Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A3 release now available

Due to v1.A2.exe giving false-positives with some AV software and causing users problems, I have decided to release v1.A3 early which I hope will give less trouble!

The changes from v1.A2 are:
  • New \grdlr grub4dos 2018-09-19 (no bug fixes, just extra functionality).
  • Bugfix QRUN.g4b for .jpg/,bmp wallpaper file extension - if an animation was running then selecting a .bmp or .jpg file did not change the wallpaper.
  • Warning added if Windows 7 .imgptn file has the bootx64.efi boot file missing.
  • \_ISO\docs\Make_Ext\Make_Ext.exe utility added - allows you to make persistence files without needing RMPrepUSB.
  • QRUN now displays contents of the \.disk\info file just before running an ISO (if it exists).
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe re-packaged so will not trigger false-positives with AV software and file sync.exe removed.
  • Comments changed in Sample .mnu files to add a mention of the Make_Ext.exe utility which is now available as well as RMPrepUSB.
Let me know if this version gives you any problems. I will put it on the main website in a day or two as soon as I get some feedback.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

E2B v1.A3b Beta includes new Make_Ext.exe utility

The latest Beta version now includes the new Make_Ext.exe utility which will make linux persistence files on your E2B USB drive for you. This means you do not need to have RMPrepUSB on your PC or the USB drive.


The \_ISO\docs\Make_Ext folder contains the utility + support files.



Saturday, 22 September 2018

How to directly install from Windows Install ISOs using UEFI with E2B

E2B allows you to boot Windows Installers via UEFI. However, you must first convert the Windows Install ISO to a .imgPTN file if you wish to UEFI-boot from it as well as MBR-boot.

This means that you must convert each Windows Install ISO to separate .imgPTN files.

However, there are ways to perform UEFI installs directly from Windows ISOs.

If you first MBR- or UEFI-boot to a Windows PE .imgPTN file and your Windows ISOs are on a second partition, you can use WinNTSetup or Windows Setup.exe to install Windows.

The WinNTSetup process has the advantage that you can boot to either a 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE and install either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows to the target hard disk. The Windows Setup.exe process is simpler, but you must boot to WinPE32 to install 32-bit Windows or WinPE64 to install 64-bit Windows.

Here is an outline of the Windows Setup.exe process:

Thursday, 20 September 2018

E2B v1.A3a Beta

Apparently, the new self-extracting Switch_E2B.exe in v1.A2 is triggering false-positives on some AV engines.

I have re-packaged it in 1.A3a Beta and hopefully it will cause less false-positives.

Changes from v1.A2 are:
  • New grdlr grub4dos 2018-09-19 (additional function added, no bug fixes)
  • Fix QRUN.g4b for .jpg/,bmp wallpaper file extension (if an animation was running on menu then selecting a .bmp or .jpg file did not change wallpaper)
  • Warning added if win 7 .imgptn has the bootx64.efi boot file missing
  • Repackage Switch_E2B.exe for less false-positives with AV software (same v1.0.18)
Please let me know if this new version of Switch_E2B.exe is any better if you had problems with the v1.A2 E2B version. I will update 1.A2 to 1.A3 if it fixes the false-positive issue.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

New MPI Tool Kit 0.085Beta2 available with German language file

I think that this version has all the changes required now, so please try it.

If you make a .\CUSTOM\MyCSM.cfg file with the following contents:

!BAT
set LANG=GERMAN

Then any .imgPTN file that you make should have a German menu.



I think one line still requires translation though.

http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/csm-menu-changes/ has details of how to modify the MyCSM.cfg file further if you wish to change the menu appearance.

See the previous blog for more details.

The CUSTOM folder contains a Sample_MyCSM.cfg to help you.

If you want to make a language file in a different language, please feel free to try adding a new language.

Note that you should not change or add any files under .\csm in the MPI download folder, instead always add  extra files to the .\CUSTOM folder - these will overwrite any other files of the same name and will be added into any new .imgPTN file.

Let me know if you have tested this and any comments too.

Thanks
Steve

Friday, 14 September 2018

MPI Tool Kit v0.085 Beta1 with language support is now available

This is an experimental version for testing.

I have modified the menu.lst file so that the CSM menu will support other languages.

At the moment however only English is available.

You can test it like this:

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Beware! Windows Explorer's handling of .zip files is buggy!

Tim contacted me today to make me aware of a problem with Windows 10 Explorer's handling of .zip file extraction.

He told me that he had a problem when using WSUS Offline Update. He downloaded the .zip file onto the \_ISO\WINDOWS\installs\ folder but when he tried to use WSUS, he  found it would not work correctly because Windows Explorer had changed the modification date of all the extracted files.

I checked this out by downloading the WSUS Offline Update download file wsusoffline114.zip and this is what I discovered...

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A2 released

This v1.A2 version fixes a few small bugs in v1.A1 and previous versions.

  • Bug fix for SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd adding space to .mnu file and prevents background wallpaper from being loaded for new user-made menu folders. 
  • Special characters now should work and a UTF-8 .mnu file is written when using .cmd files (E2B MNU Maker.cmd, E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd, E2B TXT Maker.cmd, SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd).
  • If the MFOLDER value has extra spaces on the end, these will be automatically removed.
  • Small tweaks to F1.cfg help files.
  • Add DOS menu to FreeDOS disk image so can boot it in different configurations.

Friday, 7 September 2018

E2B v1.A2b Beta available

Two long-standing bugs have been reported in the SubMenu Maker .cmd script.

When the .cmd script is used, to make a .mnu file, it puts a space character at the end of the line, e.g.

set MFOLDER=\_ISO\NEW 

This can cause problems (e.g. when adding a wallpaper file at \_ISO\NEW.jpg).

Also, any special characters, when input by the user (e.g. Ü) are not converted correctly when using the .cmd scripts. I have attempted to fix this by using a code page setting of 65001 just before writing the new .mnu file.

The changed files from v1.A1 are:
  • \_ISO\SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B MNU Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B TXT Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\DUTCH\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\ENG\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\FRENCH\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\PORTU_BRAZIL\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\ROMANIAN\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\SIMP_CHINESE\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\TRAD_CHINESE\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\DOS\MNU\FreeDOS288.ima.gz - DOS menu added so some drivers can be skipped
v1.A2b Beta can be downloaded here.

Please try the new .cmd files and let me know if there are any problems with your language or Windows version.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

New eBook 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' is now fully released

My latest eBook, 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' is now available here (downloadable as a PDF file). This is now the fully released version 1.00.

It mainly covers Window 10 installs but the same techniques can be applied to most post-Vista Windows install scenarios. Note that the installation of Windows XP is not covered in this guide.

There are even a few jokes hidden inside it, just to make sure you are awake!

This new eBook assumes you are already familiar with E2B.

If you also buy my first eBook, 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot', then you will get a 10% discount on both eBooks :-)

E2B v1.A1 (revised)

I have made a small change to the released version of E2B v1.A1 before I make it live on the E2B website.

It now has a new version of SWITCH_E2B.exe (which you may find useful if you are into dual-partition image sorcery!).

This new version will prompt you to enter a partition type number for the second partition image, if SWITCH_E2B does not recognise the partition type of the second image file.

Previous versions of SWITCH_E2B would have set a type number of 0 (no partition).

This new change means that you can switch in dual images (e.g. HighSierra.imgPTN + HighSierra.) and set the second image to be an ext partition or HFS partition, etc. so it is visible to an OS.


This means that you do not need to boot to the CSM menu first so that the CSM menu code sets the partition type - thus you can use Switch_E2B to switch partitions and then UEFI-boot immediately.


Sunday, 2 September 2018

Install Hackintosh High Sierra from an E2B drive

I have managed to get the Hackintosh High Sierra installer working on my E2B drive and successfully installed it onto my Lenovo IdeaPad 300 (at least the Desktop, Enet, kbd and touchpad work)!.

See RMPrepUSB Tutorial 144.



Beware: Here be Dragons!...

Easy2Boot v1.A1 now released

E2B v1.A1 is here.

As usual, I will delay updating the E2B website with this latest version for a few days, so if you find a problem after updating your E2B drive with v1.A1, please let me know ASAP!

Changes from v1.A0 are:

Friday, 31 August 2018

E2B v1.A1k Beta now available

Changes from previous Beta are:

1.A1k Beta

  • New grub4dos \grldr
  • E2B_Editor.exe bugfix for duplicate keyboard entries in dropdown list
  • F8 in Main Menu changed so does not reload grub4dos
  • Win10_PromptUser_for_XML_settings.mnu sample menu added
  • Small change to SysInfo2.hta
  • Small changes to ZZSubMenuAll.mnu
  • New Dweb-livedisk-900_2018_persistent.mnu sample menu file

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

New eBook 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' now available

For those of you who cannot wait (all two of you!), I have made an early Release Candidate version of my new eBook available here and is currently at the reduced price of $6 (it will probably go up to $7 or maybe $10 soon though ;-).

The current version of the PDF is rev.0.3 but it may be revised in the next week or so to correct any typos, so keep the link that is emailed to you by Payhip so that you can click on it again in a few weeks time to download a newer revision for free.

This new eBook assumes that you are familiar with E2B already or that you have read the previous eBook.

It does not cover XP installs.

It is not yet 'advertised' on the E2B website as I want to get some initial feedback first, if possible.

Hope you find it useful.


Monday, 27 August 2018

E2B grub2 menu system v0.09 Beta released

If you previously tried the E2B grub2 menu system but could not get it to work (e.g. no payload files were listed in the menus), then please try the new Beta9 versions.

You will need to replace the old UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta8.imgPTNLBAa23 file with the new UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta9.imgPTNLBAa23 file.



This menu system allows you to UEFI or MBR boot to a grub2 menu and then directly boot to a large selection of (mainly Linux) ISO files.

It may be more suitable for linux users because you do not need to defragment the ISO files.

Monday, 20 August 2018

E2B v1.A1i/j Beta now available

This 1.A1j version now includes revised versions of the two .mnu files:

\_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu
\_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\WIN10_Prompt_for_UNAME_auto_serial_COMPNAME.mnu

and also makes use of a new grub4dos batch file farxml.g4b (find-and-replace in XML).

farxml.g4b accepts three input parameters:

Sunday, 19 August 2018

E2B v1.A1h Beta now available with new default background

You can download E2B v1.A1h here. It includes the new default background file.

eBook #2 (in PDF format)

The first draft revision of the eBook #2 is entitled 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' and mainly deals with the various scenarios for installing Windows 10 from E2B.
It goes into some detail about the Windows Setup stages and XML configuration files, as well as how to automate a Windows 10 build. Windows XP is not covered.

The eBook contents are listed below:

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Vote for the next default background for E2B v1.A1

It's that time of year when E2B has a default background change.

Here are some candidates:

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Quickly build a versatile WinPE ISO file with just a few clicks (AOMEI Windows PE Builder)

By using the AOMEI Windows PE Builder (free 30-day trial version), we can quickly build a useful 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE ISO in just a few minutes and with just a few clicks.

Note: I recommend building first the 32-bit ISO because the 64-bit version will not contain WoW64 and so will not be able to run 32-bit applications such as PortableApps (but you can add Desktop shortcuts to 32-bit and 64-bit apps in the \AIO folder using PEStartUp).

Also, because the WinPE has no added extra Windows components, some added portable applications (such as Chrome, Opera and Mozilla, etc.) may not run correctly (e.g. 'couldn't load XPCOM' error). The provided QtWeb browser Desktop link does work however.

Quick Instructions

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Bugfix in WinNTSetup v3.9.1

JFX's WinNTSetup.exe Windows utility can be used to install Windows directly from a Windows Install .ISO or .WIM or .ESD file.

You can format existing partitions first using the 'F' button, but if you want to delete\make partitions, you had to run Diskpart manually first.



WinNTSetup does also support command line switches too, so you could use it to automate a Windows install using a diskpart script and then run WiNNTSetup.exe with some command line parameters.

One advantage of using WinNTSetup instead of Windows Setup is that you can install a UEFI-enabled version of Windows from an MBR boot, you can also install a 64-bit UEFI version of Windows onto the target hard disk even if you are booting from a 32-bit MBR system, e.g.

1. Boot to WinPE 32-bit (I use a Windows 10 install ISO on E2B and hit ENTER to run it in 'Repair' mode). You can also boot to WindowsToGo or some other WinPE instead.
2. Press SHIFT+F10 to get a command console window open (after selecting Country\Language)
3. Use Diskpart to wipe\partition the target system
4. Run WinNTSetup (32-bit version) from the E2B USB drive, select any ISO from the E2B drive (from any folder or partition), select the Windows Edition and target disk volumes and then install Windows. You can instruct WinNTSetup to install for UEFI or MBR booting or both (or ask it not to install any bootmgr boot code).

Note: You can also specify an XML file (e.g. SDI_CHOCO XML file) and tweak some Windows settings using WinNTSetup, but note that if you use an XML file, the Edition that is installed (Home, Pro, etc.) is determined by the setting in WinNTSetup and NOT the XML file - so make sure you set the Edition that you want to install in WinNTSetup's 'Edition' drop-down list before you click on the 'Setup' button!

Secret WinNTSetup feature!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Special Offer - X-Way Forensics course for $30

For a 2-week period, Brett Shavers is offering us his X-Way Forensics course for $29.99.

Play the introductory videos (click on the Introduction link on the right-hand side of page for a 2nd video) to learn more.

Note: I have not personally taken the course myself. I am just bringing this special offer to your attention. If you have followed the course yourself, please let us all know what you thought of it.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

E2B v1.A1e/f/g Beta with new Windows All-In-One Install menu

This version now allows the user to add a \_ISO\WINDOWS\WINAIO folder which can be used to hold Windows All-In-One Install ISOs and .imgPTN files.

v1.A1g with improved language files + tweaks + Server 2016 hotkey changed from 6 to D. Some .hdr files now removed and MenuWinInstall.hdr added.



As using AIO ISO files can be unpredictable, if you find that they don't work, then you should convert them to .imgPTN files.

Note that the Menu entry and Menu Heading for the new WINAIO folder has been added to each of the STRINGS.txt files.

If you want to change these entries, create a new language folder and change the LANG variable to your new language (e.g.  ENG1).

If you have a translation for the new strings, please send a new STRINGS.txt file to me. The three new strings are:

# New for E2B v1.A1
$$STRhAIO=Windows AIO install
$$STRl0AI=^A Install Windows AIO    [A] (%CIO% present)\nInstall Windows All-in-One
$$STRl1AI=Install Windows AIO\nInstall Windows All-In-One

Please let me know if you spot a bug!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

How to set the Computer Serial number as the ComputerName - Take 2!

This method has the advantage that you can check what the auto-generated ComputerName+SerialNumber is going to be before the install is actually started and can then  change it if required.

The Sample .mnu file 'WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu' will allow the user to specify the UserName and ComputerName before the Windows Install ISO is run. It then copies your XML file to a BLANK.XML file and modifies it to use the new User and Computer Names that you have specified.

This is useful because you don't need to choose an XML file or an ISO file as they are already pre-defined in the .mnu file. You just boot, enter in the UserName and ComputerName that you want, and the rest of the build is fully automated. If you are using SDI_CHOCO, it even adds drivers and applications automatically too.

However, if you want the ComputerName to include the System Serial number (for instance), you would have to carefully type it in manually when prompted (assuming you knew what it was!).

I have now made a new version of this .mnu file so that it will automatically modify the XML file's ComputerName field with the System Serial number (e.g. PC-1234546) for you! It works in a very similar way to the WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu, but two boots are required.

Tip: If you run \_ISO\docs\SysInfo\sysinfo2.hta from the E2B drive under Windows, it will list the DMI values held in the Mainboard of the system.

It works in 2 stages like this:

Changing the Windows ComputerName after installation (e.g. to contain the system Serial Number)

It is often the case that the System Admin wants the Windows ComputerName to reflect some aspect of the system itself, such as the system serial number or DELL Service Tag (7,10 or 11 characters) or perhaps the MAC address of the Ethernet adapter.

The main problem is that the Serial Number of the target system cannot be determined until after Setup (WinPE) has booted.

I wanted to try to alter the ComputerName during an automated SDI_CHOCO install using Easy2Boot and a Windows 10 ISO + XML file...

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

E2B v1.A1d Beta available

Download v1.A1d

Here are changes from v1.A0 (italic font = new changes added since v1.A1c Beta)
  • Added 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file - the user can change menu settings, etc. from within a single menu.
  • Added \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files which are automatically used as wallpaper file can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg, \_ISO\DOS.jpg.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu - some of the other menus are now not added to make the Main menu tidier.
  • Sub-menu files \_ISO\xxxx.g4b, .bmp and .jpg are now automatically used if they are present (e.g. \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS.jpg will be automatically used when the AntiVirus menu is loaded)
  • SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd file also added to into the \_ISO folder for user convenience (same file as \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd).
  • PatchMe script updated to suppress the 'A20 Debug' message on bootup.
  • .bat, .xml and .bak files are now ignored if they are in a menu folder.
  • .jpg and .bmp files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as background wallpaper when selected by user from the menu.
  • .f24 and .uni.gz font files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as new font when selected by user from the menu.
  • Few very minor bug fixes.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Make your own E2B 'Launcher' utility

Linasoft's AutoPlay Menu Builder can be used to create your own 'Launcher' executable. You can use an existing template and then make changes to it - perhaps change the language, etc. or add more items.

Although originally intended to create auturun.exe + autorun.inf files for use with CDs that would auto-run when inserted into a computer's CD-ROM drive, it is a useful application to create your own 'Launcher' utility for E2B too (it makes a Windows .exe executable).

Here is a screenshot my current E2B Helper:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

E2B eBook progress report

The 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Book' eBook has proved far more popular than I ever imagined!

I thought that it might have interested only 10-20 people at most, but since mid-June I have now sold over 100 copies which really surprised me, but it's very nice to know that all my efforts were worth it! The 130pp book took me over 3 weeks from start to finish (sometimes with a 12-hour day and some weeks were 7-day weeks!). After writing the first draft, I carefully followed all the exercises myself to look for any problems in the instructions and I also added screenshots and diagrams. Glen kindly proof-read many drafts and final revisions and since then I have updated and improved the PDF - the latest version is now v2.3.

However, I have had very little feedback on the eBook, so maybe nobody has actually read it yet or they fell asleep trying to read it!

Version 2.3

If you still have the original receipt email from Payhip, you can re-download a later revision of the PDF for free (contact me if you have problems).

If you would like a version in ePub (.epub) form for your eBook reader device, please contact me. I do have a .epub file of v2.3 but it is not quite as nice as the PDF due to the limitations of the epub format.

eBook #2?

I am now thinking about writing another E2B eBook and there are a number of possible topics, three of which are listed below.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

E2B v1.A1b and c Beta now available

v1.A1c

  • Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu has been improved so it is now loaded as a separate menu.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to the PIMP folder.
  • E2B now automatically looks for menu wallpaper files for each sub-menu (see below). Now you can just add .bmp or .jpg files and they will automatically be used for the background image for that menu - no .mnu files are required.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

How to add new menu folders to Easy2Boot (e.g. BIOS Flash tools)

If you are a Tech, you may want to keep many BIOS Flash utilities on your E2B USB drive for each of the different models that you encounter.

So you may wish to have a menu structure like this:

Main Menu -> BIOS Flash Menu -> [Manufacturer] -> [Series]


For instance for Lenovo T-series systems, the menu structure would be:

Main Menu - BIOS Flash Menu - Lenovo - T Series - T560_v1.25.imgPTN


Sunday, 29 July 2018

E2B v1.A1a Beta available

1.A1a Beta

  • Add 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file so the user can change menu colours from within the menu. 
  • Add \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg.
I found that my Comodo AntiVirus software was causing Chocolatey (and thus ChocBox.cmd) to run extremely slowly. Just disabling it was not enough to fix the problem as the task was still running in the background - I had to either kill the Comodo AV task or uninstall it!

The Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample .mnu file now lets you change the menu text colours as well as other menu settings.

I have added a new \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder with instructions to help you set up your E2B USB drive to load a different background wallpaper for each menu. The most difficult thing now is actually making the 18 different 800x600 wallpaper jpg files required! You can add your own menu heading to each wallpaper graphics file and remove the E2B text heading from the menu if you wish.

1. Use the "\_ISO\docs\Templates\CenteredMenu\MyE2B.cfg" for your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
2. Follow the instructions in the \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds\ReadMe.txt file.
3. Tweak the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to remove the menu heading (and footer help text and menu entry help text) if you wish.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Amazon Prime day!

If you are an Amazon Prime member (hint: you can sign up for a 30-day trial for free!) then there are lots of bargains to be had today and tomorrow only.

Unsurprisingly, the best deals are available on Amazon kit, but there are also good reductions on some high-priced goods as well of over 50%!

Here are a few bargains for US and UK clients (affiliated links):

Amazon.co.uk





Note: Some deals don't start till later today.



$100 off Echo Show
$30 off Echo 2nd generation
$20 off Fire TV stick

Click here for more deals.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A0 is now released

Change from v1.99 are:
  • New grub4dos \grldr (2018-07-01) supporting centering of menu entries and menu help text (new grub4dos setmenu --middle-align command).
  • Three new Themes added to demonstrate centred text menu entries.
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu.
  • TimeDiskAccess.mnu added - allows user to test raw sector read speed under BIOS of all drives in system. Useful for comparing USB+BIOS driver performance.
  • New SHORT_HL variable can be used to set the highlighted menu entry to only highlight the menu text and not the whole menu line. 
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd now checks in case the user has renamed some of the standard E2B .mnu files (e.g. ZZSubmenuAll.mnu) and asks user if they want to delete them or keep them.
  • New version of E2B_Editor.exe now uses 24-bit colour values for the heading and footer colours.
  • STRINGS.txt files changed - no need to pad out menu headings.
  • Small bug fix to remove extra space after menu entries in sample .mnu files.
  • KBD_QWERTY_USA keyboard file added so can pick using E2B_Editor.
  • Bugfixes to internal handling of menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running Update did copy it across but Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd did not copy it across).
  • Small fixes to centre menu heading when UTF-8 characters used (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, etc.).
  • If the FONT variable's path contains ".f24" then 24-high fonts will automatically be used. 
  • Small changes to Check_for_Update.cmd and UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd to display E2B version numbers.
  • Some of the .cmd files are now modified to use %WINDIR%\System32\find.exe in case users Windows Path environment variable points to a different version of find.exe.
The new downloads are available on the Alternate Download Areas (see side bar of this blog).

The www.easy2boot.com site download links will be updated in a few days.


Sunday, 8 July 2018

MPI Tool Kit v0.083 now available

The new version is available from the Alternate Download Sites (e.g. OneDrive)

MakePartImage.cmd has now been modified to estimate the size of the .imgPTN file needed by using 7z.exe. It is now much more accurate (but takes a bit longer) and the 'Suggested size' seems to always work now (at least on the 100 files I have tested so far...). It also has better error handling.

Note that you should only run one instance of MakePartImage at a time and it does not seem to work if the target folder is a Microsoft Storage Pool volume (ImDisk issue?).

The script Convert_all_ISOs_to_imgPTN_Files (run as Admin).cmd which is in the Utils folder of the MPI Tool Kit folder has also been improved. This batch file allows you to convert all the isos in a folder (and subfolders) without needing to answer the usual questions from MakePartImage or press ENTER. Just go and get a cup of coffee and the .imgPTN files should all be there when you come back.

(You still need to answer the delete/make EI.cfg question though for Windows Install ISOs).

You can now specify a partial file spec (e.g.  fed*.iso) and ask it to re-make all .imgPTN files again or only the missing ones. It also does not have to be an iso (e.g. you can use *.ima or dlc*.zip).

If you select AUTORUN, it will also use the 'best guess' for the Syslinux version rather than prompt you for which version to use.


0.083 is not yet released on the official www.easy2boot.com website as it is considered a 'Release Candidate' at the moment.

Please let me know how you get on if you try it.

P.S. 0.083 is now available on the www.easy2boot.com website - it is a slightly different version from the RC candidate. The new version is dated 2018-07-10.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

E2B v1.A0b Beta now available

Download from Alternate Download Areas as ZIP file.

Changes are:
  • New grldr (2018-07-01)
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu
  • Bugfixes to internal menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for Make_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd did copy it across but Make_E2B did not).
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD now displays latest stable and Beta versions that are available (using web access).
Copy Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to your MAINMENU folder and you can tinker with moving the menu about instantly...


Thursday, 28 June 2018

E2B v1.A0a Beta available!

Since the last version was 1.99, the next version will be 1.A0.

So the first Beta is called v1.A0a

This version has a new Beta version of grub4dos (not yet officially released) to which the developer yaya has kindly added some new features.

We can now ask grub4dos to center the menu entries and the menu help text automatically.

Here are some screenshots:

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Revision 2 of the E2B eBook is now available

Revision 2 is now available. It has slightly more content, more pictures and hopefully less typos thanks to 'Glen'.

If you had previously ordered the Easy2Boot 'Getting started with Easy2Boot' PDF from Payhip, then you should be able to use the download link in the email that you received to re-download the new revision 2 PDF. If not, then contact me.

- o O o -

P.S. My cat is really annoying me at the moment because I can only feed him after sunset which, in the UK, is well after 9pm. Still, there are only a few more days to go until June 24th when Ramadan finishes (you see, he's a Persian cat!)...😹

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

New Hiren's WinPE 10 64-bit ISO


Just found this post on reddit about a new Hiren's type WinPE.

It is not an official Hiren ISO but is made by a 'fan group' - see here for more info.

Monday, 18 June 2018

E2B v1.99 is now re-issued - please update!

There was a small bug in the grub4dos version of E2B v1.99, so I have updated the download with a new version of grub4dos (plus a few other very minor changes).

v1.99 is not yet available on the E2B website, so only users who read this blog and have downloaded the old v1.99 will be affected.

The \grldr file should be dated 2018-06-18 in the latest version of E2B v1.99.

The small bug in the old grub4dos version was that the animated E2B icon could spontaneously disappear when using the menu cursor keys.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Having trouble 'Safely Removing' USB Hard drives with the latest Windows 10?

I have been using 'Disk Ejector' from QuickandEasySoftware (free).

You can copy it to your Desktop or to the E2B USB drive.



You can also try USB Safely Remove from http://safelyremove.com as an alternative.

How to prompt for ComputerName and UserName before you start an automated Windows Install

By using an XML file, we can automate the installation of Windows 10 in Easy2Boot.

The XML file can have a preset or random UserName and ComputerName, or it can be configured to only have an Administrator account or to prompt for the User Name near the end of the installation process.

For instance, an XML file for SDI_CHOCO could be picked by the user and a fully unattended and automated Windows 10 install would then proceed.

However, it would be useful if we could use the same automated XML file each time we installed it to a different system, but could prompt for a different ComputerName and UserName before we started the installation. This allows us to get a cup of coffee whilst ten different systems are installing without having to come back and enter the UserName half-way through.

See also this later blog post for automatically setting the Serial Number in the ComputerName based on the same method as used in this article.

We can set different values by using grub4dos to modify the XML file before we boot to the ISO...

Friday, 15 June 2018

E2B v1.99 now available


At last E2B v1.99 is now available!

Note: I have just quickly updated the 2018-06-18 download to v1.99 2018-06-16 - the more recent version just has improved help in Make_E2B.exe, a small bugfix to grub4dos and a new sample mnu file added.



Note: The new eBook is written for use with E2B v1.99.

Changes from E2B v1.98 are:

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Bob Omb's WinPE10 64-bit v.3.1


Bob's latest release of WinPE 10 64-bit (v3.1) can now work either as a .ISO file in E2B or as a .imgPTN file.

If you boot it as an ISO, it will auto-detect the TheOven_Startup.cmd (if present on your E2B drive) and run PEStartup (see here for details).

Tip: End the filename with the letter Q to suppress E2B's QRUN prompt - e.g. Bob_Omb's_v3.1_64q.iso. Do not use spaces in the filename because WinBuilder ISOs don't work correctly if there is a space in the name. The file extension must be .iso.

Instead, you can create a .txt file using the \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe file. This allows you to have spaces in the menu entry (e.g. 'Bob Omb's WinPE10 64-bit'). The ISO must not have any spaces and must end in .iso. You can also use the '64-bit' option in TXT_Maker so that the ISO will only be listed in the menu if run on a 64-bit system.

UEFI

If you convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file, you will be able to MBR or UEFI-boot to it and also have some persistence. I suggest you increase the suggested size when you make the .imgPTN file, to allow you to add your own portable apps, shortcuts, etc.

Friday, 8 June 2018

E2B v1.99h Beta available


  • This version has the latest version of grub4dos 0.4.6a 2018-06-08
  • Also a Sample .mnu file Run_ISO_With_Alarm.mnu added (sounds an alarm before running ISO) has been added.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds a 'Play a tune' menu to the Main menu.
  • Alarm.g4b added to \_ISO\e2b\grub folder so just issuing the command 'alarm' will sound an alarm.
This is probably the last Beta before release as E2B v1.99 full release, so let me know if you find any issues.

As before, if you have animated graphics displaying and you also simultaneously play a tune, the tune may play slower than it should unless you stop the animation (press F2 to toggle animation on and off). Any key press will stop the tune from playing.

Download from Alternate Download areas or direct link here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tools

This Intel Windows 64-bit (and 32-bit) tool will identify your CPU and stress test the CPU cooling solution in your system.

You first need to install the software onto Windows before running it.



Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (May 2018)

Other tools

Other Intel tools can be found here.

The bootable CPU Identification tool and CPU Frequency ID tool are Windows .exe utilities which make a bootable DOS floppy (wow - it's so useful to have a bootable floppy disk these days!), or a .imz floppy disk image file from which you can extract a bootable .ima file using 7Zip.

However, if you download the files (various languages are available), you can use 7Zip to extract the .com file directly from the .exe download (e.g. extract BPFREQIDE.com or BPROCIDE.com) and simply copy the .com file to your E2B USB drive (e.g. \INTEL folder).

Then you can boot to the FreeDOS floppy image which is already on your E2B drive (DOS Menu) and run the .com files from FreeDOS (e.g. \INTEL\BPROCIDE.com).

This screenshot is from Virtual Box, so ignore CPU results!

Intel® Processor Frequency ID Utility Installation Guide - Bootable Version (2004)

Sunday, 27 May 2018

E2B v1.99g Beta is now available (in .zip format)

The new download is available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual, but only in .zip format because it should be regarded as a Beta version.

These are the additional changes since v1.99f:
  1. Non-contiguous files are now flagged when enumerating files (press SPACEBAR twice quickly to pause the file listing). If the files listed are not contiguous, they will be displayed in the list with the text *** NOT CONTIGUOUS *** appended.
  2. Non-contiguous .imgPTN files are flagged on the menu entry itself (because they won't work!). The menu entry will have the text (ERROR: NOT CONTIGUOUS) appended.
  3. Force_Windows_Safe_Mode .cmd files added. This allows you to change the BCD of the current system (see below).
  4. C't magazine Desinfect 2018 sample .mnu file added (see below).

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Upcoming Amazon Echo offers

Hi
Just a heads-up, apparently there is an Amazon Echo Sale coming up starting 26th May.

Use the links below after 25th May to get $10 and $15 off.

Echo Dot (affiliated link to Amazon.com)



Echo  (affiliated link to Amazon.com)

I have an Echo (in the kitchen) and an Echo Dot (in the bedroom) and find them really useful for...

1. Reminders ' Alexa - remind me to call Fred at 3pm' (I also get an alert on my phone)
2. Play radio or music 'Alexa - play BBC Radio 4'
3. Radio Alarm clock 'Alexa - set an alarm for 8am every day and play BBC Radio 4'
4. Calculations - 'Alexa - what's 297.2 minus 167.6' and 'Alexa - what's 127 dollars in pounds?'
5. Shopping list 'Alexa - add yoghurt to my shopping list' (can see list on phone when I go shopping)
6. News - 'Alexa - give me a flash briefing'
7. Music - 'Alexa - play Blue by Joni Mitchell' (Amazon Prime or Spotify account required)
8. Queries - 'Alexa - what are Asimov's 3 laws of Robotics'
9. Vanity or scary - 'Alexa - who is the fairest of them all?' and 'Alexa - open the pod bay doors'
10. Internet calls - 'Alexa - drop in on mum'  (immediately connects me to mum's Echo at her house so I can hear what's going on - e.g. snoring!)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

E2B eBooks are now available!

New eBooks are now available as downloadable PDF files here (payable via PayPal or card).

Future revisions will be available free to previous buyers.

How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot
How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot


Saturday, 19 May 2018

E2B v1.99f Beta (includes feature to play tunes!)

yaya, one of the main developers of grub4dos, has done a lot of work to add a 'beep' command to grub4dos. It can play synchronously (in background) or asynchronously (waits until end of play before continuing execution).

E2B v1.99f (was 1.99e) includes this latest \grldr file (grub4dos 0.4.6a) which has the new beep command.

Now you can load the E2B Main menu and simultaneously play the Mission Impossible or Tetris background music (or any tune you like)! Your system must be fitted with an internal speaker (or buzzer) - Virtual Machines will not make any noise, you must use a real system.

Instructions to update your E2B drive

Friday, 18 May 2018

Installing Windows Embedded POSReady 2009

The POS2009 ISO is a bit different from normal XP ISOs in that it has no 2nd stage boot and it requires a 'flat-file' structure and \i386 folder on the installation media to be present during the 2nd boot.

There is a ReadMe file at \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Windows\POS2009_ReadMe.txt on the E2B drive which can be used to install POS2009 to an IDE hard drive.

E2B v1.99 contains revised instructions for guidance on how you can install to SATA\RAID\SCSI disk too.

The ReadMe file in v1.99 is shown below:

Windows 10 font confusion

This problem took me a while to solve today.

I had a file called MissionImpossible.g4b which did not seem to get recognised by grub4dos.

It turned out it was a typo problem and because Windows Explorer shows virtually identical characters for capital I and lowercase L (l), I did not spot it!!!  see below...

Can you tell the difference between I and l in the Windows font?


Good choice of font Microsoft - but give me function and clarity over aesthetics any day!

With some fonts I have problems distinguishing the number 1 from a lowercase l? Now it seems I also need to look out for uppercase I's as well!

Unfortunately Windows 10 has no facility to change the default font (unless you hack the Registry).

Anyone know how to have a legible font in Win10 without having to hack the registry?

P.S. In case you are wondering, the next version of E2B (and grub4dos) will be able to play annoying tunes through the PC internal speaker (if fitted) whilst the animated icon is displayed on the menu! I am testing/debugging it now.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Windows Forensic course for only $25 - Hurry!

If you would like to take a course on Windows Forensic investigation and the Windows Forensic Operating System (WinFE) by Brett Shavers, then you can sign up here for a sale price of only $25 (normal price $95) but be quick - less than 2 days to go!

There is an intro video on the same page (in the Contents list on right hand side of the page) so you can see what the course covers.


About the course
This course is specific to the Windows Forensic Operating System. Everything you need to build and use a WinFE is included in this course (except your personal license for Windows that is needed to build a WinFE) . You'll learn why WinBuilder was chosen as the preferred method, how previous methods are now outdated, and how other methods are not as well suited as the latest Mini-WinFE build. In fact, the latest build application is focused on during this course.

You'll learn various methods of using a WinFE, whether it is for civil matters, criminal cases, or educational uses. Customize your WinFE specific to your needs and see how a customized WinFE boot disc may handle the vast majority of booting the evidence computer forensically over other boot systems such as Linux Live CDs.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

MPI Tool Pack v0.082 available

MPI Change History v0.082

  • grub4dos \grldr updated to latest version
  • Small change to csm\menu.lst for KonBoot menu
  • Menu.lst now warns if no UEFI boot files are found
  • Chandra's Split_WinISO.exe utility is now included for making split WIM files when a Windows Install ISO has >4GB install.wim/esd files.
  • Add 'set default menu and timeout' menu entry to CSM menu
  • Change to  add clover menu for (hd0,2) EFI boot files
  • Update to latest Clover 64-bit+plist.conf
  • Improve FreeBSD menu (now works with Nas4Free)
  • Add boot as floppy drive A: to DOS menu entry to \menu.lst

Download here from the Alternate Download Areas. Please let me know if you spot a problem.

The download is named 'Beta' but it is the full released version of 0.082 which I will simply rename and fully release next week if no one reports any issues.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Install Win98 from E2B

PhilsComputerLab has just produced a nice YouTube video showing how to install Win98 onto an old Legacy computer (with IDE drive and <1GB RAM) using a Win98 ISO and an E2B drive.


Several people have commented that they do not want to remove files from the ISO to reduce it's size.

Here is a way of adding a full Win98 Install payload to E2B by using a .imgPTN file.

Useful PDF from Microsoft of Windows Command Line commands

Click here to download the Microsoft PDF for the A-Z list of command line commands.

English direct download here.

You may learn something new!

E2B v.1.99d BETA available

When I first added the .imgPTN feature to E2B, I was not sure what partition configuration to use in order to make it bootable on a large range of different UEFI BIOSes.

So I included a wide range of file extensions such as .imgPTNLBAa23, .imgPTNna23, etc. etc.

However, no one has reported any issues and I personally have not had to use any other file extension except for .imgPTN and .imgPTNLBAa23.

So E2B v1.99d has a slight change in that the file extension .imgPTN23 will now be identical to using the file extension .imgPTNLBAa23. i.e.

In versions of E2B before 1.99d, .imgPTN23 did not set the partition as active or use large LBA parameters but in version 1.99d it does. SWITCH_E2B.exe however did use LBA and set the partition active, so E2B now does the same as SWITCH_E2B.exe.

This means that there are now just two file extensions to worry about for 99% of the time: .imgPTN for most purposes or .imgPTN23 if you want the 2nd partition to remain available after switching.

E2B v1.99d is available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual (see side bar).

P.S. The other .imgPTNxxxxx variations will still work in the same way and you do not need to change the file extension of any of your .imgPTN files for this new version.

Progress on the E2B eBook

I have almost finished writing most of the content for the E2B eBook but there is still a lot of work to do yet.

It now has over 100 pages and over 40 'Exercises'.

It will be available as a PDF because this allows a hyperlinked Contents table and you can read it on pretty much any device. I have come to the conclusion that the eBook ePub format is just too limiting for this type of book.

I haven't yet decided on what platform I will use to sell it. I looked at using Lulu.com, but it does not allow me to to easily include a hyperlinked Contents page and has other limitations, so I am now looking at payhip.com which do not provide a purchase site like Lulu does, but just a 'sales page' for each product. However it will accept virtually any PDF format and it will watermark the pages with the buyers email address before making the download available.

Please let me know if you want any more topics added (though some more advanced topics will probably go into a second eBook).

I haven't decided on a price yet, but $6.99 is my initial thought so far, does this sound OK? There may be voucher codes for discounts available later too.

Here is a screenshot of the Contents so far.

Friday, 4 May 2018

E2B v1.99c Beta available

Differences from v1.99b are:
  1. Update_E2B_Drive.cmd now has 2 second tolerance on file times (/FFT switch added)
  2. CONTIG.ISO is not copied when using red button in MAKE_E2B.exe GUI to make a new E2B drive.
  3. Make_CONTIG.ISO.cmd added.
If you want a CONTIG.ISO file you should use the Make_E2B_USB_drive button in the GUI instead of the big red button.

The 500MB CONTIG.ISO is still in the download, it is just not copied across when using the red button.
There is also now a .cmd script to quickly make a CONTIG.ISO file at "\_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Make_CONTIG.ISO\Make_CONTIG.ISO.cmd".

The new version can be found in the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Should I remove CONTIG.ISO from Easy2Boot?

As you may know, \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO is a 500MB blank file which is included in the Easy2Boot download.

The CONTIG.ISO file is only used when a payload file is not contiguous but when E2B needs it to be contiguous. E2B will then copy the entire original payload file to the CONTIG.ISO file. This can take some time and it is done each time you boot to that same payload file.

I never actually use this feature and I suspect most Windows users do not use it either.

When you first make an E2B drive, this large file needs to be copied over to the USB drive and this can take several minutes on slow pen drives. The file also takes up 500MB of space on the USB drive which is never used as long as you always run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd first.

So, my proposal is to remove the CONTIG.ISO file from the E2B self-extracting download file in the next version of E2B (v1.99c).

However, the .zip E2B download file (which is used by linux users to prepare an E2B drive) will still contain a 500MB CONTIG.ISO file.

If a Windows user still wants to use the CONTIG.ISO feature, they simply have to create a \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO file (I can provide a small batch file which will create a file of any size).

Please let me know if you think this is a bad idea ASAP, otherwise I will remove the CONTIG.ISO file in the next version.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Problems adding WiFiSlax to E2B!

Yesterday, someone contacted me via a Chat Session on my www.easy2boot.com website to ask about getting WiFiSlax ISOs to work with E2B. He had tried both the latest 64-bit and 32-bit versions.

The 'List of tested ISOs' page showed that I had tested wifislax-4-7-2-final.iso successfully but this user could not get it to boot.

Since he mentioned that he was using an E2B USB Hard Disk and I had my Corsair 256GB GTX USB drive handy, I downloaded the wifislax64-1.1.iso file and quickly tested it using Virtual Box and VMUB. I had no problems and it booted to the WiFiSlax desktop.

However, I then tried booting it from several 'real' systems and they all failed to boot.
Even the older 4-7-2 ISO failed in the same way.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Play WAV files from FreeDOS with E2B

You can play wav files using FreeDOS through your PC speaker, the sound quality is amazingly good!

This works on computers that have an internal PC speaker fitted but won't work on a VM as the PC Speaker is connected to a hardware timer chip which is not emulated by most VMs.

1. Go to http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php/Digital_Sound_System#Download and download the 2006 version
2. Unpack the contents to a newly created \DSS folder on your E2B drive
3. Edit the \DSS\dss.ini file and change the SoundDevice section to use the PC Speaker as  device 8

[SoundDevice]
Device=8

4. Copy a .wav file to the \DSS folder (or several)

To play the wav file (e.g. ring03.wav)

1. Boot to E2B on a system that has a PC Speaker
2. Go to the DOS menu and boot to the FreeDOS floppy image
3. At the C: prompt type

cd \DSS
DSS ring03.wav /L-

The /L- tells it not to loop

You can press F1 for help, or type DSS /? for command line options.

Try pressing the Fn keys for different screen affects whilst it is playing.

I got a repetitive clicking sound approx. every second, but if you use the down-arrow to reduce the volume, it is less intrusive.

If you play an MP3 file, you get some horrible noise for a few seconds, but then it plays OK.
You cannot play midi files via the PC Speaker.

It does not seem to work on all systems for some strange reason (e.g no sound, bad sound or DSS crashes!), but does work on other systems.

Good Luck!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Installing Avaya Appliance Virtualization Platform (AVP) using E2B

When installing the Avaya Appliance Virtualization Platform v7 to a server, you usually need a DVD which contains an OS that installs onto the internal hard disk and a USB flash drive that contains a configuration file.

If you have an E2B (Removable-type) of Flash drive, you can install AVP without needing a DVD.

1. Download the AVP ISO
2. Drag-and-drop it onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut
3. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd
4. Run \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe and switch in the new image file
5. Open Windows Explorer and copy your AVP .cfg configuration file to the root of the USB drive (there should be \EFI and \clover and \e2b folders present if you have the correct partition).

You should now find that you can boot to the E2B drive's CSM menu and select option 1 to MBR-boot to start the formatting of the internal drive and the unattended installation of AVP.

I have not tested this process using an E2B USB HDD, but it has been tested using an E2B USB Flash drive. As I think the script searches only Removable USB drives for the .cfg file, this does not work under a VM like VBox if the E2B USB drive appears as a IDE\SATA\SCSI fixed disk and not a true USB drive. You could connect a 2nd USB flash drive containing the .cfg file instead of placing the file on the E2B drive.

Headless Server

If your appliance has no keyboard or monitor, we need to make some changes to the \menu.lst file so that it runs automatically (which is dangerous because it will format the internal HDD!):

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Windows Answer File Generator website has moved!

It is now at www.windowsafg.com

This allows you to generate autounattend.xml files easily for both MBR and UEFI installs.

You can use XMLtoE2B.exe to tweak the xml file for use with E2B.

As I have lost the source files for XMLtoE2B, the top buttons which try to open pages on the old WAFG site will no longer work.


Easy2Boot v1.99b Beta now available


Changes from v1.98 are:
v1.99a - updated "\_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS\APPS\CHOCBOX\chocolatey-core.extension.1.3.1.nupkg" to 1.3.3. Automatic bugfix for menu.lst file in old .imgPTN files if selected via the E2B menu system.

v1.99b - setting redir now suppresses the 'System Hard Disk (hd1) not detected' warning message, GIFtoIMA.cmd script now asks user for transparency\opaque background setting, Utilities Menu - List Files entry now has extra option to list UTILITIES_MEMTEST files, UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd now repositions cmd shell window, fix dpms2.g4b so doesn't crash VBox 5.2.8.

v1.99b is available from Alternate Download Areas.

I am still working on the eBook (it will be available as a PDF). There are still a few chapters to write, then lots of pictures to add + proof checking!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Using SDI_CHOCO with Windows 10 1709 (and fixing the 'No internet' prompt)

The 1709 version of Windows (as well a many other versions - but not all versions!) seems to have broken internet connectivity during the Specialize pass of an automated install again and also broken something in MSOOBE.exe too!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Revised MemTest86.imgPTN file (and how to fix a corrupt E2B drive)

If you are having problems when using the ready-made MemTest86.imgPTN file which I made available in a previous post, please update to the latest version here.

The previous version was not compatible with the latest versions of RMPrepUSB (grub4dos installer) and could cause strange effects such a 'GRLDR not found' errors on booting and perhaps not being able to return back to the E2B menu from the CSM menu.

If you have been using the latest version of RMPrepUSB to install grub4dos on your E2B drive, make sure you are using the latest version of the MPI Tool Pack to make your .imgPTN files.

If you have used the latest version of RMPrepUSB to install grub4dos on your E2B drive, you will need to remake all your .imgPTN files again. Alternatively, edit the \menu.lst file inside each .imgPTN file and replace "Missing MBR" with "helper" throughout the file.

If you update your E2B USB drive to version 1.99a Beta or later (available in Alternate Download area), when you switch to a .imgPTN file using the E2B menu (not using SWITCH_E2B.exe) E2B will automatically make the patches to the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file as it is run. Once it has been patched, you can use SWITCH_E2B.exe as well as the E2B menu system to select a .imgPTN file.

Fixing a 'broken' E2B drive

If your E2B drive has a problem booting or switching back to the E2B partitions, try this process using any version of RMPrepUSB...

1. RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+B  (writes a standard MBR)
2. RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+G - Y=MBR - cancel grldr copy (installs grub4dos to MBR and backs up the standard MBR to LBA1 - grub_inst will not back up the MBR if it contains grub4dos which is why we install the standard MBR first)
3. Now select the drive in Windows Explorer - Properties - Tools - Check (to fix any errors)

If the drive is in the CSM mode (i.e. has a switched-in .imgPTN file), switch it back to the E2B mode by booting to it and using the CSM  0 - EASY2BOOT menu option or using \e2b\SWITCH_E2B.exe - Restore E2B partition(s) button.

Now repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 above.

Finally, update to E2B v1.99a and use the E2B menu to switch in any 'old' .imgptn file in order to 'fix' the menu.lst file inside it:

i.e.
1. Boot to E2B menu
2. Select .imgPTN file in the E2B menu and switch to CSM menu to 'patch' the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file.
3. Select menu item 0 EASY2BOOT in the CSM menu to return back to the E2B menu.

You can now use SWITCH_E2B.exe or the E2B menu to select the old .imgPTN file.

Tip: The MBR is saved to \e2b\MBR.BIN by E2B when you switch in the .imgPTN file. It may still contain the original NTFS partition table.

Drive not listed in SWITCH_E2B.exe?

If you have switched to a .imgPTN file and then tried to switch it back using the CSM Menu 0 option, you may find that it will may no longer boot to grub4dos or be listed in by SWITCH_E2B.exe.

SWITCH_E2B.exe only lists drives that have grub4dos boot code in the MBR (LBA0).

If you follow the process above, it should fix the issue.

No files? unformatted drive?

If Windows wants to format the E2B drive and it appears unformatted, the CSM menu may have restored your old original backup partition. This type of problem only happens if you have re-partitioned your E2B drive after you originally installed E2B onto it.

To fix the issue, follow the FAQ Troubleshooting guide

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Would you be interested in an eBook for Easy2Boot?

I have started to write an eBook for Easy2Boot  (with pictures!) as several people have requested one.

Currently it has a working title of  'Getting started with Easy2Boot (or how to create a useful multiboot USB drive)'.

The content in the eBook will not be as detailed as on the E2B website (but it will not have all the repetitive text that is on the website pages either!). The eBook is intended to be followed as a 'Course'. It will be aimed at the intermediate Windows user who knows how to copy files and use Windows applications, but is not very familiar with Easy2Boot or using multiboot USB drives.

It starts with a few basic Chapters on E2B and how to make an E2B USB drive, but then has Chapters on:

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Add BlackArch LiveCD (MBR+UEFI) to E2B

The BlackArch Linux LiveCD ISO can simply be added to the E2B USB drive (e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\blackarchlinux-live-2017.12.11-x86_64.iso).

Because the file is larger than 4GB, your E2B USB drive will need to be formatted as NTFS.

This will allow us to Legacy\MBR boot, but what about UEFI-booting to BlackArch Linux?

Well, the E2B grub2 menu system will UEFI-boot from the ISO, but what if we want to use a .imgPTN file instead?

We cannot simply drag-n-drop the blackarchlinux-live-2017.12.11-x86_64.iso file onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to make a .imgPTN file, because there is a large (>4GB) .sfs file inside the ISO.

Here is how to add BlackArch Linux to your E2B USB drive (preferably a large E2B USB HDD) and both UEFI and MBR boot to it.

Instructions

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Spanish YouTube E2B videos - Lesson 4 now available from Decomputo

Even if you don't speak Spanish, you might like to watch the YouTube course on E2B by Decomputo.

The latest one has just been uploaded here.


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Boot Eset Rescue using UEFI from E2B

The current Eset System Rescue ISO does not contain UEFI boot files and so cannot be used on a UEFI-only system.

If you can Legacy\MBR boot, then you can simply directly boot from the Eset ISO file (or add persistence for updates too - see previous blog articles).

Here is a way to 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI-boot by using the E2B grub2 menu system.

You will need to be familiar with the E2B grub2 menu system first.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Warning: Do NOT update to VirtualBox v5.2.8!

The latest VirtualBox v5.2.8 version crashes your host system (i.e. BSOD on your Windows system) when booting to an E2B USB drive.

If you use VBox to test booting of E2B then please install v5.2.4 or 5.2.6 instead, but do not update to 5.2.8.

I discovered this several days ago (I thought it may have been just my system), but it has now been confirmed by another user.

http://www.easy2boot.com/forum/

[Edit: I have re-released E2B v1.98 2018-03-09 which should prevent the BSOD with VBOX from occurring. Please download the latest version of E2B and update your E2B drives if you want to use VBOX 5.2.8]

Monday, 5 March 2018

E2B v1.98 released

v1.98 2018-03-03 - changes from v1.97A
  1. Patchme grub4dos script now removes 'If hangup , use 'geometry --lba1sector (128)' grub4dos startup message
  2. Variables SIZE_E2B and SIZE_HD1 can now be used in MyE2B.cfg files in menu HEADING and FOOTER (for sizes of drives in GB)
  3. 'GodMode' folder added to \_ISO\docs\Download URLs for easy access to Windows GodMode list of utilities (just doubel-click on it within Windows)
  4. DrWeb900_Persistent.mnu sample added
  5. Support for *NCQ.iso suffix
  6. Support for isopersist file extension so can easily add persistence files to Ubuntu-based ISOs
  7. Add text tip to use .isopersist for Ubuntu-based files +persistence
  8. Add .isoBF option to 'ISOASK' menu list
  9. Add text tip to use .isopup for files with 'pup' in their name for puppy linux ISOs
  10. Change FreeDos floppy image to increase amount of conventional memory from 310K to 530K and add mem.exe utility + extended memory driver for DPMI support, add mouse.com DOS mouse driver, increase floppy disk size to 7.6MB so more files can be added by user, update KERNEL version
  11. Add support for TESTPLOP variable for booting Plop! with VMWare
  12. Use Inno Setup as the Self Extractor engine for less AV false positives (E2B .zip file is also available for linux users)
  13. Changes to many of the Sample .mnu files to clarify instructions
  14. Bugfix for EXTOFF=1 not being set in MyE2B.cfg when using Make_E2B to make the USB drive (EXTOFF suppresses file extensions being listed in menus).
As usual, the new versions are available from the Alternate Download Areas first so you can try it out and feedback any issues before I release it on the E2B website.

A .zip version of E2B v1.98 is also available for linux users.

Note: E2B v1.98 was re-released (2018-03-09) with a small bugfix which should prevent VBOX v5.2.8 from BSOD'ing your system when using it to boot an E2B USB drive.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Testing Inno Setup for making Self-Extracting files

I have been using WinRaR to package up the Easy2Boot files into a self-extracting executable (SFX) file. When the user runs this, it unpacks the E2B files to a temporary folder and then runs Make_E2B.exe as Administrator.

However, the WinRaR package seems to trigger false positive alerts with several Anti-Virus packages such a Windows Defender (depending on what day it is!), Avast and Norton Symantec, etc.

So, as an experiment, I have packaged up E2B v1.98g BETA using the free Inno QuickStart Setup package from here.

This Inno Setup version is similar to the WinRaR version (it only extracts the files - it does not install anything).

Please try the above link and let me know the results (i.e. what your AV solution is and if it runs OK or gives a virus alert).

I have noticed that if you run it with Avast AV installed, you get an error pop-up box, however if you click past this it runs OK. This is apparently a known issue with Avast when running a 'strange' exe for the first time.

P.S. If the above link no longer works (becomes outdated), look for a more recent E2B_v1.98+ file in the Alternate Downloads Areas.

Tick 'funny' if it gave no problems, otherwise please let me know what AV gave a false-positive

Thursday, 1 March 2018

How to add older versions of the Hirens Boot CD to E2B

Older versions of the Hirens boot CD earlier than version 9.7 were based on DOS and designed to run from a CD only.

Here is how I converted HBCD v8.1 to run from E2B.

MPI Tool Pack v0.081 fixes 'ERROR: Please install Grub4dos to the MBR' error!


If you are getting this error a lot when trying to switch to .imgPTN files, the reason is that you are probably using RMPrepUSB v2.1.740 or later to install grub4dos or BootIce+grub4dos 0.4.6a.

To fix this, you can either use an older version of RMPrepUSB, or use v 0.081 or later of the MPI Tool Pack and remake your .imgPTN file.

The problem is due to the grub4dos boot code changing. The code in the menu.lst file looks for 'Missing MBR-helper' but the code has now changed with 0.4.6a to be 'Missing helper' and so it does not restore the original grub4dos MBR sector when you switch back to the E2B MBR, but restores the backup sector from LBA 1 instead (which usually does not contain the grub4dos boot code).

The new \menu.lst in MPI v0.081 will work with either version of the grub4dos boot code.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Add AROS AspireOS Titan to E2B

The AspireOS ISO seems to have a problem booting if we just try to add the ISO to E2B.

Here is how to add it to E2B as a .imgPTN file for MBR and UEFI-32-bit booting.

References

Amiga Board forum

Instructions

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Boot from an E2B USB drive using VMWare

You can test install Windows (7/8/10 etc.) from an E2B drive to a virtual hard disk using VMWare.
The advantage of this process is that a Removable-type USB flash drive will appear in the VM as a Removable drive and thus will load the 'LOADISO.cmd' file in the same way as it runs on a real system. This means you can test E2B with Windows ISOs+Unattend XML files without using a real system.

There is also new page on the E2B site here which describes the process.

This process works using VMWare Player (free) or VMWare WorkStation...

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

E2B v1.98f/g BETA

E2B v1.98f BETA (in Alternate Download Area) now has a revised version of the FreeDOS boot image.

The disk image (\_ISO\DOS\MNU\ FreeDos288.ima.gz) is now actually a 7.6MB FAT32 disk image containing FreeDOS.FreeDOS now loads an NTFS driver, EMM386 and a DOS mouse driver. It also contains a selection of FreeDOS utilities.

This means you can just copy a mouse-enabled DOS utility, such as the DOS version of Ghost.exe to your E2B drive, boot to E2B, and then boot to the FreeDOS floppy image from the DOS menu and directly run C:\Ghost.exe directly from your NTFS or FAT32 E2B drive.

Because the FreeDOS image is over 7MB in size and has 5MB of free space available, you can also extract the .ima file and then add your own DOS utilities into the image. See the E2B DOS page for more details.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Adding Dos programs and utilities to E2B

If you have a DOS (FreeDOS or MS-DOS, etc.) floppy disk image (.ima or .img), you can just directly add it to the E2B drive and it should boot correctly.

If you want to be able to modify the contents, you can use a program like WinImage, or you could convert the image to a FAT32 .imgPTN file.

Using the E2B FreeDos image

E2B includes a FreeDOS disk image as \_ISO\DOS\MNU\Freedos288.IMA.gz.

If you boot to this, you can access and run small DOS programs directly from the E2B drive because the FreeDOS image also loads an NTFS driver and support (sort of!) for long-filename for FAT32.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

My YouTube channel has just reached new dizzy heights!


Wow! It seems I am well on the way to making my first $million (not!).
Strange, as it says I have 2500 subscribers on the videos???

Please feel free to subscribe (before it goes back below 1000 again!).