Tuesday, 23 October 2018

About guitar amplifiers and fixing my old Marshall MG15DFX guitar amp

I do have a very nice Vox AC30 CC1 valve amp (no longer made). Although this sounds great when cranked up, it is not very good at practice volumes, and being full of valves, it does make funny noises, chirps, farts, etc. It's also very heavy to move around.

VOX AC30CC1 valve amplifier

I had recently heard good things about the new Boss Katana guitar amplifiers, so I decided to buy a Boss Katana 50...

Monday, 22 October 2018

E2B v1.A7a Beta available

v1.A7a Beta has the following changes:

  • Bugfix - .help files now don't display first three UTF-8 bytes in UTF-8 file if no colour value on first line.
  • Support for background images and multiple .help files using a .mnu file.
  • Small bugfix to Update_E2B_Drive.cmd when used to copy files to an empty USB drive.
  • Small bugfix to Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd if empty floppy drive in system.
see http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/help-text-file/ for details on .help file support.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

E2B v1.A6 released (yet another bugfix + new help text file feature)

I just found yet another bug - the AUTO folder menu is not working in the last few versions, so I have fixed it in v1.A6 (not many people use the AUTO folder anyway)!

I have also added a new help file feature. You can now have a menu entry to display plain or UTF-8 text files - just give the text file a .help file extension.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

E2B v1.A5 released (bugfix for Win7 Install ISOs not working!)

I have just discovered that a change I made to the VistaMn.g4b batch file in E2B v1.A1 and later versions causes Win7 (and Vista) to not run correctly (you get a 'No key file found' message), so I am releasing E2B v1.A5 now to fix this bug.

Please consider v1.A1 - v1.A4 buggy and update to v1.A5!

Changes in v1.A5 are:
  • Bugfix for Win7 ISO installs (bug was introduced in v1.A1 through to 1.A4).
  • Bugfix for AUTO file extension suffix not working with .imgPTNAUTO files.
  • QRUN.g4b now displays tip to user to use .imgPTN23 if a 2nd partition is detected on the E2B drive.
  • Added support for .isoBSD file extension.
  • bsd.imgptn is now included in \_ISO\e2b\grub folder for .isoBSD file extension.
  • Now only .gz files which end in.uni.gz (font files), .ima.gz or .img.gz are recognised.
  • DOS KEYB TSR utility added to DOS floppy boot image (e.g. can now type KEYB FR for french keyboard under FreeDOS).

MPI Tool Pack v0.087 now released

  • ::0.085 - 2018-10-11 - add support for German menu, new grldr version, more language files can be easily added, latest Switch_E2B.exe added, menu.lst file changed to use key strings for multi-language support.
  • ::0.086 - 2018-10-14 - bugfix to RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd, change blank line colour in menu.lst to 0000 from 0122 (was green, now black\transparent).
  • ::0.087 - 2018-10-15 - EFI.IMG file is now automatically extracted and then deleted.
Download here.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Add FreeNAS installer and GhostBSD ISOs to E2B

Most BSD-based ISOs can be added to E2B (v1.A5c or later) by using the new .isoBSD file extension.

However, FreeNAS and GhostBSD ISOs are 'special'!

Here is how to add these ISOs to E2B.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

E2B v1.A5b/c/d Beta with support for BSD ISOs

BSD-based ISOs are hard to boot using E2B because BSD does not like the overlapping partitions caused by mapping the ISO file 'inside' the E2B partition.

Most BSD ISO files however can be booted to E2B by using two partitions:

ptn1: FAT32 .imgPTN file containing grub4dos (made using an empty folder)
ptn3: the untouched original BSD ISO file

More details of this method are at the bottom of the page at www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/freebsd/

Instead of having to make the .imgPTN file for each BSD ISO, I added extra code to QRUN.g4b so that it recognises the new file extension of .isoBSD. This means that you can boot to most BSD ISO files now just by changing the file extension of the ISO to .isoBSD and it will automatically use a small FAT bsd.imgptn file for the ptn1 partition.

The new .isoBSD file extension is recognised by E2B v1.A4c Beta and later versions.

1. Update your E2B drive to  E2B v1.A4d.

2 Change the file extension of your BSD-based ISO file to end in .isoBSD and copy it to your \_ISO\LINUX folder (or any standard menu folder).

3. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS (run as admin).cmd.

To add another BSD-based ISO, simply add it to the E2B drive and change the file extension to .isoBSD.

Note that the default CSM menu entry will be to boot BSD, but as soon as the BSD menu entry is chosen, the default menu entry is set to #0 Restore E2B partition, so that when you next MBR-boot after running BSD, it will switch partitions back to E2B and load the E2B menu system again automatically.

Only MBR-booting is supported and it does not work with all types of BSD ISOs - see  www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/freebsd/ more for details.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A4 released (with bugfixes)

Due to a couple of bugs found in Make_Ext.exe and SWITCH_E2B.exe, I have decided to release v1.A4.

v1.A4 (bugfixes for Make_Ext.exe and SWITCH_E2B.exe) - 2018-10-11
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.0.20 has bugfix for sometimes E2B drive not listed.
  • Make_Ext.exe (v1.1.0) bugfix, v1.0.0 did not correctly format the ext file.
  • New file extension suffixes now recognised (4GB=only lists file in menu if RAM>4GB, 3GB=only listed in menu if RAM <4GB). 
  • File extensions suffixes can now be in any order and not case sensitive (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO). 
  • File suffixes for .iso and .imgptn files in all \_ISO\WINDOWS folders (except XP) also now recognised. e.g. .isopwd4GB64, .imgPTN3GBAUTO. 
  • SnipStr.g4b grub4dos subroutine added which can remove a sub-string from a variable.
  • Txt_Maker.exe now has option for 4GB RAM detection and CAPSLOCK hotkey.
  • Desinfect 201819 sample .mnu file added (and older 2018 version updated).
Download v1.A4.exe here or go to Alternate Download Areas for other variants.

As usual, please let me know if you find any problems.

P.S. Small bug found already! The 'AUTO' suffix in a file extension (e.g. HirensCD.imgPTNAUTO) still prompts user to switch when it shouldn't! Fixed in v1.A5a Beta.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Desinfect 201819 ISO with Persistent updates

I have added to the instructions in an earlier blog for the latest version of PC Welt's Desinfect AV ISO with persistent updates.

The is a new .mnu file which can be used for both the older 2017,  2018 and the new 201819 versions.

The current updates require an ext3 or ext4 partition file of around 3.1GB, so you will need to allow more space than that when you make the desinfect-rw file.

As usual, you must first make a Desinfect USB Flash drive using the Create bootable USB dektop icon and then copy the signature folder to your E2B ext4 partition. Full details are at the bottom of the earlier blog.

Please let me know if you try it.

Monday, 8 October 2018

E2B v1.A4b Beta

This latest v1.A4b Beta version has a slightly tweaked Txt_Maker.exe utility which allows you to use CapsLock with a letter hotkey.

With grub4dos, you can use Shift, Ctrl or Alt with a hotkey (but you cannot combine them), however if you hold down the Shift key in E2B, then E2B will run ISOBOOT on the payload file so we cannot use the SHIFT key as a hotkey 'modifier'. We can however work around this by ensuring CapsLock is ON, now if you press the 'b' key it will work in the same way as SHIFT+b.

Note: Not all hotkey code combinations are valid (e.g. the ; key will work, but Ctrl+; and Alt+; will not work),  so stick to using A-Z only if you want to use the Ctrl, Alt or CapsLock modifiers. You can also use Ctrl or Alt with the F1-F10 keys and the 0-9 number keys.

The F11 and F12 keys and the number pad keys may not work on all systems (e.g. some notebooks) so avoid these.

One way to check if a combination is valid or not is to use the:

pause --test-key

command in the grub4dos console and then hit you a key 'chord' - e.g. Ctrl+;. If the scan code 0000 is returned then you cannot use that combination.

However, even if a non-zero scancode is returned, it does not mean that the combination can be used as a hotkey - you will just have to try it in a .txt file to find out!

You should also note that a Virtual Machine such as QEMU or Virtual Box may give different results from that of a real system.

I hope to release this version soon as 1.A4, so please let me know if you see an issue.

Friday, 5 October 2018

E2B v1.A4a Beta available (with bugfix for SWITCH_E2B.exe sometimes not listing the E2B drive)

Download here (unpack and run Make_E2B.exe - Update E2B Drive).

Changes from v1.A3 are:
  • New file extension suffixes recognised ('4GB'=only lists file in E2B menu if RAM >4GB, '3GB'=only listed in menu if RAM size <4GB) - e.g. Ubuntu_amd64.iso4GB, Ubuntu_i386.iso3GB.
  • New grub4dos variable %GB4% now in E2B environment, so can be used to test for systems which have more or less than 4GB RAM (e.g. 'if exist GB4 pause This system has more than 4GB RAM').
  • File extensions suffixes can now be in any order and not case sensitive (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO). 
  • File suffixes for .iso and .imgptn files in \_ISO\WINDOWS folders (except XP folder) also recognised. e.g. .isopwd4GB64, .imgPTN3GBAUTO. 
  • SnipStr.g4b grub4dos subroutine added which can remove a sub-string from a variable,
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.0.20 has bugfix for sometimes E2B drive not listed.
  • Txt_Maker.exe v1.0.9 now has option for > or < 4GB RAM detection.


I only found the bug in SWITCH_E2B.exe by accident. After running an ISO file, I found that SWITCH_E2B would not list the E2B drive in SWITCH_E2B any more! The problem turned out to be caused by the byte 0x4D appearing in the MBR partition table which caused SWITCH_E2B to throw an unhandled exception and exit out of a subroutine without any error message. This would explain why one user (many months ago) found that SWITCH_E2B.exe would not list his particular E2B drive, even though we could not find anything wrong with his drive!

The code to recognise file extension suffixes in any order is new and there may be bugs, so if you are using any of the file extension suffixes (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO) and see a problem, please let me know.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

How to add Dell EFI Diagnostic files to E2B

Some Dell Diagnostics and Tools are provided as bootable ISO files (e.g. Dell PowerEdge Support Live Image 3.0 here). It is easy to convert this to a .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit so that you can MBR- and UEFI-boot from these ISOs.

EFI boot under VirtualBox of Dell Live Image 3.0

Some Dell systems have a UEFI pre-boot diagnostic already on the hard disk and provided that the hard disk is not completely corrupt or dead, you can use the Dell BIOS boot option to run these tests and check the hardware.

However, if you cannot boot from the diagnostic software on the hard disk, it is sometimes difficult to know if it is because of a corrupt/wiped hard disk, hardware fault in the hard disk itself, a BIOS configuration issue or a different hardware issue. In this case it is often useful to be able to boot from an E2B USB drive and run the same pre-boot diagnostic.

Here is a way to add as many different Dell pre-boot diagnostic EFI files as you want (using Clover you can also try them on non-Dell/non-UEFI systems too)...