Friday, 6 June 2014

Add MobaLiveCD.exe to your Easy2Boot USB drive

If you have RMPrepUSB or VirtualBox+DavidB's VMUB utility on a Windows system, you can boot from an E2B USB drive under a virtual machine and 'swap in' any image partition file you wish, so that you can pre-select it before you boot from that same E2B USB drive on a different 'target' system.

MobaLiveCD.exe (1.5MB) is a 'shrink-wrapped' version of QEMU and so will also allow you to boot your E2B USB drive via QEMU (similar to RMPrepUSB's QEMU F11 button in RMPrepUSB). The difference is that MobaLiveCD is designed to be portable and does not need to be installed on a Windows system first. Just copy the .exe file to your E2B USB drive and it is ready to use if you are away from your Windows system or don't have access to a VM (e.g. off-site or at a friends house).

For instance, you may have a server that has a UEFI OS pre-installed and the BIOS is in UEFI mode. You want to UEFI-boot the server from the E2B USB drive but in order to select the correct UEFI-bootable image (say MSDaRT or maybe an HP Utility) you need to boot E2B in MBR\CSM mode first. If you have MobaLiveCD.exe on the E2B USB drive, then there is no need to download and install RMPrepUSB (or QEMU manager or Virtual Box) onto a system...

1. Insert the E2B USB drive into any Windows system's USB port
2. Run MobaLiveCD.exe as Administrator directly from the E2B USB drive
3. Choose the 'Start directly from a bootable USB drive' option
4. Pick the USB drive's drive-letter
5. Say 'No' to the 'Do you want to create a hard disk image for your virtual machine?' question and allow it to boot to the E2B menu.
6. Pick the partition image file from the E2B menu and 'swap in' the new partition
7. Quit QEMU and MobaLiveCD - your E2B USB drive is now  ready for direct UEFI booting

You can also directly boot using MobaLiveCD from an ISO file (32-bit ISOs only).

Note: As an alternative, you can unzip the file from the Alternate Downloads Area to your E2B USB drive and then double-click on the BootUSB.cmd file to boot from the USB drive under QEMU. This should only be used for select .imgPTN files however as it does not create a virtual hard disk, does not lock the drive like RMPrepUSB does and uses a fixed memory size of 500MB.

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