Thursday 22 April 2021

Add a Secure Boot partition to your E2B USB drive

 A recent Windows Update in Windows 10 has meant that the Kaspersky Microsoft-signed EFI boot file that is used by agFM on the Easy2Boot USB drive is often blocked by the target systems UEFI Firmware.

This prevents us from Secure UEFI-booting.

Apart from disabling Secure Boot in the BIOS, you can go into the BIOS Setup menu and delete/clear/reset the DBx UEFI database - or - another way around this problem is to place a version of WinPE on a new FAT32 3rd partition of the E2B USB drive.

In this article which is on the new website, I have outlined how this can be done. Once added, you should be able to Secure Boot (UEFI64) to WinPE and/or Windows on the 3rd partition.

  1. Secure UEFI64-boot to Strelec WinPE x64 - you can then run Strelec utilities including WinNTSetup which will allow you to install Windows from any of the Windows Installer ISOs which are present in the E2B USB drive.
  2. Secure UEFI64-boot directly to your favourite Windows Install and run Setup.exe.
  3. Secure UEFI64-boot and run the Windows Memory Diagnostic
  4. Legacy boot to Strelec WinPE x86, x64 and other bootable payloads that are included in Strelec on Partition 3 (e.g. HDD Regenerator, HDDaRTs, Ghost, Victoria, MHDD, HDA2, MemTest86, Memtest86+)
  5. Legacy boot directly to the Windows Installer on partition 3
You do not need to use the Strelec WinPE, any 64-bit WinPE should Secure Boot (most systems have a UEFI64 BIOS).

WinNTSetup can be added to the E2B USB drive if it is not already within the WinPE that you want to use (it is already in Strelec). You can also boot to Strelec WinPE and then right-click on any Windows Install ISO on the E2B USB drive and mount it as a virtual DVD and then run \setup.exe from within that virtual drive to install Windows from that ISO.

Virus-positive warnings!

As the Strelec partition contains utilities which trigger dozens of antivirus alerts as soon as you plug it in to most Windows systems, you may prefer to use a different WinPE (such as HBCD_PE) on Partition 3. You can modify any WinPE easily by adding PE_STARTUP to the E2B USB drive and this allows you to add Portable Apps, Desktop shortcuts, change the wallpaper, install drivers, etc.

If you like Strelec WinPE (Gandalf's WinPE is similar), then you can convert it to a .imgPTN23 file to avoid the virus detection warnings. You can then Secure boot to any WinPE which has WoW64 32-bit app. support on Partition 3 and run SWITCH_E2B.exe to switch in the Strelec .imgPTN23 file into partition 1 and then Secure Boot to Strelec on the new Partition 1.

Tip: eBook #3 contains links to small WinPE .wim files which contain SWITCH_E2B.exe - you can quickly Secure  Boot and immediately use SWITCH_E2B.exe to quickly switch-in an image file or restore the original E2B files on Partition 1.

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