the default linux kernel parameters unless nomodeset or a 'blacklist' module is specified as a kernel parameter.

The 'sample' example below shows how you can  detect the type of system you are using and automatically use the correct kernel parameters for that system.

I will put example .mnu files in E2B v1.91b and later versions.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Grub2 Menu system Beta 6 available for E2B

The new Beta 6 version of the grub2 menu system is available in the Alternate Downloads Area.

By default, it now does not use a grub2 theme because on some systems, it seems to cause a very slow menu response in MBR-boot mode.

You can now change the menu text colours in the \ISO\MAINMENU\grub2\defaults.txt file.
You can also specify a wallpaper .jpg or .png file to use as a background in the defaults.txt file too.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

E2B v1.90 now released

The changes from v1.89 are mainly for WinBuilder ISOs and tidying up files in the root folder of the USB drive:

v1.90 2017-02-18 (v1.91 Beta has a small bugfix to stop the 'WinBuilder ISOs must end in .ISO' message.)

  1. Support for WinBuilder_ISO.mnu sample menu file (see here)
  2. Remove 20 character filename limit for WinBuilder ISOs (.isoWB files)
  3. Add three common WinPE .ini files to root of drive
  4. QRUN.g4b will auto-detect WinBuilder .ISO files and automatically update the .ini files to correctly boot and load the ISO as Y: drive
  5. Moved sample Windows XML files to SAMPLE XML FILES folders (user must copy them up one level if needed)
  6. \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO is now not updated/copied by the update script
  7. Make_E2B.exe updated to latest version (QEMU button inactive if no E2B drive selected)
  8. If user sets hidden file attribute on USB:\menu.lst file, then Update script will hide most files in root each time
  9. The three .cmd scripts can be moved by user to \_ISO folder to keep the root tidy

If you are updating your E2B drive with v1.90, you may want to:

  1. Set the hidden attribute on \menu.lst first, and then run the Update script. This will cause most of the files in the root of the E2B drive to be hidden.
  2. Move the three v1.90 .cmd files in the root of the E2B drive to \_ISO folder to keep the root folder looking tidy.
  3. Delete any unwanted XML files in your \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders to reduce the number of XML files listed by E2B. They will not be replaced when you update in future.
  4. If you have any WinBuilder-based ISOs (e.g. Gandalf, ChrisR WinPESE's, WinPE-Yol, Dium, MediCat, etc.), you might like to try just leaving them with a .ISO file extension (and ensure no spaces in the filename) and see if they 'just work' without needing any other .WB file, etc. See this page if you want to remove the QRUN auto-suggest messages each time it runs.
  5. You can just rename the download to .zip and extract it as usual if you wish.
  6. Delete the 500MB \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO file to save space - any future update will not replace it.
Use this anonymous feedback form to quickly send me feedback or leave a comment below.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Configure Windows Install ISOs with WinReducer


A recent PC Welt article described WinReducer which may be of interest to you.

This is a utility that allows you create bespoke Windows Setup files (.ISO or a USB drive). It also creates an AutoUnattend.xml file for you.

It is not too obvious how to get started and the Tutorials link did not seem to be working on the site, but you can watch a Video here.

It does nag you to Activate (purchase a licence) a lot too!

I still haven't worked out what the difference is between ES and EX versions!

Quickly make a USB drive to directly UEFI-boot from Ubuntu ISOs

If you follow Tutorial #136, you should be able to UEFI-boot directly from most Ubuntu-based ISO files.

Just copy the ISO file to the \efi\boot folder on the USB drive and rename it as boot.iso.

This is a way to quickly prepare a UEFI-bootable USB drive.

It relies on the ISO containing a \boot\grub\loopback.cfg file.

At a minimum, only two files are needed on the USB drive, the ISO and a .efi boot file.

Make a generic grub2 boot menu (using loopback.cfg)

If you have ever tried to boot directly to a linux ISO file, then you will know that it is necessary to tell the linux boot kernel/scripts where to find the ISO file so that it can load it as a 'cdrom' (loop) device and access the files inside the ISO. If this is not done, you will typically see a 'squashfs file not found' error message!

Typically we can fix this by specifying a kernel parameter or 'cheat code'.

A typical grub2 command line which loads the Ubuntu boot kernel and specifies the location of the ISO file would be:

linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz.efi boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/_ISO/ubuntu64.iso quiet splash

This allows us to boot from a grub2 USB drive (say), mount the ISO as a loop device and load the kernel and initial ramdrive files from inside the ISO file and then pass on the location of the ISO file so that when the linux kernel boots, it can re-load the ISO file as a loop device again (because the first loop device is lost when the linux kernel loads).

So to boot to linux in this way, we need to know what all these parameters need to be.

The problem is that they vary from version to version and distro to distro and we always have to do some 'research' and experimentation to try to find out what parameters we need. There also may be several menu entries (for live cd, install, safe mode, memtest, etc.) and we would need to make grub2 menus for each of them.

Enter the loopback.cfg file!

However, some distros, such as Ubuntu, contain a useful loopback.cfg file (located at \boot\grub\loopback.cfg).

Here is a typical Ubuntu loopback.cfg file which is inside the ISO file:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Make fancy E2B wallpapers, collages, web graphics, etc. with a web-based photo editor

I got some junk email this morning asking me to visit the www.fotojet.com and review it.

Normally, I immediately delete such emails, but today I thought I would take a look...

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Installing linux using E2B

If you use an E2B USB drive to boot from a linux ISO or .imgPTN file, you will often run into a problem if you are trying to install linux onto a system.

Many linux OS installation scripts or GUI's will look for the source linux files on a 'CD-ROM' drive, because they 'think' that we have booted from a CD or DVD.

I have added a new page to the E2B site here, which details how to specify the location of the linux source files.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Easy2Boot v1.90c BETA

Version 1.90c Beta has the following changes from v1.89:

  • Automatic support for WinBuilder-based ISOs (e.g. Gandalf, Dium, Yol, ChrisR PEs)
  • The three most common INI files used by WinBuilder ISOs now added to root of the E2B drive
  • QRUN.g4b improved to automatically detect WinBuilder ISOs
  • WinBuilder ISOs are checked to ensure no spaces in filename and end with .ISO extension
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD will automatically 'tidy' files if \menu.lst is hidden by user
  • Windows 7/8/10 XML files now in SAMPLE XML FILES subfolders. To use them, copy them to the appropriate folder, e.g. from \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\SAMPLE XML FILES to \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10
v1.90c is available from the Alternate Downloads Areas as usual.

How to keep things tidy!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Easy2Boot v1.90b BETA now available

E2B v1.90b now has three extra blank files added:
  • \Win7PESE.ini
  • \Win8PESE.ini
  • \Win10PESE.ini
These are the most common .ini files used by WinBuilder ISOs.

I have also modified QRUN.g4b so that if you try to run an .ISO file that contains WinBuilder files inside the ISO, QRUN will update the three .ini files with the name of the ISO. The WinBuilder PE OS should then automatically load the ISO as a virtual Y: CD drive when it reaches the Desktop.

This seems to work for most normal WinBuilder ISOs (e.g. made using ChrisR's project or TheOven projects) and also Gandalf, MediCat and WinPEYol ISOs, etc.

With most WinBuilder ISOs, you need to follow a few rules though or WinBuilder won't load the ISO as drive Y: correctly:

Thursday, 9 February 2017

E2B v1.90a Beta has improved WinBuilder ISO support

As an alternative way to boot WinBuilder ISOs such as Gandalf WinPE WinBuilder ISOs, starting with E2B v1.90, you can also use a simple .mnu file.

The v1.90a Beta includes a sample WinBuilder_ISO.mnu file which you can copy and modify for each of your WinBuilder ISOs.

# WinBuilder sample .mnu file - example for Gandalf x86 64-bit WinPE 2016-11 version (requires E2B v1.90 or later)
# click on the Desktop Yellow Warning Triangle to find .ini file name for each WinBuilder ISO
# ISO filename must not contain spaces or it won't be loaded as Y: virtual CD!!!
# You must create the \WIN10PESE.ini file in root of E2B drive and fill it with 1000 characters of random junk
title Gandalf PE 64-bit WinBuilder ISO\n Boot a WinBuilder ISO
set ISOFN=Gandalfx64WindowsPE.iso
set IniName=WIN10PESE.ini
if not exist $HOME$/%ISOFN% echo ERROR: $HOME$/%ISOFN% NOT FOUND! && pause
if exist     $HOME$/%ISOFN% call /%grub%/QRUN.g4b force.isoWB $HOME$/%ISOFN%
boot

So all you need are three files:
  • \WIN10PESE.ini - must be approx 1K (any contents)
  • \_ISO\WINPE\MNU\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.iso
  • \_ISO\WINPE\MNU\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.mnu - the .mnu file
This saves having to make a WB folder and a xxxxx.WB file although this method is still supported in v1.90.

The improved code in QRUN.g4b also checks that the filename does not contain spaces and removes the 20-character filename limit/bug that was in previous versions of E2B.

E2B v1.90a will be uploaded in a day or so to the Alternate Download Areas!

If using SysPrep and DISM\IMAGEX to deploy Windows, watch out for this trap!

If you boot to Windows PE and use some sort of script to install Windows OS's to systems using ImageX or DISM, you should check your NTFS Junction points!

So after you have deployed the image and it is booting to Windows nicely, simply drop to an Admin command shell and type  dir /aL

Check your Junctions!

You should see that the Junctions and Symlinks all point to the Windows drive.

If they do not, then you may get some weird problems when installing or running some programs, or with some internal Windows functions.

How to boot 'Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso' (or any WinBuilder ISO)

The Gandalf WinPE ISO Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso cannot be easily booted using Easy2Boot (or any similar system).

This is because the filename used by Gandalf contains spaces and there is a bug in the MountPEMedia.exe utility used by WinBuilder PE's - they will not load the .ISO file as the Y: drive if it uses a .ini file and the .iso file contains spaces in the filename.

Note:
If you use E2B v1.90+, then Gandalf and other WinBuilder-based WinPE ISOs will just work! Simply ensure that there are no spaces in the filename and that the file extension is .iso (not .isodefault).

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

E2B v1.89 released


  • New self-extracting exe file format for downloads (can be renamed to .zip for extraction)
  • MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script now tests for >137GB drives and prompts you to select a partition size of 137GB for best compatibility (or MAX)
  • Make_E2B.exe red button automatically reduces partition size to 137GB if target drive is over 137GB (no user prompt) and always uses NTFS
  • German translation for E2B menu has minor changes (thanks to Frettt!).
  • Utilities - Measure BIOS performance, now reports results in seconds
  • SWITCH_E2B new version 1.0.14
  • NoF1F7F8F9F10 MyE2B.cfg file in Themes folder added (to configure a Menu without the menu items for F1-F10)
Download page here.


New version of WinNTSetup available from JFX

Using WinNTSetup, you can install from virtually any Windows Installer ISO from within a WinPE environment.

Version 3.8.7.1  (latest is now 3.8.7.3) of WinNTSetup3 is now available from here from JFX on MSFN.

It has several bug fixes. You should now be able to run a diskpart script (using undocumented ctrl+shift+D command) to partition and format a drive and also it can now directly access a Windows ISO file to get at the install.wim or install.esd file without needing to extract it. The .iso file will be mounted by ImDisk when selected.

This new version also now works with Microsoft ISOs that contain \Sources\Install.esd files and \x86\Sources\Install.esd and \x64\Source\Install.esd files.

For more details (and how to MBR-boot to WinPE to prepare a GPT disk for a UEFI installation of Windows - even using SDI_CHOC too) see here for the best way to use WinNTSetup from an E2B USB drive.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

E2B v.1.89e Beta available

Changes from previous Beta:

  • Utilities - Measure BIOS performance, now reports results in seconds
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe  v1.0.14
Brian contacted me about a problem he had with SWITCH_E2B.exe v.1.0.13 on his Windows 8.1 system. It reported a getFileExtents (GFE) error when first launched, and after pressing OK, it would not list any drives in the drive list.

It turns out that the GFE error was due to the getFileExtents.exe helper file not liking BitLocker C: drives (SWITCH_E2B.exe extracts it's files to a temporary folder on the C: drive and then checks that getFileExtents works).

The next issue was caused by one of the other USB drives that he had already attached to his Windows system. It had a drive letter of B: (A: and B: are usually reserved for floppy drives). He got a 'READ ERROR' and the drive list code aborted. The new version of SWITCH_E2B.exe does not abort (but will not list drives A: or B:). RMPrepUSB also does not like USB drives being drive A: or B: either!

Fix non-adjustable brightness on AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series notebooks for Windows 10

If you have a notebook with Windows 10 that uses the AMD Radeon (Catalyst) graphics chipset, you may find that the default AMD video driver that is automatically installed by Windows does not support any brightness adjustment.

This means that the notebook battery will not last as long because it is always on full brightness.

This is a VERY common problem on Windows 10 notebooks with AMD graphics that have been re-installed, so you should always check that the brightness controls work after re-installing Windows or Windows drivers and for that matter, all the special control features (Fn keys, etc) on the notebook.

You can install the standard Microsoft Windows 10 VGA driver, but this reduces the maximum screen resolution (even though the brightness control does then work).

It turns out the solution is a simple registry fix.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Virtual Box 'VT-x is not available. (VERR_VMX_NO_VMX)' error

Most modern CPUs support VT-x. This allows VBox to run much faster.

You can use VBox+VMUB to boot directly from a USB drive within Windows.
Note that the USB drive will be seen as a SATA or IDE hard disk by the guest OS (not as a USB drive and not as a 'Removable' drive - so E2B Windows Installs from an ISO will not work correctly).

In order to enable VT-x, you need to have a VT-x capable CPU, then enable VT-x in the BIOS settings and make sure that no other software is 'grabbing' that resource (e.g. Hyper-V).

There is a good article on How-to Geek about this.

My VBox was working fine until I upgraded my system to Win10 Pro for £2.84 (see previous blog post)  and installed Hyper-V as a Windows 'Feature'. Then I got the dreaded Virtual Box 'VT-x is not available. (VERR_VMX_NO_VMX)' error message when trying to use VMUB.

It seems the only solution was to uninstall Hyper-V, so now it is all working again!