E2B Primer

Quick reference (for latest E2B version only)
 
A 'payload file' can be any type of file which is usable by E2B, e.g. .ISO, .IMA, .VHD, .WIM, .help, .bmp, .jpg, .cfg, .imgPTN, .isodef, .isomem, .isoDOS01, etc.
 
Use the SITE MAP (150+ pages) for help.
 

UEFI-booting (.imgPTN files)

You cannot UEFI-boot to the E2B menu system - you can only Legacy\MBR boot to the E2B menu system.
 
You must first select an .imgPTN file from the MBR-bootable E2B menu system (or use SWITCH_E2B.exe) BEFORE you can UEFI-boot from the E2B drive. The E2B partition is replaced by the contents of the .imgPTN file. All .imgPTN files are whole partition images and are mainly used for UEFI-booting but can also MBR-bootYou can only UEFI-boot from one .imgPTN file at any one time, there is no UEFI multiboot menu - after use, you must restore the original E2B partition and then choose another .imgPTN file to UEFI-boot to a different UEFI payload.
See the UEFI section below for more details...
 
Note: For UEFI-multibooting of over 60 different Linux ISOs from one menu, you can set up E2B with the grub2 menu system, however this is more complicated to set up and use, and may not be as reliable as the E2B menu system.
 

Make an E2B drive

  • Use a large (at least 16GB) and fast (any SanDisk Extreme but avoid the SanDisk Go as it is too slow!) USB 3 Flash drive. USB Hard disks and SSDs can also be used.
  • Download and run the .exe (self-extracting file) (it runs Make_E2B.exe) to make an NTFS E2B drive (if your language+keyboard combination is not listed, click on the Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd spanner button instead of the big red button).
  • E2B uses two partitions, 128GB max for Ptn1, and a small 31K Ptn2 (two partitions must be present for BIOS compatibility reasons). If you have a larger E2B drive, delete the small (may be hidden) 2nd Ptn2 and create a second Primary NTFS partition to use the rest of the disk space (e.g. using Easeus Home Partition Master free version). Keep the E2B Ptn1 size below 128GB for best BIOS compatibility.
  • Check your drive menu works by using the green QEMU button or run \QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd from the E2B drive.
  • Simply copy over your payload files/ISOs (see below).
  • For UEFI booting, you must copy .imgPTN files to the E2B drive and then select one of them before you can UEFI-boot.
  • You can add your own folders and files, etc. - e.g. \MyFiles\
  • Press F1 in the E2B Main menu for help.

Types of files on E2B drive

  • E2B can Legacy\MBR-boot from .iso, fixed-type .vhd, fixed-type .vhdx, bootablePE-type .wim, .ima, .img, .zip (flopyy disk image), .bin (memtest86.bin), .dmg (single partition only), .isoHW, .isodef, .isoDOS01 and .isowinvh and many more special types...
  • E2B menu folders can also contain .bmp and .jpg (to load a wallpaper), .cfg (overwrites\replaces MyE2B.cfg), .uni.gz and .f24 (to load a different font),and .help (displays help text)
  • .mnu files contain grub4dos menu entries and are automatically added into the E2B menu (they start with a title or iftitle line and are then followed by more lines of grub4dos commands)
  • .txt files (optional) should have the same filename as the payload file (they only contain a 'title' or 'iftitle' line),  e.g. Ubuntu64.iso + Ubuntu64.txt
     A .txt file will also cause E2B suggestions to be suppressed. Example contents:  title Ubuntu 64-bit v1.9.3\nFirst help line\nSecond help line.
  • .imgPTN files are partition image files. They will replace the E2B partition when selected. They are used for UEFI+MBR booting, but one must be selected first, before you can UEFI-boot.

Menu entries

  • Files and folders are enumerated in alphabetical order - not case-sensitive
  • The file name is listed in the menu (unless a .txt file is also added)
  • Do NOT change any of the E2B files (except \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg which is the menu configuration file and so can be changed)
  • Menu entry order can be changed by using a sort order prefix - e.g. _100_Ubuntu64.iso, _130_Mint.iso, _150_blank_entry.mnu
  • Payloads are executed according to their file extension
  • E2B understands many 'special' file extensions - e.g. .isomem, .isoHW, .isowinvh, .isoDOS01
  • Use a .isodef file extension (or .isodefault) instead of .iso to avoid user suggestions, e.g. Ubuntu64.isodef
  • File extension suffixes 32, 64, 3GB, 4GB, PWD, QUIETP, QUIET and NCQ can be used - e.g. CloneZilla x64.iso64PWD4GBNCQ  menu entry will only be seen on 64-bit systems which have 4GB or more of RAM, will ask for a password before running and does not warn if not contiguous (NCQ). File extension suffixes AUTO, LBA, 23 and A can be used with .imgPTN files, e.g. Strelec.imgPTN23LBAaAUTO
  • File extension override suffixes (_.xxxx) can be used instead of changing the actual file extension - e.g. WinPESE10x64_.isodef.iso
  • Sort prefix overrides and file extension suffixes with file extension overrides can be combined, e.g. _100_Ubuntu v13.1 (64-bit)_.iso64pwd.iso will be listed in the menu as Ubuntu v13.1 (64-bit).

Add payload files

  • Always check the List of tested ISOs/payloads page before adding any payload file - this list includes any special instructions
  • Copy the payload file to any suitable menu folder under \_ISO (e.g. \_ISO\LINUX) - the payloads folders are in capital letters under \_ISO\ and under \_ISO\WINDOWS\
  • Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd to make the payload files contiguous
  • .imgPTN and most Linux ISO payloads need to be contiguous (usually Windows install ISOs, VHDs and WIM files do not need to be contiguous)
  • For a first test, do not change the name of the payload file and ensure the filename does not contain spaces - E2B may suggest a better file extension
  • Windows Install ISOs work best when used in the correct folder - e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\
  • E2B will try to boot Windows Install ISOs using WIMBOOT which requires 2GB+ of RAM - if you have less than 2GB of RAM, you can skip WIMBOOT by pressing ENTER when prompted and use a Removable USB drive for E2B or add a WinHelper USB flash drive
  • WinBuilder-based files must end in .ISO with no spaces in the filename (Win10PESE.iso) - Tip: add a .txt file for a nicer menu entry
  • VHD and WIM files should not have spaces in the filename
  • Once a payload is working OK, change the file name to add spaces and make it look nicer in the menu and then check it still works OK - e.g. Ubuntu v13.1 (64-bit).isodef
  • If a payload does not seem to be work correctly, convert it to a .imgPTN file
  • You can fully automate a Windows install+drivers+apps+updates using SDI_CHOCO
  • Payload file names starting with _ followed by some characters and another _ will be sorted by their 2nd character onwards and the _*_ part of the filename will not be displayed in the menu - e.g. _$a_Ubuntu.iso.
  • Payload files which have _. at the end of the filename and before the extension will override the actual file extension and the characters after _. will not be displayed in the menu - e.g. Hirens_BootCD_.isoHW.iso will boot as if it had a isoHW file extension.
  • File extension suffixes  can be added to standard E2B file extensions, such as PWD, QUIET, QUIETP, NCQ, 4GB, 3GB, 32 or 64 - e.g. Ubuntu 64-bit.isopwd644GB.
Example file names:
  • Ubuntu_x64.iso  - standard Ubuntu ISO
  • Ubuntu version 13.1 (63-bit) 2018-10-03.iso - change filename so it looks nicer in the menu
  • Ubuntu version 13.1 (64-bit) 2018-10-03.isodef - use .isodef so no suggestions and boots immediately
  • _100_Ubuntu version 13.1 (64-bit) 2018-10-03.iso - add a sort prefix so filename will be sorted as if it started with 100
  • Win10PESE_x64.iso - standard WinBuilder WinPE ISO (must end in .iso - no spaces in filename)
  • _130_Win10PESE_x64_.isoNCQ.iso - does not complain if not contiguous and run without suggestions (extension must be .iso for WinBuilder ISOs)
  • _150_ChrisR's_WinPESE_(64-bit)_.isoNCQ.iso - change name so looks better (spaces not allowed for WinBuilder ISOs) - can add a .txt file
  • _155_ChrisR's_WinPESE_(64-bit)_.isoNCQ64.iso - only listed in menu if 64-bit CPU
  • \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Windows 10 x64.iso64 - only listed in menu if 64-bit CPU (spaces are allowed)
 

Configuration

  • The \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file is the user E2B configuration file (Main Menu and Menu Footer text, language, colours, menu size and position, etc.) - quick reference here
  • The \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file contains many examples of all possible configuration settings
  • Use \_ISO\E2B_Editor.exe to design and configure your 800x600 or 1024x768 E2B menu (change wallpaper, layout, colours, Main Heading, Footer Hep text, etc.)
  • Check your drive menu works using the QEMU button in Make_E2B.exe or run \QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd on E2B drive.
  • Example MyE2B.cfg 'themes' can be found in \_ISO\docs\Templates folder
  • Run \_ISO\PimpMyDrive.cmd to add example menu files to the E2B menu which allow you to change the language, theme, wallpaper image, etc.
  • Use 'set redir=1' in the MyE2B.cfg file to reduce the messages and suggestions
  • Use 'set pwd=fred' in the MyE2B.cfg to change the menu password to 'fred' (default is 'easy2boot')
  • One animation can be added to the menu and up to 10 wallpaper STAMPS can be added to the menu - edit the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to remove any animation and\or STAMP.
  • Global hotkeys can be added to the MyE2B.cfg - see Sample_MyE2B.cfg file for examples
  • E2B supports different text fonts (mainly English only) and also large 24-pixel high fonts
  • For linux+persistence, use a .mnu file (usually you need to create another xxxxx-rw file)
  • .mnu menu file examples can be found at \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\ (open with NotePad to read the instructions) - .mnu files for blank menu entries, Linux+persistence, directly booting to Windows ISOs with a specified XML file, TrueCrypt disks, change menu language, change font, etc.

UEFI

  • You cannot UEFI-boot to the E2B menu system but you can directly UEFI-boot after a .imgPTN file has been selected and 'switched-in'
  • The Utilities - Memory Test menu contains an example MemTest86 (UEFI+MBR) .imgPTN file which can Secure UEFI boot after it has been selected and switched in
  • Make a UEFI-bootable FAT32 .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit and MakePartImage.cmd (Windows app.) - just drag-and-drop an ISO onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut. If a file in a Windows Install ISO is larger than 4GB, use SPLIT_WINISO.exe to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file
  • Copy the .imgPTN file to the E2B drive
  • All .imgPTN files must be contiguous (run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd)
  • Select the .imgPTN file from the E2B menu  (OR use \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe to select it) to replace the E2B partition
  • Once the .imgPTN file has been selected and 'switched-in', it will replace the E2B partition
  • You can then UEFI-boot from the 'switched-in' partition if it is a FAT32 partition and contains suitable EFI boot files
  • If you want the 2nd Primary partition on the E2B drive to be kept, use the file extension .imgPTN23 instead of .imgPTN. This will also keep the 3rd Primary partition, but most E2B drives will not contain a 3rd partition. MBR-booting may be more successful with some BIOSes if you use a .imgPTN23 file extension rather than the .imgPTN file extension.

FAQ