Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Easy2Boot - better support for multiple WinBuilder WinPE ISO files

Most WinBuilder WinPE ISOs have special support for booting directly from ISOs. When the WinPE ISO boots, a WinBuilder script looks on the root of all drives for a special INI file which contains the name and path of the ISO file that it booted from. Once it knows where to find the WinPE ISO, the script then loads that ISO file as a virtual drive. It can then access any file or folder on the virtual drive and in this way gets access to the extra programs and utilities that  are 'inside' the ISO.

This is great because it means you can just add the INI file to the root of your E2B USB drive and when you boot from a WinBuilder WinPE ISO, it will get the name of the ISO from inside that INI file.

The problem is, what if you have more than one WinBuilder WinPE ISO on your E2B drive? When they boot, they all will look for the same INI file (e.g. \Win7PESE.ini) but they each require their ISO file name and path to be inside it.

I have solved this problem with a new .mnu file which will be in the release version of E2B v1.30.

The new .mnu file will write the name and path of the ISO file into the INI file before booting the WinPE ISO.

If you want to test it now, you can download a sample of the new .mnu file from the easy2boot website Download page - WinBuilder_PE_Multiple_ISOs.zip (click on the 'alternate download' icon).



P.S. You will be able to do a similar thing using the new .isoWB file extension (Easy2Boot_v1.30b_TESTONLY.zip and release version). So there is no need to create and edit a .mnu file for each ISO.

1. Copy the .INI file used by your WinBuilder ISO to the root of the E2B USB drive - this file is found in the same folder as the ISO when made by WinBuilder. e.g. \Win7PESE.ini. The contents of the file are not important, but the file name is critical.

2. Add extra characters to the .ini file to make it over 1000 bytes (1KB) in size (only required if your E2B USB drive is formatted as NTFS). Any extra characters will do (contents are erased by E2B later)

3. Copy your WinBuilder PE .ISO file to the desired menu folder (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\WINPE)

4. Rename it as .isoWB (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\WBPE.isoWB)

5. Make a subfolder called WB (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\WB)

6. Create a text file in the WB folder with the same name as the .isoWB file but with a .WB file extension - e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\WB\WBPE.WB)

The contents of the .WB file should contain two lines (the text in red should be changed to match the name of the .INI file used by your WinBuilder ISO):

!BAT

set IniName=Win7PESE.ini


7. (optional) Create a .txt file for the .isoWB file so that the menu entry is not just displayed as the filename, e.g.

title My WinPE ISO\n Boot the ISO using Easy2Boot