Sunday, 28 August 2016

Booting USB drives using Virtual Box (VMUB tip)

In case anyone is still living in the Stone Age and is using QEMU to test their bootable USB drives, this is just a short blog to make sure you are aware of DavidB's utility VMUB (Virtual Machine USB Booter) for use with Oracle Virtual Box.

I wrote a previous blog about it here. There is also a YouTube video.

I use VMUB all the time because it is much quicker than using QEMU and it can boot a variety of different Virtual Machines (including MBR 64-bit, UEFI 32-bit and 64-bit booting).

The VMUB utility gives much better results than using a manually created .vmdk file for your USB drive because VMUB also dismounts the USB drive before running VBOX. This eliminates some of the problems that you get when using a simple .vmdk file with VBOX.

VMUB tip (use the CTRL key)

If you are designing and testing a new menu system for E2B (or making a custom CSM menu for .imgPTN files) then here is a handy tip:

Run VMUB, but instead of simply clicking on the Start button, hold down the CTRL key first.
When you hold down the CTRL key, the Start button will change colour from green to yellow.
When you click on the Start button when it is yellow, VMUB will NOT dismount the USB drive from Windows first, before running the VM.

This means that Windows will still have access to the USB drive and you can edit any file (e.g. \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg) that you wish, whilst the VM is running.

This means you can make changes to any file on the USB drive and then simply press F9 in E2B and it will reboot and re-load the menu system using the altered file, so you can quickly see the affect.

I do not recommend booting payloads in this mode, because strange things may happen (e.g. crashing or some files may not be changed as you expect, such as if you set a menu default then it will not be remembered on the next boot). However, for testing E2B menus, this mode is really useful.