Saturday, 27 December 2014

Add MemTest/KonBoot, etc. UEFI-boot files to your dual-boot WinPE USB drive (32/64-bit)

I have added a new section to the bottom of Tutorial 127 which describes how to add rEFInd to your E2B USB drive so that you can boot to other payload EFI files directly from your E2B USB drive besides Windows PE.

rEFInd will create a menu automatically by searching for .efi boot files, so it is really simple to add it to your UEFI-bootable drive - just copy over the folder and move a few files!

For E2B users - see here for the download.

Note that a few UEFI systems will not MBR-boot if a \efi\boot\bootx64.efi file is present on the USB drive - they do not show any MBR boot option and will only UEFI boot. This means you cannot boot to the E2B grub4dos menu even if they support MBR\CSM mode booting! This is why E2B does not include any \EFI boot folder or rEFInd by default.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Make a dual-boot (MBR+UEFI) WinPE USB drive (32/64-bit)

I have written a new Tutorial 127 here which describes how to make a WinPE dual-boot payload that will boot from a 32-bit or 64-bit UEFI system or a normal MBR BIOS system.

Although the Win8.1SE project by ChrisR is supposed to have this Multi-WIM capability, I found that I could not get it to work without having to use BootIce to fix the BCD, so it was easier just to manually merge the files from two WinPE's into one.

This shows just how easy BootIce is to use for simple BCD editing!

Once you have made the FAT32 USB drive, you can make a partition image from it using MakePartImage and add the image file to your E2B USB drive.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Add Mac OS X Installers (e.g. Yosemite) to your E2B multiboot USB drive

Mitch recently asked me if he could add an OS X Installer ISO to his E2B USB drive. After two nights of work by Mitch (mostly!) and myself (I don't have an x86 Mac - or indeed any Mac to test it on), we got something working!

You will need a spare 8GB+ USB drive, a Mac (or Virtual Machine with OS X) and the UniBeast download...

Note: New E2B feature! If your .dmg file contains a .img file which is an HFS+ single partition and is x86-bootable - you can now just copy the .dmg file to your Easy2Boot v1.62+ USB drive and boot from it on any x86 Hackintosh PC - no need to use a OS X system or UniBeast!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Deleting the 'System Volume Information' folder from a USB drive (and other system files\folders)

Note for new visitors: The method described below will work for any Windows volume (not just E2B or .imgPTN files).

If you want to copy a whole WindowsToGo partition or make a .imgPTN file from a partition volume by dragging-and-dropping the volume letter icon onto a MPI_FAT32 or MPI_NTFS Desktop shortcut, you may find that the process reports an error if Windows fails to copy some of the protected files and folders that it may already be present on the partition.

A simple way to avoid this is to copy the files from the entire USB drive to an empty folder on your PC's hard disk. This way you only copy the files and folders you need. You can then drag-and-drop the folder onto one of the MPI shortcuts.

If using XCOPY to copy files use /cherky instead of /herky so that errors will not stop XCOPY from continuing,

However, it may not be practical to do this, so how do we delete these pesky files and folders?

Monday, 15 December 2014

E2B v1.62Beta1, Windows XP Install ISOs and Winnt.sif files!

Here are some notes on getting 'special' versions of Windows XP Install ISOs to work with E2B.

If you just want to skip this and get to the best solution, then scroll down to the 'How to add a non-standard XP Install ISO to E2B' heading!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Add a Master Password screen to E2B

On the E2B Forum, I was recently asked by a user how to display a wallpaper bitmap on first boot and then only proceed to the E2B Main menu if the user entered the correct password.
He did not want any prompt or indication to be visible - just the wallpaper.
A Master password can be set in the E2B  \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg user configuration file but the example code displays a user prompt. This user did not want any prompt or cursor to be visible.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Add the Polish Arcabit Rescue CD to your Easy2Boot USB multiboot drive

You can use the following .mnu file to add Arcabit to E2B (FAT32\ext2\3 drives only)

Easy2Boot will boot directly from the ISO file, but updates will not be persistent. By extracting the files from the ISO and making a .mnu file, we can get the virus updates to be stored on the FAT32 USB drive. There is a solution for NTFS E2B drives too...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Easy2Boot v1.61 released

Changes from v1.60 are:

  • .mnu files for Windows Install ISOs menu entries in the Main menu can now be added by the user which can specify both the .ISO file AND the .XML file to use. See the $$AddWin2Main.mnu sample menu. This means a Windows Install ISO will boot without the user needing to choose a specific XML or Key file.
  • New grub4dos version
  • Menu heading positions have been altered - menu headings are now left-aligned instead of being centred. STRINGS.txt files updated.
  • HEADPOS variable is now easier to use (can place the menu heading on any line just by changing HEADPOS). See here for details.
  • Help Footer text at the bottom of the screen is no longer padded out by HPAD, so now HBTM determines it's absolute position in the menu. See here for details.
  • \_ISO\docs\mythemes and \_ISO\docs\Templates files updated
  • \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file updated (for HEADPOS, HBTM)
  • Italian language files added (thanks to Fabrizio)
  • German language STRINGS.txt improved (thanks to Frettt).
  • FreeDOS bootable floppy disk image changed (some FreeDOS utilities added)
  • Some superfluous files deleted from \_ISO\e2b\firadisk folder
  • Support for .isonousb and .imgnousb/.imanousb file extensions added - see here for details
  • Sample .mnu files added: DOS_ISONoUSB.mnu and DOS_IMAnoUSB.mnu, CentOS7_FAT32_ISO.mnu, Fedora20_FAT32_ISO.mnu
  • isoboot.g4b added to boot some non-contiguous linux ISOs, See here for details.

If you are using a MyE2B.cfg file and your own background, you may find you need to change the HEADPOS and HBTM values in your MyE2B.cfg file.


If an ISO is not contiguous, E2B will try to copy the contents of the ISO to \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO which is 500MB in size by default. If this fails for some reason (e.g. CONTIG.ISO has been deleted to save space or the ISO is bigger than the size of CONTIG.ISO) then E2B will now use the isoboot.g4b batch script to attempt to boot directly from the linux ISO file by loading it into memory and using linux 'cheat codes' to boot it. This may not work for all versions of linux and it will only boot to the default 'live' version (no full boot menu is displayed).

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Easy2Boot v1.61 Beta5 available (adds booting from DOS .iso or .ima floppy images but hides the USB drive)

Changes since Beta4

  • FreeDOS bootable image changed (some FreeDOS utilities added)
  • Some superfluous files deleted from \_ISO\e2b\firadisk folder
  • Support for .isonousb and .imgnousb/.imanousb file extensions added
  • Sample .mnu files added DOS_ISONoUSB.mnu and DOS_IMAnoUSB.mnu
I was contacted recently by Drake to ask if he could boot a bootable DOS ISO from Easy2Boot but hide the E2B drive (which normally appears as the first hard disk (hd0) in the system).

So I have now added support for the file extensions .isonousb and .imgnousb (and .imanousb).

Monday, 1 December 2014

Easy2Boot v1.61Beta3 available (adds direct boot from non-contiguous linux ISOs)

For Beta2 changes see here.

Beta3 additions are:

1. When installing directly from a Windows Install ISO (Vista or later), the cfadisk device driver is now loaded automatically. This means that by the time Windows Vista/7/8/10 Setup GUI is displayed, all partitions on a Removable USB drive are accessible to WinPE\Setup. Normally, Windows will only mount and make accessible the first partition of a Removable drive.
This means that, in theory, (not yet tested!), if you use a special .mnu file, you can locate your Windows Install ISO files (and whatever .xml and .key files too) on a different partition on a Flash drive.

Note: Now removed in Beta4 because the driver causes problems with Win 8.1 64-bit Install ISOs!

If you would like to be able to treat Removable USB drives as a Hard Disk for Windows installs, you can add the cfadisk driver to the boot.wim file using 'devadevs' method, described here.

2. More direct ISO booting support for more linux non-contiguous ISO, list is now: