Monday, 31 December 2018

E2B v1.A8a Beta available

Booting Windows install ISOs no longer requires an extra WinHelper USB flash drive!

If your E2B USB drive was a 'fixed disk' then previous versions of E2B required you to also connect a WinHelper USB Flash drive to the system because on all versions of Windows NT6 (Vista to Win10 1609) the \AutoUnattend.xml file had to be on a 'Removable' USB drive in order for Windows Setup to detect and use the XML file.

The alternative was to convert the ISO to a .imgPTN file.

This new version of E2B uses 'wimboot' which is part of the open source iPXE project here.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Add Manjaro Live UEFI-64 to E2B

If you convert a Manjaro ISO using MPI_FAT32 (MakePartImage) the resulting .imgPTN will not MBR or UEFI boot.

The grub2 EFI boot file included with Manjaro, only seems to support the CD iso9660 file system and does not understand FAT32 filesystems.

If you use Rufus, you must use the 'dd' raw copy option and not the UEFI FAT32 or GPT options.

To fix this, find a Ubuntu or Mint x64 Live CD ISO file, and...

1. Switch the Manjaro.imgPTN file on the E2B USB drive so that the \EFI\BOOT folder is visible in Explorer.

2. Use 7Zip or some other program to extract the two EFI\BOOT\*.EFI files from the Ubuntu ISO.

3. Copy the two files into the \EFI\BOOT folder on the E2B drive.

4. For CSM Legacy booting, add these 4 lines to the end of the \menu.lst file (see \boot\grub\tz and the \boot\grub\locales\keyboards file for your country codes - e.g. en_US New_York us).

title Manjaro x64\n Manjaro Live

kernel /boot/vmlinuz-x86_64 misobasedir=manjaro misolabel=EASY2BOOT systemd.show_status=1 lang=en_GB tz=London keytable=gb

initrd /boot/amd_ucode.img /boot/intel_ucode.img /boot/initramfs-x86_64.img

boot

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Saturday, 22 December 2018

E2B eBook - special Xmas offer!

Christmas day and it's 3 p.m. - so you've opened all your presents, uncle Fred is snoring his head off (and you are vaguely wondering how he had any room for Turkey after having consumed so much sherry, wine and port), auntie Doris is making the room virtually uninhabitable due to eating too many Brussels sprouts and Dad is tactfully blaming the dog for the awful smells!

Everyone else is watching 'Suits' on Netflix (though Meghan Markle maybe worth watching again for the tenth time this year).

You will have to wait hours for the batteries of your new Xmas present, a 'Gatwick special' drone, to charge up before you can try it out over nearby Heathrow airport... and you are feeling very bored.

Well now is a perfect time to get to know how to use E2B properly. Why not add some DOS games, add a bootable version of KODI (OpenElec) or play 100's of retro games using your old USB games controllers (LAKKA) or boot to a full Windows 10 installation (WinToGo).

So, just for this Christmas period only, I have reduced the price of the E2B eBook How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot to just $5 (but you can give more if you want to ;-) ).

Merry Christmas!

Steve

How was the Raspberry Pi made for only $35?

Having a background in PC design and test s/w, I found this ZDNET article interesting.

Friday, 21 December 2018

E2B v1.A7 now released

This new version is available from the Alternate Download Areas now (download link for OneDrive here).

It will be uploaded to the E2B website in a day or two.

E2B v1.A7 (changes from v1.A6):

Thursday, 13 December 2018

E2B v1.A7h Beta with Server 2019 support added

E2B v1.A7h Beta now has an extra folder added for Windows Server 2019 ISOs and .imgPTN files.

The Beta is available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Please let me know if you find any issues. I hope to release v1.A7 before Christmas.

So if anything requires tweaking, now is the time to tell me!


Saturday, 8 December 2018

Add COMSS Russian/English AV+Utilities Boot Disk to E2B

The COMSS boot disk comss_boot_usb_2018_07.iso  does not seem to be bootable as a .ISO file, so I converted it to a FAT32 .imgPTN file and used Syslinux v6.03 (603) when prompted by MakePartImage.

Once the .imgPTN was switched to, in order to get F-Secure to boot, I also needed to rename the
\boot\iso\rescue-cd-3.16-73600\boot\isolinux folder  to...
\boot\iso\rescue-cd-3.16-73600\boot\syslinux.

Once that was done, most of the menu items seemed to work as expected.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Endless OS - an easy-to-use Linux-based OS for schools, businesses and everyone!

I just came across Endless OS. It seems to be very easy to use and install apps onto - you would hardly know it was Linux-based!

I downloaded the Basic ISO (eos-eos3.5-amd64-amd64.181116-185419.base.iso 1.8GB) and it boots fine on E2B as a LiveCD.


Booting from a .ISO file + persistence does not seem to be available, so when booting from the ISO as a LiveCD you will not be able to install any large apps, etc. so you may want the 'full' version, however even the Basic version seems quite useful.

MPI Tool Kit v0.088 available

v0.088 2018-12-05
  • Add syslinux v6.03 option
  • Default to syslinux v4 instead of v3
  • Now uses 7z.exe instead of the 7zg GUI for unpacking (doesn't stop if 'extra data found' warning and seems to be faster)
  • Menu.lst updated and some small bugs fixed plus options to disable some menu entries
  • User can now add their own menu.lst file if using a GFX menu file
  • Forcibly auto-dismounts the .imgPTN file after a small delay
  • Sample MyCSM files updated
  • Bugfix in menu.lst for text mode MyCSM.cfg menu heading/footer to be displayed
  • Try to fix timing issue as occasionally can get 'access denied' errors when running LREPLACE.cmd and ssed.exe.
This new versions has had quite a few changes but should be faster and more reliable.

Please let me know if you find any issues.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Is your laptop running slow ever since you bought a replacement AC power adapter for it?

Did you know that some AC power adapter connectors for laptops have a 'smart' pin?
If this pin does not carry the correct voltage or signal, your notebook will run very slowly.

Friday, 30 November 2018

About E2B v1.A7g and using the 2nd partition on the E2B drive for payload files

If you have a large (>128GiB) USB hard disk, I recommend that you use the first partition (up to 128GiB in size) for E2B and use the second partition for other purposes such as for storing utilities, hard disk backups, documents, etc. Note that only  recent versions of Windows 10 (1703+) can access the 2nd partition if it is on a Removable (flash) drive.

However, you can place most payloads such as linux .ISO files, Windows VHD files, etc. on the second partition and add the PTN2_MNU.mnu menu file to one of the menu folders (e.g. add it to \_ISO\MAINMENU). The PTN2_MNU.mnu will take you to a sub-menu where all the files in the folder on the second partition will be listed and you can then boot to any one of them.

Note: Windows VHD files will only boot from partition 2 on a Removable USB drive if the VHD contains Windows 10 1703 or later. However, there should be no restriction if the USB is a hard disk.

The 128GiB USB BIOS bug
Note that due to some BIOSes (e.g. Asus EeePC's) having a bug in their USB driver, they are not able to access files past 128GiB on the USB drive. This bug is quite common, especially on older USB 2.0 only systems. This means that grub4dos will not be able to access the file if it has a sector address higher than 128GiB on the disk. This is why I suggest you do not use a USB drive larger than 128GiB - or at least keep the E2B partition below 128GiB in size.

If the file is beyond 128GiB on the drive (e.g. in a 2nd partition on a >128GiB USB drive) then grub4dos may be unable to access it.

E2B will warn you if the BIOS has this 128GiB bug as soon as it starts to load.

Sometimes, you can fix the BIOS bug by loading the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver which replaces the buggy BIOS driver (hold down the SHIFT key just as E2B starts to boot to load the grub4dos USB driver). However, the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver only works on older USB 2.0 systems and not with newer chipsets or USB 3.0.

Tip: If your system has this BIOS bug but does not have any USB 2.0 ports and you have a USB 3.0 E2B drive, then connect the E2B drive to a USB 3.0 port using a USB 2.0 cable - this may allow the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver to work because it will use the USB 2.0 connections instead of the USB 3.0 set of contacts.

Windows ISOs
You may have noticed that I said that you can place most payloads on the second partition - well  Windows Install ISOs were an exception, but not now!

I have tweaked E2B v1.A7g so that you can, if you wish, add Windows Install ISOs onto the second partition (all types of Windows ISOs - except XP ISOs).

Here is how the 'cheat' works...

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

E2B v1.A7f Beta available (and a bug found in robocopy!)

E2B v1.A7f Beta is here. The change is just in the new Backup .cmd script.

I failed to notice that the Backup_E2B_drive_to_MASTER.cmd backup script actually made a hidden folder on the Desktop instead of a normal, visible folder!

This was because I have 'view Hidden files' ticked in my Explorer options and so I didn't spot that the Desktop E2B_MASTER folder was actually changed to be a hidden folder by robocopy!

It turns out that there is a long-standing bug in robocopy!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Build your own Windows 10 ISOs and include the latest updates

If you want to build your own Win10 ISO with the latest MS updates rolled-in, check out this article from ghacks.net.

The uupdownloader_1.0.0.exe can be downloaded from here.

Make sure that you disable your AV and that you have plenty of disk space, a fast internet connection and a lot of patience though! It also helps if you whittle down the number of Editions that you want to modify (e.g. just choose Professional if that is all you are likely to use, to save build time).

I managed to build an ISO successfully (it took over an hour!) but I haven't tested it yet.

When I ran it again to make the same ISO again however, it seemed to want to download the UUP files all over again...

Adding 32-bit UEFI boot options to Strelec WinPE

The English build of Sergei Strelec WinPE only contains entries to boot to Win10 64-bit in the UEFI BCD - no 32-bit UEFI boot options are present for Win10 or Win8. However the 32-bit EFI boot file \EFI\boot\bootia32.efi is already present, so to support booting from 32-bit UEFI systems we just need to edit the BCD...

Friday, 23 November 2018

E2B v1.A7e available

This version v1.A7e just has two Robocopy .cmd scripts added which you can use to quickly backup the files of your E2B partition to a folder (E2B_MASTER) on your Desktop and then you can restore it to the same USB E2B drive or a different E2B drive using the Restore script.

Files which are already present are not re-copied so only the changes are updated.

The contents of the target USB drive will be a duplicate of what is in the backup folder. This means that if you have extra files on your USB drive which are not in the backup folder, then the extra files will be deleted from your USB drive - i.e. it will be an exact duplicate.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Adding DBAN with UEFI 64-bit support to E2B

The standard Legacy-boot DBAN ISO is currently version 2.3.0 and can be simply added to your E2B drive. Version 2.3.0 should not erase USB drives (unless you select them!) even if you select an 'autonuke' option from the boot menu.

The current version does not support UEFI booting but if you have a 64-bit UEFI system which does not support MBR\Legacy\CSM booting, you can  use the Beta UEFI DBAN ISO here. It does not support 32-bit UEFI systems though.

Note: On some systems (e.g. Lenovo IdeaPad 300) DBAN v2.3.0 does not boot and gives a
"cat: can't open '/proc/cmdline': No such file or directory"
error. This new version however does seem to boot OK.

UEFI Beta 2017 version
Tip: Once DBAN starts to boot, remove the E2B USB drive in case of accidental erasure!

Monday, 19 November 2018

E2B v1.A7d Beta now available


E2B v1.A7d now supports the .isoDPMS file extension. If you have an XP WinPE-based ISO such as DaRT5 or ERD2005, it probably will not be able to see SATA hard disks once it has booted because it lacks the correct SATA drivers. By booting it using the DPMS feature, the correct SATA\RAID\SCSI 32-bit XP driver should be automatically added. This saves having to create a new .mnu file based on the ERD5_DPMS.mnu found in the Sample mnu files folder.

List of changes since v1.A6:

  • .help files now don't display the first three UTF-8 bytes in a UTF-8 file
  • Support for multiple .help files with different background images using a .mnu file
  • Small bug fix to Update_E2B_Drive.cmd when an empty USB drive is selected
  • Small fix to Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd if empty floppy drive in system
  • Small changes to Make_Ext.exe, Make_MyE2B.cfg.cmd, isoboot.g4b, QAUTO.g4b, QRUN.g4b (now does not warn if .help file is not contiguous)
  • Fix bug in SDI_CHOCO - the %BIT% variable is now available in MyStartup.cmd and MySetupComplete.cmd
  • Update WinContig.exe to latest version
  • Minor bug fixes to some .cmd scripts in case your Windows TEMP path variable has spaces or other funny characters in it.
  • .isoDPMS file extension supported for DaRT5\ERD ISO (will load 32-bit XP SATA\RAID\SCSI driver). You must have the DPMS version of E2B for this extension to work.
Download here or from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

P.S. The Halloween 'surprise' code has been removed from this version.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Fix for occasional 'freezing' in Chrome browser when editing web pages (Windows 10 64-bit)

I use the WebNode online page editor to the edit pages of the Easy2Boot site.

For a long time now I have experienced a problem of 'freezing' for between 5 - 200 seconds after the first few edits which is very annoying. If I wait long enough, the cursor 'comes back' and I can continue using the mouse and keyboard - during the 'freeze' period I can use other Windows tasks such as other browser panes or other apps, I just cannot continue editing in the browser page I was using. If I save the page and then re-open it for editing, the freezing seems to stop for a few minutes before it starts again.

I noticed that the CPU fan was spinning faster when this freezing occurred and so I used Task Manager to find out what was using the CPU. I noticed that when the freezing occurred, the CTFLoader task was using over 50% of CPU resources, but when the freezing stopped, CTFLoader went down to about 2%. I also found that by using right-click - End Task in Task Manager on CTFLoader, the freezing could be stopped and I could resume typing in that browser tab.

So CTFLoader seemed to be causing the issue. SFC /scannow showed no problems however.

Then I read a post on reddit here which described how to solve it by stopping the 'Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service'. Since my PC did not have a touch panel and I do not use handwriting input services on the PC, I disabled and stopped the Service.

Win+R > services.msc >  'Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service' service > right click > properties > click STOP and change Startup type to Disabled. Then click OK. A reboot is only necessary if you find keyboard input no longer works in some apps (e.g. Edge).

Now all is good. I still get occasional freezing, but it only lasts a few seconds now instead of minutes!

P.S. I am not sure if this is relevant, but I do have Office 2007 installed on my PC but the freezing occurs before I use any Office 2007 applications.

[UPDATE] Well the 'freezing' has not completely disappeared whilst using the webnode web editor, however I have found a simple fix - when it freezes,  I just need to select a different Chrome Browser tab and then re-select the webnode browser tab.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

XMLtoE2B v2.0.47 released

You can download XMLtoE2B v2.0.47 (updated) from here.

This includes a blank .diskcfg file - load this file to allow the user to select the install disk\partition instead of automatically wiping a disk.

I think this is near to release, so please let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions.








Monday, 12 November 2018

New XMLtoE2B v2 Beta

XMLtoE2B.exe is a Windows 32-bit utility that can modify an XML file for use with E2B Windows Setup.

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the source files of the current v1.0.39 version so it has not been possible to maintain it.

However, I have been spending many days working on XLMtoE2B version 2.

XMLtoE2B v2

The new version has a few extra options such as:

Monday, 29 October 2018

E2B v1.A7b Beta available (with special surprise 'Easter Egg')

Download of v1.A7b Beta is here. Only some very minor bug fixes since v1.A7a.

See E2B Version History

This Beta version contains a special, hypnotic 'Easter Egg' surprise... so be sure to boot your E2B drive  on a real PC (the hypnosis does not work properly if using QEMU or Virtual Box) on the 31st of October!!!

P.S. If you can't wait till the 31st, then just press the 'h' key on your keyboard as soon as E2B starts to boot if you want to be hypnotised today! You can also press F8 from the Main menu and then very quickly press 'h' to see it again.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

About guitar amplifiers and fixing my old Marshall MG15DFX guitar amp (effects not working)

I do have a very nice Vox AC30 CC1 valve amp (no longer made). Although this sounds great when cranked up, it is not very good at practice volumes, and being full of valves, it does make funny noises, chirps, farts, etc. It's also very heavy to move around.

VOX AC30CC1 valve amplifier

I had recently heard good things about the new Boss Katana guitar amplifiers, so I decided to buy a Boss Katana 50...

Monday, 22 October 2018

E2B v1.A7a Beta available

v1.A7a Beta has the following changes:

  • Bugfix - .help files now don't display first three UTF-8 bytes in UTF-8 file if no colour value on first line.
  • Support for background images and multiple .help files using a .mnu file.
  • Small bugfix to Update_E2B_Drive.cmd when used to copy files to an empty USB drive.
  • Small bugfix to Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd if empty floppy drive in system.
see http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/help-text-file/ for details on .help file support.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

E2B v1.A6 released (yet another bugfix + new help text file feature)

I just found yet another bug - the AUTO folder menu is not working in the last few versions, so I have fixed it in v1.A6 (not many people use the AUTO folder anyway)!

I have also added a new help file feature. You can now have a menu entry to display plain or UTF-8 text files - just give the text file a .help file extension.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

E2B v1.A5 released (bugfix for Win7 Install ISOs not working!)

I have just discovered that a change I made to the VistaMn.g4b batch file in E2B v1.A1 and later versions causes Win7 (and Vista) to not run correctly (you get a 'No key file found' message), so I am releasing E2B v1.A5 now to fix this bug.

Please consider v1.A1 - v1.A4 buggy and update to v1.A5!

Changes in v1.A5 are:
  • Bugfix for Win7 ISO installs (bug was introduced in v1.A1 through to 1.A4).
  • Bugfix for AUTO file extension suffix not working with .imgPTNAUTO files.
  • QRUN.g4b now displays tip to user to use .imgPTN23 if a 2nd partition is detected on the E2B drive.
  • Added support for .isoBSD file extension.
  • bsd.imgptn is now included in \_ISO\e2b\grub folder for .isoBSD file extension.
  • Now only .gz files which end in.uni.gz (font files), .ima.gz or .img.gz are recognised.
  • DOS KEYB TSR utility added to DOS floppy boot image (e.g. can now type KEYB FR for french keyboard under FreeDOS).

MPI Tool Pack v0.087 now released


  • ::0.085 - 2018-10-11 - add support for German menu, new grldr version, more language files can be easily added, latest Switch_E2B.exe added, menu.lst file changed to use key strings for multi-language support.
  • ::0.086 - 2018-10-14 - bugfix to RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd, change blank line colour in menu.lst to 0000 from 0122 (was green, now black\transparent).
  • ::0.087 - 2018-10-15 - EFI.IMG file is now automatically extracted and then deleted.
Download here.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Add FreeNAS installer and GhostBSD ISOs to E2B


Most BSD-based ISOs can be added to E2B (v1.A5c or later) by using the new .isoBSD file extension.

However, FreeNAS and GhostBSD ISOs are 'special'!



Here is how to add these ISOs to E2B.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

E2B v1.A5b/c/d Beta with support for BSD ISOs

BSD-based ISOs are hard to boot using E2B because BSD does not like the overlapping partitions caused by mapping the ISO file 'inside' the E2B partition.

Most BSD ISO files however can be booted to E2B by using two partitions:

ptn1: FAT32 .imgPTN file containing grub4dos (made using an empty folder)
ptn3: the untouched original BSD ISO file

More details of this method are at the bottom of the page at www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/freebsd/

Instead of having to make the .imgPTN file for each BSD ISO, I added extra code to QRUN.g4b so that it recognises the new file extension of .isoBSD. This means that you can boot to most BSD ISO files now just by changing the file extension of the ISO to .isoBSD and it will automatically use a small FAT bsd.imgptn file for the ptn1 partition.

The new .isoBSD file extension is recognised by E2B v1.A4c Beta and later versions.

1. Update your E2B drive to  E2B v1.A4d.

2 Change the file extension of your BSD-based ISO file to end in .isoBSD and copy it to your \_ISO\LINUX folder (or any standard menu folder).

3. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS (run as admin).cmd.

To add another BSD-based ISO, simply add it to the E2B drive and change the file extension to .isoBSD.

Note that the default CSM menu entry will be to boot BSD, but as soon as the BSD menu entry is chosen, the default menu entry is set to #0 Restore E2B partition, so that when you next MBR-boot after running BSD, it will switch partitions back to E2B and load the E2B menu system again automatically.

Only MBR-booting is supported and it does not work with all types of BSD ISOs - see  www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/freebsd/ more for details.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A4 released (with bugfixes)

Due to a couple of bugs found in Make_Ext.exe and SWITCH_E2B.exe, I have decided to release v1.A4.

v1.A4 (bugfixes for Make_Ext.exe and SWITCH_E2B.exe) - 2018-10-11
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.0.20 has bugfix for sometimes E2B drive not listed.
  • Make_Ext.exe (v1.1.0) bugfix, v1.0.0 did not correctly format the ext file.
  • New file extension suffixes now recognised (4GB=only lists file in menu if RAM>4GB, 3GB=only listed in menu if RAM <4GB). 
  • File extensions suffixes can now be in any order and not case sensitive (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO). 
  • File suffixes for .iso and .imgptn files in all \_ISO\WINDOWS folders (except XP) also now recognised. e.g. .isopwd4GB64, .imgPTN3GBAUTO. 
  • SnipStr.g4b grub4dos subroutine added which can remove a sub-string from a variable.
  • Txt_Maker.exe now has option for 4GB RAM detection and CAPSLOCK hotkey.
  • Desinfect 201819 sample .mnu file added (and older 2018 version updated).
Download v1.A4.exe here or go to Alternate Download Areas for other variants.

As usual, please let me know if you find any problems.

P.S. Small bug found already! The 'AUTO' suffix in a file extension (e.g. HirensCD.imgPTNAUTO) still prompts user to switch when it shouldn't! Fixed in v1.A5a Beta.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Desinfect 201819 ISO with Persistent updates

I have added to the instructions in an earlier blog for the latest version of PC Welt's Desinfect AV ISO with persistent updates.

The is a new .mnu file which can be used for both the older 2017,  2018 and the new 201819 versions.

The current updates require an ext3 or ext4 partition file of around 3.1GB, so you will need to make the desinfect-rw file larger than that by a good bit..

As usual, you must first make a Desinfect USB Flash drive using the Create bootable USB dektop icon and then copy the signature folder to your E2B ext4 partition. Full details are at the bottom of the earlier blog.

Please let me know if you try it.


Monday, 8 October 2018

E2B v1.A4b Beta

This latest v1.A4b Beta version has a slightly tweaked Txt_Maker.exe utility which allows you to use CapsLock with a letter hotkey.

With grub4dos, you can use Shift, Ctrl or Alt with a hotkey (but you cannot combine them), however if you hold down the Shift key in E2B, then E2B will run ISOBOOT on the payload file so we cannot use the SHIFT key as a hotkey 'modifier'. We can however work around this by ensuring CapsLock is ON, now if you press the 'b' key it will work in the same way as SHIFT+b.


Note: Not all hotkey code combinations are valid (e.g. the ; key will work, but Ctrl+; and Alt+; will not work),  so stick to using A-Z only if you want to use the Ctrl, Alt or CapsLock modifiers. You can also use Ctrl or Alt with the F1-F10 keys and the 0-9 number keys.

The F11 and F12 keys and the number pad keys may not work on all systems (e.g. some notebooks) so avoid these.

One way to check if a combination is valid or not is to use the:

pause --test-key

command in the grub4dos console and then hit you a key 'chord' - e.g. Ctrl+;. If the scan code 0000 is returned then you cannot use that combination.


However, even if a non-zero scancode is returned, it does not mean that the combination can be used as a hotkey - you will just have to try it in a .txt file to find out!

You should also note that a Virtual Machine such as QEMU or Virtual Box may give different results from that of a real system.

I hope to release this version soon as 1.A4, so please let me know if you see an issue.

Friday, 5 October 2018

E2B v1.A4a Beta available (with bugfix for SWITCH_E2B.exe sometimes not listing the E2B drive)

Download here (unpack and run Make_E2B.exe - Update E2B Drive).

Changes from v1.A3 are:
  • New file extension suffixes recognised ('4GB'=only lists file in E2B menu if RAM >4GB, '3GB'=only listed in menu if RAM size <4GB) - e.g. Ubuntu_amd64.iso4GB, Ubuntu_i386.iso3GB.
  • New grub4dos variable %GB4% now in E2B environment, so can be used to test for systems which have more or less than 4GB RAM (e.g. 'if exist GB4 pause This system has more than 4GB RAM').
  • File extensions suffixes can now be in any order and not case sensitive (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO). 
  • File suffixes for .iso and .imgptn files in \_ISO\WINDOWS folders (except XP folder) also recognised. e.g. .isopwd4GB64, .imgPTN3GBAUTO. 
  • SnipStr.g4b grub4dos subroutine added which can remove a sub-string from a variable,
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.0.20 has bugfix for sometimes E2B drive not listed.
  • Txt_Maker.exe v1.0.9 now has option for > or < 4GB RAM detection.





Notes:

1. I only found the bug in SWITCH_E2B.exe by accident. After running an ISO file, I found that SWITCH_E2B would not list the E2B drive in SWITCH_E2B any more! The problem turned out to be caused by the byte 0x4D appearing in the MBR partition table which caused SWITCH_E2B to throw an unhandled exception and exit out of a subroutine without any error message. This would explain why one user (many months ago) found that SWITCH_E2B.exe would not list his particular E2B drive, even though we could not find anything wrong with his drive!

2. The E2B grub4dos code to recognise file extension suffixes in any order is new and there may be bugs, so if you are using any of the file extension suffixes (pwd, 32, 64, 4GB, 3GB, AUTO) and see a problem, please let me know.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

How to add Dell EFI Diagnostic files to E2B

Some Dell Diagnostics and Tools are provided as bootable ISO files (e.g. Dell PowerEdge Support Live Image 3.0 here). It is easy to convert this to a .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit so that you can MBR- and UEFI-boot from these ISOs.

EFI boot under VirtualBox of Dell Live Image 3.0

Some Dell systems have a UEFI pre-boot diagnostic already on the hard disk and provided that the hard disk is not completely corrupt or dead, you can use the Dell BIOS boot option to run these tests and check the hardware.

However, if you cannot boot from the diagnostic software on the hard disk, it is sometimes difficult to know if it is because of a corrupt/wiped hard disk, hardware fault in the hard disk itself, a BIOS configuration issue or a different hardware issue. In this case it is often useful to be able to boot from an E2B USB drive and run the same pre-boot diagnostic.

Here is a way to add as many different Dell pre-boot diagnostic EFI files as you want (using Clover you can also try them on non-Dell/non-UEFI systems too)...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A3 release now available

Due to v1.A2.exe giving false-positives with some AV software and causing users problems, I have decided to release v1.A3 early which I hope will give less trouble!

The changes from v1.A2 are:
  • New \grdlr grub4dos 2018-09-19 (no bug fixes, just extra functionality).
  • Bugfix QRUN.g4b for .jpg/,bmp wallpaper file extension - if an animation was running then selecting a .bmp or .jpg file did not change the wallpaper.
  • Warning added if Windows 7 .imgptn file has the bootx64.efi boot file missing.
  • \_ISO\docs\Make_Ext\Make_Ext.exe utility added - allows you to make persistence files without needing RMPrepUSB.
  • QRUN now displays contents of the \.disk\info file just before running an ISO (if it exists).
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe re-packaged so will not trigger false-positives with AV software and file sync.exe removed.
  • Comments changed in Sample .mnu files to add a mention of the Make_Ext.exe utility which is now available as well as RMPrepUSB.
Let me know if this version gives you any problems. I will put it on the main website in a day or two as soon as I get some feedback.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

E2B v1.A3b Beta includes new Make_Ext.exe utility

The latest Beta version now includes the new Make_Ext.exe utility which will make linux persistence files on your E2B USB drive for you. This means you do not need to have RMPrepUSB on your PC or the USB drive.


The \_ISO\docs\Make_Ext folder contains the utility + support files.

Note: v1.0.0 had a bug and did not always format the file to ext format (you can tell because it runs very quickly!). Please use v1.1.0 which can be found in E2B v1.A4 and later versions.

The symptom is that if you attempt to mount the ext file, linux will complain about a bad superblock, etc.



Saturday, 22 September 2018

How to directly install from Windows Install ISOs using UEFI with E2B

E2B allows you to boot Windows Installers via UEFI. However, you must first convert the Windows Install ISO to a .imgPTN file if you wish to UEFI-boot from it as well as MBR-boot.

This means that you must convert each Windows Install ISO to separate .imgPTN files.

However, there are ways to perform UEFI installs directly from Windows ISOs.

If you first MBR- or UEFI-boot to a Windows PE .imgPTN file and your Windows ISOs are on a second partition, you can use WinNTSetup or Windows Setup.exe to install Windows.

The WinNTSetup process has the advantage that you can boot to either a 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE and install either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows to the target hard disk. The Windows Setup.exe process is simpler, but you must boot to WinPE32 to install 32-bit Windows or WinPE64 to install 64-bit Windows.

Here is an outline of the Windows Setup.exe process:

Thursday, 20 September 2018

E2B v1.A3a Beta

Apparently, the new self-extracting Switch_E2B.exe in v1.A2 is triggering false-positives on some AV engines.

I have re-packaged it in 1.A3a Beta and hopefully it will cause less false-positives.

Changes from v1.A2 are:
  • New grdlr grub4dos 2018-09-19 (additional function added, no bug fixes)
  • Fix QRUN.g4b for .jpg/,bmp wallpaper file extension (if an animation was running on menu then selecting a .bmp or .jpg file did not change wallpaper)
  • Warning added if win 7 .imgptn has the bootx64.efi boot file missing
  • Repackage Switch_E2B.exe for less false-positives with AV software (same v1.0.18)
Please let me know if this new version of Switch_E2B.exe is any better if you had problems with the v1.A2 E2B version. I will update 1.A2 to 1.A3 if it fixes the false-positive issue.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

New MPI Tool Kit 0.085Beta2 available with German language file

I think that this version has all the changes required now, so please try it.

If you make a .\CUSTOM\MyCSM.cfg file with the following contents:

!BAT
set LANG=GERMAN

Then any .imgPTN file that you make should have a German menu.

Example of MyCSM.cfg file set to GERMAN language (based on Sample_MyCSM.cfg file)


I think one line still requires translation though.

http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/csm-menu-changes/ has details of how to modify the MyCSM.cfg file further if you wish to change the menu appearance.

See the previous blog for more details.

The CUSTOM folder contains a Sample_MyCSM.cfg to help you.

If you want to make a language file in a different language, please feel free to try adding a new language.

Note that you should not change or add any files under .\csm in the MPI download folder, instead always add  extra files to the .\CUSTOM folder - these will overwrite any other files of the same name and will be added into any new .imgPTN file.

Let me know if you have tested this and any comments too.

Thanks
Steve

Friday, 14 September 2018

MPI Tool Kit v0.085 Beta1 with language support is now available

This is an experimental version for testing.

I have modified the menu.lst file so that the CSM menu will support other languages.

At the moment however only English is available.

You can test it like this:

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Beware! Windows Explorer's handling of .zip files is buggy!

Tim contacted me today to make me aware of a problem with Windows 10 Explorer's handling of .zip file extraction.

He told me that he had a problem when using WSUS Offline Update. He downloaded the .zip file onto the \_ISO\WINDOWS\installs\ folder but when he tried to use WSUS, he  found it would not work correctly because Windows Explorer had changed the modification date of all the extracted files.

I checked this out by downloading the WSUS Offline Update download file wsusoffline114.zip and this is what I discovered...

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A2 released

This v1.A2 version fixes a few small bugs in v1.A1 and previous versions.

  • Bug fix for SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd adding space to .mnu file and prevents background wallpaper from being loaded for new user-made menu folders. 
  • Special characters now should work and a UTF-8 .mnu file is written when using .cmd files (E2B MNU Maker.cmd, E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd, E2B TXT Maker.cmd, SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd).
  • If the MFOLDER value has extra spaces on the end, these will be automatically removed.
  • Small tweaks to F1.cfg help files.
  • Add DOS menu to FreeDOS disk image so can boot it in different configurations.

Friday, 7 September 2018

E2B v1.A2b Beta available

Two long-standing bugs have been reported in the SubMenu Maker .cmd script.

When the .cmd script is used, to make a .mnu file, it puts a space character at the end of the line, e.g.

set MFOLDER=\_ISO\NEW 

This can cause problems (e.g. when adding a wallpaper file at \_ISO\NEW.jpg).

Also, any special characters, when input by the user (e.g. Ü) are not converted correctly when using the .cmd scripts. I have attempted to fix this by using a code page setting of 65001 just before writing the new .mnu file.

The changed files from v1.A1 are:
  • \_ISO\SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B MNU Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B TXT Maker.cmd
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\DUTCH\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\ENG\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\FRENCH\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\PORTU_BRAZIL\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\ROMANIAN\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\SIMP_CHINESE\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\e2b\grub\TRAD_CHINESE\F1.cfg
  • \_ISO\DOS\MNU\FreeDOS288.ima.gz - DOS menu added so some drivers can be skipped
v1.A2b Beta can be downloaded here.

Please try the new .cmd files and let me know if there are any problems with your language or Windows version.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

New eBook 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' is now fully released

My latest eBook, 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' is now available here (downloadable as a PDF file). This is now the fully released version 1.00.

It mainly covers Window 10 installs but the same techniques can be applied to most post-Vista Windows install scenarios. Note that the installation of Windows XP is not covered in this guide.

There are even a few jokes hidden inside it, just to make sure you are awake!

This new eBook assumes you are already familiar with E2B.

If you also buy my first eBook, 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot', then you will get a 10% discount on both eBooks :-)

E2B v1.A1 (revised)

I have made a small change to the released version of E2B v1.A1 before I make it live on the E2B website.

It now has a new version of SWITCH_E2B.exe (which you may find useful if you are into dual-partition image sorcery!).

This new version will prompt you to enter a partition type number for the second partition image, if SWITCH_E2B does not recognise the partition type of the second image file.

Previous versions of SWITCH_E2B would have set a type number of 0 (no partition).

This new change means that you can switch in dual images (e.g. HighSierra.imgPTN + HighSierra.) and set the second image to be an ext partition or HFS partition, etc. so it is visible to an OS.


This means that you do not need to boot to the CSM menu first so that the CSM menu code sets the partition type - thus you can use Switch_E2B to switch partitions and then UEFI-boot immediately.


Sunday, 2 September 2018

Install Hackintosh High Sierra from an E2B drive

I have managed to get the Hackintosh High Sierra installer working on my E2B drive and successfully installed it onto my Lenovo IdeaPad 300 (at least the Desktop, Enet, kbd and touchpad work)!.

See RMPrepUSB Tutorial 144.



Beware: Here be Dragons!...

Easy2Boot v1.A1 now released

E2B v1.A1 is here.

As usual, I will delay updating the E2B website with this latest version for a few days, so if you find a problem after updating your E2B drive with v1.A1, please let me know ASAP!

Changes from v1.A0 are:

Friday, 31 August 2018

E2B v1.A1k Beta now available

Changes from previous Beta are:

1.A1k Beta

  • New grub4dos \grldr
  • E2B_Editor.exe bugfix for duplicate keyboard entries in dropdown list
  • F8 in Main Menu changed so does not reload grub4dos
  • Win10_PromptUser_for_XML_settings.mnu sample menu added
  • Small change to SysInfo2.hta
  • Small changes to ZZSubMenuAll.mnu
  • New Dweb-livedisk-900_2018_persistent.mnu sample menu file

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

New eBook 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' now available

For those of you who cannot wait (all two of you!), I have made an early Release Candidate version of my new eBook available here and is currently at the reduced price of $6 (it will probably go up to $7 or maybe $10 soon though ;-).

The current version of the PDF is rev.0.3 but it may be revised in the next week or so to correct any typos, so keep the link that is emailed to you by Payhip so that you can click on it again in a few weeks time to download a newer revision for free.

This new eBook assumes that you are familiar with E2B already or that you have read the previous eBook.

It does not cover XP installs.

It is not yet 'advertised' on the E2B website as I want to get some initial feedback first, if possible.

Hope you find it useful.


Monday, 27 August 2018

E2B grub2 menu system v0.09 Beta released

If you previously tried the E2B grub2 menu system but could not get it to work (e.g. no payload files were listed in the menus), then please try the new Beta9 versions.

You will need to replace the old UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta8.imgPTNLBAa23 file with the new UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta9.imgPTNLBAa23 file.



This menu system allows you to UEFI or MBR boot to a grub2 menu and then directly boot to a large selection of (mainly Linux) ISO files.

It may be more suitable for linux users because you do not need to defragment the ISO files.

Monday, 20 August 2018

E2B v1.A1i/j Beta now available

This 1.A1j version now includes revised versions of the two .mnu files:

\_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu
\_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\Windows\WIN10_Prompt_for_UNAME_auto_serial_COMPNAME.mnu

and also makes use of a new grub4dos batch file farxml.g4b (find-and-replace in XML).

farxml.g4b accepts three input parameters:

Sunday, 19 August 2018

E2B v1.A1h Beta now available with new default background

You can download E2B v1.A1h here. It includes the new default background file.

eBook #2 (in PDF format)

The first draft revision of the eBook #2 is entitled 'How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot' and mainly deals with the various scenarios for installing Windows 10 from E2B.
It goes into some detail about the Windows Setup stages and XML configuration files, as well as how to automate a Windows 10 build. Windows XP is not covered.

The eBook contents are listed below:

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Vote for the next default background for E2B v1.A1

It's that time of year when E2B has a default background change.

Here are some candidates:

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Quickly build a versatile WinPE ISO file with just a few clicks (AOMEI Windows PE Builder)

By using the AOMEI Windows PE Builder (free), we can quickly build a useful 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE ISO in just a few minutes and with just a few clicks.

Note: I recommend building first the 32-bit ISO because the 64-bit version will not contain WoW64 and so will not be able to run 32-bit applications such as PortableApps (but you can add Desktop shortcuts to 32-bit and 64-bit apps in the \AIO folder using PEStartUp).

Also, because the WinPE has no added extra Windows components, some added portable applications (such as Chrome, Opera and Mozilla, etc.) may not run correctly (e.g. 'couldn't load XPCOM' error). The provided QtWeb browser Desktop link does work however.

Quick Instructions

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Bugfix in WinNTSetup v3.9.1

JFX's WinNTSetup.exe Windows utility can be used to install Windows directly from a Windows Install .ISO or .WIM or .ESD file.

You can format existing partitions first using the 'F' button, but if you want to delete\make partitions, you had to run Diskpart manually first.



WinNTSetup does also support command line switches too, so you could use it to automate a Windows install using a diskpart script and then run WiNNTSetup.exe with some command line parameters.

One advantage of using WinNTSetup instead of Windows Setup is that you can install a UEFI-enabled version of Windows from an MBR boot, you can also install a 64-bit UEFI version of Windows onto the target hard disk even if you are booting from a 32-bit MBR system, e.g.

1. Boot to WinPE 32-bit (I use a Windows 10 install ISO on E2B and hit ENTER to run it in 'Repair' mode). You can also boot to WindowsToGo or some other WinPE instead.
2. Press SHIFT+F10 to get a command console window open (after selecting Country\Language)
3. Use Diskpart to wipe\partition the target system
4. Run WinNTSetup (32-bit version) from the E2B USB drive, select any ISO from the E2B drive (from any folder or partition), select the Windows Edition and target disk volumes and then install Windows. You can instruct WinNTSetup to install for UEFI or MBR booting or both (or ask it not to install any bootmgr boot code).

Note: You can also specify an XML file (e.g. SDI_CHOCO XML file) and tweak some Windows settings using WinNTSetup, but note that if you use an XML file, the Edition that is installed (Home, Pro, etc.) is determined by the setting in WinNTSetup and NOT the XML file - so make sure you set the Edition that you want to install in WinNTSetup's 'Edition' drop-down list before you click on the 'Setup' button!

Secret WinNTSetup feature!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Special Offer - X-Way Forensics course for $30

For a 2-week period, Brett Shavers is offering us his X-Way Forensics course for $29.99.

Play the introductory videos (click on the Introduction link on the right-hand side of page for a 2nd video) to learn more.

Note: I have not personally taken the course myself. I am just bringing this special offer to your attention. If you have followed the course yourself, please let us all know what you thought of it.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

E2B v1.A1e/f/g Beta with new Windows All-In-One Install menu

This version now allows the user to add a \_ISO\WINDOWS\WINAIO folder which can be used to hold Windows All-In-One Install ISOs and .imgPTN files.

v1.A1g with improved language files + tweaks + Server 2016 hotkey changed from 6 to D. Some .hdr files now removed and MenuWinInstall.hdr added.



As using AIO ISO files can be unpredictable, if you find that they don't work, then you should convert them to .imgPTN files.

Note that the Menu entry and Menu Heading for the new WINAIO folder has been added to each of the STRINGS.txt files.

If you want to change these entries, create a new language folder and change the LANG variable to your new language (e.g.  ENG1).

If you have a translation for the new strings, please send a new STRINGS.txt file to me. The three new strings are:

# New for E2B v1.A1
$$STRhAIO=Windows AIO install
$$STRl0AI=^A Install Windows AIO    [A] (%CIO% present)\nInstall Windows All-in-One
$$STRl1AI=Install Windows AIO\nInstall Windows All-In-One

Please let me know if you spot a bug!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

How to set the Computer Serial number as the ComputerName - Take 2!

This method has the advantage that you can check what the auto-generated ComputerName+SerialNumber is going to be before the install is actually started and can then  change it if required.

The Sample .mnu file 'WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu' will allow the user to specify the UserName and ComputerName before the Windows Install ISO is run. It then copies your XML file to a BLANK.XML file and modifies it to use the new User and Computer Names that you have specified.

This is useful because you don't need to choose an XML file or an ISO file as they are already pre-defined in the .mnu file. You just boot, enter in the UserName and ComputerName that you want, and the rest of the build is fully automated. If you are using SDI_CHOCO, it even adds drivers and applications automatically too.

However, if you want the ComputerName to include the System Serial number (for instance), you would have to carefully type it in manually when prompted (assuming you knew what it was!).

I have now made a new version of this .mnu file so that it will automatically modify the XML file's ComputerName field with the System Serial number (e.g. PC-1234546) for you! It works in a very similar way to the WIN10_Prompt_for_PCNAME_and_UNAME.mnu, but two boots are required.

Tip: If you run \_ISO\docs\SysInfo\sysinfo2.hta from the E2B drive under Windows, it will list the DMI values held in the Mainboard of the system.

It works in 2 stages like this:

Changing the Windows ComputerName after installation (e.g. to contain the system Serial Number)

It is often the case that the System Admin wants the Windows ComputerName to reflect some aspect of the system itself, such as the system serial number or DELL Service Tag (7,10 or 11 characters) or perhaps the MAC address of the Ethernet adapter.

The main problem is that the Serial Number of the target system cannot be determined until after Setup (WinPE) has booted.

I wanted to try to alter the ComputerName during an automated SDI_CHOCO install using Easy2Boot and a Windows 10 ISO + XML file...

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

E2B v1.A1d Beta available

Download v1.A1d

Here are changes from v1.A0 (italic font = new changes added since v1.A1c Beta)
  • Added 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file - the user can change menu settings, etc. from within a single menu.
  • Added \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files which are automatically used as wallpaper file can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg, \_ISO\DOS.jpg.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu - some of the other menus are now not added to make the Main menu tidier.
  • Sub-menu files \_ISO\xxxx.g4b, .bmp and .jpg are now automatically used if they are present (e.g. \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS.jpg will be automatically used when the AntiVirus menu is loaded)
  • SUB_MENU_Maker.cmd file also added to into the \_ISO folder for user convenience (same file as \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\E2B SUBMENU Maker.cmd).
  • PatchMe script updated to suppress the 'A20 Debug' message on bootup.
  • .bat, .xml and .bak files are now ignored if they are in a menu folder.
  • .jpg and .bmp files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as background wallpaper when selected by user from the menu.
  • .f24 and .uni.gz font files can be placed in menu folders and they will be loaded as new font when selected by user from the menu.
  • Few very minor bug fixes.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Make your own E2B 'Launcher' utility

Linasoft's AutoPlay Menu Builder can be used to create your own 'Launcher' executable. You can use an existing template and then make changes to it - perhaps change the language, etc. or add more items.

Although originally intended to create auturun.exe + autorun.inf files for use with CDs that would auto-run when inserted into a computer's CD-ROM drive, it is a useful application to create your own 'Launcher' utility for E2B too (it makes a Windows .exe executable).

Here is a screenshot my current E2B Helper:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

E2B eBook progress report

The 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Book' eBook has proved far more popular than I ever imagined!

I thought that it might have interested only 10-20 people at most, but since mid-June I have now sold over 100 copies which really surprised me, but it's very nice to know that all my efforts were worth it! The 130pp book took me over 3 weeks from start to finish (sometimes with a 12-hour day and some weeks were 7-day weeks!). After writing the first draft, I carefully followed all the exercises myself to look for any problems in the instructions and I also added screenshots and diagrams. Glen kindly proof-read many drafts and final revisions and since then I have updated and improved the PDF - the latest version is now v2.3.

However, I have had very little feedback on the eBook, so maybe nobody has actually read it yet or they fell asleep trying to read it!

Version 2.3

If you still have the original receipt email from Payhip, you can re-download a later revision of the PDF for free (contact me if you have problems).

If you would like a version in ePub (.epub) form for your eBook reader device, please contact me. I do have a .epub file of v2.3 but it is not quite as nice as the PDF due to the limitations of the epub format.

eBook #2?

I am now thinking about writing another E2B eBook and there are a number of possible topics, three of which are listed below.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

E2B v1.A1b and c Beta now available

v1.A1c

  • Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu has been improved so it is now loaded as a separate menu.
  • PimpMyDrive.cmd now adds Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to the PIMP folder.
  • E2B now automatically looks for menu wallpaper files for each sub-menu (see below). Now you can just add .bmp or .jpg files and they will automatically be used for the background image for that menu - no .mnu files are required.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

How to add new menu folders to Easy2Boot (e.g. BIOS Flash tools)

If you are a Tech, you may want to keep many BIOS Flash utilities on your E2B USB drive for each of the different models that you encounter.

So you may wish to have a menu structure like this:

Main Menu -> BIOS Flash Menu -> [Manufacturer] -> [Series]


For instance for Lenovo T-series systems, the menu structure would be:

Main Menu - BIOS Flash Menu - Lenovo - T Series - T560_v1.25.imgPTN


Sunday, 29 July 2018

E2B v1.A1a Beta available

1.A1a Beta

  • Add 'WARNING: Some types of AV software can cause ChocBox.cmd to run extremely slowly' to chockbox.cmd. 
  • Improve Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample menu file so the user can change menu colours from within the menu. 
  • Add \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder - read the ReadMe.txt file and use the ready-made files included. 
  • Menu wallpaper files can now have .jpg file extension as well as .bmp, e.g. \_ISO\WIN10.jpg.
I found that my Comodo AntiVirus software was causing Chocolatey (and thus ChocBox.cmd) to run extremely slowly. Just disabling it was not enough to fix the problem as the task was still running in the background - I had to either kill the Comodo AV task or uninstall it!

The Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu sample .mnu file now lets you change the menu text colours as well as other menu settings.

I have added a new \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds folder with instructions to help you set up your E2B USB drive to load a different background wallpaper for each menu. The most difficult thing now is actually making the 18 different 800x600 wallpaper jpg files required! You can add your own menu heading to each wallpaper graphics file and remove the E2B text heading from the menu if you wish.

1. Use the "\_ISO\docs\Templates\CenteredMenu\MyE2B.cfg" for your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
2. Follow the instructions in the \_ISO\docs\Multiple Backgrounds\ReadMe.txt file.
3. Tweak the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to remove the menu heading (and footer help text and menu entry help text) if you wish.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Amazon Prime day!

If you are an Amazon Prime member (hint: you can sign up for a 30-day trial for free!) then there are lots of bargains to be had today and tomorrow only.

Unsurprisingly, the best deals are available on Amazon kit, but there are also good reductions on some high-priced goods as well of over 50%!

Here are a few bargains for US and UK clients (affiliated links):

Amazon.co.uk





Note: Some deals don't start till later today.



$100 off Echo Show
$30 off Echo 2nd generation
$20 off Fire TV stick

Click here for more deals.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Easy2Boot v1.A0 is now released

Change from v1.99 are:
  • New grub4dos \grldr (2018-07-01) supporting centering of menu entries and menu help text (new grub4dos setmenu --middle-align command).
  • Three new Themes added to demonstrate centred text menu entries.
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu.
  • TimeDiskAccess.mnu added - allows user to test raw sector read speed under BIOS of all drives in system. Useful for comparing USB+BIOS driver performance.
  • New SHORT_HL variable can be used to set the highlighted menu entry to only highlight the menu text and not the whole menu line. 
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd now checks in case the user has renamed some of the standard E2B .mnu files (e.g. ZZSubmenuAll.mnu) and asks user if they want to delete them or keep them.
  • New version of E2B_Editor.exe now uses 24-bit colour values for the heading and footer colours.
  • STRINGS.txt files changed - no need to pad out menu headings.
  • Small bug fix to remove extra space after menu entries in sample .mnu files.
  • KBD_QWERTY_USA keyboard file added so can pick using E2B_Editor.
  • Bugfixes to internal handling of menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running Update did copy it across but Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd did not copy it across).
  • Small fixes to centre menu heading when UTF-8 characters used (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, etc.).
  • If the FONT variable's path contains ".f24" then 24-high fonts will automatically be used. 
  • Small changes to Check_for_Update.cmd and UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd to display E2B version numbers.
  • Some of the .cmd files are now modified to use %WINDIR%\System32\find.exe in case users Windows Path environment variable points to a different version of find.exe.
The new downloads are available on the Alternate Download Areas (see side bar of this blog).

The www.easy2boot.com site download links will be updated in a few days.


Sunday, 8 July 2018

MPI Tool Kit v0.083 now available

The new version is available from the Alternate Download Sites (e.g. OneDrive)

MakePartImage.cmd has now been modified to estimate the size of the .imgPTN file needed by using 7z.exe. It is now much more accurate (but takes a bit longer) and the 'Suggested size' seems to always work now (at least on the 100 files I have tested so far...). It also has better error handling.

Note that you should only run one instance of MakePartImage at a time and it does not seem to work if the target folder is a Microsoft Storage Pool volume (ImDisk issue?).

The script Convert_all_ISOs_to_imgPTN_Files (run as Admin).cmd which is in the Utils folder of the MPI Tool Kit folder has also been improved. This batch file allows you to convert all the isos in a folder (and subfolders) without needing to answer the usual questions from MakePartImage or press ENTER. Just go and get a cup of coffee and the .imgPTN files should all be there when you come back.

(You still need to answer the delete/make EI.cfg question though for Windows Install ISOs).

You can now specify a partial file spec (e.g.  fed*.iso) and ask it to re-make all .imgPTN files again or only the missing ones. It also does not have to be an iso (e.g. you can use *.ima or dlc*.zip).

If you select AUTORUN, it will also use the 'best guess' for the Syslinux version rather than prompt you for which version to use.


0.083 is not yet released on the official www.easy2boot.com website as it is considered a 'Release Candidate' at the moment.

Please let me know how you get on if you try it.

P.S. 0.083 is now available on the www.easy2boot.com website - it is a slightly different version from the RC candidate. The new version is dated 2018-07-10.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

E2B v1.A0b Beta now available

Download from Alternate Download Areas as ZIP file.

Changes are:
  • New grldr (2018-07-01)
  • New \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\E2B Menus\Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu menu
  • Bugfixes to internal menu positioning, etc.
  • Bugfix for Make_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd v1.99 - MAKE_CONTIG.cmd script is now copied across when making an E2B drive (running UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd did copy it across but Make_E2B did not).
  • UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD now displays latest stable and Beta versions that are available (using web access).
Copy Adjust_E2B_Menu.mnu to your MAINMENU folder and you can tinker with moving the menu about instantly...


Thursday, 28 June 2018

E2B v1.A0a Beta available!

Since the last version was 1.99, the next version will be 1.A0.

So the first Beta is called v1.A0a

This version has a new Beta version of grub4dos (not yet officially released) to which the developer yaya has kindly added some new features.

We can now ask grub4dos to center the menu entries and the menu help text automatically.

Here are some screenshots:

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Revision 2 of the E2B eBook is now available

Revision 2 is now available. It has slightly more content, more pictures and hopefully less typos thanks to 'Glen'.

If you had previously ordered the Easy2Boot 'Getting started with Easy2Boot' PDF from Payhip, then you should be able to use the download link in the email that you received to re-download the new revision 2 PDF. If not, then contact me.

- o O o -

P.S. My cat is really annoying me at the moment because I can only feed him after sunset which, in the UK, is well after 9pm. Still, there are only a few more days to go until June 24th when Ramadan finishes (you see, he's a Persian cat!)...😹

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

New Hiren's WinPE 10 64-bit ISO


Just found this post on reddit about a new Hiren's type WinPE.

It is not an official Hiren ISO but is made by a 'fan group' - see here for more info.

Monday, 18 June 2018

E2B v1.99 is now re-issued - please update!

There was a small bug in the grub4dos version of E2B v1.99, so I have updated the download with a new version of grub4dos (plus a few other very minor changes).

v1.99 is not yet available on the E2B website, so only users who read this blog and have downloaded the old v1.99 will be affected.

The \grldr file should be dated 2018-06-18 in the latest version of E2B v1.99.

The small bug in the old grub4dos version was that the animated E2B icon could spontaneously disappear when using the menu cursor keys.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Having trouble 'Safely Removing' USB Hard drives with the latest Windows 10?

I have been using 'Disk Ejector' from QuickandEasySoftware (free).

You can copy it to your Desktop or to the E2B USB drive.



You can also try USB Safely Remove from http://safelyremove.com as an alternative.

How to prompt for ComputerName and UserName before you start an automated Windows Install

By using an XML file, we can automate the installation of Windows 10 in Easy2Boot.

The XML file can have a preset or random UserName and ComputerName, or it can be configured to only have an Administrator account or to prompt for the User Name near the end of the installation process.

For instance, an XML file for SDI_CHOCO could be picked by the user and a fully unattended and automated Windows 10 install would then proceed.

However, it would be useful if we could use the same automated XML file each time we installed it to a different system, but could prompt for a different ComputerName and UserName before we started the installation. This allows us to get a cup of coffee whilst ten different systems are installing without having to come back and enter the UserName half-way through.

See also this later blog post for automatically setting the Serial Number in the ComputerName based on the same method as used in this article.

We can set different values by using grub4dos to modify the XML file before we boot to the ISO...

Friday, 15 June 2018

E2B v1.99 now available


At last E2B v1.99 is now available!

Note: I have just quickly updated the 2018-06-18 download to v1.99 2018-06-16 - the more recent version just has improved help in Make_E2B.exe, a small bugfix to grub4dos and a new sample mnu file added.



Note: The new eBook is written for use with E2B v1.99.

Changes from E2B v1.98 are:

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Bob Omb's WinPE10 64-bit v.3.1


Bob's latest release of WinPE 10 64-bit (v3.1) can now work either as a .ISO file in E2B or as a .imgPTN file.

If you boot it as an ISO, it will auto-detect the TheOven_Startup.cmd (if present on your E2B drive) and run PEStartup (see here for details).

Tip: End the filename with the letter Q to suppress E2B's QRUN prompt - e.g. Bob_Omb's_v3.1_64q.iso. Do not use spaces in the filename because WinBuilder ISOs don't work correctly if there is a space in the name. The file extension must be .iso.

Instead, you can create a .txt file using the \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe file. This allows you to have spaces in the menu entry (e.g. 'Bob Omb's WinPE10 64-bit'). The ISO must not have any spaces and must end in .iso. You can also use the '64-bit' option in TXT_Maker so that the ISO will only be listed in the menu if run on a 64-bit system.

UEFI

If you convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file, you will be able to MBR or UEFI-boot to it and also have some persistence. I suggest you increase the suggested size when you make the .imgPTN file, to allow you to add your own portable apps, shortcuts, etc.