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!).


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!).

Lakka does not support\work on a Virtual Machine - you must boot from a REAL SYSTEM!

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 (does not work on Virtual Box).



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