Saturday 27 February 2016

Add DNA to E2B!

Want to add this animation to your E2B menu?

Friday 26 February 2016

E2B Beta v1.78g now available

E2B v1.78g uses a new grub4dos 0.4.6a version which is not compatible with the previous E2B 1.78 Beta versions when using the STAMP and ANIMATE variables.

Note: See also this blog post for a 120-frame animated model of DNA!

If you are updating an earlier v1.78 which used STAMPn or ANIMATE, please check your MyE2B.cfg file and change the STAMPn and ANIMATE variables - otherwise you may not see any background and other strange things may happen!

E2B v1.78g is in the Alternate Download Areas as usual (see side panel in this blog).

N.B. The syntax has now changed slightly!

For STAMPn we need to add an extra parameter because STAMPs now supports transparent backgrounds:

Note: The top STAMP1 and STAMP2 have a transparent background!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

E2B v1.78f available

YaYa has suggested that we could create a floppy disk image (.ima) file containing the animation bitmap files and load the floppy disk image into memory using:

map --mem --read-only /bitmaps.ima (fd3)
map --hook

This means that the files will be quickly accessed from memory and makes for much smoother animation with no continuous access to the USB drive (it can even be unplugged and the animation will still play).

Tuesday 23 February 2016

E2B v1.78e Beta available

Yaya has fixed the problem of the hotkey app disabling animation.
This new E2B Beta version has the new grub4dos version which lets us have an animation playing on the menu.
Copy the \_ISO\docs\Templates\Animate\MyE2B.cfg file to \_ISO to test it out!

New features documented on this page.

Monday 22 February 2016

E2B v1.78d Beta available for testing!

The new animation and graphics features in the latest grub4dos version is still not quite fully working (the hotkey utility prevents the infinite-cycle animated GIF-on-menu feature from working), but can at least play a sequence of bitmaps smoothly (and with a transparent background if desired!) before the menu is loaded. You can also define up to 4 STAMPn variables to over-stamp your wallpaper with up to four different 'stamps'. It will also be possible to use different stamps for each menu - for instance, when the AntiVirus menu is loaded, it could show the same background but with an AV logo in the corner of the screen instead of the Main Menu logo. I will detail how to do this later.

Graphics mode + plain background

Also, the MYWBMP variable now can be used to define a pure colour background instead of a bitmap or JPEG file. The value must begin with 0x (zero + lower case x) to be recognised as an RGB fill colour (e.g. 0xFF0000 would be red).

set GMODE=800
# set a plain colour background

Use the 'Quick800' template - for quicker loading.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Improved Plop! Boot ISO

The Plop! boot ISO allows you to boot from a CD and then boot from a USB drive. This is useful if the BIOS does not support USB booting or has buggy USB-boot support (e.g. if the BIOS tries to boot from the USB drive as a USB-Floppy or USB-ZIP drive).

Friday 19 February 2016

Make a UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file from a Toshiba BIOS update ISO file

Toshiba BIOS update ISOs can be booted from Easy2Boot in MBR\CSM mode. They typically boot to a DOS hard disk image.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Installing Windows 10 on old Windows 7 tablet

I had an old Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit tablet with 32GB internal flash memory and 2GB of RAM. It had an OEM Windows 7 Certificate of Authentication label (COA) on the back and so I decided to see if I could upgrade it to Windows 10.

As I did not have the latest Windows 10 Threshold 2 (1511) Home install ISO, I used the Windows 10 release version and installed it using an E2B flash drive (I did a clean install and completely erased all previous partitions).

I first installed Windows 10 without using a Product Key, then ran Windows Update to update it to the 1511 TH2 version. Then it was simply a case of using the Windows 7 Product Key from the COA label to activate it and Voila! I now have an activated Win 10 tablet.

With hindsight, it would have been much quicker to download Win10 Home TH2 from MS as the update took ages!

As this tablet is quite old, I am not sure if the COA label Product Key was ever registered with MS (originally it would have used the OEM Product Key embedded in the OEM OS). So I cannot be sure that it only worked because it had been previously activated with the  COA key.

Windows 10 July 2016 upgrade deadline

Even if you don't want to use Windows 10 just yet, remember to install Windows 10 TH2 on any old PCs, tablets, laptops, etc. that you have before the July 2016 free upgrade deadline. Once the system is activated, you can re-install it with any OS you like, but it will be registered for Windows 10 for any future Win10 install.

You can upgrade Home/Core editions of Win7/8 to Win 10 Home or Pro/business editions to Win 10 Pro.

If you don't want to install Windows 10 onto each system, why not install Windows 10 1511 Home and/or Pro to VHDs on a USB hard disk using WinToUSB, and boot each system from the USB hard disk.

Once you have the VHD booting, you can copy it to your E2B drive and have 32-bit and 64-bit VHDs for Win 10 Home and Pro. For UEFI-only systems, you will need to make .imgPTN files.

You should then be able to activate Windows using the original Product Key that is on each system, but using the same VHD each time (if you boot it on a different system it will just complain that it is not activated).

See here and here for details.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

E2B v1.77A (with new TXT_Maker.exe)

The \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe utility required a vb6 runtime comgdlg32,ocx file and so gave an error if it was run on a system without this ActiveX component registered.
This has now been fixed with TXT_Maker v1.0.08.
E2B v1.77A has this new version of TXT_Maker. Other than that, E2B v1.77A is the same as v1.77.
Thanks to Simon L for reporting it!

Monday 15 February 2016

E2B v1.78b with Russian language

Yuri has sent me the Russian translation files for E2B, so now you can have E2B in Russian too if you update to the new v1.78b Beta version!

Let me know if you spot any problems.

To use the Russian language files, in your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file, use

if not exist LANG set LANG=RUSSIAN

grub4dos with animated bitmaps

Yaya has added support for animated bitmaps to the latest version of grub4dos 0.4.6a.

It allows you to display a sequence of bitmaps (e.g. pic01.bmp, pic02.bmp, etc.)

Friday 12 February 2016

E2B v1.77 released

  • New version of grubinst.exe
  • MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd bugfixes for Removable drive detection and XP Home
  • Switch_E2B v1.0.10
  • E2B_Editor v1.0.83
  • New \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe utility
  • MOVE_IMGPTN added (see here - Method 4). 
  • If drive is write-protected, now uses ISOBOOT to boot from ISOs.
  • Ophcrack support added to ISOBOOT. 
  • QRUN.g4b warns if xxxx.imPTN file does not precede the second xxxx image partition file (no extension) when switching in two partition images. 
  • Menu system will now ignore .exe files. 
  • Improve QRUN.g4b when error and if E2B disk is not disk 0. 
  • Change all STRINGS.txt menu headings so they don't start with two spaces (users should use HEADPOS in MyE2B.cfg if they want to move the headings). 
  • New Sample mnu files - Q4OS+persistence, openSUSE, AltLinux, WIN98_IMGPTN_INST.mnu, Panda Vaccine AUTORUN.INF fix, redir/redirp and AVG Rescue
MPI Tool Pack v0.062 also available.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Boot openSUSE ISOs from E2B

openSUSE is rather strange in that it will not boot on E2B directly from the ISO.

Note: TumbleWeed ISOs do 'just work' as an ISO! For some commands (e.g. gparted) you may first need to run  "su -"  to get root level access and then type the command on the terminal command line!

Note: There are two types - all 'Installer' ISOs and 'LiveCD' ISOs.

Also RescueCD.

However there is a solution which depends on what type of E2B partition you have:

Q4OS with persistence on E2B

Q4OS is a rather nice, clean debian-based linux OS. The LiveCD ISO will boot directly from E2B.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

E2B v1.77n and Switch_E2B v1.0.10 available

I have had a report that when using Switch_E2B.exe under an old version of XP to switch back from a FAT32 .imgPTN file to the E2B partitions, the user managed to corrupt the E2B drive.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Install Windows 98/Me from E2B

I was asked about installing Win 98 recently and I pointed the user to an old blog post here (although why anyone would want Win 98 or Win Me is beyond me - it is hardly usable now!).

However, that blog post was written before we had .imgPTN files, and it struck me that we could use the MPI Tool Kit to create a .imgPTN file that we could map as a large floppy disk. That we we could boot from it as a large floppy and install Windows 98/Me.

I have updated that old blog post now with instructions on how to set it up for E2B.

The process should work for any DOS-based payload, not just Win95/98/Me installs. You do need to add the DOS boot files to the .imgPTN file before use, however.

Friday 5 February 2016

How to boot Alt-Linux ISOs on E2B

Alt-Linux ISOs do not boot fully if you just add them to E2B. However, there is a trick, just follow the picture sequence below:

1. Choose the LiveCD option (regular-xfce-latest-i586.iso)

Thursday 4 February 2016

Auto-detect your computer model in E2B (for automatic BIOS upgrade or repair/install)

If you want to boot a different ISO or .IMA floppy image depending on what system you are running E2B on, you can detect what system it is running on by searching the BIOS for the model string.

The menu below can be used as a template.

MPI Tool Pack 0.061 (bugfix) available + E2B v1.77l

I found a bug in the MPI Tool pack where it did not replace all the strings correctly in menu\cfg files, etc. It also has a slightly modified menu.lst file. Please download v0.061 and use that  to make your .imgPTN files - e.g.

1. Unpack MPI Tool Pack v0.061 to a folder on the Desktop
2. Run the CreateDesktopShortcuts.cmd file (it will replace your existing Desktop shortcuts)
3. If you are running Windows 10, you may need to re-install ImDisk from the ImDisk folder in the download. It won't hurt to do this anyway!

If you had trouble with any linux .imgPTN files, you can try re-making them using the new MPI Tool Pack.

E2B v1.77l is the latest Beta with a few tweaks to QRUN.g4b and Sample mnu files, etc. Also latest E2B_Editor v1.0.84 (gives warnings if you are not using it on the E2B drive!) and latest TXT_Maker v1.0.5.

Please let me know of any bugs/problems as I intend to release this as the next E2B version soon.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

E2B 1.77k Beta available

The 1.77k version has the following changes from the previous 1.77 Beta:

1. Default Main Menu heading and all sub-menu headings now begin at the extreme left of the menu area instead of two spaces to the right (see screenshot). If you want to move them across to the right, use set HEADPOS=0002 or 0004 in a \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. This means all the default language STRINGS.txt files have been changed.
2. New default 'night sky' wallpaper
3. Sample E2B Menus .mnu file - Test_redir_redirp_EXTOFF_Patchme.mnu - allows you to test the effect of the redir, redirp and EXTOFF variables and also runs the patchme utility which patches grub4dos on the E2B drive so that you get no boot messages from grub4dos. Copy it to the \_ISO\UTILITIES folder if you want to use it (see screenshot). Note: I strongly suggest you do not use redir or redirp if E2B is to be used by naive users, because they cause important usage tips, warnings and diagnostic error messages to be hidden from the user.
4. Small changes to QRUN.g4b to improve error handling (e.g. if file is not contiguous, the blocklist is displayed - a contiguous file should only have one block).
5. Any .exe file accidentally copied to a menu folder (!) will not be listed in the menu.
6. New version of TXT_Maker.exe (small improvements)

You need to copy the Test_redir_redirp_EXTOFF_Patchme.mnu file
to the \_ISO\UTILITIES folder to get the new menu entries.