Thursday, 31 March 2016

E2B v1.79 available (and now officially released)

v1.79 is now released.

Changes from v1.78C are:
  • New NOWINXP parameter to suppress some menu items in the Windows Install menu.
  • Small bugfix in AUTOMN.g4b (sometimes listed files with no extension)
  • Improved Protect.cmd to show more file info. 
  • Bug fixes for bad error handling in QRUN.g4b (did not abort if error). 
  • E2B_Editor.exe v1.0.85 (NOSUG and NOWINXP options added). 
  • Improve robocopy detection for XP systems in UPDATE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd.
Note: Small bug in v1.79 - if you use FASTLOAD and Win Install ISOs, use v1.80!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Add PepperMint 6 + persistence to E2B

PepperMint 6 can be booted as a 'LiveCD' from ISO with persistence.
Britec has a YouTube video on how to install it as an OS.

However, we can run it from an ISO file with persistence from E2B too using a .mnu file.
It is based on Ubuntu and so uses a casper-rw persistence file.

How to increase the spacing between all E2B menu entries

grub4dos allows you to adjust the character and line spacing of text.

One of the template .cfg files in E2B demonstrates this:(\_ISO\docs\Templates\StripedFlat_pwd_is_fred)

The Sample_MyE2B.cfg file shows you how you can alter these, using the lnspace and wdspace parameters:

The default value is 'n' (or 0) for lnspace and wdspace.

Here is a 14-entry menu using the default spacing:

Monday, 28 March 2016

E2B v.79f available and 'E2B.cfg is MISSING!' error

I found some error handling issues in QRUN.g4b (v1.77 and 1.78C). The problem centres around this kind of grub4dos code...

if not "%X%"="1" pause ERROR && configfile (md)0xa000+0x50


Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easy2Boot v1.78C available

E2B version 1.78C has today's version of grub4dos (20160326) which fixes the bug a user found if you set 'tophelp' to a high number so that the menu help text is not displayed.

v1.79d also has the new grub4dos 20160326 version.

Despite not being officially released, I see some download sites have copied the buggy v1.78!

Differences between v1.78C and v1.79d:

Friday, 25 March 2016

Using E2B with the datAshur Pro encrypted USB flash drive

Easy2Boot allows you to boot literally hundreds of Windows-based, linux-based and other bootable software all from one USB drive. You can also keep all of your personal files and Windows\linux utilities on the same drive and carry it with you, on your keychain, wherever you go. But what if you lose it?

Does your Easy2Boot USB drive contain licensed software, company volume licence Product Keys or confidential files? Perhaps it contains a WindowsToGo VHD  or linux already set up with your Chrome/FireFox passwords, etc. The best way to keep it secure is to use one of the PIN-entry types of USB drives that are available.

After my previous blog about the (slow) datAshur Personal encrypted USB 2.0 drive and the problems I had booting from it, iStorage (the makers of the drive) sent me a datAshur Pro for testing and review.
datAshur Pro USB 3.0

iStorage have four models in their current range. Here are the basic points that concern E2B users including the price and advertised read/write speeds:

Changing language strings in E2B

E2B uses the STRINGS.txt file as a lookup file.
Menu headings, menu entries and many of the batch files in E2B use keywords, e.g.

iftitle [if exist STALE && cat --locate=YES ()/FASTLOAD.YES > nul] $$STRmFS1
if not "%GFX%"=="" configfile (md)0xa000+0x50
root ()

where $$STRmFS1 is a keyword (always $$STR followed by exactly four characters) that is substituted by E2B for a line of text taken from a language file.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Small bug found in grub4dos 0.4.6a 20160322

A small bug has been found in some grub4dos 0.4.6a versions between approx. Feb 2016 and 2016-03-22. If you set tophelp variable to a large number (e.g. 70) then it should move the menu help text off the screen (to line 70). This was a way to hide the help text that was normally seen below the menu box. With these grub4dos versions, this did not work. v1.78 and v1.79a used these versions and so I have re-uploaded them as v1.78A and v.1.79b and they now have the latest 20160324 version of grub4dos 0.4.6a + small change to some of the $$$Guestxxx.mnu files to support F8 reload.

Note that v1.78A still displays it's version number as 1.78 (because it can affect the formatting of the Main Menu heading for some users due to the extra character).

P.S. There was still a small bug in 1.78A and 1.78B, so I have removed 1.78 until grub4dos is fixed. I will then release 1.78C!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

E2B v1.79a Beta already!

Yes, yet another version even before 1.78 is officially released!

This version has an even newer grub4dos (which supports being able to use echo -e \X00FC to print unicode characters, but this is not actually used by E2B anyway), and also support for a new NOWINXP variable.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Easy2Boot v1.78 - List of all changes

E2B Version 1.78

Note: 1.78A uses grub4dos 0.4.6a 20160324 - which has a small bugfix (when using the tophelp E2B variable). Also the $$$Guestxxx.mnu files have been tweaked (F8 reload does not prompt for password).

Note2: There is still a bug in 20160324, so I have withdrawn v1.78A! 1.78C has best version of grub4dos.

Changes from v1.77A include:

E2B v1.78C available (was 1.78)

I have uploaded E2B v1.78C to the OneDrive Alternate Downloads area.

[Edit] Note: 1.78C will not be officially released now. Please use 1.79.

There has been a bit of tidying up since 1.78o, a new grub4dos 0.4.6a (2016-03-22) and some guest menu .mnu files added to the Sample mnu Files folder.

Also, the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd script now checks the website to find the latest version and the script displays the current E2B version that you are installing and the latest released version from the website (it uses wget.exe to get a version file from the website).

After a few days, if there are no problems reported, I will upload v1.78 to the main E2B site together with the DPMS version.

Let me know if you have tested it and it is OK by ticking the Reactions 'cool' box.
If you find a problem, please report it ASAP.

List of changes from v1.77A in this blog post.

Note: Pre-release versions 1.78, 1.78A and 1.78B had grub4dos 0.4.6a versions which had a small bug.

Thanks
Steve

Friday, 18 March 2016

E2B v1.78o Beta available


  • Latest grub4dos
  • Sample menu files for Guest Menu added
  • xxx.f24 font files improved

I now consider this a Release Candidate and fit for release as v1.78.

Please test it out by updating your existing E2B USB drive using \UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd and let me know if you find any problems.

You can easily roll-back to v1.77 by running the \UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd file from v1.77.

P.S. Have you tried out the Guest Menu setup described in my previous blog post yet?

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Make a 'Guest Mode' menu

Krishna asked me how to get E2B to display either the full E2B MAIN MAINMENU, or a single Guest Menu, with only the items in it that he wanted to allow a guest user to use.

After a lot of thought, I ended up with this and it is really quite cool!

So cool, I had to make a video!


Once you make the changes, if you boot E2B normally, it enumerates all files in the MAINMENU folder as usual (or if you have FASTLOAD enabled it will use the cached menu) and then it will always load the GUEST Menu by default. The Guest Menu can also have sub-menus if you create them.

The Guest Menu (you can change the folder name and heading) can load a different background if you like (or not).

Default Guest Menu (use whatever wallpaper you like or keep the default wallpaper)

E2B v1.78 demo video on YouTube

A quick demo showing off the new graphics stamp, animation and large font features in E2B v1.78!

Many thanks to the grub4dos developer yaya for making all this possible and Wonko from reboot.pro for his help with creating the hex files needed for the large fonts!



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

E2B v1.78n Beta available (at last!)

Latest version 2016-03-16 of grub4dos included (seems stable)!

Default appearance, if you say 'Yes' to the Animation prompt when you make a
new E2B USB drive using MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd.
E2B Boilerplate + rotating E2B icon will overlay the menu.

New Templates

The new MyE2B.cfg template files can be found in the \_ISO\docs\Templates\Animate and LargeFont folders.


LargeFont MyE2B.cfg demo (set to GMODE=1024)
The E2B icon rotates + 4 stamps!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Protecting your E2B USB drive from being cloned

I added this section to the E2B 'Passwords and Security' page today because I was asked how to protect an E2B USB drive from being cloned:

Someone could make a byte-for-byte copy of your E2B USB drive. Each USB drive should have a unique device serial number, however we cannot read this using grub4dos (and also many USB drives do not have unique serial numbers!).

Monday, 14 March 2016

Save all your passwords to a text file with one click!

Tutorial 59 on my RMPrepUSB.com site explains how to set up a script file to collect and save all your passwords into text files with just one click.

The Tutorial was a bit out of date and needs tweaking (I will update it in a day or two). Nirsoft had put some of the command line utility versions in a separate, password-protected download because they were being detected as a virus and it was causing the nirsoft site to be blacklisted!

Here is the new cmd script I ended up with:

Add a fully-installed Zorin OS to E2B

To run Zorin as a fully-installed OS from an E2B USB drive, just follow the instructions in my previous blog for Kali using VirtualBox.


Tips

Make sure your large partition image file (e.g. Zorin.) is large enough for the OS and any swap file you might want to create later + data storage (minimum approx 5GB).

  • Be sure to choose  /   (root) for the /dev/sda3 mount point choice (ext3) where sda is the USB drive
  • IMPORTANT! Set the 'Device for boot loader installation' to /dev/sda3 where sda is the USB drive..

If you are installing to an internal hard drive, make sure to pick the correct boot loader partition!


   Use ext3 (not fat32) for the sda3 partition.

The Virtual Machine will also need an internet connection to download packages.

You will be warned about not having a Swap partition, but just continue anyway.

You can create a swap file later (follow the instructions in the blog and it should work).

You should now have a fully working Zorin installation on your E2B drive.

Note:
If installing to an internal hard drive and you accidentally install grub to the E2B drive, you can use RMPrepUSB - Install grub4dos - MBR=Yes to re-install grub4dos boot code.



Sunday, 13 March 2016

Protecting animated E2B menus with passwords

I have found a way to password-protect menus on E2B and still have the animation playing in the background.


The DNA animation starts once the menu has been built by E2B and it then prompts you for a password with the animation still rotating on the display. A large 24-pixel high font has been used with the E2B default 800x600 background in this example.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Using E2B with the datAshur Personal encrypted USB flash drive

I have been looking at how to protect a USB Flash drive recently including encrypted USB drives. Some models (the cheapest) just provide a data encryption program to make an encrypted folder on the USB drive.

Others comprise of two 'devices', one is a CD containing the encryption software and the other is the Flash storage volume (similar to U3 USB drives).

Neither of these types are suitable to support USB booting because we need the BIOS to be able to read the unencrypted drive sectors on power up.

Another type of encrypted USB drive is the type that has a PIN keypad. This type encrypts the data as it comes in or out of the USB drive. The data is stored in an encrypted form on the flash memory, but any external device will 'see' the unencrypted data (if the correct PIN is used).

I found several models of encrypted USB Flash drives that require a PIN number to unlock them. There seems to be only four different ones however, as many of them appear to be re-badged\re-branded versions of the same thing:

Friday, 11 March 2016

MPI Tool Kit v0.064 available (with important bugfix)

I found a bug in MPI Tool Kit - if you try Clover booting then it 'breaks' the syslinux boot option and you can no longer MBR boot!

Adding Tails 2.2 to E2B

The Tails 2.2 ISO can be downloaded from here. You can download via the Torrent or use FireFox and download the ISO directly.

The Tails 1.0 and later ISOs cannot run with persistence now (unlike earlier 0.xx versions). Tails 1.0+ looks for a GPT disk and an EFI volume labelled 'Tails' (see here and here), so you must make a dedicated GPT USB Flash drive for Tails if you want persistence. If the drive wasn't 'made by Tails installer' then it will refuse to create a persistent file system for you.

If you boot from the ISO (even in E2B), you cannot install Tails to a new flash drive because Tails will only install if it is running from a USB FAT32 drive. This is a real pain!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

E2B v1.78m Beta

Because grub4dos can accept up to 32-pixel high characters (I have only tested 24 so far), I have now deprecated the FONT24 variable and instead we should use FONTH=24 to use 24-pixel high fonts in E2B:

Example 1 (default)
# use E2B default 24-pixel high fonts (loads simplified Chinese + terminalbold.f24)
set FONTH=24

Monday, 7 March 2016

How to boot Clonezilla (and other stuff) from your E2B USB drive even if it does not have Clonezilla on it!

iPXE is an internet boot protocol. It allows you to download into memory and then run various payloads (ISOs) from the internet. This means you can boot stuff without it even needing to be on your USB boot drive.

You can add the iPXE boot ISOs to E2B and when you boot, they will connect to the internet (you need a network connection on that computer) and then download a menu.

To get started, just add the netboot.xyz.iso file to your \_ISO\MAINMENU folder and run it.
The current list of supported downloads is here.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

E2B v1.78l Beta

Wonko (from reboot.pro) has provided some large 'European' font files for use with the FONT24 variable in E2B. They seem to support the various E2B languages OK including Russian (let me know if there are any characters missing!).

More fonts may follow!

New changes since last E2B v1.78k are:

  • Extra xxxx24 font files have been added to the \_ISO\e2b\grub folder (the font file sft has been renamed to sft24, and yxt to yxt24).
  • The \_ISO\docs\Templates\LargeFonts\MyE2B.cfg file has been updated - it now uses the new terminalbold24 font file (copy it to the \_ISO folder to use it).
  • Latest version of grub4dos added (still a few niggly bugs though).
  • \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Protect\Protect.cmd script added.
The Protect.cmd script can be used to protect your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. It uses cacls to remove permissions (so not accessible), sets the hidden and system attributes and compresses the file using LZMA to make it less human-readable. The file will only be accessible to it's 'owner', Protect.cmd also unprotects the file if you wish (but only if you are the owner).



If you edit the Protect.cmd file, you can change the cacls setting so that the only person that can access the file under Windows, is you, the 'owner' (i.e. someone who has logged on to your system with your account login or your Domain login). This makes it very secure (on Windows systems) but might be inconvenient.

It is not impossible for an Administrator to gain access to the file however, if they know how!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

E2B v1.78k

This version has the latest grub4dos which fixes a few small bugs in previous Beta versions (in particular if you are using the FONT24 feature).

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

E2B v1.78j with large font support

Recent versions of grub4dos 0.4.6a support 24x24 pixel fonts.

I have added two font hex files to E2B v1.78j and also added some menu support for it.
The two font files added are fxt and sft (traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese, I think?) - they also support English characters but not other language characters, because they do not contain any special characters such as umlaut Ü, etc.. Also, the odd English character may be missing too, e.g. ~.

Because these font are bigger, it means there are less rows and columns on the screen.

800x600   = 33 columns by 25 rows
1024x768 = 42 columns by 32 rows

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

E2B v1.78i Beta available

This version has the latest \grldr grub4dos 0.4.6a file (not the final version yet but seems to be fully working).
The splashimage --animated command now supports up to 999 animation frames.
The frame file names can be in  xxxxxx01.bmp format or xxxxx001.bmp format.
You can download the new DNA_Animation.zip file and add it to E2B v1.78i. It will now display all 120 frames of the rotating DNA model in a smooth continuous loop.
I have also added a 'ls' menu entry to the Utilities Menu in v1.78i.