Thursday, 25 August 2016

E2B v1.83d Beta now available

Version 1.83d is a 'Release Candidate'.

Please let me know if you spot any issues ASAP. I will probably release it as v1.83 release version in a few days.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Are fingerprint sensors really secure?

Many years ago when fingerprint sensors first started to appear on the market, it seemed a really useful security feature.

The company I worked for (RM plc) made PCs, notebooks and tablets for schools. The use of passwords was a common problem in schools. The password needed to be long enough and complex enough to be secure, but also easy to remember. Also, the crafty kids would often watch a teacher type in their password and so learn their admin password. The kids would also forget their passwords, which meant that teachers or the IT admin guys were constantly having to reset their passwords and create new ones for them. Kids would write down their password and other kids could find them and copy their homework, etc. Passwords were a real headache.

So fingerprint scanners seemed to present an ideal solution and as everyone's fingerprint is unique - so it is foolproof, right?

Windows command line TAB auto-completion tip

I came across this tip yesterday. You can specify a file using wildcards and then use TAB auto-completion in a Windows command shell.

For instance:

If you are working at the Windows cmd shell and want to edit a .txt file (for instance), type

notepad *.txt

You can now press the TAB key until you see the file you want.

This works with more complex wildcards to such as  p*.t* and with network shares too.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

RMPrepUSB v2.1.732 now available

I have updated RMPrepUSB to use the new version of mke2fs. It now asks you to specify  ext2, ext3 or ext4 format when you use the Create Ext2/3/4 FS button.

This makes it more convenient to create ext3 or ext4 files. I will remove the mke2fs files from Easy2Boot as there is no need for them now.


For persistence files with E2B, I recommend ext3 because ext2 files can become easily corrupted. I suggest you avoid ext4 because grub4dos may not be fully compatible with ext4 and I don't think there is much advantage over ext3 (but I might be wrong!).

Download here.

E2B v1.83c Beta available

v1.83c - changes from 1.83a in bold

  • bugfix grub4dos 0.4.6a so does not absorb key presses before menu is displayed. 
  • Make_E2B_USB_Drive (run as admin).cmd now checks for more versions of bootmgr (whitelist has new additions). 
  • Warning message if try to use .imz file extension (need to convert to .ima).
  • Add \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Format_as_ext3_or_ext4 folder for re-formatting ext2 persistence files as ext3 or ext4 under Windows. (removed from 1.83d)
  • Add sample .mnu files for Remix OS x86 with persistence (thanks Sergio!). 
  • Small changes to German language files (thanks Frettt). 
  • Add fmt_ntfs.sh script and udefrag utility to docs\linux_utils folder - can now make and maintain an NTFS E2B drive under linux.

Note that I have discovered (thanks to a post by Shiv Manas on Google+) that the udefrag linux utility will make files on an E2B USB drive contiguous (provided you have enough free space on the drive). This means that linux users can make and maintain an NTFS E2B USB drive. See ReadMe file in the linux_utils folder for more details.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

E2B v1.83a Beta available

v1.83a 

  • bugfix grub4dos 0.4.6a so does not absorb key presses before menu is displayed. 
  • Make_E2B_USB_Drive (run as admin).cmd now checks for more versions of bootmgr (whitelist has new additions). 
  • Warning message if try to use .imz file extension (need to convert to .ima).
Available from Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Anyone tried the SDI_CHOCO feature yet?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Convenient way to run MS-DOS utilities directly from an NTFS E2B drive

If you have several different DOS utilities (to flash a BIOS perhaps or run a DOS-based diagnostic) which are provided as .exe or .com files, then you may have trouble adding it to an NTFS E2B USB drive.

Usually, you would have to make a DOS-bootable floppy disk image or perhaps make a bootable USB flash drive and then 'capture' the flash drive as a FAT32 .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit (MakePartImage). Actually, E2B will try to boot to IO.sys or Kernel.sys, so you do not have to 'SYS' the floppy image, just ensure that the correct boot files are present inside the image file.

Today, I found some DOS floppy disk images which contained NTFS drivers on a Russian site (www.bootdisk.com seems to not provide free downloads any more). This means that all you have to do, is copy your DOS utilities to a new folder on your NTFS E2B USB drive, boot to the floppy disk image and then run the DOS utility straight from the NTFS E2B drive.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Add a 'factory' recovery partition using Aomei One Key Recovery

Whilst looking at the Aomei Backupper utility (horrible name!) in a previous blog, I saw the free Aomei One Key Recovery product on the Aomei website and decided to try it today.


The website has a lot of 'Chinglish' sales talk and very little information about how it works. Here are the main points for you techies!...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

E2B v.1.82 is now released

v1.82 2016-08-13
  • New grub4dos 0.4.6a 'E2B.cfg missing' bug fix + others. 
  • SDI_CHOCO (automated driver and apps install for Win 7/8/10) added. 
  • Support for WSUS Offline update in SDI_CHOCO added. 
  • New Win8/10 SDI_CHOCO XML files (+ some older XML files re-named). 
  • Fix for Windows Setup refusing to install to internal hard disk if using E2B HDD+WINHELPER flash drive combination, with some systems. 
  • Install from XP ISO hang/reset grub4dos bugfix. 
  • Small tweak to \_ISO\e2b\grub\menu.lst to remove extra screen clear. 
  • Improve LOADISO.cmd routine when searching for virtual Win7/8/10 ImDisk DVD drives. 
  • Added two new bootmgr versions to 'whitelist' for VHD booting.
  • Update script now lists the files that are updated by robocopy
Download E2B v1.82, unpack to a new folder and then use the \UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd script to update your E2B drive.

Read more: http://www.easy2boot.com/download/e2b-version-history/

Note: I just noticed that the new version of grub4dos has a small bug. It soaks up key presses, so if you press Ctrl+U whilst the Main menu is loading, E2B does not go straight to the Utilities menu. You have to wait for the Main menu to display before you press Ctrl+U. Hopefully this will be fixed by the developers in the next version of grub4dos. P.S. Fixed in v1.83.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Which free Disk Backup software to use?

I was interested in finding a free offline disk backup and restore utility that I could boot from E2B and quickly make a full 'bare-metal' disk backup or restore of any (Windows) system.

I found a good article on a Raymond.cc blog post here, which tested 20 different backup utilities, but many were not free.

I decided to quickly test some of these using a Windows 10, Lenovo IdeaPad 300 notebook containing an SSD internal drive (13GB of files) and booting from an E2B SSD in an Inateck FE2007 USB 3.0 drive caddy. Well, I didn't want to spend days using spinny-things and slow USB 2.0 drives, did I?

My results tallied fairly well with the Raymond-site results (see the nice tables of free software further down this page).

My results (booting from E2B) were: