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

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: