Tuesday 16 April 2024

HURRY - SPECIAL OFFER until May 1st - 3 months of Audible for 99p

I have previously mentioned that I used the online service Readly (use this #Ad link for 1 month free!) - to get access to thousands of magazines and publications (though I only read about a dozen or so every week, plus newspapers). This works very well despite the price increase.

However, Amazon now have an offer on for Audible (#Ad link) which I have also taken advantage of. I can listen to books and podcasts on my Amazon Echo devices or via my smartphone or computer. I can even download them and play them on my esp32 web radio project!

Get 1 audiobook of choice each month. 99p for the first month, months 2 + 3 are free. Renews automatically at £7.99 / month. Terms apply. Cancel anytime.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

'Ventoy for E2B' v.1.0.97 is now released

No issues have been reported and it seems to work so I have now updated the release version.

Saturday 17 February 2024

New 'Ventoy for E2B' v1.0.97 pre-release

I have now made a pre-release version of 'Ventoy for E2B' which has been based on the current Ventoy 1.0.97 version.

The current released version is based on Ventoy 1.0.79 and so it is getting quite outdated.

Saturday 10 February 2024

How to quickly display the amount of system Total RAM under Ventoy

The easiest way to get information about the system you have booted from in Ventoy is to simply press F5 and select Hardware Information.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

E2B is the only SecureBoot multiboot solution which does not modify your UEFI BIOS!

These days, many PCs and Notebooks only have UEFI boot support.

If you wish to use a multiboot solution such as Ventoy, you must either disable Secure Boot (if you can get into the BIOS) or use Ventoy's MOK Manager shim to change the UEFI BIOS so that will accept the unsigned Ventoy EFI boot file (which then makes it insecure).

However, E2B allows us to switch in any partition image and boot to it. So as long as that image contains signed boot files (as in Windows or Ubuntu, etc.) then we can Secure Boot from that image.

I have added a page to the easy2boot.xyz website here in case you were not aware. There are many ways of supporting multiple Secure Boot images on an E2B USB drive and in this example I have used HBCD_PE as the secure OS. From HBCD_PE we can switch in any OS image file.

  1. Secure Boot to WinPE on the FAT32 Partition 3 of the E2B USB drive
  2. Switch into Partition 1 a new partition image file (e.g. Windows Install, Ubuntu, etc.)
  3. Secure Boot from  the new image now in Partition 1, after this...
  4. Secure Boot to WinPE on the FAT32 Partition 3 of the USB drive
  5. Restore the original E2B Partition 1

Since we are booting from a FAT32 partition 1 on the USB drive, UEFI BIOSes should not have any compatibility issues. The Secure Boot boot files on the partition are unaltered and thus Secure Boot should always work even with the fussiest BIOSes!

Instead of HBCDPE, you can use any WinPE that supports 32-bit applications (has WoW64), such as Strelec or DLC or Bob Omb's WinPE.

Monday 29 January 2024

Easy2Boot v2.20 released

v2.20 Change History

1. Add grubenv.g4b, grubenv and grubpath.g4b to allow grub4dos to be called from grub2\Ventoy menu system. See https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2023/01/run-grub4dos-commands-from-ventoy-or.html
2. Add check for RTC year each time E2B is loaded and warn user if year is bad. Indicates a flat CMOS battery.
3. In QRUN.g4b add user entry key C=CRC32 to calculate CRC32 of selected file.
4. In QRUN.g4b add secret QRUN dialogue user key ! so user can get to commandline for debugging at user prompt.
5. BugFix for .imgfdhd01 and other .img* extensions in QRUN.g4b - change QR bmp to easy2boot.xyz URL. Typically used for Win98.iso booting, etc.

Sunday 28 January 2024

A useful Windows System Information Utility for system repair, etc. (also runs under WinPE)

If you have booted to Windows PE (perhaps to automatically install Windows or you are running Strelec or HBCDPE) you may want to know certain things about the hardware in the system.

For instance, you may want to install Windows onto the SSD in the system, but Windows does not tell you which drive that is! 

You may need to install a special Mass Storage Disk driver so that you can access the hard disks within that system, but you don't know which Controller is in that system and hence which driver to install.

The developer of grubfm, A1ive, has made available on github a utility which you may find useful - called nwinfo.

There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions available as well as a GUI version (gnwinfo) which can be run under Windows or WinPE. The CLI version (nwinfo) will run under WinPE and can display useful information.

K:\NWINFO>nwinfo_x64.exe /?
NWinfo CLI v0.9.5.0
Hardware information utility for Windows
Copyright (c) 2023 A1ive
Usage: nwinfo OPTIONS
  --format=FMT     Specify output format.
                   FMT can be 'YAML' (default), 'JSON' and 'LUA'.
  --output=FILE    Write to FILE instead of printing to screen.
  --cp=CODEPAGE    Set the code page of output text.
                   CODEPAGE can be 'ANSI' and 'UTF8'.
  --human          Display numbers in human readable format.
  --debug          Print debug info to stdout.
  --hide-sensitive Hide sensitive data (MAC & S/N).
  --sys            Print system info.
  --cpu            Print CPUID info.
  --net[=FLAG]     Print network info
                   FLAG can be 'ACTIVE' (print only the active network).
  --acpi[=SGN]     Print ACPI info.
                   SGN specifies the signature of the ACPI table,
                   e.g. 'FACP' (Fixed ACPI Description Table).
  --smbios[=TYPE]  Print SMBIOS info.
                   TYPE specifies the type of the SMBIOS table,
                   e.g. '2' (Base Board Information).
  --disk[=PATH]    Print disk info.
                   PATH specifies the path of the disk,
                   e.g. '\\.\PhysicalDrive0', '\\.\CdRom0'.
  --no-smart       Don't print disk S.M.A.R.T. info.
  --display        Print EDID info.
  --pci[=CLASS]    Print PCI info.
                   CLASS specifies the class code of pci devices,
                   e.g. '0C05' (SMBus).
  --usb            Print USB info.
  --spd            Print SPD info.
  --battery        Print battery info.
  --uefi           Print UEFI info.
  --shares         Print network mapped drives.
  --audio          Print audio devices.

Add Tetris.EFI to Easy2Boot or Ventoy

A1ive (the author of grubfm) has a UEFI project which allows you to UEFI64-boot and play Tetris.

You can Download the tetris.efi file

and add it to your E2B (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU folder) or Ventoy USB drive.

Then UEFI-boot to agFM or Ventoy and select the tetris.efi file to play Tetris.

Thursday 25 January 2024

Ventoy 1.0.97 is released - now add it to your E2B USB drive

You can create three different images of Ventoy for your Easy2Boot USB drive.

By selecting one of these images, you can convert your E2B USB drive into a fully compatible Ventoy USB drive.

Three Ventoy partition images listed in the agFM menu system - choose one.

After choosing an image, it will replace some partitions on the E2B drive and convert the USB drive into a Ventoy USB drive!

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Computer errors in the UK Post Office Horizon scandal - a 'Smoking gun' and the mysterious Gareth Jenkins

Unless you have been living under a rock at the North Pole, you will have heard of the great Post Office scandal which involved bugs in the Horizon computer system devised by the UK's ICL computer company (bought by Fujitsu in 1998 and rebranded in 2002).

The problems were first highlighted by Computer Weekly in 2009 (approx 9 years after Horizon was rolled out to all branches).

As a result of these bugs and the Post Office, who contracted Fujitsu to provide the system, hundreds of well-respected, law abiding people were fined, convicted (many went to prison), spat at and vilified by the public, put into debt or bankrupted, lost their houses and were made virtually unemployable (unless they worked as an Uber driver!). Some even committed suicide (one unfortunate man was so depressed that he went to a busy road, waited for a bus to come down the road and then stepped out in front of it) - truly shocking.