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.


1. Download and extract the HBCD 8.1 ISO file.
2. Drag-and-drop the ISO file onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop icon (you first need to install MPI).
3. Copy the HBCD 8.1 .imgPTN file to the E2B drive - e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
4. Switch to the HBCD .imgPTN file (boot to E2B or use Switch_E2B.exe).
Your E2B drive should now contain a \BootCD folder
5. Use 7zip to load the original HBCD ISO file and double-click on the [BOOT] folder and then on the Boot-1.44M.img file. Select all the files inside the .img file and copy them to the root of the E2B drive.
Extract boot files from the ISO >>> USB drive

E2B drive with added files from Boot-1.44M.img


6. Use NotePad to edit the \Autoexec.bat file and set the Path to C:\
@echo off
set path=C:\
set ramd=R
etc. ...

You should now be able to MBR-boot to the CSM menu and choose menu option #1 to boot to the DOS HBCD menu.

Note that some systems with a large amount of RAM (2GB+) may cause the DOS RAMDisk to fail to load due to incompatibilities in the old DOS extended memory driver.

If testing using a VM, be sure to set the system type as Other - DOS.



Note: Some versions don't seem to run well and\or have bugs. HBCD v8.1 and v9.6 seem to run well.

HBCD v9.7  and later

These contain MiniXP and you can try a file extension of .isowinvh but older versions of MiniXP may not be able to run the HBCD utilities menu.

They use isolinux as a boot manager, but MPI cannot install syslinux to the HBCD folder so it does not boot correctly from a .imgPTN file.

If you convert them to .imgPTN files, you will need to find the \HBCD\isolinux.cfg file and add the grb4dos menu commands to the end of the \menu.lst file. For instance, for HBCD 9.7, add these lines to \menu.lst

title Start Boot CD\n
kernel /HBCD/memdisk
initrd /HBCD/boot.gz

title Start Mini XP\n
chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN

Note: may not work fully on modern chipsets or USB 3 ports as XP will not be able to access files on the E2B USB drive.

Make a single-boot USB drive

1. Format the USB flash drive as an MS-DOS floppy disk drive using RMPrepUSB.

Set the HBCD ISO file as the payload file (5) and click on Prepare Drive (6)


2. Load the ISO file using 7Zip and double-click through [BOOT] and the Boot_1.44M.img file and extract the contents directly to the USB drive

That's it!

You can test boot it by using RMPrepUSB - F11.

Note that some versions of Hirens do not work on systems with 2GB+ of RAM.
Test using RMPrepUSB - F11 - if that works and a real system does not then the problem is that your real system is too modern!