Sunday, 22 October 2017

SSL for Easy2boot and RMPrepUSB sites + how to increase your website earnings with Ezoic!

Because both sites go through Ezoic, it was super-easy to enable SSL for both sites.

I simply installed the SSL app (just one click on the Ezoic site) for each of my sites site and waited a while.

So now you can access them using https:

https://www.easy2boot.com

https://www.rmprepusb.com

This should help the Google search ranking for these sites too and give people a 'warmer' feeling when accessing the sites.

This blogger site also has SSL too (you are probably viewing it now using the https URL).

https://rmprepusb.blogspot.com


About Ezoic

If you own a website, Ezoic can help you improve traffic, user experience and website earnings.

It is free to try and they will help you set it up (not difficult!), so you have nothing to lose.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Easy2Boot v1.96 full release now available

Changes from v1.95:
  • Bugfix for .isofira01 as used for Strelec ISOs and fix some other .fira extensions (QRUN.g4b).
  • Check for fixed type of .VHD\.VHDX file - dynamic VHDs won't boot (QRN.g4b).
  • If .txt file exists then don't suggest better extension, unless SCROLL LOCK is on (QRUN.g4b)
  • Improve GIFtoIMA.cmd script to calculate size of .IMA file required.
    GIFtoIMA.cmd now will add code lines to your MyE2B.cfg file for you (optional).
  • New 'rooftops' default wallpaper.
  • New SWITCH_E2B.exe with improved file re-ordering for dual image payloads (see Method 4).  
  • Check \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg begins with !BAT, and bugfix for falsely reporting a problem with MyE2B.cfg in some cases (menu.lst).
  • Added some 'disk1' example XML unattended install files for Win7/8/10. 
  • Larger cmd shell window for UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd so can see which files have been updated.
  • Add linuxlite_persistence and linuxmint_persistence sample mnu files.
  • Small text change to ENGlish Strings.txt (.imgPTN prompt, etc.).
Files are available from Alternate Download Areas. The Main E2B site will be updated within a few days.

Please report any issues ASAP.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

How I deleted unwanted gmail messages to save space on Google Drive

Google had started warning me that my Google Drive was starting to get full.

I used 'Empty Bin' in Google Drive but was still left with half of the storage space being taken up by Gmail messages.



So I went into Gmail and used the search filter larger:10m to list all files larger than 10MB.
This allowed me to find emails with large attachments.



I then went through and deleted any unwanted emails (which took a while!).

You can also use the search feature to search for emails from a certain person (from:amy) or older emails (larger:5m older_than:1y) . You can use OR like this (larger:5m OR older_than:5y).

Many more options are listed here.

Bob Omb's WinBuilder-based WinPe

I recently found another useful WinPE by Bob Omb.

I tried Bob.Ombs.Modified.Win10PEx64.v05.ISO (it does not pick up the TheOven_Startup.cmd file automatically on startup though, so you must run it manually to start PEStartup).

A 2GB+ RAM system is needed for the 64-bit v05 version.

General Overview of Capabilities:
  • Backup / Restore hard disks and partitions 
  • Convert Disks to VHD 
  • Test Hard Drives 
  • Recover Lost Data on PC/Mac/Linux Drives 
  • Recover Product Keys 
  • Remove malware and viruses 
  • Install any Version of Windows WinNTSetup
  • ReFS Friendly (Now v3.3) 
  • Backup Drivers 
  • Remote connect to other machines -or- this drive from anywhere 
  • Reset Passwords 
  • Google Chrome Portable
  • FireFox Portable
  • And much more!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Updated PEStartup download

I have added a new PEStartup download to the RMPrepUSB tutorial #143.

Gandalf PE ISO with PEStartup_Papps files added to E2B USB drive.
WinBuilder-based ISOs such as Gandalf's WinPEs will automatically be configured if you simply add the files to your E2B USB drive.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

How to add Ubuntu\LinuxMint to E2B with MBR+UEFI persistence (and an unfixed bug in Ubuntu!)

Early versions of Ubuntu (pre-v14) and Ubuntu-based linuxmint distros (pre-v17.03) could be set up with persistence with no problem.

As long as you added the 'persistent' boot parameter, the kernel script would look for either:

1) a 'casper-rw' file (formatted internally as ext2/3/4)

    - OR -

2) a FAT or ext partition with a volume label of 'casper-rw' which has been formatted as ext2/3/4.


Ubuntu bug!

However, Ubuntu 14.04 and linuxmint 17.03 and (all?) later versions have a bug in the casper boot script which means that they may fail to boot when a casper-rw partition is present and if that partition is located after the filesystem partition in the partition table. This bug does not apply if you booted from an ISO file (only from a 'flat-file' partition), so the .mnu files used by E2B which boot from ISOs are not affected by this bug.

Bug report for Ubuntu here.

So there is no problem if you use a casper-rw file (except it must be on the same partition and it must be a FAT32 or ext partition). So you can create a very large (>4GB) ext3 file on the E2B NTFS USB drive and use a .mnu file to get persistence - but this only works in MBR\Legacy mode.

For UEFI-booting, we need to create a FAT32 .imgPTN file. However, this issue does affect E2B when using .imgPTN partition images...

Friday, 13 October 2017

E2B v1.96e available (bugfix)

There was a bug in v1.95 which means that (*for some reason) the .isofira01 file extension (as used for Strelec ISOs) does not seem to work.

v1.96e fixes this.

* The reason is that firadisk looks for a 'ramdisk' that is below 1MB is size, so using a larger ramdisk did not work!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

E2B v1.96d now available

Just a small 'enhancement'.

In this version, if you have created a matching .txt file for your payload file, then E2B will not suggest an alternative file extension (unless SCROLL LOCK is on) and will boot straight to the payload file with no delay.

e.g.
\_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntux64.iso
\_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntux64.txt

I have reasoned that if you have taken the trouble to make a .txt file, then you have already tested it and it works and so has the correct file extension.

This message and delay is now suppressed if a .matching txt file exists.
If you don't like this new feature, please let me know and I will remove it.

E2B 1.96d is available from Alternate Downloads Areas as usual (see side panel on this page).

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Modify any WinPE using PEStartup

Following on from my previous blog post on PEStartup, I have written Tutorial #143 on how to use PEStartup to configure any ready-made WinPE OS such as Strelec, Hirens, DLC, Dium and Gandalf WinPEs.

In fact, standard Win10PESE WinBuilder builds including the latest Gandalf Redstone 2 WinPE 'just work' and will automatically run PEStartup when they boot, if you follow the Tutorial (you just extract files from a .zip file onto your E2B drive!).

If the WinPE does not have the correct plugin already, you just need to double-click on the \TheOven_Startup.cmd script to run PEStartup and configure your WinPE Desktop.
Many thanks again to Tứ Nguyễn for his PEStartup utility.

Add WinPE Reboot and Shutdown Desktop Shortcuts


Configure PEStartup to add Desktop shortcuts using wpeutil.exe


Add lightweight WinPE versions to E2B that you can easily configure yourself!

It is normally very difficult to tailor a WinPE project to your own requirements unless you rebuild the entire OS each time.

However, there is a way to make changes to your WinPE OS and have those changes remembered on reboots. For instance, you can specify your own wallpaper and Desktop shortcuts.

32-bit XP and 32-bit and 64-bit Win 10 PE builds are available.

See also the more recent blog post here for use with any WinPE.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Gandalf’s Win10PE x64 Redstone 2 build 15063 version 10-01-2017 is now available

Download from here. It is based on WinBuilder and ChrisR's Win10PESE project.

To add to E2B, just copy the .iso file to a menu folder (e.g. \_ISO\WINPE) and run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.exe to make it contiguous.

To suppress the tips and extension suggestions made by the QRUN.g4b script when you run it, just add the letter Q or q to the end of the filename. e.g.
Gandalf'sWin10PEx64Redstone2_10-01-2017q.iso

Do not uses spaces in the filename. If you want to change the menu entry and have spaces in the filename, use a .txt file - e.g. Gandalf'sWin10PEx64Redstone2_10-01-2017.txt

To change keyboard locale press CTRL+TAB.

Tip: if you add PEStartup to your USB drive and PortableApps.com (Start.exe) to the Desktop as Startup options. you can use the Shutdown/reboot button in the PortableApps GUI to shutdown/reboot (as the Start Menu Shutdown\Reboot does not work). You can also add lots of PortableApps apps easily too. Gandalf Redstone 2 will automatically run PEStartup 20 seconds after it loads the Desktop.

Monday, 2 October 2017

E2B v1.96c available

Just a few small changes (no bug fixes)
  • QRUN.g4b now checks for fixed type of .VHD\.VHDX file - dynamic VHDs won't boot.
  • Added help text for installing from puppy ISOs (.isopup)
  • Improved GIFtoIMA.cmd script to calculate size of .IMA file required and now will optionally add the new code lines to your MyE2B.cfg file for you.
  • New default wallpaper for E2B
  • New SWITCH_E2B.exe version 1.0.17 with improved file re-ordering for dual image payloads
    (see Method 4). 
  • Added extra Win7/8/10 disk 1 sample XML unattended install files for use with VMs where disk 1 is the target HDD instead of disk 0.  See here for more info.
Download from Alternate Download Sites as usual.

How to use E2B with Virtual Box to test unattended Windows installs

In a chat session with 'Nathan' today, he explained how he uses VBox to install Windows to a Virtual Machine using ISO files on an E2B USB drive.

Testing E2B's 'Install Windows from ISO' method in a Virtual Machine is problematic because Windows needs to detect a Removable drive (e.g. CD\DVD or USB flash drive) in the system - Setup will only pick up the \AutoUnattend.XML (or \Unattend.XML) file from removable drives.

However, under a VM, a USB drive is 'mapped' as a virtual (IDE\SATA etc.) hard disk when using a .vmdk file (so the drive is not seen as a Removable drive once WinPE\Windows Setup runs).

This means the Product Key and other settings in the XML file are not used by Windows Setup when testing in a VM.

We can get around this by booting in two stages and by adding a USB WinHelper drive:

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Adding MDT ISOs to Easy2Boot (UEFI+MBR)

For MBR-booting, the simplest way to add an ISO made using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit ISO to E2B, is to convert the MDT ISO file to a .imgPTN file using the E2B MPI Tool Kit. Just Drag-and-Drop the MDT ISO file (or MDT USB drive letter) onto the MPI_FAT32 Windows Desktop shortcut.

MDT Setup

This should work fine, as long as all the files inside the ISO are less than 4GB in size, and then you can MBR and UEFI-boot from the .imgPTN file. Later versions of MDT support the creation of split wims, so this will work even for large MDT ISOs.

Alternate method for MBR-booting

If you have files inside the ISO that are larger than 4GB, then use the MPI_NTFS shortcut instead. However, you will only be able to MBR-boot.

Below are instructions for direct booting from an MDT ISO (MBR-booting only) and another set of instructions for MBR+UEFI-booting by using two image files...

New Spanish\Espanol YouTube videos uploaded by 'Decomputo - Valledupar'

Many people make YouTube videos showing Easy2Boot, but here is one that shows multiple wallpapers, a modified language file and uses a different text font...

and another just on how to get started...


Add a slideshow to your E2B menu

I have made a quick PowerPoint presentation and converted it to an 'animated GIF' .IMA file for use with E2B. So you can now have PowerPoint slides on your E2B menu!


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Try JondoFox Live CD for secure and anonymous browsing

The JonDo Live CD\ISO is now no longer under development but the 2016 version is still available for download.

You may find it easier to use from E2B than Tails, but it does not seem to support persistence or UEFI.

To see what other sites can learn about you when you simply view their site, click here and then click on Start Test.

JonDoFox Live ISO



To use the network (internet) - click the Network Manager icon at the bottom of the display (move mouse to bottom of screen).


To browse securely, you will need to follow the instruction here.

You can also install the JonDoFox browser onto your OS from here.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Add Kali Linux + persistence (UEFI+MBR) to E2B

There is already a .mnu file for booting to a Kali ISO file in MBR mode with persistence.
There is a blog tutorial for a full OS install of Kali onto E2B here.

Here is how to get UEFI+MBR working with a persistent file...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

How to install Puppy to an HDD using Easy2Boot

You can boot from a Puppy Linux ISO by giving the file a .isopup file extension.

In this way you can boot directly from the ISO to a 'LiveCD' version of Puppy and get to the Desktop.

But if you try to install Puppy to a hard disk, you will get an error because it cannot find the CDROM.

First, if you have a CD drive, ensure it is empty.

To fix this, use these commands in a terminal shell session before you start the Install process:


mkdir /cdrom
mount /dev/sdX4 /cdrom

where X is the letter for your E2B USB drive (in my case it was 'a' because I was using VBOX+VMUB).

The first command will probably fail if you have a CD-ROM drive fitted (make sure it's empty), but you can ignore the error. The second command should cause the USB partition to be mounted as a read-only device.

This mounts the ISO as the cdrom so it can be found by the installer. Do not create a Save file and do not copy the .sfs file from CDROM when requested on shutdown.

Once you have booted from the hard disk, you can create a save file on shutdown.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Create a Restore partition on your UEFI Windows 8\10 PC using CloneZilla (Version 5)

I have updated the Tutorial 142 and changed the functionality so that you can make unattended backups or restores from Windows (Check the .zip download says 'v.5' or later before downloading).

This allows the user to 'remote-in' using TeamViewer and restore a system from Windows (or make a new backup).

The image file IMG is always used.

When a Backup is made, the current IMG image will be erased.

You can also password protect the menu entries and protect any access to the grub2 console.

You can just have the wallpaper show but no menu (unless you press ESC or press a hotkey).

The Tutorial includes a way to change the default grub2 menu heading too (something you usually cannot do without recompiling grub2)!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Create a Restore partition on your UEFI Windows 8\10 PC using CloneZilla

Tutorial 89 on the RMPrepUSB.com website describes how you can add a local Restore image to your PC\Notebook hard disk so that you can take a backup or restore the Windows partition at boot time.

It uses Clonezilla and grub4dos and it is reasonably easy to set up.

However, that tutorial was for MBR\Legacy Windows systems.

Mike A asked me for a new CloneZilla-based Tutorial for UEFI-based Windows systems using GPT partitions.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Super Boot CD

JG pointed me to this large 4.8GB 'Hiren's type' ISO which includes 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI boot support as well as containing HBCD MiniXP, Strelec Mini-WinPE 10 and SVUIT Mini-WinPE7, memtest, Windows memory diagnostic, KonBoot, chntpwd, MHDD, Windows Recovery .wim files, some MAC apps and Windows AV apps and linux pmagic. It also uses rEFInd for UEFI boot menus.

You can boot it directly as an .ISO file (use E2B v1.95 and used a file name of SBCD 3.6.1.isolinux), although many menu entries (e.g. mini Windows) do not work correctly. So I converted it to a FAT32 .imgPTN file using the E2B MPI Tool Kit MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut. This seems to work well and allows UEFI-booting too.

Mini Win10 (Strelec)
The download link provided on the Facebook page seems very slow though, so you will have to be patient!

Note: The HBCDMenu and DLC1Menu shortcuts on the Mini Win7 Desktop do not work due to missing \DLC1 and \SVUIT folders in the SBCD ISO file.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

E2B v1.96a Beta available

Just a couple of small changes (no bugfixes):

v1.96a

  • QRUN.g4b now checks for dynamic/differencing VHDs - only fixed VHDs will boot.
  • Improved GIFtoIMA.cmd script to calculate size of the .IMA file required.
VHDs can be Fixed, Dynamic or Differencing type. E2B can only directly boot the Fixed type of VHD or VHDX file. You can tell by the size which type it is - a 15GB Fixed VHD file will be 15GB in size, the other two types of VHD will usually be a lot less than the 'mounted' size. VHDs created by WinToUSB will work. VHDs created by DiskToVHD will not boot from E2B as they will be Dynamic VHDs.

I have improved the GIFtoIMA.cmd script so that it calculates the required size in KB of the .IMA file needed for animations on the E2B menu. Now you can just press ENTER to accept the suggested size.

Download v1.96a from Alternate Download Areas as usual.


Beware! -  here lies ye Kingdom of Geekland...

Cassini-Huygens (1997-2017)

To mark the end of this remarkable spacecraft, I have made two animations for your E2B menu, which I have taken from the wiki here. Cassini NASA/JET website here.

Cassini-huygens_animation.zip (jpg)
Titan_taken_by_cassini_animation.zip (.bmp)

Sunday, 10 September 2017

E2B v1.95 release available

v1.95 Downloads are now available in Alternate Downloads Areas.

I will update the website in a few days.

OneDrive download area
Easy2Boot Download page
E2B Version History

Thursday, 7 September 2017

E2B v1.95e available

Download E2B v1.95e from here.

Change History
v1.95a - Czech F1.cfg help added, bugfix for set NOHELPER=1 not working.
v1.95b - XP ISO install issue of 'Selected disk does not exist' fix added, '0K low memory' error fixed for some XP boot issues.
v1.95c - Increase menu memory from 0x50 sectors to 0xA0 sectors for bigger menus, fix bug when using 'set GRUB_USB=045' in MyE2B.cfg, Greek language folder added, Choose a preset wallpaper.mnu file added (also in PimpMyDrive), 0x50 changed to 0xA0 in many Sample mnu files and language files for very large menus.
v1.95d - New \grldr grub4dos 2017-08-28 (change in memory map handling - bugfix), increase size of FASTLOAD cache file for very large menus (bugfix).
v1.95e - Falcon4 sample menu file updated, grldr 2017-08-30, Sample_MyE2B.cfg file updated, small change to ENG English strings.txt file, BIOS beep code references added to \_ISO\docs\Download URLs folder.

I will release this as v1.95 soon. Please update your E2B drives and report if you spot a problem.

I have also added a few more 800x600 wallpapers to the Alternate Download - Themes Areas:





Thursday, 31 August 2017

Add PassMark's MemTest86 v7.4 to E2B

The MemTest86 download ISO will MBR-boot and run the old MemTest86 version v4.

The new version 7.4 will only run if it is UEFI-booted.

However, if you make a .imgPTN file from the MemTest86.zip download, you can MBR boot to the CSM menu and then choose the Clover boot option. This will allow you to run v7.4 even on a non-UEFI system.

MemTest86 has signed UEFI boot files and so the .imgPTN file can UEFI-Secure Boot too.

I have created a MemTest86.imgPTN file and placed it on the Alternate Download sites.




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Run DOS games from E2B

E2B contains a FreeDOS image in the DOS Menu which can boot to FreeDOS and allow you access to the NTFS files on the E2B drive. This allows you to run copy simple DOS programs to the NTFS E2B drive - boot to FreeDOS - and run them directly from the E2B drive (as drive C:).

However, the amount if free memory is limited in this environment due to the NTFS driver, etc.


Here is how to make your own DOS Games payload (.imgPTN file) for E2B:

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

E2B v1.95d Beta now available

E2B v1.95d has the latest version of grub4dos 0.4.6a 2017-08-28 (\grldr) (available in Alternate Download Areas). It also fixes a small bug with FASTLOAD when using very large menus.

This new version of grub4dos has major changes on the way grub4dos modifies and uses memory.

Please update to v1.95d and report any problems if you find them (go back to v1.95c to check that the problem is with 1.95d).

The changes in grub4dos fixes a previous bug which could cause XP to fail to boot and give a 0K low memory error (see bug report).

E2B popularity is growing!

When someone uses Make_E2B (exe or cmd) to make an E2B USB drive, the script will download LatestE2B.txt from my web server to tell the user if there is a newer version available. A recent hit count for that file shows that on average, Make_E2B is run 1,500 times a day!


The stats also show there are now over 15,000 downloads a day of E2B and E2B+DPMS (the downloads are used to update E2B drives or make an E2B drive using linux as well as make a new drive under Windows) - and that download count does not include downloads from the Alternate Download site.

E2B is free and I mainly rely on ad revenues (sorry about all the ads but feel free to click on them if they interest you) to pay the site fees and also to buy equipment (for instance, I have bought 2 notebooks on eBay recently to investigate and fix compatibility issues found by users). My aim is that E2B should work on as wide a range of different systems as possible.

You can support E2B by making a donation, I will reward you by sending you two URLs for the easy2boot.com and rmprepusb.com sites which use a tidier format and contain hardly any ads at all. For instance, the Forum page on the E2B site is in the alternate 'cleaner' format for easy2boot.com.

cheers
Steve

Monday, 21 August 2017

Easy2Boot v1.95c available

Additional changes from v1.95b are:
  1. Increase menu memory from 0x50 sectors to 0xA0 sectors to cater for bigger menus
  2. Fix bug when using 'set GRUB_USB=045' in MyE2B.cfg
  3. Greek language folder added (but not Greek choice in 'make utility' because it is only Beta status)
  4. Choose a preset wallpaper.mnu file added (also added by PimpMyDrive.cmd)
I added more payload files to my 'test' E2B USB flash drive which resulted in over 70 menu entries in the Main menu. I found then that the F10, F9 and F8 Main menu items, which were usually at the very bottom of the Main menu, had disappeared and pressing F8, F9 or F10 had no affect.

It turns out that I had exceeded the allotted amount of memory that E2B uses to hold all the menu items. v1.95c now has double the amount of memory - from 0x50 sectors of memory to 0xA0 sectors of memory (i.e. 40K to 80K). Since the grub4dos numbering system does not work well past menu entry #99, this should now be enough to allow 100 menu entries (0-99) in all menus!

Note that if you have used any sample .MNU files which still contain '(md)0x3000+0x50'  or  '(md)0xa000+0x50'  then you may still experience 'shortened' menus if your menu is very large.
To fix this, change all occurrences of these two strings to use 0xA0 instead of 0x50 (i.e. use (md)0x3000+0xA0 or (md)0xa000+0xA0).

P.S. Tip: If you first make the \menu.lst file hidden on your E2B drive, then when you run the Update_E2B_Drive.cmd option to update your E2B drive, it will automatically hide most of the other files that are in the root of the E2B drive for you too.


Let me know if you see any issues with v1.95c.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Easy2Boot v1.95b (with XP '0K low memory' error fix)

I have had a few reports of problems with XP Install Step 2 giving the following error:

"Windows NT has found only 0K of low memory. 512k of low memory is required to run Windows NT. You may need to upgrade your computer or run a configuration program provided by the manufacturer."
This has been traced to a compatibility issue between recent 2017 grub4dos versions and some chipsets. See here for a bug report.

E2B v1.95b should fix this issue.

Download E2B v1.95b from one of the Alternate Download Areas. Just click on the 'Update_E2B_Drive' button to update your E2B drive.

I have also had a report that some Gandalf WinPE ISOs do not boot and give a 'Not enough memory to create a RAM Disk' error. This only seems to be a problem on certain systems. These systems also fail in the same way when using Rufus to make a Gandalf bootable USB drive, so it seems to be a compatibility issue between the Gandalf WinPE files with a large boot.wim file and certain system BIOSes (i.e. not an E2B issue!). If you have any info on this issue, please let me know.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Beta version of Greek Language available for E2B

I have used Google Translate to make a Greek Language version here.

To test, extract the two files to your \_ISO folder on your E2B USB drive:

\_ISO\STRINGS.txt
\_ISO\F1.CFG

They will automatically be used by E2B. This is for test purposes only - any missing strings will be reported by E2B.

To use the files in non-test mode, make a \_ISO\e2b\grub\GREEK folder and place the 2 files in that folder. Then add a line to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file as follows:

if "%LANG%"=="" set LANG=GREEK

If you have any corrections, please edit the files and send them to me (save as UTF-8 format using Notepad).

I will not add them to E2B until they have been properly vetted by a Greek-speaking techy (as it is all Greek to me!).

Monday, 7 August 2017

UK Porn

This post is not about USB drives or booting but it is about internet porn!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

E2B v1.95a BETA available

Change History here
Download from the Alternate Download Areas as usual (see side panel of blog for link).
Don't forget to subscribe for latest E2B news.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Reduce the CPU load when using the E2B Menu

You may have noticed that when you boot to the E2B menu, your CPU fan speed may start to increase and get quite noisy. This can also occur when booting to the E2B menu under a Virtual Machine such as with Virtual Box.

The reason is that grub4dos is continually calling the BIOS to detect a menu key press from the user and so the CPU is running at full speed.

Most operating systems use an interrupt-driven approach. The CPU is in an idle state when not required, until the user presses a key and causes a CPU interrupt from the keyboard controller which then wakes up the CPU.

e.g. (in x86 code)...
sti           (enable interrupts)
hlt           (stop CPU until it gets an interrupt)

Grub4dos can also use such an interrupt-driven approach if you patch it...

In the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file you will see the lines:

# Use HLT instruction to reduce CPU cycles whilst waiting for keypress (stops CPU from getting too hot)
### write --bytes=1 0x8205 0x20 > nul

Simply uncomment the 2nd line by removing the three ### symbols and add it to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file:

!BAT
# Use HLT instruction to reduce CPU cycles whilst waiting for keypress (stops CPU from getting too hot)
write --bytes=1 0x8205 0x20 > nul

As this patch may cause problems on some systems, it is not included by default in E2B. You may find it useful if you use E2B with a VM a lot.

You can remove or comment out the line to go back to the normal grub4dos behaviour if it causes you any problems (let me know if it does!).

Add i-life Windows OS re-installation payloads to E2B

i-life produce a range of laptops including the ZEDNotes.

It is possible to download the full OS re-installation files + firmware update software (e.g. ZEDNOTE 11.6.rar, 4.5GB) from the appropriate Support page for your particular i-life notebook...

Saturday, 22 July 2017

E2B v1.94 full release is now available

v1.94 2017-07-21

  • Bugfix for TXT_Maker.exe as iftitle caused a 'no title' in .txt file error. 
  • Change_drive_Letter.cmd added to allow you to change 2nd partition drive letter on Removable Flash drive
  • Sample mnu files for linux ext3 comment added
  • .iso32 and .iso64 allowed in \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxxx menu folders
  • Latest grub4dos \grldr 2017-06-25
  • Latest ImDisk driver
  • Spanish kbd now addded if Spanish language selected
  • Czech language (Beta) added
Available from Alternate Download Areas (will be added to E2B website in a few days).

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

E2B v1.94c BETA available

The main difference is that I have added a Czech language option.

However, the translations have not been checked by a Czech and so they are probably full of errors!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Czech language for E2B (Beta)

I have used Google Translate to make a very Beta version for the Czech language which you can download from here.  You can test it by simply copying the STRINGS.txt and F1.cfg files to your E2B USB drive's \_ISO folder.

The files are probably a bit of a wreck, so, if any Czech tech can check and make them up to spec (see what I did there?), then please send me a corrected version!

Info: How to make new language files E2B page here.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

E2B v1.94b BETA available

Changes from release version 1.93A are:

  • bugfix - if TXT_Maker.exe is used with iftitle, it caused a 'no title in .txt file' error.
  • Change_drive_letter.cmd added to allow you to change 2nd partition drive letter on Removable Flash drive if using Windows 10 1703
  • Sample mnu files for linux - 'use ext3' comment line added
  • .iso32 and .iso64 now allowed in \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxxx menu folders (except XP folder)
  • latest grub4dos \grldr 2017-06-25
  • latest ImDisk driver for loading Windows ISOs

Available from alternate download areas as usual.

Friday, 30 June 2017

'Kill switch\vaccine' for latest Petya\NotPetya ransomware found

A report on Bleeping Computer says that a way to prevent infection by the latest NotPetya ransomware is to create a read-only file at C:\Windows\perfc.

You can do this by downloading and running this file as Administrator.

I have no idea if it works, but if your organisation has un-updated/unpatched systems, this could be useful to prevent your disk from being encrypted.

As I suspected, virus developers will build in some sort of 'kill switch' to prevent their own systems from getting infected, as with WannaCry. I guess it's kinda difficult to write code and test it, only to find that the code has just encrypted all your source files and the decryption algorithm is not yet working! The Wannacry vaccine was coded to find a specific web server which meant it could be easily stopped by setting up a server of the correct name. The Petya developers obviously did not want to use the same mechanism, which was discovered and then used as a global 'kill switch', and so have used a local file instead to stop infection.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Installing 32-bit and 64-bit Windows ISOs with E2B

A user had Windows 10 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files in his \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10 folder.

We can make a .txt file for each .ISO file so that if the system CPU that we are booting from is a 32-bit CPU then only the 32-bit ISO will be listed in the Windows 10 menu. If the CPU is a 64-bit CPU then we can show only the 64-bit ISO file in the menu.

See here for details.

However, this user wanted to only show the 32-bit ISO if the system has <4GB of memory and only show the 64-bit ISO if the system has more than 4GB of memory.

The way around this was to create a new variable (GB4) in our \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file:

# set 4GB variable if 4GB+ of memory present
set /a M=*0x8298 & 0xffffffff>>10+1 > nul ;; set /a M1=*0x82c0>>10+1 > nul ;; set /a M=%M% + %M1% > nul ;; if %M%>=4096 set GB4=1 ;; set M= ;; set M1=

We can now test for the existence of the variable GB4 in our .txt file:

Example:
We have a Windows10_x86.iso and a Windows10_x64.iso:
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Windows10_x86.iso
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Windows10_x64.iso

If a system has more than 4GB of memory, only show the 64-bit Windows ISO (it must have a 64-bit CPU if it detects >4GB). If it has less than 4GB we only show 32-bit Windows ISO.
 
Windows10_x64.txt
iftitle [if exist GB4] Win10 1703 x64\n Install 64-bit Windows 10

Windows10_x86.txt
iftitle [if not exist GB4] Win10 1703 x86\n Install 32-bit Windows 10

Note: There is a bug in E2B which causes a 'no title keyword found in xxxx.txt file' error when the Windows menu loads. This can be fixed by saving the .txt file as ANSI encoded instead of UTF-8 encoded - OR update your E2B drive with E2B v1.94a (beta) which has a bugfix for this.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

MPI Tool Kit v0.077 now available

This version has two small changes:
1. Latest RMPartUSB.exe in the e2b folder
2. MakePartImage.cmd will now not  copy some 'special' files and folders when you use a USB drive as the source to make the .imgPTN file.

The excluded files/folders include $recycle.bin, pagefile.sys, hiberfil.sys, System Volume Information, etc. which often cause problems when copying under Windows.

To upgrade, download and extract the new MPI_Tool_Pack_Plus_CloverLite_077 folder to your Desktop and run CreateDesktopShortcuts.cmd. You can then delete the old MPI_Tool_Pack_Plus_CloverLite_0xx folder from your desktop.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Add PeppermintOS 8 + persistence to E2B

PeppermintOS 8 is based on Ubuntu\Lubuntu, so I have modified one of the Ubuntu_Persistence Sample menu files.



I used the Peppermint-8-20170527-amd64.iso (1.2GB) with the .mnu file shown below:

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Easy2Boot v.1.93A available (to work around Win10 1703 bugs!)

Windows 10 Creators update (1703) is still buggy.

As you may be aware, Windows 10 1703 now recognises all partitions on Removable USB drives and attempts to mount them.

Sometimes it will assign a drive letter to each partition (and sometimes not!).
The Disk management console however still only shows one volume and one drive letter for the Removable drive even if it has multiple partitions.
Also DiskPart only lists one volume on a multi-partition USB drive.
If Windows assigns a drive letter to the 2nd partition, the letter cannot be changed or removed.

Explorer view of Removable USB drive with two primary partitions F: and J:
Disk Management console (where is F: ???) 
Disk Management Console (Disk 4 Partition 2 has no drive letter!)
DiskPart - where is volume F: ???
E2B v1.93A includes a new version of RMPartUSB which attempts to force Windows to assign all the USB drive partitions with a drive letter.

This should prevent the format that is done by RMPartUSB from failing and then prompting you to assign a drive letter manually.

P.S. If you are having problems changing the drive letter of a volume on a Removable USB drive because the letter is not listed by Disk Management or DiskPart, I have written a ChangeLetter.cmd script which you can download here (in Alternate Downloads areas). It only works on Removable USB drives and you must run the .cmd file which then runs the .vbs script as admin.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Easy2Boot v1.93/A Full version released

E2B v1.93A full release is now available.

It will also be uploaded to the E2B website in a few days.

Changes from v1.92 are:
  1. Offline choco package support added to  SDI_CHOCO.cmd template
  2. \_ISO\docs\Chocbox\ChocBox.cmd for making offline choco packages
  3. NoSpeak.tag and NoBeep.tag now detected by SDI_CHOCO
  4. Chocolatey offline package added - version 0.10.6.1
  5. Snappy Driver Installer 'Origin version' now used
  6. QRUN.g4b changed - small change to .imgPTN so if second *. image file present it will get a partition type number of 7 if grub4dos does not give it one 
  7. Suppress suggestion prompt if *q.iso used (useful for WinBuilder ISO or other .iso files which don't work if you use the .isodefault extension)
  8. Switch_E2B.exe v1.0.16 hidden file fix
  9. OpenMandriva ISO sample mnu file added
  10. New grub4dos 0.4.6a
  11. GIFtoIMA.cmd script provided to make animations from GIf files
  12. Make_E2B.cmd will now download bootmgr from internet and add it to E2B drive
  13. \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd added
  14. New default menu wallpaper
Please feedback ASAP if you spot a problem with the new version (and give step-by-step details about how I can reproduce the problem).

Tip: You can use v1.93 to update any previous DPMS USB drive.

You may get some AV warnings but these are false positives (honest!).

Add you own background wallpaper

Place an 800x600x24bit colour .bmp or .jpg file at \_ISO\MyBackground.bmp or \_ISO\MyBackground.jpg and it will be used instead of the default E2B wallpaper.

Copyright free images can be found on www.pexels.com.

Friday, 16 June 2017

MPI Tool Pack v0.076 available

I discovered a few issues in v0.075 to do with converting payloads which used isolinux/syslinux.

I have also simplified the way syslinux is installed - it now creates a \syslinux.bin file which the CSM menu can use as the boot file.

v0.076 is available on the Alternate Download sites and will also be updated on the E2B website soon.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Easy2Boot v1.93i available

This version has these extra changes:

  • Feature for WinBuilder ISOs - if .ISO file ends in q.iso or Q.iso then auto-suggest prompt will be suppressed - use for WinBuilder ISOs which must use a .iso file extension, e.g. Gandalf_2016_x86q.iso. 
  • Make_E2B.cmd changed - Win 8.1 bootmgr is now downloaded from the internet using JFX's GWT tool and added to USB drive if no good version of bootmgr is found on Windows host drive.
  • \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd will download the Win8.1 version of bootmgr and add it to any E2B drive you have connected.
  • Latest grub4dos 0.4.6a


    I will release v1.93 as a full release soon. Please let me know if you spot a problem.

    Summary of changes from v1.92:
    • Offline choco package support for SDI_CHOCO function
    • \_ISO\docs\Chocbox\ChocBox.cmd for making offline choco packages
    • NoSpeak.tag and NoBeep.tag detection for SDI_CHOCO
    • New Chocolatey version 0.10.6.1
    • GIFtoIMA script to make animations easily
    • Snappy Driver Installer Origin version now used
    • QRUN.g4b changed - small change to .imgPTN so if second *. image file present it will get a partition type number of 7 if grub4dos does not give it one 
    • Switch_E2B.exe v1.0.16 hidden file fix
    • OpenMandriva ISO sample mnu file added
    • New grub4dos 0.4.6a
    • Make_E2B will download bootmgr from internet and add it to E2B drive
    • \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd
    • Suppress suggestion prompt/text if *q.iso used (for WinBuilder ISO or other .iso files)

    Sunday, 11 June 2017

    Add bootmgr to your E2B drive

    As you may know, E2B does not include bootmgr for legal reasons.

    The Make_E2B.exe and the 'make' scripts look for the correct Win 8.1 version of bootmgr on your Windows system and will copy it to the E2B drive for you.

    If you don't have the correct version, the E2B 'make' script will warn you that, in order to boot Windows .VHD and .WIM files, you will need to add it.

    Note: E2B v1.93 now will download the bootmgr file automatically when you run Make_E2B.exe.

    Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B

    I now have uploaded a self-extracting .exe called Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_pwd_is_E2B.exe to the E2B site and the Alternate Download sites.

    E2B v1.93h available

    v.1.93h has just a few small tweaks + latest grub4dos. + bug in ChocBox.cmd fixed.

    One small change in SDI_CHOCO is that you now do not need to edit the SDI_CHOCO.cmd file when you copy it, to change the name of the configuration folder that you want it to use.

    For example: if you want to make a new configuration called 'NEW', then you just copy and rename the SDI_CHOCO.cmd file and the SDI_CHOCO folder to NEW.cmd and NEW (folder).

    The code in NEW.cmd will automatically look for a configuration folder of the same name as the .cmd file.

    So your modified XML file will call NEW.CMD which will automatically use the NEW folder as the configuration folder. The files in the NEW folder:

    • MySpecialize.cmd             - runs after Snappy driver installer before reboot
    • MySetupComplete.cmd     - runs before OOBE
    • MyStartup.cmd                  - runs after OOBE on first user login (which can be automatic)

    will control the installation of additional drivers and apps, etc. and the .TAG files will control other
    features:
    • NoInternet.TAG - Internet connectivity will not be checked, msoobe will not be called to initialize n/w during Specialize
    • NoChoco.TAG - choco will not be downloaded from internet (but can still be installed Offline)
    • NoSDI.TAG - The Snappy Driver Installer will not run (useful if you install your own drivers)
    • NoWSUS.TAG - WSUS Offline Updater will not run
    • OfflineChoco.TAG - \_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS\CHOCBOX folder is copied to C:\DRIVERS\CHOCBOX and Chocolatey is installed directly from E2B drive
    • NoBeep.TAG - do not beep the speaker (v1.93+)
    • NoSpeak.TAG - don't tell me what you are doing (v1.93+)

    Read more: http://www.easy2boot.com/add-payload-files/windows-install-isos/sdi-choco/

    Removable v. Fixed 

    I have added a new page to the E2B site  here  about why the type of USB drive you use for E2B matters.

    Saturday, 10 June 2017

    How to add the UBCD4WIN ISO to E2B

    The UBCD4WIN ISO is now quite old and development has been discontinued and the website is no longer available.

    UBCD4WIN miniXP (BartPE) lacks drivers for modern systems and so is really only suitable for older systems and chipsets.



    Friday, 9 June 2017

    Offline Chocolatey for Win7 installs

    I was asked yesterday (using online 'Chat') about using the E2B SDI_Choco offline feature to install Windows 7.

    The problem here is that Chocolatey requires .Net 4 Framework and this is not included in Windows 7.

    If you download the standalone install package for .Net 4 and try to install it, it requires a reboot before it will work. However, we cannot reboot during the Specialize pass or Windows Setup will complain about it when it reboots and will not proceed.

    Equally, we cannot allow a reboot during MyStartup.cmd because this only runs once on first user login and so the code to install the offline choco apps will never run.

    The solution was to install the .Net 4 package at the end of MySetupComplete.cmd when a reboot is imminent anyway.

    I have added the necessary instructions to the Offline Choco page on the E2B website here under the Requirements heading.

    If you have any questions, you can chat with me by clicking on the chat icon on the E2B website.

    Click to chat

    Thursday, 8 June 2017

    Old PC won't boot from E2B USB drive (flashing cursor)

    To ensure that your E2B USB flash drive will boot from as many systems as possible, it should have the following characteristics:

    1. Have the boot partition marked as Active (bootable)
    2. Have grub4dos boot code in both the first sector (master boot record or MBR) and the first sector of the first partition (partition boot record or PBR)
    3. Have two primary partitions in the MBR partition table
    4. Have all boot files and E2B files within 137GB (128GiB) from the beginning of the drive
    If you use the Make_E2B.exe GUI to make your E2B USB drive, then it will have these properties already.

    It has been rumoured that some BIOSes will only boot from a USB FAT partition and not from an NTFS partition (although I have never seen this personally and I have never had any specific confirmation of this phenomenon!).

    However, even if your drive is correctly made, some early PCs with USB 1.0 and early USB 2.0 ports may not boot to grub4dos\E2B.

    Wednesday, 7 June 2017

    E2B v1.93g available

    Changes from 1.93f are:
    • latest \grldr grub4dos version
    • UUID and volume label of ISOs now displayed briefly in some cases
    • NoSpeak.tag and NoBeep.tag files can be used with SDI_CHOCO to suppress talking and beeping
    Now you can stop SDI_Choco speaking to you and also stop it beeping by adding two tag files to your configuration folder.

    Please update your existing E2B drive(s) with 1.93g and let me have your feedback.

    Note that in the final v1.93 version, I will delete the chocolatey.nupkg file from the \_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS\INSTALLCHOCO folder and make the file available as a separate download. This will prevent a later E2B update from overwriting your chocolatey package and also reduce the size of the E2B download back to 17MB.

    P.S. if you use ChocBox.cmd, there is a small bug. It says to use the command
    choco install %appx% --source C:\DRIVERS\choco -y -r
    but this should be
    choco install %appx% --source C:\DRIVERS\chocbox -y -r


    Change History

    v1.93a - Addition of offline choco package support for SDI_CHOCO function (adds 6MB)
    v1.93b - Improved \_ISO\docs\Chocbox\ChocBox.cmd for making offline choco packages.
    v1.93c - GIFtoIMA script and improved ChocBox.cmd script
    v1.93d - improved GIFtoIMA script to delete files > 0255.bmp and save as BMP or JPG, new grub4dos 0.4.6a
    v1.93e - new Snappy Driver Installer Origin version, latest grub4dos 0.4.6a 2017-05-29, QRUN.g4b small change to .imgPTN so if second *. image file present it will get a partition type number of 7 if grub4dos does not give it one, improved ChocBox.cmd (now can get specific app version)
    v1.93f - Switch_E2B.exe v1.0.16 hidden file fix, new Chocolatey version 0.10.6.1, openmandriva ISO sample mnu file
    v1.93g - latest grub4dos, NoSpeak.tag and NoBeep.tag for SDI_CHOCO

    What is the best way to speed up my notebook?

    A friend recently asked me this question.

    Saturday, 3 June 2017

    How to super-hide E2B files from Windows Explorer

    A simple way to hide an ISO, .imgPTN or other payload files on an E2B drive is to simply set the Hidden attribute (right-click - Properties - tick Hidden - OK). But you knew that already right?...

    But what if the user has 'Show hidden files' enabled in Explorer? He will still be able to see the files - so how can we prevent this?

    Well, to make the file super-hidden (hidden+system), simply make sure the filename starts with a ~ symbol (as well as having the Hidden attribute set).

    e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\~kali.iso

    Explorer will not show the file, even if the user has 'Show hidden files' enabled (you may need to press F5 to refresh Explorer after you have changed the name, before it will disappear).

    The user (and you) will still be able to see the file if  'Hide protected operating system files' is unticked however, but using ~ is easier than using the attrib +h +s command on the command line because you can add a ~ using Explorer.

    WARNING: DO NOT USE SWITCH_E2B.exe on a ~xxx.imgPTN file - it will corrupt the drive! This bug is fixed in SWITCH_E2B v1.0.16.

    Of course, this won't stop linux or the  dir /ah command from listing the files, but it is a simple tweak and will fool most Windows users.

    Reference: Raymond Chen from here.

    Adding OpenMandriva to E2B

    The OpenMandriva ISO does not boot as a .ISO file when simply placed on an E2B drive.



    Instead we need to make a .mnu file for it and specify the Volume Label of the ISO.

    Here is an example menu:

    Friday, 2 June 2017

    E2B v1.93e available

    Change History
    v1.93a - Addition of offline choco package support for SDI_CHOCO function
    v1.93b - Improved \_ISO\docs\Chocbox\ChocBox.cmd for making offline choco packages.
    v1.93c - GIFtoIMA script and improved ChocBox.cmd script
    v1.93d - improved GIFtoIMA script to delete files > 0255.bmp and save as BMP or JPG, new grub4dos 0.4.6a
    v1.93e - new Snappy Driver Installer Origin version, latest grub4dos 0.4.6a 2017-05-29, QRUN.g4b small change to .imgPTN so if second *. image file present it will get a partition type number of 7 if grub4dos does not give it one, improved ChocBox.cmd (now can get specific app version)

    Tuesday, 30 May 2017

    Snappy Driver Installer is dead-ish - long live Origin!

    It seems that that old Snappy Driver Installer has forked to a new 'Origin' version (SDIO).
    'The old sdi-tool.org project  is no longer in the hands of the original developers, is no longer open source and is not safe to use.'

    This is rather confusing because the old site clearly says it is free and open source, but apparently does contain adware now...

    For the new Origin version is here but cannot simply replace the old version because the executables have different names (AUTO.cmd requires changes).

    E2B v1.93e will include the new forked version but if you want the sdi-tool.org version, then remove all the SDIO files from the SNAPPY folder (except for the AUTO.cmd file) and replace them with the download from sdi-tool.org.

    The new version of AUTO.cmd will call the SDIO version by default, but if the SDI executable is present, it will use that instead (if you have replaced SDIO with SDI from the sdi-tool site).

    Monday, 29 May 2017

    Do you have a StarTech S2510BU3ISO Virtual DVD emulator enclosure?

    A few months ago I contacted StarTech support about the bug in their S2510BU3ISO product.
    Many users on Amazon and elsewhere have reported difficulties with the product.
    You can read my review in a previous blog post here.

    If you freshly format the drive and then add a single ISO file to the \_ISO1 folder, then it should work correctly.

    But, I gave them a simple Windows cmd test script (StarTechFormatTest.cmd in Easy2Boot Alternate Download Areas - Other Files) which will format the hard disk in the USB enclosure and then copy 1GB files to it. You just need to download the debian-live-8.1.0-amd64-mate-desktop.iso file from t'internet and rename it to 1GB.ISO first. You will need a 60GB+ disk fitted (SSD recommended for speed).

    E2B v1.93d BETA available

    v1.93d has an improved GIFtoIMA script.
    http://www.easy2boot.com/configuring-e2b/animation/ has been updated.

    GIFtoIMA.cmd now only uses frames up to frame #255 (maximum for grub4dos) and can also now save as JPG instead of as BMP to save space.

    Note that using a transparent background setting for JPGs does not work well because some of the background pixels may be a slightly different RGB value, so if you want to use a transparent background for your animation, choose the BMP option (default).

    I spent a LOT of time looking for a GIF editor, but eventually I found a utility

    Saturday, 27 May 2017

    E2B v1.93c with new 'GIFtoIMA' script for making animation files using drag-and-drop

    Changes in v1.93c

    • Improved ChocBox.cmd script for making offline Chocolatey packages (with website lookup for packages)
    • New GIFtoIMA.cmd script for converting animated GIFs to a .IMA image file for use with E2B
    \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\GIFtoIMA\GIFtoIMA.cmd is a script which will convert an animated GIF to a floppy disk .IMA file ready for use with E2B. It even generates the required grub4dos code that you can paste into your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg folder.

    P.S. E2B v1.92d version will also delete any frame_00256.bmp and over files because maximum is 255 for grub4dos\E2B anyway.

    Thursday, 25 May 2017

    E2B v1.93b with SDI_CHOCO offline package support

    The E2B v1.93b BETA download is now available from the Alternate Download areas. You can use it to update your E2B Flash drive.

    v1.93b has an improved version of the ChocBox.cmd script which makes choco offline packages.

    We can now add almost any Chocolatey application to an SDI_CHOCO configuration as an offline install.

    This means we no longer need an internet connection to use SDI_CHOCO and can now install drivers, Windows updates and applications offline  using any unmodified Microsoft Windows ISO install file (Win7+).

    P.S. There is now a Chat facility on www.easy2boot.com, if you have a quick question for me.

    E2B OFFLINE DEMO STICK (280MB)

    WARNING: Do NOT use the Update E2B button as this DEMO version will overwrite your current SDI_CHOCO configuration files!

    If you want to make an E2B DEMO USB stick without having to configure anything or add apps, you can download E2B_v1.93a_OFFLINE_SDI_CHOCO_DEMO.exe from the Alternate Download Area (280MB), add your Microsoft Win10 ISO and then pick any SDI_CHOCO XML file to wipe your hard disk and install Windows 10 + a few drivers + a few apps automatically. This version has some Snappy Drivers and app packages (Foxit, ProduKey, notepad++ and WinMerge) which is why it is so big. I will remove it in a few days.
    To add more Snappy drivers, run the Snappy executable. To add more apps, read the E2B web page here.

    Note: This version has an older (buggy) version of ChocBox.cmd - you can quickly update it using the Update button in v1.93b or later.

    Wednesday, 24 May 2017

    Install Chocolatey and Chocolatey packages offline

    I have now added a set of files which will install Chocolatey onto a system to the Alternate Downloads Area.
    The install package for Chocolatey itself is now in the E2B v1.93 downloads.

    It includes the current Chocolatey.nupkg file and a script to install Chocolatey onto a Windows system.

    This means you can install Chocolatey and Chocolatey packages completely offline and so the whole SDI_Choco process can be done offline.

    Since many app packages are in Chocolatey, you are to pick from 1000's of ready-made install packages.

    See the previous blog post for details.

    P.S. E2B v1.93 has the required utilities and SDI_CHOCO support for choco offline installs. I have this working and I can now do a completely automated offline install with drivers, WSUS updates and any offline choco apps apps I want with no Ethernet cable attached.

    P.P.S. E2B v1.93a BETA and DEMO now contain these scripts, so I have removed the separate downloads from the Alternate Download areas. Download the latest v1.93 instead!

    Tuesday, 23 May 2017

    ChocolateStore - offline Chocolatey packages for SDI_CHOCO (E2B)

    If you use the SDI_CHOCO feature of Easy2Boot to install drivers, Windows updates and applications completely unattended, you will know that applications are installed using Chocolatey.

    The SDI Snappy Driver Installer and the WSUSOffline updater are both offline utilities, however Chocolatey is an online utility. Every time it runs, it will download the latest version of an application from the internet and automatically install it onto the target system. This takes time depending on your internet download speeds and also means we may get a different version of the software now than we got last week.

    I have utilised the ChocolateStore github software by BahKoo on github so that we can now add offline chocolatey packages to the SDI_Choco process.

    By installing the apps offline using Chocolatey, we get faster installation and we will always get the same app versions (unless we manually update them). We can still remove the USB drive after Setup reboots.

    Not quite completely offline...

    Note that we still have to get Chocolatey itself installed on the target system. Although the apps do not require an internet connection, the installation of Chocolatey using the standard SDI_CHOC scripts does require an internet connection. However, I have made an offline package to install Chocolatey (see end of this bog post). This means that you can now choose from 100's of ready-made Chocolatey apps and install Chocolatey itself completely offline.

    P.S. E2B v1.93 will have the required utilities and SDI_CHOCO support for choco offline installs. I have this working and I can now do a completely automated offline install with drivers, WSUS updates and any offline choco apps apps I want with no Ethernet cable attached.

    Watch this space!

    How to use ChocBox

    Sunday, 21 May 2017

    Add Webconverger to E2B

    Webconverger is a professional Kiosk Browser which you can run from a LiveCD ISO or as an installed OS on a hard disk or USB drive (it is based on Debian and FireFox). It can also be configured as a 'signage' panel.

    Kai Hendy of Webconverger offers a 30-day free trial which is needed if you want to make use of the 'control-panel' configuration features (though it seemed to mostly work without subscription for me).

    Kai Hendy tells me:
    The way it works is once your credit card is provided, you have a 30 day
    free trial. So no deductions are made if you want to experiment for a
    month. If there is a charge on a test machine, I can refund it, don't
    worry.
    For those customers, if they want to cancel for any reason, I offer a 30
    day money back guarantee.

    The online configuration form can control many machines
    all registered to the same email account.

    Once a machine is 'subscribed', all remote control-panel seemed to work well and as expected, although for some changes, a reboot was required.

    If your E2B USB drive is a Removable drive (e.g. most USB Flash drives) then you can just directly boot from it as an .iso file from E2B (or use .isodefault to suppress the suggestion messages). You can enter the email address that you can also use for your subscription.

    However, if your E2B USB drive is of the Fixed-disk type (e.g. USB HDD) then it will not boot directly from the ISO because the pre-defined linux boot parameters include the cheat code bootfrom=removable so that it will only boot from removable media.

    A simple way to remove the bootfrom=removable code is...

    Add Lenovo diagnostics to E2B

    The linux bootable Lenovo Diagnostics ISOs can simply be copied to any E2B menu folder (e.g. \_ISO\UTILITIES). The diagnostics will only run on Lenovo-branded systems.



    The linux-bootable-cd-41308857.iso is also UEFI 64-bit bootable.

    Install the E2B MPI Tool Kit and then drag-and-drop the ISO onto the Windows MPI_FAT32 shortcut (I suggest you rename the ISO first because the CSM menu title has the same name as the ISO file).


    Lenovo also supply UEFI-bootable versions of their diagnostics.

    Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Hit by WannaCry? There is a decryptor now for XP and Win7.

    If you or one of your users have a Windows XP or Windows 7 system and have been hit by the WannaCry ransomware virus, do not despair!


    The first thing to do is to warn all users that if they are hit (and their systems are Win7 or XP),

    do NOT turn off the system - do NOT reboot it - do not use it - just leave it alone!

    The next thing to do is (as quickly as possible) download the decrypting software wanakiwi.exe onto a USB stick (don't use the infected system!), plug it in to the affected system and run it.

    If possible, it would be better to make sure every computer had a copy of wanakiwi.exe already on their hard disk because connecting a USB drive may destroy the keys which are left in memory.

    More info and an animated GIF of it in action on Windows XP and Windows7 here.

    Although this has been demonstrated on a freshly infected system and wanakiwi was run as soon as the ransomware had completed encryption, I am not sure if any cases have been reported yet of wanawiki successfully working in a real life situation...

    Can't boot to Windows but need some important files?


    Scenario

    • You are given a Windows computer which will not boot to Windows any more.
    • You have tried to boot to Recovery Media/ISO and repair it, but it did not work.
    • The NTFS filesystem and memory seem to be OK (you ran memory test and chkdsk).
    • The issue seems to be that the Windows OS is broken.
    • The internal hard disk is pretty full, so you cannot install a second copy of Windows as there is not enough free file space.
    • The customer wants only a small number of certain important files recovered from the hard disk, but he doesn't know exactly where they were stored. The customer does remember a bit of the file name as does know that he used MS Word to edit the documents.
    Your Mission (should you decide to accept it), is to backup those important files to an offline USB drive before you start messing around with the customers OS or the files on his hard disk.

    Discussion

    At this point, you could decide to take an image of the internal hard disk using any decent backup package. This is a very sensible thing to do, but it will take a while.