Wednesday, 28 December 2016

E2B v1.88d Beta available

Marco has kindly made some changes to WinContig which allows me to now make the MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd script just operate on files in the root of the drive and then it runs on files under the \_ISO folder (so WinContig runs twice).

This means that WinContig does not attempt to make any files in the user's own folders contiguous.

The E2B 1.88d Beta is available from the Alternate Download Areas.

Note: WinContig.exe is a Beta version.

P.S. If you are wondering about v1.88c, it only lasted a few minutes, I decided it was better to do it this way!

Tip: If you only want to make files in the root contiguous, or files under \_ISO contiguous, you can simply copy one of the .cmd scripts from the \_ISO\docs\WINCONTIG folder to the root of your E2B drive.

Monday, 26 December 2016

E2B 1.88b Beta available

Morozko37 has reported that the Strelec WinPE ISOs should work with .isofira or .isofira01 file extensions, but don't (it does not load the ISO as a virtual CD).

This seems to be due to some missing lines in the QRUN.g4b code.

The additional lines have been added in v1.88b and so you can now use the file extension of .isofira01 with Strelec or other similar WinPE ISO builds that include the firadisk driver.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

E2B v.1.88a Beta available

E2B v1.88a Beta changes:

  • Add Server 2012 R2 Std Eval Product Key file
  • Add \MAKE_ISO_FOLDER_CONTIGUOUS.cmd (works on \_ISO and below only)
  • Update to Wincontig v2.1.0.0
  • Update SDI executables
The 90-day evaluation Server 2012 R2 Standard installation-only Product Key has been added to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2012 folder.

If you have added your own portable applications, etc, to the E2B drive, when you run MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd it will make all files on the E2B drive contiguous including all of your own files. I have now added \MAKE_ISO_FOLDER_CONTIGUOUS.cmd which will only make files below the \_ISO folder contiguous. 

This means that if you have persistent files (casper-rw, ubuntu-rw, etc.) in the root of the E2B USB drive, you will also need to make these contiguous. To do this either:

1. Move the persistent files from the root folder to the same folder as it's payload+.mnu file and then modify each .mnu file, e.g.

was:

set PF=/ubuntu-rw

change to:

set PF=$HOME$/ubuntu-rw

Now you can use \MAKE_ISO_FOLDER_CONTIGUOUS.cmd because all the E2B payload files will be below \_ISO.

OR

2. Run \_ISO\docs\WINCONTIG\WinContig.exe and manually select the file(s) you want to make contiguous.

OR

3. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd as before.

Merry Christmas!
Steve

Friday, 23 December 2016

Add the SystemRescueCD + persistence (MBR and UEFI) to E2B


The SystemRescueCD contains several useful features:

Description: 
SystemRescueCd is a Linux system rescue disk available as a bootable CD-ROM or USB stick for administrating or repairing your system and data after a crash. It aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the hard disk partitions. 
It comes with a lot of linux software such as system tools (parted, partimage, fstools, ...) and basic tools (editors, midnight commander, network tools). It can be used for both Linux and windows computers, and on desktops as well as servers. This rescue system requires no installation as it can be booted from a CD/DVD drive or USB stick, but it can be installed on the hard disk if you wish. The kernel supports all important file systems (ext2/ext3/ext4, reiserfs, btrfs, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs), as well as network filesystems (samba and nfs).

It can be used with E2B for MBR-booting just by adding the ISO file (no persistence, no danger of the .iso file getting infected or corrupted).

UEFI-64 & MBR-booting with persistence

Here are the steps required to convert the .iso file to a .imgPTN file that will be 64-bit UEFI bootable as well as 32-bit and 64-bit MBR bootable and be persistent:

1. Convert ISO to FAT32 .imgPTN file - just drag-and-drop onto the MPI-FAT32 Windows Desktop shortcut (add to the suggested size to allow for persistence storage - e.g. add 200MB). You will need to install the E2B MPI Tool Pack first (use a recent or latest version). Copy the new SysRescueCD.imgPTN file to your E2B drive, e.g. the \_ISO\UTILITIES folder or wherever you wish.

2. Switch to .imgptn using \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe or the E2B menu system.

3. Use RMPrepUSB - Create ext3 file called /sysrcd.bs (any volume name will do) - size should be just under whatever you added in step 1 - e.g. 195MB. Specify ext3.

Note that the sysrcd.bs file must be on a FAT32 or ext partition - it is not found if it is on an NTFS partition.

4. Edit \syslinux\syslinux.cfg (see below)

5. Edit \grub\boot\grub-490.cfg  (see below)

6. Now you can MBR or UEFI-boot - remember to tick the 'Save session for future logins' checkbox on shutdown\reboot to save any changes.

                Remember to tick the Save session checkbox on exit.
Tip: If adding parameters such as backstore=off - you must add them before the two minus symbols (--) on the syslinux command line or they will not take affect.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

27 new E2B wallpapers by 'DW' available

'DW' has provided a selection of 27 different E2B background bitmaps which have a semi-transparent grey panel overlaid onto them.

The DW_themes.zip file (18MB) can be found in the Alternate Download Area - Themes folders.

Copy whatever .bmp file you fancy to your E2B drive and also the Example_MyE2B.cfg file and then load the .cfg file into the E2B_Editor.exe and save the file as \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg.

Once you have it working, you can compress the .bmp file if you wish to save space. E2B (grub4dos) understands .gz format and LZMA format (see \_ISO\docs\E2B_Utilities\LZMA folder).

cloud3.bmp

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Add a full installation of Solus to E2B

Max wanted to have a full persistent installation of Solus on his E2B drive.

You can do a full installation of many linux OS's to an empty .imgPTN file following this method.
The same method is also described here for Manjaro linux.

For Solus, after I switched in the new partition images (solus.imgPTN and a 10GB solus file with no extension), I just choose to install to /  on /dev/sda3 and format it as ext4 (no swap partition). I used a 10GB solus file which left 6GB free after installing Solus.

However, when using the Solus 1.2.1 ISO to install with, the Solus installer does not offer the choice of the /dev/sda3 partition to install the grub2 boot loader. It is either \dev\sda  (the E2B USB MBR!) or nothing.

Here is how to get around this...

New RansomWare software (Cybereason RansomFree) - but there is a catch which you may not like!

This new free Cybereason RansomFree software detects ransomware using the 'honeypot' technique.

It seems to create new folders that begin with { or ~{ and other strange characters, and then fills those folders with various  'tempting' .doc,  .txt, .rtf, .xls etc. files. It then monitors them for changes and will allow you to kill any task that attempts to makes any changes to any those files.

A nice touch (or weakness?) is that the honeypot files that it creates are mostly hidden from the normal user when using Windows Explorer to view your folders.

The honeypot theory assumes that any ransomware will scan the drive and find these files before it finds your important files and then the RansomFree software will be able to warn you before too much harm is done. It did not seem to place any honeypot files on any other volume in my system however, so it seems to be only monitoring the C: drive.

See YouTube video here.

It has been tested and reviewed by Bleeping Computers also.

But here's the catch...

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Add the NirLauncher utility to your E2B USB drive to launch portable NirSoft utilities + others

NirSoft make lots of very useful Windows utilities, most of which are portable.

Use the NirSoft NirLauncher to quickly select a suitable NirSoft utility.
The NirLauncher utility allows you to run any of the 200+ portable utilities from a USB drive.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New YouTube video on how to make an Unattend.xml file

E2B contains a few example Unattend.xml files which can be used with unmodified Windows ISOs and a USB Flash drive to perform a completely hands-free automated Windows install.

The video explains how to prepare your own XML file quickly with your own settings using WAFG and XMLtoE2B.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Yesterday I built an Amazon Echo 'Skill' for E2B

I was asked by my family what I wanted for Christmas recently. As I was considering buying an Amazon Echo for myself, I suggested that I could order one for them to give to me.

It arrived a few days ago and like a naughty child, I opened my XMas present early and I have since been talking to 'Alexa' - with varying degrees of success (and frustration)!

I saw a video on YouTube about how to create a 'Skill' for the Amazon Echo (equivalent of a mobile phone app) and so yesterday, I decided to have a go.

I won't describe how I did it in detail, because there are many videos and other tutorials around which tell you how to do it.

I decided to try a simple Skill for Easy2Boot: e.g.

"Alexa, ask Easy2Boot Helper how to add ubuntu"

Here is how I got on...

Sunday, 11 December 2016

ChrisR WinBuilder Win10PESE 2016-12-08 available

ChrisR has been supplying WinBuilder downloads for WinPE7/8/10 for some time now.

You can use WinBuilder to make a 32-bit or 64-bit WinPE ISO complete with many tools and even add your own utilities too. Most have WoW64 support in the x64 versions so you can run 32-bit apps under 64-bit WinPE.

The WinPE 10 WinBuilder version can be downloaded from here.

RMPrepUSB Tutorial #100 shows how to use WinBuilder and can be found here.

You can build a dual-boot USB drive which will UEFI-boot using either 32-bit or 64-bit UEFI (Secure Boot and MBR) systems by following the RMPrepUSB Tutorial #127 here. Note that some UEFI-systems may not MBR-boot from such a USB drive however - they will always UEFI-boot!

If you want to boot WinBuilder-based ISOs from E2B, you will need to read this Easy2Boot page. The easiest way to boot numerous WinBuilder-based payloads is to convert each one to a .imgPTN file for both UEFI and MBR booting, however you can MBR-boot directly from each ISO if you keep the file extension as .ISO and don't use spaces in the filename (E2B v1.92+). If you see a Yellow Triangle! on the Desktop, then it didn't work correctly! Read my previous blog on how to add multiple different WinBuilder ISOs to E2B.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

E2B v.1.87 is now released

Changes from v1.86 are:

  • Fix typo in SDI_CHOCO which caused pause with scrolllock.exe and capslock.exe error messages. 
  • Improve linux fmt.sh scripts to install grub4dos to PBR and make partition active using parted. 
  • Latest grub4dos 0.4.6a. 
  • Snappy updated to R513. 
  • Persistent sample .mnu files added for LibreELEC and Pentoo. 
  • Win10 support added to PassPass (thanks to Ner0). 
  • Improved Restore File check in PPass.g4b to prevent restoring wrong file+improve search speed.
  • Other small tweaks

Download page

Thursday, 8 December 2016

YouTube Video on the E2B_Editor now available

See http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/e2b-editor/  (refresh the page if you don't see a video at the top of the page).

Tip: use the gear wheel speed control and set x2 if you find yourself falling asleep!


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

E2B v1.87e Beta available

1.87e Beta has a few more tweaks to PassPass to make it quicker when searching for Windows OS's.
I hope to release this version as 1.87 after a few days, so please report any issues if you find any.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

PEPassPass for XP to Win10

PEPassPass is a Windows-executable version of PassPass written by boulcat.

If you can boot to the E2B menu (MBR-boot), then you can use the E2B PassPass version.

The 64-bit + 32-bit modified boulcat versions of PEPassPass.exe (updated by Ner0 for Win10) is now available from the Easy2Boot alternate download areas (Google drive and OneDrive).

You can add these PEPassPass files to your E2B drive (or add them inside a UEFI-bootable .imgPTN file if you want to UEFI-boot to WinPE).


You can boot from any Windows or WinPE OS on a USB drive or CD (64-bit or 32-bit OS) and run PEPassPass to patch a Windows OS so you can bypass the local user account password entry.

Under WinPE, I use SHIFT+F10 to open a command console and then run NotePad and use the File Open menu in NotePad to find and run the PEPassPass exe file using right-click.

PEPassPass is useful if your system cannot MBR boot to E2B and can only UEFI-boot.

Follow the reboot.pro discussion for more details on PEPassPass (note the first version by Ner0 had a bug).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

How to directly boot to different grub4dos payloads from the Windows boot menu

I have added Tutorial 134 to the RMPrepUSB website which describes how you can add multiple grub4dos payloads to the Windows 7/8/10 boot menu.

This method is useful because the user does not see any intermediate grub4dos menu, only the bootmgr BCD menu is seen.

For instance, a Windows bootmgr menu can contain BCD entries for:

Windows 10
Memtest 86
Ubuntu Live ISO
Parted Magic ISO

When you select any of these menu options, it will immediately boot to that payload.

Friday, 2 December 2016

E2B v1.87d (PassPass improved)

I have improved the PassPass batch file a bit in v1.87d.
When you Restore the DLL file (after first backing it up), it will now check the first 512 bytes to make sure you are restoring the same file and same version.



Alternate Download Area


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Add a Manjaro Live install image to E2B

The manjaro live cd ISO does not seem to support a live persistence volume (AFAIK).



However, we can add a full manjaro image (MBR boot only) to E2B so that we can boot to a fully installed OS which will be updatable and persistent just like a normal installation.

Here are the steps to add a full linux OS to an Easy2Boot USB drive.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

E2B v1.87c Beta available with PassPass for XP up to Win10

Ner0 on reboot.pro has posted a way to patch Windows 10 in a similar manner to that used by Holmes.Sherlock's PassPass.

I have added some new code to the E2B version of PassPass (v1.7a) so that you can now patch Windows 10 to bypass the password entry. The new E2B version is in the Alternate Download Areas.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

How to add secret, hidden menu entries to E2B

Paul wanted to prevent certain payloads from being listed in the E2B menu system so that the normal user would not be aware that they even existed.

He wanted a secret hotkey + password which would allow the hidden payloads to appear in the E2B menu system.

We can stop any file from being listed as a payload in E2B by using a .txt file and the iftitle test feature. For instance, we can test for the environment variable 'SECRET' and if it does not exist then the menu entry will not be shown...

iftitle [if exist SECRET] Windows 10 English International (32-bit)\n My Secret ISO

We can set the SECRET variable using a hotkey + password.

In the example below, if you type CTRL+F9 (in any menu) then a blank screen will appear with a password prompt.

You can then type the password SECRET  (in capital letters), and any hidden menu items will then magically appear in the E2B menus!

To make them disappear again, type CTRL+F9 again and press ENTER instead of entering the correct password or press F8 when in the Main menu to reload E2B. Or you could define a CTRL+F10 key to hide them all again more quickly (see below).

Here is how to set this up...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Pentoo ISO with persistence on E2B

The pentoo FAQ says you can use changes=/dev/sdXY kernel cheat code to specify the persistence volume. This is incorrect!
It seems that we must use aufs=/dev/sdXY for pentoo.
As pentoo is based on gentoo, we can use a similar .mnu file for persistence with pentoo.


The .mnu file is shown below:

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Add LibreELEC Live to E2B (Kodi)

You can add OpenElec Live to E2B by following my previous blog here.

You can follow a similar procedure to add LibreELEC to E2B (and also have UEFI-booting) as follows:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Add CHKCPU to your E2B drive to display CPU Info

CHKCPU is available as a MD-DOS\FreeDOS compatible freeware program by Jan Steunebrink that will display details of your CPU.

I have created a FreeDOS image that will auto-run this utility and then run checkpci.exe to display the systems PCI IDs.
CHKCPU running under VBox

Monday, 21 November 2016

Over 1000 E2B USB drives are made every day!

If you use the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script to create an E2B USB drive, the script will display the latest released version of E2B, so that you can see if there is a newer version and download it.

The script finds out what the current version is, by downloading a file called LatestE2B.txt from the www.easy2boot.com website. The file contains the current latest version number and it's release date.

A nice side-effect of this is that, as the Easy2Boot websites statistics report the number of 'hits' on that file, I can see that in the last 30 days, the LatestE2B.txt file has had over 31,000 hits. So this means that the script, on average, is being run 1000 times a day - and that is not counting the people that use RMPrepUSB to make E2B drives!

Why not make an E2B drive for your friends as a Christmas present? You can design the menu background to personalise it and add some linux distros with persistence, Gandalf WinPE, Lakka + games, Kodi (Xbox Media Centre), Cub Linux (a version of Chrome), various antivirus payloads in case of emergencies, android x86 with persistence, Tails for safe browsing, a Windows10ToGO VHD file, etc. etc. Check out this blog's 'Tutorials' page for all these and many other possibilities.

E2B 1.87b Beta available

v1.87b changes from v1.86:
  • Fix typo in SDI_CHOCO which caused scrolllock.exe and capslock.exe error messages. 
  • Improve linux fmt.sh scripts to install grub4dos to PBR and make partition active using parted.
Download from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

If you make your E2B USB drive under linux, I highly recommend you ensure that the E2B USB drive has two primary partitions. The second primary partition can be any size and does not need to be formatted. This is useful because some computer BIOSes will not correctly boot the E2B USB drive as a 'hard disk' without the second partition being present.

Note that you can prepare both an NTFS or FAT32 E2B USB under linux and make the files contiguous under linux using defragfs (FAT32) or udefrag (NTFS) - see the linux page here. However, to make .imgPTN files (for UEFI-booting and installing Windows from a USB HDD, etc.), you will still need a Windows system to run the MakePartImage.cmd script.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

UEFI-boot to Porteus with persistence from E2B

I have added another section to my previous blog post on Porteus to show how you can UEFI-boot to Porteus with persistence.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Add the Norman Rescue and Antivirus ISO to E2B (with persistence)

The XUbuntu-based Norman Rescue Disk ISO file (English+German supported) can be downloaded and added to your E2B USB drive (you can supply any junk email address to get the download).

However, when it first boots from the ISO file, it will download over 170MB of updates and virus definitions.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

MPI Tool Pack 0.070 available

I have added a new script file \e2b\RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd to this new version.

It uses 32-bit and 64-bit versions of MBRFix.exe. This means that you can boot to either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of WinPE and switch back the USB drive to the original E2B partitions. Previously, you had to use a 64-bit version of WinPE that included WoW64 support (e.g. ChrisR's WinBuilder builds) so that it could run RMPartUSB which is a 32-bit program.

e.g. Now you can...
1. Switch to .imgPTN version of WinPE
2. UEFI-boot to 64-bit WinPE
3. Run \e2b\RestoreE2B_32_64.cmd

and now access the files on your E2B volume (including WinNTSetup.exe and Windows ISOs, etc.).

It uses Diskpart to find the Physical Disk number from the drive letter and does not rely on WMI, VB script or powershell or WoW64 - see here for details.

P.S. I found some typos in E2B SDI_Choco files which caused a '\DRIVERS\scrolllock.exe not found' and '\DRIVERS\capslock.exe not found' prompt. This is now fixed in E2B v.1.87a Beta.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Restore the E2B partition under 64-bit WinPE

If you use .imgPTN partition image files to boot to WinPE, you sometimes may want to return the E2B USB drive partitions back to it's original 'E2B' state (without having to boot into CSM\MBR mode), so that you can access the files on the E2B partition whilst running WinPE.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

E2B Grub2 Menu system Beta 5 available

UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta5.imgPTNLBAa23 is available from the Alternate Downloads Area - Other Files folder.

The main difference between this version and the previous version is that for UEFI-booting to grub2, it uses a 64-bit shim for Secure Booting.

Making files contiguous on an NTFS volume under linux

Recent versions of E2B contain a 32-bit version of the binary executable for 'UltraDefrag' for linux (udefrag).

This can be found in the \_ISO\docs\linux_utils folder.

You will need to use chmod to make it executable first. More details are here.

To run the 32-bit version of udefrag under Ubuntu 64-bit:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386
(change to _ISO/docs/linux_utils folder)
sudo chmod 777 *
sudo udefrag -om /dev/sdX1  (where sdX1 is your NTFS USB partition - e.g. /dev/sdb1)

I got the udefrag file from here (tools.zip). There is also a post here which may help.

I am afraid my linux skills are virtually non-existent, so if anyone would like to provide me with a compiled, 64-bit version of udefrag, I will add it to E2B for others to use.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Weird UEFI-boot behaviour from my Asus Z87A mainboard

I was trying to boot a UEFI grub2 payload yesterday when I discovered something odd.

I was using an IODD 2531 Hard disk enclosure fitted with an SSD. I had loaded the grub2 menu system .imgPTN file using Switch_E2B.exe so it had the grub2 .EFI boot files present.

I then connected the drive to my Lenovo IdeaPad 300 and pressed F12 to get the Boot Selection menu. A UEFI boot entry was then displayed, so I selected that option and it booted to the grub2 menu - no problem!

Next, I did the same thing but using my Asus Z87A PC. To my surprise, the BIOS refused to list the IODD 2531 as a UEFI-bootable drive! There was an MBR-bootable option for the USB drive, but there was no UEFI boot option listed. This was very strange because I had UEFI-booted in this way dozens of times before from the same PC in the same way.

When I examined the Master Boot Record using RMPrepUSB - Drive Info - 0, I found that I had these partitions:

ptn #1 : FAT32 with EFI boot files
ptn #2 : NTFS with payload files
ptn #3 : Type 0x83 ext3 partition
ptn #4 : (empty)

Now ptn #3 was not supposed to be there. It was only there because it was left over from a previous experiment and because the grub2 .imgPTN file was switched in, it left partitions 2 and 3 alone, so that both were still present.

So I deleted ptn #3 and tried it again in the Z87A PC. This time the BIOS listed a bootable UEFI option for the IODD 2531 and it could now UEFI-boot.

So it seems that the mere presence of the Type 0x83 ext3 partition prevents the Z87A firmware from detecting the USB drive as UEFI-bootable!

Weird!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

PC Rescue ToolKit Live CD by Bertrand Goio

Rescue ToolKit by Bertrand Goio is Linux-based rescue and diagnostic - RTK-3.iso (password=live).

The author has now replaced this toolkit with the PC Rescue Tool (Italian keyboard by default).
Just add it to your E2B USB drive and check it out.
It also has 64-bit UEFI boot files and so should work if converted to a FAT32 .imgPTN file too.




Package List is here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Add salix+persistence to E2B

Following from a request from kasep, here is how to boot salix with persistence from E2B.

Salix with Persistence (folder STEVE was created)

From various experiments, I could not get salix to recognise an ext3 persistence file when mapped to partition 3 of the E2B drive. It seems that salix specifically looks for a 'persistent' file in the root of a FAT32 or ext3 volume with a volume name of  'LIVE'.

So, we need to convert the .ISO file to a FAT32 .imgPTN file. Here is how I did it:

Monday, 31 October 2016

Use Tron to automatically clean an infected Windows system

Tron by 'vocatus' is a large Windows script that will automatically 'spring-clean' an infected/unwell Windows system. After Tron has been run, the system should be free from infection and may also run faster than before.

You will need to be able to boot to the Windows system (in Safe Mode+n/w mode) and you will need internet connectivity for best results.

If you download the self-extracting Tron .exe file, you can keep it on your E2B USB drive (but disconnect the E2B drive and any other USB drive before starting Tron.bat, or else it will needlessly scan those drives too).

How to check if you booted to WinPE via UEFI or MBR

If you have booted from a WinPE image, you can check what mode you have booted in (UEFI or MBR) using a small cmd script:

Report_UEFI_MBR_boot_mode.cmd

@echo off
wpeutil UpdateBootInfo > nul
color 1f
for /f "tokens=2* delims= " %%A in ('reg query HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PEFirmwareType') DO SET Firmware=%%B
:: Note: delims is a TAB followed by a space.
if %Firmware%==0x1 echo WinPE booted in BIOS mode.
if %Firmware%==0x2 echo WinPE booted in UEFI mode.
echo.
pause

You can use this script to determine what mode you have booted in (original source here).
The script only works in WinPE not Windows.

This code may be useful when you write a diskpart script for instance, and you need to know whether to partition a disk using GPT partitions or MBR partitions depending on how the user booted to WinPE initially.

The Report_UEFI_MBR_boot_mode.cmd script can be downloaded from the Alternate Downloads - Other files folder.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

E2B v1.86 is now available

Changes from v1.85 are:
  • Bug fix for wsusoffline Win8 updates not working. 
  • Win8/10 Repair option now offered (press a key within 4 seconds after selecting an ISO). 
  • Language files updated to add a Windows Repair option prompt (see below).
  • Self-extracting .exe versions available.
I have used WinRar to create self-extracting exe files from the zip files. This means you can download and click on the .exe file and it will automatically extract the files to a temporary folder and then run the Make E2B USB Drive (run as admin).cmd script.

This should make it easier for naive users to make E2B USB drives.

If you don't want the contents to be extracted to a temporary folder, just open the .exe file using 7Zip or WinRar and extract the contents, or download one of the .7z or .zip versions.

If you have a Win8/10/2016 ISO in the \_ISO\WINxxx menu folders, when you select the ISO file, you will be given 4 seconds to press a key before being prompted to select an XML file. If you press a key within 4 seconds, it will boot straight to the ISO and you will be able to use the standard Windows Repair option in the Windows Install Setup menu (you will NOT be able to install Windows though!). See my previous blog for more details.

The downloads are available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Get Windows 10 Professional for £4 (legally)?

You can still upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 if you know how (see here), but what if you want to install Windows 10 Pro on a new home-built system?

It seems that some sellers on eBay (UK and USA) are selling Windows 7 Pro keys for approx £4.

Now, as far as I am aware, you can still use a Windows 7 key to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 (as long as you use a recent version of the Windows 10 install ISO and not the first version).

These eBay sellers seem to think that they are 'legal' because they are also selling a faulty mainboard together with the Product Key. The only catch being that although they email you the Product Key within an hour or so, if you want the faulty mainboard then you have to either pick it up yourself or pay for postage and packing (which is quite expensive, so they clearly don't expect anyone to request the faulty mainboard!).

Whether this is actually within the terms of a Microsoft 'system builder' licence is debatable. I am sure MS never meant that a seller could sell faulty mainboards and that MS intended that the part and the Windows 7 COA should be shipped together.

I don't know if these keys actually work because I have not personally tried one, but for £4 it may be worth a try!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

New Gandalf WinPE available

The latest Gandalf WinPE ISO (2016-10-24) is available from here.


Convert it to a FAT32 .imgPTN file and add it to your E2B drive as usual. Then it will MBR or UEFI-64 boot.

If you like the Desktop analogue clock (which can be positioned anywhere on the Desktop), and want to add it to your own Windows Desktop, you can get it from here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

E2B 1.86b Beta available

E2B v1.86b has a few changes from 1.85
  • Windows 8/10 ISOs now give user the option to run a 'Repair' - see here for details.
  • STRINGS.txt language files updated for new 'Repair' feature
  • wsus offline update bug fix for Win8/2012R2 updates (SDI_CHOCO) - thanks to JW for reporting it.
Download from the Alternate Download Area as usual.

I have also made a self-extracting exe file Easy2Boot v1.86b_Make_E2B_USB_Drive.exe available.
This self-extracts the E2B files to a temporary folder and then automatically runs MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd from the temporary folder. This may be useful for less experienced users because they don't need to extract the E2B files to a new folder.

If you want to update your USB drive, download the .ZIP file as usual.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Windows Startup Repair (StartRep.exe) crashes on Windows 8/10 in E2B

A few days ago I used E2B to boot to a Windows 10 install ISO in order to repair a notebook that had some boot issues.

I ran the Win10 ISO from the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 folder and chose the 'S' Startup Repair option in the blue console window and it immediately crashed...


Coincidentally, a user also contacted me yesterday about the same issue! StartRep works fine on Win7 ISOs, but there seems to be something 'special' about the Win8/10 version of StartRep.exe!

Upon investigation, I found that the StartRep.exe also crashed if you chose the Windows Troubleshooter option (recenv.exe) and then ran the Startup Repair option (which runs StartRep.exe)! All the other troubleshooting functions worked, but not Startup Repair.

I also found that if I ran the ISO without using an XML file which had a WinPE section in it, then StartRep.exe worked OK. Also, Windows Setup only gives the user the 'Repair' option (Alt+R) in the Windows Setup menu as long as the XML file does not contain a WinPE section.

So, you can run Windows Repair if you place the Windows 8/10 ISO in one of the other menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\WIN or \_ISO\MAINMENU) and name it with a .iso01 file extension. However, this would mean having to have two copies of each Windows Install ISO on the E2B drive, which is not very convenient!

So, E2B v1.86 will now prompt the user to press a key within 4 seconds for a 'Repair' option whenever they choose a Windows 8/10/2016 Install ISO file from one of the Windows Install menus. If they press a key, the ISO will be run as .iso01 and the standard Repair option will be available. However, in this mode you cannot install Windows because the ISO will not be loaded as a virtual DVD by ImDisk.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Restore disk images across the network using AOMEI Image Deploy (free PXE-boot deployment system)

If you take disk backups using the free AOMEI Backupper software (from a bootable ampe.iso file), then you can use AOMEI Image Deploy to write that image to multiple PCs across the network using PXE booting.

There are instructions on their site here.

This allows you to restore a disk image to any system that has a PXE boot ROM (pretty much all systems do!) without needing to boot it from a USB drive or CD or any 'media'.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Lakka - Take 2!

I have revised the instructions to make a bootable Lakka image in my previous post.

There is now no need to make a Lakka USB flash drive first, and you can make the storage partition any size you like too. Much easier!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Windows 10 bug found in Calc App!

On PC-Welt a Windows 10 bug has been reported in the Calc App.

Can you spot the problem?




Monday, 17 October 2016

Add Lakka to your E2B USB drive and play SuperMario (and 100's of other console games)

Lakka is an open source game console emulator. See the YouTube demo here (there are many YouTube videos too, including a Hak5 intro video here!). Some helpful 'Quick info' is here.


You can boot to Lakka from a variety of different computers including a Raspberry Pi. On an x86 PC you can directly boot from a USB drive (or install it onto a dedicated PC, if you have one to spare!).

You also need to connect USB or WiFi controllers to the PC too (recommended because using the PC keyboard is very difficult/impossible when playing games using the PC keyboard!).

I downloaded the Windows 32-bit version for a PC from here and then wrote the .img file (Lakka-Generic.i386-devel-20161002110423-r21593-g03241bf.img) to a spare 8GB USB 3.0 drive using RMPrepUSB (see below for details). For Nintendo 64 games, use Lakka 64-bit.

I then booted from the Lakka USB drive on my IdeaPad 300.



Sunday, 16 October 2016

E2B v1.85 now available

E2B v1.85 is now available from the Alternate Downloads Areas.

After a few days, I will add the 1.85 download files to the www.easy2boot.com site.

Changes from v1.84 are:

  • Add udefrag linux utility for making NTFS files contiguous under linux. 
  • ZGRUB_USB_046.mnu menu improved. 
  • Improve error checking in MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd to fix problem if you are using a proxy - now it just does not show the latest version available if a proxy has been set instead of bombing out! (thanks to JH for reporting it)
  • German language files updated (thanks Frettt!).

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Experimenting with large fonts, line spacing and animation (GreatLakes_DNA)

If you want a 800x600 theme which use the 24-pixel high large fonts in E2B and increases the spacing between lines, you can try the GreatLakes_DNA.zip download in the Alternate Download Area - Themes folder. It includes the rotating DNA animation and the background is a shot of the Great Lakes taken from space.

As with all animations, you can use the F2 key to make it disappear and then press F2 again to make it reappear. The space between menu lines has also been increased.

The F1 Help menu is suppressed because the help text does not fit on the screen when using large fonts.

GreatLakes_DNA.zip
The .bmp file is actually compressed using LZMA.exe.












There are several different 24-pixel high large fonts to choose from - try using a different one by changing the MyE2B.cfg file.

When using Windows ISOs, etc., you may need to reduce the number of XML files, so that they will fit on the screen nicely.



Sunday, 9 October 2016

Add Easy Recovery Essentials Windows 10 (EasyRE) to E2B

The Easy Recovery Essentials Win10 ISO (not free!) does not seem to boot from E2B as a .ISO file or if simply converted to a .imgPTN file. The ISO seems to be based on FreeBSD and does not seem to contain the necessary grub2 boot loader for USB booting in an easily-accessible form.

Note that the ISO file can be booted using the E2B grub2 menu system (you must also extract some files and use a FAT32 partition, there is an example .grub2 config file in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder on the 2nd partition).

Instructions

Here is how to get it working as an MBR-only bootable .imgPTN file under the standard E2B grub4dos menu system:

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Beware of this 'fast' USB 3.0 Flash drive!

I already own a 64GB SanDisk Extreme, but I was looking for a larger 128GB USB 3.0 Flash drive.

As you may know, I am a big fan of the SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 drives. They are amongst the fastest USB 3.0 Flash memory drives that you can buy, but also represent extremely good value for money.

So, I consulted a few league tables such as UserBenchmark, thewirecutter  and everythingusb.

I was looking for a fast drive, so although the SanDisk Ultra Fit drive was good value for money, I did not consider it because it is slower than several others and also it is just too small - I do have one but I keep 'losing' it, and only find it a few weeks later 'hidden' in a USB port on one of my other devices.

So the main contenders were: (with advertised speed and links to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com):

SanDisk Extreme     128GB £48 or $61   245MB/s Rd, 190MB/s Wr
SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB £67 or $60   260MB/s Rd, 240MB/s Wr 
Lexar P20           128GB £52 or $49   400MB/s Rd, 270MB/s Wr

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Disabling System Volume Information folder for Removable drives

If you read my previous blog and tried the Registry fragment I provided in a previous blog post, you may have found that it does not actually seem to stop Windows from making a System Volume Information folder on some systems.

It used to work (honest!), but recent versions of Windows 10 also require you to stop (disable) the Storage Service too (type 'Services' into the start menu to find the management applet). I think this service used to be called 'Removable Storage' in earlier Windows versions.

Double-click and disable the service.
So, for recent Win10 versions:

1. Disable the Storage Service
2. Install the Registry Fragment
3. Reboot
4. From an Admin command prompt, type rd /s "L:\System Volume Information" to delete the folder on the L: drive if it is already there (or whatever letter your USB drive is using).

I am not sure what affect disabling the Storage Service has on the system, Microsoft seem very sketchy with information about it. So far I have not noticed any issues (famous last words...)

RMPrepUSB v2.1.734 and new version of Disk Doctor available (with bug-fixes)

I found that the SpeedTest function in RMPrepUSB/RMPartUSB no longer seems to work on Windows 10 and gives a write error. This is now fixed in v2.1.734.

I also took the time to look into some niggly bugs in DiskDoctor (use CTRL+D inside RMPrepUSB to launch it after selecting a disk (does not work on disk 0) in RMPrepUSB).

DiskDoctor

DiskDoctor is a disk testing and editing tool which must be run with Admin privileges. The version included in RMPrepUSB has been stripped down quite a bit since I wrote it some years ago, and some functions and command line support have been removed. It was originally used as an automated test tool in a factory environment and used to test literally millions of computers.

If you want to try DD, use a disk that contains unwanted data first, until you become familiar with it!

For instance, if you start a Sequential Read of the whole disk, DiskDoctor (aka DD) will attempt to read all sectors, in blocks of a 'track' at a time, into a track buffer (63x255 sectors). This can take several hours for a 2TB HDD!

Monday, 26 September 2016

New USB_BOOT_v2.iso (Plop! CD)

I have updated the USB_BOOT CD ISO file to use the latest version of grub4dos. The CD may now work with a wider range of USB 2.0 controllers. Download USB_BOOT_v2.ISO from here in the Alternate Downloads Areas and burn it to a CD (remember those?).

USB_BOOT_v2 CD with latest grub4dos version

  1. The USB_BOOT CD will boot to a grub4dos menu and then will automatically install the grub4dos USB 2.0 read\write driver.
  2. If no USB drive is detected, it will then automatically run Plop! to load a USB 2.0 read-only driver.
  3. If a driver is loaded successfully, it should then boot from a USB drive (e.g. an Easy2Boot USB drive).

The CD is useful for systems that will not boot straight from a USB Flash drive or USB HDD but will boot from a USB CD (or IDE\SATA CD-ROM drive).

Note that modern USB 3.0 systems will probably not work (even if you use a USB 2.0 port), but these modern systems should boot from any USB drive anyway.

Quickly make WinPE ISOs using Lazesoft Recovery Suite

If you want to quickly make some 64-bit and 32-bit WinPE bootable ISOs, which also contain some useful utilities, try the free Lazesoft Recovery Suite Home Edition.

Note: I have not fully tested any of the Lazesoft utilities yet, this blog post is just to inform you of a useful set of ISOs.

You first need to download and run lsrshsetup.exe to install it onto your Windows system and then run it (or the separate Desktop entry for the Lazesoft recovery suite media builder).

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Problems installing Ubuntu x64 UEFI in Virtual Box

I have been trying to compile my own grub2 boot code files (core.img and bootx64.efi) recently.

To do this, I needed to set up a VM with Ubuntu x64 in UEFI-mode.

Easy right?

Err.... no!

E2B v1.84 released

E2B v.1.84 full version is released.

Changes from v1.84c beta are:

  • official grub4dos 2016-09-20 release (should be similar to the test version in 1.84c)
  • Some more Download URL links added to \_ISO\docs folder
  • Cub Linux + persistence Sample Mnu File added.
The 'SultryWoman' bitmap and MyE2B.cfg file are available
from the Alternate Downloads - Themes area.

Changes since v1.83 are:

RMPrepUSB v2.1.733 (Beta status) available - with grub2 USB drive installer

RMPrepUSB v2.1.733 changes are:

  • Latest grub4dos 0.4.6a 2016-09-20 (grldr)
  • Can install grub2 to MBR via BootLoaders tab
  • FAT32 partitions now start at LBA 2048 instead of LBA63 (RMPartUSB v2.1.733)
You can now install grub2 boot code onto the first sectors of a USB drive.

Friday, 16 September 2016

UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta4 available

UEFI_GRUB2_PTN2_Beta4 has a few small bug fixes to some .grub2 files and the grub2 menu entries have been tweaked slightly so that the text in the menus aligns better.
I have also changed the Excel spreadsheet slightly.
The main changes in .grub2 has been around the naming of kali isos.
If you already have the Beta3 version on your E2B drive, instructions on how to update to a later version are here.

If you use the Grub2 menu system with E2B, please let me know. I have had very little feedback about it and so it is still in Beta status. If I get reports that people are using it successfully, then I will officially 'release' it.

The downloads are in the Alternate Download Areas - Other Files folder.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Registry fragment to prevent creation of System Volume Information folder

For Windows 8/10, you can add a Registry fragment that will stop Windows from creating a System Volume Information folder on all your USB drives.

The download is available from the Alternate Download Area - Other Files folder (direct link here).

I will also include the registry fragment in E2B v1.84 in the folder:
\_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Disable_System_Volume_Information_Folder_Creation.

Note: In recent versions of Windows 10, as well as the Registry Fragment, you need to stop (disable) the Storage Service too (type Services into the start menu to find the management applet).
For more info, see my previous blog here (the Take Ownership reg tweak is really useful too!).

FYI: The top three posts in my entire blog are:

  1. A faster test for fake SD cards and USB Flash drives (*more popular by a factor of x10!)
  2. Deleting the 'System Volume Information' folder from a USB drive (and other system files\folders)
  3. Add Microsoft ERD Commander and MSDart Windows Recovery ISOs to Easy2Boot
Please tick one of the 'Reactions' boxes if you enjoyed a post.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Chromium OS (Cub Linux) with persistence

Cub Linux is Chromium+Ubuntu. Unlike ChromixiumOS, it comes in a nice LiveCD ISO format and so we can easily run this from an E2B drive. As it is based on Ubuntu, we can also add persistence.




Here is the .mnu for the 64-bit version (also added to \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\linux\CubLinux-amd64_Persistent.mnu in E2B v1.84d).

Once you cancel your credit/debit card, it cannot be used again, right?... WRONG!

OK, this is nothing to do with USB drives (but you might use a card to buy a USB drive...;-)

So you lose your credit or debit card (or it is stolen). You contact the bank and they cancel it and issue you a new card. You check your next card statement at the end of the month and it looks OK. Panic over and you are safe, right?

WRONG! Actually someone could use your old card for months afterwards by using it for multiple 'contactless payments'. You could lose £100s.

How to overlay the E2B F1 Help text onto your wallpaper background

The E2B F1 Help menu is determined by the F1.cfg file, one for each language.

When you select one of the Help menu topics, the text is displayed on a plain (usually black) background. This is because the help text fills the whole screen and may get confused with the background picture in some situations (as you can see in the example below).

You can modify the F1.cfg file so that the text is overlaid on top of the current wallpaper by adding a few lines under each 'title' menu entry.


You can download the E2B v1.83 English F1.cfg file which includes these lines in all 'title' menu entries from the Alternate Download Area - Languages folder here.

You can quickly test it by adding the F1.cfg file to the \_ISO folder (but don't leave it there because it will override any language setting or normal F1.cfg file - if you want to use it permanently, make a new language folder). For more info about the F1 help menu and making a new language folder, see here and here.

P.S. The wallpaper shown above is called 'SultryWoman' and is in the  Alternate Download Area - Themes folder here. There are other wallpapers in the Themes folder too or you can download more from https://wall.alphacoders.com/  (choose 4:3 format and then reduce them to 800x600 using Paint and save as .bmp).

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

E2B v1.84c Beta available

v1.84c 

  1. Parrot+persistence sample .mnu file added. 
  2. New feature: if user presses u key during early booting to Main menu, the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver will be loaded. 
  3. Change to SDI_CHOCO Sample_MyStartup.cmd so that -y and unchecksummed packages are accepted. 
  4. Add 'Download URLs' folder to \_ISO\docs\ folder. 
  5. Add Win7 SDI_CHOCO XML files. 
  6. Fix SDI_CHOCO.cmd so does not pause if installing Win7. 
  7. Add E2B_WINHELPER_&DW.zip for Zalman\IODD. 
  8. Fix problem of F1 Help menu title not displayed (all languages). 
  9. Sample WinNTSetup diskpart script files added to \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\WinNTSetup folder
  10. Fix bug - if animated icon in menu, then XP+DPMS install is broken (asks for floppy disk).
I have found that if you have an animated E2B icon (or any animated icon) on the menu, this causes the installation of XP+DPMS to fail. Setup will prompt you to insert a Firadisk floppy disk and you cannot get beyond this point.
This was caused by the animated .bmp files being loaded as a virtual floppy (fd3) which interferes with the two other virtual floppies used by DPMS. This bug is fixed in this v1.84c Beta version.

Using a combination of WinNTSetup and DPMS, it is possible (I think!) to install XP onto a system that contains only USB 3.0 ports and a SATA or RAID HDD (from an unmodified MS XP SP3 ISO). The system's firmware/hardware needs to be XP-compatible however (many modern BIOSes are not).  The process is a bit messy though! See http://www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/windows-install-isos/winntsetup/ for more details.

The file E2B_WINHELPER_&DW.zip contains E2B_WINHELPER_&DW.RMD. This file can be loaded by a Zalman or IODD drive so that it will appear as a E2B 'Helper' Removable Flash drive. This means you do not need to carry a separate Flash drive with your Zalman/IODD drive.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

How to set up multiple backgrounds in E2B (video by Liu Evan)

A guy named Liu Evan has posted a YouTube video on how to make wallpaper backgrounds and how to have a different background for each E2B menu.

He has also made some background templates available for you to download, so you can create a 'semi-transparent' square and merge it with the background bitmap using PhotoShop (though I guess you could use gimp or Paint .Net too) on which the E2B menu can be written, as shown below.


The E2B page which describes how to set up multiple backgrounds is here.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Free Paragon Backup and Recovery 16 (until Nov 2016)

https://www.paragon-software.com/home/brh/download.html

You can build a WinPE Recovery ISO using this too (to get the ISO creation option you need to install MS WAIK WinPE support).

Original source DavesComputerTips.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Change the WinPE console font/size/position/minimize/hide, using the SetConsole utility

When running scripts, etc. using the Windows console terminal window, you often want to change it's appearance. To change the size of the window, we can use a command such as:

mode con: cols=160 lines=60

However, changing the font that is used, especially if running WinPE, is a lot more tricky, especially as we cannot reboot after changing the registry.

Whilst looking for a solution, I found the handy SetConsole utility.

Easy2Boot v1.84a Beta available

Beta v1.84a
  • Parrot+persistence sample .mnu file added. 
  • New feature: If user presses u key early when booting to E2B, the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver will be automatically loaded. 
  • Add 'Download LiveCDs' url + some others to a new \_ISO\docs\Download URLs folder. 
  • Change to SDI_CHOCO Sample_MyStartup.cmd so that -y not required and unchecksummed packages are accepted. 
  • Add Win7 SDI_CHOCO XML files. 
  • Fix SDI_CHOCO.cmd so does not pause if installing Win7. 
  • Add E2B_WINHELPER_&DW.zip for Zalman\IODD.

The Download LiveCDs.url points to a convenient web page where you can quickly find many liveCDs.

I have now tested SDI_CHOCO with Win7 and made a few tweaks as well as adding some XML files for Win7.
Note that Chocolatey automatically installs DotNet4 (which takes 10-20 minutes!) on Win7.

It seems Chocolatey now requires the packages to be checksummed and many are not. I have added some configuration lines into the Sample_MyStartup.cmd file which disables this checksum requirement and also added an option so that -y is not required (so just choco teamviewer will work automatically). if you already have a MyStartup.cmd file, you will need to add in these lines.

If you have a IOD2531 or 2541, you can load the E2B_WINHELPER_&DW.RMD file into it, and it will emulate a WINHELPER E2B USB Removable media flash drive (cool!). See my previous blog for details. If anyone owns a Zalman disk caddy, please try this file and let me know if the whole hard disk is write-enabled after it is loaded and what model/firmware you tested it on (the HDD is write-protected on the VE200, which is no good for E2B!).

Friday, 2 September 2016

Using E2B with Zalman\IODD disk drive enclosures (is the IODD 2531 the best USB HDD enclosure for E2B?)

As you know, E2B keeps its menu folders under the \_ISO folder.

The folder name of \_ISO was not a random decision on my part, it was chosen because the drive emulation disk enclosures made by IODD and Zalman both use the \_ISO folder to store payload files.

Keep reading to see how you can use the features of these devices to enhance E2B!

For those of you that don't know, with these HDD enclosures, you can select one or more payload files, and they will be emulated as a USB device.

Zalman ZM-VE200


For instance, if you select Ubuntu.iso, then any system that the HDD enclosure is connected to, will 'see' a USB CD/DVD drive containing the Ubuntu ISO file contents, just as if it were accessing a real CD/DVD drive containing a real CD\DVD (except much faster)!

Now, I recently purchased a Lenovo IdeaPad 300, and decided to try my old Zalman ZM-VE200 out on it. I found that IdeaPad 300 did not respond too well when trying to boot from an ISO loaded as a virtual CD into the Zalman VE200. It looked like the Zalman could not load the ISO quickly enough on power-on, so the IdeaPad BIOS did not detect it (even when using an SSD HDD).

Since the Zalman ZM-VE200 is USB 2.0 and therefore not very fast, and also had this issue, I decided to purchase a new emulation HDD enclosure. My choices were:

Unencrypted - IODD 2531 (SATA3) or Zalman VE300 (SATA2) or Zalman VE350 (SATA3 compatible)
Encrypted     - IODD 2541 (SATA3) or Zalman VE400 (SATA2) or Zalman VE500 (SATA3 compatible)

I have read some Amazon reviews that the Zalman VE350 is a poorer-quality version of the VE300 and the VE500 is a poorer-quality version of the VE400 as they are made by a different manufacturer (not IODD). The Zalman documentation is poor. It does not mention support for VHD, RMD, DSK for instance even though I think they are supported by the Zalmans.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Install Windows for UEFI booting from E2B in MBR mode (using WinNTSetup)

If you have an E2B USB hard disk and you want to install Windows onto a UEFI-system, it can be a bit of a pain the make the .imgPTN file and get it working. Especially if you want to use SDI_CHOCO.

However, you can install Windows from an E2B USB drive using WinNTSetup by JFX. This way you do not need to modify the ISO or create a .imgPTN file or modify the boot.wim files, etc. to perform a UEFI\GPT installation. Also a WinHelper USB Flash drive is not required.


This means you can boot from a Win8/10 Windows Install or WinPE ISO and then use WinNTSetup to install Windows from any ISO on the E2B drive.

  • There is no need to UEFI-boot from the E2B USB drive
  • No modification of ISOs required
  • No .imgPTN file or modification of boot.wim is required
  • No WinHelper USB Flash drive required
  • You can use SDI_CHOCO XML files
There are many videos on YouTube about WinNTSetup, if you want to see it in action. You can even boot to one of the DLC WinPE ISOs which already contains WinNTSetup, instead of booting from a Windows Install ISO.

Tip: JFX has revised v3.8.7 Beta 4 so that you can run diskpart scripts using CTRL+SHIFT+D (see tools\diskpart folder).

For instructions see the WinNTSetup page on the E2B site here.


Monday, 29 August 2016

A persistent parrot

Kevin asked me how to add persistence for Parrot linux.

Parrot speaks to you when it loads!

Since  this is based on Ubuntu, I simply modified the Ubuntu_2016_Persistence.mnu file.

I have added a copy of Parrot_3.1.1_Persistent.mnu to the Alternate Downloads Area - mnu files - linux folder, if you want it.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Booting USB drives using Virtual Box (VMUB tip)

In case anyone is still living in the Stone Age and is using QEMU to test their bootable USB drives, this is just a short blog to make sure you are aware of DavidB's utility VMUB (Virtual Machine USB Booter) for use with Oracle Virtual Box.

I wrote a previous blog about it here. There is also a YouTube video.

I use VMUB all the time because it is much quicker than using QEMU and it can boot a variety of different Virtual Machines (including MBR 64-bit, UEFI 32-bit and 64-bit booting).

The VMUB utility gives much better results than using a manually created .vmdk file for your USB drive because VMUB also dismounts the USB drive before running VBOX. This eliminates some of the problems that you get when using a simple .vmdk file with VBOX.

VMUB tip (use the CTRL key)

If you are designing and testing a new menu system for E2B (or making a custom CSM menu for .imgPTN files) then here is a handy tip:

Saturday, 27 August 2016

E2B v1.83 released


  • Bugfix for grub4dos so does not absorb key presses before menu is displayed. 
  • Make_E2B_USB_Drive (run as admin).cmd now checks for more versions of bootmgr (whitelist has new additions). 
  • Warning message if try to use .imz file extension (you need to convert to .ima). 
  • Added sample .mnu files for Remix OS x86 with persistence (thanks Sergio!). 
  • Small changes to German language files (thanks Frettt). 
  • Add fmt_ntfs.sh script and udefrag utility to docs\linux_utils folder - can now make and maintain an NTFS E2B drive under linux
  • Update FreeDOS floppy image to allow access to NTFS files under FreeDOS (E2B drive = C: ). 
  • Updated SDI 'Snappy' executables.