Monday, 27 May 2013

Beta30 v5 now available - full release soon - please try this version!

Only minor changes in this version:

  • XP Step 1 install now loads the ISO into memory - this may prevent BSOD on some systems.
  • Updated grub4dos version
  • Updated some readme and help htm files.
  • Added E2B stamp to the background.

Please let me know of anything that is wrong or could be improved in this version. I will release it as the official full release after 1 week of no bug reports or changes.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA 30 v4

This version of BETA30 should be the same as v3, except with this version you can turn an E2B USB drive into a bootable ISO.

Don't get too excited though because many things won't work!
Windows XP via WinPE installs and Win8/SVR2012 installs won't work (Vista/7 and XP step1/2 may work but I have not tested them!).
Many linux ISO won't work unless you use a .mnu file which has special cheat codes in it - this is because I can't use the partnew command on a CD!

WARNING! If you try to use the partnew command in any of your .mnu files, it could wipe a partition on the internal hard disk that you boot the CD/DVD on!

WARNING!!!: If you have used any of the old sample .mnu files for linux ISO's - remove them before you boot from the E2B CD!!!! These .mnu files will wipe the 4th partition of your hard disk without warning if you boot from an E2B CD/DVD!!!!!

I have modified the Sample .mnu files now so they just abort if you try to use them on a CD.

Simple ISOs like KonBoot, or plpbt or WinPE ISOs will work though. Hirens Mini XP will work if you use an extension of .isomem (.isoWinvH does not fully work).

The CD\DVD that you make will also support FASTLOAD so it does not have to enumerate all the ISOs each time it boots.

Here is what you need to do to turn your E2B Flash memory stick into a bootable CD/DVD:

1. Make a USB Flash drive (or USB HDD) with BETA30 v4 or later
2. Add your payload files and test as normal
3. (optional) If you want FASTLOAD enabled on your final CD/DVD then copy FASTLOAD.YES to the root of the USB drive
4. (optional) If you have FASTLOAD enabled, boot the USB drive on a real system. Then reboot it to check that it loads the menu from cache correctly.
5. Run RMPrepUSB and select the USB drive - then type Ctrl+M  (File - Make grub4dos ISO from drive). This will make a bootable ISO.
6. (optional) Test the ISO using RMPrepUSB Ctrl+F11  (File - Boot from ISO using QEMU Emulator)
7. Burn your ISO (or copy it to a Zalman ZM VE-200/300/400 or IsoStick for testing).

BETA30 v4 is available at the bottom of the Tutorial 72a page.

E2B BETA30 v3 - AUTO folder is back!

I have re-instated the \_ISO\AUTO folder!
If you populate it with payload files (e.g. ISOs) and .txt files (optional) then you will see the DIRECT BOOT Menu appear in the Main menu.
You can have sub-folders under a \_ISO\AUTO and all payload files will all be listed in the DIRECT BOOT menu.
Another small change: Hotkeys for SubMenus such as BACKUP, ANTIVIRUS, etc. now are all Ctrl+ combinations.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

E2B BETA30 v2

Some changes to the menus to add F7-F10 to all of them and then add hotkey menu in the Footer at the bottom of the display.


Monday, 20 May 2013

E2B BETA30 re-uploaded

Just some small changes have been made as the P, C, E and B keys are used by grub4dos so these need to be kept free. So I have used Ctrl+B and Ctrl+W for the Backup and WinPE hotkeys now. Please re-download and overwrite current files to refresh your USB drive. I have not bothered to change the version number as the changes are very small.

Easy2Boot BETA30 v1 now available

I have deleted the AUTO and MNU folders and menu entries.

Instead you have some-predefined Main menu folders. If you place a payload file inside one of the folders then that folder will appear in the Main menu. BACKUP_LINUX and UTILITIES_MEMTEST are sub-menus of the BACKUP and UTILITIES folder.


ANTIVIRUS
BACKUP
BACKUP_LINUX
docs
DOS
e2b
FASTLOAD.YES
FASTLOAD_Read_Me.txt
LINUX
MAINMENU
ReadMe.txt
Sample_MyE2B.cfg
UTILITIES
UTILITIES_MEMTEST
WINDOWS
WINPE


If you just download the BETA30 and make a new USB drive, you will see that BACKUP, DOS and UTILITIES will be listed, but not the other folders (WINPE, LINUX, ANTIVIRUS) as they are empty.

The UTILITIES menu has a Plop ISO and also a sub-menu entry for MEMORY TEST programs. The UTILITIES_MEMTEST folder contains memtest86+.
The DOS menu just has a FreeDos bootable floppy disk image.
The BACKUP menu is currently empty but it is displayed because there is a sub-menu .mnu file in it of Backup_Linux.mnu. So if you add some payload files to the \_ISO\BACKUP_LINUX folder, then the Linux sub-menu will be listed.

All these examples have hotkey's assigned, so if you are using GFXMenu, you will need to remove the hotkey text from each of the SubMenuXXXX.mnu files in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder. I assume that if you are experienced with GFXMenu then you will know how to do this!

I hope this new menu system is easier to understand and you can easily add more sub-folders by just copying an existing SubMenuXXXX.mnu file.

Note that because the .mnu files are enumerated in a semi-random order, the order of each entry in the Main menu cannot be pre-set or pre-determined. If you want the Main menu ordered in a different way, then you need to combine all of the SubMenuXXX.mnu files with the MAINMENU.mnu file to make a MyMainMenu.mnu file and then delete the old .mnu files.








Easy2Boot - all change for BETA30!


OK. I have pretty much decided to drop the AUTO and MNU folders and just use a few new folders for BETA30

So I will include as standard Main Menu entries (if there is a file in the folder):

LINUX
UTILITIES
ANTIVIRUS
BACKUP
WINPE

and UTILITIES  will also have a sub-sub-menu of MEMTEST for an example of how to make a sub-sub-menu.
So the user can select Utilities from the Main menu,and then select Memtest from the Utilities menu and then the Memtest menu will list all the memory test utilities that the user has put there.

so the folder structure will look like this:

\_ISO\E2B
\_ISO\WINDOWS
\_ISO\MAINMENU
\_ISO\LINUX
\_ISO\ANTIVIRUS
\_ISO\BACKUP
\_ISO\WINPE
\_ISO\UTILITIES
\_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST

and the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder will also now contain the .mnu files for these:

\_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuLinux.mnu
\_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuAntiVirus.mnu
\_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuBackup.mnu
\_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuWinPE.mnu
\_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuUtilities.mnu

and for the sub-sub-menu, I will include the .mnu file...

\_ISO\UTILITIES\Utilities_MemTest.mnu

Users can copy these .mnu files or change them to have their own MainMenu 'folders' and edit the text for their own language or add/change hotkeys.

Please let me know if you have any strong objections ASAP!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Easy2Boot - adding extra folders

If  you want to create sub-folder entries in the Main menu, e.g. have sub-menus for say Backup, Utilities, Linux, Hirens ISOs, DOS images, BIOS update images, Diagnostics, etc.  you can add all of these to the Main menu by adding a .mnu file for each one (but you will need to edit a few lines!).
Hotkeys can also be assigned to these entries.

The instructions on how to do this are now in Tutorial 72a and the required Example_Backup.mnu file is in the latest (refreshed) BETA29V11 download  (just re-uploaded!).


This example BACKUP menu entry leads to another menu which will list all payload/.mnu files under \_ISO\BACKUP.
You can even nest these menus and have sub-sub-menus, etc. etc. etc.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

E2B BETA29 v11 now available!


  • minor changes to menus - re-worded to look better
  • Fix [L] appearing in GFXMenu for List PCI devices
  • Fix selecting blank menu entry in GFXMenu causes reversion to text mode menu
  • hotkey utility changed to latest version (old one caused keyboard problems)
  • ubuntu with persistence .mnu sample file added
  • Tails HDD .mnu sample file added (needed to boot Tails from USB HDD - not needed if booting from Flash drive)
Please update to this version (overwrites 5 or 6 files only).
Thanks to halikus for bug spotting and suggestions!



Friday, 17 May 2013

Booting Ubuntu 12.10/13.04 from an ISO with persistence from an NTFS USB drive

Grub4dos booting of Ubuntu with persistence from an ISO is fairly easy if you use a FAT32 USB boot drive. You just add the keyword 'persistent' into the command line and set the iso-scan/filename= to the name of the iso and create your ext2 casper-rw in the root using RMPrepUSB:


title Try Ubuntu without installing
find --set-root /ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso
map /ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff) || map --mem /ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
# NOTE: Next line may wrap, it should start with kernel and end woth splash --
kernel /casper/vmlinuz  file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed noprompt boot=casper persistent iso-scan/filename=/ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.lz

However. when I tried this from my Easy2Boot USB hard drive, it booted fine, but persistence would not work.
The reason for this is that my USB hard drive was formatted as NTFS.
Many Ubuntu versions will not mount a casper-rw persistent file automatically if it is on an NTFS volume.
As you may know, Easy2Boot uses the trick of using the grub4dos partnew command to map a spare partition entry to an ISO file. In this way, nearly all linux ISOs can be directly booted with Easy2Boot (without needing the iso-scan/filename=xxx.iso cheat code).

Well, we can use the same trick to map the casper-rw file to an empty partition too!
Even better, we can rename the casper-rw file because linux will look for a volume name of casper-rw first before it looks for a file called casper-rw and we can put the file anywhere we like on the boot drive! This means we can have 2 or more different versions of linux ISOs (e.g. Ubuntu 12.04, 11.01, 11.10 and 12.10)  all on the same multiboot USB drive and all using different 'casper-rw' files!

The grub4dos menu for this is fairly simple too (a simplified version with no checks is shown below):


title Ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386 PERSISTENT
partnew (hd0,2) 0x0 /ubuntu1210-rw
partnew (hd0,3) 0x0 /ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso
map /ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.lz 


However, I have added some checks to make sure we do not trash the 3rd partition (I don't check the 4th partition in this menu, Easy2Boot already checks that the 4th partition is free when it boots) and made an Easy2Boot Ubuntu.12.10.mnu file for Ubuntu as follows:


# Make a \casper-rw ext2 file using RMPrepUSB in the root of the drive (MUST be made as casper-rw)
# Rename the file to \Ubuntu1210-rw
# Place this .mnu file and the Ubuntu ISO in either \_ISO\MainMenu\Linux or \_ISO\MNU\Linux
# This menu will work even on an NTFS USB boot drive

iftitle [if exist (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso] Ubuntu ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386 PERSISTENT\n Boot using .mnu file with persistence
#enable parttype output
debug 1
# make empty table entry in 3rd position in ptn table
parttype (hd0,2) | set check=
debug off
set check=%check:~-5,4%
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (hd0,2) 0 0 0
if not "%check%"=="0x00" echo WARNING: PTN TABLE ENTRY 3 IS ALREADY IN USE - PERSISTENCE MAY NOT WORK! && pause
debug 1
if not exist (bd)/ubuntu1210-rw echo WARNING: /ubuntu1210-rw persistence file not found! && pause
errorcheck off
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (hd0,2) 0x0 (bd)/ubuntu1210-rw
errorcheck on
#map ptn 4 to ISO
partnew (hd0,3) 0x0 (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso
map (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper persistent quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.lz 


This should work for most versions of Ubuntu.

For 13.04 x64 you need to load the /casper/vmlinuz.efi kernel:
iftitle [if exist (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso] Ubuntu 13.04 Persistent\n Boot using .mnu file with persistence - assumes we have a casper-rw ext2/3/4 partition
partnew (hd0,3) 0x0 (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso
map (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz.efi file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash -- persistent
initrd /casper/initrd.lz

E2B .mnu file (using ext2 /ubuntu1304-rw file)
iftitle [if exist (bd)%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso] Ubuntu 13.04 PERSISTENT\n Boot using .mnu file with persistence
set ISO=%MFOLDER%/Linux/ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso
set PF=/ubuntu1304-rw
#enable parttype output
debug 1
# make empty table entry in 3rd position in ptn table
parttype (hd0,2) | set check=
debug off
set check=%check:~-5,4%
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (hd0,2) 0 0 0
if not "%check%"=="0x00" echo WARNING: PTN TABLE 3 IS ALREADY IN USE - PERSISTENCE MAY NOT WORK! && pause
debug 1
if not exist (bd)%PF% echo WARNING: %PF% persistence file not found! && pause
errorcheck off
if "%check%"=="0x00" partnew (hd0,2) 0x0 (bd)%PF%
errorcheck on
#map ptn 4 to ISO
partnew (hd0,3) 0x0 (bd)%ISO%
map (bd)%ISO% (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz.efi  boot=casper persistent noeject noprompt quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.lz 

Once you have booted to Ubuntu you can change the Desktop wallpaper or create a file on the Desktop and it should still be there when you reboot.

Whilst in Ubuntu, here are a few things you can try:

In the Desktop - click on your USB drive (listed in left-hand panel) to view the contents
CTRL+ALT+F1   - go to command shell
ls /media
if /media/ubuntu is not listed type:sudo mkdir /media/ubuntu  - now switch back to the Desktop GUI (ctrl+alt+F7) and can now browse your USB drive to mount it (this is a bug in the x86 liveCD!) - now press CTRL+Alt+F1 again.

ls /media/ubuntu/  - should see your USB drive listed (e.g. WDPassPort)

CTRL+ALT+F7 - return to Desktop GUI

mount -l     - lists mounted volumes

df -h   - should see /cow persistent ptn listed (doesn't mean it is working though!)

To make a new 2GB ext4 file:
cd /media/ubuntu/WDPassPort
rm casper-rw
rm casper-rw ubuntu1210-rw

dd if=/dev/zero of=casper-rw bs=1M count=2048
mkfs.ext4 -F casper-rw
mv casper-rw ubuntu1210-rw

As I am not a 'linux' user/guru and don't own any sandals (it's cold in the UK), please correct me if any of the linux commands are not accurate!

Hope you find this useful!

P.S. The latest versions of RMPrepUSB (v2.1.713 and later) will allow you to create an ext2 file with a volume name that you specify separately, so you can create in one step an ext2 file called, say, 'Ubuntu-rw' with a volume name of 'casper-rw'.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Easy2Boot BETA29 v10!

Same as v9 but I have moved the [xx] characters to the end of the line.
I did not understand how to use the hotkey function properly

^L  means a hotkey of L but don't show the ^L
[L] means a hotkey of L but show [L]

The examples given were badly chosen! The exampes were

^F10
[L]

So I thought ^ meant it was a Function key !

Anyway, now we can have hotkeys and the menu looks (almost) the same as before!


Easy2Boot BETA29 v9 with menu hotkey support

v9 now has hotkeys for some menu items (e.g. press W and you go straight to the Windows Install menu). F8 will always take you back to the main menu (or fully reload if you are already in the main menu).

F7   Boot to first HDD
F8   Main Menu
F9   Reboot
F10 Power off
W   Windows Install
D   Direct Boot menu
S   Special menu


Hotkeys don't work in gfxmenu.
Let me know if you like it or prefer no hotkeys as in v8.

If you would prefer the [F8] to be at the end of the line, this can be done.

P.S. Now done in v10!



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:

.isoask

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!

VarsLeft.g4b
=========
!BAT
# 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
setlocal

# Now lets fill up the environment until it fails!

# n is our counter
set n=1
:LOOP
# 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
endlocal
# quit!
exit



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.

Thanks
Steve

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:
Windows_8_64_Preview.iso
Windows_8_64_Preview.txt

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:


!BAT
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
echo
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)
!BAT
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

Easy2Boot BETA27 v3 - IMPORTANT BUG FIX!

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.

e.g.

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