Tip: The first partition with the E2B files should not be larger than 137GB for best compatibility with some 'bad\buggy' BIOS systems.
If you are using a USB Hard Disk, you may also need a WinHelper USB flash drive or you may need to convert the Windows ISOs to .imgPTN files.
If you have used the Make_E2B.exe utility on a large (>137GB or >128GiB) USB drive, it may have a small 2nd partition. Use a partition tool (such as EaseUS Home Partition Master) to delete it and add a new large Primary NTFS 2nd partition.
It is easiest to use the Make_E2B.exe GUI to make an E2B USB drive - see here.
Instructions for making an E2B USB drive under linux are here.
E2B USB Disk: MBR (not GPT)
Partition 1: 128GiB maximum - Primary - Active - NTFS
Partition 2: any size - Primary - Not Active - any format (but must be present for best compatibility)
Partition 3: (empty)
Partition 4: (empty)
- Make an E2B drive using RMPrepUSB (Windows only)
- Multiple Partitions
- Use an existing grub4dos multiboot USB drive
Make an E2B USB drive using RMPrepUSB (Windows)
WARNING: If using a large USB hard disk, make sure the E2B files are in the first partition and it is below 137GB.
Many BIOSes (even modern ones!) have a problem accessing USB drives beyond 137GB (137GB=128GiB).Note: pre-Windows 10 1607 OS's can only access the first partition on a Removable USB Flash drive. For a multi-partition USB drive, use a 'Fixed-disk' type of USB drive.E2B disks must be MBR-partitioned and less than 2TB - GPT partitions on E2B drives are not supported.
If you tick the Boot as HDD (C: 2PTNS) option, a small, unused, hidden Type 21h partition will also be made by RMPrepUSB - this is so that it will always boot as a 'hard disk'. If you intend to add your own 2nd partition, do not tick the Boot as HDD (C: 2PTNS) option and then you can later add more partitions by using a different partitioning utility.
1 Partition Size - MAX or 131072 MiB (tick No user prompts) - if you want more than one partition then specify a smaller size for the first partition. Recommended maximum 131072.2 Volume Name - Easy2Boot (or whatever name you like!)3 Bootloader Options - WinPE v2 [BOOTMGR] (any option except SYSLINUX will work)
4 Filesystem and Overrides: NTFS + Boot as HDDIf using a drive >128GB, Size=131072 (do NOT tick Boot as HDD - create 2nd Primary partition later)If using a drive <128GB Size=MAX + Boot as HDD.NTFS (highly recommended) - FAT32 is faster and is compatible with a wider variety of OS's, but you can't have files >4GB with FAT32! (I always use NTFS!). SWITCH_E2B.exe will work with FAT32 volumes and only a single .imgPTN file, but SWITCH_E2B.exe works fully with NTFS volumes and supports single and dual partition images.
exFAT is an alternative option but is not recommended as it cannot be accessed by XP/Vista/Win7RTM and does not work with the SWITCH_E2B.exe utility.If you are going to create a multiple-partition USB drive, then set the Partition Size to a smaller size and do NOT tick the 'Boot as HDD' option (Note: 131072 MiB is recommended maximum size for an E2B partition, due to some BIOSes having problems with larger USB partitions).5 Copy OS Files - click 'Choose Source' answer Copy Files='YES' and choose the folder you extracted the files to (or choose 'No' if the source is the downloaded .zip file).
6 Prepare drive (this will erase all the USB partitions and drive contents)
After clicking '6 Prepare Drive' the drive should be formatted and the files copied to the USB drive.
For exFAT: answer YES for the GRLDR bootloader to be installed to the MBR.
5. We need to install grub4dos to the MBR and the PBR (it can be done in any order) - first we install to the PBR...
Click on Install grub4dos button (see screenshot above) - answer 'NO'=PBR.
Note: Do NOT do this if you formatted as exFAT or it won't boot and you will have to reformat the drive!
Always use grldr=CANCEL when prompted to overwrite it, so that you do not overwrite the E2B \grldr file with an older version.
Always use the version of \grldr included with E2B
6. Repeat step 5 but answer 'Yes'=MBR - grldr=CANCEL - do not overwrite the E2B grldr file when prompted to overwrite it.
Note: You must do Step 6 for exFAT USB drives too.
Check: The \grldr file should be the same one that is included in the E2B download. If you are unsure, run the E2B Update script to update the E2B drive.
Note: If you intend to use .imgPTN files (e.g. for UEFI booting), you must install grub4dos to the MBR.
Note: For best bootability/compatibility, you should always have two Primary partitions present on the USB drive. This ensures that it will always boot correctly as a USB HDD and not a USB FDD (flashing cursor!) on some systems. If your E2B drive has only one Primary partition, then add a second Primary partition of any size and type using EaseUS Home Partition Manager. Tip: You can use RMPrepUSB - DriveInfo - 0 to view the actual partition table contents. If a small 2nd partition exists - delete it first.
Your USB E2B drive is now complete, but you might want to add ISO and other payload files, so now...
go to the Adding Payload Files page.
exFAT (not recommended)
- Use RMPrepUSB v2.1.740 or later - WinPE - exFAT+boot as HDD (C: 2PTNS)
say YES to install grub4dos when prompted to install grub4dos code to the PBR.
- RMPrepUSB - Install grub4dos - MBR=Yes to install grub4dos to the MBR.
- Extract the E2B download files and copy all the E2B files to the USB drive.
For a multiple-partition USB drive, you should have used RMPrepUSB to make the first partition and untick the Boot as HDD (C: 2PTNS) option so that only one partition is made, and set the Size to what you want for the first partition. For the other partitions, you can now add multiple Logical partitions - OR - add one single Primary partition.
You can use any partitioning tool to add the other partitions such as Windows Disk Manager or EaSeus Home Partition Master (free).
E2B will not load the Main Menu unless the 4th partition table entry is unused\empty.
E2B may also require the 3rd partition table entry to be unused\empty for some linux+persistence payloads, but it does not have to be unused if you really need it.
- One Primary partition as ptn #2
- Any number of Logical partitions (note: not for Removable drives as it will be inaccessible under Win7/8, even after swapping ptns 1&2)
To check that only two of the four partition table entries have been used, use RMPrepUSB - Drive Info button - 0 to list the partitions in LBA 0 (the MBR) of the USB drive.
To be able to use all features of E2B, the 3rd and 4th partition entries must be unused. e.g.
P1 Start=63 (32,256 bytes) End=2,050,729,379 (1,049,973,442,048 bytes)P2 Start=2,050,745,440 (1,049,981,665,280 bytes) End=3,906,959,804 (2,000,363,419,648 bytes)
Tip: If Windows only allows access to the first partition, you can access the second partition on a Removable USB drive by using RMPrepUSB - CTRL+O - 2 or \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe - 'Access Partition 2 on a Removable Drive'.
- Installing grub4dos to both the MBR and PBR, and having more than one partition on the USB drive improves 'bootability' on a wider range of systems.
- If you have more than 2 partitions on the drive and one of them is the RMPrepUSB dummy Type 21h partition, then delete the dummy Type 21 hex partition as it is not needed if you have more than one partition. If you only have two partitions, then do NOT delete the small Type 21h empty partition - it is needed by some BIOSes for successful booting.
- You can add payload files to the 2nd partition and add a menu entry which allows you to select any of the payload files from a menu. See the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\E2B Menus folder for example PTNxxxxx.mnu files. Due to some buggy BIOSes, files past 128GiB may not be accessible though - see next point!
- Note that if a BIOS has the 137GB USB bug (very common even today!) then it will not be able to boot from any files in the 2nd partition, if that partition starts after the 137GB point on the USB disk! If possible, keep all E2B files in the first 137GB from the start of the USB disk.
Use an existing grub4dos multiboot USB drive
If you already have a grub4dos bootable USB drive, just extract the E2B file contents to your USB drive (don't overwrite your own \menu.lst file, \_ISO folder must be in root of drive). I strongly recommend you use the E2B version of the \grldr file. Many other versions of grub4dos have bugs!
You can then add a menu entry into your \menu.lst file to load the E2B Main menu, e.g.
Note: If you have a \EFI folder already present and your first partition is FAT32, on some UEFI systems this may prevent MBR-booting to grub4dos and E2B. Unless you really need EFI boot files, I suggest you delete the \EFI folder from your USB drive as it is not needed by E2B - you can still boot to UEFI-payloads using .imgPTN files.