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

1. Install VirtualBox and VMUB and prepare a new Virtual Machine with a 20GB hard disk as SATA Disk 1 (not 0) with 2GB RAM and NAT for the network setting.
2. Copy a Win10 or Win8 ISO to the appropriate folder on the E2B drive.
3. Copy one of the sample VM WipeDisk1 SDI_CHOCO XML files to the same \_ISO\WINDOWS\WINxx folder (sample XML files can be found in subfolders - just copy one).
4. Copy \_ISO\WINDOWS\installs\CONFIGS\SDI_CHOCO\Sample_MyStartup.cmd to the same folder and rename it to \_ISO\WINDOWS\installs\CONFIGS\SDI_CHOCO\MyStartup.cmd
5. Create a NoInternet.tag file in the same folder to prevent SDI_CHOCO from complaining about no internet access during the first pass.
6. (optional) - run \_ISO\WINDOWS\installs\SNAPPY\SDIO_auto.bat under Windows and download the latest version of the Application + Index + any drivers you wish (network drivers are always useful). For the VM, the network should work, but you may need to add drivers for audio, etc. Tip: Do NOT click on the green button because this will install drivers onto your Windows system.
7. Now boot to E2B using VMUB and select your ISO and your XML file (do NOT use a Disk0 XML file or else it will wipe your E2B drive!).

Tip: If you set the E2B default menu entry to the 'F7 Boot to HDD' entry and set a 5 second timeout, the E2B menu system will automatically reboot back to the virtual hard disk after each restart.

You should find that it automatically installs Windows complete with drivers (if you added any in step 6) and three extra apps (Classic Shell, Chrome and WinRaR). Log files are written to C:\temp.

In some circumstances, Setup may install boot files and bootloader sectors onto the E2B USB drive instead of the virtual hard disk! You can fix the E2B USB drive by re-installing grub4dos to the MBR and PBR of the E2B drive using RMPrepUSB. If you want to fix the Virtual HDD, you will need to boot to WinPE and run Bootbcd to install the bootsectors and boot files onto the virtual HDD.

Read more about SDI_CHOCO here.

If the installation is not quite fully automated, you may need to tweak the XML file to match your ISO. For more details, read my eBook on Windows Installs here.