Saturday, 12 October 2013

Swap partitions in Easy2Boot

In my previous blog entry I described how you could create a USB Flash drive with two partitions. The E2B menu will work when it is on the 2nd partition and run linux ISOs, etc. but the E2B partition will be ignored by Windows and thus not visible to the user.

However, this also means that Windows based Operating Systems, once they have booted from the USB drive, will not be able to see any files on the 2nd (E2B) partition. This means that Windows Vista/7/8 Install ISOs will not work because they won't see the AutoUnattend.xml file on the 2nd (E2B) partition.
Also, several versions of Windows PE, once they have booted, will try to access files and folders on the boot drive. A typical example of this is MiniXP on the Hirens Boot CD and spin-offs such as DLC.

Apart from copying these files (AutoUnattend.xml and \HBCD folder, etc.) to the 'user' visible partition, the other alternative is to swap partition 1 with partition 2 before we run Hirens or the Windows Install ISOs.

This can be done by adding a .mnu file to E2B.

I have added E2B_PTN_SWAP.mnu to the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder in the E2B download files. Just add this .mnu file to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

You should now see a new menu entry in your menu. If Easy2Boot is detected on the first partition then the menu entry will be
  • Hide E2B Partition 
If Easy2Boot is detected on the 2nd partition, then the menu entry will be:
  • Unhide E2B Partition
When you run the menu entry, it will swap over ptn1 and ptn2 and then reload the main menu.

So before running a Windows Install you can Unhide the E2B partition and then Hide it again afterwards. The same applies when you want to run Hirens MiniXP or MiniWin7.