Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Adding WinBuilder ISO files to Easy2Boot

If you have an ordinary WinPE ISO file on your Easy2Boot USB multiboot drive, you can make it automatically load the ISO file as drive Y: if you rename the file with a .isoPE or .isoPE01 file extension (more info here). However, PE ISOs are only mounted as a virtual drive when wpeinit runs, which for most WinBuilder PE builds is too late! So if you use a .isoPE extension for your WinBuilder PE ISO, you may not see all the Desktop icons (but the ISO will be loaded as drive Y: eventually by E2B).

Many WinBuilder builds have a \Windows\System32\winpeshl.ini file which typically runs some early Desktop initialisation utilities before the Easy2Boot unattend.xml has a chance to run and load the ISO as virtual drive Y: - e.g.

[LaunchApps]
MountPEmedia.exe
"hide /NOCONSOLE /SILENT /WAIT start.cmd"
"Shortcuts.exe -f %SystemDrive%\Windows\System32\Win7PE.cfg"
"PinTool.exe -debug %SystemDrive%\Windows\System32\Win7PE.cfg"
"X:\Program Files\PEShell\PEShell.exe"

Luckily (actually, probably luck had nothing to do with it!) most builds of WinBuilder have a special feature which will load the ISO file automatically as drive Y: on boot, if an .INI file is found.

For example, if you have made a recent WinBuilder Win7PESE ISO, just place a file in the root of the E2B drive called Win7PESE.ini with the path and filename of the ISO - e.g.

[IsoInfo]
IsoName=\_ISO\MAINMENU\Win7PE_x86.ISO


The filename may vary depending of what PE build you are using. The .ini file will cause the WinBuilder PE to load the ISO as drive Y: when MountPEmedia.exe runs. Consult the documentation for the exact INI filename that is required (click the yellow warning triangle that appears on the PE Desktop when drive Y: is not found).