Sunday, 3 July 2016

Adding 'multiboot' WinPE ISOs (such as GeekSquad MRI_5_10_2.ISO) to E2B

If you have an ISO file which contains bootmgr and boots to WinPE, then you can use it with E2B by renaming the file extension to .isoPE or .isoPE01. This only works if you have a Removable E2B USB drive (you should convert the ISO file to a .imgPTN file if your E2B USB drive is of the 'fixed disk' type).

Note: There was a bug in previous E2B versions when using .isoPE and .isoPE01 file extensions (the blue LOADISOPE.cmd console window stopped with an error and the ISO was not loaded). You will need a recent version - e.g.  E2B v1.81 Beta from the Alternate Download Areas (see side bar).

However, if you use the .isoPE file extension, it will cause E2B to immediately load and run bootmgr and so the ISO will boot straight to WinPE and you won't see the non-Windows boot menu, if one was present inside the ISO.

For instance, some ISOs, such as the  Geek Squad MRI version 5.10.2 ISO file however, contain an initial multi-boot menu where you can run other utilities and boot files, besides WinPE-based OS's. If you wish to run this type of ISO file from an E2B Removable USB drive and get the initial boot menu, you can use a .mnu file such as the one below:

# Geek Squad MRI - for Removable USB drives only
# Copy .ISO and .mnu file to \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU folder (or other E2B standard menu folder)
# If you have a Fixed Disk\HDD E2B drive, convert the ISO to a .imgPTN file using MakePartImage MPI Tool Kit

title MRI 5.10.2\n Run MRI menu (WinPE only works if Removable E2B USB drive used)

/%grub%/QRUN.g4b  force.isope01 $HOME$/MRI_5_10_2.ISO
chainloader (0xff)

Note: the Geek Squad MRI BDE ISOs are for use by authorised Geek Squad affiliates only. Unauthorised use or distribution is prohibited.

E2B v1.81g supports two new file extensions so you do not have to use this special .mnu file. It will configure an AutoUnattend.xml file for WinPE and then boot to the ISO boot code instead of directly booting to bootmgr:


So you can simply use one of these new extensions instead of using the above .mnu file (Removable USB drives only) so you will see the original 'CD' menu.

If you find some entries in the ISO's menu do not work or have a fixed disk E2B drive, you may have to convert the ISO to a .imgPTN file. See also my previous blog on MRI here.