Saturday, 26 November 2022

Quickly improve the Windows Explorer right-click context menu

The Windows Explorer right-click menu seems to be getting worse (especially in Windows 11)!

For many years we have had to put up with the 'Send To'  option not sending a file to somewhere else but instead copying that file to somewhere else! If I send a parcel or letter to someone, I don't expect it to be cloned first!

The Shell utility by Nilesoft solves some of these issues by adding extra useful entries to the Explorer right-click menu list.


Wednesday, 23 November 2022

How to run DOS utilities directly from an Easy2Boot USB drive

You may need to run a DOS-based test utility, BIOS Flash update utility or game on an x86 PC or notebook. Quite often the utility will be in the form of a bootable .ISO, .IMG or .IMA file which you can simply copy to a menu folder on your E2B USB drive. In some cases you may need to tweak the extension slightly, e.g. use xxx._isodos01.iso instead of .iso, depending on how the ISO has been constructed. Check the 'Tested Payloads' page to see if any special treatment is needed for any particular payload.

However, sometimes the DOS-based utility is provided as just a bunch of files and folders which you are supposed to copy to a floppy disk (remember those?).

Dr Hardware SysInfo is a typical example of a DOS-based test/report utility provided as a zip file which just contains the DOS files but no boot files...

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Black Friday website host deals

Approx. 60% of all websites use Wordpress. So I highly recommend the power and flexability of Wordpres versus any other content management system. By using WordPress you will not be locked in to a particular 3rd-party system where you need to pay for a 'premium' feature and you will also know that if you do have a problem with WordPress or Wordpress plugins, then many other people will also have had the same issue and will be able to help you (or any bug will be fixed very rapidly as it will affect many thousands of sites).

If you have read my eBook 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet' you will see that I highly recommend (and use) Hostinger (#Ad link) as a WordPress web site host. At the moment they have a special Black Friday deal and offer up to 80% off  a 4-year hosting plan + 1 free domain & 1 free SSL for their 'Premium' web hosting plan. This works out at $2.49/month and it will allow you to create up to 100 websites.


Thursday, 17 November 2022

VentoyPlugson 1.0.82 for E2B now available

Ventoy v1.0.82 is released today.

You can add this latest version to your E2B/agFM USB drive as an image file if you want to run the
latest version of Ventoy - see here for details.

If you wish to configure the \ventoy\ventoy.json file you can use official \ventoy\VentoyPlugson.exe, however you will need to first switch in the new v1.0.82 Ventoy Partition 2 image file because the official version of VentoyPlugson.exe checks for 'official' USB drive partitions and MBR boot code.

If you want to run Plugson.exe without needing to switch in the official Ventoy partition image, you can download a modified v1.0.82 version of VentoyPlugson.exe which runs on an E2B USB drive by downloading the zip file in the 'Latest Beta' file store area and extracting it to the \ventoy folder on the E2B Partition 1 volume.

Note: The current 'Ventoy for E2B' version  which is modified to work directly from an E2B USB drive is v1.0.79.


Ventoy 1.0.82 Changes (VentoyPlugson relevant lines show in red)
  1. Ventoy2Disk.exe: Add exFAT/NTFS/FAT32 options in Option-->Partition Configuration for Ventoy installation.
  2. Ventoy2Disk.exe: Display Ventoy partition file system in selected disk
  3. Ventoy2Disk.exe: Fix the issue that string "Status x%" is missing for translations (#1667)
  4. Update Shim/Mokmanager efi file from Fedora 37.
  5. Add VTOY_SHOW_PASSWORD_ASTERISK option in global control plugon. (#1931)
  6. VentoyPlugson: Fix the issue that secondary boot menu option mismatch between web page and json file.
  7. Fix the issue that Linux WEB/GUI version does not restore MBR when updating. (#1935)
  8. Change Ventoy LiveCD GUI default language to English (#1938)
  9. Fix the issue that help line disappears when auto-going to a Fn submenu. (#1939)
  10. Fix an issue that CGI backup tool can not open after boot WePE.
  11. Optimization for Windows unattended install process.
  12. Fix the disk display error when pCloud virtual disk is installed in Windows OS.
  13. languages.json update

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Test AMD Radeon GPU RAM memory using Linux Scripts

 First watch the Learn Electronics Repair YT videos (and subscribe :-):

Using Linux to diagnose a fault:




How to run the test scripts:


Adding the test to any E2B USB drive

1. Download and add the ArchLinux ISO and copy to \_ISO\LINUX folder and make the file contiguous.

2. Download the two scripts,  unpack and copy to a \scripts folder on your E2B USB drive.

3. Boot to  the ISO and follow the instructions in the video (see screenshot below):



Type the correct command as explained in the video

I used these commands to get to the scripts folder:

fdisk -l

mkdir /ss

mount /dev/sda1 /ss

/ss/scripts


dmgg - test Polaris and Navi AMD GPU (RX400/RX500/RX5000)

memtest - generic test


This can also be done using Ventoy, but you should use the VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT option in the global control section of the ventoy.json user config file so that the volume is accessible once booted to Linux.

See Also - other video card tests

See also MATS/MODS test article here and Kings OverKill article here.


Saturday, 5 November 2022

Add your own animated gif to E2B

 <<<


You can make your own animation like the shuffle dancer shown in the screenshot above (download here) in just a few minutes. The hardest part is finding an animated GIF in the first place like this one.

Friday, 4 November 2022

E2B Theme (Rosalind Franklin + DNA animation)


E2B menu plus DNA gif with transparent background

  • 1024x768
  • Rosalind Franklin wallpaper
  • Animated rotating DNA model
Use \_ISO\E2B_Editor.exe to change colours, wallpaper, etc. as you prefer.

You can download the files from here (Alternate Downloads - Themes folder). Just extract the files to the \_ISO folder.

Thursday, 3 November 2022

agFM v1.98 released

I have updated the default theme used by the \boot\grubfm\startup_default.cfg file in the agFM download so that it now uses the sample_slack theme. This means that if you are using the default file, you will now see a slightly different agFM startup menu with more items on the menu and with the boot mode displayed at the top of the menu (Legacy\BIOS, EFI32 or EFI64):

agFM default theme with menu heading text + boot mode

To update to the newest version, run:

Monday, 31 October 2022

VentoyPlugson.exe v1.0.81 for E2B drives now available

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' is currently at v1.0.79.
The VentoyPlugson.exe utility has been slightly modified to work on an USB drive (not just official Ventoy drives) so that it will recognise any USB drive.

Sunday, 30 October 2022

E2B and agFM updates

  • E2B latest version is now v2.18 2022-10-28
  • agFM latest version is now agFM v1.97 2022-10-29
  • 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' is still at 1.0.79d 20220-09-13
You can download the latest version of E2B here. If you have v2.16 of E2B, you can run Make_E2B.exe and click on the Update E2B Drive to download and update to the latest versions without needing to manually download E2B.


E2B recent changes:

Saturday, 29 October 2022

How to quickly identify what's in your old PC or Notebook (DOS SysInfo tools)

The Utilities menu in E2B will give you some details on PCI IDs (useful for finding the correct driver), BIOS-accessible disk drives and CPU Information...

E2B - UTILITIES - CPU Information

But if you are planning to install Windows or Linux onto an old PC or NoteBook, you can identify the hardware in a lot more detail bootable to an ISO such as the Hardware Detection Tool ISO file.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Boot pmagic_2022_09_04.iso from E2B\agFM\Ventoy with persistence

This version requires a 64-bit CPU and needs at least 2GB of RAM (and 4GB if not using save feature).

It is possible to boot Partition Magic 2022  from an ISO file and use the LIVE SAVE (persistence) feature which allows you to create a persistence file which is saved on exit and automatically loaded on boot.

My personalized purple Pmagic with persistence.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Add Gandalf’s Windows 10PE x64 Redstone 7 Spring 2022 Edition to E2B

Gandalf's WinPE is another popular Windows 10 x64 PE. It contains lots of programs and utilities but it is rather a heavyweight. The boot.wim file alone is 2GB and to run it you will need a 64-bit CPU and 4-5GB of RAM (depending on how you boot the ISO).



The boot.wim can take many minutes to load on some systems (depends on the BIOS USB 2/3 driver speed).

The download file is 'donationware' in that you must donate in order to be given a download URL, although if you Google enough, you can find a torrent link for a 5GB .rar download which can be unpacked to give a 10.8GB ISO file which supports UEFI64 and Legacy 64-bit booting.

I changed the filename to:
GandalfsWin10PEx64RS7-20H1_.isomap64.agfmisomap64.ISO
so that it would boot under E2B and agFM without prompting for options or showing a secondary menu.

Sunday, 23 October 2022

Add PhilsComputerLab's DOSBENCHMARK test utilities to your E2B or Ventoy USB drive (and run Quake and Doom!)

Phil has provided some DOS-executables which you can use to benchmark and test legacy BIOS PCs. As well as CPU, VGA and sVGA benchmarks, it also has the trial versions of Quake and Doom which you can play!

Speedsys 4.78 run on Lenovo IdeaPad300 notebook


The main menu is shown below:

Monday, 17 October 2022

Boot or Install ReactOS Live from E2B

If you want to try ReactOS (which is at Alpha status - so still very buggy!) you can download a .imgPTN23 file here which should boot to the LiveCD ISO.

ReactOS itself does not fully support USB 2/3 AFAIK, so you may need to attach a PS/2 keyboard and mouse if using a real system. 

Friday, 14 October 2022

E2B v2.16 released

Changes in 2.16 are:
  • New - Support new .wimboot file extension (can use xxxxx_.wimboot.wim to make E2B boot using iPXE wimboot method instead of NTBOOT and bootmgr\BCD).
  • New - skip the prompt ‘Press ENTER to not use WIMBOOT’ if characters ‘WIMBOOT’ are in Windows Install ISO filename.
  • New - Ctrl+F7 hotkey to switch display to text mode. Use Ctrl+F8 to reload menu in default mode.
  • New - Alt+F7 hotkey to switch display to 1024×768 mode. Use Ctrl+F8 to reload menu in default mode.
  • New - \_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2022 folder added for Server 2022 ISOs/IMPTN files.
  • New - Add support for Ventoy Linux VHD/VDI .vtoy files. \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Linux Mint VHD_VDI (ventoy).mnu, \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Linux\ventoy_grub.cfg added. 
  • New - Check USB drive is not a GPT drive added. 
  • New - Can use set QMENU=1 in MyE2B.cfg for faster loading of E2B menus (but no ISO volume info in descriptions and no ‘not contiguous’ warnings given). Improve menu loading time if many files in menu folder.
  • New - Add “\_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Download and update E2B.cmd” – this script will download the latest currently released version of E2B (or latest Beta if available) and then update the E2B version on the USB drive, then proceed to download and update agFM and Ventoy for Easy2Boot and Ventoy Plugins.
  • Bugfix - SWITCH_E2B.exe fix not switching if partition 4 has start/size parameters but is Type 0.
  • E2B Menu F1 ENGlish help text updated, hotkey grub4dos utility updated, \grldr grub4dos version updated.

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Three new ways to make or save money (but be quick!)

Here are some ideas to get approx. £40 in less than an hour (no risk) and save up to 30% on Christmas gifts or purchases and save £££s on your weekly supermarket shopping bills for ever!

Monday, 10 October 2022

E2B v2.16j available with E2B update script

v2.16j - Add "\_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Download and update E2B.cmd" - this script will download the latest currently released version of E2B (or latest Beta if available) and then update the E2B version on the USB drive, then proceed to download and update agFM and Ventoy for Easy2Boot and Ventoy Plugins.

If an E2B Beta is available you can download and install that version, otherwise it will download the currently released version.

You can download any E2B version and drag-and-drop the .zip file onto the Download and update E2B.cmd script and it will use that file instead of downloading one.

The script will then go on to download and install the latest current release of agFM and Ventoy for Easy2Boot (you will be asked if you want to update first).

Note: If you abort the script during operation, it may leave some temporary files on your Windows system. You can delete them by simply running the script again and answer No at the first question.



Thursday, 6 October 2022

Easy2Boot v2.16h Beta available

I have made a slight improvement to speed up the enumeration/loading time of an E2B menu folder.

In addition, if you add

set QMENU=1

into your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file it will also speed up the menu load time (but the ISO volume name and the contiguous file status will not be checked or displayed).

The E2B grub4dos+grub4efi Beta version has also been updated if you want to experiment and UEFI-boot to a UEFI E2B menu system.

I am thinking of releasing E2B 2.16 soon so please let me know if you spot any issues.

Beta downloads are in the Alternate Download Areas as usual - Latest Betas folder.

E2B Change History

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

New Linux VHD\VDI video

I have added a new YouTube video to demo how to make VHDs or VDIs containing fully installed Linux OS's and boot to them from E2B\agFM\Ventoy.





You can also boot to the .VTOY file using your own grub2/grub4dos/rEFInd menu system - see the vdiskchain github project for details.

You can add "VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT=1" as a kernel parameter to add to the boot parameters. 

I have also updated the 'Getting started with Ventoy' eBook to include a chapter and Exercise on how to make a .vtoy Linux file and how to add the VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT=1 into the grub.cfg  of the Linux VHD\VDI permanently.

The latest 2.16 Beta of E2B supports .VTOY files. The current latest agFM also supports .VTOY files (as well as the current 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' 1.0.79).

Beaware of this VentoyPlugson issue!

I have noticed a problem with tab pages in Ventoy's VentoyPlugson web-based app.



Basically, there is no indication of whether or nor a 'mode' section exists in the ventoy.json file.

This is important because if for instance a 'control_uefi' section exists within the ventoy.json file AND YOU UEFI-BOOT then the settings in the first tab page named 'control' will be ignored and only the settings in the 'control_uefi' page will be used. However, if there is NO 'control_uefi' key defined in the ventoy.json file then the settings in the 'control_uefi' tab will be ignored and the settings in the 'control' tab page will be used.

The problem is the web application does not indicate whether a 'control_mode' section exists or not - so it is not clear which tab page will be used by Ventoy!

I discovered this when I found that the VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT setting did not appear to work in legacy mode but did work in UEFI64 mode. It turned out my ventoy.json file had these settings:

{
    "control":[
        { "VTOY_WIN11_BYPASS_CHECK": "1" },
        { "VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT": "1" }
    ],
    "control_legacy":[
        { "VTOY_DEFAULT_MENU_MODE": "1" }
    ]
}

This means that when I legacy booted, the VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT setting did NOT take effect because Ventoy used the settings in the 'control_legacy' section and ignored the settings in the 'control' section.


Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Testing a Ventoy USB drive using VirtualBox under Windows 10/11 (and why it didn't work!)

I usually test Ventoy, Easy2Boot, Rufus bootable USB drives using Oracle Virtual Box 5 under a Windows 10 OS.

To do this I use the VMUB utility. This removes the USB drive from Windows immediately  before running VBox so that VBox will have full rd/wr access to the USB drive and can Lock it for access. If VMUB is not used then strange issues can occur because VBox will snapshot all changes to the USB drive whilst under control of the virtual BIOS\Firmware.

I have always had problems running Ventoy under VBox +VMUB however - usually with Legacy booting which would sometimes fail on VBox but work OK on a real system. However, I did find that some of my Virtual Machines seemed to work better than others with Ventoy.

Monday, 26 September 2022

E2B v2.16g and agFM v1.92 now have .vtoy support for full Linux OS VHD\VDI booting

Ventoy has the ability to boot from full Linux installations which have been installed onto a fixed .VHD file, fixed .VDI file or a disk raw image file. However, the code used can also be used under grub2 and grub4dos too. If you have an existing disk with Linux on it, you should be able to use the RMPrepUSB - Disk>File button to capture a .img file (although I haven't tried it with a Linux disk).

This means that a E2B USB drive (or any drive or partition) can contain multiple VHD or VDI Linux files and you can boot to a full Linux and run it at full speed (no persistence file is used). The only problem is that you cannot update the Linux kernel when booting in this way. If you wish to update the Linux version, you should do this by booting the VHD/VDI file under a Virtual Machine again - update the kernel - and then re-run the vtoyboot.sh script again. Then you can copy the new file to the E2B USB drive.

To update your E2B USB drive

See Alternate Downloads - Latest Beta folder for latest E2B version. If you wish to also test grub4efi, you can download the experimental 2.16gEFI version.
agFM v1.92 supports .vtoy files - run Ptn2:\e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd to get the latest version of agFM.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79d released

The current release of the official Ventoy v1.0.79  does not currently support Windows .7z file injection if you use the Ctrl+W  WIMBOOT override key (some PCs will not boot Windows ISOs without using WIMBOOT).

My latest version includes the latest Beta code so that WIMBOOT mode will also work with file injection (the next official version - Ventoy v1.0.80 will probably have this fix too).

Also, my new version will respond to the w, i, u and r keys (with or without the ctrl key) which means you can use those modifier keys on a Mac AirBook or other non-standard computer which does not recognise the Ctrl key.

Please run \e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd on Ptn2 to update to the latest version of 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot'.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79c released (bugfix)

Another problem was found with 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot 1.0.79' - Windows zip file injection was not working.

The issue has now been fixed in 1.0.79c.

Problem seems to be to do with the FAT code needing to specify ".xz " as file extension rather than ".xz" for FAT32 filesystems (three character extensions worked but not two character extensions) and also a bug in LongPanda's code created a file on X: even if the source file did not exist.

The new version is 1.0.79c (press F7 in Ventoy Menu to show version number).

Please run \e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd on Ptn2 to update to the latest version.

Check that the \ventoy\vtoyjump32.exe and vtoyjump64.exe has a date of 2022-09-09.

I have given details of the code changes here.

Monday, 5 September 2022

Major bank security loophole exposed - don't be a victim - use this simple fix!

Did you know that there is a major security flaw with most banks?

Did you know that if someone steals your bank card and your phone then they can easily clean out ALL your bank accounts in just a few minutes!

That's right - if a thief has stolen both your bank debit card and your phone - he/she can find out your bank card PIN number very quickly and can then use your bank card + PIN to steal all your money. They can even transfer all your money from your bank's savings accounts into your bank's current account too so that they clean you out completely!

Here is how it works...

Saturday, 3 September 2022

E2B v2.16f Beta

I have added the Ctrl+F7 and Alt+F7 hotkeys to the new Beta version of the E2B menu system.
Some people have been experiencing blank screens when booting to the E2B menu system in legacy mode on systems with certain display adapters+monitors. So pressing Alt+F7 or Ctrl+F7 will instantly switch to a different graphic mode and screen resolution which may allow them to see the menu in the new mode.

Current changes in 2.16f are:
  • Add .wimboot file extension support. Use xxxxx_.wimboot.wim to make E2B boot using iPXE wimboot method instead of NTBOOT and bootmgr\BCD.
  • Add Ctrl+F7 hotkey to switch display to text mode. Use Ctrl+F8 to reload menu in default mode.
  • Add Alt+F7 hotkey to switch display to 1024×768 mode. Use Ctrl+F8 to reload menu in default mode.
  • New SWITCH_E2B.exe to fix not switching if partition 4 has start/size parameters but is Type 0
  • New \_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2022 folder added for Server 2022 with XML and KEY files.
  • F1 ENGlish help text file updated.
Please Contact Me if you have any issues or suggestions.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

eBooks updated

I have revised some of the eBooks to bring them up to date.

Here is a list of the current versions:
  • E2B #1 - Getting started with Easy2Boot_v2.21.pdf
  • E2B #2 - How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot_v1.9.pdf
  • E2B #3 - How to make a UEFI multi-boot Easy2Boot USB drive using .imgPTN files v1.03.pdf
  • E2B #4 - UEFI-multiboot using the a1ive grub2 File Manager_v1.25.pdf
  • Getting started with Ventoy v1.11 (for Ventoy v1.0.79).pdf
  • Getting started with grub4dos_v1.02.pdf
Just use the download link in your conformation email to download the latest version. All updates are free.

Monday, 29 August 2022

'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79 bugfix for Windows Install ISOs and WinPE ISOs

I found a problem with 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79 - it does not load a Windows/WINPE ISO as a virtual drive as it seems LongPanda has added an additional check into the code. This means Windows Installs and some WinPEs did not work correctly.

Please update 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' using the instructions here.

The new version is still called v1.0.79 - so please update even if the cmd file says that you already have v1.0.79 installed.

The \ventoy\vtoyjump64.exe file on Partition 2 should be dated 2022-08-28 after updating to v1.0.79b.




Sunday, 21 August 2022

Ventoy for Easy2Boot v1.0.79 is now fully released

To update to the latest 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79 just run

\e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd

from Partition 2 of the E2B USB drive.

You can run Download and update agFM_v2.cmd to ensure your version of agFM is up to date first.

The .cmd file will also download and update the Ventoy plugin files and copy on a version of VentoyPlugsonE2B.exe that will work on E2B USB drives.



Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Is YouTube getting worse or is it just broken?

I have some YT videos on my YT channel  and I have made comments on some other peoples YT videos, as I am sure many of you have.

For several years, I have noticed that sometimes, I can look through the comments under other peoples YT videos and I will be surprised to see a comment with my name on it but that I did not write. Here is an example:

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Microsoft just made Secure Boot multibooting more difficult!

After the recent Windows update KB5012170 (August 9, 2022) was released, it seems Ventoy can no longer boot on some systems when Secure boot is enabled. This Windows update may also affect the Kaspersky EFI boot file used by agFM in E2B too.

Summary

This security update makes improvements to Secure Boot DBX for the supported Windows versions listed in the "Applies to" section. Key changes include the following:

Windows devices that has Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) based firmware can run with Secure Boot enabled. The Secure Boot Forbidden Signature Database (DBX) prevents UEFI modules from loading. This update adds modules to the DBX.

A security feature bypass vulnerability exists in secure boot. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability might bypass secure boot and load untrusted software.

This security update addresses the vulnerability by adding the signatures of the known vulnerable UEFI modules to the DBX.

KB5012170


Introduction

Ventoy (and the 'official Ventoy' .img files used by agFM) use an .EFI file which allows you to add any file or key onto the BIOS DB 'whitelist' by using MokManager. This basically allow you to secure boot to ANY unsigned .efi file and is therefore a very obvious security risk.

agFM uses a signed Kaspersky EFI boot file which has a security flaw because it allows you to load unsigned grub2 modules. The unsigned grub2 module can then disable the secure boot checks and then allow you to load unsigned .efi bot files.

Microsoft have released various Windows Updates which (if you have UEFI-booted to Windows) will add blacklist entries into the DBx non-volatile RAM of your BIOS so that it will now refuse to Secure Boot from the naughty EFIs that Microsoft should never have signed in the first place!

So this leaves us with a problem (that has been seen coming for several years) - how do we load a multiboot loader/manager such as Ventoy or agFM (which use unsigned grub2). Microsoft will not sign any generic grub2 version because they allow you to load other modules or run dd, etc. and thus potentially hack the secure boot mechanism.

Solutions


Monday, 15 August 2022

E2B v2.16b Beta available

I have added support for the CTRL+F7 hotkey into the E2B menu system.

This hotkey sets the menu system to graphicsmode 3 and text mode.

If you have display issues on some systems and the E2B graphics mode menu system cannot be displayed properly on a particular graphics adaptor or monitor, you may see a 'fuzzy' or 'garbled' or 'corrupt' screen. In this case, hitting Ctrl+F7 may fix the display issue.

Please let me know if this causes you any issues and if you think it is worth keeping this feature in for the next full release.

Friday, 12 August 2022

VentoyPlugson.exe for 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' available

I have recompiled VentoyPlugson.exe so that it will detect an Easy2Boot drive (although it may also detect other drives too!).

So you can now make a \ventoy\ventoy.json file directly from your E2B USB drive. This will save you having to switch in an 'official' Ventoy Partition 2 image just to configure the ventoy.json file.

Please note this is NOT the official VentoyPlugson.exe and you must make sure you select the correct drive letter if it displays more than one drive! As it only creates a ventoy.json file though, it should not be too harmful if you accidentally choose the wrong drive.

Let me know if you have any issues.

agFM has now been updated to v1.85. The only change is that the cmd file
\e2b\Update agFM\GetLatestVentoyPluginFiles.cmd
now adds a \ventoy\VentoyPlugsonE2B folder to the first partition. You can then run \ventoy\VentoyPlugsonE2B\VentoyPlugsonE2B.exe from that folder.

Action:
1. Run \e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd to update to agFM v1.86
2. Run \e2b\Update agFM\GetLatestVentoyPluginFiles.cmd  to get VentoyPlugsonE2B

Note that 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' v1.0.79 is also available - see eBook #4 for the download URL and password. It will be released publicly some time in September.

Subscribe for more updates!
--------------------

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Send faxes for free online (no fax machine required)

Recently I had to send a solicitor who was located over 100 miles away, some copies of my ID documents (passport, driving licence, etc.).

Now solicitors do not like receiving emails with attachments as, of course, opening an email attachment carries serious security risks, so they automatically bin all emails with attachments and they wanted me to either send a fax or use snail mail.

However, in the UK, we have just had a warning of a forthcoming  Royal Mail postal service strike and so I was afraid that my documents would be delayed or worse - lost if I posted them! So it seemed that it was best to send them faxes of my ID docs.

My printer does actually have fax capability, but I needed a BT phone socket adaptor for it which I didn't have. So instead I decided to try an online fax service.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

E2B v2.16a Beta

While testing all the .wim files in Medicat 21.12, I found that the Lockpick.wim file would not Legacy-boot from the Easy2Boot menu system.

All the other .wim files seem to Legacy-boot OK (except for the DiskGenius.wim file which seems to load and briefly display the WinPE Desktop and then immediately reboot on E2B, agFM and Ventoy???).

Easy2Boot 2.15 and previous versions booted a .wim file by using a default boot.sdi and bootmgr file and it creates a BCD dynamically with the name of the boot file in it. For some reason it seems to crash however on the Lockpick.wim file.

So Easy2Boot v2.16a Beta now supports the .wimboot file extension and this will load the  wim file using the wimboot method (derived from the iPXE github project and used by agFM and Ventoy).

Download E2B v2.16a from the 'Latest Betas' folder - https://easy2boot.xyz/download/alternate-download-sites/

QRUN will suggest that you try .wimboot instead of .wim, or you can just give the .wim file a _.wimboot.wim file extension and it will automatically use the wimboot method without prompting you.

e.g.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Add MX Linux with persistence to agFM

If you want to UEFI64 (or legacy) boot to an MX-Linux ISO and have persistence, you can use a .grubfm file. The .grubfm file must be the same name as the ISO file and in the same folder, e.g.

  • \_ISO\LINUX\MX-21.1_x64.iso
  • \_ISO\LINUX\MX-21.1_x64.grubfm

1. Copy on the two files. The grubfm file can be found on Partition 2 at "\e2b\Sample agFM menu files\LINUX\MX-21.1_x64.grubfm" folder or download from here.

2. The persistence files that will be created by MX-Linux must be stored on either Partition 2 of the E2B USB drive or Partition 3. Check that you have enough room (the default files are 8GB and 10GB but you can choose a smaller size). If you do not have a Partition 3 on the E2B USB drive then you could resize the partitions using EaseUS Home Partition Master or a similar tool. 

3. Edit the .grubfm file and change the partition number to the one that you are going to use - either 2 or 3, e.g.  line 15-17, make sure set PERSIST_PTN= 2 (or 3) as the only line and comment out any other set PERSIST_PTN= line...

Friday, 5 August 2022

Ventoy for Easy2Boot v1.0.79 pre-release is now available.

The current Ventoy for Easy2Boot is version 1.0.57 and it is getting a bit long in the tooth - so I have today edited and recompiled a new version for Easy2Boot.

I have added a link to it in the latest eBook #4:


which will take you to the download file for 'Easy2Boot v1.0.79'. The password is also in the eBook (search the PDF for '1.0.79' to find it).


Wednesday, 3 August 2022

New! IODD ST400 Disk emulator (2.5" SATA HDD enclosure)

IODD have brought out a new disk enclosure which allows you to add your own 2.5" SATA disk drive (spinning rust or SSD). The IODD allows you to select and boot from any ISO or VHD as long is it is bootable, so there should be no issues with Secure Boot failures as long as the ISO/VHD has signed boot files.

It is called the ST400 (Amazon.com #ad). It is available from Amazon.com (USA) now for about $90 and you can add a cheap 1TB 2.5" SSD for about $100 (it does not need to be fast as the USB 3 transfer rate for the ST400 device seems to max out at around 140MB/s) - or add a spinning rust Seagate Barracuda 5TB drive for about the same price instead. The IODD Mini is approx. $130 for the 256GB SSD unit.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

E2B v2.15 released (bugfix for SWP01 error in v2.14)

Please Update to v2.15. There was a problem in v2.14 (the QRUN.g4b batch file was too long as limitation of only 2048 lines of code are allowed in a grub4dos batch file).

The only change is the QRUN.g4b file and the version.txt file.

Monday, 1 August 2022

agFM v1.84 released (bugfix)

Some .img and .vhd files would not boot in Legacy mode when using the 'map' option (which runs grub4dos).

For instance, if you install Medicat to a fixed-size .VHD file, you can boot to it using E2B (as .vhdhdd) or agFM (as either .vhd or .img) or Ventoy (Ventoy requires the extension to be .img) -  so use the extension _.vhdhdd.img so that it works on all three.

You can update just by running Ptn2:\e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd.

Note: There is a bug in E2B v1.14 - if you get a 'Cannot find label SWP01' error then please update to v2.15aBeta.


Tuesday, 26 July 2022

E2B v2.14 now fully released

 v2.14 is now fully released and is on FossHub for fast download.

There were a few small changes including tweaks to QRUN.g4b and E2B_Editor.exe since the 2.14 version that I made available a few days ago on the Beta Alternate Downloads OneDrive site. You can update again to the full release version if you wish.

The E2B_Editor.exe utility now displays the X-Y co-ordinates of the cursor as well as the colour of the pixel under the cursor in the floating tooltip - as shown below. This may assist you when setting STAMP and ANIMATION co-ordinates. 

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Easy2Boot v2.14 available

E2B v2.14 DPMS is now available here. I will put it on FossHub in a few days but I thought I would make it available to blog subscribers here first.

E2B v2.14 is now fully released.

Here are the changes (please feed back any issues if you find any ASAP):

Friday, 22 July 2022

More tips to save on gas/oil/electricity energy bills

If your house has a hot water tank (not a combi-boiler/direct water heater) then a simple tip is to just set the timer so that the hot water will come on for only an hour or so in the morning and then switch off for the rest of the day.

The water in a well-insulated tank will stay quite hot for the rest of the day and should still be warm enough in the evening to do any washing up, face washing, etc. if required (especially in the summer).

Obviously, if you use too much hot water during the day then it will go cold, but you can adjust the timer accordingly. The idea is to not use energy to keep the tank of water hot when you really don't need it to be hot. It is a shame that we cannot have two temperature settings for the hot water because we really only need very hot water when we have a bath\shower and need more than one tank-full of hot water.

Also, if you do not use a lot of hot water in the morning for a shower or bath, then instead of adjusting the temperature by mixing in some cold water, just turn down the hot water thermostat to reduce the temperature of the water in the hot tank. Try reducing the hot water temperature by 2 deg C each week until you find the lowest temperature that suits your usage and preferences.

In Summer we don't really need really hot water from the sink taps anyway and it seems silly to heat a whole tank of water up for the whole day. The rooms near the hot water tank will be cooler too if it is not on all day.

Most domestic appliances are cold-fill only (because most houses have directly heated hot water and it is considered 'more efficient'), however if you have a tank full of hot\warm water available during the day, it is more efficient to use a hot+cold-fill washing machine or dish washer and make good use of that warm water instead of just letting it cool down slowly during the day.

In the winter, you may need to adjust the timer and thermostat settings again.

Free newspapers and magazines for 3 months!



Why not cancel your daily newspaper and magazine subscriptions, save money and also help to save trees at the same time?

Sign up before the end of this month and Readly will give you 3 months for free. After that they will charge you the reduced rate of £8.99 a month for the next 12 months (£9.99 thereafter). You can cancel any time (even in month #3 of the free trial period).

Thursday, 21 July 2022

agFM v1.83 released

 The new version has a few changes

v1.83 2022-07-21

  • Add \e2b\update agFM\GetLatestVentoyPluginFiles.cmd.
  • Improve download speeds. Fix problem of .imgPTN switch-in operation sometimes detecting difference in MBR and offering to restore instead of switching in new imgptn.

GetLatestVentoyPluginFiles.cmd – this downloads the latest plugins required by Ventoy for some functions (Windows vhd plugin, Windows wim plugin, Linux persistence .dat files in a .zip file, bootable ISO to remove Ventoy Secure Boot whitelist key from UEFI BIOS NVRAM).

The files are copied to the \ventoy folder on Partition 1 of the E2B USB drive.

To update your E2B drive, run Make_E2B.exe and click the Update E2B button or run "\e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM_v2.cmd".

Note: E2B v2.14 will be also available soon and then I hope to produce a new 'Ventoy for Easy2Boot' version.

Saturday, 9 July 2022

FakeFlashTest v1.1.4 updated (now much faster!)

I wrote FakeFlashTest many years ago when a 16GB Flash drive was considered top of the range and very expensive. Time has moved on since then and Flash memory chips are now cheaper and larger.

So FFT v1.1.4 is now much faster and will dynamically adjust it's algorithm to cater for larger drives. Most drives should take less than 5 minutes to test now (and some a lot less).

You can find the latest version here.



Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Easy2Boot v2.14i Beta available

The developer yaya2007 has fixed the UDF ISO bug in grub4dos, so DLC Boot ISOs that are in UDF format (and maybe other ISOs that had problems booting under E2B) are now fixed in E2B v2.14i.

2.14i also has a new menu entry in the UTILITIES menu to display CPU information. Thanks to a1ive for writing the cpuid utility for grub4dos..
2.14h can now boot Tails ISO files (without persistence) even if your E2B USB drive is a fixed disk.

Note 2022-07-13: 2.14i and later uses the latest version of grub4dos which has a BUG! You will get problems with some operations (e.g. Windows Install ISOs give  unattend error). Awaiting fix from the developer (grub4efi has same bug!). Late news: Fixed in latest release 2.15.
    
New CPU Info menu entry
 

Monday, 4 July 2022

Don't miss the bargains on Amazon (12th July)

Amazon Prime Day is 12-13th July this year. There will be loads of special offers but only for Amazon Prime Members.

Membership costs $14.99 a month (£7.99 in UK) and you get free delivery and free Amazon Prime Video too.

Prices will be different in USA.

However, you get a free 30-day trial (#Ad), so sign up now and watch some movies, grab the bargains on July 12th/13th and then (if you really want to), cancel before the end of the month and it won't cost you a penny.