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...

1. Create a VM for XP so it boots using the BIOS (MBR). If you select a Windows 10 x64 VM in VMWare Player - it may only boot via UEFI!
2. The 'install ISO' should be set to load the USB_BOOT ISO file so it boots to this ISO. You can instead use the Plop! Boot ISO if you already have it.
3. Ensure you have enough RAM (1GB+) and a large enough virtual hard disk (e.g. 20GB+) in the VM.
4. Ensure a USB controller is listed in the VM Devices list and is set to USB 2.0
5. Insert the E2B USB drive into a USB 2.0 port (do not use USB 3.0 ports with USB 3.0 USB drives). You can use a USB 2.0 drive in a USB 3.0 port.
Tip: If your USB drive is a USB 3.0 device and you only have USB 3.0 ports, connect the USB drive to the USB 3.0 port using a USB 2.0 extension cable.
6. Start the VM and connect the E2B USB drive to the VM (you should hear a 'ding' as it is disconnected from Windows). VM tab - Removable Devices - connect to E2B USB drive.
7. Reset the VM - Plop will be loaded from the ISO and then E2B will boot.
8. As soon as the Plop menu disappears and starts to load E2B, hold down the SHIFT key to load the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver as E2B boots OR you can press F8 in the E2B Main Menu and then quickly hold down the SHIFT key as E2B reloads.

You should notice that E2B runs much faster once the grub4dos driver has loaded.

If you now boot a Windows 7/8/10 ISO from the E2B menu, the blue 'LOADISO' console should be seen and it should load the Windows ISO as a virtual DVD (if the E2B drive is a Removable Flash drive) in the same way as on a real system.

It is also be possible to test SDI_CHOCO installs as shown below...



Tip: If you want E2B to automatically load the USB 2.0 drive instead of having to hold down the SHIFT key, add:
set GRUB_USB=Y
to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. This can cause problems on some real systems however.

Tip: In E2B v1.98g and later, add set TESTPLOP=1 to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file, it will then automatically load the grub4dos usb 2 driver if it detects that the Plop! driver has been installed. Again, this may cause problems on some real systems which is why it is not done by E2B by default.