Sunday 25 August 2019

E2B eBook #1 'How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot' v2.13 now available

I have made a few small tweaks to eBook #1 '

How to make a multiboot USB drive using Easy2Boot

'Getting started with Easy2Boot' v2.13

If you have already purchased this eBook, you can download v2.13 using the link that was sent to you in the confirmation email from Payhip.

Not my video...

Saturday 24 August 2019

E2B v1.B5 now released

Changes from  v1.B4:

  • Allow file extension suffixes on .wim and .vhd files - e.g. boot.wim64, Windows 7 Ultimate.vhd64pwd.
  • Spaces in .vhd and .wim filenames are now allowed.
  • Bugfix - fix 'force'ing of file extension from menu - allows 'QRUN.g4b force.iso xxxxx._yyyy.iso' to override the yyyy file extension override. 
  • Bugfix - animation sometimes not shown on submenus.
  • New E2B_Editor.exe now displays opaque STAMPs (1-10) when a .cfg file with STAMPs is loaded (transparent stamp background is not supported).
  • New default wallpaper background.
  • New feature - display date & time anywhere on menu (updates each second)
  • Add a $$TrueHidePtn2.mnu sample menu file
  • Add Display_Disk_Partitions.mnu to Sample mnu Files\E2B to display MBR partition table of disks in system.
  • Add Display_DateAndTime.mnu Sample mnu file
  • Add latest grub4dos with enhanced setmenu command.

v1.B5 will update both 1.B5 and 1.B5DPMS.

Monday 19 August 2019

Easy2Boot is featured in today's WebUser magazine

This just arrived through my letterbox today!


I'm reading this with a nice cup of tea in my official E2B mug!
If anyone would like to buy an Easy2Boot mug (USA, Canada and UK only) then let me know. If there is enough interest I will try to set it up. OR Why not print your own mug with your own Easy2Boot menu\wallpaper on it?

Thursday 8 August 2019

E2B v1.B5c beta now available

Changes from  v1.B4:

  • Allow file extension suffixes on .wim and .vhd files - e.g. boot.wim64, Windows 7 Ultimate.vhd64pwd.
  • Spaces in .vhd and .wim filenames are now allowed.
  • Bugfix - fix 'force'ing of file extension from menu - allows 'QRUN.g4b force.iso xxxxx._yyyy.iso' to override the yyyy file extension override. 
  • Bugfix - animation sometimes not shown on submenus.
  • New E2B_Editor.exe now displays opaque STAMPs (1-10) when a .cfg file with STAMPs is loaded (transparent stamp background is not supported).
  • New default wallpaper background.
  • New feature - display date & time anywhere on menu (updates each second) - see screenshot below.
  • Add a $$TrueHidePtn2.mnu sample menu file
  • Add Display_Disk_Partitions.mnu to Sample mnu Files\E2B to display MBR partition table of disks in system.
  • Add Display_DateAndTime.mnu Sample mnu file
  • Add latest grub4dos with enhanced setmenu command.
Time and Date can update every second

With the dynamic date&time command, you can use 24-hour or 12-hour time format and 2-digit month ("08") or three-letter English month ("Aug").

A simplified example to add to the end of your MyE2B.cfg file is:

Tuesday 30 July 2019

SysRescueCD MBR+UEFI+persistence

The latest SysRescueCD v6.0.3  now uses Arch Linux, so I have updated the instructions in the previous SysRescueCD blog article.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

WARNING! Don't buy this 'BAD USB' cable from Amazon - it could start a fire!

I purchased this USB cable from Amazon yesterday for use in the car with my smartphone.

TECHGEAR: USB C Cable, 30cm USB Type C 90 Degree Right Angle Sync & Fast Charge Reversible Cable

I was intrigued by the 'reversible' design of the USB 2.0 connector as well as the right-angle connectors. I have never seen a USB Type-A male connector with a set of contacts on each side and I wondered how it worked...

So today I used it to connect my phone (a Moto G7) to the USB socket of my new VW Golf, but the Golf console failed to detect that any USB device was connected to it!

So I disconnected the phone from the cable but left the USB 2.0 cable connected to the car's USB port.

After driving back home from the supermarket, I went to unplug the USB 2.0 connector from the car in order to test it...

Updated version of E2B_Editor.exe with support for STAMPs

E2B_Editor.exe v1.0.97 now displays any STAMPs that you have specified in your .cfg file.

It is also in E2B v1.B5a Beta.

All ten stamps (STAMP1 to STAMP10) are supported but the transparency value (0x80) will be ignored - all stamps will be opaquely overlaid onto the wallpaper when displayed by E2B_Editor.

You can quickly experiment with the position of your STAMPs by editing the MyE2B.cfg file and then reloading it back into the E2B_Editor.exe to see how it looks.

If a non-existent STAMP file is specified then there will be no error message or warning - it just won't appear.

Please let me know if you find any bugs!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

E2B v1.B5a Beta now available

Booting Windows NT6 .VHD and .WIM files

Previously although .wim and .vhd files did not need to be contiguous, their file extension had to be unaltered so you could not use a file extension of say .wim64 so that it would only be listed on 64-bit systems, or perhaps  Win7Ult.vhd64ncq so that it would only be listed on 64-bit systems and so E2B would not complain about the fact that it was not contiguous.

Sunday 21 July 2019

E2B v1.B4 now available

I just noticed that the file extension suffixes '64', '32', '4GB' and '3GB' no longer work on recent versions of E2B!

e.g.  Ubuntu 64.iso64 should only be listed in the menu if the CPU is a 64-bit CPU. Similarly, Ubuntu.iso3GB should only be listed in the E2B menu if the system contains less than 4GB of RAM.

E2B extension suffixes (not case sensitive)

These should work with most file extensions (v1.B5 will also allow .wim and .vhd extensions to have these suffixes)...

32 - file is only listed in menu on systems with 32-bit CPU
64 - file is only listed in menu on systems with 64-bit CPU
3GB - file is only listed in menu on systems with less than 4GB of RAM
4GB - file is only listed in menu on systems with more than 4GB of RAM
pwd - user must enter a password before the payload file can be run
NCQ -  (non-contiguous+quiet), the payload will not prompt the user with suggestions, redir will be set and will not try to make the file contiguous
quiet - redir will be set so that most messages will be suppressed
quietp - redir and redirp will be set so that all messages including warnings will be suppressed

Ubuntu amd64.iso4GB64pwdquietp
Ubuntu i386.iso3GBncq

Read more:

New feature in v1.B4

I have also added support for Debian\Kali + persistence by using the new .isopersistdebian file extension in E2B v1.B4 (details here). Although you still have to create the persistence file, you don't need to create a .mnu file for it now.

I noticed the issue '64' extension suffix bug because I tested .isopersistdebian64 as a file extension and found it was still being listed on a 32-bit system!

The new 1.B4 version is also available on the two Alternate Download Areas.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Last Minute Amazon Prime deals!

Get them whilst they are hot!

Samsung 860 2TB SSD
Samsung 240GB SSD  (less than half-price!)
Crucial 1TB M.2 PCIe 
WD 500GB M.2 SATA  (combine with SilverStone USB for super-fast E2B drive)

P.S. If you are reading this you are too late now!

Friday 12 July 2019

E2B UEFI multiboot video now available on YouTube

A new (pretty bad!) E2B video is now up.

It shows you how adding a 2nd FAT32 partition will allow you to UEFI-boot to any .imgPTN23 UEFI payload and how you can boot to WinPE to run SWITCH_E2B.exe and switch to any other UEFI .imgPTN23 file you have on the E2B drive.

Note that Secure Boot is supported when using this scheme (as long as the UEFI payload files are signed) so you don't need to turn off Secure Boot.

You do not need to MBR-boot or run SWITCH_E2B.exe under Windows first.

I had problems finding a camera that worked - all mine seemed to have auto-focus always on (no manual/fixed focus) and so didn't work very well on LCD screens! I also had problems with reflections too. In the end I used my webcam.

I guess I should invest in a fancy capture card, but it hardly seems worth it for the occasional video where I need to capture the screen output from a real BIOS.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Easy2Boot v1.B3 released (with bugfixes for v1.B2)

Some bugs in v1.B2 have come to light, the most serious being that XP installs no longer work and give an 'ntkrnlmp.exe file could not be loaded' error.

v1.B3 changes:
  1. BUGFIX for XP Install Step 1 giving 'File ntkrnlmp.exe could not be loaded. Error code 14'
  2. BUGFIX for Change Language mnu
  3. BUGFIX some Windows Install ISOs did not give repair option
  4. Improve TURKISH help menu (thanks to dnecro) + few other tweaks
  5. Latest grub4dos
Please download update from here.

Friday 5 July 2019

Add Windows Install ISOs to your E2B grub2 menu system

I have made a new version of the E2B grub2 menu system - version 10W.

The 'W' is for Windows because it allows you to MBR or non-secure UEFI-boot directly from Windows Install ISO files.

Assuming you already have your E2B drive setup for the grub2 menu system, do this...

  1. Just download the new .imgPTN23AUTO file   UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta10W_Beta.imgPTN23AUTO   from the Alternate Downloads Area and copy it to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
  2. Then switch to it in the usual way (e.g. using SWITCH_E2B.exe)
  3. Now create a new folder at \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 on Partition 2 and add all your Windows ISOs into it (you can also use WIN8, etc. too if you wish).

4. Now you can MBR or UEFI boot to the grub2 menu system and then select the new Windows Install menu (W) and pick any ISO listed in the menu.

You don't need to make a menu for each ISO and the ISOs don't need to be contiguous and the filenames can contain spaces so you can rename them as you wish. Microsoft dual/both (x86+x64) ISOs should also work.

More info at the bottom of this page.

Switch to the new .imgPTN file (sorry about the background and the animated squirrel!)

Saturday 29 June 2019

UEFI-boot from Windows Install ISOs using E2B grub2 menu system and wimboot

A1ive has modified the standard grub2 sources and has added a wimboot module for UEFI.

This mean we can now UEFI-boot to grub2 and then install Windows directly from ISO files.

You will need to replace the standard (signed) .EFI grub2 files that are using in the E2B grub2 menu system with unsigned versions however, so UEFI Secure Boot is not possible (although you may be able to use MokManager to load a certificate).

I have added instructions RMPrepUSB Tutorial 145. These use the E2B GRUB2 menu system and you will need to partition and prepare your E2B USB drive first as detailed here.

Once it is set up, you can just add or delete your Windows ISOs to the 2nd partition (\_ISO\MAINMENU\WINDOWS folder) and either *MBR-boot or UEFI-boot (in non-secure mode).

*The drivemap line may prevent it from booting to Setup in a VM - test using a real system.

A1ive also has made a grub2 file manager which allows you to navigate any drive\folder using a menu system and then boot from ISOs, WIM files, etc. just be selecting them. There is also a menu system which is similar to E2B that enumerates any files that you add by aguslr which may be of interest to you.

Common grub2 issues

I have found grub2 to be unreliable when used on a wide variety of systems, here are a few issues I have found with it:
  1. When booting linux, grub2 needs to specify the correct kernel parameters which are very specific to each linux distro - these change often and so you constantly find that a new version of a linux ISO no longer works and you have to find out how to modify the grub2 menu.
  2. Grub2 does not support the extremely useful partnew command (as found in grub4dos) which solves Problem 1.
  3. The grub2 graphical menu system has problems on some systems and updates the screen very slowly.
  4. The Secure boot signed versions of grub2 (e.g. Ubuntu) do not contain some modules (such as wimboot or regexp) which means you cannot UEFI Secure Boot and use regular expressions for scripting.
  5. If you use an unsigned non-secure grub2 version, when you Secure Boot you need to use MokManager to certify the grub boot file in order to load it. MokManager modifies the BIOS non-volatile RAM and so alters the system (and makes it insecure to some extent). It is often tricky to undo this change.
  6. Unfortunately MokManager hangs/crashes on many systems which means you cannot use it to Secure Boot.
  7. With a few exceptions, grub2 does not allow writes to the drive (e.g. no dd command in EFI mode). This means we cannot modify sectors or files on a USB boot drive. 
  8. The main grub2 developers are very slow/reluctant to add functionality or respond to bug reports.
  9. Keyboard does not work after booting to grub2 (MBR or UEFI) on some real systems.
  10. grub2 is poorly documented (documentation is very out-of-date). I have not found any good documentation on scripting or regular expression support for instance.
Note: If you use E2B and convert each Windows ISO into Windows .imgPTN files, you can directly Secure-boot from them (but you do not get a UEFI menu containing a list of all ISOs). No additional intermediate loader such as grub2 or syslinux is used.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Raspberry Pi 3 multiboot E2B USB drive (untested!)

I notice that the Raspberry Pi 3 can be made to boot from a USB storage device by setting a one-time programmable bit (see video here and blog article here).

The Raspberry Pi 4 does not yet have this capability, but it should be possible in the future.

I don't own a Pi 3, but looking at the Raspbian download .img file, it contains two MBR-partitions, a FAT32 boot partition and a ext partition. This means it should be possible to boot a Raspberry Pi 3 (and later on, a Pi 4) from any .imgPTN file on an Easy2Boot drive. So you could have multiple Pi .imgPTN files all on one E2B USB drive.

I am unsure if it also makes a swap partition and if it does, how it makes the swap partition, so this process may totally corrupt your E2B drive. For this reason I suggest that you test it on a spare E2B USB drive first. Please let me know if you feel like experimenting but don't use your E2B drive if it contains any wanted files! It would be cool to have multiple Pi images on one E2B USB drive.

Thursday 20 June 2019

How to find any file in seconds (no Indexing needed)!

How many times a day do you spend ages looking for a file that you know is on a drive in your system somewhere, but you just can't remember where you put it?

Well, SwiftSearch (use latest version which is currently v7.5) is a portable, standalone Windows program on SourceForge that will find your file(s) in seconds as long as it is on an NTFS volume. It does this by directly accessing the $MFT (directory) on each NTFS volume in your system and it's really quick!

I use this utility about 20 times every day and have it pinned to my taskbar!

Monday 17 June 2019

How to extract the hidden contents in 'special' ISOs and images using 7Zip

7Zip is pretty good at opening ISOs and other files. However, sometimes you may find that it does not expand the contents correctly.

I learned recently of a way to use 7Zip to reveal these 'secret' files.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Easy2Boot v1.B2 and MPI Tool Kit v0.096 now released

E2B v1.B2 and MPI Tool Kit v0.096 are now available from the 1Drive and Box download areas.

I will update the main web site and the FossHub site in a few days.

Changes for E2B are as detailed in previous blog.

Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

Changes from MPI Tool Kit v0.095 to 0.096 are:
  • Add Czech language for CSM menu
  • Add latest E2B_Editor.exe to MPI folder
  • KBD variable can now be used to set KBD type
  • Update grub4dos (\grldr file)
  • Add all KBD translation files.
The MPI CSM Legacy menu now supports English, German, Hungarian and Czech. To use a non-English menu, create a MyCSM.cfg file in the .\CUSTOM folder and set the LANG and KBD variables.

Please update your E2B drives and let me know if you spot any problem. You can easily downgrade to a previous version of E2B very quickly if required.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Latest E2B v1.B2e Beta with bugfix for some Acronis ISOs hanging

Some bugs have been found and fixed in grub4dos.

The most serious for users is that a few Acronis ISOs seem to hang when using the previous version of grub4dos.

Changes from released version v1.B1 are (v1.B2e changes in red):
  • Bugfix: grub4dos hangs when booting some Acronis ISOs.
  • Bugfix: grub4dos blue\black color setting causes green background
  • New feature: %MEMSIZE% and %BITNESS% variables can now be used in HEADING and HELPTEXT or anywhere inside MyE2B.cfg (e.g. 2028 64)
  • Add Slovenian language files and Croat\Slov kbd file added (thanks to Peter K).
  • Add Turkish language and kbd (thanks to Tayfun)
  • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
  • Bugfix for switching to .imgPTN after ptn2/ptn1 switched over using RMPrepUSB-Ctrl-O-2.
  • Improve ISO's VOL and UUID which are displayed below menu area
  • Improve E2B_Editor.exe for MyCSM.cfg editing (will add language and kbd from a .imgPTN USB drive)
  • Improve change kbd and change wallpaper .mnu menu files
  • Change QEMU to use standard VGA graphics ROM instead of cirrus logic graphics ROM
  • Tweaks to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst
  • Updated Make_E2B.exe

v1.B2e1 - bugfix in countfiles.g4b now works even if user has deleted any of the Windows sub-folders.

I hope to release this version soon, so let me know if you spot a problem.

Adding UEFI-bootable Lenovo BIOS updates to E2B

The Lenovo BIOS updates are typically either in .iso form or you can download their executable Windows BIOS Update (Flash from operating system version) utility and run it under Windows or WinPE (not all WinPEs will work, choose one with WoW64 such as Strelec or Bob Omb's WinPE).

If a UEFI .ISO update file (not a BIOS update ISO) is provided, you can convert this to a FAT32 .imgPTN file in the usual way. See here.

Sometimes a .zip file is provided. This can be drag-and-dropped onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file.

After making a .imgPTN file, always check that it contains a \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI file - if not, then it is not going to UEFI64 boot (check by opening the .imgPTN file using 7Zip).

Method 1 uses the ISO, Method 2 uses the utility which makes a bootable flash drive (but we use it to make a .imgPTN file instead)...

Wednesday 12 June 2019

New 'superspeed' download site for E2B and RMPrepUSB

FossHub now (today!) are hosting the stable release versions of E2B and RMPrepUSB.

Their servers are superfast too, so I hope to use them as the Primary source for downloads if all goes well.

Please try them out and let me know if you have any issues...

FossHub - Easy2Boot and MPI Tool Pack (superfast download for main releases only)
FossHub - RMPrepUSB (superfast download for main releases only)

Adding UEFI-booting of pfSense 2.4 to E2B

I have updated the blog article here (see end of the article) on how to convert the pfSense 2.4 version so that you can UEFI-boot from it to install it pfSense.

You do however need to MBR-boot to switch in the imgPTN file first (you cannot just use Switch_E2B.exe and then UEFI-boot).

Saturday 8 June 2019

E2B v1.B2d Beta available

Changes from released version v1.B1 are:
  • Add Slovenian language files and Croat\Slov kbd file added (thanks to Peter K).
  • Add Turkish language and kbd (thanks to Tayfun)
  • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
  • Bugfix for switching to .imgPTN after ptn2/ptn1 switched over using RMPrepUSB-Ctrl-O-2.
  • Improve ISO's VOL and UUID which are displayed below menu area
  • Improve E2B_Editor.exe for MyCSM.cfg editing (will add language and kbd from a .imgPTN USB drive)
  • Improve change kbd and change wallpaper .mnu menu files
  • Change QEMU to use standard VGA graphics ROM instead of cirrus logic graphics ROM
  • Tweaks to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst
  • Updated Make_E2B.exe

Monday 3 June 2019

Easy2Boot eBook #1 now only $5!

The first eBook is now reduced to just $5.
You can get 10% of all eBooks if you buy more than one.

Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

Friday 24 May 2019

E2B v1.B2b Beta available

v1.B2b is available from Alternate Downloads areas - in Beta folder.

Changes from v1.B1 released version are:
  • Improve VOL and UUID display below menu area (now not displayed if no UUID or no volume label)
  • Add improved Czech language files (thanks to Pepa) and new Czech kbd files
  • Add Turkish language files (thanks to Tayfun) and new Turkish kbd file
  • Bugfix for 'root ()' error when switching to .imgPTN file.

Monday 20 May 2019

E2B v1.B1 released

E2B v1.B1 changes from v1.B0A are:
  • Bugfix for 'nircmd' error in SDI_CHOCO.cmd.
  • Hungarian language added (thanks to Knyght).
  • 'Easy2Boot' banner displayed on boot to advertise eBooks (see new eBook #1 for how to remove this banner).
  • If Windows Install ISO filename contains string 'wimboot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. filename can be 'Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso'.
  • New grub4dos for enhanced keyboard support.
  • Add "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present.
  • Make_E2B.exe updated for new language\kbd options
  • E2B_Editor now recognises %day% %month% %year% %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% variables in the HEADER and FOOTER. 
  • Latin_USA (Spanish), Vietnamese and Swedish kbd files added.
  • Add Change Keyboard Map .mnu file.
  • Various scripts and .mnu files changed for new language\kbd support
  • Choose_kbd.g4b script added to list available kbds and let user choose one
  • \_ISO\_CheckForUpdate.cmd added to check if later version of E2B is available
This latest version is available now from the Alternate Download Areas.

Read eBook #1 for details on how to remove the blue E2B startup banner screen (or contact me for details if you have already made a donation).

Tuesday 14 May 2019

E2B v1.B1d Beta and MPI Tool Kit 0.095 now available

E2B v1.Bd Beta is now available in .zip format from the Alternate Download Areas.

Changes from v1.B1c are:
  • New version of E2B_Editor now recognises the variables %day%, %month%, %year%, %SIZE_E2B% and %SIZE_HD1% if placed in the HEADER or FOOTER.
  • A new 'Easy2Boot' banner is now displayed on startup.
  • Hungarian language tweaks.
  • Latest version of grub4dos.
Also MPI v0.095 is now released and has additional tweaks for the new DLC2019 release and includes syslinux 6.05 pre-release.

How to remove the new E2B Banner

Sunday 12 May 2019

Make your PC scream when you unplug a USB device!

A recent Hack 5 video detailed a USB Rubber Ducky prank which is rather amusing.

The Rubber Ducky code downloads a scream.wav file and sets the sound file as the 'USB unplug' sound in your registry instead of the usual Windows default sound.

This means that whenever you unplug a USB device (of any type even if its a Bluetooth dongle and even if you first safely remove it or eject it) you will hear your PC scream!

Here is a Windows script which will allow you to set this up without a Rubber Ducky. You can also undo the Registry change too.

The script downloads the scream.wav file from the Hak5 site and it uses the built-in Windows utility 'bitsadmin.exe' to download the file. I was not aware of this Windows utility before. It looks quite useful, however it is much slower than a utility such as wget.exe.

P.S. If you want a different sound, find the file scream.wav on your hard drive (usually at C:\Users\(yourname)) and replace it with a different wave file of the same name (e.g. Woman Screaming).

If you are having problems downloading the file, just place any wave file named scream.wav in your user folder and then run scream.cmd.

Saturday 11 May 2019

grub4dos and non-USA keyboards

Together with Knyght, we have been working on supporting the Hungarian language and Hungarian keyboard for E2B.

E2B v1.B1c Beta includes the latest grub4dos version which adds even more Alt+ key support.

E2B uses grub4dos which, in turn, uses the BIOS to receive key codes from the keyboard. Unlike grub2, it does not have it's own keyboard interrupt handler.

A Hungarian 102-key keyboard produces the same keyboard scan codes as a USA 102-key keyboard or any other 102-key keyboard, the only difference is the engraved letters on the key tops.

This means that grub4dos must 'convert' the keyboard code it receives to generate the same character that is engraved on the key tops. For instance, when the key labelled " on a UK keyboard is pressed (shift+2), it should produce the " character and not the @ character that you would see if the keys had USA keyboard key tops.

grub4dos allows us to 'map' key codes using the setkey command. For instance, E2B uses a batch file to run a series of setkey commands to convert USA key codes to UK key codes:

Wednesday 8 May 2019

E2B v1.B1b Beta available

This new Beta version v1.B1b Beta includes the latest version of grub4dos which has enhanced keyboard support for non-QWERTY keyboards.

Changes in v1.B1b are:
  • Add menu text "(x present)" for number of XP ISOs present in Windows Install menu.
  • New grub4dos setkey command now supports oem102 and Alt+ key chord scancodes.
  • Small changes to Hungarian language files.
v1.B1a had these changes:
  • Add Hungarian language and keyboard support (thanks to Knyght).
  • If the Windows Install ISO filename contains the string 'WimBoot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso

Hungarian keyboard AltGr codes

On the Hungarian keyboard, some of the standard English ASCII characters are produced by using the AltGr key plus a letter or number key (the AltGr key generates a Alt+Ctrl key code).

For instance, the Hungarian keyboard is engraved so that the user expects AltGr+v to generate the @ symbol.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

A Removable-type USB HDD enclosure (+ UEFI-booting from ISOs on a IODD\Zalman drive enclosure)

With the new addition of WIMBOOT to E2B, you now rarely need to use a 'Removable' type of USB drive for E2B.

However, in a few cases where WIMBOOT cannot be used (low RAM or incompatible ISO) then Easy2Boot works better from a 'Removable' type of USB drive (such as most USB flash drives) or if you also connect a small WinHelper USB flash drive to the target system as well as the E2B HDD drive.

A user recently contacted me via the online Chat feature on the E2B website and mentioned that his USB HDD enclosure appeared as a 'Removable' device. He was from Dubai and had purchased a cheap Haysenser USB 3.0 HDD enclosure from his local market.

Saturday 4 May 2019

E2B v1.B1a Beta available with Hungarian language support

v1.B1a changes (download here in Latest Beta folder)

  • Add Hungarian language and keyboard support (thanks to Knyght).
  • If the Windows Install ISO filename contains string 'WimBoot' (not case sensitive) then E2B will not use WIMBOOT to boot the ISO (you must use a Removable USB drive or use a WinHelper Flash drive) - e.g. Win10 Home and Pro x64 1809 Oct English International (NoWimboot).iso
Knyght has kindly done a lot of work translating the E2B language files to Hungarian. There will also be a translation file for the MPI CSM menu too!

Keyboard support

This proved quite challenging because the Hungarian keyboard is not supported very well in grub4dos.

Friday 3 May 2019

Dell 'No boot device found.' error after installing Windows 10?

It seems that newer UEFI BIOSes from Dell now prevent you from MBR-booting from the internal hard disk (e.g. SATA, PCIe NVMe or M.2). However, you can still configure the BIOS to MBR-boot from external boot devices such as USB drives.

Details can be found on Dell Support link.

So, you can boot to the E2B grub4dos MBR boot menu (or MBR boot from a Rufus or other MBR USB drive) and install Windows 10 to the internal hard disk, however, when you reboot from the internal hard disk, you will see a 'No boot device found' error because the BIOS will only allow you to boot via UEFI from internal disks.

It seems that some of these Dell BIOSes were strictly UEFI-only at first, but then Dell released newer versions of the BIOS which included the 'Legacy External Devices' option. So you may need to update the BIOS if your current Dell BIOS does not have this option.

I suspect Dell later realised that a lot of their support utilities which relied on booting from USB or PXE only worked in MBR mode and so had to add this BIOS option!

Disclaimer: I don't actually have one of these systems to experiment with, so this information is just gleaned from the linked articles.

Sunday 28 April 2019

E2B v1.B0A update released

You may encounter an issue in v1.B0 where it reports an error or pauses for you to press ENTER before the Main Menu is loaded.

v1.B0A fixes this issue - please update from v1.B0.

Apart from this bugfix, you may also notice that the E2B drive icon in Explorer has changed (depending on if your system has cached thumbnails or not).

Note: Version 1.B0A still reports itself as v1.B0 in the menu heading.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Windows 10 May 2019 Update fails with "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error

The latest Windows update problem from MS!

"This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error on a computer that has a USB device or SD card attached.

The solution apparently is to remove your USB drives and SD cards!

E2B v1.B0 and MPI Tool Pack v0.039 now released

Available from Alternate Download areas here.

New eBook on UEFI multi-booting using WinPE images here.

E2B v1.B0 changes:

Friday 19 April 2019

New first draft eBook available - 'How to make a UEFI multi-boot Easy2Boot USB drive'

The first draft is available and I have also made available some large files which go with the eBook.

It details how you can set up your E2B drive for UEFI multi-booting.

Details of how to obtain the password-protected download files are within the eBook.

The first draft is available for $10 (but you can pay more if you like!) at Payhip.

If you would like to volunteer to work through most of this eBook and Exercises and send me feedback, please email me and I can provide you with a 100% discount voucher (i.e. it's free! - first 20 requests only).

Later revisions of the eBook will be downloadable using the same link that will be emailed to you, so you don't lose anything by buying the first version (but bear in mind it is a draft version!).

You must use the latest v1.B0 Beta version of E2B and the latest MPI Tool Pack v0.039 (from here).

Any comments welcome, it is a complicated subject and I had a lot of difficulty trying to make it clear and logical (and probably failed!).

Email me at steve  (at)  easy2boot (dot) com or use the Contact Me page.

Monday 15 April 2019

Fast E2B USB 3.0 drives - which is best? (GTX v. SSD v. M.2)

When booting from an E2B USB drive, the speed will depend on the speed of the USB drive and also on the BIOS USB driver.

I decided to test out three of the fastest Fixed disk-type USB 3 drives I have using my Asus Z87-A PC. Any of these three USB drives will comfortable run WindowsToGo or full Linux:

Sunday 14 April 2019

E2B and MPI Tool Pack has been updated

The latest version of E2B is now v1.B0p and  MPI Tool Pack is v0.093v14. There has been a small bugfix to SWITCH_E2B too.

I have spent many weeks writing an eBook on UEFI payloads for E2B (complete with Exercises) and I am just tidying it up. It should be ready in a few weeks. If anyone wants to obtain an early copy then give me your email address, but you must agree to provide feedback on at least 50% of the eBook and work though at least some of the Exercises and test the E2B drive on at least three different PCs/Notebooks! I will limit this to the first 20 requests only (just in case I get 100's of requests!). Email me at steve  (at)  easy2boot (dot) com or use the Contact Me page.

I have removed the trial WinPE downloads now. They are no longer available.

I have built a WinPE download file that includes WinPE32 and WinPE64 .wim files and also includes a SWPEFAT32  partition image file which also includes these two WinPEs.

Details of how to obtain this download and how to make the E2B drive, will all be in the eBook.

This means if you make a FAT32 2nd partition on your E2B drive (replace the existing one) containing the files in the download, it should UEFI-boot on any system to WinPE.

Also, you can choose which extension to use for your .imgPTN files:

Ubuntu.imgptn23    - the FAT32 partition is kept

 --- OR ---

Ubuntu.imgptnX4SWPEFAT32 - the SWPEFAT32 partition image file is inserted as Ptn4

If you wanted to keep your 2nd partition as NTFS, you would have to use the X4 file extension.

The download also includes MemTest86 which you can run if you include rEFInd in your .imgPTN files and you can also MBR-boot to WinPE32\64 if you really want to.

If you do add a second FAT32 partition containing these files, there are some disadvantages however (such as some systems will not allow you to MBR-boot from the E2B USB drive!). These issues + workarounds are discussed in the eBook too.

UEFI-booting is easier if you add rEFInd when you make your .imgPTN image files, but this will 'break' Secure Boot, so adding rEFInd is a choice you will need to make.

Thursday 4 April 2019

E2B v1.B0m Beta available

Changes in latest E2B v1.B0m Beta are:
1. Update Portuguese language file (thanks to Jeider)
2. Fix bug if running a .imgptnX4 file and X4 filename is longer than 14 characters.
3. Fix bug if '3GB', '4GB', '32' or '64' found in X4 filename it could prevent file from being listed in menu.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

UEFI-multiboot for E2B now supports UEFI 32-bit and 64-bit

I have made a dual WinPE partition image for use with Easy2Boot X4 files.
This allows you to select and boot from a variety of UEFI payloads on an E2B USB drive without the need to Legacy\CSM-boot or find another Windows system to run SWITCH_E2B.exe.

Here is how to do it...

Saturday 30 March 2019

Latest versions update

Latest versions are here.
  • Easy2Boot v1.B0l
  • MPI Tool Kit 093v11
  • SWITCHPE_russian_mini_v4
  • SWITCH_E2B v1.1.20 
SWITCH_E2B and Easy2Boot will now first look for any second auxiliary image file in the \_ISO file on the second E2B partition. This gets around the problem of having to re-order the two files.

e.g. So both these arrangement of files will now work...

Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64.imgptn  (this image is set as Ptn1 when switched in)
Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64         (this image is set as Ptn3 when switched in - file must follow the first one on the disk or it will not UEFI-boot on some systems)

Ptn1: \_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntu64.imgptn  (this image is set as Ptn1 when switched in)
Ptn2: \_ISO\Ubuntu64               (this image is set as Ptn3 when switched in)

In the second case, the second file will always follow the first one because it is on the second partition.

Thursday 28 March 2019

Latest news and updates for E2B + rEFInd

I have been testing various combinations of partition types on different systems and also had some feedback from users.

The latest version of E2B and SWITCH_E2B.exe has a few changes and bug fixes.

The X4 file can now also be placed on the 2nd partition of your E2B USB drive. This solves the problem of having to re-order the two files if they are not in the correct order for UEFI-booting.

Ptn1: \_ISO\MAINMENU\Ubuntux64.imgptnX4SwitchPE   (FAT32 .imgPTN file with rEFInd)
Ptn2: \_ISO\SwitchPE                              (partition image containing WinPE)

The latest versions at the time of writing are:

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Add Notfall 13 2019 ISO to E2B

Here is how to add the German Notfall 13 2019 ISO to E2B.

You can simply add the ISO to one of the E2B menu folders.

If you want to change the menu system configuration files or want a 'flat file' installation so it can store updates (?), etc. and UEFI-boot you may want to create a .imgPTN file for it.

These instructions stems from a thread on here.

Note that to test it under VirtualBox, you need to pick one of the Safe Mode (old PC) options or else it will crash!

Create 'flat file' .imgPTN image

Monday 25 March 2019

MPI Tool Kit v0.093 Beta with rEFInd (UEFI-multibooting of different .imgptn files is now possible)

New Betas for UEFI-multiboot support without needing to MBR-boot!

E2B v1.B0i Beta and MPI Tool Pack v0.093v7 Beta will allow you to select any UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file without needing to CSM boot or needing to run SWITCH_E2B on a different Windows system.

Each .imgPTN file must include rEFInd so that when it UEFI-boots, the rEFInd manager is loaded.

You can then choose to boot to the UEFI payload (linux, KonBoot, Windows Installer, etc.) OR boot to WinPE and run SWITCH_E2B.exe where you can choose to load a different .imgPTN file.

The new MakePartImage only fully supports adding a 64-bit WinPE UEFI, but you can add both 32-bit and 64-bit WinPEs using the X4 method or the second partition method (see below). Since pure 32-bit UEFI systems are quite rare, I have not catered for them in MakePartImage.

Outline of new changes:

Wednesday 20 March 2019

E2B v1.B0h available

This version v1.B0h has a few very small tweaks to the Make_E2B.exe GUI but I also have removed nircmd.exe from the SDI_CHOCO folder because this was causing some AV software problems when downloading or extracting E2B.

nircmd.exe is still used by SDI_CHOCO and it still speaks to you as the installation proceeds, because it extracts the file during the Specialize pass.

Friday 15 March 2019

Add 'SuperinSecureUEFI-Boot' to your E2B USB drive

There are two projects on GitHub which are of interest to USB-booters.
This was mentioned on recently and also pointed out to me by Alex G.

The first project (by thias) is a multiboot menu system based on grub2 called 'glim'. It automatically detects .iso files and builds a menu each time it boots (does it sound familiar?). It supports UEFI and MBR booting.

The second project (by ValdikSS) includes 'glim' and is a UEFI+MBR multiboot project which allows you to UEFI Secure Boot, UEFI-boot or MBR-boot and then run secure or unsecure payloads from the grub2 menu system.

The downside is that for Secure Boot, you have to register the bespoke grub2 efi file using a certificate that is provided. This adds the certificate into the NVRAM of the system UEFI firmware and so it 'changes' the target system.

Set the timeout so it autoboots if you like!

Use the GRUB Live ISO Multiboot menu entry...

I only added one ISO...

Comparison between UEFIinSecureBoot and E2B grub2 menu system v10

  • E2B grub2 allows Secure Boot without using MokManager and so does not change the target system.
  • Both systems can Secure Boot (using MokManager for insecureBoot) and run both secure and insecure ISOs and other non-EFI payloads.
  • UEFIinSecureBoot should Secure Boot and run non-secure EFI payloads ??? (not tested).
  • UEFIinSecureBoot can Secure Boot and access files on an NTFS partition, when Secure booted however, E2B grub2 can only access a FAT partition.
  • Both systems can be expanded by adding more menu files.
  • UEFISecureBoot uses a graphical grub2 theme menu, this type of menu runs very slowly on some systems (E2B grub2 menu system does not use a theme for this reason).
If you want to try this you can download the ready-made .imgPTN23 file here.


Thursday 14 March 2019

E2B v1.B0g Beta now available (Make_E2B.exe now automatically creates 2nd partition if large USB disk)

v1.B0g is now available.

If you make a new E2B USB drive and the USB drive is larger than 128GiB, then the cmd script will now use Windows Diskpart to create a second maximum-sized partition. Note that if you have a >128GiB USB Flash drive (removable-type) then Windows 10 Build 1703 or later is required, otherwise you will just get the usual small 31K 2nd partition.

The filesystem choice is left up to Diskpart to decide - if the second partition is less than 32GB, it will be formatted as FAT32, if larger then it will be formatted as NTFS.

You can still make a single large first partition if you wish, if you run the .cmd file instead of the clicking the big red button in Make_E2B.exe.

Changes from the current v1.A0 released version are:

Sunday 10 March 2019

E2B 1.B0f available

The latest version is v1.B0f Beta version which has a few small bug fixes.
Check the Version History for details.

Thursday 7 March 2019

At least two pupils in the same school class will have the same birthday - probably! (the 'Birthday Paradox')

Our old Maths teacher always used to do this trick with every new class intake each year...

First, he would ask the question 'What are the chances that at least two pupils in this class have the same Birthday'?

After asking for our guesses, he would ask anyone in the class to raise their hand if they had a Birthday in January. Then he would ask each of the pupils who had raised a hand to shout out the day they were born on, e.g.Tom shouts '21st', Victor shouts '12th', etc. and then he would go on to February, etc. until someone else shouted out 'YES' if they had the same Birthday.

Theoretically, with a class size of 30 pupils, there is a 70% chance that two or more pupils in the same class will share the same Birthday (and probably the same birth-year as well). Our Maths teacher would tell us that he would explain this when we came to study probabilities, but he also said something else which peaked our curiosity...

He said that he had been doing this test for many years now and with many classes, and that he has found that the probability was actually much better than the theoretical 70% figure!

He would then ask if anyone could think of why this should be?