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E2B Primer

Quick reference (for latest E2B version)
 
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.
 
It is possible to set up your E2B drive for MBR and UEFI-booting - see here for details.
 

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). Make_E2B.exe may make a large second partition for you. 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.
  • Now simply copy over your payload files/ISOs (see below) to one of the menu folders under \_ISO.
  • 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 make .imgPTN files using the MPI Tool Kit
  • You can add your own folders and files, 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, bootable WinPE .wim, .ima, .img, .zip (floppy disk image), .bin (e.g. 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 as the wallpaper), .cfg (overwrites\replaces MyE2B.cfg), .uni.gz and .f24 (to load a different font),and .help (displays your 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
    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 can be used for both UEFI and MBR booting, but one must be selected and 'switched-in' first, before you can UEFI-boot.

Add payload files

  • Always check the List of tested ISOs/payloads page before adding any payload file - this page may include special instructions for adding a payload.
  • Copy the payload file to any suitable menu folder under \_ISO (e.g. \_ISO\LINUX) - the payloads folders are in capital letters and are 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 if your E2B USB drive is a hard 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
  • 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
  • VHD and WIM files should not have spaces in the filename
  • If a payload does not seem to be work correctly (e.g. multi-payload ISOs), convert it to a .imgPTN file
  • You can fully automate a Windows install+drivers+apps+updates using SDI_CHOCO
  • Menu entry order - 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. _010_Ubuntu.iso will be ordered in the menu as if it begins with 010_.
  • Payload files which have _. at the end of the filename and before the extension will override the actual file extension - also 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 the 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
  • _200_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 and no messages/prompts
  • \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Windows 10 32-bit.iso3GB - only listed in menu if system has less than 4GB of RAM (spaces are allowed in the filename)

Menu entries

  • Files and folders are enumerated in alphabetical order and are not case-sensitive
  • The file name is listed in the menu (unless a .txt file with the same file name is also added)
  • Add a .txt file of the same name as the payload file to specify any menu entry, hotkey and menu help text
  • 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
  • Add your own grub4dos menu entry by adding a .mnu file

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 (most settings are commented out)
  • 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 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 all 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. Tunes can also be played on the internal speaker
  • 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. MBR-booting may be more successful with some BIOSes if you use a .imgPTN23 file extension rather than the .imgPTN file extension.
  • UEFI-multibooting can be done by adding a FAT32 partition (and optionally adding rEFInd into the .imgPTN file) - see here for details.
  • .imgPTNX4cccc file extensions can be used. e.g. FRED.imgPTNX4swpefat32 will load the file as partition #1 and the file swpefat32 as partition #4 (E2B v1.B0+). 

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