Saturday, 18 July 2015

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).

Note: E2B v1.90 and later now include automatic support for MediCat and other WinBuilder-based PE ISOs. See here for more details.

Dium-2 booted from a .imgPTN file

WinPE-Yol booted from a .imgPTN file

To add these two ISOs to Easy2Boot, the easiest way is just to drop each ISO file onto the MPI Tool Kit  MPI_FAT32 Windows Desktop shortcut to make a .imgPTN file from them.

This is usually the easiest way to add WinPE ISOs to E2B, it also will support UEFI-booting if the ISO was built for it. However, converting these two ISOs to .imgPTN files was not as simple as dragging-and-dropping onto the MPI_FAT32 icon...

Converting the .ISOs to .imgPTN files


This ISO was 820MB, but I needed to change the default size estimated by MakePartImage to 960 MB because the recommended default size was too small for the extracted files.

After, that I copied the .imgPTN file to Easy2Boot and all was well. As a bootx64.efi file was present, 64-bit UEFI booting also worked.


This ISO seems to contain a \menu.lst file, so MakePartImage prompted me to Combine the menu.lst with the CSM\E2B menu.lst. which I did. To boot to the Dium WinPE, I needed to select the #6 menu entry.

Notice that no UEFI bootfile exists in the Dium 2 ISO, so UEFI-booting is not possible.

The Dium 3 ISO has a 32-bit UEFI boot file \_EFI\boot\bootia32.efi and does boot on a 32-bit UEFI system or via Clover.

Booting WinBuilder WinPE's from an ISO

Tip: Use E2B v1.90+ - see here for details.

It is possible to add multiple WinPE (WinBuilder) ISOs files to E2B and keep the files as .ISO files.

Typical Desktop warning icon if booting a WinBuilder PE OS from an .ISO file.

You will see a yellow warning triangle on the Desktop if you boot the ISO normally using Easy2Boot or other utilities. A quick solution is to extract the \Programs folder and the \CdUsb.Y file onto the USB drive - however that won't work properly if you have multiple WinBuilder PE ISO's because merging folders and files in the \Programs folder will cause problems.

If you double-click on the icon, it will tell you 
the name of the External INI file that it is looking for - e.g. \Win8PESE.ini.

If the WinPE ISO is a WinBuilder ISO  AND  the WinPE OS contains ImDisk (most WinBuilder WinPE's should), then we can boot them directly from the ISO file in E2B as follows:

Example:  WinPE-Yol.iso

1. Copy the ISO to the Easy2Boot \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

2. Rename it with a .isoWB file extension.

3. Create a file \WIN8PESE.ini and use NotePad to fill it with junk characters to make it 1KB in size - alternatively find any file that is 1-2KB in size and rename to \WIN8PESE.ini.

4. Create a text file using NotePad in the folder \_ISO\MAINMENU\WB called the same name as your ISO file but with a .WB file extension. The sub-folder must be named 'WB' (e.g. \_ISO\WINPE\WB or \_ISO\WIN\WB). The file name must match the ISO filename but have a .WB file extension.

The contents of the .WB file should be:

set IniName=WIN8PESE.ini

where Win8PESE.ini is the name of the 'external' INI file in the root of the E2B drive.

You should now have 3 new files on your E2B USB drive:

\WIN8PESE.ini                                             - any file approx 1K in size
\_ISO\MAINMENU\WinPE-Yol.isoWB     - the WinBuilder ISO as .ISOWB
\_ISO\MAINMENU\WB\WinPE-Yol.WB  - a small text file containing the name of the INI file

This worked fine with WinPE-Yol.iso but not with the Dium ISO because Dium does not contain ImDisk and so failed to load the ISO as a virtual CD. So we have to use a .imgPTN file for the Dium ISO.

You can add more WinBuilder ISOs in the same way. It does not matter if they all use WIN8PESE.ini because E2B will automatically change the contents of the .INI file to point to the correct ISO file.

More details about WinPE WinBuilder ISOs are available on the Easy2Boot web page here.