Saturday 30 March 2013

RMPrepUSB 2.1.664 available

This new version has extra options to install a Bootmgr or Ntldr bootloader to a FAT32 or NTFS partition. You can also install an MS-DOS bootloader to a FAT16 partition (but not FAT32). It uses RMBootSect.exe which is also a vb6 program.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA08 available

BETA08 now available. A few changes:
  • new grldr and wenv
  • does not re-count all Windows iso files every time you go back to the main menu thus making the loading of the main menu slightly faster when going back to it 
  • You can now use a USB hard disk to install windows direct from windows isos - IF you also connect a USB flash drive with two files on it. 
  • Black console background used instead of brown 
  • Help doc changed to html and reduced (main doc now on RMPrepUSB site Easy2Boot V1 page.) 
  • When asking for name of Windows ISO, you must now type in the full filename (i.e. with the .iso extension) 

Has anyone tested any Windows 8/2012 install ISOs yet?

Sunday 24 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.663 available

Captain-Midnight noticed that some of the text in RMPrepUSB was too large when viewed on his 1920x1080 display (see screenshot below). The new version 663 fixes this by using a TrueType Sans Serif font instead of the fixed font.


I have also added another English.ini language file. I noticed that Hirens DLC1 MiniWin7 did not display some of the text in the RMPrepUSB form at all (it just showed underscores ______). Changing the Character Set from 238 (European) to 204 (Cyrillic) fixed this, so I have added an English204.ini file. Some other European language.ini files also have this problem, so you might like to change the ini file for your language to charset=204 if you see this issue.

RMPrepUSB improves flash write speed on FAT32 volumes

As I have changed the FAT32 code slightly to cater for large (up to 2TB) drives, I wanted to check that the flash write speed improvements still work.
I used XCOPY to copy small files from an XP i386 folder to the flash drive.
I formatted it using either Windows or RMPrepUSB 2.1.662.

Results were:
File copy to Windows 7 FAT32 formatted volume:   784 seconds
File copy to RMPrepUSB FAT32 formatted volume: 695 seconds

for comparison: NTFS: 132 seconds!

This shows a 12% improvement in write speed to a USB Lexar flash drive formatted as FAT32 by RMPrepUSB, compared to the same drive formatted using Windows (results repeated twice and averaged)

I used this command to time the file copy to the flash drive.
timecmd xcopy "c:\sources\XP SP2\i386\a*.*" f:\ /herky

where timecmd.bat contained this code:

@echo off

set start=%time%

:: runs your command
cmd /c %*

set end=%time%
set options="tokens=1-4 delims=:."
for /f %options% %%a in ("%start%") do set start_h=%%a&set /a start_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a start_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a start_ms=100%%d %% 100
for /f %options% %%a in ("%end%") do set end_h=%%a&set /a end_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a end_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a end_ms=100%%d %% 100

set /a hours=%end_h%-%start_h%
set /a mins=%end_m%-%start_m%
set /a secs=%end_s%-%start_s%
set /a ms=%end_ms%-%start_ms%
if %hours% lss 0 set /a hours = 24%hours%
if %mins% lss 0 set /a hours = %hours% - 1 & set /a mins = 60%mins%
if %secs% lss 0 set /a mins = %mins% - 1 & set /a secs = 60%secs%
if %ms% lss 0 set /a secs = %secs% - 1 & set /a ms = 100%ms%
if 1%ms% lss 100 set ms=0%ms%

:: mission accomplished
set /a totalsecs = %hours%*3600 + %mins%*60 + %secs% 
echo command took %hours%:%mins%:%secs%.%ms% (%totalsecs%.%ms%s total)

Thursday 21 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.662 FAT32 up to 2TB!

Version 2.1.662 can format up to 2TB  (not recommended!) as FAT32.
RMPrepUSB was designed for USB flash drives (removable drives) and may have trouble unlocking a hard disk in use by Windows and so may fail the first or second time you try to format a USB hard disk. Just re-try the operation. If that fails, then use the Clean button and then click 6 Prepare Drive.
Also, if you have a USB hard disk with multiple partitions, RMPrepUSB will only list the first drive volume letter in the list box, but of course, will wipe and format the whole drive if you use the 6 Prepare Drive button.
Two new edit functions have been added to the Edit tab, Edit /grub/menu.lst  (CTRL+F4) and Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst (SHIFT+F4).

Wednesday 20 March 2013

RMPrepUSB - FAT32 bug found!

I found a funny issue with what I thought was caused by grub4dos today, but it turned out to be an issue with the way RMPrepUSB formats a FAT32 volume!

I noticed that if I copied more than 126 or so files to the root of a USB stick prepared using RMPrepUSB as FAT32, then I could not access any file that I added to the USB stick under  grub4dos (even though they were accessible from Windows). At first I thought this was a grub4dos bug, but when I formatted the same USB stick using Windows, it all worked fine.
I also found a fat32formatter.exe utility which also worked fine. The problem was clearly in RMPartUSB (which actually does the formatting). After a few hours, I eventually tracked down the problem.
You can read about the saga here if you want more details.
The bug is fixed in RMPrepUSB 2.1.661. So if you copy lots of files to the root of your grub4dos USB drives that were prepared using RMPrepUSB, you might want to reformat them with the new versions!
The bug has been there since day 1!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA07 available

Few changes to Win 7 install menu. You only need update if use Win7 ISOs.
See Tutorial 72a for download and instructions.
A .mnu file has been added for Fedora with persistence (in docs\samples folder) (you need to extract files from the ISO to get persistence working, otherwise just drop the Fedora ISO file into the \mainmenu folder as usual).

Saturday 16 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA06 now available

BETA06 available.

Changes are:
1. /menu.lst file now re-instated - it calls /grub/menu.lst. If there is no /menu.lst file then grub4dos displays a black&white default menu for a short while which looked naff!
2. /grub/menu.lst now has all user settings at the top. Copy this file to /grub/mymenu.lst and then edit the settings. More settings are configurable now.
3. To add your own wallpaper, just add a /grub/MyBackground.bmp file - make sure it is exactly 640x480 or 800x600 and 24 bit colour. If any problems, edit your mymenu.lst to set the correct graphics mode.
4. bugfix in addisostomainmenu.g4b - it blew down below the /mainmenu folder and added extra isos to the menu!
5. patchme - this is a grub4dos batch file which will patch grub4dos on your USB stick to remove those pesky signon/debug messages. Instructions are in readme in the download.
6. doc here revised.

Friday 15 March 2013

Easy2Boot Beta05 available

This new version Beta05 is more configurable for the user.
The menu now can be re-sized and re-positioned (same size is used for all menus).
Please read the html documentation in the \docs folder for details.
I have included all the .mnu files which might be needed in the \docs\samples folder - this saves having to download them.
The user can make his own menu changes by making his own \grub\mymenu.lst file (which is copied from the menu.lst file and then edited slightly). The user can then change mymenu.lst to change the colours, menu position and size, menu heading, bottom cyan text or re-order the menu items to list ISO files last rather than first.
This means that when you update Easy2Boot in the future (with Beta06 tomorrow!), you won't lose your changes - as your mymenu.lst file will not be overwritten and will be used instead of the default menu.lst file.
Some small text tidying has also been done.

Note: small bug in BETA05 (it lists iso files in subdirs under \mainmenu) -

To fix it
edit  /grub/addisostomainmenu.g4b and add :: as follows to four lines

if "%DD%"=="1" echo @SUB_DIR %1
::set DIR=%DIR%/%1
::call :cpa
goto :copyfiles

will be fixed in BETA06 soon...!

Thursday 14 March 2013

Easy2Boot V1 BETA04 available

This version does not list the Windows Install and AUTOISO menu entries in the main menu unless you actually put some ISO files in those folders. It also counts the ISO files in each Windows folder (see screenshot) and does not list ones that are empty.
There is a brief html manual in download.

click here for direct download

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA03 available

Some tidying up, html doc added, menu.lst moved to \grub folder, ISO files are listed first in Main Menu now (you can change the order or specify your own order - read the html in the download for help).

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA02

I have modified the Easy2Boot Beta, now BETA02 is available.

The first menu is now dynamic and built up from the contents of the \MAINMENU folder. You can place .mnu files and .ISO files in the \MAINMENU folder and they will be listed in the first menu.

Please note: This version is intended to be used on a flash drive and on a real system. Linux ISOs and Windows Vista/7/8 installs won't work correctly under an emulator or if run from a hard disk.

The first (main) menu is currently:

Boot from ISO (AutoISO)   - any ISO file in the \AutoISO folder is listed by the next menu - comes from \mainmenu\Auto_menu.mnu file
Easy2Boot                           - launches the Easy2Boot menu - .mnu files under \_ISO will compiled into an Easy2Boot menu - comes from \mainmenu\easy2boot.mnu
Boot to first internal HDD    - this comes from the \mainmenu\firsthdd.mnu file which can be deleted if not wanted
Install Windows                   - comes from \mainmenu\installwindows.mnu
 xxxxxxx.iso                        - any iso file in the \mainmenu folder is automatically listed in the main menu
yyyyyyyy.iso                        - any iso file in the \mainmenu folder is automatically listed in the main menu

I have debugged some more of the install windows menus too.

To use Easy2Boot  v1 Beta02, you just need to:
1. add Windows install ISO files to the correct folders under \_ISO\Windows and name them correctly (the filenames are indicated in each folder). For Win8/svr2012, the product key can be entered or you can edit the menu to add your own product key or you can use a default dummy key which will not activate.
2. add your favourite bootable ISOs to the \mainmenu folder,
3. add any other ISOs to the \AutoISO folder
4. add any other payloads+.mnu files, downloaded from the Easy2Boot tutorial, to the relevant folders under \_ISO (the entries will be listed by the Easy2Boot 2ndary menu). These will be the odd ones that don't work just by copying them to the \AutoISO or \MainMenu folder.
If you want them listed in the main menu instead, simply copy the .mnu file to the \mainmenu folder (or make your own .mnu file) and copy the payload file to the \mainmenu folder instead of the \_ISO folder - e.g.
if you have fred.mnu and fred.iso which are supposed to go in \_ISO\Utility folder, you can move both to the \mainmenu\utility folder.

The order of the menu items in the main menu is determined by the order that the \mainmenu\xx.mnu files were written to the USB drive. This cannot be changed unless you re-write the same .mnu files again. If you want the order to be pre-determined, you could combine all the \mainmenu\xxx.mnu files into one single large .mnu file - or  - edit the \grub\main.mnu file so it contains all the menu entries you want.

Monday 11 March 2013

New Easy2Boot BETA

Once made (install onto fresh USB FLASH drive (Vista+ OS installs will not work if on an HDD) and then install grub4dos using latest RMPrepUSB), the following Optional files can be added:
Add XP Pro and Home SP2 and SP3 install ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\XP folder to install XP
Add Vista 32 and 64 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Vista folder to install Vista
Add Win7 32&64 generic&Enterprise ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Win7 folder
Add SVR2K8R2 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\SVR2K8R2 folder
Add Win8 32&64 generic&Enterprise ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Win8 folder - for generic ISO, you will be asked if you want Consumer or Pro and a dummy Product key will be provided or you can enter your own key.
Add SVR2012 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\SVR2012 folder - not yet tested as I don't have a full copy!

In addition, if you have clonezilla, acronis rescue, Kasperksy, UBCD etc. ISO files - just copy these and any other LiveCD ISOs you fancy into the \_ISO\AUTOISO folder.

You can still add .mnu files in the same way as before.
Make sure to run WinContig to make the ISOs contiguous (use RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+F2).

Feedback welcome - I have not yet tested the following ISOs:
Win7 64
Win7 ent
Win8 64
Win8 ent

I have tested
Vista 32 SP1
Win7 32 SP1
Win 8 32 (Consumer+Pro)
clonezilla, acronis rescue, Kasperksy, UBCD ISOs (just copy into AUTOISO folder)
memtest86+, freedos fdd image

Follow it's development on the forum here.

Saturday 9 March 2013

YouTube RMPrepUSB and grub4dos videos now available

Despite suffering from a cold, I managed to get the following videos up onto YouTube:

Part 1            - Basic USB formatting with RMPrepUSB
Part 2a and b - Advanced features of RMPrepUSB
Part 3a and b - Making a multiboot grub4dos drive using RMPrepUSB

Each one is about 15 minutes long (max allowed!).

Part 1

Part 2a

Part 2b

Part 3a grub4dos

Part 3b grub4dos  cont.

Macrium Reflect Free Edition provides easy way to generate WinPE

Tutorial 107 describes how to create a WinPE bootable ISO without needing to type anything on the command line or do anything more complicated than click a few buttons.
It uses Macrium Reflect Free Edition to build a nice Windows PE (v3 SP1) bootable ISO which you can then add to your multiboot grub4dos USB drive.
It will also make backups or restore your hard disk and fix boot problems too!

Thursday 7 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.659 now available

This version has a few tweaks and the latest version of grub4dos (grldr).
One new feature - make a grub4dos bootable ISO from a grub4dos bootable drive. This allows you to build and test your grub4dos multiboot system using a USB flash drive (for instance) and then when you are happy with it, you can convert it to an ISO file, test it using RMPrepUSB Boot from ISO, and if all is OK, burn the ISO to a CD or DVD (using external burn s\w).
Also, 'How to use RMPrepUSB' videos are now on YouTube. - part 1, 2a and 2b.
Part 3 will be about grub4dos (when I get the time!).
If there is anything you would like me to cover in it, let me know!