Monday, 20 May 2019

E2B v1.B1 released

E2B v1.B1 changes from v1.B0A are:
  • Bugfix for 'nircmd' error in SDI_CHOCO.cmd.
  • Hungarian language added (thanks to Knyght).
  • 'Easy2Boot' banner displayed on boot to advertise eBooks (see new eBook #1 or FAQ page for how to remove this banner).
  • If Windows Install ISO filename contains string 'wimboot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. filename can be 'Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso'.
  • New grub4dos for enhanced keyboard support.
  • Add "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present.
  • Make_E2B.exe updated for new language\kbd options
  • E2B_Editor now recognises %day% %month% %year% %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% variables in the HEADER and FOOTER. 
  • Latin_USA (Spanish), Vietnamese and Swedish kbd files added.
  • Add Change Keyboard Map .mnu file.
  • Various scripts and .mnu files changed for new language\kbd support
  • Choose_kbd.g4b script added to list available kbds and let user choose one
  • \_ISO\_CheckForUpdate.cmd added to check if later version of E2B is available
This latest version is available now from the Alternate Download Areas.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

E2B v1.B1d Beta and MPI Tool Kit 0.095 now available

E2B v1.Bd Beta is now available in .zip format from the Alternate Download Areas.

Changes from v1.B1c are:
  • New version of E2B_Editor now recognises the variables %day%, %month%, %year%, %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% if placed in the HEADER or FOOTER.
  • A new 'Easy2Boot' banner is now displayed on startup.
  • Hungarian language tweaks.
  • Latest version of grub4dos.
Also MPI v0.095 is now released and has additional tweaks for the new DLC2019 release and includes syslinux 6.05 pre-release.

About the new E2B Banner

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Make your PC scream when you unplug a USB device!

A recent Hack 5 video detailed a USB Rubber Ducky prank which is rather amusing.

The Rubber Ducky code downloads a scream.wav file and sets the sound file as the 'USB unplug' sound in your registry instead of the usual Windows default sound.

This means that whenever you unplug a USB device (of any type even if its a Bluetooth dongle and even if you first safely remove it or eject it) you will hear your PC scream!

Here is a Windows script which will allow you to set this up without a Rubber Ducky. You can also undo the Registry change too.


The script downloads the scream.wav file from the Hak5 site and it uses the built-in Windows utility 'bitsadmin.exe' to download the file. I was not aware of this Windows utility before. It looks quite useful, however it is much slower than a utility such as wget.exe.

P.S. If you want a different sound, find the file scream.wav on your hard drive (usually at C:\Users\(yourname)) and replace it with a different wave file of the same name (e.g. Woman Screaming).

If you are having problems downloading the file, just place any wave file named scream.wav in your user folder and then run scream.cmd.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

grub4dos and non-USA keyboards

Together with Knyght, we have been working on supporting the Hungarian language and Hungarian keyboard for E2B.

E2B v1.B1c Beta includes the latest grub4dos version which adds even more Alt+ key support.

E2B uses grub4dos which, in turn, uses the BIOS to receive key codes from the keyboard. Unlike grub2, it does not have it's own keyboard interrupt handler.

A Hungarian 102-key keyboard produces the same keyboard scan codes as a USA 102-key keyboard or any other 102-key keyboard, the only difference is the engraved letters on the key tops.

This means that grub4dos must 'convert' the keyboard code it receives to generate the same character that is engraved on the key tops. For instance, when the key labelled " on a UK keyboard is pressed (shift+2), it should produce the " character and not the @ character that you would see if the keys had USA keyboard key tops.

grub4dos allows us to 'map' key codes using the setkey command. For instance, E2B uses a batch file to run a series of setkey commands to convert USA key codes to UK key codes:

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

E2B v1.B1b Beta available


This new Beta version v1.B1b Beta includes the latest version of grub4dos which has enhanced keyboard support for non-QWERTY keyboards.

Changes in v1.B1b are:
  • Add menu text "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present in Windows Install menu.
  • New grub4dos setkey command now supports oem102 and Alt+ key chord scancodes.
  • Small changes to Hungarian language files.
v1.B1a had these changes:
  • Add Hungarian language and keyboard support (thanks to Knyght).
  • If the Windows Install ISO filename contains the string 'WimBoot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso

Hungarian keyboard AltGr codes

On the Hungarian keyboard, some of the standard English ASCII characters are produced by using the AltGr key plus a letter or number key (the AltGr key generates a Alt+Ctrl key code).

For instance, the Hungarian keyboard is engraved so that the user expects AltGr+v to generate the @ symbol.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A Removable-type USB HDD enclosure (+ UEFI-booting from ISOs on a IODD\Zalman drive enclosure)

With the new addition of WIMBOOT to E2B, you now rarely need to use a 'Removable' type of USB drive for E2B.

However, in a few cases where WIMBOOT cannot be used (low RAM or incompatible ISO) then Easy2Boot works better from a 'Removable' type of USB drive (such as most USB flash drives) or if you also connect a small WinHelper USB flash drive to the target system as well as the E2B HDD drive.

A user recently contacted me via the online Chat feature on the E2B website and mentioned that his USB HDD enclosure appeared as a 'Removable' device. He was from Dubai and had purchased a cheap Haysenser USB 3.0 HDD enclosure from his local market.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

E2B v1.B1a Beta available with Hungarian language support

v1.B1a changes (download here in Latest Beta folder)

  • Add Hungarian language and keyboard support (thanks to Knyght).
  • If the Windows Install ISO filename contains string 'WimBoot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso
Knyght has kindly done a lot of work translating the E2B language files to Hungarian. There will also be a translation file for the MPI CSM menu too!

Keyboard support

This proved quite challenging because the Hungarian keyboard is not supported very well in grub4dos.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Dell 'No boot device found.' error after installing Windows 10?

It seems that newer UEFI BIOSes from Dell now prevent you from MBR-booting from the internal hard disk (e.g. SATA, PCIe NVMe or M.2). However, you can still configure the BIOS to MBR-boot from external boot devices such as USB drives.



Details can be found on Dell Support link.

So, you can boot to the E2B grub4dos MBR boot menu (or MBR boot from a Rufus or other MBR USB drive) and install Windows 10 to the internal hard disk, however, when you reboot from the internal hard disk, you will see a 'No boot device found' error because the BIOS will only allow you to boot via UEFI from internal disks.

It seems that some of these Dell BIOSes were strictly UEFI-only at first, but then Dell released newer versions of the BIOS which included the 'Legacy External Devices' option. So you may need to update the BIOS if your current Dell BIOS does not have this option.

I suspect Dell later realised that a lot of their support utilities which relied on booting from USB or PXE only worked in MBR mode and so had to add this BIOS option!

Disclaimer: I don't actually have one of these systems to experiment with, so this information is just gleaned from the linked articles.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

E2B v1.B0A update released

You may encounter an issue in v1.B0 where it reports an error or pauses for you to press ENTER before the Main Menu is loaded.

v1.B0A fixes this issue - please update from v1.B0.

Apart from this bugfix, you may also notice that the E2B drive icon in Explorer has changed (depending on if your system has cached thumbnails or not).



Note: Version 1.B0A still reports itself as v1.B0 in the menu heading.


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Windows 10 May 2019 Update fails with "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error

The latest Windows update problem from MS!

"This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error on a computer that has a USB device or SD card attached.

The solution apparently is to remove your USB drives and SD cards!



E2B v1.B0 and MPI Tool Pack v0.039 now released


Available from Alternate Download areas here.

New eBook on UEFI multi-booting using WinPE images here.

E2B v1.B0 changes:

Friday, 19 April 2019

New first draft eBook available - 'How to make a UEFI multi-boot Easy2Boot USB drive'

The first draft is available and I have also made available some large files which go with the eBook.

It details how you can set up your E2B drive for UEFI multi-booting.

Details of how to obtain the password-protected download files are within the eBook.

The first draft is available for $10 (but you can pay more if you like!) at Payhip.

If you would like to volunteer to work through most of this eBook and Exercises and send me feedback, please email me and I can provide you with a 100% discount voucher (i.e. it's free! - first 20 requests only).

Later revisions of the eBook will be downloadable using the same link that will be emailed to you, so you don't lose anything by buying the first version (but bear in mind it is a draft version!).

You must use the latest v1.B0 Beta version of E2B and the latest MPI Tool Pack v0.039 (from here).

Any comments welcome, it is a complicated subject and I had a lot of difficulty trying to make it clear and logical (and probably failed!).

Email me at steve  (at)  easy2boot (dot) com or use the Contact Me page.


Monday, 15 April 2019

Fast E2B USB 3.0 drives - which is best? (GTX v. SSD v. M.2)

When booting from an E2B USB drive, the speed will depend on the speed of the USB drive and also on the BIOS USB driver.

I decided to test out three of the fastest USB 3 drives I have using my Asus Z87-A PC:

Sunday, 14 April 2019

E2B and MPI Tool Pack has been updated

The latest version of E2B is now v1.B0p and  MPI Tool Pack is v0.093v14. There has been a small bugfix to SWITCH_E2B too.

I have spent many weeks writing an eBook on UEFI payloads for E2B (complete with Exercises) and I am just tidying it up. It should be ready in a few weeks. If anyone wants to obtain an early copy then give me your email address, but you must agree to provide feedback on at least 50% of the eBook and work though at least some of the Exercises and test the E2B drive on at least three different PCs/Notebooks! I will limit this to the first 20 requests only (just in case I get 100's of requests!). Email me at steve  (at)  easy2boot (dot) com or use the Contact Me page.

I have removed the trial WinPE downloads now. They are no longer available.

I have built a WinPE download file that includes WinPE32 and WinPE64 .wim files and also includes a SWPEFAT32  partition image file which also includes these two WinPEs.

Details of how to obtain this download and how to make the E2B drive, will all be in the eBook.

This means if you make a FAT32 2nd partition on your E2B drive (replace the existing one) containing the files in the download, it should UEFI-boot on any system to WinPE.

Also, you can choose which extension to use for your .imgPTN files:

Ubuntu.imgptn23    - the FAT32 partition is kept

 --- OR ---

Ubuntu.imgptnX4SWPEFAT32 - the SWPEFAT32 partition image file is inserted as Ptn4

If you wanted to keep your 2nd partition as NTFS, you would have to use the X4 file extension.

The download also includes MemTest86 which you can run if you include rEFInd in your .imgPTN files and you can also MBR-boot to WinPE32\64 if you really want to.

If you do add a second FAT32 partition containing these files, there are some disadvantages however (such as some systems will not allow you to MBR-boot from the E2B USB drive!). These issues + workarounds are discussed in the eBook too.

UEFI-booting is easier if you add rEFInd when you make your .imgPTN image files, but this will 'break' Secure Boot, so adding rEFInd is a choice you will need to make.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

E2B v1.B0m Beta available

Changes in latest E2B v1.B0m Beta are:
1. Update Portuguese language file (thanks to Jeider)
2. Fix bug if running a .imgptnX4 file and X4 filename is longer than 14 characters.
3. Fix bug if '3GB', '4GB', '32' or '64' found in X4 filename it could prevent file from being listed in menu.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

UEFI-multiboot for E2B now supports UEFI 32-bit and 64-bit

I have made a dual WinPE partition image for use with Easy2Boot X4 files.
This allows you to select and boot from a variety of UEFI payloads on an E2B USB drive without the need to Legacy\CSM-boot or find another Windows system to run SWITCH_E2B.exe.

Here is how to do it...

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Latest versions update


Latest versions are here.
  • Easy2Boot v1.B0l
  • MPI Tool Kit 093v11
  • SWITCHPE_russian_mini_v4
  • SWITCH_E2B v1.1.20 
SWITCH_E2B and Easy2Boot will now first look for any second auxiliary image file in the \_ISO file on the second E2B partition. This gets around the problem of having to re-order the two files.


e.g. So both these arrangement of files will now work...

Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64.imgptn  (this image is set as Ptn1 when switched in)
Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64         (this image is set as Ptn3 when switched in - file must follow the first one on the disk or it will not UEFI-boot on some systems)

New:
Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64.imgptn  (this image is set as Ptn1 when switched in)
Ptn2: \_ISO\Ubuntu64               (this image is set as Ptn3 when switched in)

In the second case, the second file will always follow the first one because it is on the second partition.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Latest news and updates for E2B + rEFInd

I have been testing various combinations of partition types on different systems and also had some feedback from users.

The latest version of E2B and SWITCH_E2B.exe has a few changes and bug fixes.

The X4 file can now also be placed on the 2nd partition of your E2B USB drive. This solves the problem of having to re-order the two files if they are not in the correct order for UEFI-booting.

e.g.
Ptn1: \_ISO\MAINMENU\Ubuntux64.imgptnX4SwitchPE   (FAT32 .imgPTN file with rEFInd)
Ptn2: \_ISO\SwitchPE                              (partition image containing WinPE)

The latest versions at the time of writing are:

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Add Notfall 13 2019 ISO to E2B

Here is how to add the German Notfall 13 2019 ISO to E2B.

You can simply add the ISO to one of the E2B menu folders.

If you want to change the menu system configuration files or want a 'flat file' installation so it can store updates (?), etc. and UEFI-boot you may want to create a .imgPTN file for it.

These instructions stems from a thread on reboot.pro here.

Note that to test it under VirtualBox, you need to pick one of the Safe Mode (old PC) options or else it will crash!

Create 'flat file' .imgPTN image

Monday, 25 March 2019

MPI Tool Kit v0.093 Beta with rEFInd (UEFI-multibooting of different .imgptn files is now possible)

New Betas for UEFI-multiboot support without needing to MBR-boot!

E2B v1.B0i Beta and MPI Tool Pack v0.093v7 Beta will allow you to select any UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file without needing to CSM boot or needing to run SWITCH_E2B on a different Windows system.

Each .imgPTN file must include rEFInd so that when it UEFI-boots, the rEFInd manager is loaded.

You can then choose to boot to the UEFI payload (linux, KonBoot, Windows Installer, etc.) OR boot to WinPE and run SWITCH_E2B.exe where you can choose to load a different .imgPTN file.

The new MakePartImage only fully supports adding a 64-bit WinPE UEFI, but you can add both 32-bit and 64-bit WinPEs using the X4 method or the second partition method (see below). Since pure 32-bit UEFI systems are quite rare, I have not catered for them in MakePartImage.

Outline of new changes:

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

E2B v1.B0h available

This version v1.B0h has a few very small tweaks to the Make_E2B.exe GUI but I also have removed nircmd.exe from the SDI_CHOCO folder because this was causing some AV software problems when downloading or extracting E2B.

nircmd.exe is still used by SDI_CHOCO and it still speaks to you as the installation proceeds, because it extracts the file during the Specialize pass.


Friday, 15 March 2019

Add 'SuperinSecureUEFI-Boot' to your E2B USB drive

There are two projects on GitHub which are of interest to USB-booters.
This was mentioned on reboot.pro recently and also pointed out to me by Alex G.

The first project (by thias) is a multiboot menu system based on grub2 called 'glim'. It automatically detects .iso files and builds a menu each time it boots (does it sound familiar?). It supports UEFI and MBR booting.

The second project (by ValdikSS) includes 'glim' and is a UEFI+MBR multiboot project which allows you to UEFI Secure Boot, UEFI-boot or MBR-boot and then run secure or unsecure payloads from the grub2 menu system.

The downside is that for Secure Boot, you have to register the bespoke grub2 efi file using a certificate that is provided. This adds the certificate into the NVRAM of the system UEFI firmware and so it 'changes' the target system.

Set the timeout so it autoboots if you like!


Use the GRUB Live ISO Multiboot menu entry...

I only added one ISO...

Comparison between UEFIinSecureBoot and E2B grub2 menu system v10


  • E2B grub2 allows Secure Boot without using MokManager and so does not change the target system.
  • Both systems can Secure Boot (using MokManager for insecureBoot) and run both secure and insecure ISOs and other non-EFI payloads.
  • UEFIinSecureBoot should Secure Boot and run non-secure EFI payloads ??? (not tested).
  • UEFIinSecureBoot can Secure Boot and access files on an NTFS partition, when Secure booted however, E2B grub2 can only access a FAT partition.
  • Both systems can be expanded by adding more menu files.
  • UEFISecureBoot uses a graphical grub2 theme menu, this type of menu runs very slowly on some systems (E2B grub2 menu system does not use a theme for this reason).
If you want to try this you can download the ready-made .imgPTN23 file here.

Instructions

Thursday, 14 March 2019

E2B v1.B0g Beta now available (Make_E2B.exe now automatically creates 2nd partition if large USB disk)

v1.B0g is now available.

If you make a new E2B USB drive and the USB drive is larger than 128GiB, then the cmd script will now use Windows Diskpart to create a second maximum-sized partition. Note that if you have a >128GiB USB Flash drive (removable-type) then Windows 10 Build 1703 or later is required, otherwise you will just get the usual small 31K 2nd partition.

The filesystem choice is left up to Diskpart to decide - if the second partition is less than 32GB, it will be formatted as FAT32, if larger then it will be formatted as NTFS.

You can still make a single large first partition if you wish, if you run the .cmd file instead of the clicking the big red button in Make_E2B.exe.

Changes from the current v1.A0 released version are:

Sunday, 10 March 2019

E2B 1.B0f available

The latest version is v1.B0f Beta version which has a few small bug fixes.
Check the Version History for details.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

At least two pupils in the same school class will have the same birthday - probably! (the 'Birthday Paradox')

Our old Maths teacher always used to do this trick with every new class intake each year...

First, he would ask the question 'What are the chances that at least two pupils in this class have the same Birthday'?

After asking for our guesses, he would ask anyone in the class to raise their hand if they had a Birthday in January. Then he would ask each of the pupils who had raised a hand to shout out the day they were born on, e.g.Tom shouts '21st', Victor shouts '12th', etc. and then he would go on to February, etc. until someone else shouted out 'YES' if they had the same Birthday.

Theoretically, with a class size of 30 pupils, there is a 70% chance that two or more pupils in the same class will share the same Birthday (and probably the same birth-year as well). Our Maths teacher would tell us that he would explain this when we came to study probabilities, but he also said something else which peaked our curiosity...

He said that he had been doing this test for many years now and with many classes, and that he has found that the probability was actually much better than the theoretical 70% figure!

He would then ask if anyone could think of why this should be?

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

E2B v1.B0b Beta available (install windows 7 on modern USB 3 systems)

Download latest E2B v1.B0 Beta
  • Bugfix in countfiles.g4b for windows ISOs with .iso324GB suffixes not being counted properly (the Windows folder had to have at least one .iso or .imgPTN file to be shown in menu - now it will work even if only one .iso32 or .iso4GB etc. file is present).
  • ALT_ISO variable support added and \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\Install Windows 7 with USB 3 (WinNTSetup).mnu for installing Win7 on modern systems.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

E2B v1.B0a Beta now available


This version (E2B v1.B0a Beta) has a few new features:
  • Some new file extension suffixes are now recognised:
       NCQ (non-contiguous+quiet)
       QUIETP (redir+redirp)
       QUIET   (redir)
  • .isoboot file extension now supported - will boot a non-contiguous linux iso using isoboot only

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

E2B v1.A9 is now released!

v1.A9 2019-02-19 Includes a new file extension override feature, a new WinNTSetup feature and a new filename sort prefix feature.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

E2B v1.A9k Beta available (with new sort override prefix feature)

This version also has a new 'sort prefix override' feature,

As you know, E2B will alphabetically sort the menu entries.

This means that Mint.iso will always be listed before Ubuntu.iso unless you rename the Mint.iso file to zMint.iso.

However, the E2B menu will then list the file as zMint.iso, so then you need to make a .txt file (zMint.txt) so that the menu entry looks nice.

The new feature in E2B 1.A9k allows you to avoid having to make a .txt file - you just rename the payload file using a sort prefix override.

The new sort prefix override

Sunday, 10 February 2019

E2B v1.A9h and v1.A9i

Note: Version 1.A9i has now been added.

1.A9h has the following changes from v1.A8:
  1. New feature: can use extension override xxxxxx_.(override).iso in filename - e.g. hirens_.isowinvh.iso - override must start with _. and works for any extension. The extra _.fileext.xxx text is removed from the menu entry if EXTOFF=1 is set.
  2. New feature: xxxxx_.WinNTSetup.iso now causes any Windows install ISO (except XP) to run WinNTSetup automatically and supports dual x86+x64 ISOs - you can also use your own batch file to automate WinNTSetup by using the STARTUP variable in a .mnu file (blog here).
  3. Improvement: Make_E2B.exe now has graphical buttons.
  4. Improvement: E2B_Editor.exe revised to add 4 extra options for centering menu text, etc.
  5. Improvement: minor changes to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst for small speed improvements.
  6. Improvement: remove countiso.g4b to speed up enumeration of Windows ISOs.
  7. Improvement: .imgPTN code in QRUN.g4b now checks for grub4dos backup sector at LBA1.
  8. Improvement: QRUN.g4b now detects HAIKU ISOs and suggests using the .HAIKU file extension.
  9. Improvement: Windows Install ISO 'Repair only' prompt now changed to 'Repair\Setup' because pressing ENTER will now boot using WIMBOOT and so the ISO will be loaded as a virtual DVD and Setup will run without using an XML file.
  10. Improvement: Util_Man.exe hack now launches control panel automatically.
  11. Extra: added netrunner+persistence sample mnu file.
  12. Bugfix: in QRUN.g4b for redir not suppressing all output if NOSUG is set.
  13. Bugfix: fix QEMU_MENU_TEST bug when 9 or more drives in system.
  14. Bugfix: TimeAccess.g4b sometimes miscalculated.
  15. Bugfix: QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b now does not use reserved memory at (md)0x230.
  1. Improvement: extension override now works for '32', '64', '3GB' and '4GB' suffixes so the menu entry is not listed in the E2B menu - e.g. Win10x64_.isodef64.iso - the menu entry is only listed on 64-bit systems.
  2. Improvement: use --mem --top instead of --mem where the payload may be very large, e.g. Win10.vhdmem.



Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Microsoft have now blocked the Windows UtilMan.exe password hack... but you can still use it - if you know how!

Since about September 2018, Microsoft's malware detection software will attempt to detect if the UtilMan.exe file has been changed and will delete the 'bad' UtilMan.exe file.

This should mean that replacing the UtilMan.exe file with the cmd.exe file as a means of gaining access to a Windows OS without knowing any user password should no longer be possible and the E2B UtilMan Hack will no longer work.

However, if you boot to Windows in Safe Mode, it delays the removal of a 'bad' UtilMan.exe file by approx. 30 seconds and this is long enough for us to use it to run a cmd batch file and create a new ADMIN user account.

I have updated the UtilMan hack instructions now and revised the .cmd files in E2B v1.A8f Beta to work around the new protection.

Monday, 28 January 2019

E2B v1.A9e Beta available

I have improved the WinNTSetup and WIMBOOT support in E2B.

Download v1.A9e here.

Changes are:

Sunday, 27 January 2019

E2B v1.9Ad Beta available

The v1.9Ad Beta version supports the automatic launching of WinNTSetup from a Windows ISO.

You can now cause a Windows NT6-based install ISO (Vista to Server 2019) to boot and run WinNTSetup and automatically load the same Windows install ISO as the WinNTSetup source file.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

E2B v1.A9b Beta has new extension override feature

By special request, you can now make an ISO run as if it had a different file extension under E2B by changing it's filename...

v1.A9c allows any extension to be used (not just ending in .iso) and does not display the ._xxxxx part in the menu either (so Ubuntu 64-bit_.imgptn23auto.imgptn appears in the menu as Ubuntu 64-bit).

ubuntu64_.isodef.iso will run without prompting the user.

Force a different file extension (E2B v1.A9+)


Filename format:                filename_.forceextension.iso

Note: _. is mandatory, forceextension can be any extension recognised by E2B.

Examples:       msdart6_.isoPE01.iso                    (runs as if .isoPE01)
                       Windows8_x64_.isodef.iso            (does not prompt user with suggestions)

For example, if you have an ISO file but you want it to run as if it had a .isofira01 file extension, you can add _.isofira01 as a file override to the end of the filename but before the file extension of .iso.

A file  'myxp.iso' can be run as if it had the .isofira01 file extension if you give it a name myxp_.isofira01.iso.

This means that the file will keep the .ISO extension which may be more convenient if you are using a Zalman\IODD device as your E2B drive or if you want to keep the file extension unchanged for other reasons such as loading it into ImDisk or an ISO editor or mounting it with Windows Explorer.

E2B grub2 menu system Beta10 is now available

You can download the new grub2 menu system files from the Alternate Download Areas or click here.

The web page http://www.easy2boot.com/uefi-grub2-ptn2/ has been updated with the new changes.

Secure Boot

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Cheap SSDs for your E2B USB drive from Amazon



The TC Sunbow SSD 120GB $21 ($29 for 240GB) plus a $10 enclosure is a cost-effective alternative to a Corsair GTX 128GB $73 or Sandisk Extreme Pro $39.50.




You can buy an Inatek USB SATA disk enclosure for just $10.

And when you don't need it anymore or if you want to buy a bigger drive, you can use it to upgrade your old laptop.

We all need plenty of flash memory...

The rover's Mars mission was almost a failure on 21st January 2004 due to software, a DOS-based filesystem and not enough flash memory - here's what happened...

Monday, 21 January 2019

Boot Windows Install ISOs from the E2B grub2 menu system

If you want to, you can add all your Windows Install ISOs to the E2B grub2 menu system which uses wimboot to load the boot.wim from inside the ISO and then uses ImDisk to load the ISO as a virtual DVD under WinPE. You do not need to modify the Microsoft Windows Install ISO in any way.

BUT you can only MBR-boot from them, UEFI-booting from ISO files is not supported.

I have added instructions at the bottom of Tutorial 145 on the RMPrepUSB site for the E2B grub2 menu system.


E2B v1.A9a Beta available

v1.A9a Beta



  • New version of Make_E2B.exe with graphical buttons (because many non-English speaking users seem to ignore the big red button and click on the small Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd button and then they don't understand all the English questions!). 
  • Changes to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst for small speed improvements.
  • Improve speed on Windows ISo counting and remove countiso.g4b batch file.
  • Bugfix in .imgPTN code in QRUN.g4b now checks for grub4dos backup sector at LBA1 to prevent unnecessary LBA30 error message. 
  • Add netrunner+persistence sample mnu file.
  • Bugfix QRUN.g4b - redir not suppressing all output if NOSUG set.
  • Bugfix in TimeAccess.g4b - sometimes miscalculated.
  • Bugfix in QAUTO.g4b and AUTOMN.g4b (used reserved memory at (md)0x230).

Saturday, 19 January 2019

How to switch back to the E2B partition from a linux OS when using .imgPTN files and UEFI-booting

When you UEFI-boot from a FAT32 .imgPTN file (after you have 'switched' it in), then there is no front-end boot manager. Whatever payload you have used is directly booted to. In this way E2B can secure-UEFI-boot to many different types of payloads without any issues or complications caused by other bootloaders/bootmanagers getting in the way.

The problem is that if you only have access to systems which will ONLY UEFI-boot, then it is difficult to change the payload to something else!

Friday, 18 January 2019

Fix issues with VirtualBox v6 and VMUB (fix --startvm error)

The new version 6 of Oracle VirtualBox has changed executables and so it has (deliberately!) broken backwards compatibility with all earlier scripts, shortcuts and applications which call VirtualBox.



This includes DavidB's VMUB application. To make VMUB work with the new VBox 6 version:

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Add NetRunner ISO with persistence to E2B

You can add persistence to a NetRunner Live ISO using a .mnu file.



Here is one for 19.01. Just follow the instructions in the .mnu file. I used a 500MB persistence file.

The kernel parameters were discovered by looking at the live.cfg file from inside the ISO.

The name of the persistence file does not have to be netrun-rw. You can have multiple .mnu files and multiple persistence files if you wish.

If you want to move the persistence file to the same folder as the .ISO file, then specify $HOME$/netrun-rw for the PF variable value.


Prevent Windows 10 from blocking 'infected' downloads

If you have the default Windows 8\10 antivirus features  active, you may find that sometimes Windows will prevent you from downloading a file that it 'thinks' is infected with malware but that you know is clean.

If you have installed a 3rd-party AV solution, you are often given the choice to keep and use the file anyway, but not with the standard Windows 10 download manager.

The registry fragment below allows you to download the file and keep it (but you may still get a warning from Windows Defender if it thinks it contains malware).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Attachments]
"ScanWithAntiVirus"=dword:00000002


Save these 3 lines to a file called DontBlockDownloadedFiles.reg and double-click on it to change your Registry setting.

Then reboot (or log off and on again) to make the setting active.

The default value is normally 3. A value of 1 prevents any warning from being given.

1 = always allow downloads
2 = warn if positive
3 = block if positive

Tip: After downloading the file, check it using virustotal.com (if you install the app, you can right-click on the file to check it).

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

E2B v1.A8 is now released!

The new v1.A8.exe download is released and can be downloaded here.

It can also be used to update the DPMS version of E2B.

The E2B website will be updated with this new version in a day or so.

Note: If you updated to RC1 previously, you may find two copies of Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI) in the \_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST folder, delete the Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI).imgPTN file and keep the Passmark Memtest86 (MBR+UEFI).imgPTN file.

I have also updated the two E2B eBooks. You can use the link in your confirmation email to download the new version(s) if you wish. The changes are very minor and just add that you may no longer need a WinHelper flash drive if your E2B drive is of the fixed-disk type.

List of changes since v1.A7:

Sunday, 13 January 2019

E2B v1.A8 Release Candidate 1 now available

v1.A8_RC1 is now available for testing.

E2B v1.A8 RC1
Press ENTER to Skip WIMBOOT if it causes a problem (e.g. <1GB RAM)

List of changes since v1.A7:

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Has anyone ever seen this error when using E2B?

One user gets this error after selecting any .imgPTN file...



I have never seen it so I would like to know if anyone else is having problems with .imgPTN files before I release the new version of E2B.

You can email me at steve (at) easy2boot (dot) com.

Friday, 11 January 2019

E2B v1.A8j Beta available

v1.A8j Beta has a few more tweaks and a new default background.

Ctrl+F8 hotkey now reloads E2B (useful if the menu stops working properly due to a bad payload failing to boot).

Almost ready for release...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

E2B eBook New Year sale ends Sunday 13th January 2019

The 'Getting started with E2B' eBook is currently available at a reduced price of only $5.

If you also purchase the 'How install Windows' eBook, you can get them both for $11.69 (inc. discount).

Click here for details.

I intend to update both eBooks soon to incorporate the new changes in E2B v1.A8. If you purchase them now, you can get up to 4 revised versions as they become available, by using the email link that will be sent to you at the time of purchase.

E2B v1.A8h Beta now available

v1.A8h - A few more tweaks. Ready for release soon, I think!

I am keen to fully release it because it means USB Hard Disks can now directly boot Windows Install ISOs without needing a WinHelper USB Removable flash drive - also testing them in a VM is now easy!


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

E2B v1.A8f/g Beta available

This Beta v1.A8f  has extra code so that typical All-In-One ISOs such as the Murphy Install ISOs will hopefully 'just work' when placed in either a standard menu folder or one of the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxxx folders. This means you can run a 'Murphy's 24-in-One Windows Install ISO' and his scripts will run correctly.

Note: v1.A8g has a couple of bug fixes: (1) XP install using WinPE now can use WIMBOOT, (2) repair option when user hits ENTER when selecting Windows 8/10 install ISO now works, (3) .iso01 file extension fixed.

I have been experimenting with the startup files in WinPE but found there is a lot of bad, inaccurate and misleading information about the WinPE startup process on the web! I could not find a complete and accurate description or flowchart anywhere, even the Microsoft documentation was inaccurate (no surprise there then)!

I think I have now worked out how WinPE actually starts up and how the various files are used.

I have done quite a bit of testing using Windows Install ISOs...

The 'correct' WinPE startup process is actually this...

Sunday, 6 January 2019

E2B v1.A8e available

This version v1.A8e has a few more tweaks including a fix for Setup giving a 'We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" error which prevents installing from a Windows ISO when booted from a standard folder.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

E2B v1.A8d updated

Version v1.A8d was updated on 2019-01-05 for language strings + other tweaks. Please download it again and update your E2B drive.

Version v1.A8e has a few more tweaks including a fix for Setup with WIMBOOT giving a 'We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" error which prevents installing from a Windows ISO when booted from a standard folder. It turns out this error message which you see when selecting a drive to install to at the beginning of Setup, is due to Windows Setup identifying the Removable USB flash drive as the 'boot' disk or 'system' disk - Windows needs to install the boot files to the 'boot disk' of the PC but it refuses if it thinks that a Removable drive is the boot disk. The usual fix is to remove all other Removable media, including SD cards and other USB drives, then switch off (not restart) and on again.This is also the reason why sometimes you can install Windows using a USB hard disk, but when you reboot, you find that the boot files have been installed onto the USB hard disk instead of the internal 'first' hard disk - and the system will only boot to Windows if you boot from the USB hard disk!

One main difference is that if set NOHELPER=1 in your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file, then WIMBOOT will not be used if there is not sufficient RAM in the system (Vista requires 800MB, Win8/10 requires approx 1.3GB).

NOHELPER is a variable which means that your USB drive is of the Removable type (hence E2B does not need to look for a WinHelper flash drive). It is usually set by the Make_E2B .exe or .cmd file when you make the E2B USB drive.

WIMBOOT will still be used if you place your Windows Install ISO in a normal E2B menu folder however.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

E2B v1.A8c/d Betas now available

This version v1.A8c  now has support for the .isoPELD and isoPELD1 file extension.

Also version v1.A8d now includes support for dual-architecture 32\64-bit Windows Install ISOs with WIMBOOT. Note: v1.A8d was updated on 2019-01-05 for language strings + other tweaks.

Using the .isoPELD file extension causes an ISO containing a \sources\boot.wim file to boot as usual, but then uses WIMBOOT and ImDisk to load the ISO as a Virtual CD\DVD (usually as drive Y:) so that the files inside the ISO are automatically available to WinPE. .isoPELD runs image #2 in boot.wim while .isoPELD1 runs image #1 in boot.wim. I have not actually found a use for these yet however!

This new Beta version also fixes some typos in all the Sample Disk1 XML files for use with VMs. It seems that Setup is case-sensitive and I had accidentally used...

<Diskid>1</DiskID>

instead of

<DiskID>1</DiskID>

which causes Setup to complain about a bad XML file at line xx in C:\AutoUnattend.xml!

By using VirtualBox+VMUB and the Disk1 XML files, you can now test out an automated install (including an SDI_CHOCO install). Note that you need to allocate 1.5GB or more of RAM to the VM.

See also the previous blog for other changes.

Brief instructions for testing an SDI_CHOCO installation under VBox

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

E2B v1.A8b/c Beta now available

This version v1.A8c should now automatically boot Windows Install ISOs (Vista to Server 2019, but not dual 32\64-bit ISOs) from any of the E2B menu folders.

The E2B USB drive does not need to be of the Removable type.

For example, just copy your Windows 7, 8 or Windows 10 install ISO to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

\_ISO\MAINMENU\Windows 10 1809 64-bit UK NCQ.iso

The ISO does not need to be (very) contiguous, so you can prevent E2B from complaining if it is not contiguous and prevent it from showing the usual E2B messages and prompts by ensuring the name ends in 'NCQ.iso'.  You can instead use .isodef as a file extension to suppress E2B suggestions but E2B will expect the file to be contiguous and may complain if it is not!

The file name can contain spaces if you wish or you can make a matching .txt file for it in the usual way.

Note that for Win8, 8.1 and early Win 10 ISOs, you will need to input a generic installation Product Key when prompted by Windows Setup. You cannot specify an XML file (you must place the ISO file in one of the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders if you want to use an XML file and suppress the Product Key prompt).

Let me know if you find any issues...