Thursday, 30 January 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.3 now available

a1ive has fixed a few small bugs and enhanced the grub2 features.

v1.3 contains the latest grub2 files and I have also added some WinPE files (except for a WinPE 64-bit \sources\SWITCH_X64.wim file which you can add yourself).

It is now possible to UEFI-boot to the File Manager and select a .cfg file which will then switch in a particular .imgPTN file and then reboot to the new image. You do not need to boot to WinPE to switch in the .imgPTN file.

Monday, 27 January 2020

UEFI64 Secure Boot to a1ive grub2 File Manager to the Windows 10 Installer

The UEFI64 Secure Boot seems to work quite well even on systems which are set to 'UEFI: Microsoft OS only' except when installing Windows 10 from an ISO.

The solution for this seems to be that we must boot from a Windows 10 .imgPTN file, so we

1. Secure UEFI64-boot to agFM
2. Boot to WinPE
3. Run Switch_E2B.exe and switch in our Windows 10 .imgPTN23 image file
4. Reboot from the new partition and install Windows 10
5. Reboot to agFM and switch back in the E2B partition

I have added the instructions on how to add in the WinPE files here.

It would be nice to not have to boot to WinPE and run SWITCH_E2B.exe, but I am not sure that grub2 can do this like grub4dos can (P.S. see agFM v1.3 for a solution!).

The other alternative is to use agFM to boot to WinPE and then run WinNTSetup.exe from WinPE - this can install directly from a Win10 ISO and there is no need to use .imgPTN files.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

E2B v1.B9d Beta available

Changes from v1.B8 are:
  • The E2B menu system will ignore .grubfm files and .cfg files which are not grub4dos batch files (in case added for a1ive grub2 file manager)
  • Bugfix for Windows ISOs + XML files (unattend answer file error fixed)
  • Bugfix for firadisk/strelec ISO booting
  • Bugfix in NTBOOT for .wim booting when using grub2 File Manager
  • Language file for Simplified Chinese STRINGS.txt updated (thanks to a1ive)
  • Change to MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script to leave 100MB+ at end of the USB drive so a 2nd FAT32 partition can be easily added without needing to resize the E2B drive.
If you make a new E2B drive now, it will leave approx. 100MB of free unused space on the drive (or if a >128GB drive, it will make a large NTFS partition #2). This allows the user to easily delete the 2nd partition and make a new FAT32 partition of 100MB, so they can easily add the grub2 a1ive File Manager UEFI boot files.

I may add an option to add the UEFI files into the E2B installer later, but I need a lot more feedback from users on how good (or bad) the new UEFI File Manager is.

Download v1.B9d

So please let me have your feedback on the 'a1ive gru2 File Manager' and let me know what works and what doesn't.

KSGER soldering iron reduced in price!

If you are thinking of buying a new soldering iron, it is now available for less than £30 ($35.55) at the moment (via email offer only)!

Create an account with Banggood and subscribe to get newsletters. Use the link in the email that will be sent to you for over £10 discount!

I recommend getting some extra bits at the same time.

See here for details.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

A1ive grub2 File Manager for E2B v1.1 now available.

The latest version has a few improvements and bug fixes to make it more reliable for booting .WIM files.

I have also added a MEMTEST86 folder so that you can boot to the MemTest86 EFI files whenever you like.

Just extract the files straight to your FAT32 2nd partition to update the old version 1.0 files.

v1.1 1Drive Download link
v1.2 includes UEFI32 support

Monday, 20 January 2020

Bugfix in grub_filemanager.mnu (booting .wim files did not work)

If you are using the grub2 File Manager with Easy2Boot and have used the grub_filemanager.mnu menu file in the Main Menu  AND you have an animation on the menu, you may find that direct booting of some WinPE NT6 .WIM files does not work.

To fix this, we need to unmap the floppy drive that the animation uses before we load the grubfm.iso file.

Here is the new grub_filemanager.mnu file (the additional lines are in red)

iftitle [ if exist (hd0,1)/grubfm.iso || if exist (hd0,2)/grubfm.iso ] Grub2 File Manager (a1ive)\nBoot a file using grub2
splashimage --animated=0
map --unmap=0:03 > nul
map --unhook
find --set-root /grubfm.iso
map --mem /grubfm.iso (0xff)
map --hook
chainloader (0xff)
boot


Friday, 17 January 2020

E2B v1.B9b (with bugfix for unattend answer file error when installing Windows)

Alexander reported a problem with E2B v1.B8.

When using an E2B USB Flash drive (removable type), after the Windows Setup 'copy files' stage had completed and the system reboots, if you allow it to boot directly from the internal hard drive, you will see an error message:

'Windows Setup encountered an internal error while loading or searching for an unattend answer file.'


Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Direct UEFI64 boot from Tails 2.4 ISO file using a1ive's grub2 File Manager

This .grubfm menu can be added to the same folder as the ISO to get a 'User Menu' option when you select the .iso file. This allows us to UEFI-boot to Tails ISOs.

You must test on a real system (not a Virtual Machine) as it needs to detect a USB boot device.


tails-amd64-4.2.grubfm

Monday, 13 January 2020

E2B "UEFI version"

I have added a new page to the E2B website.
It describes how to add a second FAT32 partition to your E2B USB drive instead of using a .imgPTN file. This means it is more compatible for E2B Removable flash drives when booting Win7/8.1 ISOs.
UEFI-boot and then directly boot from ISO, VHD and WIM files using a1ive's grub2
No need to create .imgPTN files for most payloads. It also supports SDI_CHOCO configuration installs and other XML files.

Download (version 1.0).

Latest a1ive grub2 File manager v1.4 (with Windows 8.1 and XML support)

The new version 1.4 now supports the ability to run a Windows 7/8/10 install ISO with an XML file.

This allows us to:

1. Install any Edition of Windows from a Win7 ISO
2. Install Windows 8.1 without needing to enter a Product Key
3. Install Windows 10 with an unattend.xml file

Just copy your .XML files into the same folder as your ISO

e.g. on your large NTFS partition:
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8  (contains .iso and .xml files)
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN7 (contains .iso and .xml files)
etc.

Download and unzip the latest version of the a1ive .imgPTN23 file (e.g. grub2 File Manager v1.4 (by a1ive).imgptn23auto) - see Alternate Downloads - Other folder for this. Place it in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

Download the Sample_WIN8.1_XML_Files.zip, unpack and place in your Win8 folder.

For Win7 - to choose any Edition, use this XML file.

Use the XML file to choose any Edition in the Win7 ISO.

You can also add .xml files for Windows 7 (to install Home from a Pro ISO file for instance, because Win7 Retail ISOs contain all versions of Windows 7).

Win8...
Navigate to your WIN8 folder and choose an ISO file.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Try this UEFI multiboot E2B drive (just add ISOs)

This E2B drive should run most UEFI payloads once you switch-in the a1ive File Manager.

Once it has been made, just copy your .ISO, .VHD, .VHDX, .WIM, .IMG. EFI, .IPXE payload files to the 3rd NTFS partition then run WinContig or Defraggler to make the ISOs contiguous.

You should then have a USB drive which will Secure or non-Secure UEFI64 boot or non-Secure UEFI32 boot (and MBR boot on some systems too).

It will also allow you to run SWITCHPE so that you can switch out the a1ive File Manager partition and switch in a different .imgPTN file should you need to.

This system is much easier to maintain than the E2B grub2 menu system because you just add (or delete) payload files. No other .imgPTN files need to be made. You can create grub2 menus if you wish however (e.g. UEFI\MBR booting Ubuntu-based ISOs + persistence in my previous blog).

Note: Win8.1 ISOs will require you to enter a Product Key. This can be an installation-only generic key (or you can add a \sources\ei.cfg file into the ISO). Version 1.4 or later also accepts XML unattend files too!

See also here for a E2B UEFI USB drive.

Instructions

Thursday, 9 January 2020

a1ive grub2 file manager menu for Ubuntu with persistence

Here is how to add multiple Ubuntu-based ISOs+persistence to your a1ive grub2 drive.


Instructions

a1ive's grub2 File Manager v1.2

Here is today's version of a1ive's latest grub2 file manager .imgPTN file.

We now have the ability to add our own grub2 menus by adding a .grubfm file which has exactly the same file name as the ISO file.

e.g.


Here we have a .grubfm menu file for the manjaro iso (download link).

The contents of the user-added .grubfm file are:

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Beware of this ATX PSU tester!

I bought an £8 ATX PSU tester from eBay recently.

I had the idea that I could use this as a cheap display panel for a home-built bench power supply which would be based on an ATX PSU plus a Boost/Buck variable voltage+constant current converter. This would save buying separate voltage displays for the PSU outputs (3.3V, 5V, 12V, -12V) and also provide a shunt resistor (which is inside the tester) plus an ATX PSU socket and a warning buzzer if any of the rails were outside of specification, and all for £8.

Note: The shunt resistor is only intended to be powered for a short time and it got too hot if I left it connected for more that 10 minutes.

However, when I tested it on 3 different ATX PSUs, I spotted an issue - can you see the problem in the picture below?

Measure capacitors with a $10 Arduino

Here is my simple Arduino-based Capacitor Meter which requires no additional components or even a breadboard - just add a display (though you can use the Arduino IDE Serial console if you don't have a display).

It uses an Arduino, some jumper wires, a cheap $3 OLED display and a 9V battery - that's it! You just stick the capacitor under test directly into the Arduino sockets.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

E2B v1.B9a Beta available with Strelec ISO bugfix

This version 1.B9a should work correctly with WinPE x64 Sergei Strelec ISOs as long as you use the .isofira01 file extension.

Previous versions worked OK with 32-bit WinPE but not with 64-bit WinPE.

This issue should now be fixed and you should get the full Desktop icons now.

Let me know how it goes!

P.S. If testing using VBox+VMUB, set VM OS to a 64-bit OS but NOT WINDOWS!  e.g. Windows 10 64-bit does not work (firadisk does not load ISO), but using 'Linux\Ubuntu 64' or 'Other 64-bit' works!


A1ive's grub2 File Manager v1.1

I have made a slight tweak to the grubfm file manager .imgPTN file so that it does not show all the '$' system files on NTFS partitions.

You can download the new v1.1 version from here.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

MBR-boot and UEFI-boot (almost) any file using a1ive's new grub2 and grub2 File Manager

a1ive has been busy modifying and extending a branch of grub2.

 Just copy your ISOs, etc. onto the drive and Secure UEFI boot!
Later versions: 
https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2020/01/a1ives-grub2-file-manager-v12.html 
https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2020/01/a1ive-grub2-file-manager-menu-for.html

As you know, grub4dos only supports MBR\Legacy-booting but grub2 also supports 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI. Now, a1ive has added support to UEFI-boot Windows Install ISOs, .wim files, .VHD files using NTBOOT. grub2 now supports the partnew and map commands even under UEFI, so we can generically boot most Linux ISO files under UEFI too.

He also has scripted a grub2 menu as a 'File Manager'. You can Legacy or UEFI-boot to grub2, select a partition and then select a file (.iso or .vhd(x) or .wim or .img, .ima or .efi). The File Manager will then offer a range of various options. The current supported list includes:

Also boots Windows Vista//7/8/10 Install ISOs too!
File extensions supported are:
.cfg - run as grub2, syslinux or pxelinux menu
.efi - run as UEFI file (UEFI mode only)
.img - run as disk image
.ipxe - run as ipxe
.iso - run as .iso (also includes .grubfm file of the same file name)
.lst - run as grub4dos menu (MBR mode only)
.lua - run as lua script
.mod - load grub2 module
.pf2 - load font file
.png  - graphics image
.vhd - run as VHD
.wim - run as NT6 .wim file


Add this to your Easy2Boot USB drive

If you want to try this with Easy2Boot, you can download the .imgPTN23 file (from Alternate Download - Other folder).
Note: This .imgPTN23 file also supports an automated workaround for bypassing Secure Boot on UEFI64 systems so you can boot any unsigned payload from a Secure UEFI boot!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Decade!

Happy New Year everyone.

E2B v1.B8 is now officially released.

If you haven't got your 2020 Calendar yet (like me!), why not design and print your own instantly!