Thursday 28 March 2019

Latest news and updates for E2B + rEFInd

I have been testing various combinations of partition types on different systems and also had some feedback from users.

The latest version of E2B and SWITCH_E2B.exe has a few changes and bug fixes.

The X4 file can now also be placed on the 2nd partition of your E2B USB drive. This solves the problem of having to re-order the two files if they are not in the correct order for UEFI-booting.

Ptn1: \_ISO\MAINMENU\Ubuntux64.imgptnX4SwitchPE   (FAT32 .imgPTN file with rEFInd)
Ptn2: \_ISO\SwitchPE                              (partition image containing WinPE)

The latest versions at the time of writing are:
  • MPI_Tool_Pack_Plus_CloverLite_093v8
  • SWITCHPE_russian_mini_v3  - latest 250MB file with WinPE10+WoW64+SWITCH_E2B
  • SWITCH_E2B.exe v1.1.16
MakePartImage has also changed. The MPI_REFIND shortcut is no longer created on the Desktop. 

Instead, when you select FAT32 in MakePartImage, you will be prompted to add rEFInd or rEFInd+WinPE (if available) to the .imgPTN file. There is currently a 10 second timeout (default=no rEFInd).

Here is a quick How To guide:

1. Download the SWITCHPE_russian_mini_v2 file and copy it to the second partition of your E2B drive as \_ISO\SWITCHPE. If your E2B drive does not have a second partition, I recommend you delete the small 31K partition 2 and create a new Primary NTFS partition of at least 1GB. If you don't want to add a 2nd partition, then copy the file to the \_ISO folder on the first partition of the E2B drive.

Files which are in the wrong order (=partitions in the wrong order) may cause a UEFI BIOS to not provide any UEFI boot option to the user! If you use the 2nd partition for the SWITCHPE file, it will avoid any problems of having to re-order the two files.

2. Download the MakePartImage Tool Pack and unpack it to your Desktop. Double-click on CreateDesktopShortcuts.cmd. Delete the Desktop MPI_REFIND shortcut if it exists.

3. Make a .imgPTN file by drag-and-dropping a ISO (e.g. Ubuntu64 or Windows x64 install) onto the MPI_FAT32 shortcut (you can use Split_WinISO if you have a >4GB install.wim or .esd file). When prompted press R for rEFInd (not W for rEFInd+WinPE). 

4. Copy the .imgPTN file to the E2B drive (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU folder). 
Rename it with a .imgptnX4switchpe file extension.

5. Run MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS (run as admin.cmd).

6. The SWITCHPE file needs to be contiguous. If it is on the second partition, you can make it contiguous using Defraggler (install Defraggler and use right-click in Explorer to defrag the file).

7. Download and unpack the latest Beta of E2B and run the Update_E2B_DRIVE.cmd to update your E2B drive.

You should now have these two files on your E2B drive:

Ptn1:               \_ISO\MAINMENU\Ubuntu64.imgptnX4switchpe
Ptn2 or Ptn1:  \_ISO\SWITCHPE  (approx. 250MB)

8. Use \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe or the E2B menu to 'switch-in' the Ubuntu64.imgptnX4switchpe file.

You should now be able to UEFI-boot to the Ubuntu payload or to WinPE using rEFInd. Once in WinPE, you can choose a different .imgPTN file (which has rEFInd in it also) and UEFI-boot to that.

In this way you can UEFI-boot to many different payloads without needing to use CSM mode or another Windows system.

Secure Boot

For Secure Booting, the UEFI BIOS will reject rEFInd and instead run MokManager for you. Use MokManager to enroll the key (\refind.cer) which you should find in the root of the USB drive. Now reboot and it should load the rEFInd menu without any further complaint. (MokManager is buggy and this process changes the target systems security status - if possible, disable Secure Boot!).

Note that some (buggy) UEFI systems may not CSM\MBR boot from the USB drive until you have switched it back to the 'E2B' partition. For the same reason, do not place .EFI boot files on any FAT32 partition on your 'E2B' USB drive.

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