Make an Easy2Boot USB drive & Update an E2B USB drive

Note: Instructions for linux users are here.
YouTube video: 'Create Multi Windows USB Installer' by Britec here. Deutsche Anleitung: U-Labs.de. Russian (русский) here.

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION about USB drives and Windows Installer ISO files

    There are two types of USB drive - Fixed/Local Disk type or the Removable type.

    If your USB drive is of the Fixed-Disk type then Windows Install ISOs will not work correctly unless you convert the ISO file to a .imgPTN file or add a 'Helper' USB flash drive or use an IODD 2531 HDD caddy.

    Maximum partition/USB drive size is 2TB (GPT USB drives are not supported by E2B).

    Recommended USB drives: 

    Removable USB Flash drive - I highly recommend the SanDisk Extreme Cruzer 64GB/128GB USB 3.0 - it is the best and fastest USB drive for E2B that I have found (note: avoid older versions which may be of the Fixed-disk type. Also, avoid 'fast' USB drives such as the Lexar P20 Flash drive or Kingston HyperX because they are very slow with small files and WindowsToGo!). See here for an interesting comparison between the SanDisk Extreme Pro and Sandisk Extreme. I do not recommend flash drives over 128GB - there can be BIOS compatibility issues with drives >137GB.

    External USB HDD, for best compatibility, I recommend a non-UASP USB 3.0 SATA drive enclosure (such as the IT-CEO USB 3. 0 IT-700 - see blog post on enclosures here).  I also highly recommend the IODD 2531 HDD enclosure- see blog post here, this drive can emulate USB CD/DVD drives and can also be used to boot E2B without needing a 'Helper' USB flash drive and you can write-protect the HDD whilst in use.
    Beware of some native 4K-sector external USB Hard Disk drives - they do not MBR-boot!
    Note that some BIOSes cannot access files on USB drives which are past the 137GB point. Keep the first E2B partition below 137GB. You can create a 2nd partition for file/data storage when using Windows or linux (the small 2nd hidden E2B partition should be deleted first).

    • Linux users - please go here

    If possible, use Windows to make the E2B USB drive because it will be more compatible on a wider range of systems (2 partitions should be created for best compatibilty).

    Quick Setup Guide - For help on what choices to make and how to add payload files.

    YOU DO NOT NEED TO WIPE YOUR EXISTING USB DRIVE...

    You do NOT need to reformat your existing USB drive, but I highly recommend it if you want to boot from many different types of systems.

    To make a multiple-partition USB E2B boot drive or to use your existing USB drive without re-formatting or to make an exFAT USB drive - see the 'Make an E2B USB drive us ing RMPrepUSB' page. Note that under Windows, Removable USB drives will only have one partition accessible to Windows at any one time.

    If you don't want to re-format it, see 'Make an E2B USB drive using RMPrepUSB' page and just install grub4dos (MBR+PBR) to the USB drive using RMPrepUSB. 

    I recommend you ensure you have two primary partitions (or one primary+logical partitions) on the drive. If it only has one primary partition, shrink the partition slightly and create a 2nd primary partition (e.g. using EaseUS Home Partition Master free-edition). This will help it to boot on a wider range of systems due to some systems having  buggy BIOSes .

    Quick Instructions for Windows users

    E2B v1.89 and later versions are provided as a Windows self-extracting zip file which will automatically run Make_E2B.exe.
     
    It is recommended that you turn off your Anti-Virus before you run this.
     
    USB drives (C:-Z:) will be displayed in the drive list box.
     
    1. Select the USB drive you want to format (all partitions will be wiped).
    2. Select the E2B menu language (and keyboard type).
    3. Click on the red Make E2B Drive button. 
    This automatically makes an NTFS-formatted E2B USB drive (max. partition size 137GB).
     
    If you are using a large ( >137GB) USB Hard Disk, you can delete the 2nd small hidden partition and create a 2nd new Primary NTFS partition to use the unused free space. Use EaseUS Home Partition Master or similar free software if you cannot see the 2nd small hidden partition with normal OS utilities.
     
    Other Make_E2B.exe buttons:
    • Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd - you can choose a different drive, use a partition size larger than 137GB, choose FAT32 or NTFS and choose various language/keyboard combinations and menu 'stamps' - see below.
    • Extract E2B - extract all the files in the download to a new folder on your Desktop
    • Update E2B Drive - updates any E2B drive to the latest version
    • Test with QEMU - use this to check that your USB drive boots to the E2B menu correctly
     
    Note: To support direct booting of Windows .VHD, .VHDX and .WIM files using E2B, the file bootmgr must be copied to \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS\NTBOOT.MOD\bootmgr on the E2B USB drive. The Make_E2B utility will try to find and copy the correct version.
    E2B will warn you if the version is not compatible. However, only certain Windows 8/8.1 versions of bootmgr will work. Windows 10 versions of bootmgr will give a BSOD but most Windows 8/8.1 boot managers should be compatible. Bootmgr versions that work have sizes of 389720, 389720, 398144, 398156, 398356, 427680, 404250, 409154, 403390 or 400517 bytes. You can obtain the correct version from an official Microsoft Windows 8.1 Install ISO.
     
    The following applications are known to cause issues when making E2B USB drives:

    Making a USB drive from the extracted files

    For more experienced users, you can also rename the E2B .exe file to .zip and extract the E2B files (or use the Extract E2B button).

     

    1. Extract the E2B download to a new folder called 'E2B' (any name will do)
        I recommend you temporarily turn off anti-virus protection for the next step.
    2. Run the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd script (NTFS is recommended choice when prompted) - the USB drive must have a drive letter assigned by Windows (C: to Z:)
    3. Copy all your payload files (ISOs, etc.) into the correct sub-folders under \_ISO (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU) of the USB drive.
    4. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd from the USB drive.

     

    Expert Instructions

     
    WARNING: If using a large USB drive (>128GB), use this method instead and make sure that E2B is in the first partition and it is below 137GB in size. 
    This is because many  BIOSes (even modern ones!) have problems accessing USB sectors beyond 137GB (internal system hard drives >137GB may be OK, but USB drives >137GB may not work because the BIOS USB driver code in many BIOSes has still not been updated!).

    1. Download Easy2Boot (either the basic download, or the DPMS version of E2B with XP 32-bit Mass Storage drivers if you want to install XP to SATA systems).  

    You can run the self-extracting Make_E2B.exe, select the USB drive and click the RED BUTTON and follow the instructions.

    Alternatively, click on the Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd button for more options and choices.

    2. If you are running the Make_E2B.exe GUI, you can extract the files to a Desktop folder, or rename to download to .zip and unzip it to a new empty folder on your hard drive   (DO NOT EXTRACT THE E2B FILES DIRECTLY ONTO THE WINDOWS DESKTOP!)

    3. Insert the USB drive into your Windows computer's USB port.  

    4. Use Windows Explorer and in the extracted E2B folder, right-click on ...

        \Make_E2B_USB_Drive (run as admin).cmd

    and choose 'Run as Administrator...'  - now follow the instructions...

    Here is a  YouTube video (Portuguese - not my video) of how to make an E2B USB drive using MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd (may be useful if you don't speak English well).

    This MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd script uses RMPartUSB.exe and a new version of grubinst.exe to make a USB drive as compatible as possible with a wide variety of different BIOSes and systems. I highly recommend you use the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd script provided or RMPrepUSB to make your E2B USB drive. Other methods (e.g. bootice, linux, etc.) may not produce such good results.

    Note: Some AntiVirus programs such as Trend Micro may interfere with the copy process. Either disable the AV program, whitelist the autorun.inf file or delete the autorun.inf file from the download first (autorun.inf just displays an E2B icon when the E2B USB drive is displayed in Windows Explorer - it does NOT run any program). Note that a 'PUP' or 'PUA' warning is NOT the same as a virus!

    Defraggler may also interfere with the script (see below for a list of known 'problem' software).

    5. Enter the USB drive number (e.g. 4) and then choose F=FAT32, or choose N=NTFS if you want to add files larger than 4GB to the E2B drive. NTFS is recommended - E2B can still be used for UEFI-booting using .imgPTN files.

    Note: You can UEFI-boot from an NTFS E2B USB drive by creating .imgPTN files.

    If you want to support UEFI booting, instead of copying over ISO files, you will need to create FAT32 .imgPTN partition image files. You can UEFI-boot from .imgPTN files, even if the E2B USB drive partition is formatted as NTFS, so there is very little disadvantage in using NTFS.

    If you have a small USB Flash drive (1-16GB) and all your files are less than 4GB in size, I suggest you use FAT32 which is easier to defrag (especially under linux). Also, E2B will enumerate files on a FAT32 E2B drive twice as fast as a NTFS formatted drive, so the Main menu will load twice as from a FAT32 volume.

    Even if you are booting a linux distro ISO file that does not support NTFS, it should still boot from an E2B NTFS drive!

    6. Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd will ask you to specify a language, keyboard and other options and will create a \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file for you.

    If you don't want to use a MyE2B.cfg file, type S to skip that section for default USA settings.

             Add an E2B animated icon, QR code and/or E2B Boiler Plate

    Tip: If you add the QR Code stamp to the E2B menu, you can use your mobile phone to go straight to the 'list of tested ISOs' page on the E2B website!

    7. Finished! - The E2B drive is now ready for use. You can test the E2B menu by running \QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd from the USB drive.

    To boot on a real system from a USB drive, you will typically need to press a Function key (e.g. F8 or F12) to get a BIOS Selection Menu pop-up - see here for more details.

    Now go to Add Payload Files to add your own payload files.

    Tips

    • If it fails to format the USB drive as NTFS, run it again and select FAT32 - then re-run the script again to format it as NTFS.
    • You can run \_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Make_MyE2B.cfg.cmd if you just want to change the MyE2B.cfg file settings (e.g. keyboard type or language) or change the QR and Boiler Plate options.
    Note: To boot Windows .VHD and .WIM files using E2B, the file bootmgr must be copied to the E2B USB drive folder \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS\NTBOOT.MOD\bootmgr.
    Only certain Windows 8/8.1 versions of bootmgr will work, do not use the Windows 10 version of bootmgr as it will give a BSOD. Most Windows 8/8.1 boot managers should be compatible. Bootmgr versions that work are sizes 389720, 389720, 398144, 398156, 398356, 427680, 404250, 409154, 403390 or 400517 bytes. E2B will warn you if the version is not compatible.

    Updating E2B

    Download the latest version (DPMS or non-DPMS) and click on the Update E2B Drive button.
     

    Or  - extract E2B to an empty folder and then run UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD.

    See this page for more details.

    If you wish, you can add all the ISOs and .mnu and .txt files, etc. into the extracted folder too, so that when you run UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.CMD, any new or updated files will be copied across to your E2B USB drive (but no files will be deleted from the USB drive). If you run the MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd file, then a new E2B USB drive will be made and all your payload files, etc. will be copied across to the USB drive as well.

    If you have more than one E2B USB drive and you want to update them all, just connect as many E2B USB drives as possible to the Windows computer (e.g. use a multi-port USB hub) and double-click on \_ISO\docs\make_E2B_USB_Drive\Update_all_E2B_drives.cmd.

    More things to do...

    Looking for things to do with your new E2B USB drive? Look here.

    If you are very short of space, you can delete the 500MB \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO file (but you will have to remember to defrag all your ISOs).

    Problems using MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE.cmd?

    Some AntiVirus products may block the \AutoRun.inf file from being copied to the USB drive (or may warn of a possible virus) - this file is not essential. You can either disable your AV or just not have a nice E2B icon displayed in Explorer. There is no virus and the E2B autorun.inf file does not run any program.

    Some products which may interfere with process of making or using an E2B USB drive are:

    Trouble when Installing Windows Vista\7\8\10 ISOs?

     

     

     

     

    Note: Check if your USB Flash drive is of the 'Removable' or 'Fixed' type (as listed by Windows Explorer or RMPrepUSB). 

    If the USB Flash Drive or USB HDD drive is listed as a 'Local Disk' or 'Fixed Disk' then you will either need to 

    A) also make a USB E2B Helper Removable Flash drive for some functions (e.g. Windows Vista/7/8 install ISOs) 

    - OR - 

    B) you will need to use MakePartImage to create .imgPTN bootable files from your Vista/7/8 Windows PE ISOs.