Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Easy2Boot 1.60 Beta 1/2/3/4

In an attempt to speed up file enumerations as E2B boots, I have modified E2B so that the number of .mnu files in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder is reduced.

Easy2Boot_v1.60Beta1.zip is now available on the Alternate Download sites at the bottom of the Download page.

(Note: in Beta3+ versions I have also removed support for HDG_xxx heading variables and %xxxx% color variables. This means if you have an old MyE2B.cfg file, you may have to update it and make your own LANGuage STRINGS.txt file for your menu headings.)

Note that before you use it to update your E2B 1.5x drive, you should delete all the \_ISO\ZZ*.mnu files on your E2B drive first, otherwise you will get multiple menu entries. The included Windows script in the download, UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD, will delete the old mnu files and update your E2B drive automatically. However, I recommend you start with a fresh USB drive to get v1.60 to work as fast as possible as I have removed some other text/help files to make booting faster and these will still be left on an updated E2B USB drive.

All the old ZZSubMenuxx.mnu files have now been combined into one large ZZSubMenuAll.mnu file. This means that you cannot easily individually re-order or remove some of the Main menu entries by changing the separate .mnu files:
(2 new features/changes are in bold below)...
  • Menu default and timeout default - there was no .mnu file for this before - so suppressed by MyE2B setting as before
  • Fastload enable/disable menu - controlled by NOFLDMNU in the MyE2B.cfg file
  • Fastload indicator line - only be displayed if the menu is from the cached version and FASTLOAD is enabled.
  • Normal folder menus (ANTIVIRUS-->WINPE) - if the folders contain files then you will get a menu entry - rename the folder (e.g. \_ISO\WINPEx) to suppress the menu entry.
  • WINDOWS INSTALL menu entry - set NOWINMAIN in the MyE2B.cfg file to remove it
  • F1 menu - suppressed by NOF1 in MyE2B.cfg
  • F7 menu - suppressed by NOF7HD in MyE2B.cfg
  • F8 menu - suppressed by NOF8MAIN in MyE2B.cfg
  • F9 and F10 were not controller by a .mnu file before - can be suppressed using the MyE2B.cfg file as before.

This makes the Main menu faster to load on slow systems and de-clutters the MAINMENU folder, but it does mean that you cannot easily change the order of these items in the Main menu. If you want to change the order of these menu items, then you will need to rename ZZSubMenuAll.mnu and then edit it yourself.

Some text files have been moved/deleted/renamed and the \_ISO folder and \_ISO\docs folder tidied up too.

I have also added a debug feature which will report timings of various operations whilst E2B boots.
To use this feature, add  set SHOWTIME=1 to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. When E2B boots, just before it loads the Main menu from memory, it will display various times as shown below:

This will show you where most of the time is taken (e.g. loading a large background wallpaper or the unifont file). The timings in the screen shot above were taken from a QEMU run and so are slowwwww... Under VirtualBox+VMUB the times are all identical (i.e. <1 second from beginning to end!).

Slow times are usually due to poorly written USB BIOS code (or possibly a very slow USB drive).
Using the USB 2.0 driver in grub4dos 0.4.6a will often improve these times dramatically if booting from a USB 2.0 port (use  set GRUB_USB=Y in the MyE2B.cfg file).

Unfortunately, the grub4dos 0.4.6a driver doesn't work on many new systems or USB 3.0 ports and can sometimes cause problems with grub4dos and E2B on some systems - which is why it is a menu option and not enabled by default!