Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Who knew Easy2Boot was so scary?

New Spanish video on E2B has just appeared - really scary! Don't watch it if you are of a nervous disposition!

Which country downloads E2B the most?

Here (FYI) are the stats for E2B downloads from the FossHUB E2B page over the last five months of 2019.

P.S. FossHUB provides safe and extermely high-speed downloads for many other apps and software and is always worth trying first if you want to download a popular package, so it's worth Bookmarking!
Downloads of E2B from FossHUB in last 5 months
As you can see, the USA are first, but surprisingly France is second.

The next 10 look like this:

Monday, 30 December 2019

Easy2Boot v1.B8 is now available

This has latest version of grub4dos which has some improvements in the setmenu --string command (can now centre text within a menu and have a background colour for the text).

Difference from v1.B7 are:
  • Latest grub4dos 2019-12-30.
  • Improve E2B scripts to allow user to define a greater number of grub4dos environment variables (grub4dos max is 60).
  • New default background. 
  • Add .vhdx file extension (was removed in last few versions).
  • Update Memtest86 UEFI free version to v8.3.
  • Add Tails_generic_for_USB_HDD.mnu for generic menu for booting Tails ISOs from USB HDD. 

New 2020 eBook on grub4dos is now available

New eBook on grub4dos is now available. Over 170 pages.

Includes all latest commands and features. The price is only $5 but you can pay more if you like ;-).

Exercises to show you how to construct a menu system with wallpaper, unifont, keyboard scancode translation, password, boxed text, animated graphics and tunes, etc.

Based on the latest features of the 2019-12-30 version of grub4dos 0.4.6a.

Each eBook can be downloaded up to 5 times, so you can download a later edition if there is one available in the future.

Friday, 20 December 2019

E2B v1.B8d now available + grub4dos eBook

I hope to release this version as v1.B8 before XMas.

Difference from v1.B7 are:
  • Latest grub4dos 2019-12-20.
  • Improve E2B scripts to allow user to define a greater number of grub4dos environmental variables (grub4dos max is 60).
  • New default background. 
  • Add .vhdx file extension (was removed in last few versions).
  • Update Memtest86 UEFI free version to v8.3.
  • Add Tails_generic_for_USB_HDD.mnu for generic menu for booting Tails ISOs from USB HDD. 
It is in the Alternate Download Area - Latest Beta folder as usual.

New grub4dos eBook

Thursday, 19 December 2019

The IODD Mini is now available

The crowd-funded IODD Mini (<Amazon link - please use this if ordering from USA or UK) seems to have arrived at last, after 2 years of waiting.

IODD on Amazon Germany here.

IODD Mini 256GB version is approx $135
Apparently it contains a KingSpec 2242mm M.2 SSD NGFF Internal Solid State Drive SATA III and so you could swap it out for a different one.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Evaluation of the UNI-T UTP1306S 32V 6A 'linear' power supply

Due to some recent instability issues with my switched-mode bench PSU when subjected to a high sudden current demand spike, I decided to get a linear bench power supply. Also, by adding it to my existing bench PSU, I could get a +ve/-ve supply or I could get over 60V if I connect them in series (not quite sure how the CC would work though?).

In particular, I wanted a bench PSU with an Output Enable\Disable switch because I find it useful to be able to set a Voltage and Constant Current setting whilst my test circuit is already connected to the PSU terminals. Why all bench PSUs don't have this is totally beyond me!

One of the few suitable small (cheap) linear bench power supplies was the UNI-T UTP1306S (approx. $100 or £60). I looked at the review on YouTube (see below) before deciding to buy one. I figured that even if it failed on me, at least I would have a nice-looking project case for a future home-made bench PSU!

Note: Another popular PSU is the KA3005D (Bangood affiliate link) (or KA3005P programmable) which actually seems to be better as it has internal relays to control on/off voltage spikes and can be calibrated. It seems to have very low output ripple too.

The first thing I did was to take it apart and inspect it carefully, check soldering, earth connections, tightness of fixings, loose components, etc. The transformer seems remarkably small for a 192W linear PSU...

Some notes:

Another issue with the D3806 power module!

If you read my previous blog, you will see that I found that the D3806 power module produced large over-voltage spikes on its output terminals when you switch on the DC supply to it (even if it's output was programmed to be off on power-up). This could send a surge of up to 10V for approx 10 mS into your nice little 3.3V arduino and blow it up! It also sent spikes when you switched it off too!

I had planned to use this device together with an old ATX power supply to make a nice variable, current-limited bench power supply.

So I decided to try to work around this issue and I designed a delay circuit. The idea is that I would connect the +ve output of the D3806 through the contacts of a Normall-Open 10A-rated relay.

When you switch on the ATX power supply (or any power supply) the relay contacts would remain open for approx. 1 second and then (after the D3806 nasty over-voltage spike had finished) it would close the relay contacts and connect the D3806 ouput to the output terminals.

The delay circuit worked great. I also designed it so that it would open the relay contacts on power-off/decay BEFORE the D3806 over-voltage spike ocurred on it's output too.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Have you noticed that Google Chrome Translate has been broken for at least month now?

Have you noticed that you can't just right-click on a page and choose the Translate option any more in Chrome?

Being able to translate web pages is one of the main reasons I use Chrome rather than any other browser, but something is broken!

right-click on the text or page...
Computer says 'No'!
and the fix is...

Friday, 29 November 2019

E2B v1.B8c Beta available

Includes latest MemTest86 UEFI v8.3 Free version - here
or from other Alternate Download Areas - Latest Betas.

MemTest86 Pro has many advanced features but is not free.

Is the D3806 Boost/Buck DC-DC power supply any good as a bench power supply? (+D3806 user guide\manual)

Due to problems I had with LTC3780 boost\buck converter boards and the fact that they are really not designed to be used with adjustable Voltage\Current potentiometers due to the high resistance pots required (the high impedance wires easily pick up stray noise which causes instability), I decided to try the D3806 Boost\Buck converter which has user push-button + LED display. These should be easy to extend to the front panel of a bench PSU as they should be all low-impedance connections.
D3806 - DC-DC boost\buck converter with potential 38V 6A output.
P/N 321510269

The LED+button board is on a separate riser PCB and contains a micro-controller. It is supposed to have reasonable ripple\noise output too (TBD).

But is it any good...?

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

E2B v1.B8b Beta available + grub4dos coding tips

Changes from v1.B7 are are:
  1. Improve E2B scripts to allow the user to use a greater number of grub4dos environment variables in the MyE2B.cfg file (grub4dos max is 60).
  2. Add .vhdx file extension (was removed in last few versions).

About grub4dos environment variables

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Why everyone is building their bench power supplies incorrectly (fix = cut the thin black wire)!

I ordered some  cheap Volt\Amp meters from Banggood and also a DC-DC buck-boost LTC3780 converter board. Many people have made YouTube videos and written Instructables about how to make a variable PSU from this combination (plus a DC source such as 12V from an ATX power supply) but nearly all of them are WRONG - but the solution is simple!

Usually described as "LTC3780 Automatic lifting pressure constant voltage step up step down 10A 130W"
Digital VA meter (note they seem to only have one decimal place for voltage, not two as shown in this stock picture!)

Note: This type of VA meter has thick Black+Red wire and thin Black+Red+Yellow wires. Do not confuse it with the other types which may have a thick blue wire or a thick yellow wire!

Many people who have built a power supply using these two modules have complained that the over-current pot on the Buck\Boost board did not seem to work. Other people have complained that the Ammeter reading was incorrect. A few have blown up their boards.

The diagram below shows the typical wiring arrangement that is used by most of these designs, but I have added in some extra purple lines to indicate the 0V traces which are already inside the DC-DC Buck\Boost board and already inside the VA meter.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

My build of a 30V digitally controlled, current limited bench power supply for £45

Bench power supply for <£50

Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links. This article is not sponsored in any way and all materials used were purchased privately.

I wanted to get an adjustable current-limited bench power supply however good quality retail versions are very expensive and buying a cheap power supply is always risky.

UTP1306S - see blog post

This minileaf is on a flash sale for 2 days at Banggood, only £36 for a 30V 10A <10mV ripple, 5-star rated by 97% of customers) but always comes with the risk that it will stop working and be unrepairable after a while or will arrive in bits.

Due to the problems of returning faulty products when buying from overseas suppliers, if I was going to buy a bench PSU I would buy one from Amazon for £59 as it is easier to return faulty items.

By making my own PSU from modules, it will be easy to repair just by changing the faulty module.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

My fantastic KSGER soldering iron arrived today - but it had some faults...

This article contains affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from. All items discussed were purchased privately.

I have been looking for a new soldering iron for a while because my old Antex 40W iron is just not powerful enough. It can't cope with soldering to large terminals or other large connectors. This can cause heat damage to the components.
T12 soldering bit
Apparently the soldering irons that use the T12 type of soldering iron bits are highly recommended. These bits are fitted internally with a heating element and a temperature sensor. This means the heat can be controlled - only the tip gets hot which is where you need it. What's more, it can get to (say) 300 degrees C in less than 10 seconds because we are not heating a load of iron and copper in the shaft and collar of the bit - it can be left in 'standby' mode at say 150 degrees C whilst you are not using it and it will shake-and-heat to 300 degrees C in 3-4 seconds.

KSGER T12 soldering station

The KSGER station has a digital display and the 'shake-to-wake-from-standby' feature - if you shake the iron as you pick it up, it wakes from standby and heats up quickly. This helps the bits to last longer.

Monday, 4 November 2019

E2B v1.B7 released

v1.B7 changes:
  1. Support .isomemgrub file extension (loads iso into memory before running it)
  2. Fix bug with .vhdmem file extension
  3. SWITCH_E2B v1.1.29 (bugfix for 'error 52' issue)
  4. Display date&time function now in new grub4dos
  5. grub4dos help menu entries added to the Adjust_E2B_Menu2.mnu file (also included in PimpMyDrive.cmd)
  6. Latest grub4dos 0.4.6a 20191028 for small bugfix and time+date update new function
  7. "\_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Make_E2B_Choose_Size_of_Ptn1 (run as admin).cmd" added if you want to make a USB drive with smaller size Ptn 1.
Early release available in Alternate Download Areas for few days before on main site - please report any issues ASAP.


Sunday, 20 October 2019

Weird USB problems with Windows 10 1903!

In the last week or so I have been experiencing very odd things with some of my USB drives under Windows 10 x64 1903.

Windows seems to think that the USB drive is corrupt. However, I can look at the drive sectors using RMPrepUSB and it will show what looks like a good MBR and PBRs. However, Windows cannot read the volumes and wants to format both of them!

Rebooting the system does not help.

If I run TestDisk, that also reports very 'wrong' results.

Windows Disk Manager shows the drive with two partitions but it refuses to let me assign a drive letter to them and asks me to 'refresh' Disk Manager (which does no good).

The strange thing is that the USB drive is OK when connected to another system.

The fix!

1. Download and run NirSoft USBDeview.exe (USB Device Viewer).
2. Highlight the USB drive
3. Right-click - Uninstall Selected Devices
4. Now unplug and reconnect the USB drive.
5. Reboot if required.

Magically, Windows now sees two good partitions and gives them both drive letters and all is sweet!

I also found that none of my Sandisk Extreme Pro 128GB USB flash drives would be recognised by Windows (no 'ding' when inserted) when I plugged either of them into the 2nd USB 3 socket on the front of my PC (but all other USB sockets worked OK and other USB flash drives worked OK in all the USB PC sockets!).  Clearly it did not like 'Sandisk Extreme Pro' + USB port 2' as a valid combination! Using USBDeview also fixed this too (after finding the 'Sandisk Extreme Pro' device and uninistalling it and then rebooting).

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Add Medicat 18.10 to E2B

Because Medicat uses incompatible and mixed versions of syslinux, the ISO may not work 100% by just extracting the files from the ISO. You can use Rufus to prepare a spare flash drive first. Rufus should update and fix any incompatible versions in the ISO as it installs it onto the USB drive. The alternative if to use the E2B MPI ToolKit on the ISO file to make a .imgPTN file.

Note that the Medicat WinPE is NOT intended to be run as a DVD/ISO (even if it could be made to fit) - the files MUST be extracted from the ISO. MiniWindows will not work correctly unless the files are extracted.

Once you have prepared the spare flash drive you can test that all menu items work and then make a .imgPTN file using the spare flash drive as the 'source' by dragging-and-dropping the spare USB drive icon\letter in Explorer onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop icon.

Note that Medicat has bugs even when you prepare it in the 'official' way using Rufus.

If you don't have a spare USB drive then just use the Medicat ISO as the source. The latest version of the MPI Tool Kit should prompt you to use syslinux '604' too.

When prompted by MakePartImage to AUTO-CORRECT - answer N, do NOT update the configuration files.

AFAIK the functionality is the same if you directly use the ISO file instead of a 'Rufus' flash drive as the source.

You can also UEFI64 boot from the .imgPTN file to MiniWindows x64.

Medicat - notes and bug fixes

Friday, 11 October 2019

XMLtoE2B version 2.0.48 with bugfix

The previous version sometimes added an extra
line when adding an SDI_CHOCO section.

This new version should fix the problem.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Easy2Boot v1.B7b with bugfix for non-contiguous files hanging menu loading

I just came across a long-standing bug in grub4dos which has the affect of making E2B freeze when listing a non-contiguous ISO file, as shown below...

It is not supposed to hang!!!
Version 1.B7b avoids this bug by not showing the Volume and UUID details of the ISO which is normally listed under the menu and so avoids the issue.

By habit, I always make files contiguous after I copy them to the E2B drive, so I never noticed until now!  This issue must have been present since E2B v1.B0!

The grub4dos bug report is here.

Monday, 30 September 2019

E2B v1.B6 released

Changes from v1.B5:
  • Bugfix - Easy2Boot download self-extracting exe no longer adds the Make_E2B.exe program into the Windows Start Menu
  • Bugfix - SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.1.25 - if C: drive compressed/encrypted will still work after warning
  • Improve SIZE_E2B and SIZE_HD1 values to nearest GiB instead of nearest 4GiB.
  • Licence readme files added for 3rd-party s/w - see \_ISO\docs\Licenses
  • E2B now checks for 2019-08-09 version of grub4dos 0.4.6a or later
  • MyPwd.g4b added to Sample mnu Files\E2B folder to show example of how to prompt for a master password and have different wallpapers when asking for password
  • Latest grub4dos (allows animation to play during user input, adds grub4dos 'setmenu --keyhelp-on and --keyhelp-off commands)
  • KBD_DVORAK_USA.g4b keyboard translation file added (thanks to Alex R).
  • Latest version of RMPartUSB.exe
  • menu.lst changed to fix first frame of animation graphics being displayed just before Main menu (due to new grub4dos)
  • ArchiveOS link added to \_ISO\docs\Download URLs folder.
  • Change to \_ISO\e2b\grub\bsd.imgptn to fix bug of not booting if located past 2GB on drive (thanks to James for reporting and extensive testing!)
  • .isogrub file extension now directly loads \menu.lst if it exists (for all-in-one Acronis ISOs, etc.).

Download from Alternate Sites.

It will be available on FossHub in a few days.

The XJW01 LCR (0.3% accuracy) YouTube video is now uploaded

XJW01 LCR Bridge Meter

Hutale 4.2 LCR-DDS-F meter: LCR ESR Bridge Meter / DDS Function Generator / Frequency Meter

Another interesting LCR Bridge (without any case or 5V power supply) which has approx the same accuracy can be found here. Contact the developer - price is around 60 Euros delivered.

I have not tested this yet but it can also measure Frequency and be used as a frequency generator too!

Sunday, 29 September 2019

English User Manual for the XJW01 LCR Bridge

I have spent a lot of time testing, experimenting and then writing this User Manual. I hope it is useful to the owners of this very useful XJW01 Bridge which comes in two case styles (as a kit or ready-made).
Type 2 Mains powered

Type 1 for external power source

Many owners have had difficulties with these, mainly because if you press the wrong button you can destroy all the preset calibration values without warning! With one button press, you can also overwrite the factory preset calibration values. This manual explains how to avoid this pitfall and other gotchas!

Once you understand how to use it, it is a very useful piece of kit.

You can now download my PDF manual from here for a modest fee.

The PDF also includes an example front panel template with the correct (or at least more easily understood) button labels.

    Table of Contents

    Saturday, 28 September 2019

    Getting to know the XJW01 LCR Bridge

    I was looking for an accurate LCR Bridge recently which could also measure ESR values of capacitors.

    I also wanted a low-voltage LCR so that I could test components whilst they were still on the PCB without exceeding any diode/transistor junction voltages and thus get false readings.

    The XJW01 LCR bridge seems to be quite good and inexpensive. It is sold on many sites including eBay, Amazon and Ali Express.

    Thursday, 26 September 2019

    E2B v1.B6e with .isoBSD bugfix

    James reported a problem when using the .isoBSD file extension with E2B (flashing cursor on boot).

    This file extension can be used to boot to FreeBSD and other BSD-based ISOs which are otherwise difficult to multi-boot from.


    The .isoBSD file extension actually uses E2B's \_ISO\e2b\grub\bsd.imgptn (fat12 disk image) file together with the original BSD ISO file to create two new partitions on the E2B drive.

    The Beta version 1.6Be ('Latest Beta' folder) has a modified version of the bsd.imgptn file which fixes the issue.

    If you are interested in more details, visit the thread at reboot.pro.

    Tuesday, 24 September 2019

    Boot KDE Neon with persistence from an ISO

    Here is the .mnu file for booting KDE Neon with persistence.

    It is essentially the same as the Ubuntu persistence .mnu file except that it loads the kernel file /casper/vmlinuz instead of vminux.efi (which does not exist in KDE Neon).

    Sunday, 22 September 2019

    How I fixed the HP "incompatible ink cartridges' error

    So, as you all know, HP and various other printer manufacturers sell their bottom-end printers at a loss. They often come with a 'starter pack' of ink which lasts long enough to print a few test pages and then the printer driver refuses to print any more until you buy some more ink.

    However, when you try to buy more ink, you find that a black+tricolour cartridge set costs more than the printer did in the first place!

    This is the well-established 'Razor and blades' tactic - you sell the razor at a loss but make a regular income from selling the blades.

    To top it all, the firmware in my old printer does all it can to ensure that you only use 'compatible' (HP) ink cartridge replacements. However, in 2017 the Supreme Court in the USA (Impression products Ink Inc. v. Lexmark) frowned upon this practise. Since that court case, some manufacturers now provide firmware updates to 'unblock' their printers and more recent printers don't usually block refilled cartridges.

    Monday, 16 September 2019

    E2B v1.B6c Beta now available

    Download v1.B6c

    Changes from  v1.B5 (changes for v1.B6c in bold):

    • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.1.25 - bugfix if C: drive compressed/encrypted will still work after warning user
    • Improve SIZE_E2B and SIZE_HD1 values to nearest GiB instead of nearest 4GiB
    • Licence readme files added for 3rd-party s/w - see \_ISO\docs\Licenses
    • Easy2Boot download self-extracting exe no longer adds the Make_E2B.exe program into the Windows Start Menu
    • Now checks for 2019-08-09 version of grub4dos 0.4.6a or later
    • MyPwd.g4b added to Sample mnu Files\E2B folder to show example of how to prompt for a master password and have different wallpapers
    • Latest version of grub4dos (allows animation to play during user input before E2B menu is displayed  and supports the new grub4dos 'setmenu --keyhelp-on' and 'setmenu --keyhelp-off' commands)
    • KBD_DVORAK_USA.g4b keyboard translation file added (thanks to Alex R).

    Thursday, 12 September 2019

    Which is the best digital multimeter?

    I hope this blog will help you to quickly find the meter you are looking for without wasting hours on YouTube or Google as I have just been doing!

    The EEVBlog BM235

    Monday, 2 September 2019

    E2B v1.B6b Beta available

    This v1.B6b Beta version has some GPL licensing text files and licensing information added. The E2B download contains some bundled GPL utilities which require me to add these text licence files.

    I have added MyPwd.g4b to the Sample mnu Files\E2B folder to show an example of how to prompt for a master password and display different wallpapers. e.g.

    1. Displays an 'Enter password' 800x600 wallpaper (the example file just uses an existing E2B background')
    2. User types in a password
    3. If good, displays the wallpaper you want for the main menu
    4. If bad pwd, display an alternate wallpaper (could say 'bad password - please re-enter')
    5. If good pwd then display Main menu

    You can overwrite the wallpaper with any stamp by adding a splashimage --offset command (use 0x00=opaque or 0x80 for transparent background, e.g.

    splashimage --offset=0x00=680=10 /_ISO/pwdOK.bmp

    You can thus choose to keep the same background and just display a different small STAMP instead of changing the whole wallpaper. If the STAMPS overwrite each other but are not the same size, you will need to reload the original wallpaper and then apply the STAMP.

    # This can be called from MyE2B.cfg or \_ISO\MAINMENU\$$$$CONFIG\$.mnu using  'call /_ISO/MyPwd.g4b'
    # copy it to \_ISO folder of E2B drive and then edit it as required

    Sunday, 25 August 2019

    E2B eBook #1 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot' v2.13 now available

    I have made a few small tweaks to eBook #1 '

    How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot

    'Getting started with Easy2Boot' v2.13

    If you have already purchased this eBook, you can download v2.13 using the link that was sent to you in the confirmation email from Payhip.

    Not my video...

    Saturday, 24 August 2019

    E2B v1.B5 now released

    Changes from  v1.B4:

    • Allow file extension suffixes on .wim and .vhd files - e.g. boot.wim64, Windows 7 Ultimate.vhd64pwd.
    • Spaces in .vhd and .wim filenames are now allowed.
    • Bugfix - fix 'force'ing of file extension from menu - allows 'QRUN.g4b force.iso xxxxx._yyyy.iso' to override the yyyy file extension override. 
    • Bugfix - animation sometimes not shown on submenus.
    • New E2B_Editor.exe now displays opaque STAMPs (1-10) when a .cfg file with STAMPs is loaded (transparent stamp background is not supported).
    • New default wallpaper background.
    • New feature - display date & time anywhere on menu (updates each second)
    • Add a $$TrueHidePtn2.mnu sample menu file
    • Add Display_Disk_Partitions.mnu to Sample mnu Files\E2B to display MBR partition table of disks in system.
    • Add Display_DateAndTime.mnu Sample mnu file
    • Add latest grub4dos with enhanced setmenu command.


    v1.B5 will update both 1.B5 and 1.B5DPMS.

    Monday, 19 August 2019

    Easy2Boot is featured in today's WebUser magazine

    This just arrived through my letterbox today!


    I'm reading this with a nice cup of tea in my official E2B mug!
    If anyone would like to buy an Easy2Boot mug (USA, Canada and UK only) then let me know. If there is enough interest I will try to set it up. OR Why not print your own mug with your own Easy2Boot menu\wallpaper on it?

    Thursday, 8 August 2019

    E2B v1.B5c beta now available

    Changes from  v1.B4:

    • Allow file extension suffixes on .wim and .vhd files - e.g. boot.wim64, Windows 7 Ultimate.vhd64pwd.
    • Spaces in .vhd and .wim filenames are now allowed.
    • Bugfix - fix 'force'ing of file extension from menu - allows 'QRUN.g4b force.iso xxxxx._yyyy.iso' to override the yyyy file extension override. 
    • Bugfix - animation sometimes not shown on submenus.
    • New E2B_Editor.exe now displays opaque STAMPs (1-10) when a .cfg file with STAMPs is loaded (transparent stamp background is not supported).
    • New default wallpaper background.
    • New feature - display date & time anywhere on menu (updates each second) - see screenshot below.
    • Add a $$TrueHidePtn2.mnu sample menu file
    • Add Display_Disk_Partitions.mnu to Sample mnu Files\E2B to display MBR partition table of disks in system.
    • Add Display_DateAndTime.mnu Sample mnu file
    • Add latest grub4dos with enhanced setmenu command.
    Time and Date can update every second

    With the dynamic date&time command, you can use 24-hour or 12-hour time format and 2-digit month ("08") or three-letter English month ("Aug").

    A simplified example to add to the end of your MyE2B.cfg file is:

    Tuesday, 30 July 2019

    SysRescueCD MBR+UEFI+persistence

    The latest SysRescueCD v6.0.3  now uses Arch Linux, so I have updated the instructions in the previous SysRescueCD blog article.

    Wednesday, 24 July 2019

    WARNING! Don't buy this 'BAD USB' cable from Amazon - it could start a fire!

    I purchased this USB cable from Amazon yesterday for use in the car with my smartphone.

    TECHGEAR: USB C Cable, 30cm USB Type C 90 Degree Right Angle Sync & Fast Charge Reversible Cable

    I was intrigued by the 'reversible' design of the USB 2.0 connector as well as the right-angle connectors. I have never seen a USB Type-A male connector with a set of contacts on each side and I wondered how it worked...

    So today I used it to connect my phone (a Moto G7) to the USB socket of my new VW Golf, but the Golf console failed to detect that any USB device was connected to it!

    So I disconnected the phone from the cable but left the USB 2.0 cable connected to the car's USB port.

    After driving back home from the supermarket, I went to unplug the USB 2.0 connector from the car in order to test it...

    Updated version of E2B_Editor.exe with support for STAMPs

    E2B_Editor.exe v1.0.97 now displays any STAMPs that you have specified in your .cfg file.

    It is also in E2B v1.B5a Beta.

    All ten stamps (STAMP1 to STAMP10) are supported but the transparency value (0x80) will be ignored - all stamps will be opaquely overlaid onto the wallpaper when displayed by E2B_Editor.

    You can quickly experiment with the position of your STAMPs by editing the MyE2B.cfg file and then reloading it back into the E2B_Editor.exe to see how it looks.

    If a non-existent STAMP file is specified then there will be no error message or warning - it just won't appear.

    Please let me know if you find any bugs!

    Tuesday, 23 July 2019

    E2B v1.B5a Beta now available

    Booting Windows NT6 .VHD and .WIM files

    Previously although .wim and .vhd files did not need to be contiguous, their file extension had to be unaltered so you could not use a file extension of say .wim64 so that it would only be listed on 64-bit systems, or perhaps  Win7Ult.vhd64ncq so that it would only be listed on 64-bit systems and so E2B would not complain about the fact that it was not contiguous.

    Sunday, 21 July 2019

    E2B v1.B4 now available

    I just noticed that the file extension suffixes '64', '32', '4GB' and '3GB' no longer work on recent versions of E2B!

    e.g.  Ubuntu 64.iso64 should only be listed in the menu if the CPU is a 64-bit CPU. Similarly, Ubuntu.iso3GB should only be listed in the E2B menu if the system contains less than 4GB of RAM.

    E2B extension suffixes (not case sensitive)

    These should work with most file extensions (v1.B5 will also allow .wim and .vhd extensions to have these suffixes)...

    32 - file is only listed in menu on systems with 32-bit CPU
    64 - file is only listed in menu on systems with 64-bit CPU
    3GB - file is only listed in menu on systems with less than 4GB of RAM
    4GB - file is only listed in menu on systems with more than 4GB of RAM
    pwd - user must enter a password before the payload file can be run
    NCQ -  (non-contiguous+quiet), the payload will not prompt the user with suggestions, redir will be set and will not try to make the file contiguous
    quiet - redir will be set so that most messages will be suppressed
    quietp - redir and redirp will be set so that all messages including warnings will be suppressed

    Ubuntu amd64.iso4GB64pwdquietp
    Ubuntu i386.iso3GBncq

    Read more: http://www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/list-of-file-extensions-recognised-by-e2b/

    New feature in v1.B4

    I have also added support for Debian\Kali + persistence by using the new .isopersistdebian file extension in E2B v1.B4 (details here). Although you still have to create the persistence file, you don't need to create a .mnu file for it now.

    I noticed the issue '64' extension suffix bug because I tested .isopersistdebian64 as a file extension and found it was still being listed on a 32-bit system!

    The new 1.B4 version is also available on the two Alternate Download Areas.

    Tuesday, 16 July 2019

    Last Minute Amazon Prime deals!

    Get them whilst they are hot!

    Samsung 860 2TB SSD
    Samsung 240GB SSD  (less than half-price!)
    Crucial 1TB M.2 PCIe 
    WD 500GB M.2 SATA  (combine with SilverStone USB for super-fast E2B drive)

    P.S. If you are reading this you are too late now!

    Friday, 12 July 2019

    E2B UEFI multiboot video now available on YouTube

    A new (pretty bad!) E2B video is now up.

    It shows you how adding a 2nd FAT32 partition will allow you to UEFI-boot to any .imgPTN23 UEFI payload and how you can boot to WinPE to run SWITCH_E2B.exe and switch to any other UEFI .imgPTN23 file you have on the E2B drive.

    Note that Secure Boot is supported when using this scheme (as long as the UEFI payload files are signed) so you don't need to turn off Secure Boot.

    You do not need to MBR-boot or run SWITCH_E2B.exe under Windows first.

    I had problems finding a camera that worked - all mine seemed to have auto-focus always on (no manual/fixed focus) and so didn't work very well on LCD screens! I also had problems with reflections too. In the end I used my webcam.

    I guess I should invest in a fancy capture card, but it hardly seems worth it for the occasional video where I need to capture the screen output from a real BIOS.

    Wednesday, 10 July 2019

    Easy2Boot v1.B3 released (with bugfixes for v1.B2)

    Some bugs in v1.B2 have come to light, the most serious being that XP installs no longer work and give an 'ntkrnlmp.exe file could not be loaded' error.

    v1.B3 changes:
    1. BUGFIX for XP Install Step 1 giving 'File ntkrnlmp.exe could not be loaded. Error code 14'
    2. BUGFIX for Change Language mnu
    3. BUGFIX some Windows Install ISOs did not give repair option
    4. Improve TURKISH help menu (thanks to dnecro) + few other tweaks
    5. Latest grub4dos
    Please download update from here.

    Friday, 5 July 2019

    Add Windows Install ISOs to your E2B grub2 menu system

    I have made a new version of the E2B grub2 menu system - version 10W.

    The 'W' is for Windows because it allows you to MBR or non-secure UEFI-boot directly from Windows Install ISO files.

    Assuming you already have your E2B drive setup for the grub2 menu system, do this...

    1. Just download the new .imgPTN23AUTO file   UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta10W_Beta.imgPTN23AUTO   from the Alternate Downloads Area and copy it to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
    2. Then switch to it in the usual way (e.g. using SWITCH_E2B.exe)
    3. Now create a new folder at \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 on Partition 2 and add all your Windows ISOs into it (you can also use WIN8, etc. too if you wish).

    4. Now you can MBR or UEFI boot to the grub2 menu system and then select the new Windows Install menu (W) and pick any ISO listed in the menu.

    You don't need to make a menu for each ISO and the ISOs don't need to be contiguous and the filenames can contain spaces so you can rename them as you wish. Microsoft dual/both (x86+x64) ISOs should also work.

    More info at the bottom of this page.

    Switch to the new .imgPTN file (sorry about the background and the animated squirrel!)

    Saturday, 29 June 2019

    UEFI-boot from Windows Install ISOs using E2B grub2 menu system and wimboot

    A1ive has modified the standard grub2 sources and has added a wimboot module for UEFI.

    This mean we can now UEFI-boot to grub2 and then install Windows directly from ISO files.

    You will need to replace the standard (signed) .EFI grub2 files that are using in the E2B grub2 menu system with unsigned versions however, so UEFI Secure Boot is not possible (although you may be able to use MokManager to load a certificate).

    I have added instructions RMPrepUSB Tutorial 145. These use the E2B GRUB2 menu system and you will need to partition and prepare your E2B USB drive first as detailed here.

    Once it is set up, you can just add or delete your Windows ISOs to the 2nd partition (\_ISO\MAINMENU\WINDOWS folder) and either *MBR-boot or UEFI-boot (in non-secure mode).

    *The drivemap line may prevent it from booting to Setup in a VM - test using a real system.

    A1ive also has made a grub2 file manager which allows you to navigate any drive\folder using a menu system and then boot from ISOs, WIM files, etc. just be selecting them. There is also a menu system which is similar to E2B that enumerates any files that you add by aguslr which may be of interest to you.

    Common grub2 issues

    I have found grub2 to be unreliable when used on a wide variety of systems, here are a few issues I have found with it:
    1. When booting linux, grub2 needs to specify the correct kernel parameters which are very specific to each linux distro - these change often and so you constantly find that a new version of a linux ISO no longer works and you have to find out how to modify the grub2 menu.
    2. Grub2 does not support the extremely useful partnew command (as found in grub4dos) which solves Problem 1.
    3. The grub2 graphical menu system has problems on some systems and updates the screen very slowly.
    4. The Secure boot signed versions of grub2 (e.g. Ubuntu) do not contain some modules (such as wimboot or regexp) which means you cannot UEFI Secure Boot and use regular expressions for scripting.
    5. If you use an unsigned non-secure grub2 version, when you Secure Boot you need to use MokManager to certify the grub boot file in order to load it. MokManager modifies the BIOS non-volatile RAM and so alters the system (and makes it insecure to some extent). It is often tricky to undo this change.
    6. Unfortunately MokManager hangs/crashes on many systems which means you cannot use it to Secure Boot.
    7. With a few exceptions, grub2 does not allow writes to the drive (e.g. no dd command in EFI mode). This means we cannot modify sectors or files on a USB boot drive. 
    8. The main grub2 developers are very slow/reluctant to add functionality or respond to bug reports.
    9. Keyboard does not work after booting to grub2 (MBR or UEFI) on some real systems.
    10. grub2 is poorly documented (documentation is very out-of-date). I have not found any good documentation on scripting or regular expression support for instance.
    Note: If you use E2B and convert each Windows ISO into Windows .imgPTN files, you can directly Secure-boot from them (but you do not get a UEFI menu containing a list of all ISOs). No additional intermediate loader such as grub2 or syslinux is used.

    Wednesday, 26 June 2019

    Raspberry Pi 3 multiboot E2B USB drive (untested!)

    I notice that the Raspberry Pi 3 can be made to boot from a USB storage device by setting a one-time programmable bit (see video here and blog article here).

    The Raspberry Pi 4 does not yet have this capability, but it should be possible in the future.

    I don't own a Pi 3, but looking at the Raspbian download .img file, it contains two MBR-partitions, a FAT32 boot partition and a ext partition. This means it should be possible to boot a Raspberry Pi 3 (and later on, a Pi 4) from any .imgPTN file on an Easy2Boot drive. So you could have multiple Pi .imgPTN files all on one E2B USB drive.

    I am unsure if it also makes a swap partition and if it does, how it makes the swap partition, so this process may totally corrupt your E2B drive. For this reason I suggest that you test it on a spare E2B USB drive first. Please let me know if you feel like experimenting but don't use your E2B drive if it contains any wanted files! It would be cool to have multiple Pi images on one E2B USB drive.

    Thursday, 20 June 2019

    How to find any file in seconds (no Indexing needed)!

    How many times a day do you spend ages looking for a file that you know is on a drive in your system somewhere, but you just can't remember where you put it?

    Well, SwiftSearch (use latest version which is currently v7.5) is a portable, standalone Windows program on SourceForge that will find your file(s) in seconds as long as it is on an NTFS volume. It does this by directly accessing the $MFT (directory) on each NTFS volume in your system and it's really quick!

    I use this utility about 20 times every day and have it pinned to my taskbar!

    Monday, 17 June 2019

    How to extract the hidden contents in 'special' ISOs and images using 7Zip

    7Zip is pretty good at opening ISOs and other files. However, sometimes you may find that it does not expand the contents correctly.

    I learned recently of a way to use 7Zip to reveal these 'secret' files.

    Saturday, 15 June 2019

    Easy2Boot v1.B2 and MPI Tool Kit v0.096 now released

    E2B v1.B2 and MPI Tool Kit v0.096 are now available from the 1Drive and Box download areas.

    I will update the main web site and the FossHub site in a few days.

    Changes for E2B are as detailed in previous blog.

    Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

    Changes from MPI Tool Kit v0.095 to 0.096 are:
    • Add Czech language for CSM menu
    • Add latest E2B_Editor.exe to MPI folder
    • KBD variable can now be used to set KBD type
    • Update grub4dos (\grldr file)
    • Add all KBD translation files.
    The MPI CSM Legacy menu now supports English, German, Hungarian and Czech. To use a non-English menu, create a MyCSM.cfg file in the .\CUSTOM folder and set the LANG and KBD variables.

    Please update your E2B drives and let me know if you spot any problem. You can easily downgrade to a previous version of E2B very quickly if required.

    Thursday, 13 June 2019

    Latest E2B v1.B2e Beta with bugfix for some Acronis ISOs hanging

    Some bugs have been found and fixed in grub4dos.

    The most serious for users is that a few Acronis ISOs seem to hang when using the previous version of grub4dos.

    Changes from released version v1.B1 are (v1.B2e changes in red):
    • Bugfix: grub4dos hangs when booting some Acronis ISOs.
    • Bugfix: grub4dos blue\black color setting causes green background
    • New feature: %MEMSIZE% and %BITNESS% variables can now be used in HEADING and HELPTEXT or anywhere inside MyE2B.cfg (e.g. 2028 64)
    • Add Slovenian language files and Croat\Slov kbd file added (thanks to Peter K).
    • Add Turkish language and kbd (thanks to Tayfun)
    • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
    • Bugfix for switching to .imgPTN after ptn2/ptn1 switched over using RMPrepUSB-Ctrl-O-2.
    • Improve ISO's VOL and UUID which are displayed below menu area
    • Improve E2B_Editor.exe for MyCSM.cfg editing (will add language and kbd from a .imgPTN USB drive)
    • Improve change kbd and change wallpaper .mnu menu files
    • Change QEMU to use standard VGA graphics ROM instead of cirrus logic graphics ROM
    • Tweaks to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst
    • Updated Make_E2B.exe

    v1.B2e1 - bugfix in countfiles.g4b now works even if user has deleted any of the Windows sub-folders.

    I hope to release this version soon, so let me know if you spot a problem.

    Adding UEFI-bootable Lenovo BIOS updates to E2B

    The Lenovo BIOS updates are typically either in .iso form or you can download their executable Windows BIOS Update (Flash from operating system version) utility and run it under Windows or WinPE (not all WinPEs will work, choose one with WoW64 such as Strelec or Bob Omb's WinPE).

    If a UEFI .ISO update file (not a BIOS update ISO) is provided, you can convert this to a FAT32 .imgPTN file in the usual way. See here.

    Sometimes a .zip file is provided. This can be drag-and-dropped onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file.

    After making a .imgPTN file, always check that it contains a \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI file - if not, then it is not going to UEFI64 boot (check by opening the .imgPTN file using 7Zip).

    Method 1 uses the ISO, Method 2 uses the utility which makes a bootable flash drive (but we use it to make a .imgPTN file instead)...

    Wednesday, 12 June 2019

    New 'superspeed' download site for E2B and RMPrepUSB

    FossHub now (today!) are hosting the stable release versions of E2B and RMPrepUSB.

    Their servers are superfast too, so I hope to use them as the Primary source for downloads if all goes well.

    Please try them out and let me know if you have any issues...

    FossHub - Easy2Boot and MPI Tool Pack (superfast download for main releases only)
    FossHub - RMPrepUSB (superfast download for main releases only)

    Adding UEFI-booting of pfSense 2.4 to E2B

    I have updated the blog article here (see end of the article) on how to convert the pfSense 2.4 version so that you can UEFI-boot from it to install it pfSense.

    You do however need to MBR-boot to switch in the imgPTN file first (you cannot just use Switch_E2B.exe and then UEFI-boot).

    Saturday, 8 June 2019

    E2B v1.B2d Beta available

    Changes from released version v1.B1 are:
    • Add Slovenian language files and Croat\Slov kbd file added (thanks to Peter K).
    • Add Turkish language and kbd (thanks to Tayfun)
    • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
    • Bugfix for switching to .imgPTN after ptn2/ptn1 switched over using RMPrepUSB-Ctrl-O-2.
    • Improve ISO's VOL and UUID which are displayed below menu area
    • Improve E2B_Editor.exe for MyCSM.cfg editing (will add language and kbd from a .imgPTN USB drive)
    • Improve change kbd and change wallpaper .mnu menu files
    • Change QEMU to use standard VGA graphics ROM instead of cirrus logic graphics ROM
    • Tweaks to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst
    • Updated Make_E2B.exe

    Monday, 3 June 2019

    Easy2Boot eBook #1 now only $5!


    The first eBook is now reduced to just $5.
    You can get 10% of all eBooks if you buy more than one.

    Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

    Friday, 24 May 2019

    E2B v1.B2b Beta available

    v1.B2b is available from Alternate Downloads areas - in Beta folder.

    Changes from v1.B1 released version are:
    • Improve VOL and UUID display below menu area (now not displayed if no UUID or no volume label)
    • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
    • Add Turkish language files (thanks to Tayfun) and new Turkish kbd file
    • Bugfix for 'root ()' error when switching to .imgPTN file.

    Monday, 20 May 2019

    E2B v1.B1 released

    E2B v1.B1 changes from v1.B0A are:
    • Bugfix for 'nircmd' error in SDI_CHOCO.cmd.
    • Hungarian language added (thanks to Knyght).
    • 'Easy2Boot' banner displayed on boot to advertise eBooks (see new eBook #1 for how to remove this banner).
    • If Windows Install ISO filename contains string 'wimboot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. filename can be 'Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso'.
    • New grub4dos for enhanced keyboard support.
    • Add "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present.
    • Make_E2B.exe updated for new language\kbd options
    • E2B_Editor now recognises %day% %month% %year% %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% variables in the HEADER and FOOTER. 
    • Latin_USA (Spanish), Vietnamese and Swedish kbd files added.
    • Add Change Keyboard Map .mnu file.
    • Various scripts and .mnu files changed for new language\kbd support
    • Choose_kbd.g4b script added to list available kbds and let user choose one
    • \_ISO\_CheckForUpdate.cmd added to check if later version of E2B is available
    This latest version is available now from the Alternate Download Areas.

    Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

    Tuesday, 14 May 2019

    E2B v1.B1d Beta and MPI Tool Kit 0.095 now available

    E2B v1.Bd Beta is now available in .zip format from the Alternate Download Areas.

    Changes from v1.B1c are:
    • New version of E2B_Editor now recognises the variables %day%, %month%, %year%, %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% if placed in the HEADER or FOOTER.
    • A new 'Easy2Boot' banner is now displayed on startup.
    • Hungarian language tweaks.
    • Latest version of grub4dos.
    Also MPI v0.095 is now released and has additional tweaks for the new DLC2019 release and includes syslinux 6.05 pre-release.

    How to remove the new E2B Banner

    Sunday, 12 May 2019

    Make your PC scream when you unplug a USB device!

    A recent Hack 5 video detailed a USB Rubber Ducky prank which is rather amusing.

    The Rubber Ducky code downloads a scream.wav file and sets the sound file as the 'USB unplug' sound in your registry instead of the usual Windows default sound.

    This means that whenever you unplug a USB device (of any type even if its a Bluetooth dongle and even if you first safely remove it or eject it) you will hear your PC scream!

    Here is a Windows script which will allow you to set this up without a Rubber Ducky. You can also undo the Registry change too.

    The script downloads the scream.wav file from the Hak5 site and it uses the built-in Windows utility 'bitsadmin.exe' to download the file. I was not aware of this Windows utility before. It looks quite useful, however it is much slower than a utility such as wget.exe.

    P.S. If you want a different sound, find the file scream.wav on your hard drive (usually at C:\Users\(yourname)) and replace it with a different wave file of the same name (e.g. Woman Screaming).

    If you are having problems downloading the file, just place any wave file named scream.wav in your user folder and then run scream.cmd.

    Saturday, 11 May 2019

    grub4dos and non-USA keyboards

    Together with Knyght, we have been working on supporting the Hungarian language and Hungarian keyboard for E2B.

    E2B v1.B1c Beta includes the latest grub4dos version which adds even more Alt+ key support.

    E2B uses grub4dos which, in turn, uses the BIOS to receive key codes from the keyboard. Unlike grub2, it does not have it's own keyboard interrupt handler.

    A Hungarian 102-key keyboard produces the same keyboard scan codes as a USA 102-key keyboard or any other 102-key keyboard, the only difference is the engraved letters on the key tops.

    This means that grub4dos must 'convert' the keyboard code it receives to generate the same character that is engraved on the key tops. For instance, when the key labelled " on a UK keyboard is pressed (shift+2), it should produce the " character and not the @ character that you would see if the keys had USA keyboard key tops.

    grub4dos allows us to 'map' key codes using the setkey command. For instance, E2B uses a batch file to run a series of setkey commands to convert USA key codes to UK key codes:

    Wednesday, 8 May 2019

    E2B v1.B1b Beta available

    This new Beta version v1.B1b Beta includes the latest version of grub4dos which has enhanced keyboard support for non-QWERTY keyboards.

    Changes in v1.B1b are:
    • Add menu text "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present in Windows Install menu.
    • New grub4dos setkey command now supports oem102 and Alt+ key chord scancodes.
    • Small changes to Hungarian language files.
    v1.B1a had these changes:
    • Add Hungarian language and keyboard support (thanks to Knyght).
    • If the Windows Install ISO filename contains the string 'WimBoot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso

    Hungarian keyboard AltGr codes

    On the Hungarian keyboard, some of the standard English ASCII characters are produced by using the AltGr key plus a letter or number key (the AltGr key generates a Alt+Ctrl key code).

    For instance, the Hungarian keyboard is engraved so that the user expects AltGr+v to generate the @ symbol.