Please Note: When a USB drive is mapped as a drive in a 'normal' VM (e.g. QEMU, Virtual Box or VMWare), it will be treated as a 'hard disk' and not a Removable USB drive. Also, unless a special utility is used, any sector writes within a USB drive volume by E2B may not work because the USB drive volumes are not accessible to the VM as it/they are locked by Windows. Also, USB disk writes may be cached by the VM (snapshotted) so that any writes under the VM may not actually be permanent and all changes to the USB drive may disappear when the VM boots to an OS or after it is shut down.
For this reason, for testing purposes, use the 32-bit QEMU emulator included with RMPrepUSB (just press F11 - tip: try to use 900MB or less for memory or QEMU may not run), or use VBox+DavidB's VMUB utility (highly recommended) - these utilities dismount the USB drive before it runs QEMU or VBox and thus allows the VM to fully access the whole USB drive (a few payloads may not even run correctly unless this is done!).
Note: Unlike RMPrepUSB - F11, the QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd batch file is only for testing that your E2B USB drive will boot, checking the menus and for switching to a .imgPTN payload - it may not run some payloads correctly because it does not allow full write access to the volume. Use RMPrepUSB - F11 or VBox+VMUB to test payload booting.
ALWAYS TEST ON A REAL SYSTEM IF A VM DOES NOT APPEAR TO WORK!
Download VMUB here (rename to .zip) or as .zip file here.
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 VMUB, the USB drive will be dismounted and the VM will then gain full read/write access to the USB drive.
Make sure you run VBox and VMUB with Administrator privileges - I suggest you set up shortcuts for each one with the Run as Admin box ticked.
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. Some linux ISOs (e.g. Parted Magic) may also not run correctly with VT-x ON (if you get a 'Cannot find SQFS' error, try VT-x OFF or test on a real system).
With VBox, you can also UEFI-boot (64-bit or 32-bit UEFI). Just set up a new VM in VBox and specify either a 32-bit or 64-bit OS system and then tick the System - Motherboard - Enable EFI (Special OSes only) checkbox.
QEMU - QEMU in RMPrepUSB can also be used but it is rather slow and is a 32-bit CPU emulator and so will not boot 64-bit payloads (but has full rd/wr access as it uses DavidB's VMUB). If QEMU crashes, untick the 'No prompt' checkbox and use a memory size of 900MB or less. 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.
VMWare - You can also boot directly from a USB drive using VMWare - see the VMWare section on this page. However, be aware that like VBox, VMWare does not allow direct sector writes to the USB drive, so using .imgPTN files may fail to work and other writes may not be permanent (e.g. deleting or modifying files).
Don't use Plop! - Plop! uses a read-only USB driver stack. Unless you have full write access under the VM, E2B will not work, which is why Plop! is not suitable to use to boot from an E2B USB drive - see FAQ for more details.
Many real BIOSes have a USB 137GB bug - the USB driver in the BIOS cannot access sectors beyond 137GB (the internal hard disk driver is OK, it's the USB code that is buggy). The BIOSes used by VBox and QEMU do not have this bug and so may work when a real system does not! For this reason, keep the E2B USB partition size below 137GB.
Windows Vista/7/8 Installs under a VM
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 directly from an ISO file. 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.
Note: This issue does not apply if using .imgPTN images made from a Windows install ISO using MakePartImage - these images can be successfully run from within a VM.
To use E2B to install Windows Vista/7/8 in a VM from an ISO file, 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. You should not see the 'A required CD/DVD drive driver is required' message now.