Friday, 31 January 2014

Transferring ISOs from an XBOOT USB drive to Easy2Boot

If you already have an XBOOT USB drive containing linux ISO files, you may have found that when you copy them to your Easy2Boot USB drive, they don't work.

This is because XBOOT modifies the ISOs. For a typical linux ISO, XBOOT will extract the files from the casper folder of the ISO file and then copy them to a subfolder under the \images folder on the USB drive. XBOOT also modifies the \isolinux\isolinux.cfg file contents (inside the ISO file) to add some cheat codes which will direct the linux kernel to load the squashfs files from a different folder, e.g.

label driverupdates=Use driver update disc
append driverupdates=debian-installer/driver-update=true

is converted to:

label driverupdates=Use driver update disc
append driverupdates=debian-installer/driver-update=true ignore_uuid live-media-path=/images/fdraptor/casper

The cheat codes added by XBOOT may work for some linux distros (or versions) but not for others. This is why it is 'hit-or-miss' as to whether XBOOT will work or not with 'unsupported' ISOs.

To move these XBOOT converted ISOs to an E2B USB drive we need to:

1. Copy the whole \images folder from the XBOOT drive to \images on the E2B drive
2. Move the ISO files to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder

So if we had 'fdraptor' on our XBOOT drive, we would now have an E2B drive with these folders:
  • \images\fdraptor\casper\ - several files including filesystem.squashfs (700MB)
  • \_ISO\MAINMENU\fdraptor.iso (32MB)
As many linux initial kernels do not support NTFS, XBOOT does not work well on an NTFS drive. If you use these files on an E2B drive, the E2B USB drive needs to be formatted as FAT32 and not NTFS.

Of course, you can just download the original ISOs from the web and copy them to your E2B drive (even on an NTFS E2B drive) and it should work just fine.

The other alternative is to make a .imgPTN file from the XBOOT USB drive by dragging-and-dropping the drive letter onto the MPI_FAT32 desktop shortcut.