Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Easy2Boot v1.62 Beta B available

The latest version of E2B v1.62 is now available from the Alternate Downloads area (bottom of page here).
The main change is that it now uses by default, grub4dos 0.4.6a (alpha version) instead of 0.4.5c (the stable version).
grub4dos 0.4.6a is now loaded by default but you can switch to 0.4.5c

Changes from v1.61 are listed in the Version History page here. New changes since Beta A are:
  • New grub4dos version 2015-01-16 as default (and new 0.4.5c version)
  • Fix knoppix boot from non-contiguous ISO file in isoboot.g4b
  • macpup sample .mnu file added for saving sessions on exit
  • New .isomacpup file extension added
Note that if your E2B drive is formatted as exFAT - it is probably best not to use this new version (or if you do, switch to 0.4.5c using the new menu entry before using any other menu entry)! This is because there is a bug in 0.4.6a when accessing exFAT drives which has been reported here and hopefully will be fixed soon and then I can release it as v1.62.

Grub4dos v0.4.6a has a few more features than 0.4.5c (can access Joliet ISOs, includes an internal USB 2.0 rd/wr driver and better debug/message control features).

E2B will still work OK with either version of grub4dos though.

Please let me know if you find any problems with this new version or with grub4dos 0.4.6a (i.e. if 0.4.5c works but 0.4.6a does not).

Monday, 26 January 2015

Booting Macpup iso files on E2B and patching ISO files using grub4dos


Unfortunatley, the Macpup_550.iso file does not 'just work' with E2B because the menu.lst file that is used inside the ISO has specified (cd) in the file paths:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Sandisk Extreme Cruzer 64GB Removable Flash drive for £25 (save £35!)

MyMemory (UK) are offering these for just £25! They sell out as soon as they get them in, so just click Notify Me and order one as soon as you get the email before they sell out again!

The drive I got was of the Removable type (I believe they all are now) and REALLY FAST!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Boot to TrueCrypt, only by using your USB drive

If you don't want your system to boot to the TrueCrypt password entry prompt (thus making it obvious it has been encrypted using TrueCrypt), you can make it so that it is unbootable and boot the system from your grub4dos USB drive and then from the USB drive you can boot to the encrypted Windows installation on your hard drive.

There is no 'unique' data or files on the USB drive, if you lose it you can easily make another.

see http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/131truecryptusb for more details.

You can add the TrueCrypt Rescue ISO ( the one that is made when you start encryption), to your E2B USB drive, but you must rename the file extension to .iso01.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

E2B v.1.62 BetaA now available

It includes the True Hide\Unhide support discussed previously and the latest version of grub4dos.
Beta Downloads are in the Alternate Download folders (link on Download page), as usual.

Note: Previous True/Hide files have been tweaked/bugfixed - this is a new Mark 4 version!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

'True partition' hiding/unhiding in grub4dos

The built-in grub4dos command 'hide' will set bit 4 of the partition type in the partition table of the Master Boot Record (MBR) or the Extended MBRs used for logical partition table entries - e.g.

FAT32 Type 0C hex - now run grub4dos hide command:
hide (hd0,1) 
Partition type is now 1C hex  (hidden FAT32)

However, in some cases the partition and the files inside it will still be accessible to Windows (for instance, if the volume was previously assigned a drive letter by Windows). This is because the partition is still present and still valid. Windows will still mount and display FAT16 and FAT32 partitions even if the Partition type number is of the Hidden type (e.g. 16, 1B or 1C).
Linux may also be able to access the partition and the files within it, if hidden in this way.

We can however hide the files and the partition from any operating system, by also making the PBR invalid (it will appear to the OS to be unformatted or of a 'foreign' format). In this way the file contents cannot be seen by any OS and the volume will not be mounted by Windows or given a drive letter. Grub4dos however, can still access the files within all the hidden partitions.

Monday, 12 January 2015

E2B 1.62Beta8/9 (monthly PIN code support)

A few new tweaks.
Beta9 fixes a bug - if you deleted CONTIG.ISO then it ran isoboot without using the normal partnew code! Thanks to Cristian for reporting this!


  • If you hold down either Left-CTRL key (think 'Ctrl=Crc') whilst selecting a payload file (not a .mnu file) and keep it held down for a few seconds after pressing ENTER to boot to the payload file, E2B will calculate and display the CRC32 value of the file before it runs the payload file. For instance, if an ISO file does not seem to boot correctly, you can find it's CRC32 value and compare it with the CRC32 value of the original file. Note that this feature only works with files that run using QRUN.g4b  - so this CRC32 feature does not work with .mnu menu entries and Windows Install ISOs in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xx folders.
  • If you hold down a SHIFT key whilst selecting a (linux) ISO file (think 'Shift to isoboot') and keep it held down for a few seconds after pressing ENTER to boot to the payload file, E2B will run it using only isoboot.g4b - in this way you can test out the E2B isoboot feature even if your ISO file is contiguous. Note that isoboot is a 'last resort' attempt to boot a non-contiguous linux ISO - it probably won't work for old or non-standard linux ISOs and quite a few others too!
  • Monthly PIN code - use the MyE2B.cfg file to request a 4-digit pin number from the user before it will load the E2B Main menu. The PIN code automatically changes every month, so you will need to tell the users the PIN code for the next month at the end of the previous month. A small Windows utility (see below) can be provided which the admin can use to display the  monthly PIN numbers. The seed value can be changed so that your E2B version will have a unique set of PIN numbers.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Install Windows 8.1 ToGo to a Removable Flash drive

Thanks to devdevadev from reboot.pro, we can install Win8.1 to a removable drive if we use a VHD to hold the Windows files.

Also works with Windows 10 Tech Preview  (choose 'Pro' for OS to install in WinNTSetup).

See here for the nitty-gritty...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

E2B 1.62 Beta7 with Parted Magic LIVE support

The Parted Magic Parted_Magic_2014_09_21.iso (490MB) can be booted just by adding it to your E2B USB drive. Note: This Parted Magic release is not free but it is only $10.

However the file must be contiguous or else it will copied using dd to the CONTIG.ISO each time you boot it (if it exists).

I have now modified isoboot.g4b so that it will boot directly from a non-contiguous Parted Magic iso file and it also will support LIVE boot so that you can save the settings on exit.

To run it using isoboot, select the ISO file in the E2B (v1.62+) menu and hold down the SHIFT key before pressing ENTER (or use a .mnu file).

Note: If you make an .imgPTN file from the PMagic iso using the MPI Tool Pack and MakePartImage, it can boot in MBR or UEFI mode and you can select LIVE or non-LIVE mode and choose from a range of supported languages. No modifications or menu editing is required but you will need to allow for at least 200MB of extra free space for storage of the session settings..

P.S. For non-E2B users (why not?!!!) - there is an article on RMPrepUSB.com here.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

E2B v1.62 Beta5 available

I have added WinContig to the E2B zip file now. There will be a file called:

MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd 

in the root of your E2B USB drive. Just double-click on this script to run WinContig.exe.

This adds 3MB of WinContig files to the USB drive but it means that you don't need to use RMPrepUSB just to make the files contiguous. So you can easily add more ISO files, etc. to your E2B drive and then run WinContig with just a few clicks of the mouse - even if the Windows system that you are using does not have RMPrepUSB or WinContig installed.

Let me know if you think this is a bad idea and I should remove it!

Bug in Beta5! Please try Beta6.

E2B v1.62 Beta4 new password protection feature

A new E2B password protection feature has been added.

If you want the user to have enter a password before a certain ISO or any other payload file can be run, you can now just add the three letters "pwd" to the end of the file extension.

Bug in this version - please try latest Beta!

Friday, 2 January 2015

E2B v1.62 Beta 2 for .dmg and HFS partition images now available



E2B v1.62 Beta 2 now recognises 4 new file extensions and it is now available from the Alternate Downloads Area as usual on the www.easy2boot.com website:

  • .dmg and .dmgHFS - these behave identically. The file must be uncompressed disk image and contain a single bootable Type AF  HFS+ partition
  • .HFSptn and .HFS - this must be a bootable partition image (not a disk image) and should be of Type AF (HFS+ partition)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Add an OS X Installer for your E2B drive using just Windows

If you only have a Windows system, you can prepare a USB Flash drive by using RMPrepUSB - File->Drive and specifying the Yosemite.dmg file as the source. Then check that the USB drive now contains a Type AF partition by using RMPrepUSB - Drive Info - 0  to list the partitions - e.g.

Partition 1   SIZE=5235.382MiB   Type: AF   *ACTIVE*
START POS   = CYL:1023 HD:254 SEC:63       END POS = CYL:1023 HD:254 SEC:63
START (LBA) = 1 (00000001) SIZE (LBA) = 10,722,062 (00A39B0E) [End=10,722,062]

Partition 2   SIZE=0MiB   Type: 00        
START POS   = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0       END POS = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0
START (LBA) = 0 (00000000) SIZE (LBA) = 0 (00000000)

Partition 3   SIZE=0MiB   Type: 00        
START POS   = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0       END POS = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0
START (LBA) = 0 (00000000) SIZE (LBA) = 0 (00000000)

Partition 4   SIZE=0MiB   Type: 00        
START POS   = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0       END POS = CYL:0 HD:0 SEC:0
START (LBA) = 0 (00000000) SIZE (LBA) = 0 (00000000)

P1   Start=1 (512 bytes) End=10,722,062 (5,489,695,744 bytes)

Once the USB flash drive has been written, you can now use RMPrepUSB - Drive->File to make a .HFSPTN file (start = P1 - or whatever partition number the AF partition is).

Later versions of E2B support the .dmg file extension - so just copy the .dmg bootable single-partition image file over to the E2B drive and boot!

Another alternative is to use 7Zip to extract the .img file from the .dmg file. Then just rename the extracted file to a .HFSPTN file.

See the previous blog for more details.