Tuesday 31 March 2020

Call for help with agFM translation - it's easy!

As you may have noticed, the a1ive grub2 File Manager supports different languages, however many words and phrases have not yet been translated. This is where you can help...

You can easily add or revise a translation using the crowdin app. This is a web-based app which allows you to simply type in the translation for each word or phrase used by the agFM menu system.

To translate

1. First create a new crowdin account. You can sign-in in a number of different ways. Don't forget to confirm your email address when the request is emailed to you (check you Spam folder if it does not appear).

2. Click the language you would like to translate. e.g. French

3. Click "fm.pot" and start translation. (e.g. https://crowdin.com/translate/grub2-filemanager/8/en-fr)

4. Select each word or phrase from the left-hand side and type in the translated word or phrase (1) and save it (2). Do this for each entry (there may be more than one page).

5. Once translated, the crowdin bot will create a pr automatically (https://github.com/a1ive/grub2-filemanager/pull/126)"

I will then compile a new version of agFM after a few days.

Monday 30 March 2020

E2B eBook #4 updated

I hope you are well and have not suffered seriously from Corona.

One of my neighbours, a lovely old lady called Irene, sadly died yesterday, so please make sure you look after your vulnerable family members and friends during these difficult times.

eBook #4 on agFM and UEFI-booting

I have just updated eBook #4 to v1.2. So please use the URL you were sent to get the latest version.

You could also check that you have the latest versions of the other eBooks too.

Since you may be self-isolating now due to Corona, it might be a good time to actually read the eBooks and maybe get your multiboot USB fully working with all your payload files?

E2B eBooks

P.S. eBook #4 is still at the reduced price of $7 (RRP $10) and you can get 10% off ALL the eBooks when you purchase more than one.

Friday 27 March 2020

agFM v1.34 now released

This version has a few small bugfixes...
  • F1 now shows true Secure Boot status
  • En-us language added to F4 Language menu
  • Fix clover UEFI32 bug in \e2b\alive grub2 filemanager.mnu
To UEFI32 boot to Clover, you will need to update the alive grub2 filemanager.mnu file in your E2B \_ISO\MAINMENU folder. The previous version sometimes boots to UEFI64 instead of UEFI32!

To update. you can click on "\e2b\Update agFM\Download and update agFM.cmd" to download the latest release version and then extract it to the root of the FAT32 agFM partition #2.

Look at the date of the README.md file to see what version you have.

P.S. eBook #4 on agFM has been updated to v1.1.

P.S. This latest Bangood Special Offer made me smile...

Thursday 26 March 2020

False alarm! grubfm does not corrupt UEFI firmware.

A user reported that after UEFI64-booting grubfm, his UEFI firmware (Lenovo B40 30 laptop) was corrupted  and he could no longer get into the BIOS Setup menu system.

Since he blamed A1ive's grubfm and the UEFI Kaspersky Shim for this, I added a warning to the agFM web page on the E2B site.

However, now he has confirmed that the firmware corruption was due to booting to Ubuntu and was not by agFM itself.

It was an issue with the linux kernel. If you remember during release of Ubuntu 17.10 there was an issue of bios corruption ? it was a similar issue. Though it happened with the latest linux kernel

Detailed in a bug report on Canonical's Launchpad platform, the issue is serious: Installing Ubuntu 17.10 on selected Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba laptops can cause corruption in the UEFI firmware which presents itself as an inability to make any changes post-corruption. In serious news for systems without a built-in optical drive, the corruption also disables the ability to boot from a USB storage device.
Tracked down to the Intel Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) kernel module, prevention is straightforward: Disabling the intel-spi-* kernel driver family prevents the corruption without any other apparent impact on the system. For those who have already had their UEFI firmwares corrupted, however, there appears to be no easy fix yet available.
So I have now removed the warning but you may need to watch out for this serious Ubuntu bug!

Wednesday 25 March 2020

First YouTube video of E2B v2.00 (but in Portuguese!)

Well, it seems it took less than 24 hours after release, for someone to post a You Tube video on E2B+agFM!

Only problem is - it's in Portuguese!

I do plan to make my own YT video soon (if you want to hear about it from the horses mouth).

Meanwhile, feel free to get eBook #4 which is all about agFM and comes complete with instructions on how to add MBR+UEFI bootable AV ISOs, Linux ISOs+persistence, popular WinPE ISOs and Windows Install ISOs + unattended installs.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Easy2Boot v2.00 released

V2.00 is now released.


The main change is that when you make a new drive, it will now download the agFM files and copy them to the second FAT32 partition (if present). This allows UEFI-booting to the agFM grub2 File Manager system. All thanks to 'a1ive' for developing his grub2 branch and agFM.
  • Make_E2B.exe and Make_E2B_USB_drive.cmd - downloads agFM if 2nd FAT32 partition is made. If drive is <128Gib then 2nd FAT32 partition of approx 500MB is automatically made. Allow user to define sizes in GB of ptns1, 2 and 3 if Gear Wheel button used. If drive >128GB it always prompts user for partition 1, 2 and 3 sizes and type even if AUTO selected.
  • New default wallpaper.
  • .isoPE extension now updates the WinBuilder .ini files (e.g. for Gandalf ISOs) - use .isoPE extension if you get a yellow warning triangle on desktop.
  • \_ISO\docs\Wincontig folder can now be copied to any volume\folder - e.g. copy to partition 3 so it will make all files on that partition contiguous.
  • Update SDI_CHOCO scripts and add chocolatey.nupkg for offline install of chocolatey.
  • Add support for windows ISOs on ptn3 in qrun.g4b so can have Windows Install ISOs on ptn3 or ptn2 or ptn1 and use a .mnu file, add $$Install_Win10_from_Ptn2or3.mnu sample mnu file
  • Switch_E2B.exe now looks for auxiliary *. files on other volumes at \(path), then \_ISO, then \ - e.g. ptn1:\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10.imgptn23 and ptn3:\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Win10.
  • Bugfix - Latest grldr with bugfix for non-contiguous files
  • Bugfix - Fix EXTOFF variable not working in MyE2B.cfg (file extension always displayed in the menu).
Read more: https://www.easy2boot.com/download/e2b-version-history/

Sunday 22 March 2020

E2B eBook #4 on agFM is now available

The first revision v1.00 is now available here for the introductory price of $7 (RRP will be $10).

I hope to release E2B v2.00 in a few days. Please test the Beta versions of E2B v2 and agFM v.1.32 and inform me of any issues ASAP!

Please feedback any comments on the eBook and use the eBook download link that you will be emailed when you complete the purchase, to download any later revisions for free.

Saturday 21 March 2020

agFM v1.32 and Easy2Boot v2.00 Beta now available

agFM v1.32 now includes Clover boot files, so you can now UEFI-boot from the E2B Legacy menu.

Clover does have problems on some systems though, so it is of limited use!

Use the new copy of /e2b/a1ive grub2 filemanager.mnu and copy it to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.

The latest agFM version can be found here.

E2B is now v2.00a Beta. 

Changes (Version History) can be found under the Downloads tab on the E2B website.


P.S. The new eBook #4 on agFM is almost finished!

Sunday 15 March 2020

agFM v1.31 Beta now available

This version has some bug fixes and I have tidied up the folder structure (now has an \e2b folder).
I have found the AT keyboard scan code maps to cause issues - if you have a non-responsive keyboard then remove the terminal_input at_keyboard and keymap lines in your startup_menu.txt file!

You may need to modify your startup_menu.cfg file for the new folder structure.

I have included a sample submenu for the use Startup menu to show you how you can add more submenus to the first Startup menu.

I have also included a new example .cfg file for installing 64-bit Windows 10 ISO.


The sample file should be copied to any folder on the E2B drive (same partition as the ISO) and can be renamed. When run, it will ask you to choose a product key (Edition), an XML file, a user name and a PC name.

It will modify a copy of the chosen XML file  (in memory) for you.

Many thanks to Phong for reporting an issue and providing a sample .cfg file which I based this version on.

If you want the username and PC name and Product Key substitution to work, all the XML files that you include in your menu choices will need to include UNAME, PCNAME and ASKME-ASKME-ASKME-ASKME-ASKME in the relevant fields.

This could be used with Win10_Pro_US_UNAME_PCNAME_SDI_CHOCO_ASKME.xml for instance. Using this with a modified .cfg file, you will choose the Edition (Home/pro, etc), Computer Name and User Name. You will then create and format the install partitions manually on the target system using the standard Setup dialogue. The installation will then proceed unattended and if you have set up your SDI_CHOCO config and SNAPPY driver folders correctly, it will install all missing drivers and install your desired apps automatically (internet Ethernet connection required if using online app choco installs). You can use the same process for MBR\Legacy or UEFI installs.

If you use an XML which also wipes and creates partitions, the process can be fully automated but you will need one XML for UEFI GPT partitions and a different XML for MBR\Legacy partitions.

More details on XML files can be found in eBook #3.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

agFM v1.29 Beta available with keyboard selection

I have added keyboard map files to agFM so that you can use AZERTY and QWERTZ and other keyboards.

The latest agFM version can be found here.

P.S. Using the console set to at_keyboard seems to stop the keyboard from working on some systems! I suggest you don't use this unless you have to!

Monday 9 March 2020

agFM v1.28 Beta available

This version fixes a bug where the UEFI agFM menu is left on the screen and the Windows Setup form is displayed on the wrong screen so you cannot see it.

The Windows ISO appears to boot correctly and then you just see a blank agFM menu...

The Windows Setup is actually running but it is displayed on an alternate screen. In the case of my IdeaPad 300, this issue occurred randomly about 1 in every 2,3,4 or 5 boots to the Windows Install ISO!

I have now added a 'known issues' list to the end of the agFM page on the E2B website.
Please let me know if you find any more.

Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration

P.S. If you ever see this issue when installing Windows to a clean hard disk, please let me know:

I think this issue may be caused by Windows Setup not liking the BCD file on the FAT32 partition of the USB hard drive you are installing from!

I have noticed that the date&time stamp of the \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bcd file on the USB drive has changed after Windows Setup stage 1 runs if you UEFI-boot from an E2B USB Hard drive. Setup seems to load the USB drive's bcd to see if it is the 'system' bcd??? It does not seem to change it's contents. My guess is that if it cannot load and parse it successfully the install will fail with this error message.

I started to get this error very consistently at the end of the file copy phase in Windows Setup, when installing to a blank disk in a VM and a real system (UEFI install). I tried for hours to find out what was causing it and then the error magically disappeared - probably after I used BootIce to look at the BCD file on the USB drive's FAT32 partition - but I can't be sure. This error seems to have stumped a number of people on the internet who had the same problem but I could not find anyone who had reliably identified the cause...

Sunday 8 March 2020

Latest Easy2Boot v.1.B9 and agFM Betas - call for feedback

I am thinking of releasing the next version of E2B soon.

I will rename Beta E2B v1,B9m and agFM v1.27 as Easy2Boot v2.00.

The Make_E2B utility will prompt the user to add the agFM files after downloading them.

Please can you send me a quick email with any feedback on E2B+agFM (latest versions).

In particular, I would like to know:

  1. Type of E2B USB used: Removable or Fixed/HDD
  2. Version tested: E2B and agFM
  3. Windows Install tests: UEFI64 Windows install from ISO works OK? XML files work?  WipeDisk+SDI_CHOCO.xml files work?
  4. Any issues with any particular payloads? Please give details on how I can reproduce the issue.
  5. Any other feedback welcome.

Please email me at steve @ easy2boot.com  with your observations.

Note that Make_E2B.exe will only make the second agFM partition + files if you are using Windows 10 OR you are using any Windows OS plus a Fixed-disk USB drive.  i.e. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8 AND a Removable USB drive, then the agFM partition will not be made (because those versions of Windows cannot access a 2nd partition on Removable flash drives).

The more feedback I get, the sooner it can be released.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

agFM v1.25 available with UEFI Secure Boot from Windows Install ISOs

Todays version is v1.25 and a1ive has worked some magic and it now seems to be able to boot Windows Install ISOs even in Secure UEFI64-boot mode! (I haven't tested Secure UEFI32 as I don't have a suitable UEFI32 computer).

No more 0xc000000f BSOD errors and we don't have to create dual FAT32+NTFS .imgPTN files to Secure Boot to large Windows Installers!

By adding your own .cfg file, you can also auto-install directly from a Windows ISO in Secure Boot mode using a suitable XML file and even install Drivers and Apps automatically. If you use the Win10 1909 x64_UNAME_PCNAME.cfg config file, you can specify the Computer Name and User Name before the build starts.

Please let me know if it works for you by using the checkboxes below.

Note: If you have any problems UEFI64 booting and installing Windows directly from a Windows ISO, please let me know,

A1ive has also added an option to recognise Kaspersky ISOs and UEFI-boot to them.

Norton Bootable Recovery Tool nbrt.iso - no EFI boot files, use the nbrt.grubfm sample file provided for UEFI booting.

Monday 2 March 2020

agFM v1.24 now available (with support for UEFI64 boot from krd.iso)

Todays version fixes the issue of user input not accepting [BACKSPACE] which made it difficult to type in a string if you make a mistake (e.g. when specifying the computer name or user account name).

It also fixes an issue when trying to UEFI64-boot to the krd.iso Kaspersky Rescue Disk.

All credit should go to a1ive who has made the required changes to grub2 and helped with suggestions.

Note: agFM now supports krd - there is no need for a .grubfm file.

The krd.grubfm filecan be added. Just copy it from the \Menu Files to copy to payload volume folder to the \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS folder where your krd.iso is located.

When you UEFI64-boot to the agFM menu system, select the krd.iso file and then pick the 'User menu' entry.

Sunday 1 March 2020

agFM v1.23 now available with support for modifying XML files

Todays version uses the latest build of a1ive's grub2 and grubfm (the ipxe part is in Beta status, i.e. may have bugs).

The main changes in todays release are:

1. Bugfix in Win10 1909 x64.cfg - due to a change in the a1ives grubfm scripts, this now needed modifying.
2. New Win10 1909 x64_UNAME_PCNAME.cfg config file

The new Win10 1909 x64_UNAME_PCNAME.cfg file allows the user to modify the contents of any XML file.

a1ive kindly helped me with the lua script which was needed for this.

This new .cfg file means that you can use an automated install XML file but change the User Name and Computer Name before Setup runs. This is useful for computer shops who often install the same Windows Edition but need a different user account name and computer name.

The example version uses an XML file which has the user name and computer name set to UNAME and PCNAME. The script will then allow you to change those strings.