NEW: www.easy2boot.com website!
How to make an E2B USB drive, click here. Then just copy over all your ISO files and boot!
List of tested ISOs here. There is no limit on the number of ISOs and Windows Install ISOs or other payload files you can add.
How to add Windows Install ISOs here.
Easy2Boot Forum is here.
Easy2Boot is effectively 'open source' as it just consists of batch scripts and text files + standard grub4dos executables.
Other DOWNLOADS? - see bottom of page.
Nice French articles about E2B here or Deutsch hier,
Please subscribe to my blog for changes, bug fixes and news.
Easy2Boot can do all of these things - no other USB MultiBoot solution can do all of this from the same USB drive!
1. No limit to the number of different Linux, Windows Install, WinPE, etc. ISOs or other payload files
2. Boot almost ANY linux 'LiveCD' ISO - just copy it over! Unlike XBOOT or YUMI, you don't have to wait for Easy2Boot to be updated to support a new linux ISO distro - Easy2Boot is generic.
3. Install Windows XP to a system from a UNMODIFIED XP install ISOs (any number of different ISOs) to a IDE\SATA\AHCI\RAID\SCSI system - no need to integrate special mass-storage or F6 drivers! Also works with Server 2003 ISOs.
4. Install from any number of different Windows Vista/7/8/SVR2008R2/SVR2012 install ISOs
5. Boot directly from linux LiveCD ISOs with persistence - you can have all these (and more) on one Easy2Boot drive and boot them all with persistence - YLMF, Ubuntu, Fedora, StartOS, Porteus, pclinuxos, Backtrack5, kali-linux ISOs.
6. User configurable and fully documented - you can change the background wallpaper, headings and text colours, move the menu position, make your own sub-menus, make it beep when the menu loads, add your own GFXBoot menu, change menu font, use UTF-8 non-ASCII characters in the menus, define your own hotkeys, etc. etc.
7. You can use FAT32 or NTFS (and with a few limitations an exFAT or ext2 formatted drive).
8. Because Easy2Boot is not a 'utility', you can prepare an Easy2Boot drive under Windows or linux. Once prepared, just copy over (or delete) any ISOs you like at any time in the future.
9. Variety of example 'skins' included.
10. It's FREE!
Any Problems? - Contact Me
Easy2Boot is Free - but please consider making a small donation if you use Easy2Boot.
I have put a lot of hours of hard work into Easy2Boot and it is totally free!
If you use E2B, please consider making a donation, it would be much appreciated
When a new Upgrade Package becomes available, anyone who has made a donation will get it before everyone else!
XBOOT (sadly no longer supported), Sardu, YUMI/PendriveLinux and other utilities are very good at what they do, but often you find that they don't work with a few of your ISOs, or they don't work with the latest version of a particular ISO and you have to wait for them to be updated. You can also find it difficult to manually add the ones that don't work and it is often not easy to know how to modify the menus. You also have to re-run the utility each time you make a change, or you have to download a new version of the utility and completely re-make the USB stick again, just to add or remove one ISO.
Easy2Boot Version 1 is just a collection of files that you can add to a grub4dos bootable USB Drive - it is NOT a Windows or linux application. Once you have made the grub4dos bootable USB drive and copied over the Easy2Boot files, just copy over any bootable payload files (linux LiveCD ISOs, Windows Install ISOs, memory test .bin files, floppy and hard disk images, etc.). Easy2Boot automatically looks at all the files on the drive and dynamically creates a new menu each time you boot from the USB drive. Each file will be booted according to it's file extension (unlike most MultiBoot Utilities, E2B does not look at the file name and does not need to recognise what type or version of linux is inside the ISO file).
PLEASE NOTE: With Easy2Boot, I talk about 'payload files' because E2B can boot other files besides .iso files. Payload files are bootable files that E2B recognises and can boot from. So in many cases, a 'payload file' is an ISO file. However, a 'payload file' can also be a .BIN file (e.g. memtest86.bin) or a .IMA file (e.g. a DOS floppy disk 1.44MB image file), or a .IMG file (a bootable disk image) or a .VHD file (a virtual hard disk image), etc. etc.
Your E2B USB drive can be formatted either as FAT32 or NTFS. ExFat will also work for most payloads except XP or Vista RTM and some WinPE ISOs, for this reason exFat is not recommended (also you may find that some systems won't boot). E2B will also boot from an ext2 USB drive (but Windows Install ISOs won't work). UEFI booting is not supported by the E2B menu system but you can add an EFI bootloader to the E2B USB drive manually if you wish. Making files on an ext2/3/4 filesystem contiguous is difficult so I do not recommend ext2/3/4.
Once you have made a bootable Easy2Boot USB drive, you can simply copy all your payload files (.iso, .img, .ima, etc.) to one of the payload folders on your USB drive (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU folder). No menu editing required, no cheat code knowledge required for .ISO booting - just copy and boot! Your USB boot drive does not need to know what the ISO file version is and will work with almost all linux liveCD ISOs that you copy over - even new ones that come out in 6 months or 3 years time should just work (you don't need to keep updating E2B on your USB drive every few months for the next release of a new linux ISO)! UEFI/EFI booting is not supported however.
Windows Install ISOs work too! Note that if you are using a bootable USB Hard Disk instead of a 'Removable' type of USB Flash drive, then the Windows Vista/7/8 install ISOs will not work unless you also use a USB 'Helper' flash drive at the same time (see here for more details).
E2B also allows you to have multiple linux ISOs which can all boot with persistence and all using the same (single) partition on the E2B drive. You can even boot from the same linux ISO with 2 or more different persistent file-systems from a single USB FAT32 (or even an NTFS) Hard disk.
You can add the Easy2Boot files to your existing grub4dos bootable USB drive or make a fresh install using RMPrepUSB (recommended). If using an existing grub4dos bootable USB drive, it should have a maximum of two primary partitions, or just one primary and one or more logical partitions.
E2B is configurable, you can change the background image, move the menu, change the colours, use your own GFXBoot Menu wallpaper, change the menu text and headings (non-ANSI characters are supported), add your own sub-menus, add menu hotkeys and lots more!
If your smartphone has an SD card and supports USB Mass Storage mode, then you can use your smartphone as a bootable USB device by installing E2B. With many phones you do not need to 'root' your phone. This means you can boot a PC or notebook from your phone and run linux or WinPE or even install Windows 7 onto a PC from your phone (if your smartphone does not support this, then root it and install DriveDroid from Google Play and then install E2B as described below)!
Click here for a list of tested ISOs that work with Easy2Boot! The blog for Easy2Boot is here.
Check the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file for any new configuration options and features.
v1.00 2013-06-18 First Release
v1.01 2013-07-05 Few bug fixes
v1.02 E2B v1.01 + DPMS2 Update Pack v 1.02 (2013-07-06)
v1.03 2013-07-11 Requires new grldr, improved alphanumeric sort (not case sensitive), bug fixes, DPMS2 + auto-selection for XP ISO install, empty folders not listed in menu
v1.04 2013-07-15 DPMS2 small bugfixes/improvements. Small changes in XP Install Step 2
v1.05 2013-08-03 Ability to suppress the file enumeration messages when creating menus on startup. Jolene sample menu added!
v1.06 2013-08-05 .mnu and payload files are now enumerated together instead of separately in two stages, so the menu order is determined by the alphanumeric filenames of the .mnu and payload files.
v1.07 2013-08-24 Recognises .isoPE file extension and mounts the .isoPE file as a drive letter (virtual CD/DVD) when wpeinit runs. BugFix in automn.g4b (some sample .mnu files did not work since v1.00!). New grldr. Full alphabetical sorting (same order as in Windows Explorer). ISOASK variable supported. POSTCMD variable for WinPE ISOs.
v1.08 2013-09-04 bitdefender mnu file added to docs folder, Windows 8.1 temporary Product Keys added, master pwd opttion in MyE2B.cfg
v1.09 2013-09-14 Some sample .mnu files revised and added, .vhdmem, imz, imggz extensions supported, set DEFMENU=0 supported for no 'set default' menu item, .txt files now checked for 'title' keyword and user warned if missing.
v1.10 2013-09-15 Bugfix for DEFMENU=0 (thanks Sergei for spotting this!), added NOUNIFONT=1 (does not load unifont font file for faster booting)
v1.10a 2013-09-25 Sample .mnu files revised (note: The E2B+MassStorageDrivers download is still v 1.10 - if you want the latest .mnu files, download v1.10a and overwrite it).
v1.11 2013-09-28 Bugfix - the Unattend.xml and AutoUnattend.xml files are now wiped on startup. NOF9R and NOF10H variables available to suppress F9 and F10 in menu.
v1.12 2013-10-17 grub4dos 0.46a used if it boots as (fd0), 100K spaces.txt removed, global hotkeys, warning if file not contiguous, fix for .iso not booting in HP's, extra variables - see Sample_MyE2B.cfg for details.
v1.13 2013-10-18 bugfixes for v1.12!
v1.14 2013-10-21 More variables for advanced menu changes, beep when main menu is loaded - see Sample_MyE2B.cfg for details. If only one XP ISO present then it is autoloaded. Same if only one xml file for Vista.Win7 installs.
v1.15e 2013-10-26 Mainly bugfixes to v1.14 and earlier versions of v1.15!
v1.16 2013-10-29 Same as v1.15e. Extra menu theme for beep demo added. DPMS integrated download with v1.16 available.
v1.1.7 2013-11-15 .isoDOS extension supported for DOS-based ISOs. Checkaccess can be suppressed using a MyE2B.cfg setting. Some changes to finding of \autounatend.xml and \unattend.xml files.
v1.18 2013-11-30 .isoDOS01 extension, extra font support and 34 different fonts added (see Sample_MyE2B.cfg), grub4dos version 0.4.6a used
v1.19 2013-12-21 bugfixes: background corruption in 1024x768 fixed, re-load main menu now show all menu items, clonezilla sample mnu added, ENG language folder now used. Warning if using USB HDD and no removable flash drive when booting from Vista/7/8 Install ISO.
v1.20 2013-12-31 Works with Win8.1 retail install ISOs, option to erase partition 4 if in use, 64-bit XP install ISOs will not use DPMS2 if there is '64' in the ISO name. 3rd level folders removed except for MNU folder, 8.1 Enterprise Eval product key added so can install from ISO. Windows Vista+ ISOs are now only loaded using ImDisk - the firadisk drivers are no longer used and have been removed (but still used for XP). See blog for more info.
v1.21 2014-01-04 Bugfix in DMPS2 if two mass-storage drivers found. (Thanks to Levellak)
v1.22B 2014-01-05 Bugfix in QAUTO.g4b (fix 'file not found' error when using PTN2_Menu.mnu and F7-F10 menus not added) (thanks to DvdK for the nice clear bug report). Note: 1.22DPMS was missing driverpack.ini - please use 1.22ADPMS. v1.22B has minor bugfix for NOF7HD variable not working.
v1.23 2014-01-20 Allow for booting from a different USB drive than the E2B USB drive.
v1.24 2014-01-22 Code in LOADISO.cmd improved in case where Helper drive contains E2B files. Some Sample .mnu files corrected (did not contain \%ENG%\ path)
v1.25 2014-02-29 New $HOME$ keyword can be used in .mnu files. See blog entry here.
v1.26 2014-02-05 Small changes so we can have individual XP ISO Main menu entries, some new sample .mnu files added (e.g. XP_Inst_from_MainMenu.mnu), latest grub4dos version, \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd batch file added to automate making of an E2B drive (requires RMPrepUSB pre-installed).
v1.27 2014-02-06 Same as v1.26 (thought there was a bug in 1.26 but cannot reproduce it now!)
v1.28 2014-02-12 .mnu example file added for BIOS string detection + support files.
v1.29 2014-02-28 - new grub4dos (shows FAT32 filenames/folders with correct case), new .isomemF01 and .isofira01 file extensions. Windows batch files to help make .txt and .mnu files (just drag and drop the ISO onto it). Some new .mnu files added in \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder. See February 2014 blog entries for more details.
Play the video below for a demonstration of how to make an Easy2Boot USB drive and add lots of linux ISOs, Windows Install ISOs, floppy images, OphCrack and even boot direct from many linux ISO files with persistence! - no menu editing or complicated linux cheat codes to find!
Video. 1 - Introduction to Easy2Boot
Video. 2 - Installing Windows XP using E2B
More YouTube videos on using E2B here.
Fig. 1 An example of an Easy2Boot Main menu, Items 1-4 are due to added ISOs.
Note: Item 17 is present because FASTLOAD has been enabled.
The menu hotkeys are shown in [square brackets].
Menu entries can be selected using the cursor keys or by typing it's number or by a hotkey.
Press [ENTER] to run a highlighted menu entry.
Note. The features described in this Tutorial will always relate to the latest version of E2B (even if a Beta version). The download links above may not always be the very latest version. Check the bottom of this page for the latest version and the blog for recent change details. If you download an older version of E2B, you can easily update it by overwriting the files on the E2B USB drive with the latest version.
Making an Easy2Boot USB drive involves just 3 steps, (1) Format a USB drive, (2) install the grub4dos bootloader and (3) copy over the E2B files. This can be done using linux or Windows. You can use RMPrepUSB under Windows to prepare the drive or use a different method if you prefer (e.g. format using Windows, install grub4dos using grubinst.exe and extract the files from the E2B zip download, use bootlace under linux, etc.). Once the E2B drive is made, you can just copy over (drag-and-drop) or delete all your bootable ISO and payload files.
linux users see here for instructions on how to make an E2B USB drive under linux.
The instructions below are for users running Windows...
If you are new to USB multibooting and grub4dos and you just want to try Easy2Boot, follow these instructions:
1. Download and install RMPrepUSB (install to default location)
2. Download Easy2Boot (either the basic download or E2B+XP MassStorage drivers)
3. Unzip the E2B zip file to a temporary folder on your hard drive
4. Insert the USB drive that is to be formatted for E2B into your Windows computer's USB port (for best results use a 'Removable Disk' USB Flash drive)
5. In Windows Explorer, right-click and choose 'Run as Administrator...' on the \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd file in the extracted E2B download and follow the instructions (requires an Administrator User account) - see my blog post for more details and screenshots. Choose FAT32 (Y) when prompted, unless you need to place files larger than 4GB on the E2B drive.
The E2B drive is now ready for use. Now go to the Getting Started section below to add your own payload files.
1. Download and install the latest version RMPrepUSB
2. Download Easy2Boot (either the basic download or E2B+XP MassStorage drivers)
3. Insert your USB Flash drive (USB HDD can be used but a USB Removable flash drive will give the most trouble-free results).
4. Run RMPrepUSB and tick the 'No User Prompts' checkbox and select (see screenshot below):
5. Click on Install grub4dos button - answer 'No'=PBR. (see screenshot above) - use the latest version of grldr if prompted to overwrite it.
6. (only if it fails to boot) Repeat step 4 but answer 'Yes'=MBR
Check that the Easy2Boot ZIP file that you downloaded earlier has been extracted onto the root of the USB drive. There should be a \_ISO folder on the USB drive.
Your USB E2B drive is now complete, but you might want to add ISO and other payload files... go to Getting Started section below to see how to add your own payload files.
To make a new bootable E2B USB drive:
The steps below in outline are:
Note: If you are a linux user, format a USB Flash drive and then install grub4dos using bootlace for steps 1 and 2 (use the version of grldr included in the download).
'danboid' suggests using defragfs to make the ISO files contiguous under linux (ext2/ext3 only). See Tutorial 114 for full details on how to prepare an E2B USB drive under linux.
For Windows users, you are recommended to download and install the latest RMPrepUSB (or use the portable version if you prefer). Use RMPrepUSB v 2.1.710 or later.
FAT32 is recommended for USB Flash drives, however if you know that you have ISO files that are over 4GB, then you must use NTFS. exFAT is not recommended because some XP-based ISOs and Windows XP/Vista SP0 Install ISOs will not work and you may find some systems won't boot.
Fig. 2 RMPrepUSB partition&format options
Note: If you have a small USB flash drive, I would recommend you use FAT32 as it is easier to defrag the files on it using WinContig (Press Ctrl+F2 in RMPrepUSB) and it can be accessed by most OS's. However, if you have a large USB flash drive or a USB HDD, then use NTFS. NTFS will also give faster file I/O performance in most cases.
Tip: It is easier to use FAT32 if you want to boot Hirens or DLC1 as it may not be able to access the folders on the USB drive once it boots (unless you use the .isomem file extension for the iso file).
If you have a USB Hard disk, you can create multiple partitions (e.g. using EaSeus Home Partition Manager or Windows Disk Manager), but do not create more than 1 Primary+1 Extended OR 2 Primary partitions. E2B needs the 3rd and 4th MBR partition table entries free (the 3rd ptn is only used by some linux+persistence .mnu files that are available in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder). The 4th partition needs to be unused or E2B will refuse to run.
Make sure that your USB Flash drive is listed by RMPrepUSB as a (Removable) and not as (Fixed Disk). If you have a new USB Flash drive (e.g. Certified for WindowsToGo) that is listed by RMPrepUSB as (Fixed Disk) or 'Local Disk' by Windows Explorer, then your USB Flash drive will appear to Windows as if it was a hard disk and not a removable flash drive. In this case, if you want to use E2B to install Windows Vista/7/8 ISOs, you will need to add another auxiliary USB flash 'helper' drive when you boot from a Windows install ISO - otherwise you won't get the blue LOADISO console window. Follow the instructions here to make a 'Helper' flash drive.
USB Flash drives can be 'Removable' or 'Fixed Disk' type. USB Hard drives are nearly always of the 'Fixed Disk' type.
2. Untick 'No User Prompts' and click the Install grub4dos button (see '2' =>' in Fig. 2 above) and install grub4dos to the PBR (answer 'No') and copy over the grldr file (optional). You must use the version of grldr that comes with E2B and so this grldr will be overwritten in step 3 below anyway.
Easy2Boot is FREE! But please consider making a small donation if you use Easy2Boot.
EASY2BOOT DOWNLOADS ARE NOW AT www.easy2boot.com
Extract the files and folders inside the E2B zip file to the root (top level) of the USB Flash drive using 7Zip. If prompted to overwrite the grldr file, use the version inside the E2B zip file.
Your USB drive should now contain a \_ISO folder in the root plus many sub-folders and a few odd files in the root.
Note: If you want to install XP from an XP Install ISO to AHCI/SATA/RAID/SCSI systems and you did not download the E2B+Windows XP Mass Storage Drivers [30MB] download in step 3, you can add the Mass Storage drives at any time later on - see Tutorial 72b for details.
The E2B drive is now ready for use. Now go to Getting Started section below to add your own payload files.
You can test that it boots and you can see the E2B menu by pressing F11 in the latest version of RMPrepUSB (answer 0 for the hard disk size and up to 1000 MB for the memory size if prompted). Some things may work (e.g. memtest), but to test 64-bit ISOs you will need to test on a real system as they will not work under QEMU! Oracle Virtual Box can be used to successfully boot most ISOs from E2B (see Tutorial 4 for details) and is considerably faster.
The latest versions of RMPrepUSB (v2.1.708 or later) have full read/write support for USB drives under QEMU and will boot ISOs much more successfully than the older versions of RMPrepUSB or QEMU Manager.
Note: If you find that some systems do not boot and display a 'BOOTMGR is missing' message, repeat Step 2 but install grub4dos to the MBR as well as the PBR.
If you are using a 2013 or later computer to boot from the USB E2B drive (for example, a computer that was originally pre-installed with Windows 8), you may need to change the BIOS Setup Menu boot option to set it to BIOS Legacy or CSM boot mode - otherwise it may not list the E2B USB drive as a bootable drive in the BIOS drive list. Also, ensure that Secure Boot and Fast Boot is disabled.
It's as easy as 1,2,3!
1 - Copy files to the E2B drive
2 - Run WinContig
3 - Boot!
The folders below are sub-menu folders. The folder entry will only be listed as a Menu item in the Main menu if there is one or more files or folders in them...
For linux users, 'danboid' suggests using defragfs to make the ISO files contiguous (ext2/ext3 only).
Be aware that a 'Disk Defrag' is NOT the same as making all files contiguous - in fact some disk defrag utilities will make previously contiguous files non-contiguous. Do NOT run disk defrag on the Easy2Boot USB drive once all files are contiguous or you may start to get Error 60 again.
Tip: Always use the BIOS Boot Selection hotkey (e.g. F11 or F12) to boot from the E2B drive. Try to avoid setting the E2B USB drive as the first boot drive in the BIOS as this can cause OS installation problems. Some examples of which hotkey you need to press to select the USB drive from the BIOS Boot Menu are here - always use the Single boot menu, if possible, rather than setting the boot order to boot from the E2B USB drive.
Now boot from your E2B USB drive! That's it!
Tip: Any payload (e.g. .ISO) files that you add will just be listed by their file names in the menu. You can easily change the menu entry for each ISO by adding a small .txt file of the same file name but with a .txt extension - see here for details.
If any files don't boot properly...
If they are ISO files, rename the extension to .isoask and try the various options offered when you run them.
If they are not ISO files or you are still having problems, look in the \_ISO\docs folder for a special .mnu file and read the instructions inside the .mnu file or search for it on this page.
Second-level folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\LINUX) are for payload files that DO NOT have a .mnu file.
Folders at the third level (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU) and below (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU\FRED\DORIS) are for payload files which DO have a .mnu file. Usually the .mnu and payload file should be in the same folder.
This means if you have an .ISO file plus it's special .mnu file, do NOT put them both at the 2nd \_ISO\xxxx level because both the ISO and the .mnu file will be added to the menu!
Instead, place both files at the 3rd \_ISO\xxxx\MNU level - then the ISO file will not be listed in the menu, but the .mnu file will be added to the menu.
Note: This rule does not apply to the \_ISO\WINDOWS and \_ISO\AUTO folders which are 'special'.
See my blog article for an explanation of the E2B folder structure.
Please note: If testing using a VM - Windows Vista/7/8 installs from an ISO will not work when using an emulator such as QEMU or a Virtual Machine. You will get a 'A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing.' Windows pop-up message box - see here for details on how to install Windows Vista/7/8 to a virtual harddisk from E2B when using a VM.
Note: To speed up the loading of the Main menu if you have lots of Main menu entries, enable menu caching using FASTLOAD.
To change the E2B menu, look in the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg for details of the configuration options available (this is updated when new features are added to E2B).
You can use the UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT cursor keys to highlight a menu entry. You can also type in the number of the menu entry (e.g. press 2 and then press 3 - if item 23 exists then it will be selected, if item 23 does not exist the first item 2 will be selected and then item 3). PAGE-UP and PAGE-DOWN keys will also work. If item 0 is selected and you press the CURSOR-UP key, then the last menu entry will be selected. If the last menu entry is highlighted and you press the CURSOR-DOWN key, then the first menu entry will be highlighted.
Hotkeys are typically indicated by square brackets, e.g. [Ctrl+R]. They may or may not be active depending on how the user has configured E2B. If the user presses Ctrl+R then the menu entry will be selected and will run. To get to the Windows Install menu, press W.
To execute the highlighted menu entry, press ENTER. Alternatively press the b key.
Using Easy2Boot - Part 1 (folder structure, adding ISOs, change menu order and menu text)
Using Easy2Boot - Part 2 (Adding Hirens Boot CD, changing background, modifying the menu with MyE2B.cfg, adding passwords, FastLoad, font files, skins)
If you have any problems or need more information, then keep reading...
If you have made an Easy2Boot USB Hard disk or you have an E2B USB Flash drive of the 'Fixed Disk'/'Local Disk' type (as shown by RMPrepUSB or Windows Explorer), then some WinPE .ISOs and all Vista, Win7, SVR2K8, SVR2012 and Win8 Windows Install ISOs will not work correctly as you will not get the blue console window which loads the ISO as a virtual DVD. To fix this you need to make an extra USB Flash 'Helper' drive as follows.
1. You need a USB Flash drive that is of the 'Removable' type -check this with RMPrepUSB or make sure that it is not listed in Windows Explorer as a 'Local Disk'. It can be any size as it only needs to hold a few files. It does not matter if other files are already on this drive.
2. Ensure this Helper USB drive does NOT contain the E2B files (i.e. does not contain the \_ISO\e2b folder).
3. Copy the 5 files in the E2B folder \_ISO\docs\USB FLASH DRIVE HELPER FILES folder to the root of the USB Helper drive. Ensure that you copy it to the first partition of the USB Flash drive (usually there is only one partition accessible in Windows anyway).
That's it! Now whenever you boot from the E2B USB Hard disk, be sure to also connect this USB E2B Helper drive too (it is not needed if booting non-Windows ISOs).
IMPORTANT: Only one drive in the entire system must contain the E2B files - do not put all the E2B files and folders on the Helper USB drive! Also, only one drive in the whole system must contain the \WINHELPER.USB file.
2. Check that it is detected by your BIOS - you should be able to see it listed by the BIOS boot selection menu - if not try using different USB ports and try formatting it using RMPrepUSB as FAT32+Boot as HDD options. If possible, always use the BIOS Boot Selection (BBS) menu (e.g. press F10 or F12) rather than set the boot order in the BIOS Boot-order menu.
3. You MUST install using a real system - running under a VM or Emulator will not work.
4. Use a USB port that the BIOS can detect - if you have an add-in USB 3.0 PCI card, don't connect any USB drive to those ports.
5. If you are using a USB 3.0 port that is detected by the BIOS, Vista and Win7 Installs won't work because those OS's don't contain USB 3.0 drivers - use USB 2.0 ports only for pre-Win8 OS's.
6. Check that E2B has detected the Helper Flash drive - you should see an E2B progress message just before the Main menu is displayed 'Wiping /AutoUnattend.xml and /Unattend.xml files on WINHELPER.USB...'. Also the Helper drive LED should flash for about a second at this point. You should also see the Helper LED flash just before E2B boots from the Windows Install ISO file after the 'booting...' message.
7. If the Windows blue 'LOAD WINDOWS ISO USING IMDISK' console window did not appear before you get to the first Windows Install Setup screen (e.g. choose Country, etc.), press SHIFT+F10 to open a Windows console. Type NotePad and then open the \AutoUnattend.xml file on the Helper Flash drive with NotePad - it should contain lots of xml text. If not, it was not updated by E2B (probably because it was not detected by the BIOS)
8. Follow the instructions below to manually run LOADISO.CMD
1. Using RMPrepUSB, install grub4dos using the Install Grub4dos button - I suggest installing to the MBR and PBR. Ensure that the grldr file is copied to the E2B Helper drive.
2. Press F4 in RMPrepUSB and add the following contents to the new menu.lst file - save it and exit Notepad (this is already present in later versions of E2B).
You can now boot from the Helper drive and it will then chainload (reboot) onto the E2B USB Hard drive.
Note: you will require E2B version 1.23 or later for this and you must use the .mnu files from this version and not older .mnu files. The 'helper' files must be on the first partition of the USB Flash drive so that they can be seen by Windows.
2. As soon as Setup loads and asks you for a language/country, press the key combination SHIFT+F10 - a black console window should open (if not, answer the next question and try SHIFT+F10 again)
3. In the console window, type dir C:\_ISO and press the ENTER key - if the folder is not listed, try dir D:\_ISO etc. until you find the E2B USB drive letter - let us assume that 'dir E:\_ISO' worked - then the USB drive letter must be E:
4. Now run loadiso by typing E:\_ISO\e2b\firadisk\loadiso,cmd - a blue console window should open - if then prompted to Repair Windows, just hit ENTER
5. The blue console Window should close - now continue with Windows Setup in the normal way.
Note: You can place all E2B files and payload files on any partition on a USB HDD (or USB Flash drive that is of the 'Fixed Disk' type).
Instructions on how to use these files can be found by opening them in Notepad and reading the instructions.
Most of these are for use with specific ISOs, however if you change the filenames inside the .mnu file, then you should be able to use them with different versions of the same type.
$AddWin2Main.mnu - example menu showing you how you can add individual Windows Install ISOs to the Main menu
bitdefender-rescue-cd.mnu - boot from a bitdefender ISO with persistence
Boot Windows direct from USB.mnu - if you have Windows To Go installed onto your E2B drive, you can boot to it using this .mnu file
BT5R2-GNOME-32.mnu - boot from a BackTrack 5 ISO with persistence
CloneZillaBackupRestoreHDD0.mnu - You can semi-automate backing up and restoring the 1st internal hard disk using a clonezilla ISO (for use use with a large E2B USB HDD)
crunchbang-11-20130506-i686.txt - Example .txt file for crunchbang ISOs with help text to aid installing it to a hard disk
dft32_v416_b00_install.mnu - for Hitachi Drive Fitness Test
DLCD_ISO_Extracted.mnu - For DLC version of Hirens
Dos622.img.mnu - .mnu file for DOS622.img
E2B_PTN_SWAP.mnu - for use with an E2B USB Flash drive where E2B is on the 2nd partition
ERD2005.mnu - for ERDCommander2005.iso and MSDart 5.0 (or use .isomemF01 file extension)
ERD5_DPMS.mnu - Use for XP-based recovery ISOs such as MSDart 5/2005 to run on SATA/RAID systems
ERD5_FIRA.mnu - for ERDCommander2005.iso/MSDart 5.0 type XP ISOs, swaps hd0&1 and loads Firadisk driver (similar to just using .isomemf01 file extension)
ESet System Rescue (WinPE Flat File).mnu - extract Eset System Rescue ISO and run it directly from your E2B drive
Falcon4.6 (folder) - How to extract and run Falcon4's version of Hirens Boot CD
FD0-konboot-v1.1-2in1.mnu - how to add konboot - change the filename and it will work with Konboot 2.1 (XP Pro and Win 7 64-bit tested and works!)
Fedora_Persistent.mnu - Run Fedora from an ISO with persistence
FreeDos_fdbasecd.iso.mnu - Run fdbasecd.iso
geexbox-3.0-i386.mnu - Run GeexBox with persistence
hdt-0.5.0.img.mnu - Hardware Diagnostic Tool HDT hdt-0.5.0.img.gz
HirensBootCD_Extracted.mnu - Run HBCD from extracted files in \HBCD folder - gives full HBCD functionailty
HirensISO.mnu - if you have hirens as an ISO, this allows you to run Konboot from it or miniXP (not required if you use extracted ISO)
kali-linux-1.0.2-i386.mnu - Kali with persistence
kali-linux-1.0.5-amd64.mnu - Kali with persistence
kali-linux-1.0.5-amd64.txt - .txt file for Kali (no persistence) with instructions on how to install to an internal HDD
kali-linux-1.0.5-i386.mnu - Kali with persistence
Kaspersky_Rescue_10.mnu - with instructions on how to keep updates on the E2B drive
lubuntu-13.04-desktop-i386_Persistent.mnu - lubuntu ISO with persistence
mandriva-linux-PWP-2011-i586.mnu - Use this if you want to install mandriva (and not just run as a LiveCD)
OphCrack.mnu - .mnu for Ophcrack (with instructions)
pclinuxos-kde-fullmonty-2012.09.mnu - pclinuxos-kde-fullmonty-2012.09.iso with persistence
Porteus-v1.1-i486.mnu - porteus with persistence
Porteus-v2.0-i486.mnu - porteus with persistence
POS2009_ReadMe.txt - Instructions on how to add Microsoft POS2009 Installer to E2B
PTN2_Menu.mnu - If you have a \_ISO folder containing payload files on the 2nd partition of your E2B drive, this menu will allow you to run any of them (not for Windows Install ISOs)
Puppy_Precise_USB_Flash_Persistence.mnu - Puppy with persistence if E2B is on a Flash drive
Puppy_Precise_USB_HDD_Persistence.mnu - Puppy with persistence if E2B is on a USB HDD
ReactOS-LiveCD.mnu - ReactOS must be extracted to the E2B drive - instructions inside this file.
ReadMe.txt - guess what!
RedHat.mnu - Boot from a RedHat Install ISO and install RedHat to an internal hard disk (needs FAT32 partition on E2B drive)
RedHat_NTFS.mnu - Boot from a RedHat Install ISO and install RedHat to an internal hard disk (NTFS/ext2/FAT32 partition)
SimplyMEPIS-1.5G_11.9.86_32.mnu - for SimplyMEPIS-1.5G_11.9.86_32.iso
Slax7.0.8_32_persistent.mnu - slax708_32/01-core.sb with persistence (read instructions)
StartOS-5.1-LiveCD-i686.mnu - StartOS-5.1-LiveCD-i686.iso with persistence
StartOS.mnu - startos-5.0-20120808.iso with persistence
UBCD4WINBuilder.mnu - use .isomemfira or this .mnu for UBCDWin ISOs
ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64_Persistent.mnu - ubuntu ISO with persistence
ubuntu-13.04-desktop-i386_Persistent.mnu - ubuntu ISO with persistence
Ubuntu12.10_Persistent.mnu - ubuntu ISO with persistence
Win7PESE.ini - example ini file for booting WinPEs made with WinBuilder - see this below for more info about WinBuilder PE ISOs.
xbmcbuntu_12.2_Persist.mnu - run xbmcbuntu with persistence from your E2B drive
YLMF_OS_3.0_Persistent.mnu - run YLMF with persistence (now outdated by StartOS)
How do I add a Hirens Boot CD ISO and get it all working?Most Hirens menu items will work just by renaming the .iso file to .isowinvh but the DOS Utilities require the \HBCD\Dos folder on the E2B drive.
Kon-Boot won't work if booting from an ISO because hd0 will be the USB boot drive and not the internal HDD - use the HirensISO.mnu file in the \_ISO\docs folder for KonBoot ISO booting.
If you have trouble getting the HBCD Menu program in MiniXP working (it should work if you use .isowinvh), browse to the Hirens ISO on the e2B USB drive - right-click and Mount as ImDisk Virtual Disk, then run \HBCDMenu.cmd from the mounted ISO.
Flat File Booting Hirens
Note: To fix this without needing to select the NTFS driver, boot to Hirens miniXP - find and run the \HBCD\Dos\dosimg.cmd file - follow the instructions to make a new Dos .img file. This file will then be used for DOS apps when you reboot.
How do I update to a later version of E2B?
Simply overwrite your existing E2B USB drive with the new version of E2B. If you have edited any of the E2B files then you will need to use a utility such as WinMerge to see what changes have been made.
How do I get rid of the SubMenu entries in the Main menu?
Simply ensure that the \_ISO\BACKUP, \_ISO\BACKUP_LINUX, \_ISO\DOS, \_ISO\UTILITIES and \_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST folders are empty (no sub-folders or files).
I have used a .mnu file for persistence with a linux ISO, but I don't get persistence.You MUST run WinContig after preparing the USB drive and making the ext2 file - all files including the ext2 file need to be contiguous.
Check that you have created the ext2 file according to the instructions in the .mnu file (you can now use the latest RMPrepUSB version 2.1.711+ which allows you to set the file name and volume name separately).
I have updated to version 1.06 and now I get duplicate Main menu entries!
Delete the old \_ISO\MAINMENU\SubMenuxxx.mnu files and the mainmenu.mnu file.
How do I add an XP/Server2003 Install ISO?
Copy the ISO file to \_ISO\Windows\XP folder. To install it, you can either use the Step1/2 menu entries or use the WinPE install method (requires another WinPE ISO to be added).
How can I install XP/Server2003 to an AHCI/SCSI/RAID PC using a standard Install ISO?
You need to copy the Mass Storage driver pack files to the E2B USB drive (the Install ISO files can remain unaltered)- see here for details.
How do I add a Windows 7 Install ISO?
Copy the ISO to \_ISO\Windows\Win7 folder
How do I add a Windows 8 ISO?
Copy the ISO to \_ISO\Windows\Win8 folder
I made an E2B USB Hard disk (or a Flash drive that appears as 'Local Disk' in Windows Explorer) , but when I try to install Windows 7/8, it asks for a CD drive driver
E2B requires a USB 'Removable Disk' flash drive for Vista/7/8 installs. You will need to also make and connect a small, removable-type of 'Helper' USB Flash drive if you want to use a USB 'Local Disk' type of drive for E2B.
How do I add YLMF/Ubuntu/Fedora/StartOS/Porteus/pclinuxos/Backtrack5/kali-linux ISOs and have persistence?
See the relevant .mnu file in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder
How do I add the ERD Commander 2005/2007 or MSDaRT ISOs?
Use .isomemF01 file exension OR copy the ISO file to \_ISO\UTILITIES\Windows folder and also the ERD2005.mnu file. Read the ERD2005.mnu file in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder for more details. If your target system has a SATA hard disk, use the DPMS2 version of E2B and the ERD5_DPMS.mnu sample menu.
How do I get ERD/MSDaRT for Vista\Win7\Win8 working?
Rename to .iso01 or .isoPE01 to also mount the ISO file as a drive letter.
How do I change the menu position, colours, headings and background, etc.?To use your own image, copy to the \_ISO folder your own mybackground.bmp or mybackground.bmp.gz file (you can compress a .bmp to a .bmp.gz using 7Zip and by selecting gzip as the compression type – this greatly reduces the file size).
OR - Rename the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file to MyE2B.cfg. Change the MyWBMP entry or the MyWBMPGZ entry to the location of your background file. See here for more details. The MyE2B.cfg file also allows you to change the default text colours and menu position.
When I boot my E2B USB drive on some systems I get an error - but on others it is OK - why?
This is usually due to a 'bad' BIOS. First check if there is a more recent BIOS for that system on the manufacturers web site. Next, check the BIOS settings to make sure it is booting the USB drive as a Hard/Fixed Disk. Also check that your BIOS Setup menu is set for Legacy/CMS mode and not UEFI mode. If the 'check last sector' test is causing a problem, reformat using RMPrepUSB v2.1.714 or later. You can just delete the \_ISO\E2B\grub\checkaccess.g4b file (but be aware that the BIOS is still bad and so you may get other problems!).
Can I use Plop with E2B?
In a word No! In more words - Plop is a read-only USB driver that does not support writes to a USB device. As most functions of E2B (e.g. boot from ISO) involve writing to the E2B boot drive or E2B helper Flash drive, writes need to be supported for E2B to work it's magic. Therefore if you install Plop and then try to run E2B, you will probably see a 'write error' message.
How can I change the order of the menu entries listed in each E2B menu?
All items (files and folders) are sorted alphanumerically. Just rename any payload and .mnu files. Use Windows Explorer to sort the files by name (click on the top of the Name column in Explorer) and that will be the order that the files will be listed in, in the E2B menu. Note the sub-folders are sorted together with payload files. You may need to change the name of the subfolder (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU to \_ISO\MAINMENU\$MNU) so that it is listed in a different order.
Can I use E2B on my Zalman VE200/300/400 DVD emulator drive?
Yes. Install grub4dos using RMPrepUSB and add the E2B files. See this section for details of how to avoid having to rename iso file extensions. When booting E2B, the Zalman will be seen as a Fixed Disk and so you will need a USB 'Helper' flash drive for some functions (e.g. Windows 7/8 Install isos).
There are lots of possible extensions that E2B supports for .iso files - how can I find out which one is best for my iso? First search this page for the name of your particular version. If you are still having problems, name your .iso file as .isoask - you will then be prompted by E2B and asked how you want to run the .iso file. Once you find an extension that works, rename the file from .isoask to whatever entry worked best.
How do I get my WinPE ISO (e.g. WinBuilder) to see the ISO as drive letter Y: ?
See the section below on WinPE ISOs.
E2B seems to pause for several minutes on boot when checking the 'last sector' or when looking for WINHELPER.USB.
Re-format the USB drive using RMPrepUSB v2.1.710 or later.
E2B won't boot .iso files on 'some' (e.g. HP) systems but works fine on all the others
Try v1.12 or later.
E2B USB Flash drive won't boot on some systems
Try installing a Standard MBR using the RMPrepUSB - BootLoaders tab and installing grub4dos only to the PBR. If that doesn't work, try preparing a USB flash drive using flashboot - see Tutorial 113'Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition.' (Win7/8 error message).
Ensure the BIOS boot order has the internal hard disk as the first disk (do not set the E2B USB boot disk as the first disk in the boot order). Then use the BIOS Boot selection menu (e.g. F11 or F12 or F10) to select the E2B USB drive to boot from. Remove any SD cards or other unnecessary storage devices. See here for a discussion. Ensure the internal hard disk has an active (bootable) partition.
Some help menu text just below the menu ('Use the ^ and v keys to highlight an entry. Press ENTER'....) appears at the extreme left of the screen - why isn't it aligned correctly?
This is the default message output by grub4dos. It is only displayed when you have not specified any help text after the title entry in your .txt file or .mnu file. use \n at the end of the title xxxxx line. See here.
s the disk in 'chunks' with gaps inbetween. To make all files on your USB drive contiguous, run RMPrepUSB and select the USB drive in the drive list, then press Ctrl+F2 to run WinContig. Alternatively download and run WinContig.
Another very useful program is Piriform Defraggler - this shows you a 'cluster map' of fragmented and unfragmented files and you can select and defragment single files by clicking on a square on the map. This is really useful for showing you where the files are located on the drive.
Sometimes WinContig may be unable to make all the files contiguous. This is usually because there is not enough free space on the volume.
In this case, you can either delete some large, unwanted files and run WinContig again OR it is often quicker to:
1. Copy all files from you USB drive to an empty folder on your hard drive
2. Re-partition your USB drive and re-install grub4dos
3. Copy all the files back again (use Explorer but do not use multiple copy sessions at the same time)
In some cases, if using NTFS, you may find that you cannot get a large ISO file to be contiguous on a smallish drive (e.g. a 6GB file on an 8GB USB flash drive), even if you copy over the files to a freshly formatted NTFS USB Flash drive. In this case please read my blog here about this issue and how to fix it.
ng and testing E2B.
Some users have generously made a PayPal contribution for E2B and so in order to reward them for their generosity, I will email them a link to any new E2B Upgrade Package before it becomes generally available.
At the moment there are no Upgrade Packs available however - all previous Upgrade Packs are currently included in E2B v1.04 and later versions.
Packages are cumulative, you only need to add the latest one to your base E2B USB drive.
I will email anyone who has kindly made a donation, with details of the latest version of the E2B Upgrade Package when one becomes available.
Tested ISO files that work with E2B are listed below - just copy the ISO files to the \_ISO\MainMenu folder - entries in bold type have been tested by me personally (note: you may need to change the file extension of a few ISOs - see here for more details). Unless a .mnu file is required, any release or version of a named ISO should work (i.e. if Kasperksy 10.0.31.4 is listed below, then any version of Kaspersky should work). If a .mnu file is required, you may need to edit the iso filename within the .mnu text file to match your iso filename.
Please note: E2B is not version specific. So if say, version 4.3.2 of a particular ISO listed below works, then so should all other versions of that ISO!
tip: The ISO file names are displayed 'as-is' in the E2B menu but you can rename any ISO file to whatever name you like (or make an additional .txt file with a new menu title for each ISO).
latest version - check the Downloads at the bottom of this page for the latest version!
Once you have booted from your USB Easy2Boot drive, just use the UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT cursor keys to select a menu item and press ENTER or 'b' to run it. You can use the first menu item (0) to set any of the Main menu items as the default one which will be selected and highlighted when Easy2Boot first boots or reloads the Main menu. You can also set a countdown time-out to auto-run that menu entry. An invalid menu number will cause menu entry 0 to be selected.
Note: If you add more files to your Easy2Boot drive or delete files, then the menu numbering may change - this will cause the default menu item to also change. In this case you will need to use menu 0 again to set the default menu item again. If you have FASTLOAD main menu caching enabled, then menu option 0 will also refresh the FASTLOAD cache.
Also note: Changing the default menu and enabling FASTLOAD may not work in an ordinary Virtual Machine environment which does not allow disk writes to an external USB drive. It should work if using RMPrepUSB's QEMU or try DavidB's Virtual Machine USB Boot from reboot.pro which allows full rd/wr access when booting from USB using Virtual Box! This is ideal for testing E2B and is much faster than QEMU.
Please keep reading to learn how to add your own files and change Easy2Boot to suit you!
Always run WinContig to ensure all files are contiguous (quickly done in RMPrepUSB, just press the keys Ctrl+F2).
Note: If a folder is empty (contains no sub-folder or file), the menu entry won't appear in the E2B menu.
As a general rule:
Payload files should be copied to one of the main folders (at the \_ISO\xxx level).
If your payload file requires a .mnu file, then copy both the payload file and .mnu file to a folder UNDER one of these folders - e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\MNU (i.e. the files should both go at level 3 - \_ISO\xxxx\yyyy\fred.mnu and fred.iso).
The MAINMENU, ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, LINUX, UTILITIES and WINPE folders all have the same function - they just exist so that you can organise your payload files nicely into sub-menus. You can copy any payload file to any of these folders and they will still work - for instance you can copy a Ubuntu linux .iso file to \_ISO\DOS and it will still boot just fine from the DOS menu.
However, .mnu files usually need to go in a sub-folder - for instance you can place a .mnu file that is designed to go in \_ISO\xxxx\MNU in any of these 7 folders as long as the sub-folder is named MNU (e.g. \_ISO\DOS\MNU or \_ISO\LINUX\MNU or \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU, etc.). The variable %MFOLDER% will be automatically set to the second folder level \_ISO\xxxxx. The variable $HOME$ will automatically be translated to the full path of the .mnu file. If your .mnu file uses $HOME$ then you just need to keep the payload file in the same folder as the .mnu file and it should work.
The \_ISO\AUTO folder is only for payload files and so it is special in that all .mnu files will be ignored if placed in or under this folder. However all payload files in this folder and any sub-folder under \_ISO\AUTO will be listed in the DIRECT BOOT menu. i.e. You can arrange 50 or more of your ISOs under 10 different sub-folders of any name of your own choosing and they will all be listed in the DIRECT BOOT menu alphabetically (by directory and filename).
The \_ISO\WINDOWS folder is used only for Windows Install ISO files. For instance, you must place your XP Windows Install ISOs in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder and can be any filename you like. If you put a Windows 7 Install ISO in \_ISO\MAINMENU, for instance, it won't work properly! Windows XP 64-bit ISOs should be placed in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder but should have the numbers 64 somewhere in their filename (E2B does not support the auto-detection of 64-bit XP mass storage drivers, so it will only install 64-bit XP to IDE systems). Vista and later ISOs do not need to contain '64' in their filename.
The Main Menu folder
\_ISO\MAINMENU <--- Payload files (except Windows Install ISOs) that you want listed in the Main Menu go here (and you can also add .mnu files to sub-folders below here)
Sub-menu folders: (these folders are listed as menu entries in the Main menu, if populated) - mnu files+payload files should go at level 3.
\_ISO\ANTIVIRUS <--- for any AV payloads
\_ISO\BACKUP <--- for any BACKUP payloads
\_ISO\DOS <--- for any DOS payloads
\_ISO\LINUX <--- for any LINUX payloads
\_ISO\UTILITIES <--- for any UTILITIES payloads
\_ISO\WINPE <--- for any WINPE payloads
Special payload-only sub-menu:
\_ISO\AUTO <--- for payload files only (you can use sub-folders of any name) - all .mnu files are ignored.
Windows Install ISO folders: (if any .ISO files are present a Windows entry will be listed in the Main menu)
\_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2012 <-- Server 2012 Install ISOs go here
\_ISO\WINDOWS\SVR2K8R2 <-- Server 2008 R2 Install ISOs go here
\_ISO\WINDOWS\VISTA <-- Wndows Vista Install ISOs go here
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN7 <-- Winodws 7 Install ISOs go here
\_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 <-- Windows 8 and 8.1 Install ISOs go here
\_ISO\WINDOWS\XP <-- XP Install ISOs (and Win 2003 Install ISOs) go here (XP 64-bit should have '64' somewhere in the name of the ISO file)
e.g. If you have a linux ISO file such as ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso and you want it to boot as a LiveCD - just copy it to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder - that's it!
If however, you want to run this ISO with persistence, you need to also use a special .mnu file (available from the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder). Simply copy the ISO file and the .mnu file that you want to be listed in the Main menu, into the correct sub-folder under \_ISO\MAINMENU - for instance if you have ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso and it's .mnu file Ubuntu13.04_x64_Persistent.mnu, then copy both files into \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU (always read the .mnu file for instructions).
The \_ISO\AUTO folder, if populated by payload files, will be listed in the Main menu as DIRECT BOOT Menu. Any payload files (e.g. ISO files) and .txt files placed under this folder (or it's sub-folders) will be listed in the DIRECT BOOT menu. You can make your own sub-folders if you wish. All .mnu files are ignored. This allows you to organise a large number of .iso files into different sub-folders, but they will all be listed together in the DIRECT BOOT menu. You can change the menu entry for DIRECT BOOT by changing your MyE2B.cfg file using the HDRAUTO variable.
The various options are described in more detail below:
For details on adding and using Windows Install ISOs to Easy2Boot please see Tutorial 72c.
If you have a custom Windows Vista\7\8 ISO which doesn't seem to work from the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxx folder, try renaming it as .isope and place it in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder. This may also work for some standard Windows Install ISOs which do not require a Product Key in the AutoUnattend.xml file. If the E2B Blue Console window does not appear, run a Windows Command shell console and type wpeinit - after 20-30 seconds you should see the E2B Blue console window appear and load the ISO file as Y:. Now you can continue to use the custom ISO in the normal way.
Copy your favourite bootable payload/'LiveCD' files (e.g. .ISO, .img., ima, etc.) to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder, these will be individually listed in the first main menu when the USB drive is booted.
If you also make and add a .txt file of the same filename containing the single line of text title some_text_here\nsome_help_text_here, then that entry will be used as the menu title instead of the name of the file (must start with the lower-case word 'title'). See here for more details.
Note: Any payload file placed in a sub-folder below the \_ISO\MAINMENU or any of the menu \_ISO\xxxxx folders will not be listed in the Main menu (it will require a .mnu file). For this reason, if you have a .mnu file, the payload file for it (e.g. ISO file) must be placed in a sub-folder below \_ISO\xxxxx.
For instance, if we want to boot Ubuntu directly from an ISO file with persistence, we need a .mnu file (you can find one in \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files) and we need the Ubuntu ISO file. If we want the menu entry to be listed in the Main menu we would place the files here:
If however, we wanted the menu entry to be listed in the Linux sub-menu, we need to place the files here:
NOTE: Always run WinContig to ensure all files are contiguous after copying them over (Ctrl+F2 in RMPrepUSB).
Note that the file extension determines how the file will be executed by grub4dos and E2B. For instance, if you have an .iso file and it does not boot correctly, rename the file extension and try a different extension - for example
Some other file extensions you could try if the normal extension does not work are:
Tip: If you are not sure what ISO extension will work, or want to try a variety of methods to boot an ISO, rename the ISO file to .isoask - you will be offered a choice of boot options before it is booted - see the screenshot below. Once you have determined which extension works best, rename the ISO to that extension.
Fig. 3 You will see this menu if you re-name an ISO file with the .isoask file extension.
Now you can try all the options until you find one that works.
Add any bootable files that you want to be listed in a sub-menu and not the Main menu, to one of the other the \_ISO\XXXX folders (I have already made pre-defined ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, LINUX, UTILITIES and WINPE folders). The payload files will be listed when you choose the corresponding menu entry in the main menu. For example, if you copy a linux LiveCD ISO file to the \_ISO\Linux folder, then the ISO file will be listed in the Linux submenu when you select the Linux option from the Main menu (or press Ctrl+L).
Note: if you also add a file of the same filename but with a .txt extension and containing a single line of text such as: title some_text_here\n some_help_text_here, then that entry will be used as the menu title instead of the name of the file (note that the line must start with the lower-case word 'title'). The file can be saved in UTF-8 format and can contain special characters and you can also define a hotkey that will run this menu item too (see below for details on how to specify a hotkey). See here for more details.
If required, you can also change the file extension of the payload file too (see above).
NOTE: Always run WinContig to ensure all files are contiguous after copying them over (use Ctrl+F2 in RMPrepUSB).
For those payload files which do not work using the above direct boot method (even with a renamed file extension) or have special requirements such as they use a persistent filesystem to store changes, etc. you will need to use a special grub4dos menu file for each of these payload files. For Easy2Boot these extra files have the .mnu file extension and they contain a grub4dos menu that has been specially written for a particular ISO or payload file. For example, for a linux ISO that requires a .mnu file, you need to add the payload file (e.g. ISO file) and it's matching .mnu file to the \_ISO\LINUX\Linux folder (note that the correct sub-folder may need to be created to match the one specified in the .mnu file, so you may need to make a new 'Linux' folder - also note that this is case sensitive so use Linux and not LINUX for the new folder name). The .mnu files can be downloaded from the Easy2Boot tutorial web page or copied from the \_ISO\docs\sample mnu files folder contained in the download. Once added, the .mnu file entries will be listed in the sub-menu once it has been selected from the Main menu.
Instructions on how to use a .mnu file are included as text comments inside each .mnu file - please read the instructions in each .mnu file. You may also need to edit the .mnu file if you are using a slightly different version of the ISO so that the ISO filenames are correct.
NOTE: (did I mention this before?) Always run WinContig to ensure all files are contiguous after copying them over (Ctrl+F2 in RMPrepUSB).
E2B menus are dynamic and are started off by the \_ISO\E2B\grub\menu.lst file which looks at the contents of the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ folder and sub-folders for *.mnu files and for any other payload files in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
The main action of Easy2Boot is to pick a folder (defined by the variable %MFOLDER%) and then for that folder, it will do the following (starting with the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder):
1. Alphabetically sort all files and folders in MFOLDER
2. If any file in MFOLDER is NOT a .mnu file, a .cmd file, a .txt file or a file with no extension - list the file in the menu as an 'autorun' entry
3. If any file in MFOLDER or any sub-folder of MFOLDER is a .mnu file, add the contents of the .mnu file to the menu
Then ZZSubMenuxxxx.mnu files in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder run this process again for the other folders when that menu entry is selected by the user, e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZSubMenuAntiVirus.mnu sets MFOLDER to \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS and then enumerates the files in and under that folder (as in steps 1-3 above) to make a sub-menu entry in the Main E2B menu.
You can place .mnu files in a sub-folder under the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder and the .mnu file entries will be added to the main menu. If you wish, you can copy or rename a .mnu files to something else (keep the .mnu file extension though!) and then make changes to the new file (be aware that any subsequent new update of E2B will write a new .mnu which you will need to delete again).
If you don’t see the E2B main menu when your USB drive boots – please ensure that your \menu.lst file has the 'configfile /_ISO/E2B/grub/menu.lst' command in it.
0 Set default menu entry and timeout - use can set Main menu entry default selection and automatic timeout (unless set DEFMENU=0 is in MyE2B.cfg - v1.09+)
Note: if no Windows ISOs are detected under \_ISO\Windows then the 'Install Windows' menu entry will not be listed. If any of the sub-menu folders are empty, then the sub-menu entry will not be listed in the main menu.
AUTO.hdr - used by E2B to define the heading for the AUTO/DIRECT menu
AUTOMN.g4b - grub4dos batch file, used by easy2boot.lst and menu.lst and ZZSubMenuxxx.mnu files
Background.bmp.gz - aurora 800x600 bmp wallpaper compressed to .gz
backup.lst - used for debug – don’t delete!
bios - a grub4dos executable used by E2B to make BIOS calls
CheckAccess.g4b - this runs on startup to check for buggy BIOSes with a 137GB limit
CopyFF.g4b - used when a .ISODOS file extension is found - copies files to a virtual floppy disk
CountFiles.g4b - helper batch file which counts files
delptn3.g4b - if (hd0,3) is found to contain a partition on startup, this code allows the user to delete it
E2B.cfg - default config file (used before \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg is called)
FASTLOAD.MNU - the cached Main menu is written to this file if \FASTLOAD.YES is present
fat - a grub4dos executable to perform file operations of FAT partitions (used in CopyFF.g4b)
firadisk.gz - floppy image containing firadisk driver
hotkey - a grub4dos executable to allow the menu to respond to hotkeys or set active hotkeys
KBDxxxx.g4b - specify one of these in your MyE2B.cfg config file for your keyboard layout (default=US)
LstFExt.g4b - helper file to list files with a specified extension (e.g. all .iso files)
MAIN.hdr - header used by grub\menu.lst as precursor for the dynamic main menu
memdisk - executable to load a ramdrive, used by .gzmd and .zip file extensions
MENU.LST - this starts the whole thing off!!! – called by \menu.lst
menu_defaults.txt - the default menu settings are stored here
menusetting.gz - grub4dos executable for menu position and border
MenuWinInstall.lst - this is the main Windows menu
menu_defaults.txt - this holds the default menu number and timeout values set by the user
NewWinVBlock.ima.gz - F6 floppy disk image with WinVBlock drivers
PCIID.ima.gz - used by XP install – do not remove
QRUN.g4b - this determines what action is taken based on the file extension.
ReadMe.txt - guess!
SetHPAD.g4b - grub4dos batch file which calculates the padding required for the menu headings
SubMenu.g4b - grub4dos batch file used to make submenus
SVR2K8R2.hdr - header code for the SVR2K8R2 menu
SVR2012.hdr - header code for the SVR2012 menu
unifont.hex.gz - unifont font file (required for non-ANSI character sets/languages)
VarsLeft.g4b - counts the number of variables left in the environment (for debugging)
Vista.hdr - header code for the Vista menu
VistaMn.g4b - batch file used to install Vista, Wk8/7 user input
Win7.hdr - header code for the Win7 menu
Win8.hdr - header code for the Win8 menu
Win8Mn.g4b - batch file used for the Win8/2012 user input
winvblock.img.gz - FDD image used by QRUN - do not removeChanging the Language' section for details on how to change to a different language or copy and modify the text in these files.
MenuDefaults.hdr - responsible for the 'Set defaults menu entry and timeouts' Main menu entry
MenuF10.hdr - menu entry for F10
MenuF7.hdr - menu entry for F7
MenuF8.hdr - menu entry for F8
MenuF9.hdr - menu entry for F9
MenuFastLoad.hdr - menu entry for 'REFRESH THIS FASTLOAD CACHED MENU' entry
MenuWinInstall.lst - menu entries for the Windows Install menu
MenuWinMenu.hdr - 'Back to Windows Install Menu' menu entry
PickaFile.g4b - batch file used to ask user to pick a file from a numbered list
ReadMe.txt - guess!
RunVista.g4b - batch file used for Vista, Win7 and SVR2K8R2 installs
RunWin8.g4b - batch file used for Win8 and SVR2012 installs
XPStep1/XPStep2/XPStep2LowRam.g4b - used by XP menu system
XPWINNT.g4b - used by the 'XP install from WinPE' menu to select which ISO you want, etc.
Some payload files are included in the download - you can just delete these to save space if you don't want or need them:
Note that if a file/folder is present (of any sort) in the ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, LINUX,UTILITIES or WINPE folders, then that sub-Menu will be listed in the Main Menu
All .ISO files larger than 0 bytes in a folder will be listed - note that these ISO files should not be modified to auto-install or they may or may not work!
The ISO files can be any name and should be placed in the appropriate folder (look at the sub-folders under \_ISO\Windows to see where they should go).
See Tutorial 72c for more details.
r bootable binary and want to quickly test it, just copy it to one of the folders on the Easy2Boot USB drive as below:
\_ISO\XXXXXX folder - e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU for it to be listed in the Main menu (do not place in a sub-sub-folder under \_ISO\XXXXX\ as it won't be automatically listed unless you also have a .mnu file too!).
To change the way it will be executed by grub4dos, change the file extension. Most are special 'Easy2Boot' file extensions (non-standard) which will be recognised by Easy2Boot. if you are not sure what file extension will work best and it is an ISO file, use .isoask so that you can test all of them until you find one that works!
If you wish to see exactly what grub4dos code is run for each file extension - please look at \_ISO\e2b\grub\QRUN.g4b - e.g. the lines under the label :.isoDOS01 will contain the grub4dos commands that will be run for a .isoDOS01 file.
If you place any file (except .txt, .cmd, .mnu and files with no extension) in these folders, they will all be listed in a menu even if they are not bootable files. When selected from the E2B menu, if the extension is recognised, the file will be executed. The file extension determines how it is executed by grub4dos.
Recognised file extensions and their run actions are listed below...
.iso - maps the ISO file (if contiguous) and also creates a new partition containing the ISO contents - use for linux ISOs and others
.isomem - loads the whole ISO file into memory and also creates a new partition containing the ISO contents (if contiguous) - use for non-contiguous linux ISOs and XP-based ISOs and Hirens ISOs
.isowin - as .isomem but does not load ISO into memory unless it is non-contiguous and boots from /i386/seupldr.bin or ntldr if possible - use for WinPE ISOs - e.g. Symantec Recovery ISOs
.isolinux - tries to boot from ISO using isolinux.bin or /boot.isolinux.bin or /boot/syslinux.bin if possible
.isogrub - tries to boot from grldr within the ISO
.isoforce - loads firadisk floppy disk image and forces grub4dos to boot from the ISO even if it doesn't think it is bootable - use for CentOS ISOs
.isofira - maps the whole ISO file (if contiguous) or loads it into memory (if not contiguous) and also loads the firadisk floppy image as fd0 - use for BartPE\Hirens XP PE based ISOs
.isofira01 - maps the whole ISO file (if contiguous) or loads it into memory (if not contiguous) and also loads the firadisk floppy image as fd0, swaps hd0&1 - use for BartPE\Hirens XP PE based ISOs
.isomemfira - loads the whole ISO file into memory and also loads the firadisk floppy image as fd0 - use for BartPE\Hirens XP PE based ISOs
.isomemF01 - loads the whole ISO file into memory and also loads the firadisk floppy image as fd0, swaps hd0&1 - use for ERD/MSDaRT 5 XP ISOs
.isowinvH - loads the ISO and also WinVBlock as a floppy image - does not swap hdo/hd1 - useful for booting Hirens CD and DLC multiboot ISOs
.isomemwinv - loads the ISO into memory and also WinVBlock as a floppy image - useful for booting ERDCommander, BartPE and other XP PE based ISOs if they are not contiguous
.isogz - loads the ISO into memory - use for a gzip compressed ISO.
.isoe0 - used to boot Windows PE ISOs which give a blank screen after booting on some systems that have a buggy BIOS. - e.g. some Dell PCs - see here for details.
.isomemE0 - as .isoe0 but loads ISO into memory. - e.g. some Dell PCs - see here for details.
.isowinvE0 - as isowinv but with a special e820cyles=0 patch to boot WinPE-based ISOs that give a blank screen after loading - e.g. some Dell PCs - see here for details.
.isowinvHE0 - as isowinvH + e8020cycles=0 patch (see above)
.isoPE - use for WinPE v2/3/4 (Vista and later) WinPE ISOs. If the extension is .isoPE then when wpeinit is run by WinPE, it will mount the .isoPE file as a virtual CD/DVD drive letter. Note: This requires a USB Flash drive (or 'Helper' flash drive) - E2B v 1.07Beta and later versions only. The drive letter can be changed too.
.isoPE01 - as .isoPE but swaps hd0 and hd1 over so that the internal hard disk is hd0 - useful for diagnostic WinPE's that expect to be booted from a CD and Vista/7/8 ERD/MSDart.
.isoask - asks the user each time which of the above options should be used - useful to determine which extension works best
.isodd - same as .iso (so even if ISOASK variable is set then E2B will not ask how you want to run it and it will boot in the same way as a .iso file).
.iso01 - same as .iso but swaps over hd0 and hd1 so hd0 will be the internal HDD. (v 1.11 and later)
.isoDOS - use for DOS-emulation boot ISOs, all CD contents will be found on the B: volume once booted to DOS.
.isoDOS01 - as .isoDOS but swaps over the USB boot drive with the internal hard disk so that the internal HDD is drive 0 - use for Win98 Install ISOs, etc.
.gzmd - loads memdisk and then the .gzmd file using initrd
.vhd - a bootable virtual hard disk image (must not be a dynamic vhd) - boots vhd as hd0.
.vhdmem - as for .vhd but the whole vhd file is loaded into memory (use if .vhd crashes and for faster operation once booted - obviously needs loads of memory!). E2B v1.09 and later. Use for vhd's which have a firadisk driver included.
.vhdfira - Use for VHDs which have the firadisk driver included - when Windows boots firadisk should load the vhd (v1.19+)
.zip - uses memdisk to load a zip file into memory as a floppy disk (e.g. use for dos622.zip which contains dos622.ima)
.bin - use for binary executables such as memtest86.bin
.imghd - Swaps over hd0 with hd1, the image is directly mapped if contiguous or loaded into memory if not - image is mapped as hd0
.imgmemhd, .imgmem - Swaps over hd0 with hd1 and maps the file as hd0 in memory using --mem
.imgfd, .img, .ima, .imafd, .imz, .imgmem, .imggz, .gz, .imagz, .imagzmem, .gzfd, .imamem, .imgmemfd, .imgfd - These will all cause the file to be loaded into memory and be mapped as a floppy disk image
.imgfdhd01 - loads floppy disk img file as fd0 into memory and swaps hd0 with hd1 - use for KonBoot fdd image where hd0 needs to be the internal hard disk and not the USB boot drive (E2B v1.08 and later)
For instance, if you have fred.iso and it is a BartPE XP ISO, rename the extension to fred.isomemfira and it will be loaded into memory and a firadisk floppy image will also be loaded. If you just leave it as .iso, and it is contiguous, it will be directly mapped and no firadisk floppy image will be loaded and it may BSOD!
If you want a different menu title to be used (rather than the name of the file being used in the menu), then make a new .txt file using Notepad. For example, if you have DOS622.imagzmem and you want a different title, add a new file called DOS622.txt to the same folder and add your replacement title line in the file (must start with the lower-case word 'title') - e.g.
title MS-DOS 6.22 Floppy Disk\n This boots the file DOS622.imagzmem
More extensions can be supported by editing the \_ISO\E2B\grub\QRUN.g4b grub4dos batch file and adding your own new extension section of code to the batch file. Let me know if you want me to support a new extension in the QRUN.g4b file for the next version.
Tip: If you have an ISO file which does not boot correctly, rename it to .isoask - then you can try all of these options to see if any of them will work correctly.
If you are still having problems, check the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder to see if there is a .mnu file you can use (or modify slightly). You can also ask for help on the reboot.pro forum.
Finally, if all else fails, contact me and I will try to help.
I use Oracle VM Virtual Box. I install E2B onto a USB 3.0 stick or USB HDD using RMPrepUSB and then set up a virtual machine to boot from the USB stick directly (see Tutorial 4 for details on how to do this). Booting to E2B in this way takes just 1 second or so! Also, most linux ISOs seem to boot OK as the 'partnew' trick seems to work. I use DavidB's Virtual Machine USB Boot application - this allows full rd/wr access to the E2B USB drive under VBox - something that was not possible before!
If you only have slow USB 2.0 USB sticks, use a USB hard disk instead (for testing the menu system only!).
Even using Virtual Box and DavidB's USB Boot application, some payload files/ISOs may not boot successfully. Always test on real hardware - never assume that if it doesn't work on a VM, then it won't work on real system!
Having said that, most linux ISOs will boot successfully using Oracle Virtual Box from an Easy2Boot USB Flash drive (usind DavidB's VM USB Boot app) and I can install XP to a virtual drive using the XP STEP 1/STEP 2 menu of Easy2Boot when booting from a USB Flash drive under Oracle Virtual Box (with VT acceleration disabled for Step 1). Windows Vista/7/8 Install ISOs will not work under a VM as the USB Flash drive will be seen as a USB Fixed disk and so the \AutoUnattend.xml file will not be seen!
Several alternative 'theme templates' are included with E2B (Aliums, Blue, Jolene, TextMinimal and lastly GFXMenu) - you can check these out by copying the two files in one of the Template folders at \_ISO\docs\Sample E2B Templates\xxxx to the \_ISO folder and then boot from the USB drive to see what each looks like (you can use RMPrepUSB QEMU or Oracle Virtual Box to check the appearance or boot from a real system). Note that the GFXMenu has some limitations and requires extra .mnu files to be added to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder from the \_ISO\docs folder.
To restore the default E2B menu, just delete the MyE2B.cfg file from the \_ISO folder.
Making changes to E2B
To change the E2B menu, look in the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg for details of the configuration options available (these are always updated with each new version).
\_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg contains many configurable settings - rename this to MyE2B.cfg to make your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
The recommended way to change Easy2Boot menus and settings is to use your own copy of E2B.cfg (which must be named /_ISO/MyE2B.cfg). This file can contain the settings for menu colours, background image name, menu position, some menu headings text and colours and the graphics mode. MyE2B.cfg is NOT contained in the Easy2Boot download and so it will not be overwritten if you update your Easy2Boot installation.
WARNING: Do NOT edit or copy the \_ISO\E2B\grub\menu.lst or \_ISO\E2B\grub\E2B.cfg files!
Click on the picture to enlarge it.
This shows the HEADING and HELPTEXT positions (as defined in your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file).
The 'title help text' is the individual menu item help text - it is different for each menu item.
This text can come from a .mnu file or from a .txt file.
A few of the menu items help text is pre-defined in the E2B code. title helptext is set by 'tophelp' in MyE2B.cfg.
The help text for the Sub-Menus and F7 and F8 all come from the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZxxxxxx.mnu files.
1. Copy the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file to \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg.
2. Edit the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg - this new MyE2B.cfg file will be called by Easy2Boot after \_ISO\E2B\grub\E2B.cfg has run – you can now change the new MyE2B.cfg to make changes to modify Easy2Boot's appearance and behaviour. Save the file using NotePad in UTF-8 format for full character-set language support.
You can use the QEMU button in RMPrepUSB to test your menu but it is quite slow - I recommend testing the menu appearance by using Oracle VM Virtual Box as in Tutorial 4 so that you can quickly test any changes to your menu system.
Note: After editing a file on a USB drive, you may find that the VM does not see the file change until about 30 seconds later due to delayed writes by Windows! If the change appears not to have worked, close down the VM and try again after 30 seconds.
If you have any problems, simple rename MyE2B.cfg to something else so that Easy2Boot will use the standard settings.
If you wish, you can rename \_ISO\MAINMENU\*.mnu files to anything else (ending in .mnu) and then make changes to them (any subsequent version update will write a new .mnu file which you will need to delete).
If you update Easy2Boot with a newer version - you may need to also check for changes and then update your MyE2B.cfg file by comparing it with the newer version of Sample_E2B.cfg - do not use an old .cfg file if the version has changed as you may get strange results!
There is an example of a Blue Menu MyE2B.cfg file + blue.bmp.gz background that is included with the download (in \_ISO\E2B\docs folder) which you can try (just copy the two files to the \_ISO folder):
The default background image is located at \_ISO\E2B\grub\Background.bmp.gz – this is a 800x600 24--bit colour image but it will also work if you switch to 640x480 graphics mode using GMODE=640 (see below). Do NOT change this file.
To use your own image, copy to the \_ISO folder your own mybackground.bmp or mybackground.bmp.gz file (you can compress a .bmp to a .bmp.gz using 7Zip and by selecting gzip as the compression type – this greatly reduces the file size).
Alternatively, rename the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file to \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg and change the following entries
If you have a .bmp file then change the MYWBMP= line, if you have a compressed .bmp.gz file then change the MYWBMPGZ= line. E2B will look for and use the bmp.gz file if it can be found, otherwise it will look for the .bmp file. If neither can be found it will use the default background.
If you wish to use your own bitmap (e.g. 640x480 or 800x600 or 1024x768) please ensure that the .bmp size is exactly correct (e.g. 800x600 and not 800x599 or 799x600).
You may also need to change the
line in your MyE2B.cfg file if the bitmap that you use is not 800x600. Note that 640x480 and 800x600 bitmaps are automatically supported by Easy2Boot as long as you also set the GMODE value - the menu size and help text position will be re-calculated for you (there are some extra lines of code added to the MyE2B.cfg file which do this). I strongly recommend you do not use higher than 800x600 as not all systems can support these higher resolutions (e.g. early netbooks).
You can specify any name for the image file in \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file - it does not have to be "mybackground.bmp.gz".
Tip: Choose a bitmap that has a clear area at the bottom so that help text is easily visible. Avoid a multi-coloured, high-contrast picture (e.g. lots of different bright colours and dark blacks) as it will be difficult to choose a text colour that will stand out against all of the colours in your picture! Another idea is to use a bitmap editor and draw a filled rectangle over the picture so that the menu can be displayed within the rectangle. You can also add any other items (e.g. your name or company name or company logo) to the bitmap.
You can use the settings in MyE2B.cfg to change the menu position and the menu size, text and border colours.
You can, of course, make a plain single colour 800x600 bitmap for the background.
If you do not want a fancy picture (which may take a second or two to load) but prefer to use the standard grub4dos text mode - edit your MyE2B.cfg file as follows:
You can set the colours in the usual way but you can also specify background colours as well as foreground colours when in text mode - e.g.
specify a light grey menu background using the following menu as MyE2B.cfg...
# set bottom text position 24 lines per screen (note: help text disappears when a user presses a cursor key)
# set colour for heading
# set colour for footer
# set text colours
Standard grub4dos supports the US keyboard layout. If you are entering text using the keyboard, you may need to change the keyboard layout mapping.
To do this, simply make a MyE2B.cfg file (see above) and specify one of the KBD_xxx.g4b files in the \_ISO\E2B\grub folder. e.g.
If you have any .mnu files, these will be listed depending on the name of the .mnu file itself (not the payload file or title which is used inside the .mnu file). If you have Ubuntu.mnu it will therefore be listed after dplite.mnu. To change the order, simply rename ubuntu.mnu to $ubuntu.mnu.
Note that folders will also be searched alphabetically. If you have:
MENU will be:
note that the menu entry for PassPass will be listed after the menu entry for Ubuntu because .\Ubuntu.mnu alphabetically precedes .\Utility. If you want PassPass to be listed before Ubuntu, rename Ubuntu.mnu to ZUbuntu.mnu.
If you have a lot of ISO files, you don't want to change the filenames and you want to fix their order in the menu, then put them in sub-folders with a .txt file for each one, e.g.:
The entries will be listed in the DIRECT BOOT Menu and using folders like this only works for the special AUTO folder.
If you later want to add an entry in between these two, create a \_ISO\AUTO\A1\ folder. The entries will be listed in alphabetical order of both the files and folders.
If you do not want to change the ISO filenames but want to change their order in the Main menu (or one of the other sub-menus), then you will need to use .mnu files for each one and place them all in a sub-folder - e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU.
The menu entries will be listed alphabetically according to the filenames of the .mnu files. The .mnu files should be of the following format:
You can also change the name of the sub-menu folder or create new 3rd level folders. See my blog here for details.
Note that E2B has several \_ISO\MainMenu\ZZSubMenuxxx.mnu pre-defined menu files. As these begin with 'ZZSub' these menu entries will be listed alphabetically and so will be listed at the end of all other menu items. If you want the sub-menu entries listed first in the Main menu, rename the ZZSubMenuxxxxx.mnu files to $ZZSubMenuxxxx.mnu.
set HEADING=\x20 EASY2BOOT V1 - MAIN MENU \x20
can be changed to
set HEADING=\x20 STEVE’s (sehr güt!) MAIN MENU \x20
Tip: \x20 is the code for a space character and must be used at the start of the line to add padding.
The very bottom help text can also be changed (displayed on most menus):
Different headings for each of the sub-menus are defined in each individual ZZSubMenuXXX.mnu file.
# at the start of a line is used to comment out the line.
Tip: Using NotePad you can save the MyE2B.cfg file as UTF-8 unicode. You can then add text (menu headings, etc.) using the character set of your language (e.g. chinese glyphs, etc. )
set HEADING=\x20 (重启) € á¡ü test UTF-8
Alternatively, you can specify the colours in text/background pairs and use black for a transparent background: e.g.
You can also use a full 24-bit colour value 0xrrggbb - e.g. color border=0xFF3377 (be aware that using 0xrrggbb always sets a black\transparent background). Values must be > 0xff.
You can also change the colour of the Menu Heading by changing the
line in the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file (read the text in MyE2B.cfg for an explanation of what the numbers mean).
FCOLOUR changes the bottom footer help text colour.
To remove the border set the border width to 0 (e.g. set bdwidth=0).
To change the main menu bottom message, change the HELPTEXT setting in\_ISO\MyE2B.cfg (or just use \x20 to remove it completely), two examples are:
set HELPTEXT=Please select an item using the cursor keys or press a number key
HBTM is used to change the position of the bottom help text that is used in all menus.
Note: You cannot easily suppress or hide the individual menu item help text displayed at the bottom of the menu border (the text that changes when you highlight each menu entry with the cursor keys). If you wish to hide all the menu item help text then it is easiest to make the colour of the help text exactly match the menu background as follows:
here for an example of what you might see as E2B runs).
E2B version 1.05 and later versions allow you to suppress the E2B menu file enumeration messages. To do this add this line to your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file:-
If you also want to suppress the early E2B startup messages (not recommended as they may be useful on systems with bad BIOSes) then add this line too:
See the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file on the E2B drive (bottom of file) for an example of these two lines (note there is a space between the > and nul text).
You can hide the (initial) cursor by adding this line to the top of your MyE2B.cfg
You can use the examples in the Sample_MyE2B.cfg file to change the behaviour on startup, for instance to just have a blank screen right up until the Main menu is displayed use this in your MyE2B.cfg file:
call Fn.70 0 ;; clear ;; call Fn.5 0 128 ;; set redirp=> nul ;; set redir=> nul
If you want to blank out the grub4dos boot/startup messages to make your Easy2Boot USB drive look more professional when it boots, please do the following:
1. Boot up the Easy2Boot USB flash drive on a real system (not a VM or under QEMU unless writes work or the patch may not take effect!)
2. Press C to get to the grub4dos console - if nothing happens press P and enter the password (e.g. easy2boot), then press C
3. At the grub4dos console. type /_ISO/docs/patchme - this will patch the flash drive boot sectors and the grldr file on the E2B USB drive. You can also choose to remove the GRUB4DOS version header which is briefly displayed when a each new menu is loaded and when you go to the console command shell (though if you do you won't be able to see what version you are using!).
4. Hit a key to reboot when prompted.
Note that if you re-install grub4dos to the USB drive or overwrite the grldr file, you will need to run patchme again.
Easy2Boot v1.19 and later is written in (UK) English. To translate the English text to your own language...
Typically, text is output by 'title', 'iftitle', 'pause' or 'echo' commands in the grub4dos code.
With some extra work, you could even have multiple language support and allow the user to select which language they prefer - see my blog for more details.
For .mnu files, I suggest you do not edit the E2B .mnu files but make a new copy with a different name and edit that - so that if you update E2B with a newer version, you simply need to delete the standard E2B .mnu files again. Save your .mnu file as a UTF-8 file (using Windows NotePad) if you use special characters such as...
Tip: An easy way to translate the files to your own language is to use WinMerge as follows:
Now you can double-click on any file and WinMerge will open one file in a left pane and the other in a right pane.
You can now edit the words in the 'Spanish' pane whilst keeping the 'English' file unchanged. Click the small cross in the top right to save changes and go back to the main file/folder view. Now you can see which files you have already changed.
(click to enlarge)
v1.18 and later only - You can change the font used for the menu text by setting the FONT variable in the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file (rename the Sample_MyE2B.cfg file to MyE2B.cfg).
Please note that you cannot change the size (it must use an 8x8 or 8x16 dot matrix for each character). See my blog for details.
The Aliums Theme in \_ISO\docs\Sample E2B Templates\Aliums demonstrates using an Antique font for the menus.
If you want to use the BIOS font for normal ASCII characters but also want the unifont font (for chinese characters or the £ sign, etc.) then use 'set BIOSFONT=1' in your MyE2B.cfg file.
Various alternate font files for just the ASCII characters 32-127 are available in the \_ISO\docs\Fonts folder. If you want to see what these fonts look like when used with your E2B menu, add the file $FontTest.mnu to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
Alternatively, you can run the grub4dos ShowFonts.g4b batch file from the grub4dos command line to display a sample line in each font. The Windows batch file MakeShowFonts.cmd generates this file from all the fonts available in the same folder. If you make your own fonts, add them to the folder on your E2B drive and run MakeShowFonts from Windows to generate a new ShowFonts.g4b file.
You can make your own font file as follows:
1. Use the RasterFontEditor.exe program to load a font file - see here for the program and where to obtain extra font files.
e.g. In rasterFontEditor, use File - Import From TTF - select a non-TrueType font from the list (scroll up)
2. Save the font using File - Save Font As... Text Files (*.txt) - .txt is the HEX format we need.
3. Drag and drop the .txt font file onto Wonko's Fonttxt2uni.cmd file (extracted from Font_Bitmap.7z) - this will make a .uni font file
4. Try the font out in Easy2Boot (e.g. load the E2B main menu, go to the command prompt, type font and then type font /myfont.uni to load your new font and press ESC to get back to the E2B menu)
5. Edit the file in Notepad and delete all lines for characters 0000-001F and 007F-00FF. Also delete any blank lines if the data is just a long line of 000000000's.
6. If you wish you can use 7Zip to compress the .uni file using GZip to a .uni.gz file
Note: the default password to gain access to grub4dos is 'easy2boot'. This is set by the E2B.cfg file. When in a E2B menu, press P and you will be prompted for the password.
If no password was set or once the password has been entered, then a user can edit any of the Easy2Boot menu entries by pressing 'e' or the user could reach the grub4dos command line by pressing 'c'.
If a user presses 'e' or 'c' by accident, they might not understand what has happened or know how to get back to the menu again and you may not want them to access the USB drive in this way, so I set a default password to prevent this.
You can set or change or remove the password as follows:
1. Copy the \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg to \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg
2. Change the password line in \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg - base it on one of the three examples below:
# this will set a pasword of easy2boot (encrypted so the used won't know what it is!)
3. Save the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
If you want to use a different password, then you can either use a plain, unencrypted password, e.g.
or you can use an MD5 hashed password so that if the user looks at the MyE2B.cfg file, he will not know what the password is (in this example it is 'mypwd'), e.g.
set pwd=--md5 $1$4$tsiiC/23IOf0pifS.6ttc.
To find the MD5 password for any word, you can download the md5crypt program from here and generate your MD5 hash code.
Run the md5crypt.exe program, type in a password (e.g. mypwd) and then cut and paste the md5 hash into your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file.
Note that the value of pwd should start with --md5 (two minus signs followed by md5 and then a space).
You can set a master password by uncommenting a few lines in the MyE2B.cfg file, e.g.:
OR (use an encrypted password and reboot if the user gets it wrong):
This prevents Easy2Boot from running unless the user knows the master password.
When the Main Menu loads, you can make E2B beep to signal that it is ready. This is useful if the menu takes a long time to load as it will tell you when it is ready. 1, 2 or 3 beeps only are supported. The computer must have an internal speaker fitted (many notebooks don't!). To the MyE2B.cfg file add:
The following instructions can be used to make any number of additional sub-menu entries in the Main menu (e.g. Diagnostics Menu, Special Menu, MSDart Menu, etc.).
Easy2Boot has several sub-menu folders already pre-defined (e.g. ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, etc).
Let us say you have some ISOs which you often use to make a backup, and you also have an ISO (ping.iso) which you use to make an automated backup, but it requires some special commands, and hence it requires a .mnu folder. And let us suppose that you want all of these in a folder called SPECIAL and want a menu entry in the Main menu called SPECIAL for this folder . e.g.
1. Copy the existing ZZSubMenuDos.mnu file in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder and rename it to \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZSubMenuSpecial.mnu
2. Edit the ZZSubMenuSpecial.mnu file in NotePad and change the first few lines to your own text and own folder name, e.g. change this...
Note: The original title line defined a hotkey using ^Ctrl+D and the [Ctrl+D] text indicates to the user that there is a hotkey assigned to this menu entry. You can add and change these two parts of text if you want to use a hotkey for your menu item. Note that GFXBoot Menus do not support hotkeys.
4. Create a new folder at \_ISO\SPECIAL
5. Now place your ISO files, etc. in this folder. If you have .mnu files you can place these in the same folder or any sub-folder that you make. For instance, if you want to use an Ubuntu.mnu file and Ubuntu.ISO file, place both of these in \_ISO\SPECIAL\MNU folder (if the .mnu file is expecting the ISO to be in %MFOLDER%\MNU or $HOME$).
You can repeat these instructions for any other folder you want to create.
If the heading at the top of the menu is not aligned correctly, make sure it is padded with enough spaces in the HDG variable.
You can also have sub-sub-menus. For instance, copy your ZZSubMenuSpecial.mnu file to your \_ISO\SPECIAL folder and rename it to ZZSubMenuSPECIAL_USEFUL.mnu and edit it as follows:
iftitle [ls (bd)/_ISO/SPECIAL_USEFUL/ > nul] ^U SPECIAL USEFUL TOOLS Menu [U]\n My useful backup tools
Now create a folder call \_ISO\SPECIAL_USEFUL and put any ISO files or .mnu files under there. Do NOT create sub-folders for sub-menus under the \_ISO\SPECIAL folder!
Your SPECIAL menu will now have a new menu entry in it called SPECIAL USEFUL TOOLS Menu with a hotkey of U.
You can use another .mnu file to add a menu entry to go back to the previous menu - see \_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST\ZZBackTo_Utils.mnu for an example.
If you want to add a Main menu entry to install a specific Windows Vista\7\8 ISO directly from the Main menu (to save having to go to the Windows menu and then the Windows 7 menu), you can add a .mnu file to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder. Use the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\$$AddWin2Main.mnu file as a template and change the Win7/Win8 entries or add to them as required.
You can add or delete entries or make small .mnu files for each Windows ISO.
Menu entries will be arranged alphabetically according to their filenames, so change the name to ZZZZZZ.mnu if you want it added last in the Main menu. You can also add a hotkey for each one by adding it to the title line (search this page for 'hotkey').
$$AddWin2Main.mnu also contains entries for XP install ISO menu entries and the XP PE install menu entry. You can delete any menu entries that you don't want.
If you want to have individual Main menu entries for each of your XP Install ISOs, e.g. XP Home 32-bit and XP Pro 32-bit, use the XP_Inst_from_MainMenu.mnu sample menu in the docs\Sample mnu files folder, copy it to \_ISO\MAINMENU and change 'XPISO' entry to match your ISO filename.
To prevent a Windows XP/Vista/7/8 sub-sub-menu from loading the Windows Install sub-menu, use this setting in your MyE2B.cfg file (v1.14 and later):
Empty folders will not be listed in the Main menu, so just ensure that these folders (e.g. \_ISO\DOS, \_ISO\BACKUP and \_ISO\UTILITIES) are completely empty of any files or folders.
For instance, if you have an ISO file at \_ISO\MAINMENU\LinuxTails_x86_2012_11_02.iso, it will be displayed in the main menu just as the filename+extension:
However, if you also specify an alternative title in a .txt file of the same name and in the same folder, then that title will be used instead (note the line of text in the .txt file must start with lowercase grub4dos command title)
where \_ISO\MAINMENU\LinuxTails_x86_2012_11_02.txt could contain the text :
title ^T Tails 2 Nov 2012 (32-bit) [T]\n Press ENTER to launch the GUI once it has booted\nPassword is toor
A hotkey of T has been defined for this entry. If you don't want a hotkey or if you use a GFXBoot Menu, omit the ^T characters. See below for more details about hotkeys.
Text that follows \n will appear as help text at the bottom of the menu list when the item is selected. Any more \n's on the line will start a new line of help text. Use just \n after the title text to suppress the standard grub4dos help text (which may not be aligned correctly).
Note that if you delete the payload file (e.g. linux.iso) you do not need to delete the .txt file - it will just be ignored if the corresponding payload file is missing.
If you don't want any menu entry help text under the menu when you select the menu entry, then to suppress the standard menu entry help message from grub4dos, just use \n after the title -
e.g. title ^T Tails 2 Nov 2012 (32-bit) [T]\n - or - title Tails 2 Nov 2012 (32-bit) \n
Note: the text in a .txt file must start with the lower-case word title or iftitle or you will see errors reported by E2B as it boots.
Tip: Save the .txt file as UTF-8 using NotePad and any special characters such as ü will be displayed correctly.
You can use a drag-and-drop 'auto-generate' Windows utility to help you make .txt and .mnu files - look in the \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities folder and see my blog post here.
As soon as the user presses a hotkey (e.g. presses the T key), the menu entry with a T hotkey assigned will immediately run (they don't need to press Enter).
Avoid using P, C, E or B for hotkeys as these are used by grub4dos for password entry and editing, etc. You can use Ctrl+B or Alt+C or Shift+D, etc. instead.
When you use a title command (e.g. in .mnu and .txt files), you can also specify a hotkey, e.g.
Will be displayed as:
Tails linux ISO [Ctrl+T]
You use the up-arrow symbol to specify a non-displayed hotkey.
Alternatively, you can use square brackets at the beginning of the title to define a hotkey - in which case the square brackets and the hotkey character(s) will be displayed in the menu, e.g.
title [T] Tails linux ISO\nPress T to boot to Tails
Will be displayed in the menu as
You can use numbers (best avoided as menu items can be selected by entering their number too!) or letters for a hotkey, as well as F1, F2, etc and Ctrl+F1 (e.g. ^Ctrl+F5). Hotkeys are not case sensitive, you can't have ^t and ^T.
You can also use iftitle - e.g.
GFXBoot Menus do not understand this hotkey notation (and may even cause GFXBoot to crash!), so if you are using a GFXBoot Menu, you must copy the ZZGFXSubMenuxxxx.mnu files from the \_ISO\docs\ZZGFXSubMenu Files folder to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder (you can delete the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZSubMenuxxxx.mnu files if you are only using GFXMenu as they will not be used).
In E2B version 1.13 and later you can define global hotkeys in your MyE2B.cfg file. See the Sample_MyE2B.cfg file for examples.
These hotkeys do not use a menu entry and so are invisible to the user. If you want the user to know what they are, add text to the HELPTEXT variable or to your background bitmap. The hotkeys that you define will be active for all the menus. See \_ISO\docs\Sample E2B Templates\TextMinimal\MyE2B.cfg for an example.
You could edit the \_ISO\e2b\grub\ENG\MenuFastLoad.hdr file (copy the whole ENG folder to another folder and change the LANG variable in MyE2B.cfg to match) to add a hotkey to the title line, but a better solution is to edit a global hotkey as follows:
In your MyE2B.cfg file add (v1.14 and later):
If you press CTRL+R in any menu, it will reload the Main menu and re-enumerate all payload files and make a new cache of the Main menu.
The Main menu entry is caused by the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZZF7BootHdd.mnu file. Remove it if you don't want it in the Main menu.
You should rename and then edit this file to alter the F7 entry in the Main menu, For instance, to make it invisible (but still occupy a blank line in the menu), change the first line to:
Note that if you delete the .mnu file, the hotkey will no longer work and the menu entry will be removed. You can define a Global hotkey for F7 in the MyE2B.cfg file, if you wish.
To remove the entry from all other the other sub-menus use set NOF7HD=0 in the MyE2B.cfg file.
This entry is caused by the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZZF8ReloadMenu.mnu file. You can rename and edit this file to alter the F8 entry in the Main menu. For instance, to make it invisible (but still occupy a blank line in the menu), change the first line to:
iftitle [if "%GFX%"==""] ^F8 \n
Note that if you delete the .mnu file, the hotkey will no longer work unless you specify a global hotkey in your MyE2B.cfg file.
To remove the entry from the Windows Install menu use set NOF8B=0 in your MyE2B.cfg file.
Note: You can add your own 'Back to Main Menu' into any menu by adding a Reload.mnu file into the \_ISO\xxx folder. To load the Main Menu quickly, use the cached version held in memory at (md)0xa000:
Use set NOF9R=1 in your MyE2B.cfg file (v1.11 and later). Change the HELPTEXT setting in MyE2B.cfg too.
Use set NOF10H=1 in your MyE2B.cfg file (v1.11 and later). Change the HELPTEXT setting in MyE2B.cfg too.
Menu entries are alphabetically sorted. To add a blank line (separator) in the Main menu between say Acronis.iso and Backtrack5.iso, for instance, create a file at \_ISO\MAINMENU\AZSeparator.mnu:
You can have as many of these files as you like, but note that each menu item will be counted by grub4dos, so when you set a default menu item (using menu 0) then you must also count these blank lines even though they are not numbered. The small number at the top right of the menu box actually indicates the menu number you need to use when setting a menu default (may not always be visible).
1. Make a new file \_ISO\MAINMENU\$$$JumpToWinMenu.mnu
2. To \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg add:
3. (optional) Delete all ZZxxxxxxx.mnu files in \_ISO\MAINMENU as these won't be used.
to the root Easy2Boot folder (i.e. \FASTLOAD.YES). This will cause the Main menu to be cached for a quicker boot the next time.
The main menu is normally built up in memory on booting and it enumerates (detects) all the files under the \_ISO folder - this can take some time if you have lots of files. If FASTLOAD is enabled, this menu is copied (cached) to the FASTLOAD.MNU file. On the next boot, if \FASTLOAD.YES is present, the FASTLOAD.MNU file will be loaded as the main menu instead of Easy2Boot needing to re-detect all the payload files again and building a new menu in memory.
When Easy2Boot is in FASTLOAD mode, and if you then change the contents of the USB drive, you need to use the REFRESH option to update the cached copy of the menu so that the Main menu will be updated with the new contents.Fig. 4 Use this option if you change the contents of the Easy2Boot drive
Note: For Information only: The FASTLOAD.YES file must be at least 1K in size or larger - otherwise it won't work if it is on an NTFS partition. If it contains the word REFRESH then Easy2Boot will build a new menu in memory and write it to the FASTLOAD.MNU file and then remove the word REFRESH from the FASTLOAD.YES file so that on the next boot, Easy2Boot will use the contents of the FASTLOAD.MNU file as the Main menu. When you choose the REFRESH menu option, it writes the word REFRESH to the \FASTLOAD.YES file and re-runs menu.lst to restart Easy2Boot.
Note that you can edit the FASTLOAD.MNU file to change the Main menu order or contents to whatever you like (just don't 'Refresh' the menu or you will lose the changes!).
You can add a hotkey for the REFRESH FASTLOAD menu entry - see here for details.
E2B enumerates files and displays progress information as it starts up. Displaying text messages and scrolling of the screen can delay things by a second or two on some systems. To disable these messages, add the following to your \_ISO\MYE2B.cfg file:
If you also want to suppress the initial E2B startup messages (not recommended), use:
Easy2Boot counts all .iso files under the \_ISO\Windows folder during startup. If you have a lots of files under \_ISO\Windows, this may take several seconds.
If you do not want to enable FastLoad, then you can speed up the Windows folder enumeration by presetting (hard coding) the number of Windows ISOs that you have.
The following procedure is NOT RECOMMENDED as it will alter an Easy2Boot file and a later E2B update will overwrite the file.
Edit the \_ISO\E2B\grub\CountFiles.g4b file as below (choose numbers to fit the number of files you have in each folder):
If you set a value to 0 then the menu item will not be listed - e.g. if CXP=0 then the Install Windows XP menu will not appear.
The value that you set will appear next to each menu item e.g. (9 present). CALL must be set to a number greater than 0 or the main Install Windows menu will not be listed.
If you do not need to use non-ASCII characters in your filenames or .mnu and .txt files, then there is no need to load the unifont.hex.gz 1MB font file on startup. To suppress this, edit your \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file and add a NOUNIFONT=1 setting (actually any value will work!):
To use a non-graphics text mode menu, use set GFX=NONE in your MyE2B.cfg file. See the TextMinimal example in the \_ISO\docs\Sample E2B Templates folder for an example.
E2B wipes two large (100K) .xml files every time it boots by filling them with spaces.
If your USB drive is a USB HDD (not a 'Removable' Flash drive), then you can delete the \AutoUnattend.xml and \Unattend.xml files from the E2B USB HDD - this will save some time on every boot. These .xml files are not used if you are booting from a USB HDD.
If you are not going to use the Install XP via WinPE feature, or install Vista/7/8/SVR2012 from Windows Install ISOs or use .isoPE or .isoPE01 files (e.g. you only want to boot linux ISOs using E2B) then you can delete these two .xml files even if your Easy2Boot USB drive is a USB Flash drive.
If however, your E2B USB drive is a flash drive and you want to boot 'Windows things' then leave them alone!
Keep the number of files in \_ISO\MAINMENU and sub-folders below it to a minimum, place the other payload files in sub-menu folders, e.g. \_ISO\UTILITIES or \_ISO\AUTO. Remove any payload files that you don't need or use This will cause the Main menu to be displayed faster.
Remove any unnecessary files in the \_ISO\XXXXXX folders. The E2B dummy 'help' files (e.g. 'Place TXT files here with alternative titles' and '.\MNU\Place .mnu files and their payload files here.txt') can be deleted safely.
Delete any of the ZZSubMenuxxxx.mnu files in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder that you don't need. For instance, if you don't use the \_ISO\WINPE folder then delete \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZSubMenuWinPE.mnu.
It may make a small difference if you compress some of the files (search for LZMA.zip on this page for details). Try compressing the menu.lst, E2B.cfg and all .g4b files in the \_ISO\e2b\grub folder. Don't compress payload files!
only for people who want to make a new .mnu file for a new ISO file (or any type of payload file). This is normally not necessary unless the normal Easy2Boot automatic process needs some special additional commands. There are many working examples in the \_ISO\E2B\docs\Sample mnu files folder.
A .mnu file just contains valid grub4dos menu entries and comment lines. They are added to E2B's own menu which is held in memory.
1. Create a file in the same folder as your ISO file and name it the same as the 'payload' file but with a .mnu extension (it actually can be of any name but it just makes sense to match the name to the payload file).
For instance, if it is for YLMF linux and the ISO file is called Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso then name the file Ylmf_OS_3.0.mnu and place both files in the \_ISO\MainMenu\MNU folder or the \_ISO\LINUX\MNU folder.
You can have more than one menu entry in the same .mnu file or you can have more than one mnu file for the same ISO (perhaps there is more than one way to boot the ISO?).
e.g. files are:
4. Edit the .mnu file by adding some information for the user as comment lines - the easiest way to explain this is to see a before and after file:
menu.lst example taken from this site (before changing to .mnu format)...
iftitle [if exist /_ISO/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso] Boot YlmF 3.0 (Windows Like OS) Non-Persistent\nThis OS boots directly from the ISO file at /_ISO/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso
find --set-root /_ISO/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso
The converted Ylmf_OS_3.0.mnu file...
# Download ISO file from http://www.ylmf.org/en/download.html
iftitle [if exist %MFOLDER%/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso] Boot YlmF 3.0 (Windows Like OS) Non-Persistent\nThis OS boots directly from the ISO file at %MFOLDER%/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso
Note that a few lines of comments (starting with #) have been added to indicate where to get the source file and the MD5 or SHA1 hash values have been added so the user can check this.
The other thing to note is that %MFOLDER% is used for the top level folder. This will be set automatically to /_ISO/XXXX if the .mnu file is placed in that folder or under it, e.g. MFOLDER=/_ISO/MAINMENU if the .mnu file is placed in the \_ISO\MainMenu\Linux folder. The variable MFOLDER is set automatically by Easy2Boot to the 'mother' 2nd-level folder.
Note that as the .mnu file specifies %MFOLDER%\Linux, we must place the ISO file in a Linux sub-folder or the menu entry will not be listed (because iftitle looks for the file in %MFOLDER%\Linux - e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\Linux).
New feature (v1.25+) - in .mnu files, you can use $HOME$ instead of %MFOLDER%/xxx. For instance, in the above YLMF example, use $HOME$/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso instead of %MFOLDER%/Linux/Ylmf_OS_3.0.iso. When $HOME$ is found in a .mnu file, it will be translated to the folder path that the .mnu file is in. This means you don't have to specify the sub-folder and the .mnu file can be moved to any sub-folder you like. Read my blog here for more details.
Also note that for Linux we MUST get the case correct - I use Linux for most .mnu files not LINUX or linux!
Tip: If you use a non-ANSI character set, don't forget to save the file as UTF-8 format!
5. Boot the USB drive (use the QEMU button in RMPrepUSB for a quick check) and ensure that the menu entry is listed and at least starts to boot. if not check the paths you use in the .mnu and check for upper/lower-case letters.
6. Finally check that it works on a real system (or several real systems!).
Note: .mnu filenames can have spaces in them and do work but try to avoid filenames with spaces in them if possible.
If the original ISO file has spaces when downloaded, then you will need to use "\ " in the menu for each space character, e.g. for "My Big ISO.iso" you need to use, for example:
iftitle [if exist %MFOLDER%/MNU/My\ Big\ Iso.iso] Run My Big ISO.iso
map %MFOLDER%/MNU/My\ Big\ Iso.iso (0xff)
7. The User Instructions should be along the lines of:
Note that the .mnu files can be anywhere under the main (MFOLDER) folder - they do not have to be in the same folder as the ISO (payload) files. However, the .mnu files MUST be under the MFOLDER in order to be detected. If your .mnu file contains %MFOLDER% paths, then the main payload file must also be under the main MFOLDER. Also, the .mnu file does not have to contain the %MFOLDER% path reference - you can hard-code the path (e.g. /boot/bootmgr) in your .mnu file, but you must tell the user that they can only place the payload files in those specific folders on the Easy2Boot USB drive. Better still use $HOME$ in the .mnu file (see above).
Always use iftitle rather than just title if at all possible to avoid misleading the user - when using iftitle with if exist - if the payload iso does not exist or is not in the correct folder, then no menu will be displayed for that file.
Menu titles can also be assigned a hotkey. See the hotkey section above for details.
Why not send me your .mnu files and I will add it the downloads at the bottom of this page or to the Easy2Boot Sample folder for others to use and enjoy (put your name in them for perpetual fame)!
You can create a .mnu file in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder to have the Windows 7 install entry listed in the Main Menu, instead of needing to select 'Install Windows' from the Main menu and then select 'Install Window 7'. The first menu below is for a GFXBoot Menu system, the 2nd one is for non-GFXMenu (normal) E2B systems. If you don't use GFXBoot Menu's then just use the 2nd menu. The .mnu file you make can be any name you like (it will be alphabetically listed in the Main menu). C7 is the count of the number of ISOs in the WIN7 folder.
These menu entries can be found in the \_ISO\e2b\grub\ENG\MenuWinInstall.lst file. You can copy any of them to make your own .mnu file in the MAINMENU folder if you wish.
For ISOs based on Windows XP, try a file extension of .isofira.
Many builds of WinBuilder, have a special feature which will load the ISO file automatically as drive Y: on boot if an .INI file is found
For example, if you have a recent WinBuilder Win7PESE .ISO file, just add a file in the root of the E2B drive called Win7PESE.ini with the path and filename of you ISO you are using - e.g.
The filename may vary depending of what PE build you are using.
If you have multiple Win7PESE ISOs, then the above method will not work. In this case:
1. Ensure there is no \Win7PESE.ini file or CdUSB.y file in the root of any drive
2. Copy your WinPE ISO file to the root of you E2B drive - e.g. U:\ - do NOT rename the ISO file
3. Copy the WinBuilder_ISO.mnu file to an E2B menu folder (e.g. U:\_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU)
4. Rename and edit the .mnu file (any name xxxxxxx.mnu will work!) to contain the correct ISO name of your WinBuilder PE ISO. Delete the menu entry that is not required.
Repeat these steps for each WinBuilder ISO. Note that the second menu requires an E2B USB Flash drive (or an E2B USB HDD+USB Flash 'Helper' drive).
If you are using WinFE (see here for how to make a WinFE ISO), in order to get PStart to work correctly, you will need to Mount it using the WinFE Write Protect Tool that will automatically be run on startup (it can be mounted as ReadOnly or Read\Write).
If you want the ISOs to be located in \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU then you will need to specify the path in the WinBuilder - Finals - Create ISO parameters before you click on the Play arrow, as shown below:
The ISO (WinFESS.ISO in this case) must be placed in the \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU
The path in the .mnu file must also be changed.
Alternatively, E2B recognises a special file extension of .isoPE and .isoPE01. These can be used for WinPE v2 (Vista), v3 (Win7) and v4 (Win8) based .iso files. If you use the .isoPE file extension AND the E2B boot drive is a USB Flash drive (or you have a 'Helper' USB flash drive), then when wpeinit runs to initialise the network when the WinPE ISO boots, the WinPE ISO file will be mounted as a virtual DVD drive and given the letter Y: by default. This means that for WinPE (e.g. WinBuilder) projects, you can boot directly from a .isoPE file and the auxilliary files which the WinPE environment expects to find on the Y: DVD drive, will be present on the Y: drive. Thus the PStart menu items, etc. should work as if it had booted from a DVD.
If you wish to have the ISO load as a different drive letter, then you need to make a new file with the same filename as the ISO but with a .cmd file extension (in the same folder as the .isoPE file).
e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\PE3x86.cmd if the iso was at \_ISO\MAINMENU\PE3x86.isoPE01
The .cmd file should contain a line similar to the one below:
In this way, you do not need to remember what drive letter each different ISO uses, once you have made the .cmd files for each of your WinPE ISO files.
If you require a .cmd file to be run some operations after the ISO has been mounted but before PE has fully loaded (e.g. to copy files, etc.), you can define a POSTCMD variable, e.g. if the ISO was called \_ISO\WINPE\Winpe\123.iso, then here are 4 different examples of what could be in your 123.cmd file:
For WinBuilder PE ISOs, you can force it to load the Desktop icons by having a .cmd file on the E2B drive containing the correct commands - e.g.
The .isoPE01 file extension has the same affect as the .isoPE extension, except that it swaps over the USB boot drive 0 with drive 1 (the internal HDD) before booting to the ISO (BIOS swap only). This may be useful for running WinPE ISOs that normally contain recovery software which expects HD0 to be the 'system' HDD.
This functionality is in v1.07Beta03 and later versions.
for /f "skip=1 delims=" %%i in ('wmic cdrom get drive') do set letter=%%i && goto :end
Thanks to (NF) for this example.
Note: If you also add a .txt file for each ISO, then you can change the menu text displayed for each file.
If you set the ISOASK variable to 1 in E2B however, E2B will always ask the user how to boot every .iso file (just as if the iso file had a .isoask extension). To do this, edit the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file and add the line
to the end of the file (see \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg - bottom of file). This is only supported in v1.07Beta03 and later versions.
Note: If you set the file extension to .isodd then you will not be asked and E2B will boot from the .isodd file just the same as if it was a .iso file.
Another alternative (v1.07 and later) is to create a .mnu file for each iso file that requires a different extension for E2B. For instance, if you have a Hirens iso file and you want to run it with the .isowinvh file extension in E2B, but leave the hirens iso file with a .iso extension on the E2B drive, use this .mnu text:
Note: In this example, the .iso file and .mnu file should be in a \_ISO\xxxx\Utility folder (e.g. \_ISO\UTILITIES\Utility or \_ISO\MAINMENU\Utility).
The force.isowinvh is a dummy filename (any filename will do!) + extension. Whatever extension is specified in this first dummy parameter will be used to run the .iso file that is specified in the second parameter. So in this case, the Hirens .iso file will be run by E2B as if it had a .isowinvh file extension.
Easy2Boot can use a GFXBoot Menu. A sample GFXMenu 'message' file is included in the download (\_ISO\docs\Sample E2B Templates\GFXMenu folder) together with a MyE2B.cfg file. Just copy these to the \_ISO folder to test them out. You can make you own GFXMenu (which has to be compiled each time you change it) by following Tutorial 21 here.
Your GFXMenu file must be in the /_ISO folder and you must specify the name in your MyE2B.cfg file, e.g.
This is the sample GFXBoot Menu message file included in the download (with some extra ISOs added).
Note that hotkeys are not supported in a GFXMenu, so you will need
to copy the ZZGFXSubMenuxxx.mnu files to the MAINMENU folder.
Using a GFXMenu has disadvantages:
You can instead try the sample GFXMenu file included in the \_ISO\docs folder in the E2B download.
If using your own compiled GFXBoot Menu menu file (e.g. message), I strongly advise you to get your USB E2B drive tested and working first, without using your GFXMenu message file - and then when it is all working correctly, try your GFXMenu. Some GFXMenus have been known to crash E2B (and display a small 'debug' box at the top left).
Do not use hotkey entries (e.g. ^P) in any of the .mnu files or .txt menu files if using GFXMenu - it may cause the menu to crash when it loads!
Please don't ask me for any help making a GFXMenu - ask reboot.pro forum members instead or look here for a tool. I will only support grub4dos menus.
GFXMenus do not understand this hotkey notation, so if you are using a GFXMenu, you must copy the ZZGFXSubMenuxxxx.mnu files from the \_ISO\docs\GFXSubMenu Files folder to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder (you can delete the \_ISO\MAINMENU\ZZSubMenuxxxx.mnu files if you are only using GFXMode). If you don't copy the ZZGFXSubMenuxxxx.mnu files, you will not see the ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, etc. folders in the Main menu!
Tip: The Windows console mode menu's will look better if you change the standard console background colour to black in MyE2B.cfg e.g. color standard=0x%black%%%lcyan%
If you want to automatically detect what system you are booting E2B on and then select the appropriate ISO file or perhaps change the parameters used to boot a linux ISO based on what graphics card is fitted, you can write a .mnu file which will identify the system or graphics card by looking for 'strings of characters' in the BIOS.
See the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\BIOS Detect and Run.mnu file for an example and read my blog here..
You can also auto-detect whether a system supports a 64-bit CPU and select the correct Windows Install ISO file accordingly (see Win7_7_Install_Auto64_32.mnu).
To boot an ordinary payload (ISO) file, use the following .mnu file (see 64Bit_Auto_Detect_ISO.mnu)
.Mnu files are simply normal grub4dos menu entries which are collected and copied by Easy2Boot into one large temporary grub4dos menu which is held in memory.
The %MFOLDER% variable is used to hold the main path (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\BACKUP, etc.) so that the .mnu file can be used under either location.
The $HOME$ keyword can be used in a .mnu file to represent the complete folder path that contains the .mnu file. It is preferable to place the .mnu file and payload file in the same folder (e.g. \_ISO\LINUX\MNU) and use $HOME$ in your .mnu files, rather than, for example, %MFOLDER%\MNU.
The file name of the .mnu file does not matter and can be changed - all .mnu files are collected by E2B. It is best to use the 'iftitle' command inside .mnu files so that the user can delete the 'payload' file and leave the .mnu file on the USB drive. The sub-folder names (e.g. MNU) which have been pre-set under these folders have no particular significance - but most .mnu files are usually designed so that the payload file should be in the same folder as the .mnu file. Look at a .mnu files in the docs folder to see how they work. Also, look in the \_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities folder for a drag-and-drop tool to help you create .mnu files.
These must go under the \_ISO\Windows folder in the correct sub-folder.
Vista and later OS Install ISOs also require an AutoUnattend.xml file to be on a removable drive (i.e. a USB Flash Drive which shows as the Removable type in RMPrepUSB). WinPE v2/3/4 picks up the AutoUnattend.xml file automatically as it searches all Removable drives for that filename as soon as it has booted.
See Tutorial 43 for more details of Vista and later OS installs.
Note: Your Windows XP Install ISO file must be in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder. If it is 64-bit Windows XP, ensure that the numbers '64' are used in it's name - this will suppress the DPMS2 feature (DPMS2 only works for 32-bit XP).
When using the 2-Step XP install option (see here for more details), don't forget to download and add the Mass Storage drivers for automatic installation to AHCI/SATA/RAID/SCSI systems - see here for details.
The following instructions only apply if DPMS2 has not been added or you are using a 64-bit XP Install ISO (with '64' in the ISO name). If you are using DPMS2 then please follow the instructions here instead of the ones below.
1. Boot from your E2B drive, press W for the Windows menu and then Alt+1 for Step 1
2. Choose from the list of XP ISOs
3. You will see some instructions about pressing F6 - on some systems pressing F6 during Windows XP Setup is not necessary. So try not pressing F6 first.
4. Continue with the text mode setup and allow the system to reboot after the copy-files stage has completed
5. Reboot back to the E2B USB drive (do NOT allow the computer to boot from the internal HDD). Select W and Alt+2 for Step 2.
6. The system should now boot from the internal HDD and continue the GUI Setup phase of the XP install. It may be necessary to confirm the loading of some drivers during this phase.
7. Once XP has been fully installed, you can delete the storage drivers which show up as errors in Device Manager and then install all drivers for your hardware in the usual way.
These installs work in a similar way to Vista/7/8 installs, but only ImDisk is used:
The grub4dos batch file \_ISO\E2B\grub\QRUN.g4b (.g4b = grub4dos batch file) is run when the menu item is selected by the user. The QRUN.g4b batch file looks at the file extension of the payload file and performs a set of grub4dos commands depending on the file extension. If the file extension is not recognised by the QRUN.g4b batch file, no action is taken (as the correct label is missing - see below).
There are code sections in QRUN.g4b which are run depending on the file extension. The most common action occurs when an ISO file is selected and the code section for .iso is shown below (simplified example):
Line 1 - The batch file label - a colon followed by the file extension. You can have more than one label so that the same commands will be run if (in this example) the extension is .isoxx or .iso.
Line 2 - The 2nd batch file label
Line 3 - This is the main reason why lots of linux ISO files can be booted. The partnew command creates a new partition entry on the boot drive (in the last table position of the 4 available on the Master Boot Record). The start sector of the partition points to the start of the ISO file (which must be contiguous). When linux boots, it searches for filesystems to mount. Linux sees the 4th partition as a CDFS filesystem and so mounts the 'ISO' as a CD/DVD. Now when linux goes on to look for more files (e.g. squashfs, etc.) it will find the files it needs on the mounted CDFS filesystem and proceed just as if it had booted from a CD/DVD. The partnew command actually writes to the MBR sector and so physically alters the MBR sector. The 4th partition table entry is checked by the main Easy2Boot menu to ensure it is empty first - if it was not empty then the 4th partition would be destroyed by this command and all data in it lost! As physical drive writes are involved, some emulators or VMs may not boot linux ISOs successfully using this technique.
Line 4 - This maps the ISO to BIOS device 255. The 2nd part of the command will never be executed as Line 3 would fail if the file was not contiguous.
Line 5 - This maps the firadisk floppy image to floppy device 0. If an XP ISO is booted, it will pick up the firadisk ramdisk driver from this floppy image. If a linux or DOS ISO is booted, it will just be ignored by the OS.
Line 6 - The BIOS mapping is hooked so that it takes affect
Line 7 - The (0xff) device is set as the root device. This has the affect of setting some CPU registers which some ISOs may require. If the root command fails, the rootnoverify is run instead.
Line 8 - This loads the ISO bootcode into memory ready to boot
Line 9 - This returns back to the grub4dos menu that originally called the QRUN.g4b batch file - the next line in the Easy2Boot menu will be 'boot'
If you wish, you can invent new file extensions (e.g. .iso_dave ) and add a new entry for it! Do not change the existing code as this will affect all files that have the same file extension, so copy new code below your :.iso_dave label and ensure it ends with 'exit'.
This partnew method for linux ISOs was originally mentioned by 'cdob' on reboot.pro, tested by me and closely followed by a loud cry of 'Eureka'!
I also discovered that you can map an ext2 file to a partition using partnew, so that linux will find and mount the ext2 file and use it for persistence (e.g. casper-rw) without needing to use special cheat codes. Some .mnu files use this trick and so (hd0,2), the 3rd primary partition is used for the ext2 file. So Easy2Boot USB drives require both the 3rd and 4th partitition table entries to be unused. This also allows us to have multiple linux ISOs all using casper-rw as a persistent filesystem but actually using different files for the persistent file. For instance, we can use partnew (hd0,2) 0x0 /fileext2a for one ISO and partnew (hd0,2) 0x0 /fileextb for a different linux ISO (or even the same ISO but with a different persistence file!). As long as the ext2 files were created with the volume label of casper-rw (or whatever the linux version is looking for) then the linux ISO will mount the ext2 filesystem and use it.
Note that many linux editions will not automatically mount a persistent (e.g. casper-rw) file if it is on an NTFS filesystem volume. However, if you use this partnew trick then it will work and you can have persistence even on an NTFS volume!
IMPORTANT: you MUST run WinContig (RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+F2) before booting E2B. This is because ext2 files need to be contiguous - if they are not then partnew will not work but you may not see any error message.
RMPrepUSB v2.1.711 and later versions allow you to specify the filename and the volume name of the ext2 file separately - e.g. you can specify the filename as say BT5-rw and the volume label as casper-rw.
Note that because grub4dos loads the initial ram drive files, and linux then mounts the new partition(s), even if the linux SKU that is being booted does not support the NTFS file system at all, this technique should still work if the ISO is also mapped to a partition using partnew. This means you can also boot linux ISOs from exFAT Easy2Boot USB drives too!
Here is the BackTrack 5 .mnu file for reference:
Please let me know what you think of Easy2Boot and how it can be improved - Thanks!
If you already have a syslinux or grub4dos multiboot USB drive, you can add E2B to your USB drive as follows:
1. Download, extract and copy the E2B files to your existing multiboot USB drive. If you already have a \menu.lst file then do not overwrite it with the E2B menu.lst
2a. If you have a grub4dos menu.lst file, add in a menu entry to run E2B as follows:
2b. If don't already have a \menu.lst file and have a syslinux boot pen, add this to your syslinux menu
If you just want to use the same method of autorunning any payload file but don't want the E2B menu system, use QRUN.g4b in your menus, e.g.
You can also force qrun to run an iso as if it had a different extension, e.g. this will run the iso as if it had the .isowinvh file extension
Note: The %grub% parameter must be set by you to point to the folder that contains Qrun.g4b, so at the top of your menu.lst put
Don't get too excited though because many things won't work!
Simple ISOs like KonBoot, dban, plpbt or WinPE ISOs will work though. Hirens Mini XP will work if you use an extension of .isomem (.isoWinvH does not fully work with Mini XP).
The CD\DVD that you make will also support FASTLOAD so it does not have to enumerate all the ISOs each time it boots.
Here is what you need to do to turn your E2B Flash memory stick into a bootable CD/DVD:
1. Make a USB Flash drive (or USB HDD) with E2B
2. Add your payload files and test as normal
3. (optional) If you want FASTLOAD enabled on your final CD/DVD then copy FASTLOAD.YES to the root of the USB drive
4. (optional) If you have FASTLOAD enabled, boot the USB drive on a real system. Then reboot it to check that it loads the menu from cache correctly.
5. Run RMPrepUSB and select the USB drive - then type Ctrl+M (File - Make grub4dos ISO from drive). This will make a bootable ISO file.
6. (optional) Test the ISO using RMPrepUSB Ctrl+F11 (File - Boot from ISO using QEMU Emulator)
7. Burn your ISO (or copy it to a Zalman ZM VE-200/300/400 or IsoStick for testing).
I strongly suggest that you search all files on the USB drive for .mnu files that you are using and check that they don't use the partnew command - otherwise you could accidentally delete a partition on a hard drive!
I recommend testing E2B using Oracle Virtual Box and using DavidB's great new Virtual Machine USB boot application which allows you to add a USB drive to a VM and allows the VM full read/write access to the USB drive. QEMU from RMPrepUSB can also be used but it is rather slow (but has rd/wr access). Unless you have write access under the VM, some functions of E2B will not work.
To use DavidB's Virtual Machine USB Boot application - first make a VM in Oracle VBox with just one SATA virtual hard disk at SATA Port 1 and leave SATA Port 0 free. Then run VMStarter and create a new entry and set your E2B USB drive as the First USB drive. When you click on Start in VMS, the USB drive will be dismounted and the VM will then gain full read/write access to the USB drive.
If using VBox, you can set up a VM with VT-x/AMD-V acceleration when testing most features of E2B. However, you may find that the VM won't run XP Setup unless VT-x/AMD-V acceleration is first turned off. Once the text-mode stage has completed, you can turn on VT-x/AMD-V acceleration to run the 2nd GUI stage.
Note that Vista/Win7/Win8 (NT6) installs will not work correctly if you attempt to use a VM and install Windows to a virtual hard disk. You will see the message 'A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing'. This occurs because Windows Setup will only load an Unattend.xml file from a Removable disk and any USB drive which is attached to a VM will be seen by Windows as a Fixed Disk. Therefore LOADISO.CMD will not run and the Windows ISO file will not be loaded as a virtual DVD before Setup starts to look for it.
To use E2B to install Windows Vista/7/8 in a VM, you will need to run LOADISO.CMD manually as follows:
1. Run the VM and boot to E2B
2. As soon as Setup loads and asks you for a language/country, press the key combination SHIFT+F10 - a black console window should open (if not, answer the next question and try SHIFT+F10 again)
3. In the console window, type dir C:\_ISO and press the ENTER key - if the folder is not listed, try dir D:\_ISO etc. until you find the E2B USB drive letter - let us assume that 'dir E:\_ISO' worked - then the USB drive letter must be E:
4. Now run loadiso by typing E:\_ISO\e2b\firadisk\loadiso,cmd - a blue console window should open - if then prompted to Repair Windows, just hit ENTER
5. The blue console Window should close - now continue with Windows Setup in the normal way.
This is not fully supported and there are some problems. Note that all files and file extensions are case sensitive in an ext2/3 grub4dos environment, so use .iso not .ISO, .txt not .TXT or .Txt.
Here is how I made an ext2 USB flash drive under Windows 7 64-bit
Note: Windows installs won't work as Windows cannot access the ext2/3 USB drive.
If you have payload files (but not Windows Install ISOs) in other partitions or even on other drives, you can add a new .mnu file for them and create a new menu entry for each partition/folder.
For instance, if you are using E2B from a USB hard disk that has two Primary partitions and you have payload files (e.g. ISO files) in the \_ISO folder on the 2nd partition of the USB hard disk, use the PTN2_Menu.mnu file (in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files folder) and copy it to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
The contents of the .mnu file are shown below for reference:
You can have two formatted Primary partitions on a USB Flash drive too - e.g. NTFS for E2B and large 4GB+ linux ISO files and .FAT32 for various DOS filesystems.
The PTN2_Menu.mnu file is only for payload files that will auto-run, such as linux liveCD ISOs or floppy disk images, etc.
Windows Install ISOs must be on the same partition as the Easy2Boot \menu.lst file and the rest of the Easy2Boot files. If you have large ISOs, you therefore need to place the E2B files and the Windows Install ISOs on the NTFS partition (i.e. use Config 1 or Config 4 below).
(hd0,0) PTN1 - NTFS - \menu.lst and \_ISO folder containing E2B files - Windows Install ISOs must be under \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders
PTN2 - FAT32 - \_ISO folder can contain payload files that will autorun using the PTN2_Menu.mnu file
(hd0,0) PTN1 - Primary FAT32 - \menu.lst and \_ISO folder containing E2B files - Windows Install ISOs must be under \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders (must be <4GB)
(hd0,1) PTN2 - Primary NTFS - \_ISO folder can contain payload files that will autorun using the PTN2_Menu.mnu file
If you modify the PTN2_Menu.mnu file and change (hd0,1) to (hd0,0) and change the name to PTN1_Menu.mnu then you can have:
(hd0,0) PTN1 - Primary FAT32 - \_ISO folder can contain payload files that will autorun using the PTN1_Menu.mnu file
(hd0,1) PTN2 - Primary NTFS - \menu.lst and \_ISO folder containing E2B files - Windows Install ISOs must be under \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders (must be <4GB)
--- OR ---
(hd0,0) PTN1 - Primary NTFS - \_ISO folder can contain payload files that will autorun using the PTN1_Menu.mnu file
(hd0,1) PTN2 - Primary FAT32 - \menu.lst and \_ISO folder containing E2B files - Windows Install ISOs must be under \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders
Note: the partition that has the \menu.lst file is considered by grub4dos to be the 'boot partition' (bd). That partition is expected to contain the E2B files and the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxxxx folders.
If you have some bootable files (e.g. DOS OS files) that need to be on a FAT32 partition (e.g. extracted files from the Hirens Boot CD), then you can copy and modify a .mnu file so that it will find the correct partition and set it as the root partition - e.g.:
We can make use of the fact the normal Windows systems can only access the first partition (first entry in the partition table is not necessarily the first partition on the disk) of a Removable drive - e.g. a USB Flash drive that is classed as 'Removable' (which is most USB Flash drives except for newer 'certified Windows8ToGo' USB Flash drives).
This means we can make an E2B USB Flash drive that will appear to contain a normal partition if anyone looks at it in Windows Explorer, but the other (hidden) partition will contain E2B and all our payload files.
1. Format a USB Flash drive using RMPrepUSB FAT32 - Size = xxxx (where xxxx is the size in MBs that you want for the E2B partition) - do NOT tick the 'Boot as HDD' box in RMPrepUSB as we don't want to add a small 2nd partition. Give it a volume label of E2B so you will know which one it is.
2. Add E2B and grub4dos etc in normal way and get E2B working with all your payload/ISO files, etc.
3. Use Easeus Home Partition Master to create a 2nd PRIMARY partition using remaining space on the USB Flash drive. It can be FAT32 or NTFS - it is up to you.
4. In RMPrepUSB - press CTRL+O and enter 2 when prompted. This re-orders the partition table so that the new empty partition is the first in the partition table
Now Windows will only see the empty partition but it will still boot to E2B!
The user can add files to this partition in the normal way using Windows Explorer or whatever. Even if the end-user re-formats the partition it won't affect the E2B partition.
If you want to change the files on the E2B partition, just run RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+O and enter 2 to make the E2B partition the first one. After making your changes, run Ctrl+O again so that the other partition is the first one and visible to Windows.
You should be able to boot most of the payload files as normal, but not all...
If you wish to install Windows from the Windows Install ISOs on your E2B drive, then the Windows Install ISO files must be on the first partition of the USB Flash drive - otherwise they will not be accessible to Windows. Some other ISOs such as Hirens or WinPE v2/3/4 ISOs may also require the E2B files to be on the first partition.
If you want to have an E2B menu entry which will change the partitions over for you, add the E2B_PTN_SWAP.mnu file to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder.
This will allow you to Hide or UnHide the E2B partition when booting to E2B.
You can use this menu entry to unhide the E2B partition, then run Hirens or Win7/8 installs (these need E2B to be the first entry in the partition table) and then reboot back to E2B and hide the E2B partition again afterwards.
1. Select the E2B USB drive in Windows Explorer and right-click and choose Properties.
2. Click the Security tab and then click the Edit button
3. Untick the Allow column's Full Control, Modify and Write check-boxes (leaving only Read & Execute, List folder contents and Read ticked)
4. Click on OK to apply those Permissions on all the files on the USB drive volume
Note that this does not prevent anyone from adding files, but does prevent editing or removal of existing files.
Files are not protected from grub4dos and most linux environments.
If you need to modify the contents, just reverse the process by ticking all Allow boxes again.
To hide the E2B text/config files from prying eyes (including any password you may have set), use 7Zip to compress the MyE2B.cfg file to GZip format (you must keep the filename the same - i.e. as MyE2B.cfg, not MyE2B.cfg.gz). E2B will still work fine as long as the filenames are the same as they were before. If you wish, you can also do this to the \menu.lst file and the menu.lst and E2B.cfg files in the \_ISO\E2B\grub folder too (or even all .mnu files, .txt files and .g4b files!). Do not do this with .ISO (payload) files though!
For an easy way to encrypt a lot of files using 7Zip and without needing to rename them manually afterwards, download LZMA.zip and unzip the three files inside it to your Desktop (or to any folder or even to your E2B USB drive).
To 'encrypt' (compress) the menu.lst, MyE2B.cfg, etc. files on your USB drive, simply select them all in Windows Explorer and drag and drop them onto the LZMA_ENCODE.cmd file. A backup called .orig is also made on the source folder; you will be prompted to keep or delete the backup at the time you run the script.
To decompress the file(s), simply drag and drop them onto the LZMA_DECRYPT.cmd file. A backup of the original compressed file is made called .comp which you can again choose to keep or delete.
PassPass is a grub4dos batch file which patches a Windows DLL so that any user password will be accepted when you boot to Windows (written by Holmes.Sherlock, Wonko and co. from reboot.pro). The original batch file can be found here.
The version I made for E2B is here and contains the payload and .mnu files (read the .mnu file for instructions on how to add it to E2B).
With PassPass, you can take a backup of the DLL (optional), then permanently patch the DLL, then boot to Windows XP->8 and get into any user account (any password is accepted) and then change passwords to fix the problem. Then boot back to E2B and run PassPass again and either restore the original DLL from the backup or choose 'UnPatch' from the menu.
Technical details: The script tries to locate all existing Windows installations and corresponding Windows editions as well. Thereafter, it replaces the CMP instruction responsible for password verification with a ‘benign’ sequence of bytes. For reverting back the changes, the process is just the opposite. The whole idea is derived from WindowsGate and Astr0baby’s tutorial.
nyquist - 'Easy2boot is awesome. Thanks for sharing this software with us.'
Thanks to the following people for their help through all 30 Beta's!
Fabrizio and Antonio, Halikus, llbranco, Weedy, Rootman, Administrator, Weidass, Corey, Dave N, Tomas, Whiznot, alacran, nyquist, moot, Nexes Senex, Krishna (and anyone else I have missed)!If you think I have not yet fixed any issues (due to an oversight) please email me!
Rootman - 'This is one of the coolest things I've run across in a long time. You guys have GOT to check this out.'
maanu - please accept my congratulations on coding this beautiful tool.. my 1st experience was GREAT. it worked flawlessly on very 1st try (win8 64-bit install)
Jkplayschess - This is a fantastic tool! I rarely get excited about things, but I'm following the development of this closely!
sebus - The solution works VERY well indeed. Tested on W7 x64 so far
Weedy - I gotta say I'm annoyed that this tool seems to work exactly as advertised! This tool is a fantastic piece of software.
Sebastian - finally I found something amazing awesome that exceeded all my expectations: Easy2Boot - thank you! (private email)allcoms - unetbootin only allows you to boot one ISO per USB drive - easy2boot lets you boot as many ISOs as you can store on your drive and adding new ISOs is as simple as copying them into the correct folder so its platform neutral in that respect, not requiring you to run an updater as you do with say YUMI, which is Windows only. I have tried other Linux-friendly apps (multisystem etc) that have claimed to do this but none of them worked properly. Every ISO I have tested with E2B has worked 100% and I have tried at least a dozen distros, diagnostic and recovery ISOs with it now.
Jean-François Simard - Easy2Boot is awesome! Guys, you really gotta try this. I don't post tools often but this is really worth it!