Monday, 27 July 2015

Quickly install Windows 7\8 To Go onto an Easy2Boot USB drive with WinToUSB

The free version of WinToUSB can quickly install a full version of Windows from a Windows Install ISO onto a USB drive. We can use it to make a Win7ToGo .imgPTN or .VHD file on our E2B USB drive.

Here are the steps in outline for an MBR-bootable version of Win7ToGo:

You can use VBox+VMUB instead of a real system for booting Win7, if you prefer.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

E2B v1.72BetaG

The latest Beta of E2B has a few tweaks to cope with the latest changes in grub4dos 0.4.6a.
E2B v1.72BetaG does NOT contain this latest version of grub4dos.

The latest grub4dos 0.4.6a versions have a few new features (and bugs!):

  1. Support .jpg files for splashimages (wallpaper/background images)
  2. New setmenu command to position the menu (with or without border)
  3. Change to color command (colour for 'Notes' can be defined separately)
  4. New  echo -v command which displays the version number

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Ready-made WinPE ISOs (from Gandalf)

If you are looking for ready-made WinPE ISOs (with UEFI-boot support too), check out the Gandalf's WinPE builds of WinPESE8.1 (Google for 'Gandalf WinPE').

Win8.1U1SE_x86 updateable (UEFI+MBR bootable) - This PE had external Portable Apps and Programs folder, allowing you to add more programs.

There is even a dual-boot x86/x64 ISO (64-bit UEFI + 32&64-bit MBR booting)...

The dual-PE ISO has an external Portable Apps folder, so you could add more apps into it.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Using Easy2Boot with UEFI-only systems


Many people have asked me 'how can I boot to E2B and select a UEFI payload, if I only have one UEFI-only system'?

This blog post attempts to describe a solution.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

MPI Tool Pack now has Clover 32-bit support (v 051)

I have added the 32-bit Clover files to the MPI Tool Pack so if your payload .imgPTN file has 32-bit UEFI boot files, you can UEFI-boot from the CSM menu.

A system with a 64-bit CPU will list both Clover 32-bit and 64-bit boot entries.
A system with a 32-bit CPU will list only the Clover 32-bit boot entry.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Fast USB 3.0 drive caddy for SSDs

A few years ago I needed a USB 3.0 drive caddy for 2.5" HDDs, so I bought a cheap ICY BOX  IB-233ST
This ICY does have screws but you can just use the rubber sheath to hold it together - this allows for quick changing of drives without having to fiddle with tiny screws and find a tiny screwdriver!

However, when I fitted an SSD drive into it, I was only getting sequential rd/wr speeds of 150-200MB/s.

After doing a bit of research, I bought this screwless Inateck drive caddy (FE2005S)

Adding WinPE/WinBuilder ISO files to Easy2Boot (WinPE-Yol.iso, Dium_2.0.iso, etc.)

WinPE-Yol.iso (Google for it!) and Dium_2.0.iso are two French WinPE ISO's built using WinBuilder (ChrisR's Win8PESE project here).

Dium-2 booted from a .imgPTN file

WinPE-Yol booted from a .imgPTN file

Monday, 13 July 2015

Add 'Boot Repair Disk' ISOs to your E2B multi-boot drive

I came across a reference to Boot-Repair-Disk a few days ago which was something new to me.
It includes gparted and FireFox, and is very quick to boot too.

It says that it will 'automatically' fix boot problems on both linux and Windows systems:

Here is THE Rescue Disk that you should keep close to your computer !

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Partition Guru Pro giveaway - hurry!

Free offer for this s/w worth $80. Useful for partition/data recovery, etc.
See here for extra features that you get with the Pro version.

Right-Click on a file to show a cluster list and see if it is contiguous.

As soon as you install, Register it quickly before the offer expires (you do not have to use your real email address if you prefer not to!).

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

E2B v1.72BetaE now has (very!) minimal Arabic language support

E2B v1.72e has a \_ISO\e2b\grub\ARABIC language folder.

It only has a few menu headings and menu entries translated to Arabic (using Google translate!) and they are probably all wrong!

If you wish to correct them, the instructions on how to edit the files are in the \_ISO\e2b\grub\ARABIC\ReadMe.txt file.

The 'source' UTF-8 files that you need to edit are the STRINGS_ARABIC.txt and F1_ARABIC.cfg files.

You need to edit these and then convert them using Fribidi to a STRINGS.txt and F1.cfg file (use the Reverse.cmd file provided - just drag-and-drop a 'Arabic' file onto the Reverse.cmd file).

As a starting point, you could try this \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file (save as UTF-8):

set RTL=1
write 0x8308 0 > nul
set bdwidth=0
if "%LANG%"=="" set LANG=ARABIC
set HEADING=ﺔﺷﻼﻔﻟﺍ ﺯﻭﺪﻨﻳﻭ
set HBTM=3642
set FCOLOUR=0106
set HELPTEXT=ﺑﺮﻧﺎﻣﺞ [F7]   ﻧﻮﺭﺗﻮﻥ [F8]   ﻧﻮﺭﺗﻮﻥ [F9]   ﻧﻮﺭﺗﻮﻥ [F10]

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Setting E2B sub-menu defaults and timeouts

I have had enquiries from two different people in the same day about how to set a timeout to auto-run an entry in a sub-menu!

You can set a menu default (and optional timeout value) for each standard E2B sub-menu folder by using a .mnu file.

I have added yet another page to the E2B site here to describe the various options.

E2B 1.72BetaB with support for Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu, etc.

E2B 1.72BetaB+ has added support for RTL languages (but no STRINGS.txt language files yet!)

BetaC fixes Windows sub-menus not being right-justified + few other small niggles.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I have added a similar function to the ENUMWAIT function which pauses the list of payload files just before the menu is displayed.

Now, you can press the SPACEBAR during file enumeration of any menu and it will pause at the end of enumeration (without ENUMWAIT needing to be set in MyE2B.cfg).

You can now easily see the order that files and folders are enumerated in, and thus the order that they will appear in the menu.

Friday, 26 June 2015

E2B v1.71 released

Small tweaks since 1.70.

v1.71 2015-06-26
  • Typo\bugfix for PTN2_Menu.mnu and renamed. 
  • Make_this_drive_contiguous.cmd will now run on any drive it is on (if \_ISO\docs\WINCONTIG folder is also present on the drive), so can use it on another partition on an E2B USB HDD drive by copying it to the other partition. 
  • XP Step 2 bugfix - if installing XP to 2nd HDD it would not boot correctly. 
  • JustBrowsing_with_config.mnu file added + few others
  • German Strings.txt small tweaks. 
  • Payload enumeration now displays source directory correctly when listing payload files. 
  • 'set ENUMWAIT=1' in MyE2B.cfg will cause file enumeration to pause before displaying the menu - useful to see what order files are enumerated in for menu order.
  • MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd tells user if disk is Fixed or Removable type and warns if Fixed that they will need a 'Helper' USB drive for Windows installs.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

How to have multiple, fully-installed linux OS's on the same Easy2Boot USB drive

Please note: I recommend using VBox+VMUB rather than a real system to perform the installation onto the E2B USB drive because it will be safer (and Mint seems to have a problem if a hard disk is present in the system!).

This method allows you to boot to any number of 'fully installed' linux OS's from the one E2B USB drive (i.e. linux will keep all changes and updates, etc. as it is not running from the ISO or a filesystem in memory but is fully installed onto the USB drive).

I used Mint but many linux installers should work.

WARNING: You should only attempt this if you are familiar with .imgPTN files and installing linux. If you choose the wrong linux install options you could destroy the contents of your E2B drive! If you are not using a Virtual Machine, you could destroy the contents of your system disks too!

In this process we will add a Linux Install .imgPTN file (or LiveCD+Install .imgPTN file) to your E2B USB drive and then install that version of linux to a new 'virtual' partition on the same drive.

We do not need to re-partition the E2B USB drive.


  • Once you install linux, the MINT OS file should not be copied or moved, because it contains boot parameters that are specific to the file's position on the E2B USB drive. WinContig will not change it's position (but a defrag would). This issue can be solved however, by using a bespoke menu entry (see bottom of page for details).
  • We cannot have a Swap partition in this install. Linux is installed onto a single partition only but see the bottom of this post for a workaround.
  • Only MBR-booting is supported.
I used a linux Mint 17 Mate 32-bit ISO and an E2B USB HDD, but the process should work for many linux installers as long as they will install to just a single ext2/3/4 partition.

Monday, 22 June 2015

E2B: Add Desinfect 2015 with updates

I have made a new mnu file for Desinfect 2015 with persistent updates.

Making the .mnu was simple, but I just couldn't get the updates to work. I could copy them from the 'master' flash drive partition to the ext2 filesystem on the E2B drive, but when I booted to Desinfect 2015 from the Easy2Boot drive, Desinfect always complained that the signatures were outdated and refused to use them or update them (updates went to RAM not the USB drive)!

It turned out that I was not copying ALL of the files because I was using the linux command:

sudo cp -purv /media/desinfect/desinfSIGS/* ss

what I should have used was

sudo cp -purv /media/desinfect/desinfSIGS/. ss

spot the difference!!!  linux is sooooo user friendly (not)!

The important file that was not copied was the empty file  .desinfect2015, which explains why Desinfect 2015 thought the signatures folder was not the correct one!

The amended instructions for 2014 and 2015 are in the updated old blog post here.

Access ext2/3/4 partitions from Windows

I actually installed ext2fsd on my Win8.1 64-bit Windows system so that I could look at the contents of the Desinfect 2015 'master' flash drive more easily. Because, I was using a Removable flash drive, I had to use RMPrepUSB - Ctrl-O to move the type 83 ext4 signatures partition (#3) to the first position in the partition table. Once that was done, the ext4 signatures partition was available to me in Windows Explorer and I then noticed the .desinfect2015 hidden file!

P.S. Any donations to Easy2Boot are welcome ;-)

E2B: How to install debian from an ISO

Some linux install ISOs, such as debian-based ISOs, will boot to a Live OS fine using Easy2Boot straight from the .ISO file.

However, if you want to install linux from the ISO, some linux installers specifically look for a CD-ROM drive rather than looking for the installation source files, or they do not automatically mount the 4th partition, which E2B has mapped to the ISO file by grub4dos, and so the installer cannot find the source files.

Often, however, there is a simple solution. When installing linux onto another device, you just need to specify the source device. E2B changes partition #4 so that it points to the ISO file that we are booting from. So we just need to specify that partition as the 'cdrom'!

Here is an example using debian-8.1.0-i386-CD-1.ISO.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Password protect specific Windows Install ISOs

You can easily password protect normal, standard menu entries in a variety of ways on an E2B USB multiboot drive (e.g. just add 'pwd' to the end of the file extension - Ubuntu.isopwd).

But recently a user wanted to protect certain specific Win7/8 Install ISOs with specific passwords, so I have added a few examples of ways to do this to the 'E2B Security' page on the E2B website.

After selecting a specific Win7/8 ISO you can prompt the user for a specific password...
If the password is wrong, they will be returned to the Windows Install menu.
Note: this 'bunny' wallpaper is my current menu wallpaper - don't ask me why!

'Don't put your laptop on your lap!'

I recently read an interesting post from the 'Life of MDW' blog here, which was about why you should NOT call a notebook a 'laptop'.

When I worked at RM (which sold computers to schools), we always called them notebooks, however, despite this, the teachers always called them laptops!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Add JustBrowsing+config file to E2B

The August 2014 version of JustBrowsing allows you to save the browser settings in a config file.
The file must be saved on a mounted volume which has a volume name of JUSTDATA.
'maddog' asked me to make a .mnu file for it...

Here is the .mnu file for Easy2Boot which allows you to have these settings persistent on each boot.
Depending on the ISO, you will need to change the name of the iso file in two places and maybe edit the title text too...

# Create file \justbrowsing-rw in root of E2B USB drive using RMPrepUSB - Create small 5MB Ext2 FS  Volume Name = JUSTDATA
# Place the iso file and this file in \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU  (or some other menu folder at 3rd level - e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\BROWSER)

iftitle [if exist $HOME$/justbrowsing_20140808_chrome.iso] JustBrowsing with Config file\n Settings are saved in a configuration file

set ISO=$HOME$/justbrowsing_20140808_chrome.iso
set PERS=/justbrowsing-rw

if "%E2BDEV%"=="" set E2BDEV=hd0 && pause E2BDEV forced to hd0!
if exist CD echo WARNING: Cannot use partnew command! && pause && configfile (bd)/menu.lst
#enable parttype output
partnew (%E2BDEV%,3) 0x0 %ISO%
# make empty table entry in 3rd position in ptn table
debug 1
parttype (%E2BDEV%,2) | set check=
debug off
set check=%check:~-5,4%
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (%E2BDEV%,2) 0 0 0
if not "%check%"=="0x00" echo WARNING: PTN TABLE 3 IS ALREADY IN USE! && pause
debug 1
if not exist %PERS% echo WARNING: %PERS% persistence file not found! && pause
errorcheck off
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (%E2BDEV%,2) 0x0 %PERS%
errorcheck on
/%grub%/QRUN.g4b %ISO%

I will add the final version of this to next Beta release.

Google Drive falsely reports that some .7z files are infected!

I recently changed from using .zip files to .7z files (using the 'Ultra' compression setting) because .7z LZMA compression made much smaller files (e.g. 30MB .zip reduced to under 20MB if I use .7z + 'Ultra' compression) and thus made it quicker to download for everyone.

However, Frettt (who translated the German Strings.txt file in E2B) pointed out to me today, that if he attempted to download the Easy2Boot_V1.70DMPS.7z file from Google Drive, it reported it as 'Infected'!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

E2B - bug in PTN2_Menu.mnu sample menu file!

Jason has just reported an issue when he tried to use the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\E2B Menus\PTN2_Menu.mnu file in his \_ISO\MAINMENU folder so he could run payload files from the second partition of his E2B drive.

We found a typo in this sample .mnu file which causes it to just reload the Main menu!

E2B v1.70 has the correct version of this menu file which should be as shown below (correction shown in red):

# EXAMPLE .MNU FILE FOR 2ND PRIMARY PARTITION  (max for E2B is 2 Primary ptns or 1 Primary+multiple logical ptns) - see also PTN_LOG1_Menu.mnu
# You can add payload files under \_ISO on partition 2 and they will be included in the menu
# EDIT lines 1 and 3 to match the name of your partition (hd0,1) and  folder (/_ISO)
# Add this file to the /_ISO/MAINMENU folder
# 2nd Primary partition is (hd0,1), 3rd Primary = (hd0,2), fourth primary = (hd0,3), first Logical partition = (hd0,4), second Logical partition = (hd0,5), etc.

iftitle [ls (hd0,1)/_ISO/ > nul && if "%GFX%"==""] ^Ctrl+2 PARTITION 2 Payload Files Menu [Ctrl+2]\n Run payload files in Partition 2 \\_ISO folder
set LBACKMENU=(bd)/%grub%/menu.lst
(bd)/%grub%/QAUTO.g4b .automenu (hd0,1)/_ISO
debug 0
configfile (md)0x3000+0x50

# For GFX menu (delete if you don't use GFXBoot menu)
iftitle [ls (hd0,1)/_ISO/ > nul && if not "%GFX%"==""] PARTITION 2 Payload Files Menu\n Run payload files in Partition 2 \\_ISO folder
set LBACKMENU=(bd)/%grub%/menu.lst
(bd)/%grub%/QAUTO.g4b .automenu (hd0,1)/_ISO
debug 0
configfile (md)0x3000+0x50

I am sorry if this caused anyone problems trying to get this menu to work!

In E2B, the Main menu is kept in memory at (md)0xa000 - this is used when you press F8 from within any sub-menu to quickly re-load and display the Main menu. The most recent menu that was enumerated is stored at (md)0x3000. So 'configfile (md)0xa000+0x50' will load the Main Menu, whereas 'configfile (md)0x3000+0x50' will display the last menu that was enumerated which could be the Main menu if you have just booted to E2B, or if you have just run a menu entry from say the \_ISO\DOS folder, then (md)0x3000 will contain the DOS menu.

Monday, 15 June 2015

E2B v1.70BetaB available

Just a few small changes:

  • If the filename contains the string 'bartpe' then the file extension .isomemF01 is suggested by QRUN.g4b.
  • You can now define different background wallpapers for the AUTO menu, the Windows Installer menu and all the Windows Installer sub-menus. This can be done by creating a specifically named .bmp file for each one (e.g. \_ISO\WIN7.bmp, \_ISO\WINMENU.bmp, etc.).
    You can create a .g4b file (e.g. \_ISO\WIN7.g4b, \_ISO\WINMENU.g4b) for each menu which allows you to specify any filename for the bitmap and also set the menu colours for each menu.
    For more details read this page.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

E2B v1.69 released

See previous blog for changes.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

E2B v1.69Beta5/6 available

Unless I get any negative feedback or more suggestions, this will be the final Beta before I release v1.69. The download is now a 7MB .7z file instead of the usual 9MB .zip file.

Note: Beta6 fixes bug in Beta5 in Make_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd (stopped after copy files).

Changes from v1.68 are:
  • Fix graphicsmode command in menu.lst (bitmap needed to be exactly 800x600 or 1024x768).
  • Subset of NTBOOT added for direct boot of .WIM (PE3), .VHD and .VHDX Windows 7/8/10 OS files. ReadMe.txt file in NTBOOT.MOD folder on how to add full NTBOOT.
  • For XP/PE1 .VHD's, file extension now must be changed to .vhdboot (now must use .vhd for PE3-based OS's)
  • Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd and Update_E2B_Drive.cmd now tries copy bootmgr from C: drive to NTBOOT.MOD folder, if it is present (required by NTBOOT function). 
  • new grub4dos 0.4.6a bugfix for UDF ISOs causing crashes,  e.g. pmagic.iso.
  • isoboot.g4b now works with newer parted magic ISOs
  • unifont and default backgound file now compressed using lzma (makes smaller files than gzip and faster to load).

OneDrive download area

Google Drive download area

Read more:

Friday, 5 June 2015

How to easily create WindowsToGo VHD files on an Easy2Boot USB drive

The direct boot (NTBOOT) feature added to E2B v1.69 will allow you to copy WindowsToGo 8/10 OS VHDs to any normal menu folder on the E2B drive (e.g. \_ISO\WIN or \_ISO\MAINMENU) and boot from them. You can have as many Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files as you can fit on your E2B USB drive and they don't need to be contiguous either!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

E2B 1.69Beta3 now available

E2B v1.69Beta2 contained some embedded Microsoft boot files in the NTBOOT files such as bootmgr, ntdtect and ntldr. It also appears that VBOOT is a commercial product of VMLite and so cannot be distributed. These have now been removed in Beta3 for legal\copyright reasons.

This means that the NT5 NTBOOT functions are not supported (e.g. XP PE1, NT5 and VBOOT booting).

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Easy2Boot 1.69Beta2 (experimental) now supports Win7/8/10 .VHD and .WIM files

Previously, you could add .VHD files to your Easy2Boot USB drive, but these would only work for XP/PE1 if the VHD had a WinVBlock or FiraDisk driver added.

The v1.69Beta2 version now supports Win7/8/10 .VHD files and Win7/8/10 .WIM files. It uses Chenall's NTBOOT. No need to make .imgPTN files for simple MBR booting of WindowsToGo/WinPE.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Special Offer: USB 3.0 64GB Fast Removable Flash drive under £24 (UK Only) + fix for Lexar S25 JumpDrive!

Fed up with waiting for Easy2Boot to boot? Want to install Windows 8 from an E2B Flash drive really quickly? Want to boot to WindowsToGo 8.1 from a Flash drive and run Windows almost as fast as you can from an internal hard disk?
For UK users go here and enter the code EXT20 at the checkout to get one of these for just £23.99 (P&P free)!

SanDisk Extreme Cruzer USB 3.0 64GB with retractable connector.
10GB file write > NTFS  71 seconds

A cheaper alternative is the Lexar USB 3.0 64GB S25 JumpDrive. Horrible cheap plastic construction though! Like the SanDisk, it also has an activity LED. This did not work in two of the three USB sockets on my EeePC - LED did not flash when connected (all other types of USB drives worked in all USB sockets) - see below for how I fixed it!  10GB file write > NTFS  154 seconds  (half the speed of the SanDisk on writes!)  I would suggest the Lexar S75, which has a metal USB connector, would be more reliable!

Give your pet a USB Flash drive!

Have you got a cat or dog? Are you frustrated by the small amount of info you can add to it's collar ID tag or the tiny piece of paper inside the ID tube which always seems to get wet or fade with age even if you wrap it in cling film/Saran wrap first?

Why not attach a small spare flash drive which contains ALL of the pet's details (pet's name, your name, address (map + pictures of your house), all Tel. numbers (mobile and home), email addresses, Skype address, What'sApp account, Facebook account, Twitter account,  pet's favourite food, any allergies, dietary requirements, if pet is microchipped or not, birth date, sex, description, neutered or not, pictures of the pet and owners, name and address of vet, etc.).

The flash drive should be waterproof and small, something like the Verbatim Tuff-n-Tiny would do.

If it's for a dog, why not add Easy2Boot and a puppy linux ISO too! changes

I have signed up with Ezoic to manage the page layout and Adsense ad placement on that site. You may notice that the page layout of has changed. 10% of hits will return the old site pages and layout, all other hits will return various new, experimental layouts. Ezoic will then collect stats to see which layout people prefer, etc. The experiment may take a month or so, after which the 'winning layout' will become the 'normal' layout. Cookies are used to ensure the same user always sees the same layout.
The site may also seem slower for a few days whilst it caches all the different web pages, but bear with it and it should soon get better in both performance and appearance.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Testing E2B UEFI and MBR\BIOS automated Windows installs using XML answer files

E2B copies the contents of your chosen XML file into the 100K blank  \AutoUnattend.xml file before it boots from the ISO file.
When you run a Windows Install ISO from E2B on a Removable USB drive on a real system, Windows Setup\PE will automatically read the \AutoUnattend.xml file located at the root of the USB drive.

However, If you try to run a Windows 7/8/8.1 Windows install ISO under a VM (e.g. Virtual Box), you will find that you will need to type SHIFT+F10 and then run \_ISO\e2b\firadisk\LOADISO.CMD in order to get the ISO to load as a virtual disk. This is because the \AutoUnattend.XML file is completely ignored by Windows because it does not 'see' the USB drive as a 'Removable' drive.

The problem is that if there are any other settings in the XML file (e.g. Product Key or other automated settings), then these settings are not picked up by Setup because the XML file is never read. This means we cannot run a fully unattended Windows install using one of the unattended XML files that we can create using the Windows Answer File Generator and XMLtoE2B.

As I didn't have a spare UEFI system to test automated installs with, I worked out a way to use Virtual Box instead...

XMLtoE2B Demo available

I have added a Demo version of XMLtoE2B.exe to the Alternate Download Areas for anyone who wants to play with it. I have tested MBR\Legacy installs and Windows 8 UEFI\GPT installs using it.
A Licence file is available to anyone who has donated £10 or more - please contact me if you want one.

Instructions for using XMLtoE2B are at

Friday, 22 May 2015

XMLtoE2B work continues...

I am still working on the XMLtoE2B.exe utility. Now it allows you to load different Disk Configuration files so that you can automate UEFI/GPT installs.
I also added a 'No User Accounts (Administrator only)  checkbox - this deletes any Local User accounts set up by WAFG and sets the AutoLogon Account Name to 'Administrator'. This has the affect of enabling the Administrator account.

Still loads more testing to do...

Thursday, 21 May 2015

E2B 1.68 (bugfix for 1.67)

Noam reported to me that the first menu entry in the MemTest menu (Ctrl-U -> Ctrl+M) does not work but just returns to the main menu.
It turns out this is a bug in 1.67 to do with using a .txt file with a payload file.
Please update to 1.68.
  • New grldr 0.46a,
  • auto win7/8/8.1 XML files added for fully automated installs.
  • 'Load_ISO (no prompt to Repair).XML' files added. 
  • LOADISNP.CMD added (does not prompt to repair system).
  • Bugfix to CountISOs.g4b. 
  • BugFix for .txt files stopping the menu entry from working (QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b).

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Easy2Boot and automating Windows 7/8 installs using Unattend.xml files

I have had a few enquiries about automating Windows 7/8/8.1 installs using an XML file recently when using Easy2Boot and an unmodified Windos Install ISO from a USB drive, so I thought I would give a few pointers in this blog.

First you need to decide if you are going to install from an ISO or from a .imgPTN file.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Easy2Boot 1.67 released

  • $NAME$ now supported in .mnu and .txt files
  • QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b changed so .txt files with no \n (help) now end in \n to suppress g4d default help text. 
  • Only first line in .txt files are now used (others ignored). 
  • RMPartUSB and grubinst added so RMPrepUSB no longer needs to be installed to make a USB drive. 
  • Update_E2B_Drive.cmd updated to use xcopy if robocopy not available for XP systems. 
  • Fixed problem with spaces in pathnames in Update_E2B_Drive.cmd.
  • New grub4dos 0.4.6a can now write to small NTFS files (fixes long-standing bug/'feature') + blocklist command enhanced.

WIth the new version of grub4dos, small 'resident data' files now display the location of the resident data inside the $mft entry - e.g. screenshot above shows /menu.lst data contents are stored in the $mft resident record in relative sector 94 (and 95), from bytes 328 to 901.

Friday, 8 May 2015

E2B 1.67 Beta D with new grub4dos

yaya (a grub4dos developer) has fixed a long-standing problem with grub4dos with the latest 0.4.6a version (2015-05-08). E2B 1.67 Beta D uses this new version of \grldr.

In all previous versions, grub4dos could not write to small files on an NTFS volume. This was due to the way that NTFS stores the data of small files inside it's 'directory' record. This type of data is called resident data. Once the file exceeds the available space in the resident area (typically between 700 and 800 bytes) then it stores all the data in clusters outside of this area (the data space in the resident area is thus unused and used to store the used cluster information, if the file is larger than 800-ish bytes).

Older versions of grub4dos could not update the resident data area:
echo fred > file300bytes.txt
did not work with older versions of grub4dos, but now it does!

Note that grub4dos still cannot write more bytes than was originally contained in the file - i.e. you cannot overwrite a file containing 300 bytes with 301 bytes - the last byte will not be written.

You can detect these small 'resident data' NTFS files using the blocklist command:

f700 is a 700 byte resident file and does not list any used sectors.
f800 is an 800 byte files and lists two used 512-byte sectors.

Note that it is possible for a small file (e.g. 100 bytes) to be a non-resident file. This usually occurs when a larger, non-resident file has been reduced in length (e.g. a 900-byte file has been edited to be 100 bytes and saved as the same file).

The latest version of grub4dos shows the position of the resident data.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Download Windows 8.1 ISO from Microsoft

Microsoft have released a new tool (mediacreationtool.exe) which lets you download any version of Windows 8 (except Win8 with Bing) as an ISO or to USB drive.

Monday, 4 May 2015

E2B 1.67BetaC

A few tweaks to the scripts

  • Update_E2B_drive now uses Xcopy if Robocopy is not available (for XP users). Also problem with paths containing spaces now fixed.
  • Now includes RMPartUSB.exe and grubinst.exe so it is not necessary to download and install RMPrepUSB to make an E2B USB drive using Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd.
  • Latest version of E2B_Editor included.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Get the day of the week from grub4dos

The next E2B 1.67 Beta c will include the grub4dos batch file dow.g4b

dow.g4b takes 3 parameters:   year    month    day-of-month
and returns the grub4dos variable dow which is a number from 0-6 (0-Sunday, 1-Monday, etc.).
This means you can call it to test what day of the week it is.
For instance, you can call dow.g4b like this:

call /%grub%/dow.g4b   %@date:~0,4%    %@date:~5,2%   %@date:~8,2% 

and test dow like this:

# only allow use at weekends
if not "%dow%"=="0" if not "%dow%"=="6" halt

# don't allow at weekends, just shutdown!
if "%dow%"=="0" halt
if "%dow%"=="6" halt

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

E2B 1.67 Beta available

As well as recognising $HOME$ in .txt and .mnu files, E2B now will replace $NAME$ with the filename of the .txt or .mnu file.

This means that a .mnu file can contain $NAME$ and all you have to do is make sure the .mnu file has exactly the same filename as the ISO that it uses.

e.g. before we had this type of .mnu which we had to edit, in order to use a different ISO file.

iftitle [if exist $HOME$/precise-5.4.3.iso] Puppy Precise 5.4.3\n Puppy with persistence (save on reboot/shutdown)
set ISO=$HOME$/precise-5.4.3.iso
if "%E2BDEV%"=="" set E2BDEV=hd0 && pause E2BDEV forced to hd0!
partnew (%E2BDEV%,3) 0x00 %ISO%
map %ISO% (0xff) 
map --hook 
root (0xff) 
kernel /vmlinuz pmedia=usbhd psavemark=1 fix=fsck 
initrd /initrd.gz 

It can now be re-written as:

iftitle [if exist $HOME$/$NAME$.iso] Puppy Precise ($NAME$)\n Puppy with persistence (save on reboot/shutdown)
set ISO=$HOME$/$NAME$.iso
if "%E2BDEV%"=="" set E2BDEV=hd0 && pause E2BDEV forced to hd0!
partnew (%E2BDEV%,3) 0x00 %ISO%
map %ISO% (0xff) 
map --hook 
root (0xff) 
kernel /vmlinuz pmedia=usbhd psavemark=1 fix=fsck 
initrd /initrd.gz

As long as the filename of the .mnu is identical to the filename of the .ISO file, you do not have to edit the contents of the .mnu file to use it on different ISOs - just copy it and change it's filename.

Monday, 27 April 2015

E2B v1.66 released

Basically same as v.1.65 with + a few Spanish/German tweaks and the E2B_Editor.exe added.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

E2B_Editor update (v1.0.53-v1.065)

More changes - I can't stop tinkering!
  • If you tick 'Other E2B options -  AUTONUM'  then the display now reflects the changes in the menu (i.e. numbers are removed from the menu)
  • Can now click on CENTREHD and bdwidth fields to auto-increment/cycle the values
  • v1.0.58 - mouse tooltip displays RGB value under cursor
  • v1.0.61 - CTRL+Z Undo added + help button
  • v1.0.65 - file + extension show in menu items (no file extension if EXTOFF=1)

Saturday, 25 April 2015

E2Bed now reads and writes UTF-8 .cfg files

                                               Checkout the accent over the Ú  in  MENÚ PRINCIPAL.
  • ANSI language sets supported (not Chinese/Japanese/Persian glyphs)
  • %@DATE% and %@TIME% now interpreted by E2Bed
  • Improved parsing of color commands
  • standard (console) color now supported
  • (config file path) - click on text to edit the .cfg file in Notepad
  • (image file path) - click on text to launch the file (view\edit) - depends on Windows file association for .bmp on your system
  • Extra dropdown list options added

Note that the grub4dos password will never be ticked after  loading a .cfg file (even if it has a password set or reset in it). Before saving the .cfg file you must tick the 'No grub4dos password' checkbox each time if you want that option.
Also note that the AUTONUM=0 will be ticked if your .cfg file contains any type of AUTONUM setting (it assumes you have set AUTONUM=0 even if it was set to something else!).

Thursday, 23 April 2015

E2B Editor v1.0.30 now available

I think it is pretty much finished now.
Please report any bugs!

Doc page is here.

OneDrive download area
Google Drive download area

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New E2B_Editor version available

Latest beta version now does not need the OCX file.
Can load any .cfg file or .bmp file.
Keep checking for the latest version!

OneDrive download area
Google Drive download area

Monday, 20 April 2015

Easy2Boot Menu Editor

If you are feeling adventurous, try the new E2B Menu editor (written in VB6).
A Beta version can be found in the E2B Alternate Download pages.
Note: the first version required COMDLG32.OCX control - there is a separate ZIP file to install and register this. Subsequent versions don't require the OCX.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Cheryl's Birthday problem and others

The 'Cheryl's Birthday' maths test for the top 15/16 year olds in Singapore - can you solve it?

Here is a link to the problem that's taken the world by storm and a video on how to solve it.

For the 'What colour hat am I wearing' puzzle - click here.

Two students arrange to meet - both thought they had arrived at the correct time, but one was 29 minutes late - how come? Click here.

Want some more? Click here.

E2B v.1.65 and MPI Tool Kit 0.048 released

E2B v1.65 2015-04-16
  • New background
  • set CENTREHD=1 will now auto-centre menu headings. 
  • Menu hotkeys changed in all STRINGS.txt files
  • AUTOMENU feature added - can now press first letter of a menu entry to select it, 
  • Current language displayed in footer HELPTEXT (can be changed in MyE2B.cfg). 
  • grub4dos letters, e.g. p for password entry and c and e now only work if SHIFT is pressed at same time. 
  • Small speed improvement in counting Windows ISOs. 
  • New version of hotkey utility (thanks chenall!). 
  • New version of grub4dos 0.4.6a.
See previous blog posts for details.

The new MPI Tool Kit now centres the heading and payload description in the CSM menu and the \menu.lst is re-organised to help you make modifications more easily. It also now has hotkeys for F7/F9/F10 and first-letter menu hotkeys too. New grub4dos 0.4.6a is used too.

If you want your own background and menu for the CSM menu, just use the CUSTOM folder in the download to add any new or replacement files.