Tip: Run the \E2B Launcher.exe application for help (v2.07+).
NEW for 2020: Many systems these days are UEFI-only. 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. You can also add a version of Ventoy too. See eBook#4 for more details. Use the 'Guide' below to help you choose the best way to set up and use an E2B USB drive.
E2B Menu system: grub4dos-based - Legacy\MBR only
agFM Menu System: grub2-based - Legacy\MBR, UEFI32, UEFI64
Easy2Boot for Ventoy Menu system: grub2-based - Legacy\MBR, UEFI32, UEFI64
Note: The menu system for agFM and Ventoy is very different from the E2B menu system and is described here. To UEFI-boot - you must boot to partition 2.
To MBR\Legacy boot - boot to partition 1
To UEFI-boot - boot to partition 2
Tip: NEVER set the USB drive as the first boot device in the BIOS Setup menu. The first boot device should always be set to the internal hard disk that is the system's boot device - otherwise an Operating System may install boot code onto the E2B USB drive instead of the internal disk! Always use the BIOS Boot selection pop-up menu to boot from the E2B USB drive.
Note: Most of the pages on this website describe MBR\Legacy booting to the Easy2Boot grub4dos-based menu system. Easy2Boot v2 also allows you to add the a1ive grub2-based File Manager (agFM) menu system which supports both MBR\Legacy and UEFI32/UEFI64 booting. The menu system for agFM is very different from the E2B menu system and is described here.
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.
E2B usually works well with either type of USB drive.
E2B v2 can add a second FAT32 partition containing the agFM grub2 menu system for UEFI-booting (similar to Ventoy).
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 Cruzer 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 or the new SSD Mini version - 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 FlashBlu, Kanguru 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 (first partition <128GiB)
Many of the BIOSes in PCs and Notebooks have a 137GB limit for USB drives (USB driver bug - even some recent BIOSes!) - any files placed beyond that point on the USB disk cannot be accessed on some systems (grub4dos 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 all systems including those with a buggy BIOS.
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 (use NTFS)
Unless you are an expert and have very specific requirements, I recommend that you always use NTFS for your E2B USB drive first partition and not FAT32 or exFAT.
You will still be able to UEFI-boot from .imgPTN files even if your USB drives first partition 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.
Copy your payload file(s) to an E2B menu folder.
Always run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd before booting.
E2B v2 +agFM can also directly UEFI-boot and run ISOs, VHDs, .IMG files, EFI files, etc.
If agFM does not Secure Boot on a particular system, make a FAT32 .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit.
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).
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 flash drives, etc. may need to be converted to .imgPTN files.
Some payloads do not support UEFI-booting, but if you use the grub2 menu system, it is often possible to UEFI-boot to many linux ISOs which don't normally support UEFI-booting.
For UEFI and 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