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.

agFM v1.64 released


agFM v1.64 2020-10-31
  • Update Passmark's memtest86 EFI files to v8.4
  • grubfm MBR bugfix for some WinPE .wim files not booting using agFM - e.g. DLCBoot 2019 ISO.
Thanks to Arfan for reporting the DLC MBR-boot bug and to developer a1ive for fixing it.


Note: This version has a bug in the F3 Boot menu - please use a later version!

eBooks

You can get free updates by using the email link that was sent to you when you purchased the eBook.

Here are the current versions.
  • eBook #1 11/09/2020  Getting started with Easy2Boot_v2.18.pdf
  • eBook #2 29/10/2020  How to make a UEFI multi-boot Easy2Boot USB drive v1.01.pdf
  • eBook #3 21/10/2020  How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot_v1.7.pdf
  • eBook #4 08/10/2020  UEFI-multiboot using the a1ive grub2 File Manager_v1.16.pdf
  • 22/07/2020 Getting started with grub4dos_v1.01.pdf

Ventoy

Ventoy has been updated recently and is currently at version v1.0.26.
You can add Ventoy using the .cmd script in the \e2b folder on the agFM partition of your E2B USB drive.

Friday, 16 October 2020

'Hack into Windows' YouTube video uploaded

 

This video demonstrates how to use the UtilMan XML files to create a new ADMIN account or reset an offline account password.

It should work even if your PC contains multiple Windows installations.

It speeds up and semi-automates the process so that you do not have to type multiple Windows commands.

The latest beta version of E2B v2.06c has the latest version of the .cmd scripts which now also patches the Magnify.exe file.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Amazon Prime deals end today!

 In case you missed it, today is the last day of the Amazon Prime sale.

If you read my earlier blog posts, you will know that I have recently subscribed to Readly and cancelled all my paper magazine subscriptions. Yesterday, I noticed that the Amazon Fire HD's are now on sale with massive reductions, so I just received my new Fire HD 10 (#ad) this morning - installed Google Play and Chrome - and logged into Readly.com. Wow! Very nice display and it works as an Amazon Echo Show too - bargain!.

agFM v1.63 released

 agFM v1.63 just has a very small change to the \boot\grubfm\SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt example menu file. The small change will cause all .pf2 font files that are present in your theme folder to be automatically loaded.

#SET STYLE (change section below if required)
#mymenu=0   standard agFM theme
#mymenu=1   using $mytheme as theme   (rename folder \boot\grubfm\themes\sample_slack to slack) NO SPACES - DO NOT USE sample_slack folder as it will be changed on update
#mymenu=2   User wallpaper, no theme  (change USER MENU CONFIG section below)
#mymenu=3   Text mode - most compatible and quickest - use if keyboard issues (English only) - see section 3 below
set mymenu=0
#if mymenu=1 then mytheme specifies the theme folder to be used
set mytheme="slack"

######## MYMENU=1 - USERS GRUB2 THEME ########
if [ "${mymenu}" = "1" ] ; then
# Load fonts - if your theme uses special fonts (not unicode) this loads ALL font files
# The .pf2 font files should be inside the theme folder
for font in (${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/*.pf2; do loadfont ${font} ; done
# You can use the lsfonts command to list the currently loaded fonts

# Rename \boot\grubfm\themes\sample_slack folder to slack then edit background.png to add your own wallpaper
# uncomment 'menu_pixmap_style' in each .txt file to add a grey box behind the menu text
export theme_std="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/theme.txt";
export theme_fm="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/fm.txt";
export theme_info="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/info.txt";
export theme_help="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/help.txt";
export theme=$theme_std
# themes must not contain spaces
if ! [ -f "$theme" ] ; then echo "ERROR: Can't find $theme" ; read ; fi
fi
####################################

This means that if you use your own grub2 theme and it contains .pf2 font files, then they will be automatically loaded.

e.g.

set mymenu=1
set mytheme="seven14Large"

seven14Large theme


Friday, 9 October 2020

Tip: How to repair a Windows 8/10 system that won't boot without needing any another copy of Windows or WinPE

Although it is always better to try to repair a Windows OS by booting from the original Windows ISO, it is not always present on your E2B USB drive!

This tip works for most Windows 8 or Windows 10 systems. It allows you to repair the OS without needing to have any ISO or WinPE type payload file on the E2B drive and it will always use the correct matching version of WinRE to repair or access the original OS installation - even if you don't actually know what OS version was installed.

It relies on the fact that most Windows 8/10 systems will already contain a \Recovery folder on the internal hard disk containing a winre.wim file. It could be contained within a separate Recovery partition or it could be in the main NTFS boot partition.

This method allows you to boot to the Recovery console and from there you can use the various repair/troubleshooting repair features or drop to the command shell and type in your own commands.

Since E2B\agFM\Ventoy can boot from .wim files, we can directly boot from the winre.wim file like this...

Thursday, 8 October 2020

KonBoot v3.6 is now available

 KonBoot v3.6 is now the latest version and has a few bugfixes, etc.

Kon-Boot is currently the only solution worldwide we are aware of that can bypass Windows 10 online passwords!

 Main updates:

  • Updates for macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and macOS Big Sur 10.16 beta

  • Updates for Windows 10

  • Installer updates


KonBoot can now be added to your E2B USB drive but you must purchase a licence.

The more expensive version is about the only software that allows you to get past a Windows Online account on a Windows 10 system.

Of course, a free alternative to bypass a Windows 10 online account login (by creating a new account) can be done by booting to a Windows 10 ISO from Easy2Boot (UEFI or MBR) and choosing the Utilman - Hack Windows.xml XML file. 
For more instructions, see the UtilMan E2B web page.

Hack into a Windows 8/10 online account - just type '2'!
Win 8 does not require a Safe Mode boot (but Win10 does!).


agFM v1.62 released

 agFM v1.62 has some bug fixes, language improvements and some new features and changes. The main change is that the first-letter auto-jump feature now works in grubfm as well as the startup menu.

The default agFM menu (\boot\grubfm\startup_default.cfg) now sets the three grub2 variables:

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Readly is free for 2 months (offer ends this month)

This is just a heads up about the end of the Readly special offer. Readly is the online magazine service which I have been enjoying now for over a month. I have now cancelled my three paper magazine subscriptions as I now just use Readly to read all my magazines. This saves me about £9 a month plus I get to read dozens of the other mags that I am interested in!

The Readly special offer of 2 months free ends October 31st.





You can read all these and 100's more!
Photography, cars, games, fashion, DIY, hobbies, finance, etc. it's all there!

Here are a few of my reasons:

  1. Save money - OK, I admit it, my initial reason was that it was cheaper. If your household subscribes to lots of mags, you can save a small fortune!
  2. If I don't like it, I have nothing to lose - it's free for 2 months and I can always cancel the subscription at any time.
  3. I reckon I only actually read 50% of the pages anyway.
  4. I never re-read or go back to the old mags - every so often I throw them out, so why do I need them in paper format? I can always download a copy now anyway.
  5. Save the forests - the pages are useless as toilet paper anyway!
  6. Unlimited! I can now read 100's of magazines for free
  7. Browse all mags
  8. Free daily and weekend newspapers
  9. Access to all back-copies
  10. Searchable - I can search all mags for keywords instantly
  11. I don't have to wait for the post to arrive (which is sometimes a day or two late) - the latest issue is available very quickly on Readly.
  12. I get an email whenever a new issue comes out.
P.S. I bought an Amazon Fire HD 10" (#ad). It is cheap and ideal for reading the mags/newspapers on. I installed Google Play store and then the Readly app.

Monday, 5 October 2020

agFM v1.61 released (improves UEFI boot support when using .imgPTN23 files)

Taylor contacted me yesterday to ask how to switch back the original E2B partition after successfully managing to UEFI64-boot and switch in a new WinPE .imgPTN23 file.

My answer was to use the BIOS Boot menu to boot to the agFM Partition 2 and then pick the 'Restore E2B partitions' menu option from the agFM menu...


However, it seems the reason that Taylor was having problems, was that his/her Thinkpad T470s BIOS was only listing the first WinPE Partition 1 in the Boot Menu - the 2nd agFM partition was not listed in the boot menu!

No USB UEFI Ptn2 option!
No UEFI Boot option listed for Partition 2!

It seems that the UEFI BIOS only listed the first partition that it found that has a readable (usually FAT) partition and that contains a valid UEFI boot file - in this case \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI in the WinPE Partition 1.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

E2B and agFM updates are broken!

 Yesterday I had some problems with Easy2Boot.com. My host WebNode has now finally admitted that they have made some changes to the server without telling me!

This had the affect that you may have got error pages such as 'Too many redirects' when accessing some pages on the www.easy2boot.com website yesterday. This should now be fixed.

However, the other problem is that the download URLs on the E2B site have now all been changed by WebNode and thus broken. This means that the .cmd scripts which used wget.exe to fetch the latest versions are now all broken! Grrrr...

So the current Easy2Boot v2.05 version will no longer download agFM from the E2B host servers when you ask it to add agFM to partition 2! Also the various update scripts in agFM are all broken now and so a new version of agFM (v1.60) has just been updated and released.

If you are having problems updating E2B, please download the latest versions from the Alternate Download site. Extract the files to an empty folder and run the UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD script.

If you get stuck, you can always just extract the E2B files in the E2B zip file straight onto your E2B partition, and extract the agFM .zip file straight onto your agFM partition 2.

Please let me know if you have any issues. I will release E2B v2.06 in the next few days.

2020-10-02: The old download URLs now seem to be working again!



Monday, 28 September 2020

Ventoy 1.0.22 is released (no more 10-sec wait!)

 'longpanda' has released the latest version of Ventoy and the 10-second delay has now been removed.

You can update to this new version by downloading the new Ventoy-1.0.22-Windows.zip file and drag-and-drop it onto the \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd file on partition 2 (or if you have the latest agFM beta, simply click on the Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd file).


Tuesday, 22 September 2020

agFM v1.60a BETA now available

This BETA version has some more minor grub\grubfm bugfixes.

It also allows us to use the auto-jump feature (as used in E2B grub4dos menu). You hit a letter key and the next menu entry beginning with that letter is highlighted on the menu.

# disable the grub2 menu debug hotkeys c and e (agFM v1.59+)
# Tip: To enable using a special hotkey - see hiddenentry "[TAB] ENABLE GRUB2 HOTKEYS" example at bottom of this file
#export grub_disable_console=1
#export grub_disable_edit=1
# enable first-letter auto-jump hotkey feature in this menu only (does not work in grubFM) - console and edit hotkey must be disabled.
#export grub_enable_menu_jump=1

The first two settings will propagate to grubfm when it loads, however the menu_jump setting is not supported by the grubfm menu system, so auto-jump only works in your initial startup_menu.txt menu file.

Download v1.60a BETA from here

I hope the developer, a1ive, will also add the jump_menu feature into grubfm - but first the F search hotkey which is already used to search the USB drive for certain files types, will need to be re-assigned to a non-letter hotkey, e.g. F7/F8/F9/F10.

F - grubfm Search hotkey

P.S. I have also added an experimental \e2b\Update agFM\Update_to_latest_Ventoy_version.cmd script - this will automatically find the latest version of Ventoy, download it and add it to your E2B drive. This saves having to find the latest version yourself and then drag-and-drop the zip file onto the Add_Ventoy.cmd batch file.

Friday, 18 September 2020

agFM v1.59 available with 'c' and 'e' grub2 menu hotkey disable feature

 agFM v1.59 has a few small bugfixes which a1ive has added into grub and grubfm.

This version also allows you to disable the grub2 menu hotkeys c and e to prevent the user from accidentally pressing the c or e key and dropping into the console or the menu edit screen.

Since it is often useful to have a 'secret' key which will enable the grub2 hotkeys again, the SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file also contains a hiddenentry example which allows you to press the TAB key if you want to enable the grub2 hotkeys, but you must press TAB quickly as soon as the initial menu with timeout is displayed - TAB won't work once the agFM File Manager is loaded,

Here are the entries in the SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file which you can now add into your startup_menu.txt file if you have one in ptn2:\boot\grubfm (uncomment the lines in red):

# disable the grub2 menu debug hotkeys c and e (agFM v1.59+)
# Tip: To enable using a special hotkey - see hiddenentry "[TAB] ENABLE GRUB2 HOTKEYS" example at bottom of this file
#export grub_disable_console=1
#export grub_disable_edit=1



#hiddenentry "[TAB] ENABLE GRUB2 HOTKEYS" --hotkey tab {
# unset grub_disable_console
# unset grub_disable_edit
#}

Download v1.59 from here

Monday, 14 September 2020

agFM v1.58 released + new Ventoy

There was a bug in agFM v1.57 which caused the E2B Ventoy boot option to not be shown in the E2B Main Menu.

Also, wget was not downloading the core.img file correctly.

This version has a newer version of wget.exe and a revised \e2b\Add_Ventoy.cmd file.

To update agFM go to Partition 2 \e2b\Update agFM folder and run Download and update agFM_v2.cmd

After you update to agFM v1.57, you can drag-and-drop any new version of the Ventoy ZIP file onto the \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd file and you should have working E2B Main Menu and agFM F5 options to launch Ventoy from UEFI64 booting.

agFM will thus allow you to Secure UEFI64-boot to Ventoy without needing to disable Secure Boot or use Mok Manager (which does not work on many systems). Ventoy does not require contiguous files and is quicker when loading and running ISOs.


Ventoy 1.0.21 released

Ventoy v1.0.21 has just been released (adds beta support for VHDs) and it now warns the user if it is not running from an 'official' Ventoy USB drive!


You now have to wait 10 seconds.

The developer, longpanda, has said he will change this in the next version as he will check that the partitions conform to the correct 'Ventoy' layout and then will maybe just show the 'UNOFFICIAL' word on the screen just to signify that if you do find a problem with Ventoy, you should test it again using an 'official' Ventoy USB drive before reporting the issue.

So hopefully this delay will be removed in the next version of Ventoy. Meanwhile, if you don't want this delay, use Ventoy 1.0.20.

Friday, 11 September 2020

'eBook #1 - Getting started with Easy2Boot' - v2.18 is now available

 I have made some minor revisions to eBook #1.

If you have already purchased it, you can get the new version by using the download link that was emailed to you previously.

If you are interested in agFM and UEFI-booting, the eBook #4 has also been recently updated to v1.15.

E2B eBooks are listed here.

P.S. Subscribe to get the latest news.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

E2B v2.05 and agFM v1.57 released

 

To update, click the Make_E2B.exe - Update E2B button.
Then check that you have E2B 2.05 and agFM 1.57 by MBR and UEFI-booting.

To add Ventoy, download the latest version of Ventoy .ZIP file and drag-and-drop the Ventoy zip file onto the \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd file on the 2nd agFM partition.

Ventoy does not require the ISO files to be contiguous.

# Change Logs

E2B 2.05 2020-09-09
  1. Change sort code so E2B menu system can now work on systems with just 64MB RAM.
  2. Bugfix in Make_E2B.exe for Chinese language not working
  3. Enhancement - alphabetically sort files in LstFExt.g4b - so now \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP ISO files are sorted alphabetically.
  4. Add_Ventoy.cmd added - \_ISO\docs\MAKE_E2B-USB_DRIVE\Add_Ventoy.cmd can be used with Ventoy.xx.xx.xx.zip to add or update Ventoy onto 2nd agFM Partition.
  5. Windows Install menu will display 'HDD1=GPT' if it detects that the first internal hard disk has GPT partitions.
agFM v1.57 2020-09-09
  1. Bugfix for MBR\Legacy install of Windows Setup not allowing Internal hard disk to be selected
  2. Update agFM version
  3. Ventoy support - F5 now will boot to Ventoy if present on Partition 2
  4. \e2b\Update agFM\Add_Ventoy.cmd added (drag and drop Ventoy zip file onto Add_Ventoy.cmd to add Ventoy MBR+UEFI64).

Note: I have also updated eBook #4 and eBook #1. You can obtain the updates by using the link in the confirmation that was email sent to you by Payhip when you first purchased it.

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to this blog for more news!

Saturday, 5 September 2020

E2B v2.05d Beta now includes Add_Ventoy.cmd batch file

E2B v2.05d Beta now includes \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Add_Ventoy.cmd

Just download the latest Ventoy .zip file and drop the Ventoy .zip file onto the Add_Ventoy.cmd file on your E2B USB drive (Windows 10 only).


Let me know if you see any see issues.

P.S. agFM v1.57Beta3 also includes the Add_Ventoy.cmd file in the \e2b\Update agFM folder. This means that Windows 7/8 users can first switch to the 2nd partition (using Switch_E2B.exe - Access partition 2 on Removable drive button) and then drag-and-drop the downloaded Ventoy .zip file onto the Add_Ventoy.cmd file. Don't forget to switch back partitions 1 and 2 afterwards!


Friday, 4 September 2020

Get ready for a second Corona wave!


Will there be a second wave? 

In the UK and probably many other countries, the schools, colleges and universities are starting to open again. Also we are being asked to go back into our offices and shops. However, if we are not careful, this could lead to the start of a second wave of the epidemic.

It has been estimated that over 40% of grandparents are 'carers' for their grandchildren. Since Corona has a more severe effect on older people and those with health problems, it makes sense to continue to avoid contact and close proximity to ALL other people (even those in the same household). The grandparents should try to keep their distance from the kids (somehow!).

The larger the 'dose' - the more severe the symptoms? 

agFM v1.57 Beta2 with full F5 VENTOY support

I have now added a patch into agFM and recompiled it since a1ive has not yet made the change to the f5.sh file in the github master.

The F5 key will now boot to Ventoy once you update partition 2 with the new v1.57Beta2 version.

Follow the previous blog article for instructions on how to add Ventoy to your E2B USB drive.