Saturday 31 October 2020

Boot to almost anything using an IODD Mini SSD device emulator

In a recent E2B chat session, a user wanted to use an E2B USB drive to contain lots of special disk images. These images contained multiple partitions. Some of these images used multiple GPT partitions. For instance multiple Mac OS X installers, full multiple-partition Windows To Go with BitLocker, full Linux OS with swap and encrypted data partitions.etc.

Unfortunately, such a scenario is not feasible when using Easy2Boot (at least not easily!) - however, the user did own an IODD DVD emulator, so I suggested using it's VHD feature.

He did not realise that it could be used in this way!

The IODD Mini

The IODD Mini #ad  SSD CD\DVD drive emulator is a solid-state version of the IODD 2531 and 2541 (see previous blog article here).
You can see from the picture below that it is approx 9cm x 4cm in size and will easily fit in a pocket.

As you may know, these Zalman and IODD 'DVD' emulators can load ISO files and then the USB device will appear as a USB DVD drive.

They can also load a VHD file and then it will appear to a computer as a 'USB disk' - so you can boot to a VHD containing a fully install Windows OS.

However, he did not realise that you could simply create an 'empty' VHD and then select that on his IODD device - thus the USB drive will appear as an unformatted USB drive.

He can then partition and format it as he wishes, install an OS to the USB 'drive', etc.

Thus it is possible for his IODD to contain multiple disk images of different multiple-partition Windows OS's, Linux OS's with swap partitions, Mac OS X, Mac Installer, Hackintosh Installers, DOS Flash images, etc. and they can be MBR or GPT partitions.

He can even mount more than one VHD as a disk device, so the second VHD could contain common programs, drivers, data, etc. which he can easily access after booting from the first VHD. You can even boot from one VHD and install to another VHD.

The IODD Mini VHD file can be configured to appear as a Removable 'Flash' drive or a 'Fixed Disk' HDD - just use either a .RMD extension or a .VHD file extension. If required, you can also write-protect the virtual disk too.

agFM v1.64 released

agFM v1.64 2020-10-31
  • Update Passmark's memtest86 EFI files to v8.4
  • grubfm MBR bugfix for some WinPE .wim files not booting using agFM - e.g. DLCBoot 2019 ISO.
Thanks to Arfan for reporting the DLC MBR-boot bug and to developer a1ive for fixing it.

Note: This version has a bug in the F3 Boot menu - please use a later version!


You can get free updates by using the email link that was sent to you when you purchased the eBook.

Here are the current versions.
  • eBook #1 11/09/2020  Getting started with Easy2Boot_v2.18.pdf
  • eBook #2 29/10/2020  How to make a UEFI multi-boot Easy2Boot USB drive v1.01.pdf
  • eBook #3 21/10/2020  How to install Microsoft Windows using Easy2Boot_v1.7.pdf
  • eBook #4 08/10/2020  UEFI-multiboot using the a1ive grub2 File Manager_v1.16.pdf
  • 22/07/2020 Getting started with grub4dos_v1.01.pdf


Ventoy has been updated recently and is currently at version v1.0.26.
You can add Ventoy using the .cmd script in the \e2b folder on the agFM partition of your E2B USB drive.

Friday 16 October 2020

'Hack into Windows' YouTube video uploaded


This video demonstrates how to use the UtilMan XML files to create a new ADMIN account or reset an offline account password.

It should work even if your PC contains multiple Windows installations.

It speeds up and semi-automates the process so that you do not have to type multiple Windows commands.

The latest beta version of E2B v2.06c has the latest version of the .cmd scripts which now also patches the Magnify.exe file.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Amazon Prime deals end today!

 In case you missed it, today is the last day of the Amazon Prime sale.

If you read my earlier blog posts, you will know that I have recently subscribed to Readly and cancelled all my paper magazine subscriptions. Yesterday, I noticed that the Amazon Fire HD's are now on sale with massive reductions, so I just received my new Fire HD 10 (#ad) this morning - installed Google Play and Chrome - and logged into Wow! Very nice display and it works as an Amazon Echo Show too - bargain!.

agFM v1.63 released

 agFM v1.63 just has a very small change to the \boot\grubfm\SAMPLE_startup_menu.txt example menu file. The small change will cause all .pf2 font files that are present in your theme folder to be automatically loaded.

#SET STYLE (change section below if required)
#mymenu=0   standard agFM theme
#mymenu=1   using $mytheme as theme   (rename folder \boot\grubfm\themes\sample_slack to slack) NO SPACES - DO NOT USE sample_slack folder as it will be changed on update
#mymenu=2   User wallpaper, no theme  (change USER MENU CONFIG section below)
#mymenu=3   Text mode - most compatible and quickest - use if keyboard issues (English only) - see section 3 below
set mymenu=0
#if mymenu=1 then mytheme specifies the theme folder to be used
set mytheme="slack"

######## MYMENU=1 - USERS GRUB2 THEME ########
if [ "${mymenu}" = "1" ] ; then
# Load fonts - if your theme uses special fonts (not unicode) this loads ALL font files
# The .pf2 font files should be inside the theme folder
for font in (${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/*.pf2; do loadfont ${font} ; done
# You can use the lsfonts command to list the currently loaded fonts

# Rename \boot\grubfm\themes\sample_slack folder to slack then edit background.png to add your own wallpaper
# uncomment 'menu_pixmap_style' in each .txt file to add a grey box behind the menu text
export theme_std="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/theme.txt";
export theme_fm="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/fm.txt";
export theme_info="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/info.txt";
export theme_help="(${user})/boot/grubfm/themes/${mytheme}/help.txt";
export theme=$theme_std
# themes must not contain spaces
if ! [ -f "$theme" ] ; then echo "ERROR: Can't find $theme" ; read ; fi

This means that if you use your own grub2 theme and it contains .pf2 font files, then they will be automatically loaded.


set mymenu=1
set mytheme="seven14Large"

seven14Large theme

Friday 9 October 2020

Tip: How to repair a Windows 8/10 system that won't boot without needing any another copy of Windows or WinPE

Although it is always better to try to repair a Windows OS by booting from the original Windows ISO, it is not always present on your E2B USB drive!

This tip works for most Windows 8 or Windows 10 systems. It allows you to repair the OS without needing to have any ISO or WinPE type payload file on the E2B drive and it will always use the correct matching version of WinRE to repair or access the original OS installation - even if you don't actually know what OS version was installed.

It relies on the fact that most Windows 8/10 systems will already contain a \Recovery folder on the internal hard disk containing a winre.wim file. It could be contained within a separate Recovery partition or it could be in the main NTFS boot partition.

This method allows you to boot to the Recovery console and from there you can use the various repair/troubleshooting repair features or drop to the command shell and type in your own commands.

Since E2B\agFM\Ventoy can boot from .wim files, we can directly boot from the winre.wim file like this...

Thursday 8 October 2020

KonBoot v3.6 is now available

 KonBoot v3.6 is now the latest version and has a few bugfixes, etc.

Kon-Boot is currently the only solution worldwide we are aware of that can bypass Windows 10 online passwords!

 Main updates:

  • Updates for macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and macOS Big Sur 10.16 beta

  • Updates for Windows 10

  • Installer updates

KonBoot can now be added to your E2B USB drive but you must purchase a licence.

The more expensive version is about the only software that allows you to get past a Windows Online account on a Windows 10 system.

Of course, a free alternative to bypass a Windows 10 online account login (by creating a new account) can be done by booting to a Windows 10 ISO from Easy2Boot (UEFI or MBR) and choosing the Utilman - Hack Windows.xml XML file. 
For more instructions, see the UtilMan E2B web page.

Hack into a Windows 8/10 online account - just type '2'!
Win 8 does not require a Safe Mode boot (but Win10 does!).

agFM v1.62 released

 agFM v1.62 has some bug fixes, language improvements and some new features and changes. The main change is that the first-letter auto-jump feature now works in grubfm as well as the startup menu.

The default agFM menu (\boot\grubfm\startup_default.cfg) now sets the three grub2 variables:

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Readly is free for 2 months (offer ends this month)

This is just a heads up about the end of the Readly special offer. Readly is the online magazine service which I have been enjoying now for over a month. I have now cancelled my three paper magazine subscriptions as I now just use Readly to read all my magazines. This saves me about £9 a month plus I get to read dozens of the other mags that I am interested in!

The Readly special offer of 2 months free ends October 31st.

You can read all these and 100's more!
Photography, cars, games, fashion, DIY, hobbies, finance, etc. it's all there!

Here are a few of my reasons:

  1. Save money - OK, I admit it, my initial reason was that it was cheaper. If your household subscribes to lots of mags, you can save a small fortune!
  2. If I don't like it, I have nothing to lose - it's free for 2 months and I can always cancel the subscription at any time.
  3. I reckon I only actually read 50% of the pages anyway.
  4. I never re-read or go back to the old mags - every so often I throw them out, so why do I need them in paper format? I can always download a copy now anyway.
  5. Save the forests - the pages are useless as toilet paper anyway!
  6. Unlimited! I can now read 100's of magazines for free
  7. Browse all mags
  8. Free daily and weekend newspapers
  9. Access to all back-copies
  10. Searchable - I can search all mags for keywords instantly
  11. I don't have to wait for the post to arrive (which is sometimes a day or two late) - the latest issue is available very quickly on Readly.
  12. I get an email whenever a new issue comes out.
P.S. I bought an Amazon Fire HD 10" (#ad). It is cheap and ideal for reading the mags/newspapers on. I installed Google Play store and then the Readly app.

Monday 5 October 2020

agFM v1.61 released (improves UEFI boot support when using .imgPTN23 files)

Taylor contacted me yesterday to ask how to switch back the original E2B partition after successfully managing to UEFI64-boot and switch in a new WinPE .imgPTN23 file.

My answer was to use the BIOS Boot menu to boot to the agFM Partition 2 and then pick the 'Restore E2B partitions' menu option from the agFM menu...

However, it seems the reason that Taylor was having problems, was that his/her Thinkpad T470s BIOS was only listing the first WinPE Partition 1 in the Boot Menu - the 2nd agFM partition was not listed in the boot menu!

No USB UEFI Ptn2 option!
No UEFI Boot option listed for Partition 2!

It seems that the UEFI BIOS only listed the first partition that it found that has a readable (usually FAT) partition and that contains a valid UEFI boot file - in this case \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI in the WinPE Partition 1.

Thursday 1 October 2020

E2B and agFM updates are broken!

 Yesterday I had some problems with My host WebNode has now finally admitted that they have made some changes to the server without telling me!

This had the affect that you may have got error pages such as 'Too many redirects' when accessing some pages on the website yesterday. This should now be fixed.

However, the other problem is that the download URLs on the E2B site have now all been changed by WebNode and thus broken. This means that the .cmd scripts which used wget.exe to fetch the latest versions are now all broken! Grrrr...

So the current Easy2Boot v2.05 version will no longer download agFM from the E2B host servers when you ask it to add agFM to partition 2! Also the various update scripts in agFM are all broken now and so a new version of agFM (v1.60) has just been updated and released.

If you are having problems updating E2B, please download the latest versions from the Alternate Download site. Extract the files to an empty folder and run the UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD script.

If you get stuck, you can always just extract the E2B files in the E2B zip file straight onto your E2B partition, and extract the agFM .zip file straight onto your agFM partition 2.

Please let me know if you have any issues. I will release E2B v2.06 in the next few days.

2020-10-02: The old download URLs now seem to be working again!