Tuesday, 13 April 2021

'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet' eBook price now reduced to only $5


 

My latest eBook 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet' has now been reduced to only $5 (was $10). It also now updated to revision v1.01.

If you want to supplement your income with some passive income from the Internet, then this book should help you.

See here for more details.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Fedora 33 live boot with persistence (fixed)

Fedora 33 with persistence

The Fedora LiveCD ISO can support persistence but the persistence file must be on a FAT32 or ext2/3/4 partition.

To boot from an Easy2Boot NTFS USB drive, we can convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file and then add in the persistence file to the new FAT32 partition.

This process was described in a 2017 blog article here, however it seems Fedora persistence has changed slightly since then and recent versions no longer recognise the persistence file.

The blog instructions have now been updated so that you can Legacy and UEFI64-boot to a Fedora 33 .imgPTN file with a persistence file. Two folders needed to be added inside the persistence volume to fix the problem.


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Latest Betas with bugfixes available and Puppy persistence

 E2B v2.09c

  • Add check in various .cmd files to check for wmic command in PATH 'wbem' environment
  • Remove Update E2B link from Launcher app.
  • Memtest86 .imgPTN23 updated to v9 build 2020 free version
  • Small text help changes to some Mainmenu .mnu files
  • Bugfix - fix Puppy ISOs with .isopup extension not booting

agFM 1.71c

  • Support for Strelec ISOs on UEFI32 devices with 64-bit CPUs (e.g. Asus T100).
  • Memtest86 v9 build 2020 EFI files updated.
  • Add DrWeb+persistence .grubfm example to \e2b\Sample agFM Menu Files folder
  • Add slacko_v7.grubfm and .cfg sample file added to \e2b\Sample agFM Menu Files\Linux folder for Puppy booting.
The new Beta versions can be found in the 'Latest Betas' folder in either of the two 'Alternate Download Areas' (see sidebar).

Puppy (.isopup)

I discovered that the .isopup file extension seems to no longer work in recent versions of E2B (grub4dos seems to have changed and broken it!), so I have modified the code in QRUN.cmd to now work again. 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

31st March is World Backup Day!

 So when was the last time you backed up your files?

I tend to keep most of my 'important' files in the 'Cloud' these days, but if my main Windows SSD went kaput, it would still probably take me a good day to re-install Windows and add all the applications that I use and then I would need to allow all the files to re-sync with the 'Cloud'.

Kon-Boot v3.8 is released

 Kon-Boot (#ad) is currently the only solution worldwide I am aware of that can bypass Windows 10 online passwords!

The latest release fixes issues with Win10 20H2

 Main updates:

  • Updates for Windows 10 (Fixed issues and blue screen errors in newest Windows 10 releases (20H2 with newest security updates))


Kon-Boot can be added to your E2B USB drive (see previous article here). You will need to 'register' your E2B USB drive as a 'Kon-Boot' drive by first installing Kon-Boot and then installing E2B (and then add back the Kon-Boot files).

Monday, 29 March 2021

RMPrepUSB.com change of host and a new Easy2Boot.xyz website

I have been doing a lot of work to transfer the content from the old RMPrepUSB.com website (which was hosted by Google Sites) to a WordPress website (now hosted by Hostinger). Well over 150 pages of text and about 300 images!

There was a lot of swearing, fist-banging and tears, I can tell you, because there was no easy, automated way to transfer it all! I have written up how I did it here, in case others want to move away from the 'New Google Sites' which we are being forced to do by Google because they are discontinuing the old Google Sites hosting. The New Google Sites cannot be integrated into Ezoic and it does not support Google AdSense(!). and so it is even less versatile and compatible than the old CMS version was.

I guess that's the problem with free sites and services - they can just decide to withdraw or drastically change them at any time! It wouldn't surprise me if Blogger wasn't up next for an 'improvement'. Actually this Blogger site and it's CMS is quite adequate for my needs and is free too, so they will probably muck that up soon as well!

My old rmprepusb.com site can still be found at the 'New Google Sites' 
https://sites.google.com/rmprepusb.com/www/home

But www.rmprepusb.com now points to the new WordPress site. At the moment it does not go through Ezoic however, so any ads on the site are placed there by Google AdSense automation.


New Easy2Boot.xyz site!

I have also started a new WordPress website at www.easy2boot.xyz - this is intended to be a 'simple' website for anyone who is new to E2B. The 'old' site is still at www.easy2boot.com.

Please look at the new site and let me know if there is anything I have missed out, that someone will need to get started.

At least the experience of migrating to WordPress has proved useful to me whilst writing my new eBook 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet'!

If you are thinking of building a website, here is a tip for you - always go for a WordPress hosting site (Linux based) - never go for a host that only offers their bespoke Content Management Systems like Wix, etc. and don't be sucked-in by offers of free or very cheap rates for the first year (because the following year's rates won't be cheap)! More info in the eBook ;-).

Friday, 26 March 2021

How to make $1000 a month from the Internet


Since I retired in 2011 (actually I was made redundant, but that's another story), I have been experimenting with booting from USB drives and I first started the blog site www.rmprepusb.com to write up my experiments for others to follow (mostly the members of reboot.pro). It was also a handy way for me to learn how to make a website (which was all new to me).

Some people were grateful for the articles and ask me to set up a 'Donate' page so they could buy me a cup of coffee or two.

After a while, I placed AdSense ads on that site and so I started to get some revenue from the adverts. After that, I realised that I could actually make some money from the website and it helped to pay the website host costs which were approx. £100 a year.

Since then, I have made YouTube videos, blogs, an E2B website and written some eBooks - all of these have helped to pay my expenses as well as bring in an income.

I have chatted to friends over the years, and I even managed to convince a few of them that they also can make money from the Internet (which a few have done). 

I have now scribbled down a lot of my ideas, methods, hints, tips and mistakes into an eBook called 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet'.

I chose the figure of $1000/month because I really do feel that it is possible for almost anyone who is willing to spend a little time and effort to achieve that figure (if not more).

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

eBook #3 How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot new revision available

I have now updated eBook #3

How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot_v1.8.pdf

If you want the latest version, please use link in your original Payhip email receipt to download it.

Updates are free!

How to Install Windows using Easy2Boot (v1.8 2021-02-23)

Contents

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Easy2Boot v2.08 is now released

Changes from v2.07:

1. Bugfix - Windows ISO Repair option sometimes doesn't work
2. Bugfix - Fix Make_E2B cmd script aborting when XP Home used as host OS
3. Add E2B 'Disable Kaspersky shim' menu option to disable Insecure boot feature
4. Trad Chinese language improved
5. New file 'Test_file_access_speed.lua' added to UTILITIES menu for agFM menu system

If you run Make_E2B.exe and click on the Update E2B drive button, it will update both E2B and agFM to the latest release versions. 

To update Ventoy, double-click on:
\e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd 
which is on the 2nd partition (requires internet access)

Friday, 19 February 2021

How to UEFI64-boot to the AntiVirusLiveCD ISO

The AntiVirusLiveCD ISO only supports 64-bit CPUs and Legacy\MBR booting. MBR-booting on a system with a 32-bit CPU causes a 'not 64-bit CPU' error message to be displayed. 

When I downloaded the AntivirusLiveCD-36.0-0.103.0.iso file, I found by using 7Zip, that it did not contain a \EFI folder or any boot image which contained any .efi boot files. So the ISO does not support UEFI-booting. 

Even though the ISO does not contain UEFI64 boot files, it is possible to first UEFI64-boot to grub2 and then load the linux kernel and initrd ramdrive files under grub2. As long as the kernel does not rely on any Legacy BIOS calls, it should still boot OK.

I examined the AntivirusLiveCD-36.0-0.103.0.iso's \boot\isolinux\isolinux.cfg file:

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

How to fix a website browser display problem

When using a web browser, you can sometimes find that the browser is not displaying a particular website 'correctly'.

I quite often find that Chrome will sometimes insist on displaying a website page on my PC as if it was a mobile device and insists on using the mobile  'm.xxx' URL site address rather than the desktop site URL. It can also display a dark theme (which I personally don't find easy to read) or display the site using a different theme or layout than is displayed on other devices or browsers. 

If I am browsing on a mobile device, the Chrome hamburger menu icon will often give me the option for 'Desktop site', but when using a desktop PC/notebook, this option is not available even if the mobile version of the website is being displayed by the browser.

Here are some things that I try:

  • Try a different browser
  • Try the Incognito tab
  • Delete/edit cookies for site
  • Deep-dive using F12

My first attempt to fix this is to try a different browser such as Windows Edge or Opera.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Ventoy for Easy2Boot v1.0.35 now available

 1. Download the modified version from here

2. Drag-and-drop the .zip file onto the USB Partition2 \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd file.

Allow the new files to overwrite the old version of Ventoy.

If there is a problem and you want to go back to the latest release version, run \e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd.


Ventoy for Easy2Boot

Please note: This is NOT the official Ventoy - it has been modified to work with E2B, so please don't report problems to Ventoy/LongPanda unless you can reproduce the problem on a real official Ventoy USB drive made with the Ventoy2Disk application provided.

If you have downloaded and tested the new version (UEFI and Legacy) please tick the 'It worked for me' checkbox.


Sunday, 14 February 2021

agFM v1.70 available plus eBook #4 updated rev. 1.20

 I have now updated agFM to v1.70. It is available from the Alternate Downloads sites and should also be live if you run the \e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd script. 

The PDF eBook #4 for agFM has also been updated to rev. 1.20 to match agFM v1.70 (contents list below). Later revisions of all E2B eBooks can be downloaded for free using the original download link that you received in the email when you first purchased it from Payhip.

agFM v1.70 2021-02-14

  • Recognise the .binacpi file extension (e.g. to run DSDT.bin files).
  • Add Enable\Disable Kaspersky shim EFI menu entry.
  • rEFInd EFI booloader/manager by Rod Smith added (EFI boot manager) added.
  • SAMPLE startup menu files now include new entries to run rEFInd.
The latest Beta version of Easy2Boot is v2.08e. The Beta history for v2.08e is:
2.08a - add \_ISO\MAINMENU\DisableKasperskyShim.mnu
2.08b - bugfix in Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd drive creation script due to XP Home not having tasklist.exe
2.08c and d - bugfix for Win7 Repair option (did not swap hd0 with hd1), did not wait 3 secs on wimboot prompt on Dell PC - thanks to Jose C for reporting the issue
2.08e - improve Trad Chinese language file, E2B ignores .lua files, Test_file_access_speed.lua added to UTILITIES folder for agFM menu system (test file access speeds under agFM)

and I suggest you also update your E2B files to this latest version too as it adds new features and bugfixes.

eBook #4: UEFI multi-boot using the a1ive grub2 File Manager

Contents:

Friday, 12 February 2021

How to fix intermittent errors when booting from a USB drive

Around 1998 we got introduced to USB 1.0. The pure data bit rate could reach an amazing 12Mbits/s (approx 1MByte/s in real life). Then we got USB 2 at the start of the new Millenium which gave us up to 60MBytes/s (much faster than slow-spinning CDs!). 

Later still (after 2008) we got USB 3, 3.1 and 3.2 with up to 2.4GBytes/s and very recently we have USB 4 (based on Thunderbolt 3) and are promised speeds of up to a staggering 40GBytes/s.

The names which were given to these different technologies (and seem have been randomly assigned with little forethought) are:

  • USB 1 - Low Speed
  • USB 1 - Full Speed
  • USB 2 - High Speed
  • USB 3 - Super Speed
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 Super Speed
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 Super Speed+
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1x1
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2x1
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • USB 4 Gen 2x2
  • USB 4 Gen 3x2 - USB4 routing for tunnelling of USB3.x, DisplayPort 1.4a and PCI Express traffic and host-to-host transfers, based on the Thunderbolt 3 protocol
So what started out as 1MB/s wired protocol has ended up as having a 40+GB/s Input/Output transfer protocol zipping along at radio frequencies!

Now when considering booting from a PC or Notebook, the BIOS/Firmware driver is responsible for USB I/O communication. Most computers which have USB 3 ports, have both USB 3 and USB 2 drivers embedded in the firmware. However, these BIOS drivers will probably not be fully featured like full-blown Windows or Linux drivers. Hence, they may not fully implement the Super Speed protocols and error handling may be limited.

The transfer protocols used by the driver will determine how fast I/O access is and thus how fast we can boot from the USB drive. Moving large blocks of data using a high-speed USB block-transfer protocol under Windows can give us those high speeds, but the BIOS firmware is probably using a more primitive and slower protocol to access the USB drive.

Another point to keep in mind is what BIOS code is used. If we Legacy\MBR-boot from the USB drive it will use the real-mode IBM-compatible BIOS USB driver, but if we UEFI-boot then a completely different UEFI USB driver will be used by the BIOS.

Because the BIOS\Firmware knows what USB chipset is present, it is possible for the BIOS developers to make sure that the USB speeds are optimized. However, most BIOS developers just use generic USB 2/3 drivers to add into their Firmware whilst others may spend some time and effort tweaking the USB BIOS code (e.g. Apple).

Gotcha's

Sunday, 7 February 2021

11 useful Antivirus ISOs all in one download

 In a fairly recent article, Jayro (the developer of Medicat) has provided a separate 7GB .zip file download of useful antivirus ISOs.

You can extract the contents to a Ventoy USB drive or to the root of an E2B USB drive (except for the two autorun files).

If you don't want to use Ventoy (because it will overwrite the \ventoy\ventoy.json file) then just copy the ISO files to the \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS folder.

Note that some of the ISOs do not support UEFI (Avast, Sophos,AVG and Comodo do not even contain EFI boot files). Jayro has disabled UEFI boot in the Ventoy configuration file because many of the others are problematic when attempting to UEFI-boot from them. Only DrWeb, Eset and MalwareBytes seem to UEFI64 boot using agFM.



Updated:

~ I actually downgraded the 2018 Malwarebytes Bootable WinPE to a 2016 version for added stability, it boots up WAY faster, uses much less RAM, and has a smaller file size. Has a startup sound with audio instructions to get you started. This older version is only temporary, until I have the time to build a proper one that's more up to date.

~ Minimum memory requirements have been reduced at the bottom of this changelog, to better reflect the memory needs of the included WinPE WIM files. Minimum RAM requirements below has dropped from 3GB down to 2GB, but you'll still want 4GB or more for comfortable usage. Luckily most modern PCs and laptops come with no less than 4GB these days.

~ Malwarebytes virus definitions to v2020.12.08.03

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Add Medicat v21.01 to your E2B USB drive

 Medicat 21.01 is in the form of zip files for use with 7Zip and Ventoy. You are supposed to extract the contents to the first partition of a previously-made Ventoy USB disk. Instead, you can just copy all the files (except \autorun.inf and \autorun.ico) to the root of your E2B first NTFS partition and only use Ventoy to boot to Medicat. This will add lots of folders to the root however and you may overwrite the contents of your \ventoy folder which will affect your existing Ventoy theme and menu settings (if you have any).

Remember to disable your AntiVirus first (and check that it does not 'quarantine' any files on the USB drive once you have completed the copy and re-enabled your AV).


Medicat v21.01 zip file contents

Then simply boot to Ventoy from the E2B USB drive.

Note that copying the Medicat files will also add the \ventoy folder to the first E2B NTFS partition which includes a ventoy.json file. This will change the Ventoy theme and also change the menu entry names. You may find it educational to look at the ventoy.json to see what it does because a few ISO mey require special settings.

I found that quite a few of the menu entries had problems UEFI-booting on my Lenovo IdeaPad - maybe you will have better luck...

The alternative would be to selectively pick only the ISO or WIM files that you want, and add them into the existing E2B menu folders. This means you don't need to boot to Ventoy.

In most cases you do not need to add any of the other files (some may require the ventoy.json if anything 'special' needs to be done to run the ISO - so you may need that too).

Medicat Mini Windows

To add the Medicat WinPE, we need the file:
\Boot_an_Operating_System\[UEFI]_Mini_Windows_10.iso

Copy it to the \_ISO\WINPE folder (for instance). You will also need to copy the following files and folders to the root of the E2B NTFS partition #1 as they are required by Medicat Mini Windows 10 too (the Mini_Windows_10.iso only contains boot files and the boot.wim file):

\Start.exe
\CdUsb.Y
\autorun.cmd (optional)
\PortableApps
\Programs
\System (optional)

To save a key press or two, you can rename the extension to .isodef if you don't want to use Ventoy.

Issues?

  • AntiVirus - MalwareBytes: UEFI64 does not seem to boot using Ventoy. Boots OK using agFM menu system and choosing .isowin or .isomap options however.

  • Some other Windows ISOs also seem to have problems. Try .isomap option in agFM.

  • Ventoy has problems with some payloads if testing using VirtualBox+VMUB but on a real system it works OK.

  • If you have intermittent problems when booting large ISOs, etc. then try a USB 2 port or connect a USB 2 extension cable to the E2B USB drive so that only USB 2 speeds are used instead of USB 3 speeds.

  • If you are using a USB 3 SSD device and experience problems, try using a USB Flash drive or USB spinning Hard Drive instead - I have seen some issues when booting some Linux distros (e.g. Slax) from a USB SSD (the USB drive is not detected by the kernel and  fdisk -l does not list the USB drive)!
  • To boot using agFM, you may require > 4GB of RAM in the system.
Recommended for E2B: SanDisk Extreme Pro 3.1 (#ad)


Monday, 25 January 2021

Latest Windows update KB4535680 blocks agFM Secure Boot!

You can Secure UEFI64-boot to agFM on the E2B USB drive because it uses the Kaspersky bootx64.efi signed grub2 shim file. This boot file originated from Kaspersky and was signed by Microsoft as being 'Secure'. However, it contained a loophole which allowed us (via some clever programming) to load unsigned modules and hence an unsigned version of grub2 (e.g. grubfm or agFM or Ventoy, etc.).

A year or so ago, Microsoft released a KB Update which added a 'blacklist' entry into the UEFI BIOS non-volatile RAM of the Windows system UEFI firmware. This is called the DBx (or dbx) list and it can usually be found in your UEFI BIOS settings.

The DBx list was specifically intended for this purpose - to blacklist boot files which Microsoft had signed as 'Secure' but later turn out to be not as 'secure' as they thought!

The update provided by Microsoft immediately caused a lot of issues on certain Secure Boot OEM systems which also used this same EFI boot file (Lenovo?, HP?) and thus the update prevented them from booting after it was installed! Microsoft quickly withdrew the Windows Update and left their victims to try to rescue their secure but unbootable systems.

Now it seems Microsoft have tried again (KB4535680 2021-01-12) but the new Windows update is only applied to certain systems (and probably only those that boot via UEFI and have GPT partitions on the boot disk):

Friday, 22 January 2021

Add rEFInd to agFM

Clover identifies EFI files on all partitions.
You can also add your own menu entries if you wish.

If you want to add rEFInd to your Easy2Boot USB drive, then you can download the current rEFInd files to the \EFI\refind folder, rename the bootx64 and bootia32 .efi files and then simply add all the files to the 2nd FAT32 partition (agFM partition) of your E2B USB drive.

You can configure the rEFInd menu by editing the \EFI\refind\refind.conf text file.

Instructions

Monday, 18 January 2021

agFM 1.70b Beta and E2B v2.08a Beta available (BUGFIX for Blank screen on UEFI booting)

It has been reported that some notebooks such as the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 and ZYREX SKY 232 do not like the UEFI64 Kaspersky .EFI boot shim which agFM uses by default.

The Kasperksy .EFI boot file is signed by Microsoft and allows us to boot to agFM which then temporarily disables Secure Boot, thus allowing us to run agFM grub2 and boot from both signed and unsigned (insecure) ISOs and other boot files.

However, some systems will not UEFI64 boot to the Kaspersky+agFM boot files (even if Secure Boot is disabled in the BIOS). The reason for this is unknown.

Another problem with the Kaspersky shim is that it may be blacklisted by a Linux or Windows update which can add an entry into the BIOS's DBx blacklist EEPROM firmware list. This means that if Secure Boot is enabled in your BIOS on your system, it will not allow the Kaspersky EFI boot file to load and you may see some sort of 'Security Violation' error from the BIOS on boot. You can check your BIOS DBx list to see if has any entries (and clear the list).

The solution to both these issues is to remove the Kaspersky shim and this process is documented on this page in the Troubleshooting sections and in the FAQ page.

In these latest Beta versions, I have modified the E2B and agFM menu system so that you can enable or disable the Kaspersky shim by using a menu entry. If you remove the Kaspersky Secure Boot EFI file, you will not have the ability to secure boot to the agFM menu.

Update Instructions

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

agFM v1.70aBeta available

The latest agFM v1.70aBeta version now understands files with the new .binacpi file extension.

If you have a binary acpi file which you want to patch your BIOS with (for instance to try to get ACPI support working under XP using a DSDT.bin file), you can change the extension of your file from .bin to .binacpi.

It will then by listed in the agFM menu system and agFM will present you with this menu when the .binacpi file is selected:


Monday, 11 January 2021

E2B v2.07 is now released

 The latest version 2.07 is now live.

1. \E2B Launcher.exe application added

2. Add .ventoyignore dummy files to \_ISO\docs and \_ISO\e2b folders for faster Ventoy startup

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Why not treat yourself?

Having problems booting UEFI payloads with E2B, Rufus, Ventoy, etc.?

Maybe you didn't get the present you really wanted at Xmas or you are just feeling depressed at having to stay indoors during Covid Lockdown? Then why not treat yourself to an IODD Mini SSD  CD\DVD emulator (#ad).



This small device fits easily into any pocket and being SSD-based it is robust, light and fast.

In case you didn't get the memo - the Mini can not only load any ISO as a virtual DVD drive, but it can load up to FOUR different VHDs at the same time! That means you can have any four USB disks you like. Each disk can contain multiple partitions, so you can have four different complete OS's on those disks and boot to any of them (not counting the SSD disk itself). You can also set each Virtual disk to be a Removable USB device and thus emulate a USB Flash drive instead of a USB HDD (or up to four USB flash drives).

If you copy on an empty file with a .VHD extension (or any file) and select it - you now have a blank 'disk' which you can install anything you like onto (after partitioning it and formatting it like any other blank disk).

Do you have many small bootable USB drives, each with a different payload? Then why not just convert each one to a .VHD file (e.g. using RMPrepUSB - Disk to File) and store them on the IODD?

Note: VHD files are  just disk images. The file needs to be contiguous.

Of course, it can't do fancy stuff like auto-install Windows, apps, drivers and updates using user XML files like E2B can with SDI_CHOCO, it can't attach a persistence file to an ISO and boot the live ISO with persistence, it can't Secure-boot boot non-secure ISOs, it can't run ISOs that were actually designed to be extracted onto a flash drive rather than boot as a liveCD, it doesn't contain PassPass or UtilMan XML files to bypass Windows account logins and all the other good stuff that E2B+agFM+Ventoy can do - BUT the good news is you can simply add E2B+agFM+Ventoy onto it!

Prices are around $130 for the 256GB version. You know you deserve it :-)


agFM v1.69 and 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.32 released

 agFM v1.69 and 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.32 are now released and will be automatically downloaded when you make a new E2B USB drive or run the appropriate \e2b\Update agFM cmd files to update agFM and Ventoy.

eBook #4 for agFM has been revised and updated for the new F1 and F5 menu structure in agFM. Updates are free - just use the link in the original email receipt from Payhip.

E2B v2.07 will be released soon - the only changes to E2B are the new E2B Launcher utility and the addition of some .ignoreVentoy dummy files to speed up booting to the Ventoy menu.

Please donate!

If you use E2B+agFM+Ventoy, please donate something to a1ive and LongPanda who are the developers of grubfm and Ventoy. They deserve at least a cup of coffee for all their excellent hard work which they provide for free! Think where we would be if we didn't have these utilities to use on modern UEFI systems!


Friday, 8 January 2021

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.32 with UEFI32 support now available

 Ventoy now supports UEFI32 (experimental) as well as UEFI64.

I have compiled a version for Easy2Boot from the v1.0.32 Ventoy sources.

To update your E2B USB drive...

Monday, 4 January 2021

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.31 is now available

 Download ZIP file and drag-and-drop onto \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd to update.

The download is in the latest Betas folder on Alternate Downloads site.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqlrQcdsFA-K7S2G6_UPKR7HCecH?e=dhknNv

I will release in a few days unless someone reports a problem.

This is NOT the official version of Ventoy - it is modified - so do not report any problems to the Ventoy author!

Ventoy UEFI32 is not supported.

Don't forget to subscribe for the latest news and tips!

Friday, 1 January 2021

a1ive grub2 code to check for an expiry date

 If you have added your own \boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt file, you can check for an expiry date. This would force the user to update their USB drive. Here is an example of how to test dates.

Check expiry date

You can add the lines below to check that an expiry date has not been met or exceeded. Change the value of LOWERDATE  and UPPERDATE as required to set a valid range.

The code gets the current date in YYYYMMDD format into sdate. The regexp command is used to get the first 8 characters only.

It then compares that dates and reboots the system if the expiry date has been met or if the date is before or equal to the LOWERDATE. The LOWERDATE test helps to prevent the user from cheating by setting the RTC (Real Time Clock) to an earlier date.

This may be of use if you want to force the user to update the USB boot drive after a specific date (.e.g. example = expires Feb 01 - valid for any day in January).

# check date - reset if UPPERDATE (YYYYMMDD) is equal to or smaller than current date
set LOWERDATE=20201231
set UPPERDATE=20210201
unset now;date -s now;regexp -s sdate '(........)' "$now"
# display RTC date and time in human form (optional)
date -m
if [ "${sdate}" -le "${LOWERDATE}" ]; then echo "ERROR: INCORRECT RTC DATE - rebooting..."; sleep 5; reset -w; fi
if [ "${sdate}" -ge "${UPPERDATE}" ]; then echo "ERROR: THIS SOFTWARE HAS EXPIRED ($sdate >= $UPPERDATE) - rebooting..."; sleep 5; reset -w; fi 
unset now;unset UPPERDATE;unset sdate;unset LOWERDATE

Taken from E2B eBook #4 - UEFI-multiboot using the a1ive grub2 File Manager

Thursday, 31 December 2020

agFM v1.69b Beta and E2B v2.07g available

E2B has a slightly revised version of the new Launcher Windows app.

agFM uses the latest version of grubfm (last one for this year). I have now added the F1-F6, F10 and Ctrl+F menu icons into the default grubfm menu theme too.


Has anyone tried the new Launcher app? Please provide feedback...

Happy New Year to all - and let's hope 2021 is better than 2020!

Download from the Alternate Downloads areas as usual (see side panel for links).

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

agFM v1.69a Beta available

 a1ive has improved the menu system and the F1 button can now display hardware information under grub2.

You can also boot to Ventoy and AIOBoot and PXE boot if you have them present on the USB drive.

Unfortunately, if you have added a your own grub2 theme to the agFM partition, you will have to modify it so that it works correctly with the new grubfm\agFM version. Details of how to modify an existing theme are included in the latest version of eBook #4 v1.19Beta which has been updated for agFM v1.69. You can get the updated version for free by using the link that was emailed to you when you first purchased it.

The E2B eBook 4 covers how to add different themes and configure your own startup menu (updated specifically for agFM v1.69 and later only).

I have also updated five different agFM themes which should work with the new agFM v1.69 - see here.

The new agFM v1.69a Beta can be found here.

Note that 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' has not been updated and is still v1.0.29. I do not intend to update this version for a while.

A few of the modified themes are shown below:

seven22 theme (22 menu entries per screen)

Tela theme

You can modify the theme.txt and fm.txt files to adjust the menu as required.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Does Windows 10 20H2 chkdsk now cause BSODs?

 Just a heads up...

Under some (as yet unknown) conditions, running chkdsk c: /f may damage your Windows filesytem and cause BSODs! See here for a report for Windows 10 20H2 update KB4592438.

The 'bug' is unconfirmed by Microsoft.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Easy2Boot v2.07b Beta available

This version has a new  version of  the  'E2B Launcher.exe' 32-bit Windows application which you can find in the \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Launcher folder.


I have also added a 'Desktop E2B Launcher.cmd' file into the folder. You can copy this file to your Windows Desktop so that you can quickly run E2B Launcher from any E2B USB drive that is connected to your system. Each E2B USB drive must contain the new Launcher folder or else it won't be detected.

2.07c adds an extra link in the 'Tools' tab which copies the 'Desktop E2B Launcher.cmd' file to the Desktop for you.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Easy2Boot v2.07a Beta available

 This version has a new  Beta version of  an 'E2B Launcher.exe' 32-bit Windows application which you can find in the \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Launcher folder.

Download from the Latest Betas folder here.

Friday, 11 December 2020

agFM v1.68 released (Legacy boot of Linux ISOs bugfix)

 Version 1.66 and 1.67 had a bug when booting Legacy Linux and other non-windows ISOs using the .isodef, isomap and .isomem options in agFM. This was due to a1ive changing his code and removing the MAP file from his file structure!  

Use the \e2b\Update agFM batch file to update to the new version.


Tuesday, 8 December 2020

agFM grub2 code to protect your E2B drive from being cloned

 I was asked today for a grub2 menu which would protect the E2B USB drive from being cloned onto another drive.

The lines below can be added into your startup_menu.txt file.

It checks the total drive capacity of your E2B USB drive - if it is not as expected, then it displays a graphics file (candle in this case) and then prompts you to enter a password (3 chances). If the user does not know the password, then it loads a 'guest' menu, but it could just as easily  shutdown or reboot the PC.


You can display any graphics file you like (.png, .jpg, .bpm) and you can change the messages, etc. as you wish.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

eBook #4 v1.17 now available (and agFM v1.67 released)

I have just updated eBook #4. You can get the update for free by using the link in your original Payhip email that you received when you first purchased the eBook.

I also found an old bug in the .isopersist code in agFM, so I have now updated agFM to v1.67 today. The problem was that the *-rw persistence file would only work if it was in the root of the USB drive. Now it can be in either the root or the same folder as the Linux ISO.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Use Ventoy to boot WinPE ISOs such as c't Emergency Windows 2021 ISO (aka 'ctNotWin', 'ctNotFall' etc.)

Easy2Boot and agFM can boot WinPE-based ISOs easily, however many of these ISOs require access to files on the 'DVD' drive once they have booted to WinPE.

Since these files are inside the ISO file on the USB drive, these extra utilities cannot be found by the miniWindows environment and you may find some Desktop and StartMenu items missing!

E2B and agFM can make this work however by using that fact that most WinPE's are built using WinBuilder which typically contain this extra startup code. When a WinPE made by WinBuilder boots, it looks for a volume containing a .ini file in the root (e.g. \WIN10PESE.ini) which specifies the path of an ISO file. WinPE will then find that ISO file and auto-mount it as a virtual DVD drive so that WinPE can now access the files within the ISO.

WIN10PESE.ini

[IsoInfo]
IsoName=/_ISO/MAINMENU/Win10XPE_x64.ISO

E2B and agFM will modify these .ini files before booting the ISO (that is one reason why a write-enabled USB drive is required). The ISO filename should not contain spaces because some versions of WinBuilder cannot cope with spaces in filenames.

However, this only works if the WinPE contains this special WinBuilder startup code which looks for the special WinBuilder .ini file.

E2B and agFM also modify the \AutoUnattend.xml file in the root of the E2B USB drive - this file is automatically run if the ISO is a Windows Install ISO (but it is not usually run by WinPE ISOs).


c't Emergency ISO



Unfortunately, some WinPE ISOs do not contain this special startup code (e.g. c't Emergency Windows 2021). There are a number of ways around this:

Friday, 4 December 2020

agFM v1.66 released

Changes from v1.65 are:

  • F3 now also shows winre.wim Boot to Windows Recovery entries if a Recovery folder is present.
  • F10 hotkey will reload agFM without rebooting
  • Search hotkey is changed from Ctrl+Shift+F which did not work in MBR\Legacy mode to Ctrl+F
  • New Ctrl-F search function searches current level and one folder down only. User can search for any extension or use a hotkey. e.g. Ctrl+F P will list all .imgPTN* files in current directory and level below current directory.
  • F5 now uses grubfm built-in code (/boot/grubfm/f5.sh no longer used).
  • Bugfix for dd command where -c exceeds 63555.
  • Ability to use Ctrl+F as menu hotkey (but not all Ctrl+ letters can be used!).
  • The menuentry command now supports --help_msg option which can display help text in a themed menu (but is buggy, so I recommend you don't use it in your menus!).
  • The e2b.sh and map.sh files now use map -f to map as the first device when in efi mode.
  • Add_Ventoy.cmd changed to work with latest e2b for Ventoy 1.0.29.zip download.
  • Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd file will now automatically add 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' to the USB drive. The current E2B version of 'Ventoy for E2B' will be downloaded from the E2B server.
  • Latest grubfm build (2020-12-01).
  • /e2b/loadfm file added. 
  • /ventoy/Sample Ventoy config files folder added (contains sample files which user can add to ptn1). Copy to \ventoy folder on ptn1 will allow you to boot agFM or E2B from the Ventoy menu
  • SAMPLE_slack theme fm.txt updated for Ctrl+F text display on menu.
  • SAMPLE_slack theme fm.txt now supports timeout countdown so it can be used for startup menu with F1-F6 icons and timeout counter
  • Improved SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt - now can have more than 10 entries and define a different icon and hotkey for each menu entry.
Now when a user runs Make_E2B.exe, they will be asked if they want to add agFM and Ventoy to partition 2. Both will be fetched from the E2B server. Currently Ventoy is the special 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.29 which is not blocked to run on an E2B USB drive.


Thursday, 3 December 2020

agFM v1.66Beta12 available (and how to MBR-boot the grubfm.iso from grub2)

agFM Beta12

agFM Beta10 adds a new F10 hotkey function (new hidden feature).

If you press F10 in a grubfm menu, then it will completely reload grub2.

You may find this useful if you run an ISO or some other payload file and grubfm loses the gfxmenu system and just displays a black-and-white text menu. If you then press F10 then the whole agFM boot file will be reloaded thus saving you having to reboot. Since some servers can take 5 minutes to reboot, you might find this useful.

The actual code is compiled within agFM (in global.sh), but if you are interested, you can add a menuentry to your own menu system as shown below:

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Latest agFM v1.66 Beta7 available (release candidate)

 Please test latest version 1.66 Beta7 as I hope to make it the new release version in a day or so.

See OneDrive - Latest Betas folder for the download.

Please don't just wait for it to be released before trying it. It is easy to test it by simply extracting the files to the 2nd partition. If you want to go back to the old v1.65 then simply click on \e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd.

Changes from v1.65 are:

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Latest agFM v1.66Beta5 available

 Todays version in 'Latest Betas' will automatically download and add 'Ventoy for Easy2boot' when you double-click the \e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd file.

The current version is Ventoy v1.0.29 but is slightly modified to run on E2B.

See the Ventoy page on the E2B site for details and a suggested ventoy.json file...


Ptn1: \ventoy\ventoy.json

{

        "control_uefi": [

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_MENU_MODE": "1" },

        { "VTOY_FILT_DOT_UNDERSCORE_FILE": "0" },

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_SEARCH_ROOT": "/_ISO" },

        { "VTOY_MENU_TIMEOUT": "5" },

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_IMAGE": "/_ISO/LINUX/ubuntu-18.10-desktop-amd64.iso" }

    ],

"control_legacy": [

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_MENU_MODE": "1" },

        { "VTOY_FILT_DOT_UNDERSCORE_FILE": "0" },

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_SEARCH_ROOT": "/_ISO" },

        { "VTOY_MENU_TIMEOUT": "10" },

        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_IMAGE": "/_ISO/LINUX/linuxmint-20-cinnamon-64bit.iso" }

    ]

}



Black Friday is still on! 25% discount on Kon-Boot, cheap Samsung SSDs and more...

If you often need to gain access to a customers Windows account (local or online account) or MAC OS account but don't know the account password, then Kon-Boot is the quickest and simplest way to gain access (MBR or UEFI).

Today you can get 25% off KonBoot by using this link,

Kon-Boot can now work on larger USB drives as well as small USB Flash drives, so you can install Kon-Boot onto any USB drive and then add E2B to the same drive. More details here.

P.S. Black Friday Samsung 860 500GB SSD #ad on offer at Amazon for 47% off (over 60% off 2TB version!).  If your laptop does not have an SSD hard drive, this will be the best saving you've ever made as you won't have to buy a new laptop for another few years at least! Why not give them as Christmas present and help your family upgrade their own laptops over the Christmas holidays?


Hurry! 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro (#ad) USB 3 Flash drive for only £30 !!! One of the fastest flash drives you can get - ideal for E2B!

Note: This is the superfast PRO version, not the slow, budget GO version (which is not recommended!).

Check out the SD card discounts too...

Friday, 27 November 2020

Ventoy for Easy2Boot v1.0.29

I have updated the test version of Ventoy v1.0.29 for E2B and also I added the core.img into the .zip file itself.

This now makes it easier to add Ventoy to an E2B USB drive.

Latest Betas are here as usual.

  1. Update to latest agFM E2B UEFI File manager v1.66Beta4 (extract contents onto partition 2) (note that there was a bug in Beta3!)
  2. Download the latest e2b_ventoy-1.0.29-windows.zip file
  3. Drag-and-drop the new e2b_ventoy-1.0.29-windows.zip onto the Ptn2:\e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd file
The new Add_Ventoy.cmd will automatically update/add Ventoy to partition 2 and add the correct core.img file.


I have also added and updated the compile instructions for Ventoy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

How to patch and recompile Ventoy

I do not intend to continually patch and recompile Ventoy every few days so that it can be added to E2B, however if you want to know how I made my own version, I have written up some notes here.

My knowledge of C is limited and I am not very experienced with Linux, so please correct me if any of the instructions are wrong or maybe inaccurate!

I have also slightly modified the wallpaper in my new version of Ventoy_1.0.29_windows.zip now to make it obvious that it is not the official Ventoy version - can you tell?



Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Ventoy 1.0.29 for E2B available

 I have recompiled Ventoy 1.0.29 so that it runs on E2B.

You can obtain the patched version from here.

Drag-and-drop the zip file onto the \e2b\Update e2b\Add_Ventoy.cmd file.

After installing it using that .cmd file, you will need to download the v1.0.29 patched version of core.img from here and overwrite the \ventoy\core.img file with this new version - otherwise MBR-booting will be blocked.

I have not changed its appearance, so please don't report any problems to the Ventoy forum unless you can reproduce the same issue on a genuine Ventoy USB drive!

The MBR version appears to say 'Unofficial Ventoy' but the UEFI version does not display that text message.



This version is temporary and for Beta testing only. I do not intend to maintain a forked version of Ventoy for E2B.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Latest Ventoy v1.0.28 will not work with E2B!

 LongPanda (the developer of Ventoy) has changed Ventoy so that it will only work on MBR-partitioned disks if that disk was prepared using the official Ventoy tools. The second partition must be exactly 65536  sectors long now.

Recently, I received some special error reports, which finally proved to be the cause of the non-standard Ventoy environment. Especially use Ventoy in a single partition environment.
Although Ventoy displays Unofficial's label information, users will not care and will still think it is a Ventoy problem. Ventoy has been an overall design from the beginning, and has not considered integration into other bootloader or partition environments. Ventoy's verification and subsequent development of new features will not consider this non-standard usage. Therefore, I decided to prohibit the use of Ventoy in a non-standard environment and no longer accept requests for deregulation. Of course, this is just the default behavior of Ventoy. Ventoy is still 100% open source. If you want to apply Ventoy in your own environment, you can fork a branch and modify the source code implementation.

 

This means that v1.0.28 (and all future versions?) will not run from an E2B drive.

If you would like to be able to continue to add Ventoy to E2B, please feel free to contact LongPanda and request that he changes his mind!

See here for more details of this recent change.

For now you need to use 1.0.27 (see here for details).

For the changes in Ventoy which check the partitions for validity - see the new code here (starting line 509).

If you wish, you can run the newer versions of Ventoy using MBR-booting only by using an older version of core.img, however UEFI-booting to Ventoy will still be blocked.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

v2.06A released

The old v2.06 Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd had a typo in the URL to get the LatestVersion.txt file from the server. This caused a 3-5 second delay and the latest version was not displayed. v2.06A fixes this issue. Since it is a minor issue, this version is still called 2.06.


MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE should now be v4.40 in E2B 2.06A.


Monday, 9 November 2020

Reading my way through 'Lockdown' (with Tubular Bells)

Well, the UK is in Covid Lockdown for a month so I am reading lots of autobiographies which I buy second-hand from Amazon. I am interested in reading about the life of entrepreneurs (e.g. some of the stars in 'Dragons Den', Alan Sugar, etc.), scientists (e.g. Richard Feynman) and engineers (e.g. 'Woz') - amongst many others. 

If I had my way, all high-schools should have these types of books on the English Lit. curriculum. They are so inspiring and are much more valuable to any young person than 'Catcher in the Rye' or Shakespeare ever could be. They teach you about real life, proper work ethics and how to take calculated chances when necessary. If you know anyone who is stuck in a 9-5 job and is always moaning about it - then why not give them a good autobiography for Xmas!

It has always been my philosophy in life to do my very best in any job I find myself in. I can remember working as a fruit picker at the age of 16 one summer (piecework!) and cycling 3 miles to the orchards at 6.30am each morning, working all day and cycling home completely exhausted at 6 pm, so tired I could hardly move - BUT I picked just as many apples\pears\plums as the 'professional' itinerant workers did and after a few weeks I was promoted to a group 'supervisor'. 

I was talking to a young boy the other day and he was complaining about having to do very menial tasks around the office where he had just started a temporary job. He had the attitude that it was beneath him - he was not doing a very thorough job and so was getting moaned at by his boss. I pointed out that if HE was an employer and he had one employee like him and another employee that always did the same job perfectly (or even improved on the end result), which one would he pick to promote? Why would he promote someone who could not even do simple tasks well? Equally, if one of his staff constantly showed that they had good organisational skills, clever ideas, always on time, polite, well presented, worked late and never complained - wouldn't he feel that he had to promote them or else risk losing a valuable asset?

At the moment, I am half-way through Richard Branson's very large autobiography 'Losing my virginity' (#Amazon ad link) and am very much enjoying it, having lived through those times (the late 60s onwards) as a teenager/young man. The person who said 'If you can remember the ’60s, you really weren’t there' was probably right - especially if you were a student! I am certainly surprised Richard Branson can remember it all after reading about his recreational experiences in the book (or perhaps he made a few of the things up just to fill in the gaps!).

Richard Branson was apparently hopeless at school and severely dyslexic (especially with maths). He hardly had two O-levels to rub together but he worked hard, told lots of (small) lies to get started in business, took calculated risks and looked after his staff as best he could.

I am just at the part in his autobiography where Branson states that the initial instrument list that Mike Oldfield requested for recording his album (now known as 'Tubular Bells'), actually included tubular bells. However, in the YT video (below), Mike Oldfield implies that their inclusion was serendipitous - he happened to see them being removed from Virgin's Manor recording studio by the previous band and spontaneously asked for them to be taken back inside because he could probably make use of them.. but maybe your take is different...


Our USA cousins may only recognise Tubular Bells as the music that was in 'The Exorcist', but in my day you had to immediately go out and buy the Tubular Bells LP within a week of it's release or you just weren't cool! Every teenager had the Tubular Bells LP cover in his bedroom.

Of course, after watching this YT video, it has now prompted me to listen to the whole Tubular Bells LP again - and it's still great!

P.S. If you can recommend any good autobiographies - please let me know.

E2B v2.06 now available

No major bugfixes, mainly just some housekeeping. 

v2.06 - changes from E2B v2.05

  • wget.exe version updated
  • Update Add_Ventoy.cmd, MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd, UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd (if more than one E2B drive is connected, the agFM files could be added to the wrong drive partition 2). Change download URLs.
  • Update UtilMan password .cmd files to also change magnify.exe and use new account name of ADMIN9. 
  • Update Add_Ventoy.cmd to warn if core.img is not present.
  • Update memtest86 .imgptn23 to v8.4
  • Add GetKeyCode.mnu sample menu (for finding grub4dos key codes to use in the Guest menu .mnu files)
  • SDI_CHOCO .cmd files updated (bugfix  BIT64 case-sensitivity).
  • New 'candle' default background for E2B

Downloads are here and they will also be available from the main FossHub site in a few days. Please let me know if you find a problem.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

New YT video from Low Dough Tech

 A year ago Low Dough Tech brought out a YT video on E2B which got some amazing view stats (I am not jealous - honest!).


He has also recently released a new one with a quick demo of UEFI-booting...



Sunday, 1 November 2020

Bug in agFM v1.64 - please update to v1.65

Arfan noticed that the F3 Boot Menu was not working properly in agFM v1.64. Please use the latest v1.65 to fix it. You can update by running the update agFM .cmd file in the \e2b folder on partition 2 as usual.


Saturday, 31 October 2020

Boot to almost anything using an IODD Mini SSD device emulator

In a recent E2B chat session, a user wanted to use an E2B USB drive to contain lots of special disk images. These images contained multiple partitions. Some of these images used multiple GPT partitions. For instance multiple Mac OS X installers, full multiple-partition Windows To Go with BitLocker, full Linux OS with swap and encrypted data partitions.etc.

Unfortunately, such a scenario is not feasible when using Easy2Boot (at least not easily!) - however, the user did own an IODD DVD emulator, so I suggested using it's VHD feature.

He did not realise that it could be used in this way!

The IODD Mini

The IODD Mini #ad  SSD CD\DVD drive emulator is a solid-state version of the IODD 2531 and 2541 (see previous blog article here).
You can see from the picture below that it is approx 9cm x 4cm in size and will easily fit in a pocket.


As you may know, these Zalman and IODD 'DVD' emulators can load ISO files and then the USB device will appear as a USB DVD drive.

They can also load a VHD file and then it will appear to a computer as a 'USB disk' - so you can boot to a VHD containing a fully install Windows OS.

However, he did not realise that you could simply create an 'empty' VHD and then select that on his IODD device - thus the USB drive will appear as an unformatted USB drive.

He can then partition and format it as he wishes, install an OS to the USB 'drive', etc.

Thus it is possible for his IODD to contain multiple disk images of different multiple-partition Windows OS's, Linux OS's with swap partitions, Mac OS X, Mac Installer, Hackintosh Installers, DOS Flash images, etc. and they can be MBR or GPT partitions.

He can even mount more than one VHD as a disk device, so the second VHD could contain common programs, drivers, data, etc. which he can easily access after booting from the first VHD. You can even boot from one VHD and install to another VHD.

The IODD Mini VHD file can be configured to appear as a Removable 'Flash' drive or a 'Fixed Disk' HDD - just use either a .RMD extension or a .VHD file extension. If required, you can also write-protect the virtual disk too.