Wednesday 30 April 2014

MPI Tool pack 0.027

Small change to MakePartImage - it now always creates partitions with a 255 Heads x 63 Sectors per track geometry. This may make the CSM mode more bootable on certain systems/BIOSes.

If you find that the CSM menu does not boot on some systems (but does on most others) please try (in order):

1. Re-make the .imgPTN file using the new 027 version of MakePartImage.
2. Try using a file extension of .imgPTNA and use the latest E2B version.
3. (for non-syslinux bootable images only) Use RMPrepUSB to install grub4dos to the PBR when it is in the CSM image mode (i.e. switch to CSM menu - unplug - re-plug - install grub4dos to PBR).
4. If it still does not boot, please contact me for help.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Easy2Boot v1.36 and MPI Tool Pack v0.026 now available

E2B v1.36 has .imgPTNA file extension support now. This is the same as .imgPTN but will make the partition active. If you read my last blog about WinToGo, you will know that the first boot of a WinToGo installation requires the partition to be marked as active. By using .imgPTNA as the file extension instead of .imgPTN, it saves you the bother of having the extra step of making the partition active using the Windows Disk Management Tool.

E2B v1.36 also has a workaround for a bug in grub4dos to do with files that are exactly a multiple of 4GB (which I found when I made a file that was exactly 20GB in size!).

MPI Tool Pack 026 has a small change to the way I set the menu title - now you won't see 'PAYLOAD=' if you don't use the MPI Tool and just copy the .\csm\menu.lst file to your image (as done in the previous blog). I have also increased the default size for very large ISOs (MS Win Install ISOs seems to be larger when you extract them than the total size of the ISO file - probably due to duplicate files inside the ISO).

Also, I have removed the 'beta1' password from the MPI Tool Pack zip file now as I have had over 40 people who requested the password and no negative reports about anyone losing their E2B drive contents or any other disasters.

If you have tried the MPI Tool and .imgPTN file booting - PLEASE add a comment or just contact me directly to let me know what you have tested and how it went. I realise that the MPI cmd script is very 'wordy' when it runs and may be frightening to some. Is it too flexible? For 90% of cases would you just want it to auto-run and not ask any questions (maybe have two versions - one that just ran automatically with the defaults and another that prompted you for each option?). Did you need to change the defaults at all? Please let me know.


P.S. New french article on E2B at La vache libre

Saturday 26 April 2014

Add Windows 7/8 To Go images to your Easy2Boot USB drive

If you have a large E2B USB Hard Disk drive with plenty of space, why not add lots of Windows To Go images to it? Then you can boot to lots of different versions of Windows on any system that is capable of USB booting (even from a USB 3.0 port if it is Win8ToGo).

Note - see this blog post for an easier method which uses WinToUSB.

As a guide, you can follow the RMPrepUSB web site tutorials to make a USB drive (I recommend Win8ToGo as it has USB 3.0 support, more drivers and is easier to install):

When the USB drive has been made (and after you have booted it to complete the OOBE setup), convert the USB drive into a .imgPTN file using MakePartImage.

-- o --

If you don't have a spare USB drive, here is what I did to make a Win8ToGo .imgPTN file without needing to use a spare USB drive. I have a 2TB WD Passport external USB 3.0 HDD as the E2B drive, so I have plenty of space for images.

Note: Win8.1ToGo may have problems booting from a 'Removable' type of USB Flash drive (e.g. never-ending circling dots!). Use a USB Flash drive of the 'Fixed Disk' type or a USB HDD or USB SSD drive.

1. Install ImDisk onto your Windows system - ImDisk is also included in the MPI Tool Pack which you will need to download from the easy2boot site anyway in step 4.

2. You need to create a new empty image file called (say) Win8ToGo.imgPTN (use your fastest hard disk/SSD for this, not the USB drive). To do this, use Control Panel - run the ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver and create a new virtual disk (I used 20GB which was a big mistake! Due to a bug in grub4dos, the file size must NOT be exactly divisible by 4GB or else E2B will not list it - so do not use exactly 20GB like I did  - use 10 or 21 but not 4,8,12,16 or 20!!!!!).

3. Format the new volume as NTFS. You can use the ImDisk Format button for this, or just use Windows Format when Windows complains about an unformatted volume. Note: this may take some time even if 'Quick Format' is used - just wait!

Let us assume it was mounted as M:...

4. Copy the contents of the MakePartImage csm folder to the root of your new volume - you should have now, at least, these 2 files and folder:
M:\e2b folder

Note: You may want to edit the menu.lst file at this point - look for a PAYLOAD= string and replace it with the title you want for the menu - e.g. Win8ToGo Enterprise. Otherwise your menu title will be either 'PAYLOAD=' or will just not appear if using v1.36 or later.
e.g. in v1.36, change the line in \menu.lst to:

set PAYLOAD=WinToGo 8.1 Enterprise

5. In the ImDisk Control Panel applet, click Remove.

6. Copy the .imgPTN image file to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder on your E2B drive and run WinContig to make it contiguous (RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+F2)

7. Boot from your E2B drive (you can use RMPrepUSB - QEMU for this or any real system) and select the WinToGo.imgPTN file - after switching to the new image, you should see the CSM menu load. Quit QEMU or your VM when done and Eject the USB drive using RMPrepUSB (or Safely Remove in the System Tray).

Tip: If you get the message 'ERROR: No Grub4dos installed to MBR of this drive!'  then simply re-install grub4dos to the MBR using RMPrepUSB - Install Grub4dos - Y.

8. Physically unplug the E2B USB drive and re-connect it. You should see a \e2b folder, etc. files in Windows Explorer now, inside the new volume. If you see a \_ISO folder then you have not selected and run the .imgptn file correctly!

9. The disk partition needs to be made Active (bootable) for WindowsToGo's first boot. If the partition is not Active, you will get a "Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation." message when you first try to boot WinToGo.

If you the use .imgPTN file extension then the partition should already be marked as Active and you can skip this step...

If it is not already Active, run the Windows Disk Management plug-in (use Ctrl-K in RMPrepUSB or use Start menu - This PC\My Computer - Manage - Storage - Disk Management). Now right-click on the USB partition (it will appear to have unformatted space either side of it - DON'T attempt to format that unused space or you will erase E2B!) - and choose 'Mark Partition as Active'

10. Mount your Win7/8 ISO using ImDisk (right-click and choose 'Mount as ImDisk Virtual Disk') - I already had and used the snappily named x86 32-bit 90-day Enterprise Evaluation version called 9600.16384.WINBLUE_RTM.130821-1623_X86FRE_ENTERPRISE_EVAL_EN-US-IRM_CENA_X86FREE_EN-US_DV5.ISO. You can download an 8.1 version from here.

Tip: I used a 32-bit version so I could boot it on all types of systems.

Let us assume this is mounted by ImDisk as drive letter L:

(you can use any ISO mounting utility, including the built in Win8 one, to mount the ISO - you don't have to use ImDisk).

11. Now we need to 'Apply' the windows files to the volume and run BCDBOOT - follow the tutorial to do this. As I was running on a Win8.1 system, I used these commands, where the USB volume was E:

dism /apply-image /imagefile:L:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /Applydir:E:

bcdboot e:\windows /s e: /f ALL /v

The actual commands you need to use will depend on what versions of ImageX or Dism or BCDBoot you have (please refer to the tutorial).

Note: If you move the .imgPTN file or copy it, you will need to repeat the bcdboot command to correct the BCD so that it boots correctly.

Example using H: as USB drive and N: as the Windows 8 source

We are now good to go. The E2B drive is still in the 'CSM' image mode. When you boot it you will see the CSM menu.

If you select the 'BOOT from this drive' menu option it will boot to Windows To Go (in MBR mode). It will restart a few times, so always remember to boot back to the USB drive each time. For a description of the Setup stages and how to configure it further, see here.

To get back to the E2B menu, simply select the 0 EASY2BOOT menu option.

So now we have an E2B USB HDD which we can boot any number of different WinxToGo images on or simply copy the .imgPTN file to another E2B drive! Note: If you copy the .imgPTN to a different USB drive and get a 0xc000000e 'Repair' error immediately on boot, you will need to re-run the BCDBOOT command on the image to fix it for the new drive.

P.S. If you want to boot from the WinToGo images but still leave partitions 2 and 3 on your E2B USB Hard Disk in place so that they can be accessed once you have booted to WinToGo, use the .imgPTNA23 file extension for the WinToGo image files instead of .imgPTN.

To make a WinToGo that will boot on both a MBR and UEFI system, you can create two partitions and add both to the E2B drive (e.g. ptn1=FAT32, ptn3=NTFS).

Thursday 24 April 2014

MPI Tool Pack 0.025 now available

v0.025 Just a tidy up. Fixed a few problems with folder paths, etc. Messages/screens improved.

The MakePartImage.cmd file is available as a separate small download from the Alternative (Google docs) download area.

MPI Tool pack 0.024a and E2B 1.34a now available

I think the MPI Tool Pack should be out of Beta soon. I set a password on the zip file so that only people who are really serious would bother to ask for the password - the casual 'newbie fiddler' would not bother to ask.

MPI v 0.024a just has a bugfix to .\Utils\Convert_all_ISOs_to_imgPTN_Files (run as Admin).cmd so that the AUTORUN option works (it will convert all ISOs in a folder to .imgPTN files with a minimum of user prompts).

E2B 1.34a allows for E2B drives with the E2B files on the 1st partition or on the 2nd partition .

Please let me know if you find anything that needs fixing or didn't work for you.

Please comment on this blog or contact me if you have tried any .imgPTN files with E2B and let me know how you got on. I have not had a lot of feedback from any beta testers (except Krishna - thanks!), so it either means it all worked well for everyone else too or testers could not make it work at all or it was too difficult and they gave up! I don't know which is true!

If you have any .jpg screenshots of your own customised E2B Main menu and background, send them to me and I will add them to the Gallery page so everyone can see your handiwork!


Tuesday 22 April 2014

MPI Tool Pack (MakePartImage) v0.021/0.022 now available

The CSM menu now tells you if EFI boot files exist, so you can see if EFI booting should work from the image.
I also added a version of the 'E2B TXT Maker.cmd' file to the Utils folder. Just drag and drop any .imgPTN file that is already on your E2B drive, onto this file and it will prompt you to make a new .txt file for the .imgPTN file. P.S. Hit ENTER to make the new file when asked (don't answer Y - this is a bug which will be fixed in the version v0.022!)
By using a .txt file in the same folder as the .imgPTN file, E2B will display any menu entry you like instead of just displaying the name of the .imgPTN file. Of course, you can always use NotePad to manually create a .txt file for each of your .imgPTN files.

v0.022 - allows E2B to be on 1st or 2nd partition when you load a .imgPTN file. Note: old .imgPTN files will reboot before going back to E2B if you booted E2B from the 2nd partition (won't affect most users). so you will need to re-make your .imgPTN files to prevent this. Use with E2B v1.34a.
Also now uses Aurora bitmap for background. If not UEFI bootable then there will be a message under the menu - see screenshot below.

Monday 21 April 2014

E2B v1.34 and MPI Tool Pack 0.020 now available

E2B v1.34 has a small change to the menu when booting .imgPTN files. It now performs more checks to avoid corrupting the E2B drive and shows what EFI boot files are present in the image. It also now uses Sector LBA30 as the main backup sector (with LBA60 as the reserve sector). This is in case the drive has been formatted with 32 sectors per track. Potentially the directory entries of a FAT32 32-SPT drive could have been overwritten when a .imgPTN file was used in E2B v1.33. Please upgrade to E2B 1.34. There have also been a few cosmetic and text changes and a new \_ISO\WIN folder is now available (it is a Sub-Menu just like \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS and others). If you wish, you can place your Windows .imgPTN fies in the \_ISO\WIN folder and they will be listed in a 'Windows Menu' sub-menu.
To update, just overwrite any E2B USB drive with the non-DPMS version (even if your E2B is the DPMS version).

MPI Tool Pack v0.020 has quite a few changes and improvements.

  • Add size of users CUSTOM  folder to image size calculation
  • Add size of .\csm folder to size calculation
  • Bugfix  - if xcopy fails when copying CUSTOM files now fixed
  • Syslinux 6 added
  • Now updates chain.c32 if present
  • Patch for Ubuntu MBR boot menu added
  • unifont character set loaded for non-ASCII character support in menu.lst
  • menu.lst is in UDF-8 format
  • RestoreE2B and RestoreMBR batch files have been modified
  • menu.lst now checks LBA30 and LBA60 and LBA1
  • bugfix to make syslinux 5 and 6 work (needs to have linux type / in paths!)

Please remake and test all images with these new versions.

I think this version should work and is almost ready for full 'Release' status (famous last words!).

Please contact me if anything does NOT work as expected. The password to unzip the MPI Tool Pack is beta1 as usual.

P.S. To test UEFI booting, clonezilla-live-2.2.2-37-i686-pae.iso has both 32-bit (for non-64-bit UEFI systems) and 64-bit EFI boot files, as well as the normal MBR boot files - the .imgPTN file will boot in all 3 modes.

Saturday 19 April 2014

MPI Pack v0.018 is now available

A few small bugs fixed, menu.lst tweaked to make it easier for people to modify themselves. A few filenames have changed.

Please let me know if you tried this latest version and what you have tried it on.


Friday 18 April 2014

MPI Update pack 0.016/0.017 now available

Some more tweaks for using a USB drive as the payload source and also for using your own custom menu.lst file (which you should put in the CUSTOM folder).

0.016 had a minor bug where is listed all the modified menus on the screen, please use 0.017 or later.

By adding your own menu.lst and background file, etc. in the CUSTOM folder, you can change the look of the CSM Menu. Just make sure to use the csm\menu.lst file as a template. When you update MPI, you will not overwrite any of your files in the CUSTOM folder.

I have now made new images of different USB Flash pens that were made using the following programs
  • YUMI
  • PenDriveLinux Universal USB Installer
  • XBOOT (make using Syslinux and use the 'Replace menu.lst' option when asked)
  • WinSetupFromUSB (use the 'Combine menu.lst' option when asked)
  • LiveUSBCreator (with persistence)
  • Rufus

These images all seem to work OK.

So now on my E2B USB Hard Disk, I can boot from almost any ISO or any image I like and, if supported, in UEFI mode too!

There are 10 types of people in the world the other 8 aren't programmers...

Wednesday 16 April 2014

MPI Update pack v0.012 had a large bug (current pack= 0.015b @ 2014-04-17)!

Please use download the latest version and remake any .imgPTN files that you made with 0.012.

MakePartImage Update Pack 0.012/0.013 available (Note: BUG in 0.012! Please use version 0.013 or later!)

Note: sorry, I introduced a bug at the last minute before uploading this version - linux string replacement was skipped! Please re-make any linux .imgPTN files with version 0.013 or later and they should boot in MBR mode!

I have tweaked MPI to work with more linux ISOs. The following all now work booting in MBR boot mode as .imgPTN files.

  • trinity-rescue-kit.3.4-build-372.iso
  • PandaSafeCD.iso
  • precise-5.7.1.iso
  • Porteus-XFCE-v3.0rc2-i486.iso
  • antergos-2013.11.17-i686.iso
  • liberte-2012.3.iso (requires WinRAR or PowerISO)
  • manjaro-xfce-0.8.9-i686.iso
  • grml64-small_2014.03.iso
  • justbrowsing_20140409.iso

Let me know if you find one that doesn't boot in MBR or UEFI mode (if it supports EFI booting).

Full list of tested .imgPTN payloads here (scroll down to bottom of page).

MakePartImage Update Pack v 0.011 available

I have been unable to find an extraction program that works for all ISOs that is free, unlimited and distributable. MPI v 0.011 uses 7Zip by default, but if that fails, it uses the user-installed version of either WinRAR or PowerIso if present).

Thanks for the suggestions for alternatives, I have checked 26 of them so far and none fit the bill. They are either not free or are limited Trialware, don't extract UDF ISOs correctly, cannot be legally distributed or don't accept command line parameters.

The other change is that there is now a CUSTOM folder. Any files you place in this folder will get copied to any .imgPTN file that you create. This allows you to customise each image.
For instance, you can modify the menu.lst file and create a new background for the CSM menu and place the new files in the CUSTOM folder. This will overwrite the files used by MPI.
You could also add any utilities, etc. to the CUSTOM folder (or make a subfolder) so that every image would contain your utilities.

This means I can release new updates which can overwrite your existing folder, but it won't overwrite your files in the CUSTOM folder.

P.S. The only one which did seem to extract ISOs correctly was: ISO Workshop (free but no command line support yet for extraction). Notably, Windows 8.1 Explorer, 7Zip and WinRAR all fail to show the correct contents with some ISO file formats!
A good test is to try extracting the antergos-2013.11.17-i686.iso file. It should work and not be in all uppercase (one of the files in \arch\boot is in mixed case).  PowerISO (trial), WinZip(trial) WinISO(trial) and UltraISO(trial) failed with this one. PeaZip and 7Zip shows lowercase files but these fail on UDF ISOs. ISO Workshop also shows lowercase files and mixed-case files.

P.S. Do you sometimes use YUMI, XBoot,  LiveUSBCreator, PenDriveLinux, SARDU, Rufus, WinSetupFromUSB, etc. Well why not add all of your USB drives to one large E2B drive! Just make an .imgPTN file from each USB stick and then add the files to E2B. Just make sure to use the E2B CSM menu.lst file (or choose the Combine option if prompted).

Tuesday 15 April 2014

All I want to do is extract files from an ISO!

During testing of MakePartImage, I found that 7Zip did not extract a few of them correctly.
I had an ISO which I made of my Win7 Install DVD using MagicISO.
If I viewed or extracted the contents  in 7Zip or PeaZip, I get




The ReadMe.txt says that the file is in UDF format,
This disc contains a "UDF" file system and requires an operating system
that supports the ISO-13346 "UDF" file system specification.

Both WinRAR and Windows 8.1 Explorer can view the correct contents, so why can't 7Zip and PeaZip?

So, I changed MakePartImage to use WinRAR. Then I discovered two things:

1. WinRAR had faults extracting some linux ISOs, it converted all the filenames into uppercase and also converted hyphens and multiple dots in filenames ( - and .) incorrectly into underscores! e.g. extracting from antergos-2013.11.17-i686.iso. WinZip also did the same thing on this ISO. Windows Explorer also shows all uppercase names.

2. WinRaR is not freeware, so I can't add it to my download and distribute it!

I tried a few other free unzip utilities that supported a command line, but they also had similar problems.

Who would of thought it is so hard to unzip an ISO reliably in this day and age?

So now I have gone back to using 7Zip, but if it detects a UDF-only ISO that 7Zip cannot handle, I ask the user to download and install WinRAR, so that I can automatically use that to extract the ISO when 7Zip fails.


P.S. ISO Workshop seems to work correctly with all the ISOs, if you need a good ISO extractor -

E2B small update in v1.33

  • There was a small problem when loading .imgPTN files, when it swapped to the new CSM menu inside the image, the menu headings and borders did not display correctly (but were OK if you rebooted). This is fixed in v1.33
  • Also, I have added an autorun.inf file and e2b.ico file so that you can easily see which drive in Explorer is the E2B drive.

The MPI Update Pack continues to improve and the new CSM menu now displays the name of the payload in the menu so you can see what it is going to boot to. The latest pack is v 0.008.

You can change the menu picture by changing the compressed .bmp file in MakePartImage\csm\e2b\CSM_Mode.gz. When you next run MakePartImage, the new bitmap will be used. To change the position and size of the menu and colours, edit the MakePartImage\csm\menu.lst file.
The easiest way to experiment is to switch your E2B drive to one of your .imgPTN images and then edit the files directly on the drive via Windows and test it by booting using VBox. When it is all looking nice, copy the menu.lst and CSM_Mode.gz files to your MakePartImage folder.

If you already have an E2B USB drive with a previous DPMS version of E2B on it, just download the non-DPMS version and extract it to your E2B USB drive - there is no need to download the whole DPMS version as the only difference is the driver pack files which haven't changed.

Sunday 13 April 2014

WinSetupFromUSB and E2B compared

I was asked today how WinSetupfromUSB and E2B compare, now that E2B also supports UEFI booting.

WinSetupFromUSB is a very versatile and clever utility that allows you to multiboot Windows installers, WinPE and linux-based ISOs.

For MBR booting of linux ISOs, it now uses the same trick as E2B - it maps the ISO to a partition table entry - this works 99% of the time with nearly all linux ISOs.

For Windows XP OS's however, WinSetupfromUSB extracts the contents of the ISO and places them in separate folders on the USB drive - as well as copying the whole unmodified ISO to the FAT32 USB drive. For XP, this is probably going to be more reliable than E2B's approach of mapping the XP ISO on the USB drive (WinSetupFromUSB uses my modified DPMS2 batch file for auto-generation of the F6 driver floppies). It does however take longer to prepare the USB drive.

For Windows Vista/7/8 Install ISOs, WinSetupFromUSB extracts the contents to make a boot.wim file,  and then modifies the boot files and also the BCD, and uses bootmgr to give the user the choice of which one to load. Once the boot.wim loads, ImDisk is used to mount the original ISO file as a virtual DVD. The advantage of this is that if you are running from a USB Hard disk, you don't need another USB Helper Flash drive like you did with E2B. However, with the new v1.32 of E2B, you can make a .imgPTN file from each Windows Install ISO. This now allows you to boot a Windows Install (or any WinPE) from a Hard disk without needing a USB 'Helper' Flash drive (as a FAT32 image, it will even boot in UEFI mode - as an NTFS image, you can only boot in MBR mode but it will support files > 4GB).

With regards to UEFI booting, WinSetupFromUSB needs to be on a single-partition FAT32 USB disk. However, it can only multi-boot Windows-based OS's in UEFI mode, because it uses bootmgr and a BCD entry for UEFI booting - E2B does not rely on bootmgr and so can boot virtually any FAT32 image.

Here is a feature comparison between WinSetupFromUSB v1.4 (WSFUSB) and E2B v1.32+:
  • WSFUSB will probably be more successful when installing XP onto a wider range of different systems than E2B
  • WSFUSB XP installs only require one boot to the USB drive
  • WSFUSB is more flexible with XP installs (in some ways) than E2B
  • E2B can use the latest XP mass-storage driver packs (though WSFUSB will probably catch up soon!)
  • E2B supports a range of user-selectable winnt.SIF files and unattend files for the same XP ISO
  • E2B supports a range of user-selectable product key and unattend file installations from the same ISO
  • You cannot easily remove 'payloads' from a WSFUSB drive
  • Making a WSFUSB drive and adding payloads can take a lot longer time than making an E2B USB drive which is just drag-and-drop.
  • E2B supports linux booting in UEFI mode (or anything that can UEFI-boot as FAT32) whereas WSFUSB doesn't
  • An NTFS-formatted E2B drive can boot ordinary (<4GB) Windows Install images and linux images via UEFI. With WSFUSB, if you want Windows UEFI booting, the whole USB drive has got to be a single FAT32 format volume and the ISO must be less than 4GB in size.
  • FAT32 is more compatible for some things (like Hirens boot CDs) than NTFS. A FAT32-formatted E2B drive can still boot large Windows Installs by using an NTFS partition image. But with a FAT32 WSFUSB USB drive you cannot have large Windows install files
  • E2B can support multiple different Hirens (or other) FAT32 images on an E2B NTFS USB drive.
  • You can have multiple partitions on an E2B drive (FAT32 or NTFS) and can still UEFI boot -WSFUSB must have only a single (FAT32) partition.
  • E2B supports multiple linux ISOs, each with their own persistence file.
  • WSFUSB is faster to boot to the USB menu than E2B (although E2B can be speeded up a lot using a pre-cached menu)
  • You can make a USB Flash drive using WSFUSB and then make an image of it and add it to your E2B USB drive. Thus you can use WSFUSB from within E2B and use all the other E2B features too.
  • E2B can also use a grub2 menu and can UEFI-boot to many linux ISO files (even if they don't officially support UEFI-booting!)
  • E2B can be set up to automatically install Windows 7/8/10 using an unattend.XML file and install drivers + applications + Windows updates automatically using the SD_CHOCO feature (v1.82+).

 (please correct me if I am wrong on any point or have missed a key feature - I am not very familiar with WSFUSB!).

So, there is no clear winner - it's 'horses-for-courses' really, why not use both!

Easy2Boot v1.32 Released

v1.32 2014-04-13
  • XP install enhancements (new chkpci utiity, win2k,2k3 driver support)
  • XP ISOs can use a .SIF file for unattended installs, etc.
  • .imgPTN recognised for UEFI image booting. 
  • USB 'Helper' Flash drive no longer required for USB HDDs (if .imgPTN used)
  • List PCI IDs changed to use grub4dos utility (no reboot required)
  • Utilities menu has XP driver search menu entries.
If you prepare a partition image using MakePartImage (download the MPI_Update_Pack), then you can reboot to a single-partition. This allows you to add to your E2B drive linux and Windows Installs in UEFI mode. You can also install Windows from an NTFS E2B USB HDD without needing a Helper Flash drive.
The Update Pack is still in Beta and password protected - please email me for the pwd.

Saturday 12 April 2014

RMPrepUSB update for Windows 8

I found that the Drive Eject function in RMPrepUSB did not work very well on 'some' USB Flash drives - Windows 8 seemed to remount the drive after a while - e.g. if an attempt was made by RMPrepUSB to access the drive (e.g. Test Ready) then Windows kindly mounted the Flash drive volume for me!
RMPrepUSB v2.1.719 should fix this issue.

Also, for some reason I cannot fathom, pressing Ctrl-O on my Win8.1 system seems to first simulate a Ctrl-M and then a Ctrl-O. This means that when you are running RMPrepUSB and press Ctrl-O it first runs the Ctrl-M 'Make grub4dos ISO from USB drive' command! For this reason the Ctrl-M has been removed (as Ctrl-O is more useful than Ctrl-M).

Booting from multiple UEFI partition images with Easy2Boot - testing so far...

Progress is being made on the MakePartImage.cmd script to convert ISOs and bootable USB drives into images for Easy2Boot. The actual code in Easy2Boot has not needed to be changed for a week now, I am just working in the conversion of ISOs and USB drives into partition images that will boot as .imgPTN files.

For most ISOs, you can drag-and-drop the ISO onto a Desktop shortcut for MakePartImage.cmd and just hit [Enter] about 4-6 times to accept the default suggestions (FAT/NTFS, size of image, image name and location and syslinux version if required + any 'fixups'.)

So far I have tested these ISO conversions, they are all on my 32GB USB flash drive and they all work (black=MBR mode, red= also boots in UEFI mode).
  • 12.Hiren.s.Boot.CD.15.2.imgPTN
  • android-x86-1.6-r2.imgPTN
  • DLC.Boot.2013.imgPTN
  • DLCD_Ultimate.2014.v1.imgPTN
  • dsl-4.11.rc2.imgPTN
  • Fedora17.imgPTN
  • Fedora-18-i686-Live-LXDE.imgPTN
  • Fedora-Live-LXDE-i686-19-1.imgPTN
  • HBCD_DLC 2.0.imgPTN
  • HPACUOFFLINE.imgPTN (made from a working USB Flash drive)
  • zorin-os-8.1-core-64.imgPTN
  • 7601.17514.101119-1850_x64fre_server2012_eval_en-us-GRMSXEVAL_EN_DVD.imgPTN
  • bitdefender-rescue-cd.imgPTN
  • Fedora-Live-Desktop-x86_64-19-1.imgPTN
  • Fedora-Live-Desktop-x86_64-20-1.imgPTN
  • linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-64bit.imgPTN
  • pmagic_2013_06_15.imgPTN (allows changes to be saved too!)
  • Sabayon_Linux_14.05_amd64_Minimal.imgPTN
  • korora-20-x86_64-gnome-live.imgPTN
Since they are booting from a 'flat filesytem', if the OS supports it, changes can be saved to the same partition. If you want this feature in say, the Partition Magic image, remember to make the image size larger than the ISO files actually need, to allow extra room for the extra files that it will save.

I found a few that wouldn't fully boot inside VBox (using DavidB's VMUB utility to boot from the USB drive), but they did work on a real system. Some were even more fussy about booting in UEFI mode from VBox, although most UEFI-booted successfully  (much to my surprise!). They did all boot on a real system however.

I have made some more changes to the MakePartImage.cmd script and found quite a few more problems that needed solving. The user can now choose the version of syslinux that is needed (it defaults to installing version 4 if syslinux/isolinux is detected). For instance, I found the HP Tools image (made by MakePartImage from a working USB flash drive) needed to have an older version of syslinux 3.75 installed.

The MakePartImage script also attempts to 'fix-up' any config files it finds, to correct them for the E2B image boot method. For instance, the volume name of the image is different (you can't have a volume name of 'Fedora-Live-Desktop-x86_64-19-1' as a FAT32 volume label!), it also changes cheat code kernel parameters such as 'CDLABEL' to 'LABEL' and 'media=cdrom' to 'media=USB' as well as updating any occurrence of the volume UUID in the config files to match the new volume UUID of the image.

So far I have tested these images as FAT32 volumes. I don't really intend to support NTFS volumes (due to problems with syslinux installing to NTFS volumes on older versions), but Windows Install ISOs with large Install.wim files will work on NTFS volumes, as should WinPE ISOs.

I found that Windows get very confused if you change the disk image of the E2B drive inside Virtual Box and then exit Virtual Box! Even though the partitions have been changed, Windows quite happily carries on accessing the files inside it as if it still had the original partitions! DavidB has fixed this in the latest versions of VMUB now.

The MPI Toolkit download is on the site in the Downloads area as usual.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Adding HP Utility ISOs to E2B

HP utility ISOs such as the HP ProLiant Offline Array Configuration Utility are non-standard format. HP provide a special HP format tool to convert them for use with a single-boot USB drive. The one I looked had just had a compaq, system, punchout and usb folder.

I have added a .mnu file to support these linux-based ISOs into v1.32, however, you need to extract the ISO contents and so you can only have one 'payload' at a time on your E2B USB drive, due to folder name conflict.

The basic .mnu file for hpacuoffline-8.75-12.0.iso for instance is (one line is very long!):

# Extract the ISO contents (\usb folder is not required)
# Place this .mnu file in any E2B menu folder (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU)

title HP ProLiant Offline ACU Image\n
kernel /system/vmlinuz rw root=/dev/ram0 media=usb ramdisk_size=353272 init=/bin/init loglevel=3 ide=nodma ide=noraid pnpbios=off usrramfs=1 vga=791 splash=silent showopts nox2apic
initrd /system/initrd.img

The important change is to use media=usb. If this does not work for your HP ISO, you will need to look at the \system\isolinux.cfg file to see what parameters are required in your .mnu file; however the basic menu format should be maintained  (i.e. kernel command followed by an initrd command).

However, with v1.32 of E2B you will be able to use partition images, and so you can have any number of HP utilities on your E2B USB drive

1. Prepare a spare USB Flash drive using the HP Format utility and an HP ISO as instructed by HP
2. Make an image of the USB Flash drive using MakePartImage.cmd (you may need to pick an earlier version of syslinux when prompted)
3. Add the .imgPTN file to your E2B drive (e.g .to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder)
4. Repeat for all other HP ISOs.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Easy2Boot and .imgPTN file development proceeds...

I have decided to not call the file extension '.imgEFI' for the partition images for UEFI booting. Instead they will be called .imgPTN which stands  for 'ParTitioN images'.

The new feature in E2B 1.32 (release version) is actually pretty powerful! It will swap in a new single-partition image to replace all of the E2B partitions instantly. You can then boot to whatever was in the new partition. Most UEFI systems will only boot if the first partition is a FAT32 partition (or is a GPT drive). Once you have finished, you can use the grub4dos boot menu in CSM mode to return the USB drive back to the 'E2B' partition state and carry on using E2B in the normal way.

The Windows script I am working on, MakePartImage.cmd, will convert ISOs, a folder or drive contents to a partition image file, which you then can just drop onto the E2B USB drive and it will appear in the menu just like any other menu item.

MakePartImage works best on non-grub4dos payloads that don't have a menu.lst file because it adds it's own menu.lst file into the image - if a menu.lst is present, you will be prompted to append it to  the MPI menu or delete it.

If  any .imgPTN file is over 4GB, then the E2B USB drive will need to be formatted as NTFS. UEFI booting is still possible as long as the image partition itself was formatted as FAT32.

As long as the biggest file inside the image is below 4GB and the image is a FAT32 partition image, then you can also UEFI-boot it (if image is UEFI-boot capable, of course!). If some files are over 4G, then only MBR (non-UEFI) booting is possible, as the .imgPTN image must be in the NTFS format (however, it is possible to have a FAT32+NTFS dual partition arrangement with later versions of E2B - see here for more details).

MakePartImage will also attempt to convert isolinux-based source files (ISOs) to syslinux-based ones. It will also rename any overlay file it finds in \LiveOS to match the new drive label and UUID too. It also warns you about any LABEL= and UUID= cheat codes in the syslinux config files - though you will have to change these manually if there are any. [Edit: Now it automatically converts these!]

Basically, if you have a single partition (FAT32 or NTFS) USB Flash drive (or HDD) that works correctly, then you should be able to easily convert it to an .imgPTN file and boot from it using Easy2Boot. You can thus convert all you flash drives into images and add them to Easy2Boot (if they don't work as ISOs in E2B).

You can use MakePartImage.cmd to automatically convert the following types of payloads to working .imgPTN files:
  1. Windows Install ISOs
  2. Multi-boot ISOs such as Hirens, DLCD, etc.
  3. WinPE v2+ based Windows ISOs
  4. Various Linux ISOs (Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Deft8, etc. just work)
  5. UEFI-capable utilities such as KonBoot or EasyRE
  6. Any working single-partition USB drive that is in FAT32 or NTFS format.

Linux ISO conversion
Some linux ISOs may not boot in MBR\BIOS\CSM mode, due to the change from an ISO(CD) to a disk filesystem(USB drive). In these cases, you can edit the image to fix the problem (just mount the .imgPTN file in ImDisk). However, they probably boot fine in MBR mode as an ISO under the E2B menu, so you don't really need to get them working from the CSM menu.
Some linux ISOs may not boot as .imgPTN images in UEFI mode. Typically you will need to change the grub .conf file to fix these UEFI images.

The most common fixes are:

1. Look in all .cfg, .conf and .lst files for CDLABEL and change CDLABEL to LABEL
2. Where a value for CDLABEL was defined, change it to the Volume label of the image: - e.g.
    Was: root=root=live:CDLABEL=SL-65-x86_64-LiveMiniCD
    Change to: root=live:LABEL=LIVE
3. Look for UUID= in the .cfg, .conf and .lst files. Change the value to that which is listed at the top of the CSM Menu when you boot from the .imgPTN. e.g.
   Was: root=live:UUID=%UUID%
   Change to: root=live:UUID=xxxx-yyyyy
where xxxx-yyyy is the UUID in the Easy2Boot CSM menu.
4. Lastly, if all else fails (for MBR booting only), add a grub4dos menu entry in the \menu.lst file which uses the correct kernel and initrd commands and parameters. e.g.

title Boot YlmF 3.0 (Windows Like OS) \n Image made from the ISO file Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper floppy.allowed_drive_mask=0 splash
initrd /casper/initrd.img

[Edit: Now it automatically converts these! You shouldn't need to edit ant .cfg or .conf files.]

I have not had to do any sector editing to restore my E2B drives for several days now, so the partition swapping is looking fairly robust and reliable! I just have to go through a selection of different payload files (ISOs) to test them out and check they work.

If you have any favourite UEFI ISOs or other UEFI-enabled payloads, please contact me tell me what they are and I will test them for you. This way they should work for you when I finally release v1.32 of E2B!

Monday 7 April 2014

Easy2Boot will soon support UEFI booting!

Easy2Boot soon will support booting of FAT32 UEFI disk images!

To make these image files you need to run a Windows script...

Example 1: lubuntu-13.10-desktop-amd64.iso
1. Run the MakePartImage.cmd Windows script to create an image file - e.g. LUBU64.imgEFI
2. Copy the file to your E2B drive \_ISO\MAINMENU folder

Example 2: KonBoot 2.4
1. Make a KonBoot 2.4 USB EUFI drive using a spare flash drive. You can use the batch file provided by KonBoot or just make a single partition USB FAT32 drive using RMPrepUSB. Make sure the \EFI folder is present.
2. (optional) Test that the USB drive boots via UEFI
3. Run the MakePartImage.cmd Windows script to create an image file from the USB drive - e.g. KonBoot24.imgEFI. As an alternative you can skip steps 1 and 2 and just point MakePartImage.cmd at the KonBoot folder on you C: drive that contains just the EFI folder - e.g. C:\temp\KonBootV2.4
4. Copy the image file to your E2B drive \_ISO\MAINMENU folder

Example 3: Windows 8.1
1. Run the MakePartImage.cmd Windows script to create an image file - e.g. Win81x64.imgEFI
2. Copy the file to your E2B drive \_ISO\MAINMENU folder

Note: Due to the file size limitation of FAT32, the \Sources\Install.wim or Install.esd file cannot be over 4GB.

You can also make an .imgEFI file from a working FAT32 USB Flash drive using RMPrepUSB - Drive->File (use P1, P1, 0) - but see the easy2boot website for instructions as you need to add some grub4dos files first.

Some linux ISOs won't boot from a FAT32 filesystem unless the files are modified. You can use Fedora Live-USB Creator to make a working USB Flash drive and then use the contents of that Flash drive in your .imgEFI. You just need to ensure that the volume label of the image is the same as that of the USB stick. To get the USB Flash drive working, some editing of the .conf and .cfg files may be necessary to get both MBR and UEFI booting to work. Once a USB Flash drive works, the same image should work when copied into a .imgEFI file using the MarkPartImage.cmd script, as long as the FAT32 volume names are the same.

Now we have prepared our Easy2Boot drive ready to use for MBR or UEFI booting and we can boot any one of the images via UEFI (and most via MBR too) - sweet!

 Here is how to use it:

1. Boot from the target system via MBR\CSM booting to the Easy2Boot menu

2. Select one of the .imgEFI images - this will change the MBR on the drive and load the new CSM Menu (after some warnings about the possibility of it destroying your E2B drive!)

3. From the CSM Menu, you can instantly switch back to E2B Mode, or run the payload files in the current MBR mode (works for Windows and KonBoot, etc. but not linux) OR...

4. Choose Reboot and boot from the USB drive via UEFI BIOS mode - it should immediately boot to the selected EFI payload (e.g. CentOS, Deft8, Lubuntu, KonBoot or Win8.1 install in UEFI mode).

5. To change back to E2B again, reboot from the USB drive via MBR\CSM booting - you will see the CSM Menu- choose Switch and it will immediately restore the E2B partitions and load the E2B menu.

The advantages of this process is that this should be 100% compatible with most UEFI BIOSes as it uses a single FAT32 volume. It is also a very simple concept. Switching modes is virtually instantaneous.
The 'cons' are that you can easily accidentally 'destroy' the MBR of your E2B USB drive if anything goes wrong and it does not boot in MBR mode. Secondly, you have a file size limit of 4GB which may apply to files like install.wim (the .imgEFI file can be bigger if your E2B drive is NTFS, but the individual files inside the image cannot be larger than 4GB). Another disadvantage is that you have to prepare an .img file first (though this takes only a minute or so when using the MakePartImage script, even for a 4Gb Windows 8 ISO).

For some EFI images - e.g. KonBoot and Windows Installs, you can run them in MBR mode and UEFI mode, thus you don't need to have both the .ISO files  and the .imgEFI files on your E2B drive for these. The linux images however won't boot in MBR mode unless you add a grub4dos boot menu entry to run the correct kernel/initrd commands (the files are already in 'flat-file' format in the FAT32 image).

If anyone is interested in trying out a very early Alpha, please let me know. You may need to be experienced in Disk Sector editing if you run into trouble (but only your USB E2B drive will be affected) but by using Disk Doctor in RMPrepUSB it is quite easy to put back the E2B MBR should anything go very wrong!

Installing Windows from a USB Hard Drive without needing a Helper USB Flash drive

Using .imgEFI images also has the side-affect that you dont' need to use a USB Removable Flash 'Helper' drive to install Windows. If you format the image as FAT32 then you can install Windows from an E2B USB Hard disk both in MBR mode or UEFI mode. However, you are limited to install.wim files of less than 4GB.

If you format the .imgEFI image file as NTFS, you can only install Windows in MBR mode but the install.wim file can be of any size and at least you don't need a Helper Flash drive.

More information on the easy2boot site here.

MakePartImage now installs syslinux to the PBR if it sees a \syslinux folder in the image. This allows you to run linux in MBR mode. The file extension .imgPTN is now recognised as well as .imgEFI (deprecated). It makes more sense to call it .imgPTN as it is just an image partition and does not necessarily have to contain EFI files or support UEFI booting.

Friday 4 April 2014

New XP unattended install feature for E2B v1.32

The next release version of E2B 1.32 will have a new feature which will allow the user to select or automatically use an unattend.txt answer file (or winnt.sif file) with the XP Install ISO that is picked by him/her. This was previously only possible using the WinPE method of install, but now you can do it using the 2-Step DPMS install method too.

You can either have one specific unattend.txt file for each XP ISO file which will be automatically used, or you can configure E2B so that it prompts you to manually select an unattend file from a list of files. This means you can auto-install to a hard drive, however if you specify any extra driver files or other files in the unattend answer file for XP Setup to copy, this probably won't work (unless you add them into the ISO).

E2B will copy your answer file to the F6 virtual floppy disks and rename it to winnt.sif so that it is automatically picked up during the start of XP Setup. Due to the way this works, the DOS floppy can only contain 8.3 filenames and so the .sif files must be of 8.3 format too. However, the file that the user picks from a list is actually a batch file with a .AUTO file extension and this file can be of any filename length.

For full details, see here.

I will place a TEST version in the Downloads area as usual.

P.S. Rev2 - You can now also run a .cmd file from the USB E2B drive automatically after installation. This .cmd file can call another .cmd file on yourUSb drive to complete the installation by 'xcopying' over a large folder from your USB drive to your target system and then running a script to install drivers and applications. You must write the copy code cmd file and add the installation folder yourself.

Note: Although you should re-boot back to the E2B drive after Step1 and select Step 2, I have found that this is not always necessary and you can allow the system to boot from the hard disk after Step 1. 

Thursday 3 April 2014

End of Windows XP - good news for some?

There has been a lot of talk about the end of Microsoft support on April 8th 2014 for Windows XP SP3.

Who ate all the TeleTubbies?

Recently, there have been some articles on why you should switch to a newer, supported OS like Windows 8.1. However, I suspect that many people and small businesses will continue to use XP for at least 6 month to a year. I know that many people in 'poorer' countries still install and use XP illegally. I also know that in these countries, many computer shops openly pre-install XP (activated but unlicensed!) for their customers.

XP may still be used in many pieces of equipment that you use: disk copiers, stage lighting consoles, recording/mixing desks, data servers that 'just sit there and work', card payment systems, etc. It has been said that 95% of the worlds ATMs run XP (embedded) - though I doubt these are updated with the latest hotfixes every week or even once a year!.

So the question is, will XP really die after April 2104?... Of course not!

Many people will continue to use XP for many years. However, there is one thing that the end of MS support does mean, and that is the end of XP drivers for new products. Why is that such a big deal?...

Many businesses and education establishments demand XP drivers, because their systems and applications still run on XP. This, in turn, puts pressure on the chipset manufacturers and specialised peripheral manufacturers to develop and release XP drivers and associated software.

Over recent years, it has been harder to find XP drivers for new systems, but now it will be impossible. Chipset, peripheral and card manufacturers now have a perfect excuse to not supply XP drivers for their new products because XP is no longer supported by Microsoft. In fact, these manufacturers had actually ceased to 'support'  XP since late 2013 for any of their new products.

So it will be a death by attrition. As old hardware dies and is replaced by newer hardware, there will be a dearth of XP drivers for any new hardware.

Windows 8 has been around since August 2012 and there is now a good driver base for all hardware and peripherals (at least for all hardware younger than 5-6 years of age). However, most of the people running XP will have older peripherals such as old printers, scanners, etc. It is hard to find drivers for these old peripherals now for Win7/8, as the manufacturers don't write and release drivers for kit they no longer sell.

Equally, A lot of XP software does not run under Win7/8 very well (which is why companies have held onto their old XP systems and their bespoke software and hardware). If you have an old XP laptop, the special drivers for these (e.g. hotkeys, special trackpad features, power managent, docking bays, etc.) will not be available for Win7/8. These hardware drivers won't work in a VM running XP on a Win7/8 system either!

So changing from XP to Win8.1 actually involves more expense than just paying for a new OS. For XP users it involves:

1. A new system (Win7/8 won't run too well on low-memory PCs and no drivers for old laptops)
2. A new OS
3. New peripherals (no drivers for older printers/scanners and special peripherals for midi/recording/video capture, etc.)
4. A lot of time getting it all to work from the IT department
5. Training costs

This is all good news for the poor old PC industry which has been in decline over the last few years.

So what can we look forward to after April 2014? My guess is:

1. Increased sales of PC and related software and hardware products
2. Increase in hacks for activating Win 7/8 illegally
3. XP-alike versions of linux gaining in popularity
4. Increase in jobs for consultants who specialise in upgrading systems, writing/converting software and training.

Maybe it's time for me to buy shares in PC World and Microsoft...

Easy2Boot, linux ISOs and persistence

It is possible to boot the following linux ISOs with persistence from your E2B USB drive:

linuxmint, XiaOpan, ubuntu, YLMF, Puppy, Slax, Ubuntu, LUbuntu, Fedora, Backtrack 5, BitDefender Rescue (old versions only), geebox, kali linux, kaspersky, PCLinuxOS, Porteus, StartOS and XBMCbuntu.

They can all be on the same E2B drive and all boot using different persistence files. The E2B drive justs needs the one partition for E2B (partition #3 and partition #4 which should both be unused/free).

You can even have multiple persistence files used by the same one ISO. For example, you could have a Bob_Ubuntu.mnu for Bob and a Mary_Ubuntu.mnu for Mary - both would boot from the same Ubuntu ISO but use different persistent files.

You normally will need to copy and edit a small .mnu file and make an ext2 file using RMPrepUSB for each ISO.

For more details, please see here.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Adding the Kaspersky Rescue ISO to Easy2Boot (with persistent updates)

You can easily download and add the kav_rescue_10.iso or krd.iso file to your E2B drive easily. Just copy it to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

(Note: if using krd.iso, do not use parentheses ( ) or any other strange characters in the .iso filename - esp. when using agFM - 'Kaspersky' option to boot it).

Download here.

Note: When converting to .imgPTN file for UEFI+MBR booting (do not add rEFInd, say No to prompt:
          'Timeout in 10 seconds       (default=N )... AUTO-CORRECT? (Y/N) : ' 
          to not Auto-convert .cfg files).

See new Kaspersky Forum if any queries and Forum post here.

When you first run it, you will want to update the virus definitions. When you do so however, it will store the updates on an internal hard disk of the system that you booted the E2B USB drive from, instead of storing them on the E2B USB drive. This means that when you boot on a different system, you will have to download the updates all over again (if the system has an internet connection).

IMPORTANT: The key to the whole procedure is to ensure that Kaspersky linux mounts all the storage devices as volumes by selecting a drive to scan FIRSTThis will not be done if you do not select a drive to scan when prompted, or if you use the 'Skip' button when prompted if the volume is 'dirty'.
Allow it to mount the disks...

Once all the volumes have been mounted, you should see the icons on the Desktop - if not then it won't find the Updates on the USB drive and you will have to reboot!

Make sure you see desktop icons for the USB drive (e.g. sdb1).

MBR-booting from krd.iso with persistence

The instructions to get persistent updates to stay on the E2B USB drive are:

1. Download a recent ISO file from - it should be under 'Distributive' and called  kav_rescue_10.iso or krd.iso.

2. Copy it to a menu folder, e.g. \_ISO\MainMenu folder (or \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS or any other menu folder where you want it to be listed).

Create an empty folder called "\Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0" on the E2B USB drive now.
Note: For krd.iso 2018 versions, the folder name has changed to \KRD2018_Data. Use this exact name and exact capitalisation.

3. Boot from the ISO menu entry. Ensure that your USB drive (sdb1) volume has been mounted and appears as an icon on the Desktop as well as the C: drive icon (don't abort any dialogs!). If they are not there then reboot and try again.

On first boot to Kaspersky from E2B using this menu, download the updates (you will obviously need an internet connection). They will usually be automatically stored on internal Hard Disk C: by Kaspersky but if it finds the "\Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0" folder on the E2B drive, it may copy the updates there instead.

4. When the download of the updates have finished, if the USB \Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0 folder is empty, copy the whole "\Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0" folder which now contains the updates from C: or sda1 (the internal HDD) to sdx1 which is the USB drive partition 1 (if you only have one hard disk, the USB drive will be sdb1).

Now rename the "C:\Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0" folder on the hard disk to something else like 'Junk' to get rid of it.

IMPORTANT: Ensure the update folder \Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0 does NOT exist on the Target hard disk in any volume. It must only exist on the E2B USB drive, otherwise it may update the wrong folder.

5. On the next boot, the updates should be found to be already present on USB drive (check you can see the drive icon on the Desktop).


If you find that the Updates are old or not present...

1. Ensure you can see the sdx1 icon on the Desktop to show it has been mounted as a volume by Kaspersky.

2. Ensure any target system you test does not already have the \Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0 folder anywhere on any HDD in the system - if so delete it and reboot from USB.

Always shutdown Kaspersky linux nicely or updates may not be saved!

E2B USB Drive contents when it is all running smoothly are:

\Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10.0 (or \KRD2018_Data) for 2018+ versions.

Kaspersky 2018 with UEFI (using a two-partition E2B drive)

Converting the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file is easy, however the \KRD2018_Data folder is not found by Kaspersky Rescue if it is in the boot partition, so we cannot simply create this folder inside the new .imgPTN partition (but see section below if you want to do this).

Create or use the second partition of the E2B drive which should have at least 1GB of free space available or else it will not be used (exact size TBD - it works if 4.1 GB free on a 7GB volume).

Then simply create an empty \KRD2018_Data folder on the 2nd partition of the E2B drive and use a .imgPTN23 file extension for the krd imgptn file.

IMPORTANT: For UEFI booting press 'N' for No' when prompted by MakePartImage to AUTOCORRECT the .cfg files because the EFI boot files are signed.

Use Switch_E2B.exe to switch to the krd2018.imgptn23 file.

Edit the \menu.lst file (the large on inside the large .imgPTN file) to add these lines to the bottom of the file:

#use lang=ru for russian

title KAV 32-bit\nBoot to Kaspersky Rescue
kernel /boot/grub/k-x86 net.ifnames=0 lang=en dostartx backstore=alldev
initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

title KAV 64-bit\nBoot to Kaspersky Rescue
kernel /boot/grub/k-x86_64 net.ifnames=0 lang=en dostartx backstore=alldev
initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

The two partitions on the E2B drive should now be:
Partition 1: Contains a \boot folder and \System folder + other E2B files + \menu.lst (modified)
Partition 2: Contains empty \KRD2018_Data folder

Now you can UEFI or MBR boot (using the new menu entries) and ensure you have an internet connection so that it can download the latest updates. Check that there are now files in the \KRD2018_Data\Bases folder...

If updates do not appear to be persistent, delete any folder on any drive named \KRD2018_Data  except for the folder on the second partition of the E2B USB drive.

You can use the terminal command:
find / -name 'KRD2018_Data'
to find where the data files are located after updating/downloading the updates.

UEFI boot files

Recent Kaspersky 18 UEFI boot files and menus in the ISO are signed and checked (they have .sig files). If you modify the .cfg menu files then it will not UEFI boot. For this reason choose N = for do not AutoCorrect when prompted by MakePartImage when you make the .imgPTN file.

For E2B Fixed-disk USB drives only...

If your USB drive is a hard drive/fixed disk type, you will need to modify the kav-menu.cfg file for persistence, so to work around the signed file issue, find a Ubuntu 64-bit ISO and copy the files from the \EFI\BOOT folder to the same folder on the E2B drive thus overwriting \EFI\BOOT\bootx64.efi on the FAT32 partition. Just Ubuntu's bootx64.efi and grubx64.efi are required for UEFI64 booting.

You will need to modify \boot\grub\x86_64-efi\cfg\kav-menu.cfg to add the backstore=alldev cheat code for persistence to work if you are booting from a USB hard disk


menuentry "${kav}" {
linux /boot/grub/k-x86_64 net.ifnames=0 lang=${lang} dostartx backstore=alldev
initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

menuentry "${kav_nomodeset}" {
linux /boot/grub/k-x86_64 net.ifnames=0 nomodeset xforcevesa lang=${lang} dostartx backstore=alldev
initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

#menuentry "${kav_rescue_text}" {
# linux /boot/grub/k-x86_64 net.ifnames=0 lang=${lang} nox nomodeset
# initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

menuentry "${hardware_info}" {
linux /boot/grub/k-x86_64 net.ifnames=0 lang=${lang} docache loadsrm=000-core.srm,003-kl.srm nox hwinfo docheck
initrd /boot/grub/initrd.xz

source /boot/grub/${grub_cpu}-${grub_platform}/cfg/boot_from_hard.cfg

Kaspersky 2018 UEFI & MBR  + persistence

As found by Ahmed (see comments), if your E2B USB drive is of the Removable type, you can create a persistent backup store using the Kaspersky linux script in the KRD Desktop Start Menu - System menu, but this does not work when booting from Fixed-disk USB drives (e.g. Corsair GTX, SilverStone M.2 or when using a VM under VirtualBox\QEMU where the USB drive appears as a Fixed-disk).

For persistence to work, you must use a Removable-type USB flash drive unless you modify the .cfg menus...

Note: Only recent versions of KRD2018 include the 'Create persistent volume' menu feature.

1. Drag-and-drop the latest version of KRD2018 onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to create a large .imgPTN file. I chose a size of 2200MB (or 3GB for safety) and a name of KRD2018_2019_08.imgPTNAUTO. You must allow enough free space for the updates (I found that 2000MB was not quite enough by about 16MB!). Do NOT AUTO-CORRECT the configuration files when prompted by MakePartImage as this makes them unsigned.

2. Copy the krd.imgPTN23 file to your E2B \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS folder, make it contiguous and use SWITCH_E2B.exe to switch in the new partition.
If using a Fixed-disk E2B USB drive then do not use the CSM    '1 Boot from this drive (MBR mode)'    boot menu entry if you need persistence because it will not use the backstore=alldev cheat code and you will not get persistence if using a fixed-disk USB drive. 
Instead, add the two new menu entries shown above to the E2B CSM \menu.lst file and the kav-menu.cfg file.

3. Now MBR-boot on a real system to the E2B Removable drive (do not use a VM unless you have the backstore=alldev cheat code in the menu).

4. Accept the licence agreements and perform an update if prompted.

5. Quit the AV scan.

6. Run System - Create persistent volume from the Start Menu and create a file of the suggested size - just follow the prompts (do not create a Backup as this will use up all the free space!).

There seems to be a problem with the suggested min and max sizes, so choose a size somewhere between the two  limits suggested by the script.

7. You should be prompted to reboot - so do so.

8. You may see this message if the updates are not stored on a disk :-( ...

Now use the Terminal, you should see that the mount command shows /livemnt/boot is on your E2B USB drive...

and the backstore folder should be apparent...

UEFI-boot error when using Virtual Box?

Note: if testing using a Virtual Machine you may need to remove or rename the \System folder because some VMs UEFI-boot from this MAC UEFI boot folder instead of from the \EFI\boot folder.

This message can also indicate that you need to update the \EFI\boot folder with the Ubuntu EFI boot files as described above because one or more the .cfg files are not original (e.g. they have been edited or altered) and their signatures will no longer match.

KRD.ISO UEFI booting

From a fresh boot to agFM/grubfm/Ventoy or any grub2-based menu system - press TAB key and then c and type set check_signatures=no and then press ESC key and then select and load krd.iso.

Kaspersky signed files

If you are interested in why Kaspersky has added signed file checking (.sig files) for .cfg files, even for UEFI unsecure booting, see here.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Easy2Boot update for installing XP onto modern systems

The current 'released' DriverPack Mass Storage driver pack included in E2B+DPMS is rather old. If want a more recent driver pack, you can download the most recent one from the last post on the forum here (search for TechDud posts and '7z downloads).

There is a problem with the latest current 'nightly' build DP_MassStorage_wnt5_x86-32_1403071.7z

It would not work when installing XP on a Z87 chipset (Intel Series 8) mainboard.

I have modified the INI file, and you can download the new DPMS version from here.

Just unzip it to the \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS folder of your E2B drive (if you already have a \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS\DriverPack.ini file then delete it and the whole D folder first).
Note: You need at least E2B v1.31 for the new driver pack to work.

E2B v1.32 will have better DPMS driver selection (thanks to chenall who has modified the chkpci utility for me). If your ISO has '2k' or '2k3' in the filename, it will assume it is a Win2k or Win2k3 driver and look for the correct driver. If not, chkpci will only retrieve XP drivers from the DriverPack.ini file.

For XP installs, this means that whereas previously you may have been presented with a choice of several different mass storage drivers for your system (some of which could be Win2K3 orWin2K drivers), now you should only get one driver (for each different type of controller in your system).