Friday 31 October 2014

E2B v1.58 Released

  • Large exFAT drive issue fixed (debug off in LstFExt.g4b needed due to grub4dos bug),
  • .isopup fixed in QRUN.g4b
  • Small fix to allow $$main.mnu user file to load new splashimage for Main menu.
  • Reduce number of file accesses in \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst code for faster boot up. 
  • Added support for multiple wallpaper backgrounds, even if FASTLOAD is used. 
  • Redundant environment variables tidied up. 
  • New grub4dos for exFAT (no Warning messages). 
  • \EFI (memtest86) folder removed (stopped some systems booting to grub4dos!).
  • New features, etc. added to the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file
  • Warns user if no BIOS system hard disk is found
Note that I have now removed the MemTest86 UEFI boot files so that you can no longer boot to MemTest from a FAT32 E2B drive directly. Instead you can download the ISO file from the PassMark MemTest86 website and convert it to a .imgPTN file using MakePartImage if you want a UEFI memory test feature.

If you are updating your FAT32 E2B USB drive, I would advise you to delete the \EFI folder from it, as this can prevent E2B from booting on some UEFI systems as I detailed in my previous blog here. If you have an NTFS E2B drive then the \EFI folder serves no purpose anyway as UEFI will not boot from an NTFS partition.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Fujitsu LifeBook AH532 always boots to MemTest86 from an Easy2Boot USB drive!

Ali contacted me today about his Fujitsu LifeBook.
He had made an external E2B USB FAT32 160GB hard disk which booted to the E2B Main menu just fine under QEMU. However, when he tried it on his LifeBook, it booted from the E2B USB drive but ran MemTest86 instead of displaying the E2B menu!

My first thought was that the BIOS was not set for CSM\Legacy BIOS mode. However, it was set correctly:

Advanced – Boot Configurations – Fast Boot : [Disabled] 
Advanced – Boot Configurations – CSM : [Enabled] 
Security – Secure Boot Configuration – Secure Boot Option : [Disabled]

When he pressed F12, a boot selection menu was displayed which listed his internal hard disk and the external USB E2B hard disk. However, there was only one menu choice for the E2B drive and not two. The E2B USB menu entry did not mention UEFI or EFI but nevertheless still booted via UEFI to the \EFI\boot\bootx64.efi MemTest86 file!

Just to see what would happen, I suggested that he deleted the \EFI folder from the E2B FAT32 partition.

When he did this, he still got the same BIOS boot menu with the same USB boot drive entry option, but this time it booted to the E2B Main menu!

It seems that this Fujitsu LifeBook Firmware does not allow the user the choice of UEFI and non-UEFI booting, but always UEFI-boots if there is a suitable file present.

So, if your E2B USB drive is formatted as FAT32, you may need to delete the \EFI folder to prevent this problem from happening on some systems.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

RMPrepUSB v2.1.725 released

RMPrepUSB v2.1.725 is now available. It includes the new version of grub4dos grldr (20141027) which is now the same version used by E2B v1.57aBeta9.
I have also changed the RMPrepUSB - Install grub4dos code so that it always asks you if you want to copy the grldr file over (even if 'No user prompt' is ticked) and it also now warns you that it will overwrite the \grldr file if there was one already present on the target USB drive.

E2B v1.57aBeta9 is looking good so far. Hopefully, I can release it as 1.58 in a few days. Please try it and let me know if you find any problems.

Hide your E2B partition from Windows

Ric asked me how to add a menu to hide\unhide the E2B partition from Windows so that it could not be accessed by unwanted programs and viruses, if he plugged it into an infected Windows system.

Here are the HidePtn.mnu file contents:

# Use this menu to hide or unhide the hd0,0 partition (first partition of the E2B drive) so that Windows cannot access it

iftitle [hiddenflag (hd0,0) > nul] UnHide E2B Partition\n Unhide the 1st partition
unhide (hd0,0)
configfile (md)0xa000+0x50 || configfile /menu.lst

iftitle [checkrange 0 hiddenflag (hd0,0) > nul] Hide E2B Partition\n Hide the 1st partition
hide (hd0,0)
configfile (md)0xa000+0x50 || configfile /menu.lst

If you need to access the contents of the E2B drive from Windows when it is the 'hidden' state you can boot it using an emulator (e.g. RMPrepUSB - QEMU or MobaLiveCD.exe or VirtualBox+VMUB or VMWare) and then run the UnHide E2B Partition menu entry. Then unplug and reconnect it and the E2B partition should be visible to Windows.

If you want to hide/unhide the 2nd partition of an E2B USB hard disk, change (hd0,0) to (hd0,1) in the menu.

This HidePtn.mnu file will be  included in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder of E2B v1.58 and later versions.

Monday 27 October 2014

Tonights build is 1.57aBeta9

There were a few small niggles reported. Hopefully this new version fixes them.
There is also a new version of PassPass  1.6 available on the E2B Alternate Download Area.
The previous PassPass 1,5 version was rather messy and created lots of grub4dos variables which then interfered with the E2B menu system when you returned back from the PassPass menu to E2B and then ran a .imgPTN file.

I also found a workaround for having multiple wallpapers even if FASTLOAD is enabled. Also both wallpapers should now be shown if the user presses the F8 in the Main menu. For a demo see my previous blog with a video.

E2B v1.57aBeta6 has new grub4dos

Chenall has fixed the exFAT and cat --hex bugs in grub4dos and 1.57aBeta6 has the new versions of grub4dos. Please check it out and let me know of any issues. The new version is in the Alternate Download areas on the E2B Download page as usual.
If no problems reported within the next few days I will release it as v1.58.

Saturday 25 October 2014

E2B 1.57a - new bug found in new grub4dos versions

It seems that the format of the output of the cat --hex command has been changed in later versions of grub4dos and this has broken the delptn3.g4b code in E2B. The latest E2B v1.57aBeta5 will thus display an empty and broken partition table if E2B detects that ptn 4 contains an existing partition entry.

I have reported the problem and hopefully grub4dos will be fixed and made compatible with earlier versions. Current issues are reported on github here.

With an older Sept 03 2014 version of grub4dos this table is shown correctly:

Tuesday 21 October 2014

E2B v1.57 released!

The new version is 1.57 as there have been quite a few Betas (v1.56 and 1.56a versions which weren't officially released). This version is available in the Alternate Downloads Area at as usual.

Changes in 1.57 (from 1.55)
  1. New grub4dos \grldr (20141021) fixes exFAT bug with >4GB files + other small bugs 
  2. CPU 32/64 bit & Total memory displayed in Main Menu heading and Windows Install menu 
  3. New Sample mnu Files examples. 
  4. Weird characters such as ()!''&| may now work if used in Windows ISO and .imgPTN filenames. 
  5. 'Boot any key to boot from CD or DVD' Windows install prompt suppressed. 
  6. Default Aurora background compressed using lzma (reduced size). 
  7. .iso64 family of file extensions recognised (only listed if 64-bit CPU). 
  8. Fastload menu has changed (only seen if FASTLOAD is enabled) - now press F8 to refresh the menu instead of the separate REFRESH entry. 
  9. Change Automn.g4b and Automn.g4b to use 56MB area of memory instead of 74MB area so can use E2B on systems with 64MB of memory or more. 
  10. German STRINGS.txt and F1.cfg updated (thanks Frettt) 
  11. Aurora Wallpaper changed slightly to remove English text. 
  12. XP Install ISO won't prompt to press a key to boot from CD 
  13. Add compatibility for USB drives made using FlashBoot when using .imgPTN files. You must use RestoreE2B.cmd to restore the MBR though! 
  14. Polish language added (thanks 'no-way'!) 
  15. \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Change_Language.mnu changed 
  16. Change_Font.mnu added to \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder (temporarily changes menu font). 
  17. If FASTLOAD is enabled, E2B now does not re-enumerate (count) all the Windows ISO files on first boot, so booting is now even faster! 
  18. Windows 10 menu added 
  19. Some corrections made for correct filename case if using a case-sensitive filesystem for E2B like ext2/3/4.
Frettt has kindly spent some time translating into German (proper German, not 'machine-translated German) the E2B text and F1 help text. He mentions E2B on his site here. His site(s) also contains a useful selection of freeware and tips.

Polish is also now available thanks to 'no-way'. Special thanks to Simone and Stephan for bug-finding and suggestions too!

There is a slightly new look to the background wallpaper (I have removed the English text from the wallpaper and moved it to the bottom so you can have a wider menu).

1.57 auf Deutsch (Main menu heading and footer can be changed using MyE2B.cfg file)

Let me know if you spot any problems (but try latest 'bleeding edge' Beta version first!).

Wednesday 15 October 2014

E2B v1.56aBeta11 update

Seems to be a small incompatibility in the new grub4dos which affect calculations involving the shift >> operator. This has the affect that E2B reports the memory size incorrectly in the Main menu heading when using the new version of grub4dos.
I have updated some .g4b batch files to fix the issue so that it should work with both old and new versions. The issue is reported here.
Thanks to Simone for reporting it (I didn't notice!).

Easy2Boot v1.56a Beta 10 now available

This version has a few changes (CheckAccess.g4b has been tweaked) and the latest versions (at last!) of grub4dos (both 0.4.5c and 0.4.6a).
Please let me know if you experience any problems.
If you see an 'OLD GRUB4DOS VERSION' message, be sure to update the \grldr file with the version in the 1.56aBeta10 download.
The download is in the Alternate Download Areas accessible from the Downloads page as usual.
To update, just unzip the file to the root of your USB drive as usual.

Unless there are any problems reported, this version will be the official 'release' version of 1.56 in a few days.

Friday 10 October 2014

E2B v1.56aBeta9 now has a Windows 10 menu

The Windows 10 technical preview ISO could be installed from E2B by adding it to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 folder and using the correct Product Key, however I have added a new \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 folder to E2B now so that any new Windows 10 ISOs can be kept in their own folder and have their own menu.

The download is available in the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

1.56a will be released as soon as chenall has time to fix a bug in grub4dos so that I can release it with the latest version of grub4dos.