Friday, 16 May 2014

E2B .imgPTN images - boot directly from the CSM menu to UEFI

If you have booted in MBR mode to Easy2Boot, you can select an image partition file (.imgPTN family) and switch partitions to it immediately. However, now you have to reboot the system and select the UEFI firmware boot option for the E2B USB drive.

This is inconvenient and takes time (especially if you are on a server).

I have now added an experimental UEFI Clover boot option to the MakePartImage Tool Pack. Extra menu entries have been added to the CSM menu.lst file to boot Clover ISO files.

You will need MPI v030 and the files, available from the EasyBoot download page.

If you add the Clover ISO file(s) to the MakePartImage\Custom\e2b folder before you make your image file using MakePartImage, you will now see one or two extra menu options:

When you select this option it will load Clover. You then need to select the Boot Maintenance Manager option:

and then the Boot from File option:
After that you select the partition and then you need to select the .efi boot file (which will normally be \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi, or bootia32.efi for 32-bit UEFI payloads). It should then boot via UEFI to the efi file on the USB drive. In this way you can directly boot to say, a Windows 8 install image, in UEFI mode without needing to reboot the system and pick the UEFI: USB drive boot menu option.

As you can see, using the Clover menu to boot from, is not exactly convenient, which is why it is not included in the default MPI build. 

Clover is not included as standard because:
1. It doesn't work on all systems - e.g. Z87 systems.
2. It takes up space in the image (and will be in every image you create)
3. You have to go through several steps in the Clover menu to select and boot from an EFI file
4. It dramatically increased the size of the MPI Tool Kit download

This feature is still a work in progress. There are many drivers and other files inside the clover iso files which cannot be accessed via the Clover menu but they could be accessed if they were extracted to the image. I could also reduce the size of the ISO by removing unnecessary files, etc.  As I have only just tried Clover today, I have a lot more learning and experimenting to do!

If you have any suggestions and/or are experienced with Clover, please contact me. Ideally, I would like to be able to boot to the Windows efi files directly from the grub4dos menu...