Thursday, 8 December 2016

YouTube Video on the E2B_Editor now available

See http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/e2b-editor/  (refresh the page if you don't see a video at the top of the page).

Tip: use the gear wheel speed control and set x2 if you find yourself falling asleep!


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

E2B v1.87e Beta available

1.87e Beta has a few more tweaks to PassPass to make it quicker when searching for Windows OS's.
I hope to release this version as 1.87 after a few days, so please report any issues if you find any.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

PEPassPass for XP to Win10

PEPassPass is a Windows-executable version of PassPass written by boulcat.

If you can boot to the E2B menu (MBR-boot), then you can use the E2B PassPass version.

The 64-bit + 32-bit modified boulcat versions of PEPassPass.exe (updated by Ner0 for Win10) is now available from the Easy2Boot alternate download areas (Google drive and OneDrive).

You can add these PEPassPass files to your E2B drive (or add them inside a UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file if you want to UEFI-boot to WinPE).


You can boot from any Windows or WinPE OS on a USB drive or CD (64-bit or 32-bit OS) and run PEPassPass to patch a Windows OS so you can bypass the local user account password entry.

Under WinPE, I use SHIFT+F10 to open a command console and then run NotePad and use the File Open menu in NotePad to find and run the PEPassPass exe file using right-click.

PEPassPass is useful if your system cannot MBR boot to E2B and can only UEFI-boot.

Follow the reboot.pro discussion for more details on PEPassPass (note the first version by Ner0 had a bug).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

How to directly boot to different grub4dos payloads from the Windows boot menu

I have added Tutorial 134 to the RMPrepUSB website which describes how you can add multiple grub4dos payloads to the Windows 7/8/10 boot menu.

This method is useful because the user does not see any intermediate grub4dos menu, only the bootmgr BCD menu is seen.

For instance, a Windows bootmgr menu can contain BCD entries for:

Windows 10
Memtest 86
Ubuntu Live ISO
Parted Magic ISO

When you select any of these menu options, it will immediately boot to that payload.

Friday, 2 December 2016

E2B v1.87d (PassPass improved)

I have improved the PassPass batch file a bit in v1.87d.
When you Restore the DLL file (after first backing it up), it will now check the first 512 bytes to make sure you are restoring the same file and same version.

Alternate Download Area


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Add a Manjaro Live install image to E2B

The manjaro live cd ISO does not seem to support a live persistence volume (AFAIK).



However, we can add a full manjaro image (MBR boot only) to E2B so that we can boot to a fully installed OS which will be updatable and persistent just like a normal installation.

Here are the steps to add a full linux OS to an Easy2Boot USB drive.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

E2B v1.87c Beta available with PassPass for XP up to Win10

Ner0 on reboot.pro has posted a way to patch Windows 10 in a similar manner to that used by Holmes.Sherlock's PassPass.

I have added some new code to the E2B version of PassPass (v1.7a) so that you can now patch Windows 10 to bypass the password entry. The new E2B version is in the Alternate Download Areas.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

How to add secret, hidden menu entries to E2B

Paul wanted to prevent certain payloads from being listed in the E2B menu system so that the normal user would not be aware that they even existed.

He wanted a secret hotkey + password which would allow the hidden payloads to appear in the E2B menu system.

We can stop any file from being listed as a payload in E2B by using a .txt file and the iftitle test feature. For instance, we can test for the environment variable 'SECRET' and if it does not exist then the menu entry will not be shown...

iftitle [if exist SECRET] Windows 10 English International (32-bit)\n My Secret ISO

We can set the SECRET variable using a hotkey + password.

In the example below, if you type CTRL+F9 (in any menu) then a blank screen will appear with a password prompt.

You can then type the password SECRET  (in capital letters), and any hidden menu items will then magically appear in the E2B menus!

To make them disappear again, type CTRL+F9 again and press ENTER instead of entering the correct password or press F8 when in the Main menu to reload E2B. Or you could define a CTRL+F10 key to hide them all again more quickly (see below).

Here is how to set this up...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Pentoo ISO with persistence on E2B

The pentoo FAQ says you can use changes=/dev/sdXY kernel cheat code to specify the persistence volume. This is incorrect!
It seems that we must use aufs=/dev/sdXY for pentoo.
As pentoo is based on gentoo, we can use a similar .mnu file for persistence with pentoo.


The .mnu file is shown below:

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Add LibreELEC Live to E2B (Kodi)

You can add OpenElec Live to E2B by following my previous blog here.

You can follow a similar procedure to add LibreELEC to E2B (and also have UEFI-booting) as follows:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Add CHKCPU to your E2B drive to display CPU Info

CHKCPU is available as a MD-DOS\FreeDOS compatible freeware program by Jan Steunebrink that will display details of your CPU.

I have created a FreeDOS image that will auto-run this utility and then run checkpci.exe to display the systems PCI IDs.
CHKCPU running under VBox

Monday, 21 November 2016

Over 1000 E2B USB drives are made every day!

If you use the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script to create an E2B USB drive, the script will display the latest released version of E2B, so that you can see if there is a newer version and download it.

The script finds out what the current version is, by downloading a file called LatestE2B.txt from the www.easy2boot.com website. The file contains the current latest version number and it's release date.

A nice side-effect of this is that, as the Easy2Boot websites statistics report the number of 'hits' on that file, I can see that in the last 30 days, the LatestE2B.txt file has had over 31,000 hits. So this means that the script, on average, is being run 1000 times a day - and that is not counting the people that use RMPrepUSB to make E2B drives!

Why not make an E2B drive for your friends as a Christmas present? You can design the menu background to personalise it and add some linux distros with persistence, Gandalf WinPE, Lakka + games, Kodi (Xbox Media Centre), Cub Linux (a version of Chrome), various antivirus payloads in case of emergencies, android x86 with persistence, Tails for safe browsing, a Windows10ToGO VHD file, etc. etc. Check out this blog's 'Tutorials' page for all these and many other possibilities.

E2B 1.87b Beta available

v1.87b changes from v1.86:
  • Fix typo in SDI_CHOCO which caused scrolllock.exe and capslock.exe error messages. 
  • Improve linux fmt.sh scripts to install grub4dos to PBR and make partition active using parted.
Download from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

If you make your E2B USB drive under linux, I highly recommend you ensure that the E2B USB drive has two primary partitions. The second primary partition can be any size and does not need to be formatted. This is useful because some computer BIOSes will not correctly boot the E2B USB drive as a 'hard disk' without the second partition being present.

Note that you can prepare both an NTFS or FAT32 E2B USB under linux and make the files contiguous under linux using defragfs (FAT32) or udefrag (NTFS) - see the linux page here. However, to make .imgPTN files (for UEFI-booting and installing Windows from a USB HDD, etc.), you will still need a Windows system to run the MakePartImage.cmd script.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

UEFI-boot to Porteus with persistence from E2B

I have added another section to my previous blog post on Porteus to show how you can UEFI-boot to Porteus with persistence.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Add the Norman Rescue and Antivirus ISO to E2B (with persistence)

The XUbuntu-based Norman Rescue Disk ISO file (English+German supported) can be downloaded and added to your E2B USB drive (you can supply any junk email address to get the download).

However, when it first boots from the ISO file, it will download over 170MB of updates and virus definitions.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

MPI Tool Pack 0.070 available

I have added a new script file \e2b\RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd to this new version.

It uses 32-bit and 64-bit versions of MBRFix.exe. This means that you can boot to either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of WinPE and switch back the USB drive to the original E2B partitions. Previously, you had to use a 64-bit version of WinPE that included WoW64 support (e.g. ChrisR's WinBuilder builds) so that it could run RMPartUSB which is a 32-bit program.

e.g. Now you can...
1. Switch to .imgPTN version of WinPE
2. UEFI-boot to 64-bit WinPE
3. Run \e2b\RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd

and now access the files on your E2B volume (including WinNTSetup.exe and Windows ISOs, etc.).

It uses Diskpart to find the Physical Disk number from the drive letter and does not rely on WMI, VB script or powershell or WoW64 - see here for details.

P.S. I found some typos in E2B SDI_Choco files which caused a '\DRIVERS\scrolllock.exe not found' and '\DRIVERS\capslock.exe not found' prompt. This is now fixed in E2B v.1.87a Beta.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Restore the E2B partition under 64-bit WinPE

If you use .imgPTN partition image files to boot to WinPE, you sometimes may want to return the E2B USB drive partitions back to it's original 'E2B' state (without having to boot into CSM\MBR mode), so that you can access the files on the E2B partition whilst running WinPE.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

E2B Grub2 Menu system Beta 5 available

UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta5.imgPTNLBAa23 is available from the Alternate Downloads Area - Other Files folder.

The main difference between this version and the previous version is that for UEFI-booting to grub2, it uses a 64-bit shim for Secure Booting.

Making files contiguous on an NTFS volume under linux

Recent versions of E2B contain a 32-bit version of the binary executable for 'UltraDefrag' for linux (udefrag).

This can be found in the \_ISO\docs\linux_utils folder.

You will need to use chmod to make it executable first. More details are here.

To run the 32-bit version of udefrag under Ubuntu 64-bit:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386
(change to _ISO/docs/linux_utils folder)
sudo chmod 777 *
sudo udefrag -om /dev/sdX1  (where sdX1 is your NTFS USB partition - e.g. /dev/sdb1)

I got the udefrag file from here (tools.zip). There is also a post here which may help.

I am afraid my linux skills are virtually non-existent, so if anyone would like to provide me with a compiled, 64-bit version of udefrag, I will add it to E2B for others to use.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Weird UEFI-boot behaviour from my Asus Z87A mainboard

I was trying to boot a UEFI grub2 payload yesterday when I discovered something odd.

I was using an IODD 2531 Hard disk enclosure fitted with an SSD. I had loaded the grub2 menu system .imgPTN file using Switch_E2B.exe so it had the grub2 .EFI boot files present.

I then connected the drive to my Lenovo IdeaPad 300 and pressed F12 to get the Boot Selection menu. A UEFI boot entry was then displayed, so I selected that option and it booted to the grub2 menu - no problem!

Next, I did the same thing but using my Asus Z87A PC. To my surprise, the BIOS refused to list the IODD 2531 as a UEFI-bootable drive! There was an MBR-bootable option for the USB drive, but there was no UEFI boot option listed. This was very strange because I had UEFI-booted in this way dozens of times before from the same PC in the same way.

When I examined the Master Boot Record using RMPrepUSB - Drive Info - 0, I found that I had these partitions:

ptn #1 : FAT32 with EFI boot files
ptn #2 : NTFS with payload files
ptn #3 : Type 0x83 ext3 partition
ptn #4 : (empty)

Now ptn #3 was not supposed to be there. It was only there because it was left over from a previous experiment and because the grub2 .imgPTN file was switched in, it left partitions 2 and 3 alone, so that both were still present.

So I deleted ptn #3 and tried it again in the Z87A PC. This time the BIOS listed a bootable UEFI option for the IODD 2531 and it could now UEFI-boot.

So it seems that the mere presence of the Type 0x83 ext3 partition prevents the Z87A firmware from detecting the USB drive as UEFI-bootable!

Weird!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Rescue ToolKit Live CD by Bertrand Goio

Rescue ToolKit by Bertrand Goio is Linux-based rescue and diagnostic - RTK-3.iso (password=live).
Just add it to your E2B USB drive and check it out.


Here's what in it!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Add salix+persistence to E2B

Following from a request from kasep, here is how to boot salix with persistence from E2B.

Salix with Persistence (folder STEVE was created)

From various experiments, I could not get salix to recognise an ext3 persistence file when mapped to partition 3 of the E2B drive. It seems that salix specifically looks for a 'persistent' file in the root of a FAT32 or ext3 volume with a volume name of  'LIVE'.

So, we need to convert the .ISO file to a FAT32 .imgPTN file. Here is how I did it:

Monday, 31 October 2016

Use Tron to automatically clean an infected Windows system

Tron by 'vocatus' is a large Windows script that will automatically 'spring-clean' an infected/unwell Windows system. After Tron has been run, the system should be free from infection and may also run faster than before.

You will need to be able to boot to the Windows system (in Safe Mode+n/w mode) and you will need internet connectivity for best results.

If you download the self-extracting Tron .exe file, you can keep it on your E2B USB drive (but disconnect the E2B drive and any other USB drive before starting Tron.bat, or else it will needlessly scan those drives too).

How to check if you booted to WinPE via UEFI or MBR

If you have booted from a WinPE image, you can check what mode you have booted in (UEFI or MBR) using a small cmd script:

Report_UEFI_MBR_boot_mode.cmd

@echo off
wpeutil UpdateBootInfo > nul
color 1f
for /f "tokens=2* delims= " %%A in ('reg query HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PEFirmwareType') DO SET Firmware=%%B
:: Note: delims is a TAB followed by a space.
if %Firmware%==0x1 echo WinPE booted in BIOS mode.
if %Firmware%==0x2 echo WinPE booted in UEFI mode.
echo.
pause

You can use this script to determine what mode you have booted in (original source here).
The script only works in WinPE not Windows.

This code may be useful when you write a diskpart script for instance, and you need to know whether to partition a disk using GPT partitions or MBR partitions depending on how the user booted to WinPE initially.

The Report_UEFI_MBR_boot_mode.cmd script can be downloaded from the Alternate Downloads - Other files folder.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

E2B v1.86 is now available

Changes from v1.85 are:
  • Bug fix for wsusoffline Win8 updates not working. 
  • Win8/10 Repair option now offered (press a key within 4 seconds after selecting an ISO). 
  • Language files updated to add a Windows Repair option prompt (see below).
  • Self-extracting .exe versions available.
I have used WinRar to create self-extracting exe files from the zip files. This means you can download and click on the .exe file and it will automatically extract the files to a temporary folder and then run the Make E2B USB Drive (run as admin).cmd script.

This should make it easier for naive users to make E2B USB drives.

If you don't want the contents to be extracted to a temporary folder, just open the .exe file using 7Zip or WinRar and extract the contents, or download one of the .7z or .zip versions.

If you have a Win8/10/2016 ISO in the \_ISO\WINxxx menu folders, when you select the ISO file, you will be given 4 seconds to press a key before being prompted to select an XML file. If you press a key within 4 seconds, it will boot straight to the ISO and you will be able to use the standard Windows Repair option in the Windows Install Setup menu (you will NOT be able to install Windows though!). See my previous blog for more details.

The downloads are available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Get Windows 10 Professional for £4 (legally)?

You can still upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 if you know how (see here), but what if you want to install Windows 10 Pro on a new home-built system?

It seems that some sellers on eBay (UK and USA) are selling Windows 7 Pro keys for approx £4.

Now, as far as I am aware, you can still use a Windows 7 key to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 (as long as you use a recent version of the Windows 10 install ISO and not the first version).

These eBay sellers seem to think that they are 'legal' because they are also selling a faulty mainboard together with the Product Key. The only catch being that although they email you the Product Key within an hour or so, if you want the faulty mainboard then you have to either pick it up yourself or pay for postage and packing (which is quite expensive, so they clearly don't expect anyone to request the faulty mainboard!).

Whether this is actually within the terms of a Microsoft 'system builder' licence is debatable. I am sure MS never meant that a seller could sell faulty mainboards and that MS intended that the part and the Windows 7 COA should be shipped together.

I don't know if these keys actually work because I have not personally tried one, but for £4 it may be worth a try!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

New Gandalf WinPE available

The latest Gandalf WinPE ISO (2016-10-24) is available from here.


Convert it to a FAT32 .imgPTN file and add it to your E2B drive as usual. Then it will MBR or UEFI-64 boot.

If you like the Desktop analogue clock (which can be positioned anywhere on the Desktop), and want to add it to your own Windows Desktop, you can get it from here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

E2B 1.86b Beta available

E2B v1.86b has a few changes from 1.85
  • Windows 8/10 ISOs now give user the option to run a 'Repair' - see here for details.
  • STRINGS.txt language files updated for new 'Repair' feature
  • wsus offline update bug fix for Win8/2012R2 updates (SDI_CHOCO) - thanks to JW for reporting it.
Download from the Alternate Download Area as usual.

I have also made a self-extracting exe file Easy2Boot v1.86b_Make_E2B_USB_Drive.exe available.
This self-extracts the E2B files to a temporary folder and then automatically runs MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd from the temporary folder. This may be useful for less experienced users because they don't need to extract the E2B files to a new folder.

If you want to update your USB drive, download the .ZIP file as usual.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Windows Startup Repair (StartRep.exe) crashes on Windows 8/10 in E2B

A few days ago I used E2B to boot to a Windows 10 install ISO in order to repair a notebook that had some boot issues.

I ran the Win10 ISO from the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 folder and chose the 'S' Startup Repair option in the blue console window and it immediately crashed...


Coincidentally, a user also contacted me yesterday about the same issue! StartRep works fine on Win7 ISOs, but there seems to be something 'special' about the Win8/10 version of StartRep.exe!

Upon investigation, I found that the StartRep.exe also crashed if you chose the Windows Troubleshooter option (recenv.exe) and then ran the Startup Repair option (which runs StartRep.exe)! All the other troubleshooting functions worked, but not Startup Repair.

I also found that if I ran the ISO without using an XML file which had a WinPE section in it, then StartRep.exe worked OK. Also, Windows Setup only gives the user the 'Repair' option (Alt+R) in the Windows Setup menu as long as the XML file does not contain a WinPE section.

So, you can run Windows Repair if you place the Windows 8/10 ISO in one of the other menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\WIN or \_ISO\MAINMENU) and name it with a .iso01 file extension. However, this would mean having to have two copies of each Windows Install ISO on the E2B drive, which is not very convenient!

So, E2B v1.86 will now prompt the user to press a key within 4 seconds for a 'Repair' option whenever they choose a Windows 8/10/2016 Install ISO file from one of the Windows Install menus. If they press a key, the ISO will be run as .iso01 and the standard Repair option will be available. However, in this mode you cannot install Windows because the ISO will not be loaded as a virtual DVD by ImDisk.