Wednesday 27 April 2016

ESET + persistence from ISO

I finally figured out what the problem was with the ESET SysRescue ISO+Persistence menu that I did have working but then didn't work when I retested it. I had missed out the lines in the .mnu file which set the UUID of the 'live-media' - this meant that the live-media value was invalid and so it resorted to the CD updates. Also, you need to copy the ext3 partition from a working Eset flash disk (I cannot figure out what it is in a working ext3 image that is different from a non-working image made using RMPrepUSB 'Make ext2 FS' and copying over contents)!

I have also edited the menu now in the previous post (see lines in red).

So you can now boot from ISO with persistence if you wish, instead of using a .imgPTN file.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Add ESET antivirus with persistent updates to E2B with UEFI booting (Take 2!)

The method used in the previous blog uses an ISO with an ext3 file for the updates volume.

See also: ESET SysRescue 2020 with persistent updates and agFM UEFI support

Here is a different method using a partition image. The two methods are similar but you can add UEFI 64-bit booting if you use this method.

Note: Recent 2019/2020 versions of ESET use Ptn2 (488MB) for the persistence partition. Since the persistence partition must be at Ptn2 in the partition table, the method below will not work for the new partition arrangement because the old ESET used Ptn3.
For the 2019/20 version, the persistence partition must be labelled ESR-USB-DAT and must be ext3 and must be in Ptn2 (here is casper-bottom/12fstab init script extract: 
if ! /lib/udev/cdrom_id "$boot_device" > /dev/null; then
    # boot device is not a CD, so source the blkid info
eval $(blkid -o export ${boot_device%%[0-9]*}2)
if [ "$LABEL" = "ESR-USB-DAT" -a "$TYPE" = "ext3" -a -n "$UUID" ]; then
cat >> $FSTAB <<EOF
UUID=$UUID /mnt/eset-live-rw ext3 defaults 0 0

Monday 25 April 2016

Add ESET antivirus ISO with persistent updates to E2B (revised!)

For a different method using a .imgPTN file, please see the  next post!

E2B can boot the ESET System Rescue ISO easily, but each time you have to download the latest updates which can take a while.

The current ESET disk eset-sysrescue. does not support UEFI booting, but here is how to MBR-boot with persistence for updates, direct from the .iso file:

MPI Tool Pack v0.065

MPi Tool Pack 0.065 changes
  • Add extra usb driver menu entry
  • New grub4dos grldr version 20160326
  • MakePartImage.cmd now searches all drives from C: to Z: for the ImDisk virtual drive (previously only searched up to U:).

Sunday 24 April 2016

Boot Ubuntu 32-bit via UEFI from Easy2Boot

The current Ubuntu 32-bit 'LiveCD' Desktop ISO does not include the 32-bit grub2 UEFI boot files, but you can use the procedure below to add the required boot files to allow you to UEFI-boot..

The procedure below can be applied to other 32-bit linux ISOs that use grub2, as long as a \boot\grub\loopback.cfg file is present (or you can add the relevant entries).

E2B 'Theme' in honour of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born around the 23rd April 1564 (his baptism was registered in the church records on 26th April) and died on 23rd April 1616 (400 years ago yesterday).

Here is an Easy2Boot theme to celebrate Shakespeare. Can you spot all the changes and hidden quotations?

Hope you like it!

Each menu entry has a different quotation. Do you know them all?

Note: Copy all files to your \_ISO folder (backup your own \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file first).

The zip file contains a readme file and...


You can ignore the warning about STRINGS.txt being used for testing only. Just remember to delete it when you want to restore your own menu again.


Boot to an XP VHD from Windows 7/8/10 using bootmgr

If you have a USB-bootable Windows XP VHD, you can simply give it a .vhdboot file extension and it should boot using Easy2Boot.

But what if you want to boot an XP VHD file from a normal Windows 7/8/10 system (not grub4dos) that uses bootmgr (i.e. a standard non-UEFI Windows 7/8/10 system)?

Windows bootmgr can boot Windows 7 or later VHDs, but will not boot directly to XP VHDs.

However, you can boot automatically to an XP VHD from bootmgr, by using grub4dos as an (invisible) intermediary!

Saturday 23 April 2016

Any suggestions for E2B YouTube videos?

I am thinking of adding some more short YouTube videos on E2B.

Here is the list of potential videos that I am thinking about (in no particular order):

  1. Adding different Hirens ISO to E2B
  2. Adding VHDs to E2B
  3. Tips and Tricks - Using VBOX and RMPrepUSB-QEMU without dismounting drive,  pwd 32 and 64 and AUTO extensions, menupwd and pwd - using md5, different background for menus, stopping suggestions - .isodefault, NOSUG AUTOCSM, ISOBOOT  SHIFT-ENTER, CRC32, pausing enumeration with SPACEBAR, silent boot (reduce grub4dos messages), global hotkeys, use unattend.txt or winnt.sif files with XP ISOs set PICKAUTO=YES, slow booting - use text mode, add option to text-mode boot for faster booting on slow systems, add STAMPs to E2B
  4. MyE2B cfg - Reduce messages, Display background during enumeration
  5. How to use E2B_Editor - heading and footer, centre headings, etc.
  6. Using large fonts with E2B - set FONTH=24  - rows\cols, alternate fonts, 800 and 1024 modes
  7. Set up E2B for single menu
  8. How to auto-run Windows ISOs from a menu
  9. How to make XML files to auto-install Windows ISOs.
  10. How to remove Windows XP menus from E2B  NOWINXP
  11. Setting up a language and keyboard in E2B - change language mnu, add choice in MyE2B.cfg
  12. Protecting E2B  - .pwd, md5 encrypted passwords, menupwd, using pwd in extensions, master pwd in MyE2B.cfg, monthly PIN code, set expiry date, clone protection, Protect.cmd
  13. Configuring CSM menu - set a default timeout, delete unwanted entries, use your own menu and background CUSTOM folder
  14. Tips for speeding up E2B - reduce files, text mode, etc.
  15. How to add STAMPs to E2B
  16. How to make and use E2B under linux
  17. Using .key and .xml files with Windows ISOs on E2B

If you have any suggestions for Easy2Boot YouTube videos or want to vote for some of these, please use this link to anonymously send me your requests (no login or personal details needed) or add a comment below.

For a list of all my current YouTube videos, click here.

Thursday 21 April 2016

E2B v1.80h Beta available

A few changes in 1.80h (g had a bug!):

1. FASTLOAD can now be used with $$$$CONFIG .mnu files (\_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst changed).

2. I have added the \_ISO\e2b\grub\checkdate.g4b batch file. It can be used in a MyE2B.cfg batch file as follows:

# set 14 day expiry date from 28th March 2016
call /_ISO/e2b/grub/checkdate.g4b 2016 03 28 14 SILENT
if not "%CHECKDAT%"=="OK" echo E2B EXPIRED! && halt

If used with a blank \_ISO\e2b\grub\SDATE.txt file (should be approx 1K in size) then you can set a time limit from the day that E2B was first booted as follows by just calling \_ISO\Expire.g4b:

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Install Debian from the DVD1 ISO using Easy2Boot

I previously described a method of installing Debian from a CD ISO file here. You can also use the LiveCD to install Debian or the net-installer ISO.

debian 8.4.0 Cinnamon

However, this method appears not to work when using a DVD-1 ISO because it cannot find the 'CD' to install the packages which are kept on the DVD after installing the base files.

Hurry - less than 100 days to go before the free Windows 10 upgrade expires!

There are now less than 100 days to go before  the free upgrade offer from Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10 expires.

If you don't want to install Windows 10 just yet, why not just boot to a Windows10ToGo VHD from your E2B USB drive.

If you are repairing or re-installing Windows 7/8/8.1 systems, why not offer the customer a free Win10 upgrade activation so he/she is registered for free, even if they don't want to install Windows 10 just yet?

Using the latest version of Windows10ToGo (TH2 version), boot on any Win7/8/8.1 system, start the activation wizard and enter the Win7/8 Product Key that was used to activate that same system previously (you can use ProduKey or Magical Jelly Bean key finder on the system first, to display the old Windows 7/8/8/1 Product Key, if it is not on the COA label).

Windows 10 should then 'phone home' (internet access is needed) and activate the Windows 10 ToGo OS. If you have no internet connection, you can phone Microsoft to ask for an activation key (you will need to quote the long number displayed by the activation wizard).

Once this is done, then that system will be registered with Microsoft for Windows 10 and you can then install Windows 10 on it at a later date.

It does not matter if you use a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 10, but you will need both 'Core' and 'Pro' versions so that you can activate the matching version on each of your systems.

To create WinToGo VHDs, see my previous blog post.
For details on obtaining Windows 10, and for ISO- and UEFI-booting, see here.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Various Hirens ISOs and Gandalf PE with Easy2Boot

I have been experimenting with various Hirens ISOs with E2B and came up with this table which you may find useful:

If Windows PE boots and loads all the Desktop icons correctly, you should get the number noted in the last column.

Monday 18 April 2016

Run android x86 + >4GB persistence via UEFI & MBR (from an NTFS partition)

In a previous blog post, I described how you could MBR-boot to android x86 with a persistence file.

To UEFI-boot, we need to create a FAT32 .imgPTN partition image. However, this limits us to a <4GB data.img persistence file.

Here is how to have a >4GB persistence file and UEFI-boot by using an NTFS partition to hold the android boot files and persistence file.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Add archbang linux + persistence to E2B

The archlinux ISO must be installed, it is not a 'LiveCD', however archbang does come in LiveCD format. Here is the .mnu file for getting the ISO to boot with a persistent volume.

Files on E2B drive (FAT32 or NTFS or exFAT):

Saturday 16 April 2016

GoldMemory test (and other memory tests to add to E2B)

I came across another memory test today. GoldMemory by Michal Tulacek is shareware and available in two versions, standard (limited 30-day free trial shareware <4GB) or Pro ($29 - at least 16GB).

Detect keyboard status and hide menu entries in E2B

We can detect the status of the keyboard using grub4dos to read the BIOS Data area.
For instance, we can tell if CAPS LOCK or SCROLL LOCK was on or not.

Here is a simple grub4dos batch file which will report the keyboard status as detected by the BIOS (not all keys may be reported accurately under a VM):

Friday 15 April 2016

Run android x86 with persistence from E2B

android-x86-4.4-r5.iso can be added to your E2B USB drive, but to get it booting with persistence, we need to create a .imgPTN file as follows:

'How to add an animated GIF' YouTube video now available

I have added a 10 minute YouTube video on how to add an animated GIF to the Easy2Boot menu.

See for more info.

Let me know if you like these videos by ticking one of the Reactions boxes.
Feel free to suggest a subject for the next one!

Thursday 14 April 2016

Check the CRC of a payload file before running it in Easy2Boot

Nicolas asked me today about checking an ISO (for corruption?) before running it.

In E2B, you can hit SHIFT+CTRL+ENTER to ask E2B to calculate and display the CRC32 value of a payload file that is listed in the menu, but it is up to you to check that it is correct.

If you want to ensure that an ISO or other payload file is not corrupt (or infected?) before you allow E2B to run it, you can use this .mnu file for each payload file:


# Check the CRC32 value of a payload file and run it if it is correct

iftitle [if exist /_ISO/UTILITIES_MEMTEST/MEMTEST.IMG.gz] Check and run a payload \n Get CRC32 value and run if correct
# expected CRC32 must start with 0x
set EXP_CRC=0x1340BECC

echo Calculating CRC32 of %ISO% - please wait...
crc32 %ISO% > nul
set /A CRC=%@retval% & 0xFFFFFFFF > nul
pause --wait=3 %ISO% - EXPECTED CRC32=%EXP_CRC%, ACTUAL CRC32=%CRC%
if not %EXP_CRC%==%CRC% pause ERROR: CRC is not correct (%CRC% vs %EXP_CRC%)
if not %EXP_CRC%==%CRC% configfile (md)0x3000+0x50
/%grub%/QRUN.g4b %ISO%

Just change the first few lines as required. If the payload file is large, it may take a while to calculate the CRC value. I will add this to the Sample mnu Files folder of the next E2B version (CheckCRC32_and_Run.mnu).

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Over 1 million blog views!

I just noticed the total views counter for this blog has just passed 1 million!

Thanks for reading all my ramblings over the last few years!

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Alternate German menu format

The German language files (supplied by Frettt) in E2B have been formatted so that the [hotkey] labels are right-aligned in the menus...

A few people have requested a left-aligned German menu, so Frettt has now provided an alternate STRINGS.txt file which left-aligns the hotkeys.

Petya disk encryption fix

I see on that there is a way to decrypt a hard disk that has been encrypted with the Petya malware (actually, I think only the $MFT is encrypted by this MBR virus). Although Bleeping Computer say to remove the hard disk from the system, I don't see why we cannot just boot the infected system to WinPE from a USB drive (just be careful it does not boot from the internal hard disk!).

I copied the PetyaExtractor.exe program to my E2B USB drive and booted to a Windows 10 32-bit Install ISO. I then ran the PetyaExtractor.exe program which appeared to run OK (but I cannot be sure as I did not have an infected system). It is a 32-bit program, so you need to boot to 32-bit WinPE (or a 64-bit WinPE that has WoW64 support - e.g. ChrisR's WinPESE10).

The idea is that we could then save the sector 55 and 'Nonce' data from sector 54 to the E2B drive using NotePad, and then copy and paste it into the Petya Decrypting site page to get the decryption key.

It also would be trivial to write a grub4dos (E2B) script to save the required data (or even just use dd) and then encode it to base64 by uploading it to a website such as this one. However, it is probably just as easy to just boot to WinPE and use the PetyaExtractor tool.

Why not add the tool and a .txt file with the web links to your 'Swiss-army E2B drive' so that you will have the tool handy if you need to fix someone's system?

Sunday 10 April 2016

30 things I bet you didn't know about Easy2Boot (or were too afraid to ask)!

  1. E2B can directly boot from Vista/7/8/10 WindowsToGo .VHD files - just copy them over (requires a copy of Win8.1 bootmgr to be added to the E2B drive - no BCD file is required!).

Thursday 7 April 2016

FASTLOAD bug in E2B v1.79

If you use Windows Install ISOs with E2B v1.79 and have FASTLOAD enabled, you may find that the Windows Install menu options are not present in the Main menu. This is caused by a missing line in the \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst file (it somehow got accidentally removed!).

Please try E2B v1.80h or later if this problem affects you.

I don't use FASTLOAD much because I prefer to use fast USB 3.0 drives (well, that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!).   ;-)

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Find that file!

If you boot to WinPE or WindowsToGo from E2B to try to fix a Windows system, it is really very useful to keep a copy of SwiftSearch.exe on the E2B USB drive.

SwiftSearch.exe is a standalone 32-bit Windows executable which will very quickly find any file (you can use wildcards in any combination) on any NTFS volume in the whole system (including NTFS USB drives). And when I say 'quick', I mean really quick, like a few seconds for a full 2TB drive, because it directly accesses the $MFT of the NTFS drive! It only works on NTFS volumes however and will not search FAT or exFAT volumes.

5 volumes (approx. 2TB) searched in 0.41 seconds (including my NTFS USB drives)!

Using E2B with the Netac U618 Encrypted USB 2.0 Flash drive

The Netac U618 is similar to the iStorage datAshur USB flash drives in that it has a PIN keypad and stores it's data in an encrypted form.

I believe the 16GB version is split as 4GB Public + 10GB Secure, however, I tested the 32GB version. You can obtain them from Amazon or eBay (approx $30 or £23 for the 32GB version).