Tuesday, 25 February 2020

E2B v1.B9j Beta available + grub4dos bug discovered

This version fixes the issue where Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd did not make a CONTIG.ISO file when requested.

It also now searches on Partition 3 for partition image files which have no file extension.

e.g.
Ptn1: \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10 x64.imgPTN23    (FAT32 boot files)
Ptn3: \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10 x64    (NTFS >4GB INSTALL.WIM)

The Win10 x64 file (which has no extension) can either be in the root of the volume or in \_ISO or in the same path as the .imgPTN file. The file name should not have any dot in it or else it will be treated as having an extension.

This means the .imgPTN23 file can be the FAT32 boot partition and the file with no extension can be the NTFS volume containing your large install.wim file. You can secure boot and install >4GB install.wim files in this way. Instructions are on the agFM E2B page here.


Grub4dos bug discovered!

agFM v1.19 now available

v1.19 2020-02-25 - This version has a few bug fixes and improvements. The main one is support of .imgPTN and auxilliary partition images on partition 3 (no extension).
  • WinBuilder ISOs (e.g. Gandalf) now should work correctly (no yellow triangle desktop icon) when using (map) option or .isoPE file extension.
  • Support multiple .imgPTN files
  • Add support for WinPE .ini files and wipe on boot
  • Wipe \autounattend.xml and \unattend.xml in case booting from a Windows Install partition
  • Latest build of a1ive grub2 - improved File Manager
See the agFM page for more details.

About .imgPTN files

Saturday, 22 February 2020

agFM v1.17 available

This version has a few bug fixes, the menu font has been changed too and a1ive has added fat file rename\copy support to grub and the agFM menu system.

Friday, 21 February 2020

ESET + persistent updates instructions now revised

The previous Eset blog article was tested (with much frustration) by 'Pusher' who could not get the Eset SysRescue app to auto-run.

It turns out that my instructions were wrong and the ext3 persistence file must be copied from a working Eset flash drive (as detailed in a previous blog).

I have revised the previous instructions now and provided a download for the persistence file to make it easier to set up.

Sorry for any frustration that this may have caused anyone!

Trouble finding WinPE ISOs?

Recently, it seems very hard to find WinPE ISOs such as Gandalfs PE,  Bob Omb's WinPEs, Medicat, DLC Boot, etc. and some websites (like theoven.org) seem go up and down faster than a tarts knickers!

Other sites just seem to be blocked (by Windows? AV? Browser?) and request a username and password but don't let you sign up first!

Google also seems to have a hard time returning meaningful results too.

After a few hours of looking for various bootable ISOs I eventually found:

https://www.fcportables.com/boot-iso/

They seem to have a good selection and the download is not too hard to get to!

P.S. I am not recommending this site and have no connection with it. Please ensure you take any necessary anti-malware precautions when downloading from it!

Thursday, 20 February 2020

agFM v1.16 available

This version has a few bug fixes to the SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file.
E2B v1.B9i Beta is also available which has a few small bugfixes to the Make_e2b_usb_drive.cmd menu.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

agFM v1.15 now supports a user theme menu

a1ive has very kindly added support for a user-configurable theme or a user-specified text+wallpaper menu system.

v1.15 includes a slightly modified theme.

Configure a startup menu with a background for agFM

Currently, the agFM menu system can either use the internal theme ('slack') or you can switch it to Terminal mode

However, you can define a startup menu and populate the menu entry with specific payload entries of your choice.

The startup menu will use the same 'slack' theme, but you can change it to use a non-themed menu.

You can specify the resolution (1024x768 recommended), text colours and either a pure colour background or a wallpaper image (stretched or normal and you can use .png, .tga, .jpg or .jpeg).



Tuesday, 18 February 2020

rev 2.15 of eBook #1 How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot now available

The new version has a few small revisions.

Getting started with Easy2Boot_rev2.15.pdf

Use the download link in the email that was sent to you if you want this version.

Latest release of agFM v1.14 and E2B Beta v1.B9h available

agFM has improved support for WinPE ISO booting. If the extension is .ISO then choose the 'Install Windows' option. If the extension is .isoPE then it will automatically use that option.

E2B v1.B9h has an improved Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd script (used to make an E2B drive) which allows you to define up to three partitions and automatically downloads and adds the current version of agFM to the new E2B drive.

Monday, 17 February 2020

agFM v1.13 now available

v1.13 2020-02-17 
  1. File extensions of .isodef, .isodefault, .isodd, .iso01, .iso32, .iso64, .isoPE or .isoPE01 will now immediately boot the ISO (using Easy2Boot\partnew method).
  2. Add diagnostic menu entry to users startup_menu.txt.
  3. Support E2B-style MBR-booting of .iso* and .wim files which have spaces in their filenames.
  4. Display grub2 menu icons in menu after selecting the ISO (e.g. Manjaro ISO will display Manjaro icon after selection).
  5. Clear empty type 0 partitions on boot.
  6. Various bug fixes in a1ives grub2 and File Manager.
Most Linux iso will boot if you give them a file extension of .isodef (or .isodefault) in both agFM and E2B menu system. If you leave them as .iso, you will need to pick the required boot method from a secondary agFM menu.

Download Area for agFM Beta here.

If you require a different language, extract and overwrite the files using one of the language .zip files from the Languages sub-folder - Note: you must update to v1.13 first.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

agFM v1.12 now available

This version has a new feature to only list bootable\actionable files.

agFM Beta download folder is here.

Now, by default, files such a .XML , .BMP., .JPG., .BAK, .CMD, .GZ, .BAT, .MNU and all other non-bootable files are not shown in the agFM file menu.

This makes it much quicker to navigate the E2B folder structure.

I have also added two new .cfg files in case you want all files to be listed in the agFM menu.

  • SHOW ALL FILES (agFM).cfg
  • SHOW ONLY BOOT FILES (agFM).cfg




If you want your agFM system to always show all files on startup (as with previous versions of agFM), then create a \boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt file on the agFM partition and add in this line at the top of the file:

grubfm_set --hide 0

If you do not want a startup menu to be shown, just set the timeout and default to 0.




Friday, 14 February 2020

agFM v1.11 now available

a1ive has made a small change so that we can have an initial boot menu on booting the agFM.

This means it is possible to set a default menu item + timeout.

Here is a sample menu which offers three menu choices and will default to select a Windows 10 ISO on timeout...



To configure your own menu, rename the \boot\grubfm\SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file to startup_menu.txt.

Here is the contents of the sample menu...

\boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt

Thursday, 13 February 2020

agFM v1.10 now available

a1ive has made some changes to allow us to customise the agFM.

The main change with this version is that when you select a .cfg file, it will immediately run it as a grub2 file without needing to select the 'Open as grub2 menu' option.

Note that the 'Cancel' or 'Back' option in any existing .cfg files that you may have made will now not work correctly and will just reload the .cfg file again - you will need to edit them. Compare your .cfg file with the example files to see what lines have changed...

e.g. change lines in existing .cfg file from...

grubfm "${grubfm_file}"
to
grubfm "${grubfm_current_path}"

Similarly with .imgPTN* files - just select them and they will now immediately run.

Download Area for agFM Beta here.

To update, just extract the files from the .zip file to your FAT32 agFM volume.

Windows 10 'Print' function is now launching OneNote!!!

My Windows 10 system ran a large Windows Update today and now whenever I try to print a document, OneNote launches instead!

The solution is to set the Default Printer back to your desired printer using Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Devices and Printers.

Right-click on the printer device and choose 'Set as default printer'.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Add ESET + persistence to E2B+agFM

Recent versions of the ESET antivirus ISO have changed the way they use a persistent ext partition.




ESET will now only store the virus definition update files on an ext3 partition with a specific volume name of ESR-USB-DAT and it must be located as Primary Partition 2 (2nd partition) on the USB drive.

This change means that it won't work as a normal xxxx.imgPTN+xxxxx image pair in E2B because the persistent partition is mapped to partition 3 by Easy2Boot.

This means we need to modify the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file.

If you have made an E2B multiboot USB drive with the a1ive grub2 File System on the 2nd FAT32 partition, then you can add a UEFI64-bootable (and MBR-bootable) version of ESET with persistence by using a special .cfg file.

Instructions

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

agFM v1.9 now available


  • Few minor bugfixes
  • Improve .imgPTN switching
  • Reduced menu font size
Download agFM v1.9

Monday, 10 February 2020

A1ive grub2 File Manager v1.7/1.7A available (with .imgPTN support built-in)

a1ive has now added support for user-definable file extensions, so agFM v1.7A now automatically recognises the following extra file extensions:
  • .imgPTN
  • .imgPTN23
  • .imgPTNauto
  • .imgPTN23auto

Friday, 7 February 2020

E2B v1.B8A released

v1.B8 had a few bugs, so v1.B8A fixes these.
v1.B8A does not include the modifications for agFM or user-definable partition sizes as in v1.B9g Beta.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Secure Boot of large Windows Install ISOs with agFM

If your Windows Install ISO is very large and contains a 4GB+ install.wim or install.esd file, then you can still Secure Boot to the agFM then boot from an NTFS partition.

1. Make a .imgPTN23 NTFS image file using the MPI Tool Kit (drag-and-drop onto the MPI_NTFS Desktop icon).
2. Copy it to your E2B NTFS partition.
3. Copy agFM_imgPTN_NTFS_v16.cfg to your E2B NTFS partition (e.g. \agFM folder).
4. Change the name of the .cfg file to whatever you like (keep .cfg extension).
5. Edit the .cfg file to set the file path of your image file and its image type.

Now you can switch in the NTFS image file, reboot and use the F3 menu to boot to (hd0,msdos1).

Note: Later versions fix a few bugs and allow us to simply select the .imgPTN23 file so that a .cfg file is not needed.



Wednesday, 5 February 2020

E2B v1.B9g Beta available

This version v1.B9g will now ask if you want to download and add the agFM UEFI boot files to the E2B drive after it has been made. The agFM files are then automatically added to the E2B drive for you.

However, it only asks you if the second partition is a FAT partition and it is larger than 60MB.

If you just click the large red arrow button in Make_E2B.exe, then you will get a FAT32 2nd partition of approx. 600MB by default - or use the Gear Wheel button to specify what partition sizes you want.


Tuesday, 4 February 2020

E2B v1.B9f Beta

This version 1.B9f just has some changes to the Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd script which is used to make the E2B drive by the Make_E2B.exe GUI.

Changes are:

Monday, 3 February 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.5 now available

The 'E2B UEFI File Manager v1.5.zip' latest version is now available from here.

I have modified the RESTORE_E2B.cfg file and there is a new version of agFM_imgPTN_v15.cfg (for switching in .imgPTN files).

Latest grub2 build (todays build)

The second FAT32 partition can be type 0B or type 0C now (some partition tools seem to create type 0B FAT32 partitions).


Saturday, 1 February 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.4 now available (with .imgPTN support)

The grub2 developer a1ive has done some fantastic work and has added more features to grub2 which means we can update partitions even under UEFI.

The 'E2B UEFI File Manager v1.4.zip' latest version is now available from here.

This version allows you to 'switch-in' any .imgPTN file or restore the E2B partitions from within a1ive's grub2 File Manager (agFM).

By switching in a Windows 10 .imgPTN23 file, we can Secure UEFI64-boot and install Windows 10 on a Secure system.

To update, just copy extract the files to overwrite the current files on your FAT32 partition.

Note: This is in Beta development and you could possibly lose all your data on the E2B drive! I haven't lost any data yet however.

It assumes that your first two partitions are:
Ptn1: NTFS Primary (type 07)
Ptn2: FAT32 Primary (type 0C)

Thursday, 30 January 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.3 now available

a1ive has fixed a few small bugs and enhanced the grub2 features.

v1.3 contains the latest grub2 files and I have also added some WinPE files (except for a WinPE 64-bit \sources\SWITCH_X64.wim file which you can add yourself).

It is now possible to UEFI-boot to the File Manager and select a .cfg file which will then switch in a particular .imgPTN file and then reboot to the new image. You do not need to boot to WinPE to switch in the .imgPTN file.

Monday, 27 January 2020

UEFI64 Secure Boot to a1ive grub2 File Manager to the Windows 10 Installer

The UEFI64 Secure Boot seems to work quite well even on systems which are set to 'UEFI: Microsoft OS only' except when installing Windows 10 from an ISO.

The solution for this seems to be that we must boot from a Windows 10 .imgPTN file, so we

1. Secure UEFI64-boot to agFM
2. Boot to WinPE
3. Run Switch_E2B.exe and switch in our Windows 10 .imgPTN23 image file
4. Reboot from the new partition and install Windows 10
5. Reboot to agFM and switch back in the E2B partition

I have added the instructions on how to add in the WinPE files here.

It would be nice to not have to boot to WinPE and run SWITCH_E2B.exe, but I am not sure that grub2 can do this like grub4dos can (P.S. see agFM v1.3 for a solution!).

The other alternative is to use agFM to boot to WinPE and then run WinNTSetup.exe from WinPE - this can install directly from a Win10 ISO and there is no need to use .imgPTN files.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

E2B v1.B9d Beta available

Changes from v1.B8 are:
  • The E2B menu system will ignore .grubfm files and .cfg files which are not grub4dos batch files (in case added for a1ive grub2 file manager)
  • Bugfix for Windows ISOs + XML files (unattend answer file error fixed)
  • Bugfix for firadisk/strelec ISO booting
  • Bugfix in NTBOOT for .wim booting when using grub2 File Manager
  • Language file for Simplified Chinese STRINGS.txt updated (thanks to a1ive)
  • Change to MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script to leave 100MB+ at end of the USB drive so a 2nd FAT32 partition can be easily added without needing to resize the E2B drive.
If you make a new E2B drive now, it will leave approx. 100MB of free unused space on the drive (or if a >128GB drive, it will make a large NTFS partition #2). This allows the user to easily delete the 2nd partition and make a new FAT32 partition of 100MB, so they can easily add the grub2 a1ive File Manager UEFI boot files.

I may add an option to add the UEFI files into the E2B installer later, but I need a lot more feedback from users on how good (or bad) the new UEFI File Manager is.

Download v1.B9d

So please let me have your feedback on the 'a1ive gru2 File Manager' and let me know what works and what doesn't.

KSGER soldering iron reduced in price!

If you are thinking of buying a new soldering iron, it is now available for less than £30 ($35.55) at the moment (via email offer only)!

Create an account with Banggood and subscribe to get newsletters. Use the link in the email that will be sent to you for over £10 discount!

I recommend getting some extra bits at the same time.

See here for details.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

A1ive grub2 File Manager for E2B v1.1 now available.

The latest version has a few improvements and bug fixes to make it more reliable for booting .WIM files.

I have also added a MEMTEST86 folder so that you can boot to the MemTest86 EFI files whenever you like.

Just extract the files straight to your FAT32 2nd partition to update the old version 1.0 files.

v1.1 1Drive Download link
v1.2 includes UEFI32 support

Monday, 20 January 2020

Bugfix in grub_filemanager.mnu (booting .wim files did not work)

If you are using the grub2 File Manager with Easy2Boot and have used the grub_filemanager.mnu menu file in the Main Menu  AND you have an animation on the menu, you may find that direct booting of some WinPE NT6 .WIM files does not work.

To fix this, we need to unmap the floppy drive that the animation uses before we load the grubfm.iso file.

Here is the new grub_filemanager.mnu file (the additional lines are in red)

iftitle [ if exist (hd0,1)/grubfm.iso || if exist (hd0,2)/grubfm.iso ] Grub2 File Manager (a1ive)\nBoot a file using grub2
splashimage --animated=0
map --unmap=0:03 > nul
map --unhook
find --set-root /grubfm.iso
map --mem /grubfm.iso (0xff)
map --hook
chainloader (0xff)
boot


Friday, 17 January 2020

E2B v1.B9b (with bugfix for unattend answer file error when installing Windows)

Alexander reported a problem with E2B v1.B8.

When using an E2B USB Flash drive (removable type), after the Windows Setup 'copy files' stage had completed and the system reboots, if you allow it to boot directly from the internal hard drive, you will see an error message:

'Windows Setup encountered an internal error while loading or searching for an unattend answer file.'


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Direct UEFI64 boot from Tails 2.4 ISO file using a1ive's grub2 File Manager

This .grubfm menu can be added to the same folder as the ISO to get a 'User Menu' option when you select the .iso file. This allows us to UEFI-boot to Tails ISOs.

You must test on a real system (not a Virtual Machine) as it needs to detect a USB boot device.


tails-amd64-4.2.grubfm

Monday, 13 January 2020

E2B "UEFI version"

I have added a new page to the E2B website.
It describes how to add a second FAT32 partition to your E2B USB drive instead of using a .imgPTN file. This means it is more compatible for E2B Removable flash drives when booting Win7/8.1 ISOs.
UEFI-boot and then directly boot from ISO, VHD and WIM files using a1ive's grub2
No need to create .imgPTN files for most payloads. It also supports SDI_CHOCO configuration installs and other XML files.

Download (version 1.0).

Latest a1ive grub2 File manager v1.4 (with Windows 8.1 and XML support)

The new version 1.4 now supports the ability to run a Windows 7/8/10 install ISO with an XML file.

This allows us to:

1. Install any Edition of Windows from a Win7 ISO
2. Install Windows 8.1 without needing to enter a Product Key
3. Install Windows 10 with an unattend.xml file

Just copy your .XML files into the same folder as your ISO

e.g. on your large NTFS partition:
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8  (contains .iso and .xml files)
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN7 (contains .iso and .xml files)
etc.

Download and unzip the latest version of the a1ive .imgPTN23 file (e.g. grub2 File Manager v1.4 (by a1ive).imgptn23auto) - see Alternate Downloads - Other folder for this. Place it in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

Download the Sample_WIN8.1_XML_Files.zip, unpack and place in your Win8 folder.

For Win7 - to choose any Edition, use this XML file.

Use the XML file to choose any Edition in the Win7 ISO.

You can also add .xml files for Windows 7 (to install Home from a Pro ISO file for instance, because Win7 Retail ISOs contain all versions of Windows 7).

Win8...
Navigate to your WIN8 folder and choose an ISO file.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Try this UEFI multiboot E2B drive (just add ISOs)

This E2B drive should run most UEFI payloads once you switch-in the a1ive File Manager.

Once it has been made, just copy your .ISO, .VHD, .VHDX, .WIM, .IMG. EFI, .IPXE payload files to the 3rd NTFS partition then run WinContig or Defraggler to make the ISOs contiguous.

You should then have a USB drive which will Secure or non-Secure UEFI64 boot or non-Secure UEFI32 boot (and MBR boot on some systems too).

It will also allow you to run SWITCHPE so that you can switch out the a1ive File Manager partition and switch in a different .imgPTN file should you need to.

This system is much easier to maintain than the E2B grub2 menu system because you just add (or delete) payload files. No other .imgPTN files need to be made. You can create grub2 menus if you wish however (e.g. UEFI\MBR booting Ubuntu-based ISOs + persistence in my previous blog).

Note: Win8.1 ISOs will require you to enter a Product Key. This can be an installation-only generic key (or you can add a \sources\ei.cfg file into the ISO). Version 1.4 or later also accepts XML unattend files too!

See also here for a E2B UEFI USB drive.

Instructions

Thursday, 9 January 2020

a1ive grub2 file manager menu for Ubuntu with persistence

Here is how to add multiple Ubuntu-based ISOs+persistence to your a1ive grub2 drive.


Instructions

a1ive's grub2 File Manager v1.2

Here is today's version of a1ive's latest grub2 file manager .imgPTN file.

We now have the ability to add our own grub2 menus by adding a .grubfm file which has exactly the same file name as the ISO file.

e.g.


Here we have a .grubfm menu file for the manjaro iso (download link).

The contents of the user-added .grubfm file are:

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Beware of this ATX PSU tester!

I bought an £8 ATX PSU tester from eBay recently.

I had the idea that I could use this as a cheap display panel for a home-built bench power supply which would be based on an ATX PSU plus a Boost/Buck variable voltage+constant current converter. This would save buying separate voltage displays for the PSU outputs (3.3V, 5V, 12V, -12V) and also provide a shunt resistor (which is inside the tester) plus an ATX PSU socket and a warning buzzer if any of the rails were outside of specification, and all for £8.

Note: The shunt resistor is only intended to be powered for a short time and it got too hot if I left it connected for more that 10 minutes.

However, when I tested it on 3 different ATX PSUs, I spotted an issue - can you see the problem in the picture below?

Measure capacitors with a $10 Arduino

Here is my simple Arduino-based Capacitor Meter which requires no additional components or even a breadboard - just add a display (though you can use the Arduino IDE Serial console if you don't have a display).

It uses an Arduino, some jumper wires, a cheap $3 OLED display and a 9V battery - that's it! You just stick the capacitor under test directly into the Arduino sockets.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

E2B v1.B9a Beta available with Strelec ISO bugfix

This version 1.B9a should work correctly with WinPE x64 Sergei Strelec ISOs as long as you use the .isofira01 file extension.

Previous versions worked OK with 32-bit WinPE but not with 64-bit WinPE.

This issue should now be fixed and you should get the full Desktop icons now.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. If testing using VBox+VMUB, set VM OS to a 64-bit OS but NOT WINDOWS!  e.g. Windows 10 64-bit does not work (firadisk does not load ISO), but using 'Linux\Ubuntu 64' or 'Other 64-bit' works!


A1ive's grub2 File Manager v1.1

I have made a slight tweak to the grubfm file manager .imgPTN file so that it does not show all the '$' system files on NTFS partitions.

You can download the new v1.1 version from here.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

MBR-boot and UEFI-boot (almost) any file using a1ive's new grub2 and grub2 File Manager

a1ive has been busy modifying and extending a branch of grub2.

 Just copy your ISOs, etc. onto the drive and Secure UEFI boot!
Later versions: 
https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2020/01/a1ives-grub2-file-manager-v12.html 
https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2020/01/a1ive-grub2-file-manager-menu-for.html

As you know, grub4dos only supports MBR\Legacy-booting but grub2 also supports 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI. Now, a1ive has added support to UEFI-boot Windows Install ISOs, .wim files, .VHD files using NTBOOT. grub2 now supports the partnew and map commands even under UEFI, so we can generically boot most Linux ISO files under UEFI too.

He also has scripted a grub2 menu as a 'File Manager'. You can Legacy or UEFI-boot to grub2, select a partition and then select a file (.iso or .vhd(x) or .wim or .img, .ima or .efi). The File Manager will then offer a range of various options. The current supported list includes:

Also boots Windows Vista//7/8/10 Install ISOs too!
File extensions supported are:
.cfg - run as grub2, syslinux or pxelinux menu
.efi - run as UEFI file (UEFI mode only)
.img - run as disk image
.ipxe - run as ipxe
.iso - run as .iso (also includes .grubfm file of the same file name)
.lst - run as grub4dos menu (MBR mode only)
.lua - run as lua script
.mod - load grub2 module
.pf2 - load font file
.png  - graphics image
.vhd - run as VHD
.wim - run as NT6 .wim file


Add this to your Easy2Boot USB drive

If you want to try this with Easy2Boot, you can download the .imgPTN23 file (from Alternate Download - Other folder).
Note: This .imgPTN23 file also supports an automated workaround for bypassing Secure Boot on UEFI64 systems so you can boot any unsigned payload from a Secure UEFI boot!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Decade!

Happy New Year everyone.

E2B v1.B8 is now officially released.

If you haven't got your 2020 Calendar yet (like me!), why not design and print your own instantly!