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Quick Setup Guide

Easy2Boot can support many different filesystems, MBR-payloads, UEFI-payloads, Removable and Fixed Disks, etc.
 
New! E2B 140-page eBook now available (complete course on making a multiboot USB drive)!
E2B 'quick reference' Primer page - E2B basics all on one page!
 
NEW for 2020: Many systems these days are UEFI-only. Once you have made your E2B USB drive, I suggest you add a 2nd FAT32 partition containing the new a1ive grub2 File Manager for direct UEFI-booting from the ISO, WIM, VHD and IMG files on your E2B drive. E2B v2 will automatically add this second partition for you if you use Windows 10 to make it.
 
Use the 'Guide' below to help you choose the best way to set up and use an E2B USB drive...

1. Type of USB Drive (Fixed v. Removable USB drive)

When booting Windows-based payloads, it is important to know what type of USB drive you have.
 
Use RMPrepUSB to check if your USB drive is the Fixed type (e.g. USB Hard Disk) or Removable type (*recommended).
 
E2B usually works well with either type of USB drive.
 

Note that some USB Flash drives can be very slow (even some 'fast' USB 3.0 ones such as Lexar P20!). I highly recommend the SanDisk Cru zer Extreme USB 3.0 Removable USB drive for E2B - for larger sizes, speed and robustness, a cheap SSD HDD in a fast USB 3.0 non-UASP drive caddy is great! 

I also highly recommend the IODD 2541 SSD - see blog post here.

Write-Protected  drives - When booting from an E2B drive, the drive must not be write-protected. However, when connecting it to a Windows\Linux system to run software from the drive, it is useful to write-protect the USB drive to prevent infection from the user's OS. Write-Protected USB 3 drives are available from FlashBluKanguru or Netac (Netac U335 is not recommended due to reliability issues in my experience), IODD's/Zalman drives can also be write-protected.
 

2. USB Drive size

Many BIOSes in PCs and Notebooks have a 137GB limit (driver bug) for USB drives (even recent BIOSes!) - any files placed beyond that point on the USB disk cannot be accessed on some systems (under grub4dos which uses the system BIOS). This means that the E2B partition must be the first partition on the USB drive and should not exceed 137GB (128GiB) to ensure it will work correctly on these buggy systems.

Use the big red button in the Make_E2B.exe GUI or run the \MAKE_E2B_USB_DRIVE (run as admin).cmd script. See here.
 

3. Filesystem

Unless you are an expert and have very specific requirements, I recommend that you always use NTFS for your E2B USB drive and not FAT32 or exFAT.
 
You will still be able to UEFI-boot from .imgPTN files even if your USB drive is formatted as NTFS.
 
I do not recommend exFAT for E2B (though it should work OK for most purposes) because some Operating Systems cannot access exFAT partitions.
 
Also, SWITCH_E2B.exe is used with .imgPTN files and it is only fully compatible when used on NTFS E2B drives.
 
E2B can work on ext2/3/4 drives too, but it is not supported because of compatibility issues with Windows and DOS.
 

4. Make an E2B USB drive

Go here for quick instructions. Use a Windows 10 system if possible because earlier Windows OS's can only access the first partition on removable Flash drives..
 

5. Adding Payloads

  • Always check the list here first for your particular payload and any special instructions.
  • For MBR-booting only, copy your payload file(s) to an E2B menu folder.
  • E2B v2 +agFM can also directly UEFI-boot and run ISOs, VHDs, .IMG files, EFI files, etc.
  • If agFM does not Secure Boot and you need to Secure UEFI-boot, make a FAT32 .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit.
  • Always run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd before booting.
  • UEFI-booting using FAT32 .imgPTN files will only work if the payload supports it and it contains UEFI-boot files.
  • AIO ISOs, multi-boot WinPE ISOs, bootable USB fash drives, etc. can be converted to .imgPTN files.
  • If you want the second partition on the E2B USB drive to remain accessible, use a file extension of .imgPTN23 to keep partitions 2 and 3 (if they exist).
  • Some payloads do not support UEFI-booting, but if you use the grub2 menu system, it is possible to UEFI-boot to many linux ISOs which don't normally support UEFI-booting. 
  • For Secure Boot, if using the E2B agFM grub2 menu system, the 2nd agFM partition must be FAT32, not NTFS.
Below are listed some typical payload files - it is important to know what type of USB drive you have first (Removable or Fixed) because this can affect how they boot...
 

All types of E2B drive (Removable and Fixed types):

  • Linux ISOs (MBR booting) - Copy the ISO to any of the standard menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\LINUX).
  • Linux ISOs (UEFI-booting) - Boot to agFM or copy the .imgPTN file to any of the standard menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\LINUX).
  • Puppy Linux ISOs - try .isodef or else use the .isopup file extension
  • Mac puppy - try .isodef or else use the .isomacpup file extension
  • Linux + persistence - Find and read the nearest matching .mnu file in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Linux folder. For Ubuntu-based ISOs try .isopersist (an extra file must also be created first)
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10+ Install ISOs (MBR-booting + UEFI-booting) - Use as .ISO or convert a working bootable USB drive or ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file. Copy the .imgPTN file to any of the standard menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\WIN) or to the correct \_ISO\WINDOWS\WINxxx folder.
  • Windows XP 32-bit Install ISOs (MBR-booting) - Copy to \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder
  • Windows To Go VHD - Copy the .VHD file to any of the standard menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\WIN).
  • WinPE .WIM file - Copy the file to any of the standard menu folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU or \_ISO\WIN).
  • ERD Commander 2005/2007/MSDaRT5 - use the .isomemF01 or .isomemwinv file extension or use .isoDPMS or the ERD5_DPMS.mnu sample file.
  • BartPE - use .isomemF01 or .isomemwinv file extension
  • Ophcrack - Extra instructions here.
  • KonBoot - See instructions in this list. Recent versions are licensed to a specific USB drive.
  • UBCD4Win - use .isowinv file extension
  • Partition Magic ISO - use .ISODOS file extension
  • Gandalf's WinPE ISOs - use .ISO for later versions, otherwise convert to FAT32 .imgPTN file
  • WinBuilder WinPE ISOs (MBR-booting) - Use file extension of .ISO - see here for details.

Removable E2B drive:

  • Windows Vista/7/8/10+ Install ISOs (MBR-booting only) - Copy to the correct 3rd-level folder (e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 for a Windows 8.1 ISO)
  • Hiren's/DLC/DLCD/Strelec ISOs (MBR-booting) -Try a file extension of .ISOHW see  here. For best results, convert to a .imgPTN file.
  • WinPE ISOs (MBR-booting) -  Use file extension of .ISOPE01 or convert to .imgPTN file if that doesn't work
 

Fixed E2B drive:

I recommend you update to v1.A8 or later so that a WinHelper USB drive may not be required for Windows Install ISOs.
Note: If you also connect a small E2B Helper Removable USB Flash drive, you can follow the Removable E2B drive section above.
 
  • Windows Vista/7/8/10+ Install ISOs (MBR-booting only) - use E2B v1.A8 or later - use .ISO or .imgPTN - a WinHelper USB drive may not be needed if 2GB+ RAM present. 
  • Hiren's/DLC/DLCD/Strelec ISOs (MBR-booting) - Try a file extension of .ISOHW plus a WinHelper flash drive, see here or convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file.
  • WinPE ISOs (MBR-booting) - Use file extension of .ISOPE01 plus a WinHelper flash drive or convert to .imgPTN file if that doesn't work

 

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