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...

The large OS+Firmware download is here.

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure (AFAIK! We are apparently supposed to know that no matter what language you speak).

Instructions for making a Bootable USB Drive can also be downloaded.

The instructions in the .docx download basically say:
  1. Make a Windows-bootable MBR UEFI NTFS USB drive from the Winpe_x86_auto.iso file using Rufus
  2. Extract all the files from the large 'Firmware Download' .rar file onto the root of the USB drive
  3. MBR-boot from the USB drive
The only problem is that i-life do not seem to provide the Winpe_x86_auto.iso file!

After a bit of Googling, I found a 290MB version here.

The \sources\boot.wim file inside their Winpe_x86_auto.iso file contains a startnet.cmd file which will find and run the \scripts\main.cmd file which was originally extracted from the 'Firmware Download' .rar file.

The main.cmd file will then partition and format your notebooks' internal drive (which could be a 32GB eSSD) and then install the files from the Windows .wim file and add the recovery.wim file, etc. If the system came with a Dual OS, it will set that up too. It may also update the firmware too.






Problems when making the USB drive from the ISO

Tip: Try the 290MB ISO first from here which seems 'cleaner'.

I also found a 198MB specimen here which gave me a problem when creating the USB drive. Rufus gave an error:

Extracting: H:\System Volume Information\IndexerVolumeGuid (76 bytes)
  Unable to create file: [0x00000005] Access is denied.

To work around this, I used 7zip to extract all files and folders except the \System Volume Information folder from the ISO onto the USB drive after Rufus aborted. I then checked that the \boot and \sources folders and all other files were present, before extracting the large .rar file contents onto the USB drive.

If you prefer, you can use an ISO editor to delete the \System Volume Information folder from the Winpe_x86_auto.iso file itself, and then you can use Rufus to make the USB drive without getting an error.


Add to E2B

Once you have tested the USB drive to ensure it works, you can convert the USB drive contents to an NTFS .imgPTN file by simply dragging-and-dropping the USB drive letter\icon onto the MPI Tool Kit MPI_NTFS Desktop shortcut. Then add the .imgPTN file to your E2B drive and make it contiguous as usual.

If all files are below 4GB in size (including the \images\*.wim file) you can use the MPI_FAT32 shortcut instead of the MPI_NTFS shortcut (to support UEFI-booting which requires FAT32).

>4GB .wim file?

Note that if the .wim file in the \images folder is larger than 4GB, you must use the MPI_NTFS shortcut rather than the MPI_FAT32 shortcut.

If all files are below 4GB, you can use the MPI_FAT32 shortcut and the resultant .imgPTN may then also support UEFI-booting too if it contains UEFI boot files.

The main.cmd file is usually written to look for a .wim file. This means that if you split the .wim file into .swm (split wim) files so you can use a FAT32 partition image, it will not work because the main.cmd script will not be able to find any *.wim file.

If you need UEFI-booting, you can use one of the Methods 2-5 detailed on this E2B web page.

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. The Wannacry vaccine was 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!