Thursday, 16 May 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA29 v8 now available with gfxmenu support

For those of you that don't like the nice and practical grub4dos splashimage menu in Easy2Boot and think it looks 'naff', please download and try v8  (bottom of page)! Now you can add your own gfxmenu file so please don't complain about the menu again - if you don't like it then you can change it yourself (there is a gfxmenu tutorial on my site)!

To test out gfxmenu with Easy2Boot, just rename the \_ISO\GFXMyE2B.cfg file to MyE2B.cfg to try out the gfxmenu system (it uses the \_ISO\message file).

It has some disadvantages like
1. Drops back to the textmode grub4dos menu if any error encountered
2. No titles at the top of the menus
3. Cannot set default menu entry or timeout
4. Cannot show number of files present in each folder
5. When it switches to the console to list files, etc. it looks a bit messy.
6. probably lots more which I can't remember at this moment!

I suppose you will want a screenshot (I am not a fan of GFXMenu - can you tell?) - here you are:
Can you guess who it is (one for Star Trek fans....)?

Easy2Boot v1 BETA29 v7 now available

The only change to this update is that the QRUN.g4b batch file now supports an extra file extension type:


If you name an ISO file with the .isoask extension, you will be given the choice of how to boot it - see the screenshot below for an explanation:

I got this idea from Rob G.C.  (thanks Rob!) who wanted to boot the same ISO file in two different ways.
Hirens ISOs will boot if you use .isomem and miniXP will work and so will the DOS utilitities, however it is slow to load and some systems are low-ram and won't load the whole ISO into memory - so now you can name the ISO file as .isoask and boot it any way you want!

In case you missed it, Easy2Boot will support different languages. Payload files with non-ANSI filenames will be shown correctly in the menus. Titles can be in non-ANSI characters - just save the MyE2B.cfg file in UTF-8 format (use NotePad).  You can also rename the Mainmenu.mnu file to MyMainMenu.cfg and edit and save that as UTF-8 too, as well use non-ANSI .txt files with alternative titles.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA29v6 is uploaded

The user settings file MyMenu.lst is now deprecated and should no longer be used - instead we have \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg!
This file contains nearly all user strings for the menus now (mainmenu.mnu has the others - so you can make your own version of that too!). Easy2Boot uses \_ISO\E2B\grub\E2B.cfg and then calls \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg  (if present).
The user background files MyBackground.bmp or MyBackground.bmp.gz should now be located in the \_ISO folder too. These will be automatically used of they are present (unless you have a MyE2B.cfg file which changes the default.
A Fontfile is loaded in this version. This allows for Chinese and special language characters like ® or ΓΌ to be used - just save the MyE2B.cfg file as UTF-8 format. You can now have menu entries and headings in your own language.
The 'Blue' menu can be enabled by renaming \_ISO\BlueMyE2B.cfg to MyE2B.cfg. The blue.bmp.gz file is also in \_ISO now.
Take a look at the BlueMyE2B.cfg file to see what it looks like.
The template file to make your own MyE2B.cfg file is also in \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg.

Basically, there is no reason for the user to change or edit any file in the grub folder any more.

P.S. A password of 'easy2boot' is set to prevent users from editing menus inside grub4dos. if you want to edit menus then press P followed by the password easy2boot. if you want to remove the password, rename \_ISo\Sample_MyE2B.cfg to MyE2B.cfg and set pwd to nothing  (set pwd=).

Monday, 13 May 2013

grub4dos and environment variables

Whilst developing Easy2Boot, I found that I kept running out of variables space.
grub4dos has a meagre limit of only 60 variables  (and up to 512 bytes per value). Try to define any more than 60 and it simply refuses to put them into the environment.
I devised some nifty grub4dos code that would count how many variables I had left (see below).
This led me to realise that I could not use variables to store the names of all the files in a folder - thus reducing the number of files I could allow in a folder.
So I had to re-write Easy2Boot so that it used system memory to store the variables and then find and retrieve the value of a specified variable from memory when I wanted it!

# grub4dos can have only 60 variables defined (512 bytes max per value)
# set *   will clear all variables - to find the max limit use set * followed by calling this batch file.

# take a copy of the current environment

# Now lets fill up the environment until it fails!

# n is our counter
set n=1
# any more than 600 and it is probably not worth worrying about!
if "%n%"=="600" goto :end
set AAA%n%=FFF
# on first loop AAA1=FFF
# now we need to read back AAA1 by writing a small batch file in memory - e.g.
# !BAT
# set B=%AAA1%
echo -e !BAT\nset B=%^AAA%n%%% > (md)0x3000+1
# now call the batch file we just made to set B to the value of AAA1
call (md)0x3000+1
if not "%B%"=="FFF" echo Approx. %n% Variables left! && exit
# increment n for next loop
set /a n=%n%+1  > nul
goto :LOOP

# restore the copy of the current environment
# this is not really required as 'exit' also restore the environment
# quit!

Easy2Boot BETA29v5 available

This version has some more tidying up.
All headings can now be set in the Menu.lst (of course, you should not change menu.lst but copy it to MyMenu.lst and it will be used instead!).
The Footer help colour doesn't need to be the same colour as the heading now - it can be set in mymenu.lst.

I have also included two optional test files (delete them if you don't want them!):
blue.bmp.gz - a background picture
TEST_MyMenu.lst - rename this to MyMenu.lst to see how you can change the colours, background and menu position, menu headings and footer text, etc. (see screenshot below).

As well as some text colours being changed, the headings have been padded out to be central (ish) on the menu box. Also, the console background is dark blue to match the bitmap colour better. Try it for some inspiration!

Note with the TEST_MyMenu.lst file, the menu has been moved to the centre. This causes problems with the help text just under the menu as grub4dos can only print help text up to column 79 before it wraps the text to the next line - see below.

Easy2Boot BETA29v4 available

I had a brain wave last night (I don't get many of them these days!).
The main change in v4 is that I don't use environment variables to store the filenames any more. This caused a limitation as to the number of files you could have, especially if you used lots of variables in mymenu.lst to change the default menu text to suit your own preference/language. The more variables you defined or files you had, the more limited was the number of files displayed!

You can have as many .xml and .key files as you like now (i.e. that will fit on the screen before scrolling off = approx 34 in 800x600 mode!)
It may also mean I can add more variables for the menu title variables so that you can change the headings for all the menus in mymenu.lst.
I also changed some filenames from grub\xx.mnu to xxx.hdr to avoid confusing them with proper .mnu files.
Still a few more revisions to go, I feel, but it is nearly finished!

BETA29v3 - bugfix for FASTLOAD

If you enable FASTLOAD then when you hit the Return to Main Menu entry it bombs out to the grub4dos command line. Now fixed.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA29 v2 now available

No major bugfixes.
\Autounattend.xml files now 100K as it seems there are some big custom xml files out there!
Various tweaks and tidy ups.
Win8 and 2012 Pick_from_a_list.key file has lots of keys added.
I think this is almost getting ready to fully release  (he says hopefully...)
Please update and test!
Let me have any bug reports, niggles, text changes, feedback on new 800x600 size (go back to 640?), colours OK, etc.
Is menu.lst easy to understand?
I will NOT make any changes once it is fully released (except for major bugs) - though I may release Beta versions after the full release.

Easy2Boot v1.0  will be the first full release
v1.0a  will be a beta release if any non-essential tweaks are required (a small letter indicates a beta), then 1.0b, then 1.0c, then 1.0d until full release which will be v1.1.


BETA29v2 has been re-uploaded (7pm Sunday 12 May) so please re-download. You can now have spaces in filenames without them appearing as File\ with\ a\ space.key! I have renamed the pick_from_a_list.key file now to CHOOSE FROM A LIST.key to make it stand out more. I have also added lots more product keys to the 2 files (win8/svr2012). Plus lots of small tweaks, text changes, etc.
Now added a 'NO KEY  (choose a version to install).xml' file for Win8 and SVR2012 - so you can choose what SKU you want that is contained inside the install.wim file once it boots to Setup.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA29 now available!

This version now has grub4dos menus for the Vista/7/8/2K8/2012 menus.
The .iso files will now be listed in a grub4dos menu instead of the console window.

In addition, you can create a .txt file if you want a nice name to appear in the menu instead of the filename - just like for the MainMenu and AUTO folder functionality.

e.g. two files:

contents of Windows_8_64_Preview.txt:
title Windows 8 64-bit Developers Preview\n Use this for a demonstration of Windows 8

In addition there is a bugfix (thanks halikus!) for anyone using an NTFS formatted Easy2Boot drive.

Also, you can now have all your product keys in one file. Look in the Win8 and SVR2012 folders for a Pick_from_a_list.key file. You can edit this file to add all of your keys. Here is what it looks like:

echo 1=46V6N-VCBYR-KT9KT-6Y4YF-QGJYH  Windows 8 Core
echo 2=V7C3N-3W6CM-PDKR2-KW8DQ-RJMRD  Windows 8 Pro
echo 3=XKY4K-2NRWR-8F6P2-448RF-CRYQH  Enterprise 90Day Eval
set /p ask=Choose a key :
if "%ask%"=="1" set KEY=46V6N-VCBYR-KT9KT-6Y4YF-QGJYH
if "%ask%"=="2" set KEY=V7C3N-3W6CM-PDKR2-KW8DQ-RJMRD
if "%ask%"=="3" set KEY=XKY4K-2NRWR-8F6P2-448RF-CRYQH

Just add more lines or change the ones that are there already.
If you have just a few keys then make .key files for each one (see sample files) and delete the Pick_from_a_list.key file. If you only want to pick from a list, delete all the other .key files to avoid confusion.

With the help of several people and after testing myself for most of the day (!!!phew!!!), I hope all the bugs have now mostly been ironed out. Test scenarios include (I have not done every one of these in every combination!):

  • Easy2Boot USB Flash FAT32
  • Easy2Boot USB Flash NTFS
  • Easy2Boot USB HDD FAT32 + NTFS Helper flash drive
  • Easy2Boot USB HDD NTFS + FAT32 Helper flash drive

    For each of these....
  • XP install using 2-Step firadisk process
  • XP install using WinPE
  • Vista install with Easy2Boot unattend.xml file
  • Vista install with sample xml file
  • <ditto> for 7 and SVR2K8R2
  • <ditto> for 8 and SVR2012 + pick a key
  • <ditto> for 8 and SVR2012 + use user xml
  • <ditto> for 8 and SVR2012 + enter a key manually

Downloads are under here

Easy2Boot BETA28v4 - major bugfix!

If you are using a flash drive for Easy2boot and testing Vista or later OS installs - it won't work!
Please use v4! Sorry for this oversight. There were major changes and I tested using a USB HDD+Flash combination only which worked!
There are still some bugs to fix when using your own unattend.xml - v5 to come shortly!

BETA28v5 now here: fix user unattend.xml issu + fast reload of main menu.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA28v1

I have completely changed the Windows install menus and method.
There has been a drastic re-write for all Windows installs!
This makes it much more flexible and no special name are needed and you can have as many different ISOs as you have room for.

  • For Win XP Firadisk installs - just put your XP ISOs in the XP folder. 
  • For Win XP WinPE installs - add any unattend.txt files you want to the XP folder
  • For Vista/SVR2K8/7 - add your ISOs and unattend.xml files (optional)
  • For Win8/Server2012 - add your ISOs and unattend.xml and Product Key files

This version seems to work OK, so please try it out!

Product Key files are actually small grub4dos batch files, so make sure you get them right (set must be lower case)
set KEY=<29 character key goes here>

You can find the new version at the bottom of this page (in the downloads area) as usual.

Note: all your unattend.xml files MUST have the <RunSynchronous> section from the Sample.xml file provided added to them (in the windowsPE settings section). Otherwise you won't see the blue text console window appear (Repair Y/N?) and the 'DVD' will not be found when Setup runs.

BETA28v2 - poss. fix for hanging at '/AutoUnattend.xml and /Unattend.xml files...' which I occasionally get and then the symptom disappears again! Increased size of .xml files in case user has a large xml. Added a few more alternative Win8 product key files.

BETA28v3 - fix my stupid typo mistake in XP+WinPE install (it listed win7 files not XP files!) - Thanks halikus for spotting it!
Also now suppress graphics bmp load and graphicsmode change on reload of main menu.
Few tweaks to menu.lst. Now in 800x600 mode, if you change GMODE to 640 then the menu box and help text position will change automatically too! QRUN.g4b has been tweaked and new file extensions added which may be useful.

BETA28v4 - major error corrected (thanks Tomas). The Autounattend.xml on the Easy2Boot USB drive was blank when doing Win installs!

BETA28v5 - Similar bug in Win7/Vista installs now fixed.

BETA28v6 - problem with menu item 0 'set default and timeout' fixed.

Thursday, 9 May 2013


Win7/8 and probably Vista/SVR2K8R2 and SVR2012 installs may get an 'Invalid Unattend.xml' error near the very end of installation after the 1st reboot. This was due to a blank \Unattend.xml file in the root of the USB flash drive. This version fixes the problem by writing blank <> sections into it.
Many thanks to Fabrizio (and Antonio) who kept insisting that there was a problem!
BETA27v3 is here.  Please update E2B!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA26 (fixes 'bad unattend.xml' error)

Found a bug!
If you run a Win8 install and then abort it and then run a Win7 install, you may get a 'bad unattend.xml' error from Win7 Setup before you can choose an OS. This was caused by the AutoUnattend.xml file on the flash drive not being wiped before the new Win7 text was added in. This left some old text at the end of the file and so the xml format was invalid (it had extra <> sections at the end which were not properly closed with a > symbol).
This is now fixed in BETA26.
BETA26v2 Win7_32_sp0 bugfix!
BETA26v5 - speeded up file enumeration - mainmenu should load faster now!
BETA26v6 - no functional change that you will notice, but now you can set a password in mymenu.lst to prevent users from being able to edit the menu entries in grub4dos by pressing 'e' or getting to the grub4dos command line by pressing 'c'. This avoids users getting confused if they accidentally hit e or c. More details here.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Easy2Boot v1 - Full Release imminent!

I hope to make BETA25-v5 the last Beta for Easy2Boot.

If you have any feedback, suggestions, bug reports, etc. Please let me have them now.
Once Easy2Boot is released, I will not change v1 unless it is for bug fixes.

Please download and test BETA25-v5 on a fresh USB drive and add your payload files, etc. and test, test, test!
BETA25-v5 - can define default Win8 and SVR2012 Product keys in mymenu.lst file now.
BETA25-v6 - small change to remove mnu.lst

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Easy2Boot V1 BETA25 now available

Main change is that you can now use the 'Choose any Windows ISO' menu and pick from a list of files in the folder by just entering it's number instead of the whole filename.


Choose .ISO File

1 = Win_8_32.iso
2 = Win_8_64.iso
3 = Win8Special.iso

Enter a number for the ISO file you want to use  (1-3) :

This is for Vista/7/8/svr2K8R2/SVR2012 menus. The XP menu is unchanged and you can define up to 10 different ISO names and descriptions for the XP menu using the MYXPISOS.g4b file as before, however you can now enter a number for the WinPE ISO file and the unattend.txt file instead of having to type in the filename.

BETA25 Updated!

BETA25 has been updated to v3 - please re-download.
BETA25 v3 has more pre-defined ISOs for Vista (SP0,SP1,SP2) and Win7 (SP0 and SP1).

2013-05-05 BETA25 v4 - minor changes to .txt files, etc.

I hope to change this to the first Full Release version in the next week unless any bugs are found.
Last chance for any final sugegstions, tweaks, etc.!

Easy2Boot v1 BETA24 available

Mainly changes to 'WinXP install using WinPE ISO' menu.
subfolders under \_ISO\AUTO removed as causing confusion (make your own subfolders if you want them).


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA23 available

This version has quite a few changes, so probably best to start with a fresh USB drive rather than overwrite your existing USB drive (it will work, but you may get lots old files left which are no longer used by BETA23 if you just overwrite your old version with the new one).

Changes are:
1. Bugfix for .mnu items in MainMenu when FastLoad enabled (didn't show in menu on reboot!)
2. Some batch files did not load using insmod because grub4dos has a 8.3 filename limitation on any file loaded by insmod.  This means quite a few \grub\*.g4b batch files have been renamed to 8.3 or shorter so they can be loaded into memory.
3. Can now have up to 10 XP ISO files of any name you like listed in the XP menu.
    To do this copy the \_ISO\E2B\MYXPISOS.g4b file to the \_ISO\Windows\XP and edit it.
    There are 10 sets of these lines. Just change the ISO filename and title to match your ISOs.

    set TXP1=XP PRO SP3 (32)
    set XP1=XPPROSP3.iso

Note: There have been quite a few changes, so this may have a few bugs that I have not yet found!

BETA32 can be downloaded here

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.702 now formats as exFAT and is grub4dos bootable

I have added an exFAT radio button to RMPrepUSB. You can format with a BOOTMGR bootsector or a GRLDR bootsector. This means that you can boot grub4dos directly from an exFAT volume if you prepare it with RMPrepUSB.
RMPrepUSB uses the Windows format dlls, so you need XP with the exFAT update installed, or Vista SP1 or later versions of Windows.

Easy2Boot BETA22 v2 now available

Just a small change to runwinnt.cmd (installl XP using WinPE ISO) so that a free drive letter is always used (e.g. Z:). If you are likely to have more than 8 drives in the system that you boot it on (e.g. several HDDs and partitions + maybe a 5-slot card reader) then please update your version of Easy2Boot.
Download here.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Easy2Boot v1 - BETA22 now available

Spanish KBD layout file added
XP install from WinPE modified - can now choose folder where PE ISO is located and can skip partition format and install to an existing (active, primary) partition.
download BETA22

Friday, 26 April 2013

Easy2Boot v1 - BETA21 now available

BETA21 adds a new XP install method.

This uses TWO ISOs!

One is the XP ISO that you want to install, the other is a Vista, Win7 or Win 8 ISO.
It can be a Windows Install (DVD) ISO or just a WinPE (v2/3/4) ISO.

The system will boot to WinPE using the Vista/7/8 ISO and then mount the XP ISO and runs WINNT32.exe to install the files inside the XP ISO onto the pre-formatted hard disk.

You can specify a HDD partition size in the grub4dos menu (HDD0 is wiped)  or you can specify which partition you want to be formatted that is already present on HDD0 once it has booted. You can also specify an unattend.txt file to automate the XP install. This is all done from unmodified ISOs. The XP ISO does not even need to be contiguous!

Also, this is a 1-step process - you do not need to boot back into Easy2Boot again for Step 2.

Because Win7/8 PE has most drivers, there should be no issue with AHCI and mass storage drivers - as long as the drivers are integrated into the XP ISO you are installing (so no F6 to press).

Details are on the website page 72a.

BETA21 is at the very bottom of the page - download -> click here.

PLEASE report back with comments if you have tested this (especially if you have tried the new XP install using WinPE function).

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

BETA20 now available - new neater folder structure

BETA20 has a changed menu structure which is now much tidier.
I have kept main folder as _ISO as this is useful for Zalman VE200/300 owners. So everything is now under \_ISO.

The \winvblock folder is not needed (AFAICT - not sure why it was in there to start with!!!).

root files


The location of the grub folder is configurable if you edit the \menu.lst file, but the location of the firadisk folder and \_ISO folder is fixed, so there is little point in moving the grub folder.

If you want test it out, click BETA20.

P.S. Whilst testing, I found that the autounattend.xml in the root of the flash drive had a problem and the symptom was that Win8 did not run LOADISO.cmd and the blue console windows did not appear, resulting in a 'need CD driver' message. This issue was reproducible, but went away when  I edited the firadisk\auwin8.xml file again (it had been edited to change the file paths).
If you are testing any Vista/7/8 installs and the blue 'LOAD WINDOWS ISO USING FIRADISK' console window does not appear before Setup runs - check the \Autounattend.xml file on the flash drive - in my case the KEY had not been replaced correctly resulting in <KEY12345-AAAAA-BBBBB-CCCCC-DDDD-EEEEE instead of <KEY>12345-AAAAA-BBBBB-CCCCC-DDDD-EEEEE.

Please let me know if you have tested it (especially with windows installs) so I can feel more confident about releasing it and updating the website with the changes...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Easy2Boot BETA19 now available

Dowload BETA19
You can now define the text that appears in the Main Menu for the AUTO, MNU and Windows Install menu entries, and also define the titles of these menus and the default menu item for each in the menu.lst file.
Copy the \grub\menu.lst file to \grub\mymenu.lst and edit it to your own preferences.
The colour of the help text at the bottom of the screen will now be in the same colour as the Menu headings (was always cyan).
If you have made your own mymenu.lst, please make a new one using the new menu.lst file as it has all the extra settings.

I think I am getting near to removing the 'BETA' status now. The full release version will be v1.0.

If you have any suggestions, bug reports or comments please let me know now!

v2. 2013-04-23 Bug found in Win8 menu in first version of BETA19 - please re-download to get version 2 of BETA19.
Also mainmenu.mnu file changed back because the default menu numbering is mucked up by the gaps in the menu!
v3 2013-04-24 Mainmenu.mnu changed so you can delete the \_ISO\MNU and \_ISO\AUTO folders and the menu items for these will not be listed in the Main menu.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 - BETA18 available

Mainly changes and bug fixes to Windows menus.
Win8 now has a menu for an ISO which has a modified EI.CFG (the ISO does not requires a key to be entered before installation) - so this can be used for an All-in-One modified Win8_NOKEY.iso.

The Choose any Win8 ISO menu entry now gives you the choice of 5 keys, or you can enter your own key or you can say that a Product Key is not required (for those ISOs which have a modified ei.cfg file).

Download is on Tutorial 72a page as usual.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 - BETA17 available

Please visit Tutorial 72a to get the latest version

The first item in the menu is now always:

Set default menu item and timeout

This allows you to set the selected high-lighted menu entry on loading and to set a timeout to have it automatically run if desired. A timeout of 0  (immediate boot) is not allowed, so if the user enters 0 then the timeout is switched off.
I have also changed the FASTLOAD menu entry so it just reloads the menu system - it does not reboot any more which should make it faster to reload!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 - BETA16 available

If you rarely change the contents of the Easy2Boot USB drive, you can enable FASTLOAD to greatly speed up the loading of the first Main menu.

The download is here.

To turn on FASTLOAD cacheing, rename the file \FASTLOAD.NO to \FASTLOAD.YES

When you do this and reboot, the Main Menu will be cached (into \grub\FASTLOAD.MNU). From then on the cached Main menu will be used every time you boot. So if you add any more ISO files or change the payload or .mnu files on the USB drive in the \_ISO\MainMenu folder you will need to refresh the menu.
To Refresh the menu cache, choose the last menu item in the main menu (see screenshot) and it will reboot and refresh the cache.

This means that for everyday use, the Easy2Boot drive will boot much more quickly, but you do need to remember to Refresh the drive whenever you change the contents.
The Menu title will have 'FASTLOAD' after the version to indicate that you are in FASTLOAD cacheing mode.
To disable the mode, rename \FASTLOAD.YES to \FASTLOAD.NO.

P.S. Also added a persistent kali .mnu file in the \docs folder so you can boot from Kali direct from ISO with persistence.

  • I have made a few tweaks to improve speed - before it took 24 seconds to boot to the main menu with over 30 payload files, now it takes 22 seconds! Please re-download  BETA16  v2 or later.
  • .isogz support added in BETA16 v3  (13 April 2013  11:16 in Tutorial 72a) v3
  • small fix for FASTLOAD added to version again and again! - see BETA16 v4!
  • Added support for defining Heading colour in \grub\menu.lst - v5
  • Bugfix - please update to v6!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 - BETA15 released

  • Improved the Windows Install menus. 
  • Added support for XP Pro Volume licence and XP Enterprise ISOs. 
  • Vista/7/SVR2K8R2/8/SVR2012 now can have any number of ISOs and you can type in the name of the ISO you want.
  • Tutorial 72a has been updated.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 - BETA14

now has new extension of .isowinvH  for Hirens boot ISOs.

Easy2Boot V1 BETA13 - keyboard mapping adding to support non-US keyboards

You can now add a grub4dos batch file to change the keyboard mapping to work with UK, German, French, AZERTY, QWERTZ or Japanese 106 keyboards. Simply copy one of the KBD_xxxxxx.g4b files in the grub folder to make a file called KBD.g4b and it will be used to change the key code mapping.
If you find any probkems with the mapping or have new mappings, please let me know (or better yet, send me your own working KBD_xxx.g4b file!).

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Easy2Boot V1 BETA11 now available

The various Linux folders needed to be Linux (capital L) and not LINUX (all uppercase) to match the .mnu files. New .mnu files added to support persistence with some linux ISOs.
Click here for the new version.

It has a demo of how to add various DOS floppy images, linux isos, ERDCommander, KonBoot floppy image, plop iso, Norton Ghost iso, BartPE ISOs, StartOS ISO with persistence, Full Monty from ISO with persistence and BackTrack 5 from ISO with persistence - all on the same USB drive (plus, of course, any Windows install ISOs and linux ISOs that you have room for!).

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I have made some small changes to BETA10 so that you can use an iso or folder with spaces in the name. The download link is here. As there are only small changes it is still called BETA10 but is version 3.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Easy2Boot BETA10 now available

I have changed the folder structure and function yet again!  You can now place almost any payload file (not just .ISO files!) in certain folders and they will be automatically listed in the menu and run according to their file extension.

\_ISO\MAINMENU - holds payload and mnu files that will be listed in the main (first) menu
\_ISO\AUTO - holds payload files that are listed by the AUTO menu
\_ISO\MNU - holds those payload that need mnu files and that are difficult to boot directly
\_ISO\WINDOWS - holds Windows installation ISOs

This menu shows the file ERDCommander.isowinv  - the .iso extension has been changed to .isowinv so that WinVBlock will be loaded as a floppy disk image at the same time as the ISO is loaded as a CD. This allows ERDCommander to boot successfully.

A list of extensions that are recognised by Easy2Boot can be found on the Tutorial page.

Take a look at the file \grub\QRUN.g4b to see what actions will be used for each type of file extension.

Let me know if any are missing...

For item 7, I added a MEMTEST.txt file containing the text:
so that this line is used as the title line instead of just the name of the payload file (MEMTEST.img).

Friday, 5 April 2013

Easy2Boot BETA09 now available

This new version adds a new Quick Test menu item. It can be removed by simply deleting the \mainmenu\qtest.mnu file if you don't want it.
The MainMenu folder allows you to drop only ISO files in, but the QTEST folder allows you to drop any type of file in it (including ISO files) and test it.
If you have a file (bin,ima,zip,img,gz etc) that you want to quickly test, just copy it into the \QTEST folder.
It will be listed by the Quick Test menu option and then executed according to it's file extension.
This allows you to quickly test all types of executable self-boot files without needing to add a grub4dos menu. For more details, see here.

If you wish, you can modify what file extensions are recognised and what grub4dos commands are used on each type by editing the \grub\qtest.g4b file.  For example:

kernel (bd)/QTEST/%1 

is the code that will execute on any .bin file. If you want to add another extension type (e.g. .binss), simply add another entry - e.g.

echo This is my special version && pause
kernel (bd)/QTEST/%1 

Saturday, 30 March 2013

RMPrepUSB 2.1.664 available

This new version has extra options to install a Bootmgr or Ntldr bootloader to a FAT32 or NTFS partition. You can also install an MS-DOS bootloader to a FAT16 partition (but not FAT32). It uses RMBootSect.exe which is also a vb6 program.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA08 available

BETA08 now available. A few changes:
  • new grldr and wenv
  • does not re-count all Windows iso files every time you go back to the main menu thus making the loading of the main menu slightly faster when going back to it 
  • You can now use a USB hard disk to install windows direct from windows isos - IF you also connect a USB flash drive with two files on it. 
  • Black console background used instead of brown 
  • Help doc changed to html and reduced (main doc now on RMPrepUSB site Easy2Boot V1 page.) 
  • When asking for name of Windows ISO, you must now type in the full filename (i.e. with the .iso extension) 

Has anyone tested any Windows 8/2012 install ISOs yet?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.663 available

Captain-Midnight noticed that some of the text in RMPrepUSB was too large when viewed on his 1920x1080 display (see screenshot below). The new version 663 fixes this by using a TrueType Sans Serif font instead of the fixed font.


I have also added another English.ini language file. I noticed that Hirens DLC1 MiniWin7 did not display some of the text in the RMPrepUSB form at all (it just showed underscores ______). Changing the Character Set from 238 (European) to 204 (Cyrillic) fixed this, so I have added an English204.ini file. Some other European language.ini files also have this problem, so you might like to change the ini file for your language to charset=204 if you see this issue.

RMPrepUSB improves flash write speed on FAT32 volumes

As I have changed the FAT32 code slightly to cater for large (up to 2TB) drives, I wanted to check that the flash write speed improvements still work.
I used XCOPY to copy small files from an XP i386 folder to the flash drive.
I formatted it using either Windows or RMPrepUSB 2.1.662.

Results were:
File copy to Windows 7 FAT32 formatted volume:   784 seconds
File copy to RMPrepUSB FAT32 formatted volume: 695 seconds

for comparison: NTFS: 132 seconds!

This shows a 12% improvement in write speed to a USB Lexar flash drive formatted as FAT32 by RMPrepUSB, compared to the same drive formatted using Windows (results repeated twice and averaged)

I used this command to time the file copy to the flash drive.
timecmd xcopy "c:\sources\XP SP2\i386\a*.*" f:\ /herky

where timecmd.bat contained this code:

@echo off

set start=%time%

:: runs your command
cmd /c %*

set end=%time%
set options="tokens=1-4 delims=:."
for /f %options% %%a in ("%start%") do set start_h=%%a&set /a start_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a start_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a start_ms=100%%d %% 100
for /f %options% %%a in ("%end%") do set end_h=%%a&set /a end_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a end_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a end_ms=100%%d %% 100

set /a hours=%end_h%-%start_h%
set /a mins=%end_m%-%start_m%
set /a secs=%end_s%-%start_s%
set /a ms=%end_ms%-%start_ms%
if %hours% lss 0 set /a hours = 24%hours%
if %mins% lss 0 set /a hours = %hours% - 1 & set /a mins = 60%mins%
if %secs% lss 0 set /a mins = %mins% - 1 & set /a secs = 60%secs%
if %ms% lss 0 set /a secs = %secs% - 1 & set /a ms = 100%ms%
if 1%ms% lss 100 set ms=0%ms%

:: mission accomplished
set /a totalsecs = %hours%*3600 + %mins%*60 + %secs% 
echo command took %hours%:%mins%:%secs%.%ms% (%totalsecs%.%ms%s total)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.662 FAT32 up to 2TB!

Version 2.1.662 can format up to 2TB  (not recommended!) as FAT32.
RMPrepUSB was designed for USB flash drives (removable drives) and may have trouble unlocking a hard disk in use by Windows and so may fail the first or second time you try to format a USB hard disk. Just re-try the operation. If that fails, then use the Clean button and then click 6 Prepare Drive.
Also, if you have a USB hard disk with multiple partitions, RMPrepUSB will only list the first drive volume letter in the list box, but of course, will wipe and format the whole drive if you use the 6 Prepare Drive button.
Two new edit functions have been added to the Edit tab, Edit /grub/menu.lst  (CTRL+F4) and Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst (SHIFT+F4).

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

RMPrepUSB - FAT32 bug found!

I found a funny issue with what I thought was caused by grub4dos today, but it turned out to be an issue with the way RMPrepUSB formats a FAT32 volume!

I noticed that if I copied more than 126 or so files to the root of a USB stick prepared using RMPrepUSB as FAT32, then I could not access any file that I added to the USB stick under  grub4dos (even though they were accessible from Windows). At first I thought this was a grub4dos bug, but when I formatted the same USB stick using Windows, it all worked fine.
I also found a fat32formatter.exe utility which also worked fine. The problem was clearly in RMPartUSB (which actually does the formatting). After a few hours, I eventually tracked down the problem.
You can read about the saga here if you want more details.
The bug is fixed in RMPrepUSB 2.1.661. So if you copy lots of files to the root of your grub4dos USB drives that were prepared using RMPrepUSB, you might want to reformat them with the new versions!
The bug has been there since day 1!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA07 available

Few changes to Win 7 install menu. You only need update if use Win7 ISOs.
See Tutorial 72a for download and instructions.
A .mnu file has been added for Fedora with persistence (in docs\samples folder) (you need to extract files from the ISO to get persistence working, otherwise just drop the Fedora ISO file into the \mainmenu folder as usual).

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA06 now available

BETA06 available.

Changes are:
1. /menu.lst file now re-instated - it calls /grub/menu.lst. If there is no /menu.lst file then grub4dos displays a black&white default menu for a short while which looked naff!
2. /grub/menu.lst now has all user settings at the top. Copy this file to /grub/mymenu.lst and then edit the settings. More settings are configurable now.
3. To add your own wallpaper, just add a /grub/MyBackground.bmp file - make sure it is exactly 640x480 or 800x600 and 24 bit colour. If any problems, edit your mymenu.lst to set the correct graphics mode.
4. bugfix in addisostomainmenu.g4b - it blew down below the /mainmenu folder and added extra isos to the menu!
5. patchme - this is a grub4dos batch file which will patch grub4dos on your USB stick to remove those pesky signon/debug messages. Instructions are in readme in the download.
6. doc here revised.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Easy2Boot Beta05 available

This new version Beta05 is more configurable for the user.
The menu now can be re-sized and re-positioned (same size is used for all menus).
Please read the html documentation in the \docs folder for details.
I have included all the .mnu files which might be needed in the \docs\samples folder - this saves having to download them.
The user can make his own menu changes by making his own \grub\mymenu.lst file (which is copied from the menu.lst file and then edited slightly). The user can then change mymenu.lst to change the colours, menu position and size, menu heading, bottom cyan text or re-order the menu items to list ISO files last rather than first.
This means that when you update Easy2Boot in the future (with Beta06 tomorrow!), you won't lose your changes - as your mymenu.lst file will not be overwritten and will be used instead of the default menu.lst file.
Some small text tidying has also been done.

Note: small bug in BETA05 (it lists iso files in subdirs under \mainmenu) -

To fix it
edit  /grub/addisostomainmenu.g4b and add :: as follows to four lines

if "%DD%"=="1" echo @SUB_DIR %1
::set DIR=%DIR%/%1
::call :cpa
goto :copyfiles

will be fixed in BETA06 soon...!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Easy2Boot V1 BETA04 available

This version does not list the Windows Install and AUTOISO menu entries in the main menu unless you actually put some ISO files in those folders. It also counts the ISO files in each Windows folder (see screenshot) and does not list ones that are empty.
There is a brief html manual in download.

click here for direct download

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Easy2Boot v1 BETA03 available

Some tidying up, html doc added, menu.lst moved to \grub folder, ISO files are listed first in Main Menu now (you can change the order or specify your own order - read the html in the download for help).

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Easy2Boot BETA02

I have modified the Easy2Boot Beta, now BETA02 is available.

The first menu is now dynamic and built up from the contents of the \MAINMENU folder. You can place .mnu files and .ISO files in the \MAINMENU folder and they will be listed in the first menu.

Please note: This version is intended to be used on a flash drive and on a real system. Linux ISOs and Windows Vista/7/8 installs won't work correctly under an emulator or if run from a hard disk.

The first (main) menu is currently:

Boot from ISO (AutoISO)   - any ISO file in the \AutoISO folder is listed by the next menu - comes from \mainmenu\Auto_menu.mnu file
Easy2Boot                           - launches the Easy2Boot menu - .mnu files under \_ISO will compiled into an Easy2Boot menu - comes from \mainmenu\easy2boot.mnu
Boot to first internal HDD    - this comes from the \mainmenu\firsthdd.mnu file which can be deleted if not wanted
Install Windows                   - comes from \mainmenu\installwindows.mnu
 xxxxxxx.iso                        - any iso file in the \mainmenu folder is automatically listed in the main menu
yyyyyyyy.iso                        - any iso file in the \mainmenu folder is automatically listed in the main menu

I have debugged some more of the install windows menus too.

To use Easy2Boot  v1 Beta02, you just need to:
1. add Windows install ISO files to the correct folders under \_ISO\Windows and name them correctly (the filenames are indicated in each folder). For Win8/svr2012, the product key can be entered or you can edit the menu to add your own product key or you can use a default dummy key which will not activate.
2. add your favourite bootable ISOs to the \mainmenu folder,
3. add any other ISOs to the \AutoISO folder
4. add any other payloads+.mnu files, downloaded from the Easy2Boot tutorial, to the relevant folders under \_ISO (the entries will be listed by the Easy2Boot 2ndary menu). These will be the odd ones that don't work just by copying them to the \AutoISO or \MainMenu folder.
If you want them listed in the main menu instead, simply copy the .mnu file to the \mainmenu folder (or make your own .mnu file) and copy the payload file to the \mainmenu folder instead of the \_ISO folder - e.g.
if you have fred.mnu and fred.iso which are supposed to go in \_ISO\Utility folder, you can move both to the \mainmenu\utility folder.

The order of the menu items in the main menu is determined by the order that the \mainmenu\xx.mnu files were written to the USB drive. This cannot be changed unless you re-write the same .mnu files again. If you want the order to be pre-determined, you could combine all the \mainmenu\xxx.mnu files into one single large .mnu file - or  - edit the \grub\main.mnu file so it contains all the menu entries you want.

Monday, 11 March 2013

New Easy2Boot BETA

Once made (install onto fresh USB FLASH drive (Vista+ OS installs will not work if on an HDD) and then install grub4dos using latest RMPrepUSB), the following Optional files can be added:
Add XP Pro and Home SP2 and SP3 install ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\XP folder to install XP
Add Vista 32 and 64 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Vista folder to install Vista
Add Win7 32&64 generic&Enterprise ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Win7 folder
Add SVR2K8R2 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\SVR2K8R2 folder
Add Win8 32&64 generic&Enterprise ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\Win8 folder - for generic ISO, you will be asked if you want Consumer or Pro and a dummy Product key will be provided or you can enter your own key.
Add SVR2012 ISOs to \_ISO\Windows\SVR2012 folder - not yet tested as I don't have a full copy!

In addition, if you have clonezilla, acronis rescue, Kasperksy, UBCD etc. ISO files - just copy these and any other LiveCD ISOs you fancy into the \_ISO\AUTOISO folder.

You can still add .mnu files in the same way as before.
Make sure to run WinContig to make the ISOs contiguous (use RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+F2).

Feedback welcome - I have not yet tested the following ISOs:
Win7 64
Win7 ent
Win8 64
Win8 ent

I have tested
Vista 32 SP1
Win7 32 SP1
Win 8 32 (Consumer+Pro)
clonezilla, acronis rescue, Kasperksy, UBCD ISOs (just copy into AUTOISO folder)
memtest86+, freedos fdd image

Follow it's development on the forum here.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

YouTube RMPrepUSB and grub4dos videos now available

Despite suffering from a cold, I managed to get the following videos up onto YouTube:

Part 1            - Basic USB formatting with RMPrepUSB
Part 2a and b - Advanced features of RMPrepUSB
Part 3a and b - Making a multiboot grub4dos drive using RMPrepUSB

Each one is about 15 minutes long (max allowed!).

Part 1

Part 2a

Part 2b

Part 3a grub4dos

Part 3b grub4dos  cont.

Macrium Reflect Free Edition provides easy way to generate WinPE

Tutorial 107 describes how to create a WinPE bootable ISO without needing to type anything on the command line or do anything more complicated than click a few buttons.
It uses Macrium Reflect Free Edition to build a nice Windows PE (v3 SP1) bootable ISO which you can then add to your multiboot grub4dos USB drive.
It will also make backups or restore your hard disk and fix boot problems too!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

RMPrepUSB v2.1.659 now available

This version has a few tweaks and the latest version of grub4dos (grldr).
One new feature - make a grub4dos bootable ISO from a grub4dos bootable drive. This allows you to build and test your grub4dos multiboot system using a USB flash drive (for instance) and then when you are happy with it, you can convert it to an ISO file, test it using RMPrepUSB Boot from ISO, and if all is OK, burn the ISO to a CD or DVD (using external burn s\w).
Also, 'How to use RMPrepUSB' videos are now on YouTube. - part 1, 2a and 2b.
Part 3 will be about grub4dos (when I get the time!).
If there is anything you would like me to cover in it, let me know!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013