Friday 1 December 2023

'Getting started with Ventoy' eBook updated for Ventoy 1.0.96


Latest eBook (PDF) 'Getting started with Ventoy v1.15' is now available

Ventoy theme with semi-transparent Ventoy version number

I have updated the eBook for Ventoy v1.0.89.

If you have already purchased an older version of the PDF, just use the link in the confirmation email to download the new version of the PDF for free.

Free theme download

The Ventoy eBook contains many hints and tips such as how to make an external F6 user menu that can run grub and grub4dos commands (including how to use grub4dos paths/filenames with spaces) and how to make your own grub2 theme.

It also tells you how to easily remove the Ventoy version number text from your grub2 menu theme (no need for colour matching!).

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

Here is a list of the current versions, most have been updated within the last few months:
  • E2B #1 - Getting started with Easy2Boot_v2.22.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_v1.26.pdf
  • Getting started with Ventoy v1.15 (for Ventoy v1.0.96).pdf
  • Getting started with grub4dos_v1.03.pdf
Just use the download link in your conformation email to download the latest version. All updates are free.

Thursday 10 August 2023

How to easily install Windows 11 without all the MS bloatware

There is currently a weird bug in the Windows 11 Setup procedure. When selecting the Language, Keyboard/Input Methods and Time/Currency, you can select either "English (World)" or "English (Europe)" as the region. If you choose one of these two options then the Microsoft operating system will be installed free of bloatware!

The reason for this is that the Windows 11 installer and Microsoft's Internet-based OOBE are apparently unable to handle the language code for World English (en-001) or European English (en-150).

So simply choose "English (World)" or "English (Europe)" and later, when installation has completed, change the Region to your correct region.

This bug will probably be fixed in 6 months or so, but in the meantime it is a useful trick!

Monday 3 July 2023

Get ready for Amazon Prime Days now for great price reductions!

 Amazon Prime Days are 11th July and 12th July but you should get ready for them now.

First, you need to be an Amazon Prime member, but if you are not already a member, then take out a free month's subscription now (you can always cancel at the end of the month if you want to - but free delivery and Amazon Prime Video alone are worth the subscription for me!).

Next, get some items into your shopping basket now.

Here are some ideas (most links below are Amazon affiliate links which may earn me a few pennies but cost you nothing):

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Ask ChatGPT for a Windows 10 Pro Microsoft Product Key for free!

If you ask ChatGPT nicely, it may give you a list of activation keys, some of which may be valid!

Of course, even though the key may activate, it is not safe or legal to use it because ChatGPT may actually be returning results of illegal or hacked keys! Just buy a legitimate OEM key for about $30 instead from eBay.

Saturday 10 June 2023

ChatGPT is totally untrustworthy, outdated and lies - but it is great for one thing...

Unless you have been living under a rock (one with no internet access) for the last 6 months, you will no doubt have heard of and tried ChatGPT.

It has some advantages, such as a spooky way of answering a question just like a really well-educated 'expert' - and some BIG disadvantages such as:

  1. It doesn't know about anything after September 2021
  2. You can't trust anything it says - it can totally make stuff up!

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Add WinPE to your USB boot drive for Secure Boot

In some situations, you may need to UEFI Secure Boot to a multiboot USB drive such as a Ventoy or E2B USB drive. However, multiboot USB drives such as Ventoy and Easy2Boot, etc. do not fully support direct UEFI x86 64-bit Secure Booting because the \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI is not signed (and will never be signed because the code is by it's very nature insecure as it allows us to boot from all sorts of insecure ISOs, VHDs, IMG files, etc.).

You may often come across a system which has been set to Secure Boot and you may be unable to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS settings. Some solutions such a Ventoy will prompt you (via MokManager) to add a 'whitelist' certificate key for the insecure EFI boot file, however MokManager does not seem to run on many systems and even if it does, by adding a new key, you are making the target system insecure, so you must remember to remove the Ventoy key afterwards.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Get 20% off your website hosting fee with Hostinger

Valid until May 17th, if you sign up with Hostinger (#ad link) (use this link) as your website host, you can get 20% off and 3 months free.

If you are thinking about starting your own blog site, personal website, forum or business website, I recommend Hostinger. I use them for both and The plan allows me to host up to 100 sites at no extra cost.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube to help you and I have also produced a small free eBook on to get you started to produce a small business website (eBooks are here). There is also a 'How to make $1000 a month from the Internet' eBook which may be useful to you.

Hostinger offer excellent value for money and their support is also excellent too.

The only thing to be aware of is that although they offer a free domain name for the first year, you should be careful to look at the renewal costs of the domain name before choosing one - some are $10 a year but some other domain names can cost $50 a year. For instance, domains ending in .xyz tend to be much cheaper than domains ending in .com. Just check the renewal prices of both the package and the domain before you sign up with them. Hostinger renewal prices are pretty cheap anyway though (e.g. $6.99 a month), and unlike some other well known host providers I could name, they actually tell you the renewal costs quite plainly before you sign up!

Monday 24 April 2023

Use just one keyboard and mouse with all your computers using free 'Barrier' github software

If you have several computers+displays or notebooks on your desk, it is a nuisance to have to reach over to another mouse or touchpad or keyboard when you want to use it.

'Barrier' is an OS application (for Windows and Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite+ and Linux) which allows you to control other computers from one 'main' computer.

Once you install the software on your 'main' computer (can be Windows or Linux or Mac) as the 'server', when you move the mouse cursor to the screen edge, the cursor will appear on the other computer screen and anything you type will go to the other computer instead of your 'main' computer. You can configure multiple computers - here I just have a Lenovo IdeaPad 300 physically located to the left of my main desktop PC screen, so I have configured the server so that when I move the cursor to the left-hand edge of the screen, it moves over to the IdeaPad 300...

press the 'Configure Server' button to arrange

Setup on Windows is quite simple:

Friday 21 April 2023

How to view and edit your UEFI BIOS secure boot keys

The bootable UEFI tool KeyTool.efi can save your UEFI Secure Boot keys or allow you to edit them.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Download a 'LiveDVD' version of a Windows 11 ISO

NTDEV is the developer behind Tiny11, a slimmed down version of Windows 11 Pro which did not require a TPM and only needs 2GB of RAM, has now unveiled a new modified variant of Windows 11.

This is called Live11 (alpha): which is a live but cut-down version of Windows 11 22H2 64-bit which is loaded into memory. You can make a DVD from the ISO or legacy boot to it from Easy2Boot.

Wednesday 8 March 2023

New Windows 10/11 UEFI bootkit can bypass Secure Boot!

The first in-the-wild UEFI bootkit bypassing UEFI Secure Boot on a fully updated UEFI system is now a reality.

The vulnerability is mainly due to Microsoft not yet blocking a known security hole in the UEFI boot process (a new Microsoft OS KB update to fix the issue would be quite complicated and would have to change several key Microsoft boot files and the UEFI NVRAM dbx database, so it could cause Win10/11 systems to be non-bootable if the update process went wrong).

The BlackLotus exploit mechanism is explained in detail here and it is quite an interesting read if you want to gain a better understanding of how UEFI-booting, secure boot, etc. works and can be bypassed.

No doubt MS will provide a security patch via a KB update in due course...

Sunday 5 February 2023

Where have all the birds and insects gone - and should we care?

Anyone over 30 will probably have noticed (if they think about it) that there are a lot less insects, birds and other wildlife now than there used to be in the UK and Europe. 

When gardening now, I hardly ever find any insects these days and very rarely hear a bird sing (despite living in a small rural village), but when I was a boy, the skies were full of birds and the lawn and gardens were crawling with all sorts of insects.

I can remember driving at night when I was much younger (1980s) and always seeing hundreds of insects caught in the beam of the car headlights and they were also stuck to the windscreen of the car. These days, I am lucky if I see one moth on my windscreen in a month!

The weight of insects caught per trap per day in 63 nature reserves in Germany declined by 76% between 1989 and 2014, a decline which is, statistically speaking, highly unlikely to be due to chance (p<0.001) [Hallmann et al. 2017].

No one seems to care, but it is really very important for our health, our food production and our planet because we are not only killing all the wildlife on the planet but also the human race.

Sunday 22 January 2023

Add OpenCore to your Easy2Boot USB drive

E2B already includes Clover. You can UEFI64-boot to Partition 2 of the E2B USB drive and from the agFM menu you can browse to and run \EFI\CLOVER\CLOVERX64.EFI. The config.plist file in the \EFI\CLOVER folder will be used. Note that the config.plist file will be overwritten if you update agFM/E2B, so make a backup of it in the same folder if you need to edit it!

You can add the following grub2 menu entry to your \boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt file if you want a menu entry in the agFM menu to be listed for Clover:

if $EFI64; then
if [ -f "(${user})/EFI/CLOVER/CLOVERX64.EFI" ] ; then
menuentry "Clover (UEFI64)" --class=settings {
set grubfm_file="(${user})/EFI/CLOVER/CLOVERX64.EFI"
grubfm_open "${grubfm_file}"

OpenCore is similar to Clover and is highly hardware dependent. The config.plist needs to be correct for your particular target PC and it is not trivial to set up (see Guide here).

However, if you want to boot to the OpenCore boot loader from an E2B USB drive you must add the OpenCore files as follows:

  1. Copy the EFI\OC folder to Partition 2 (which should be FAT32) at \EFI\OC

  2. Copy the \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI file from your OC source to the same \EFI\OC folder on Partition 2

  3. Add your \EFI\OC\config.plist file (edit as required)

UEFI64 boot to the E2B agFM menu and browse to the \EFI\OC\BOOTX64.EFI file on Partition 2 and select it and press ENTER key.

If you are using your own startup menu, you can add the following entry into the \boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt file:

if $EFI64; then
if [ -f "(${user})/EFI/OC/BOOTX64.EFI" ] ; then
menuentry "OpenCore (UEFI64)" --class=settings {
set grubfm_file="(${user})/EFI/OC/BOOTX64.EFI"
grubfm_open "${grubfm_file}"

Thursday 19 January 2023

New Windows Update for XP

If have tried to install XP recently, you may have experienced some difficulties!

It is no longer supported by Microsoft and many things no longer work.

You should start off by installing XP using the latest install ISO that you can find (preferably a 'legal' unactivated/unhacked) one. 

Tuesday 17 January 2023

New money saving tips eBook (PDF)

This 39 page eBook (PDF format) contains many of the money saving tips that I use every day (well most of them anyway :-) as well as some crafty tricks. For instance, I get £60 off my normal supermarket shopping bill every month using a simple trick to get £15 money-off vouchers every week. It can be used with other retail stores too and should work in most countries, not just the UK.

It also contains some heating/energy tips too as well as many other tips for other savings. 

You may be familiar with some of these tips already, but even if you only actually use just one of  them you will have saved the cost of the eBook!

It is currently on SALE at just $1 for two weeks only (normally $5).

Steve's Money-Saving Tips for 2023 (39pp.)

Sunday 15 January 2023

Anyone can make a small business website in 2 hours (free PDF eBook)

Help - my kitchen ceiling is leaking!

I recently hired a plumber because there was water dripping from my kitchen ceiling and I couldn't find the source!

So I used Google to search for a local emergency plumber (it was a Saturday!) and I found four in my area that had websites. So I went to their websites to check them out and then called all of them at around 8 a.m. on the Saturday morning but my messages went to their answerphone service and no one has called me back since.

Friday 6 January 2023

Try the new Rescue WinPE from AIOBoot

I just found a interesting new WinPE which consists of a .wim file and a VHD here from the developer of AIOBoot.

It seems to work for Legacy 64-bit and UEFI64 systems. Place the two files in the correct locations as instructed:


It claims to be semi-persistent as the “Program Files”, “ProgramData” and “Users” folders in drive X: are moved to drive Y: and data written to these folders and Y: drive will be saved.

Personal settings, time zone, country and region, region format, desktop shortcuts, etc. are also saved.

Desktop shortcuts, pinned apps on the Taskbar, recently used apps are also saved.

It seems to have a few issues with localisaton, etc. and Papps requires network access, etc. but it is an interesting approach as you can install files and programs to the VHD.

Thursday 5 January 2023

Run grub4dos commands from the Ventoy (or any grub2) menu system

Ventoy is based on grub2 and although it is very good at booting most legacy payloads, it is not that good at booting some DOS floppy images and some other legacy BIOS payloads.

If you need to boot using grub4dos, you can define your own grub2 external user menu (\ventoy\ventoy_grub.cfg) which can be run from Ventoy by pressing F6 in the Ventoy menu system.

My eBook 'Getting started with Ventoy' gives a few examples of how to do this.

Monday 2 January 2023

Easy2Boot v2.19 released

Changes to E2B v2.19 (Jan 2 2023 version):
  • New grub4dos /grldr to fix changing wallpaper bmp/jpg whilst animation is running in background.
  • Revise E2B Launcher.exe to add ‘Download and Update E2B’.
  • Update some files - hotkey utility, Add_Ventoy.cmd, CheckForUpdate.cmd,,Download and Update E2B.cmd also tells user which version is installed on USB drive.
  • Add new INDONESIAN menu language (thanks to mikail)
  • Add ‘+DPMS’ or ‘ – No DPMS’ to default MAIN MENU heading so user can tell which version is installed.
  • Add “\_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\GetWindowsProductKey.vbs” – run this to get the current Windows system Product Key.

Sunday 1 January 2023

Formatting, copying and writing floppy disks

Personally, I have not used a floppy disk in over 15 years, but if you are into retro computers and still use them, then you must check out this excellent Adrian's Digital Basement YT video:

In the video, he describes how to use the DOS ImageDisk program to test, read and write all sorts of  floppy disks.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Latest eBook (PDF) 'Getting started with Ventoy v1.14' is now available

I have updated the eBook for Ventoy v1.0.86 and added some more exercises, etc.

If you have already purchased an older version of the PDF, just use the link in the confirmation email to download the new version of the PDF for free.

The Ventoy eBook contains many hints and tips such as how to make an external F6 user menu that can run grub and grub4dos commands (including how to use grub4dos paths/filenames with spaces).

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

Here is a list of the current versions, most have been updated within the last few months:
  • E2B #1 - Getting started with Easy2Boot_v2.22.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_v1.26.pdf
  • Getting started with Ventoy v1.14 (for Ventoy v1.0.86).pdf
  • Getting started with grub4dos_v1.03.pdf
Just use the download link in your conformation email to download the latest version. All updates are free.

Thursday 22 December 2022

Free Christmas games

Don't just watch TV at Christmas, enjoy the time that you are together!

After a hearty and boozy Xmas lunch, many families play Charades, but here are two more games my family like and play quite often:

Call my Bluff

This is just like the TV game. You will need two large dictionaries (or online dictinaries) and split into two teams each with a captain.

1. Each team finds an obscure word in their dictionary. One person in the team must give the true definition and the others must make up false definitions.
2. One team starts first, states the word and then each team member 'defines' the meaning of their chosen word. The person giving the true definition can, of course, adjust it and embelish it, as long as they don't change the core meaning. The person(s) giving their own made-up but plausible definition must sound as convincing as possible.
3. The other team can ask questions (say 2 each) and then the captain must decide which one was giving the true meaning and then ask if they were correct. They score one point if they guess right.
4. Now its the other teams turn.

This can be quite hilarious, especially if you can lie well and can keep a straight face!

Like or Hate

Going round the table or room one person at a time, each person must say out loud one thing that they either hate or love, e.g. horror movies, Marmite crisps, oysters, Mr Bean, yellow cars, etc. and write either LOVE or HATE on a card.  The others must put their hand on their heart if they think you love that thing or stick their finger in their mouth if they think you hate it. You then must show the card and explain why you love/hate it. You record the scores as one point for anyone who guessed correctly and as you take the scores, each person must explain if they agree with you or not and why, as they lower their 'voting' hand.

 Instead of points, you can substitute shots (but maybe not for granny).

What are your favourite family games?

Tuesday 13 December 2022

How to prevent DropBox interfering with compilers and other programs

I have good internet performance and I use a local DropBox folder which is synchronised to the 'Cloud'. This works well for all the files that I want to backup and preserve.

I also put all my development folders in the DropBox folder so that, should I have a disk failure or damaged/corrupted filesystem, I will not lose any recent changes and days of work.

Of course, I make offline backups too, but this maybe only once a month or at the finish of a new project or project update.

One of my projects uses Inno Setup to make a self-installing .exe file, however, I noticed that very often the Inno Setup compile operation would fail to complete when using a project which contained files situated in a DropBox folder. I could try compiling maybe five times before the last attempt would work. If I used a non-DropBox folder then there was never any problem. Presumably, DropBox was busy synchronising any recently changed files and this interfered with the compiler.

To fix the issue I decided to write a small batch file to temporarily suspend dropbox, run Inno Setup and then re-enable DropBox. Here is a simplified example:

REM suspend dropbox
pssuspend dropbox  >nul 2>&1
"c:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 6\ISCC.exe" .\_InnoE2B.iss > nul
if errorlevel 1 echo FAILED! & PAUSE
REM re-enable dropbox
pssuspend dropbox -r > nul

This seems to do the trick!

Sunday 4 December 2022

E2B v2.19c Beta available with INDONESIAN language menu option

A user, Mikail, has kindly spent a lot of time and effort adding the two language files to support INDONESIAN for the E2B menu system.

If you can understand Indonesian, please test the latest E2B v2.19c Beta and check all menu entries, help text and the F1 help menu pages.

Check the 'Latest Beta' folder in the 'Alternate Downloads' 1Drive or Box depositories to download the new Beta.

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


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:
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:

        { "VTOY_WIN11_BYPASS_CHECK": "1" },
        { "VTOY_LINUX_REMOUNT": "1" }
        { "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 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...