Thursday, 9 February 2017

How to boot 'Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso' (or any WinBuilder ISO)

The Gandalf WinPE ISO Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso cannot be easily booted using Easy2Boot (or any similar system).

This is because the filename used by Gandalf contains spaces and there is a bug in the MountPEMedia.exe utility used by WinBuilder PE's - they will not load the .ISO file as the Y: drive if it uses a .ini file and the .iso file contains spaces in the filename.

Note:
If you use E2B v1.90+, then Gandalf and other WinBuilder-based WinPE ISOs will just work!
Simply ensure that there are no spaces in the filename and that the file extension is .iso (not .isodefault).

This is an old method now...

So, in order to get this to work, we must use the special E2B  .isoWB file extension as follows:

1. Copy the Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso file to the \_ISO\WINPE folder.

2. Rename Gandalf's Win10PE x86 Redstone-11-07-2016_x64.iso to Gandalfx64WindowsPE.isoWB.

The .isoWB filename must not contain any spaces and must be 20 characters or less.

3. (optional) Make a .txt file of the same name to give it a better menu entry, e.g.

Gandalfx64WindowsPE.txt
title Gandalf's Redstone WinPE (64-bit)\n Gandalf PE 11-07-2016

4. Create a \_ISO\WINPE\WB folder and a Gandalfx64WindowsPE.WB file in that folder containing this text:

\_ISO\WINPE\WB\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.WB
!BAT
set IniName=Win10PESE.ini

5. Create a file in the root of the E2B USB drive called \Win10PESE.ini, use a text editor and fill it with over 1000 characters (e.g. about 20 rows of 50 x's).

Finished!

Check you have:
  • \_ISO\WINPE\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.isoWB  - the Gandalf ISO file!
  • \_ISO\WINPE\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.txt (optional)
  • \_ISO\WINPE\WB\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.WB (containing 2 lines: !BAT and set IniName=Win10PESE.ini - see above)
  • \Win10PESE.ini (1K+ in size)

Tip: The Gandalf PE will prompt you to press ENTER to boot from the 'CD' each time it runs. You can permanently modify the ISO file by renaming it to .ISOBF and booting it once (this will alter the ISO file). Then rename it back to .isoWB.

How it works

E2B will display the title that you used in the .txt file in the WinPE Menu.
When you run that menu entry, E2B will write the contents of the \_ISO\WINPE\WB\Gandalfx64WindowsPE.WB  file to \Win10PESE.ini and then boot to the Gandalf .isoWB file. When Gandalf PE boots, it will read the contents of the  \Win10PESE.ini file and load the .isoWB file as the Y: drive. Because the ISO filename does not contain spaces, we don't have a problem!

Note that this method always overwrites the \Win10PESE.ini file contents, so if you have other WinBuilder ISOs that also use \Win10PESE.ini, you must use this same .isoWB configuration for those WinBuilder ISOs too!

Note: the 20 character filename restriction is due to a bug in E2B which I just found! It will be fixed in v1.90!

v1.90 also has a simpler method of booting WinBuilder ISOs using a .mnu file - see this post for details.