Sunday 30 June 2013

DPMS 2 coming soon!

I have heavily modified chenalls DPMS script during the last week and have been testing it on both virtual and real hardware.
In VBOX I have tested in IDE, SATA(AHCI ICH8) and SCSI systems. These all install XP correctly in text-mode and GUI Mode.
I also tested on a real ICH8 notebook in IDE and SATA mode with success.
I have had to test using Firadisk and WinVBlock drivers so this doubled the testing.
I have also added code to copy the PnpInstances section over to the txtsetup.oem file, so it should work with most SCSI systems.
I have got to the stage now where it all works but the code is not pretty!
I should be able to make the early package for E2B available for anyone who has made donations soon.
I will then be making some YouTube videos demonstrating E2B and the DPMS auto-detection feature and after a month or so I will release the DPMS Update package for everyone.
It has been a hard week and there have been lots of frustrations (twice I 'broke' the code without realising it until later and then spent a day on each problem trying to find out what had gone wrong!) - really frustrating!
David B's VM Starter app has certainly helped as I can boot from my USB on VBox and have full read/write access to the USB stick.

The new DPMS 2 batch file also copies the F6 floppy txtsetup.oem's and directory listings to some log files on the USB stick. This will help in the event of any problems found by users as they can just send me these 'log' files.

Here is the DPMS output on a VBOX SCSI system.

Friday 28 June 2013

Description of txtsetup.oem files for F6 floppy disks for Windows XP Mass Storage drivers

When you make your own txtsetup.oem file, you can just combine several txtsetup.oem files by simply joining them in Notepad.

There are some rules for txtsetup.oem and I will explain the syntax by highlighting the bits that need to match:

DriverKey - different Config sections can be defined for each driver
Service      - matches the driver name (convention that drivers use)
ID              - ID of the device which may have more than one PCI ID

So in the txtsetup.oem file below, the keys which are the same colour need to match each other. You may find that in some txtsetup.oem files, both the ID and the DriverKey are the same, but they don't need to be!
d1="DPMS Installation Disk by chenall(diskd)",\disk1,\

iastor7="Intel ICH9/ICH10 SATA AHCI/RAID RST 11.2"



value = parameters\PnpInterface,5,REG_DWORD,1


If you want to specify a default driver, just have one entry (as shown) in the [Defaults] section and only have one [Defaults] section in the whole file.
\disk1 is a file that must be on the source F6 floppy disk. XP will identify which floppy the driver is on by looking for this file.
The PCI IDs used in txtsetup.oem is NOT checked by Setup - whatever driver you tell it to load is loaded by Setup - if the driver reports that if failed to load or recognise your hardware, Setup will report a problem.

If you want to add more txtsetup.oem files, just add them on to the existing txtsetup.oem file, one after the other (but just have one [Defaults] section).

Note that the driver.sys name MUST match the 'service' name used in the HardwareID driver line.

You can only have one driver= line (any others will be ignored).

Note that the (single) driver.sys file specified in the driver= line will be the one copied over to the hard disk. Therefore, this needs to be the one that is mentioned in the INF file, otherwise XP GUI Mode setup will complain about a driver missing from C:\Windows\OEMDir at about the 34 minute mark!

However, if you want to copy across more driver files than just the one allowed per section (or any type and number of extra files), just add more 'catalog=d1,fred.sys' lines, as many as you like! The files specified will then be copied across to the hard disk C:\Windows\OEMDir folder.

For FiraDisk:

d1="DPMS Installation Disk by chenall(diskf)",\disk1,\ 

Loading two drivers automatically (without pressing F6)

You can get XP to automatically load by default both an AHCI driver AND FiraDisk by having almost IDENTICAL floppy disks each containing ALL of the files needed by both the AHCI driver and the FiraDisk driver. Both disks should have the same identifying disk tag file (e.g. disk1 in this case).

The ONLY difference is that in one txtsetup.oem you set the [Defaults] section to your AHCI driver, and on the other txtsetup.oem file you set the [Default] to Firadisk.

(in fact, the txtsetup.oems don't have to have the non-default sections - e.g. on the FiraDisk default txtsetup.oem you can remove all the AHCI driver sections if you want to).

XP text-mode setup will get confused if you don't use the same disk name tag file for both disks and have the same files on both disks, so you need to have all the driver files on both disks so that 'Drive A:' (which is whatever it accessed last just before the 'copyfiles' stage) will always contain the correct files when it tries to copy them from the F6 floppy just after formatting the internal hard disk. (It is just possible to have different disk tag files but you will still need both sets of drivers on each disk and you have to swap over the disk tags (i.e. disk0 oemsetup has 'disk1' as a tag and disk1 oemsetup has 'disk0' as a tag). It is MUCH easier just to use the same tag file and same contents on both disks!

For more details about txtsetup.oem syntax, see here - but it does not mention the fact that the driver.sys name must be the same as the SERVICE name.

I hope this saves someone hours of work!



Tuesday 25 June 2013

E2B DPMS package available for testing

Easy2Boot Upgrade DPMS package (BETA) now available for BETA testers only!

News - July 2013: New DPMS2 is now integrated in Easy2Boot and it is automatic - no need to press F6!

This enhances the current XP install from ISO menu. If you add the updated E2B files and download and add the DriverPack Mass Storage driver package (approx. 8MB download but 50MB when unzipped) you will have the option to autodetect the correct AHCI/SATA/RAID driver.

The DPMS package from chenall (and heavily modified by me) will auto-generate the F6 floppy disk image with the correct driver files. This MassStorage download seems the most bug free at the moment...

DP_MassStorage_wnt5_x86-32_1306202.7z - 9.18 MB a9922b31453aec34d46bdea5eb5a916f4f03589c

Or try Chenalls latest DPMS and just extract the D folder and DriverPack.ini (not dpms.bat!).

The installation method is still the same - you must manually use F6 and select the AHCI driver + Firadisk driver ( + WinVBlock driver (optional)) - however usually there will only be one AHCI driver present in the F6 list, so you will not have to guess which one to pick! Also, as the DriverPack contains non-Intel drivers, E2B XP installs from ISO should now work on non-Intel AHCI platforms.

Instructions are in the ReadMe.txt file.

News: After hours of hair pulling and midnight oil, I have a DPMS version now which loads firadisk AND the AHCI driver automatically (no F6 press required)! It is integrated in the Easy2Boot v1 download.


Friday 21 June 2013

E2B Upgrade Package available

If anyone has made a PayPal donation to me for E2B or has contributed to its development, I would like to reward them with the E2B Upgrade Package. This is currently at v1.01 and the idea is that any further developments of E2B will go into this Upgrade Package.
The first version is v1.01 and will modify E2B so it lists the menus in alphabetical (alphanumeric) order.
So all you need to do is rename your ISOs to re-arrange the listing order, e.g.



To have nice titles, just make a .txt file for them, e.g.:

title This runs fred direct from the iso \n This is help text for fred

If you have any .mnu files, you can also cause their entries to be listed in sequence too, just by changing the name of the .mnu file - e.g. _1Ubuntu_with_Persistence.mnu  would be listed before the other .mnu entries. You can even rename the SubMenuxxxxx.mnu files in the MainMenu folder to change the order they are listed in.

Depending on the MNUFIRST setting in your MyE2B.cfg config file, either all payload (ISO) files will be listed alphanumerically first in the main menu or all .mnu file entries will be listed first. You cannot have .iso files interspersed with .mnu files in a menu.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Easy2Boot v1.00 now 'officially' released!

I have decided to release E2B now as v1.00. It is virtually identical to the last BETA (just a few changes to the colour syntax in E2B.cfg as grub4dos now supports names for the color command - e.g.  color normal=blue/light-blue, but I have left the old colour variable definitions in so older MyE2B.cfg files will still work.
Now it is officially released, I suppose I can expect a flood of bug reports (as this always seems to be what happens when people are afraid to try beta s/w)!

Friday 14 June 2013

E2B BETA30 v11 - small bugfix

There was bug with the bad bios detection script due to the way grub4dos reports drive geometry.
If you found that BETA30 v10 gave a red error message on start-up about a bad bios, upgrade to BETA30 v11 which should fix that.

Monday 10 June 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.707

I have added David B's great new utility Start_VM.exe to this version.

Start_VM.exe automagically dismounts the USB drive before running QEMU - this allows QEMU to have full write access to the USB drive. This means that any writes which are made to the USB drive under grub4dos or an OS booted to via grub4dos will actually work and the sectors on the USB drive will be permanently changed. For instance the default command will work in this mode as data will be written to the \default file or linux with persistence will work. This mode will now be the 'standard' mode for all future RMPrepUSB versions as it gives full rd/wr emulation capabilities and more reliable OS booting!

So v2.1.707 and later versions now have two different QEMU boot from USB drive options:

F11 - boot from USB drive but now with full read/write access (but the host Windows OS will not be able to access the drive whilst QEMU is running).

Ctrl+Shift+F11 - boot from USB drive in 'snapshot' mode. This used to be the default action in previous versions of RMPrepUSB (used to be F11). This mode is still useful if you want to be able to modify files on the USB drive whilst QEMU is running because the USB drive is not dismounted. This allows you to make simple changes (e.g. colour or menu position) and reload the menu whilst still running in the QEMU session and so this mode is still useful in some cases.

Sunday 9 June 2013

E2B BETA30 v9 available

This version allows you to have a standard text-mode menu (if you really want!)
See here for details of the change.

Saturday 8 June 2013

E2B BETA30 V8 now available

I have changed the menu headings and menu footer code slightly.
Now you do not need to change the padding if you change the menu box position as it is automatically calculated.

e.g. in MyE2B.cfg you may have had a heading for the main menu of:

set    HEADING=\x20              EASY2BOOT V1 - MAIN MENU  (%VER%)                       \x20

but if you moved the menu box to the middle of the screen, you would have had to pad all the menu text so it sits above the menu box:
set    HEADING=\x20                                                EASY2BOOT V1 - MAIN MENU  (%VER%)                       \x20

You no longer have to do this as the spaces will be added automatically as now it is padded out by the code which looks at the rstart value for the border setting that you use in your MyE2B.cfg file.
This padding (%HPAD%) is applied to all headings and footers.

I have also added a new sample 'theme' called 'Aliums' as shown below:

Wednesday 5 June 2013

PassPass for E2B now available

PassPass by Holmes.Sherlock, Wonko et al. at is a grub4dos batch file which can be used to permanently patch or unpatch a Windows dll file (msv1_0.dll) on a hard disk by booting from a grub4dos USB drive (or CD). Once patched, any password will be accepted for a Windows User account, thus allowing anyone access to any Windows system (XP  -> Win7 tested so far, Win8 is in Alpha test status).

Details can be found here on the forum.

The files required should be copied to either the \_ISO\UTILITIES\Utility folder or the \_ISO\MAINMENU\Utility folder of your E2B drive. The PPass.g4b file has been modified specifically for E2B, it cannot be used as a standalone grub4dos batch file.

Once you have gained access, remember to run it again to Unpatch the dll or you will have no security!

P.S. WARNING: Make a backup of the DLL first! If you want to test this on your office/home system, you may find that the login credentials will be reset for some applications after unPatching - in particular, DropBox credentials may be lost and you will need to re-login and re-synchronise all DropBox files and folders! Therefore it is best to test this on 'test' system rather than your main PC!

P.P.S latest version can backup and restore the dll to \PassPass.bak on your USB boot disk. This allows you to test the patch/unpatch operations and then restore the dll afterwards so if you patch and then unpatch, the MD5 hash should be the same as before - if not you can use the Restore function.

1. Check MD5 of msv1_0.dll and run PassPass Backup from E2B
2. Run PassPass Patch
3. Boot and test the no pwd is required
4. Run PassPass UnPatch - Check MD5 of msv1_0.dll
5. If different, report it as a bug and then restore the original file and check MD5 of msv1_0.dll again

New RMPrepUSB with QEMU write access

If you ran QEMU from RMPrepUSB, it used snapshot mode which meant that writes to the USB drive did not actually write to the USB. This meant that any grub4dos command like dd, echo > (bd)/xxx, default, cat --replace=, write, etc, which wrote to the USB drive did not actually work.
DavidB (from has made two extremely useful apps which allow QEMU and Oracle VBox to run from a USB drive with full rd/wr access.

I have updated the QEMU cmd file in RMPrepUSB to use this new utility and now we can boot from a USB drive with full rd/wr access from RMPrepUSB v2.1.706QEMUw!

Details of DavidB's new utility can be found here and the latest version of the utility for both QEMU and Oracle VBox here. To learn how to use it with VBox (much faster than QEMU!) please read Tutorial 4.
The new version of RMPrepUSB is on the Beta download page here (only the QEMU .cmd file has changed).

Sunday 2 June 2013

E2B BETA30 v7

In this version, Step 1 of XP install defaults after 3 second timeout to not load the ISO into RAM. If Y is pressed and then Enter, then the ISO will be loaded into system memory.
To speed up the process and not wait for the timeout, instead of waiting 3 seconds, just press the <Enter> key.