Saturday 29 February 2020

E2B v1.B9k with grub4dos 'Error 25:' bugfix

There was a bug introduced into some recent grub4dos versions used in E2B v1.B7 and 1.B8.
A typical symptom is 'Error 25: Disk read error'.

To fix the error, it was necessary to make sure all ISO files are contiguous by running \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd.

E2B v1.B9k2 has the new grub4dos version (v1.B9k had the old version).

previous versions:
2019-08-09 OK (E2B v1.B5)
2019-09-09 OK (E2B v1.B6)
2019-10-28 FAIL (E2B v1.B7)
2019-12-30 FAIL (E2B v1.B8)
2020-01-28 FAIL (E2B v1.B8A)

Other changes:

  • The \_ISO\docs\Wincontig folder can now be copied to any drive volume and be placed in any folder. You can then make files contiguous on that volume by running one of the .cmd files.
  • Bugfix - set EXTOFF=1 did not suppress the file extension in the menus.

Friday 28 February 2020

agFM v1.21 Beta now available

The developer a1ive has yet again done loads of brilliant work and managed to get the contiguous file test working for the partnew command. He has also added multiple language support to the main English version - just press F4 and select a different language or set the language in your user startup_menu.txt file.

F4 Settings Menu (auf Deutsch).

In your startup_menu.txt file, set the desired language:
#set language: en_US, ru_RU, fr_FR, tr_TR, ko_KR, ja_JP, zh_CN, de_DE, he_IL, vi_VN, es_EM, zh_TW
export lang=de_DE

I feel that the UEFI agFM system is getting very near to release status now, so please try it out for yourself.

Try the new version.

Thursday 27 February 2020

agFM v1.20 now available

The main change in this version is that a1ive has added an option to remove filename case sensitivity.

I don't know about you but I find the case-sensitivity of Linux\grub very annoying - especially when you have to verbally tell someone the name of a file and you have to say 'oh - and you have to type it with an uppercase F and a lowercase u'!

This change means we don't need to use the exact case for any letters used to specify the filenames in any of the .cfg or .grubfm menu files that we make.

There is now an extra option in the F4 Settings menu to enable case-sensitivity if you wish to have it on. You would only need to enable case-sensitivity when the same folder has two files with the same name but some of the letters were in a different case - which is quite unlikely!

agFM is looking quite nice now, however there is one major issue to overcome which I hope a1ive can crack. When using the partnew command to switch in partition images or ISO files, we should check to make sure that the file is contiguous. If it is not then it may fail to boot or it could even result in serious file corruption of the E2B drive! However the grub2 commands used to check if a file is contiguous (blocklist and stat -c) currently take over 1 minute to check a large 3GB file if the file is on an NTFS partition. If there are two files to switch in then it can take even longer. The partnew command currently does not check that the .imgPTN or .ISO file is contiguous.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

E2B v1.B9j Beta available + grub4dos bug discovered

This version fixes the issue where Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd did not make a CONTIG.ISO file when requested.

It also now searches on Partition 3 for partition image files which have no file extension.

Ptn1: \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10 x64.imgPTN23    (FAT32 boot files)
Ptn3: \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10 x64    (NTFS >4GB INSTALL.WIM)

The Win10 x64 file (which has no extension) can either be in the root of the volume or in \_ISO or in the same path as the .imgPTN file. The file name should not have any dot in it or else it will be treated as having an extension.

This means the .imgPTN23 file can be the FAT32 boot partition and the file with no extension can be the NTFS volume containing your large install.wim file. You can secure boot and install >4GB install.wim files in this way. Instructions are on the agFM E2B page here.

Grub4dos bug discovered!

agFM v1.19 now available

v1.19 2020-02-25 - This version has a few bug fixes and improvements. The main one is support of .imgPTN and auxilliary partition images on partition 3 (no extension).
  • WinBuilder ISOs (e.g. Gandalf) now should work correctly (no yellow triangle desktop icon) when using (map) option or .isoPE file extension.
  • Support multiple .imgPTN files
  • Add support for WinPE .ini files and wipe on boot
  • Wipe \autounattend.xml and \unattend.xml in case booting from a Windows Install partition
  • Latest build of a1ive grub2 - improved File Manager
See the agFM page for more details.

About .imgPTN files

Saturday 22 February 2020

agFM v1.17 available

This version has a few bug fixes, the menu font has been changed too and a1ive has added fat file rename\copy support to grub and the agFM menu system.

Friday 21 February 2020

ESET + persistent updates instructions now revised

The previous Eset blog article was tested (with much frustration) by 'Pusher' who could not get the Eset SysRescue app to auto-run.

It turns out that my instructions were wrong and the ext3 persistence file must be copied from a working Eset flash drive (as detailed in a previous blog).

I have revised the previous instructions now and provided a download for the persistence file to make it easier to set up.

Sorry for any frustration that this may have caused anyone!

Trouble finding WinPE ISOs?

Recently, it seems very hard to find WinPE ISOs such as Gandalfs PE,  Bob Omb's WinPEs, Medicat, DLC Boot, etc. and some websites (like seem go up and down faster than a tarts knickers!

Other sites just seem to be blocked (by Windows? AV? Browser?) and request a username and password but don't let you sign up first!

Google also seems to have a hard time returning meaningful results too.

After a few hours of looking for various bootable ISOs I eventually found:

They seem to have a good selection and the download is not too hard to get to!

P.S. I am not recommending this site and have no connection with it. Please ensure you take any necessary anti-malware precautions when downloading from it!

Thursday 20 February 2020

agFM v1.16 available

This version has a few bug fixes to the SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file.
E2B v1.B9i Beta is also available which has a few small bugfixes to the Make_e2b_usb_drive.cmd menu.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

agFM v1.15 now supports a user theme menu

a1ive has very kindly added support for a user-configurable theme or a user-specified text+wallpaper menu system.

v1.15 includes a slightly modified theme.

Configure a startup menu with a background for agFM

Currently, the agFM menu system can either use the internal theme ('slack') or you can switch it to Terminal mode

However, you can define a startup menu and populate the menu entry with specific payload entries of your choice.

The startup menu will use the same 'slack' theme, but you can change it to use a non-themed menu.

You can specify the resolution (1024x768 recommended), text colours and either a pure colour background or a wallpaper image (stretched or normal and you can use .png, .tga, .jpg or .jpeg).

Tuesday 18 February 2020

rev 2.15 of eBook #1 How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot now available

The new version has a few small revisions.

Getting started with Easy2Boot_rev2.15.pdf

Use the download link in the email that was sent to you if you want this version.

Latest release of agFM v1.14 and E2B Beta v1.B9h available

agFM has improved support for WinPE ISO booting. If the extension is .ISO then choose the 'Install Windows' option. If the extension is .isoPE then it will automatically use that option.

E2B v1.B9h has an improved Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd script (used to make an E2B drive) which allows you to define up to three partitions and automatically downloads and adds the current version of agFM to the new E2B drive.

Monday 17 February 2020

agFM v1.13 now available

v1.13 2020-02-17 
  1. File extensions of .isodef, .isodefault, .isodd, .iso01, .iso32, .iso64, .isoPE or .isoPE01 will now immediately boot the ISO (using Easy2Boot\partnew method).
  2. Add diagnostic menu entry to users startup_menu.txt.
  3. Support E2B-style MBR-booting of .iso* and .wim files which have spaces in their filenames.
  4. Display grub2 menu icons in menu after selecting the ISO (e.g. Manjaro ISO will display Manjaro icon after selection).
  5. Clear empty type 0 partitions on boot.
  6. Various bug fixes in a1ives grub2 and File Manager.
Most Linux iso will boot if you give them a file extension of .isodef (or .isodefault) in both agFM and E2B menu system. If you leave them as .iso, you will need to pick the required boot method from a secondary agFM menu.

Download Area for agFM Beta here.

If you require a different language, extract and overwrite the files using one of the language .zip files from the Languages sub-folder - Note: you must update to v1.13 first.

Saturday 15 February 2020

agFM v1.12 now available

This version has a new feature to only list bootable\actionable files.

agFM Beta download folder is here.

Now, by default, files such a .XML , .BMP., .JPG., .BAK, .CMD, .GZ, .BAT, .MNU and all other non-bootable files are not shown in the agFM file menu.

This makes it much quicker to navigate the E2B folder structure.

I have also added two new .cfg files in case you want all files to be listed in the agFM menu.

  • SHOW ALL FILES (agFM).cfg

If you want your agFM system to always show all files on startup (as with previous versions of agFM), then create a \boot\grubfm\startup_menu.txt file on the agFM partition and add in this line at the top of the file:

grubfm_set --hide 0

If you do not want a startup menu to be shown, just set the timeout and default to 0.

Friday 14 February 2020

agFM v1.11 now available

a1ive has made a small change so that we can have an initial boot menu on booting the agFM.

This means it is possible to set a default menu item + timeout.

Here is a sample menu which offers three menu choices and will default to select a Windows 10 ISO on timeout...

To configure your own menu, rename the \boot\grubfm\SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt file to startup_menu.txt.

Here is the contents of the sample menu...


Thursday 13 February 2020

agFM v1.10 now available

a1ive has made some changes to allow us to customise the agFM.

The main change with this version is that when you select a .cfg file, it will immediately run it as a grub2 file without needing to select the 'Open as grub2 menu' option.

Note that the 'Cancel' or 'Back' option in any existing .cfg files that you may have made will now not work correctly and will just reload the .cfg file again - you will need to edit them. Compare your .cfg file with the example files to see what lines have changed...

e.g. change lines in existing .cfg file from...

grubfm "${grubfm_file}"
grubfm "${grubfm_current_path}"

Similarly with .imgPTN* files - just select them and they will now immediately run.

Download Area for agFM Beta here.

To update, just extract the files from the .zip file to your FAT32 agFM volume.

Windows 10 'Print' function is now launching OneNote!!!

My Windows 10 system ran a large Windows Update today and now whenever I try to print a document, OneNote launches instead!

The solution is to set the Default Printer back to your desired printer using Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Devices and Printers.

Right-click on the printer device and choose 'Set as default printer'.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Add ESET + persistence to E2B+agFM

Recent versions of the ESET antivirus ISO have changed the way they use a persistent ext partition.

ESET will now only store the virus definition update files on an ext3 partition with a specific volume name of ESR-USB-DAT and it must be located as Primary Partition 2 (2nd partition) on the USB drive.

This change means that it won't work as a normal xxxx.imgPTN+xxxxx image pair in E2B because the persistent partition is mapped to partition 3 by Easy2Boot.

This means we need to modify the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file.

If you have made an E2B multiboot USB drive with the a1ive grub2 File System on the 2nd FAT32 partition, then you can add a UEFI64-bootable (and MBR-bootable) version of ESET with persistence by using a special .cfg file.


Tuesday 11 February 2020

agFM v1.9 now available

  • Few minor bugfixes
  • Improve .imgPTN switching
  • Reduced menu font size
Download agFM v1.9

Monday 10 February 2020

A1ive grub2 File Manager v1.7/1.7A available (with .imgPTN support built-in)

a1ive has now added support for user-definable file extensions, so agFM v1.7A now automatically recognises the following extra file extensions:
  • .imgPTN
  • .imgPTN23
  • .imgPTNauto
  • .imgPTN23auto

Friday 7 February 2020

E2B v1.B8A released

v1.B8 had a few bugs, so v1.B8A fixes these.
v1.B8A does not include the modifications for agFM or user-definable partition sizes as in v1.B9g Beta.

Thursday 6 February 2020

Secure Boot of large Windows Install ISOs with agFM

If your Windows Install ISO is very large and contains a 4GB+ install.wim or install.esd file, then you can still Secure Boot to the agFM then boot from an NTFS partition.

1. Make a .imgPTN23 NTFS image file using the MPI Tool Kit (drag-and-drop onto the MPI_NTFS Desktop icon).
2. Copy it to your E2B NTFS partition.
3. Copy agFM_imgPTN_NTFS_v16.cfg to your E2B NTFS partition (e.g. \agFM folder).
4. Change the name of the .cfg file to whatever you like (keep .cfg extension).
5. Edit the .cfg file to set the file path of your image file and its image type.

Now you can switch in the NTFS image file, reboot and use the F3 menu to boot to (hd0,msdos1).

Note: Later versions fix a few bugs and allow us to simply select the .imgPTN23 file so that a .cfg file is not needed.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

E2B v1.B9g Beta available

This version v1.B9g will now ask if you want to download and add the agFM UEFI boot files to the E2B drive after it has been made. The agFM files are then automatically added to the E2B drive for you.

However, it only asks you if the second partition is a FAT partition and it is larger than 60MB.

If you just click the large red arrow button in Make_E2B.exe, then you will get a FAT32 2nd partition of approx. 600MB by default - or use the Gear Wheel button to specify what partition sizes you want.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

E2B v1.B9f Beta

This version 1.B9f just has some changes to the Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd script which is used to make the E2B drive by the Make_E2B.exe GUI.

Changes are:

Monday 3 February 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.5 now available

The 'E2B UEFI File Manager' latest version is now available from here.

I have modified the RESTORE_E2B.cfg file and there is a new version of agFM_imgPTN_v15.cfg (for switching in .imgPTN files).

Latest grub2 build (todays build)

The second FAT32 partition can be type 0B or type 0C now (some partition tools seem to create type 0B FAT32 partitions).

Saturday 1 February 2020

a1ive grub2 File Manager v1.4 now available (with .imgPTN support)

The grub2 developer a1ive has done some fantastic work and has added more features to grub2 which means we can update partitions even under UEFI.

The 'E2B UEFI File Manager' latest version is now available from here.

This version allows you to 'switch-in' any .imgPTN file or restore the E2B partitions from within a1ive's grub2 File Manager (agFM).

By switching in a Windows 10 .imgPTN23 file, we can Secure UEFI64-boot and install Windows 10 on a Secure system.

To update, just copy extract the files to overwrite the current files on your FAT32 partition.

Note: This is in Beta development and you could possibly lose all your data on the E2B drive! I haven't lost any data yet however.

It assumes that your first two partitions are:
Ptn1: NTFS Primary (type 07)
Ptn2: FAT32 Primary (type 0C)