Thursday, 24 May 2018

Upcoming Amazon Echo offers

Hi
Just a heads-up, apparently there is an Amazon Echo Sale coming up starting 26th May.

Use the links below after 25th May to get $10 and $15 off.

Echo Dot (affiliated link to Amazon.com)



Echo  (affiliated link to Amazon.com)

I have an Echo (in the kitchen) and an Echo Dot (in the bedroom) and find them really useful for...

1. Reminders ' Alexa - remind me to call Fred at 3pm' (I also get an alert on my phone)
2. Play radio or music 'Alexa - play BBC Radio 4'
3. Radio Alarm clock 'Alexa - set an alarm for 8am every day and play BBC Radio 4'
4. Calculations - 'Alexa - what's 297.2 minus 167.6' and 'Alexa - what's 127 dollars in pounds?'
5. Shopping list 'Alexa - add yoghurt to my shopping list' (can see list on phone when I go shopping)
6. News - 'Alexa - give me a flash briefing'
7. Music - 'Alexa - play Blue by Joni Mitchell' (Amazon Prime or Spotify account required)
8. Queries - 'Alexa - what are Asimov's 3 laws of Robotics'
9. Vanity or scary - 'Alexa - who is the fairest of them all?' and 'Alexa - open the pod bay doors'
10. Internet calls - 'Alexa - drop in on mum'  (immediately connects me to mum's Echo at her house so I can hear what's going on - e.g. snoring!)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

E2B eBook now available!

The first revision of the eBook is now available as a downloadable PDF file here for just $5 (payable via PayPal or card).

There is no link on the website yet as I would like to get some feedback first.

If you are prepared to provide me with feedback by reading the whole eBook and actually working through most of the 40+ Exercises within a few weeks, please contact me for a Voucher Code for a free copy (first 30 only!).

Future revisions will be available free to previous buyers.

Let me know what you would like me to cover in another eBook if I missed it out in this one.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

E2B v1.99f Beta (includes feature to play tunes!)

yaya, one of the main developers of grub4dos, has done a lot of work to add a 'beep' command to grub4dos. It can play synchronously (in background) or asynchronously (waits until end of play before continuing execution).

E2B v1.99f (was 1.99e) includes this latest \grldr file (grub4dos 0.4.6a) which has the new beep command.

Now you can load the E2B Main menu and simultaneously play the Mission Impossible or Tetris background music (or any tune you like)! Your system must be fitted with an internal speaker (or buzzer) - Virtual Machines will not make any noise, you must use a real system.

Instructions to update your E2B drive

Friday, 18 May 2018

Installing Windows Embedded POSReady 2009

The POS2009 ISO is a bit different from normal XP ISOs in that it has no 2nd stage boot and it requires a 'flat-file' structure and \i386 folder on the installation media to be present during the 2nd boot.

There is a ReadMe file at \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Windows\POS2009_ReadMe.txt on the E2B drive which can be used to install POS2009 to an IDE hard drive.

E2B v1.99 contains revised instructions for guidance on how you can install to SATA\RAID\SCSI disk too.

The ReadMe file in v1.99 is shown below:

Windows 10 font confusion

This problem took me a while to solve today.

I had a file called MissionImpossible.g4b which did not seem to get recognised by grub4dos.

It turned out it was a typo problem and because Windows Explorer shows virtually identical characters for capital I and lowercase L (l), I did not spot it!!!  see below...

Can you tell the difference between I and l in the Windows font?


Good choice of font Microsoft - but give me function and clarity over aesthetics any day!

With some fonts I have problems distinguishing the number 1 from a lowercase l? Now it seems I also need to look out for uppercase I's as well!

Unfortunately Windows 10 has no facility to change the default font (unless you hack the Registry).

Anyone know how to have a legible font in Win10 without having to hack the registry?

P.S. In case you are wondering, the next version of E2B (and grub4dos) will be able to play annoying tunes through the PC internal speaker (if fitted) whilst the animated icon is displayed on the menu! I am testing/debugging it now.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Windows Forensic course for only $25 - Hurry!

If you would like to take a course on Windows Forensic investigation and the Windows Forensic Operating System (WinFE) by Brett Shavers, then you can sign up here for a sale price of only $25 (normal price $95) but be quick - less than 2 days to go!

There is an intro video on the same page (in the Contents list on right hand side of the page) so you can see what the course covers.


About the course
This course is specific to the Windows Forensic Operating System. Everything you need to build and use a WinFE is included in this course (except your personal license for Windows that is needed to build a WinFE) . You'll learn why WinBuilder was chosen as the preferred method, how previous methods are now outdated, and how other methods are not as well suited as the latest Mini-WinFE build. In fact, the latest build application is focused on during this course.

You'll learn various methods of using a WinFE, whether it is for civil matters, criminal cases, or educational uses. Customize your WinFE specific to your needs and see how a customized WinFE boot disc may handle the vast majority of booting the evidence computer forensically over other boot systems such as Linux Live CDs.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

MPI Tool Pack v0.082 available

MPI Change History v0.082

  • grub4dos \grldr updated to latest version
  • Small change to csm\menu.lst for KonBoot menu
  • Menu.lst now warns if no UEFI boot files are found
  • Chandra's Split_WinISO.exe utility is now included for making split WIM files when a Windows Install ISO has >4GB install.wim/esd files.
  • Add 'set default menu and timeout' menu entry to CSM menu
  • Change to  add clover menu for (hd0,2) EFI boot files
  • Update to latest Clover 64-bit+plist.conf
  • Improve FreeBSD menu (now works with Nas4Free)
  • Add boot as floppy drive A: to DOS menu entry to \menu.lst

Download here from the Alternate Download Areas. Please let me know if you spot a problem.

The download is named 'Beta' but it is the full released version of 0.082 which I will simply rename and fully release next week if no one reports any issues.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Install Win98 from E2B

PhilsComputerLab has just produced a nice YouTube video showing how to install Win98 onto an old Legacy computer (with IDE drive and <1GB RAM) using a Win98 ISO and an E2B drive.


Several people have commented that they do not want to remove files from the ISO to reduce it's size.

Here is a way of adding a full Win98 Install payload to E2B by using a .imgPTN file.

Useful PDF from Microsoft of Windows Command Line commands

Click here to download the Microsoft PDF for the A-Z list of command line commands.

English direct download here.

You may learn something new!

E2B v.1.99d BETA available

When I first added the .imgPTN feature to E2B, I was not sure what partition configuration to use in order to make it bootable on a large range of different UEFI BIOSes.

So I included a wide range of file extensions such as .imgPTNLBAa23, .imgPTNna23, etc. etc.

However, no one has reported any issues and I personally have not had to use any other file extension except for .imgPTN and .imgPTNLBAa23.

So E2B v1.99d has a slight change in that the file extension .imgPTN23 will now be identical to using the file extension .imgPTNLBAa23. i.e.

In versions of E2B before 1.99d, .imgPTN23 did not set the partition as active or use large LBA parameters but in version 1.99d it does. SWITCH_E2B.exe however did use LBA and set the partition active, so E2B now does the same as SWITCH_E2B.exe.

This means that there are now just two file extensions to worry about for 99% of the time: .imgPTN for most purposes or .imgPTN23 if you want the 2nd partition to remain available after switching.

E2B v1.99d is available from the Alternate Download Areas as usual (see side bar).

P.S. The other .imgPTNxxxxx variations will still work in the same way and you do not need to change the file extension of any of your .imgPTN files for this new version.

Progress on the E2B eBook

I have almost finished writing most of the content for the E2B eBook but there is still a lot of work to do yet.

It now has over 100 pages and over 40 'Exercises'.

It will be available as a PDF because this allows a hyperlinked Contents table and you can read it on pretty much any device. I have come to the conclusion that the eBook ePub format is just too limiting for this type of book.

I haven't yet decided on what platform I will use to sell it. I looked at using Lulu.com, but it does not allow me to to easily include a hyperlinked Contents page and has other limitations, so I am now looking at payhip.com which do not provide a purchase site like Lulu does, but just a 'sales page' for each product. However it will accept virtually any PDF format and it will watermark the pages with the buyers email address before making the download available.

Please let me know if you want any more topics added (though some more advanced topics will probably go into a second eBook).

I haven't decided on a price yet, but $6.99 is my initial thought so far, does this sound OK? There may be voucher codes for discounts available later too.

Here is a screenshot of the Contents so far.

Friday, 4 May 2018

E2B v1.99c Beta available

Differences from v1.99b are:
  1. Update_E2B_Drive.cmd now has 2 second tolerance on file times (/FFT switch added)
  2. CONTIG.ISO is not copied when using red button in MAKE_E2B.exe GUI to make a new E2B drive.
  3. Make_CONTIG.ISO.cmd added.
If you want a CONTIG.ISO file you should use the Make_E2B_USB_drive button in the GUI instead of the big red button.

The 500MB CONTIG.ISO is still in the download, it is just not copied across when using the red button.
There is also now a .cmd script to quickly make a CONTIG.ISO file at "\_ISO\docs\E2B Utilities\Make_CONTIG.ISO\Make_CONTIG.ISO.cmd".

The new version can be found in the Alternate Download Areas as usual.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Should I remove CONTIG.ISO from Easy2Boot?

As you may know, \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO is a 500MB blank file which is included in the Easy2Boot download.

The CONTIG.ISO file is only used when a payload file is not contiguous but when E2B needs it to be contiguous. E2B will then copy the entire original payload file to the CONTIG.ISO file. This can take some time and it is done each time you boot to that same payload file.

I never actually use this feature and I suspect most Windows users do not use it either.

When you first make an E2B drive, this large file needs to be copied over to the USB drive and this can take several minutes on slow pen drives. The file also takes up 500MB of space on the USB drive which is never used as long as you always run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd first.

So, my proposal is to remove the CONTIG.ISO file from the E2B self-extracting download file in the next version of E2B (v1.99c).

However, the .zip E2B download file (which is used by linux users to prepare an E2B drive) will still contain a 500MB CONTIG.ISO file.

If a Windows user still wants to use the CONTIG.ISO feature, they simply have to create a \_ISO\CONTIG.ISO file (I can provide a small batch file which will create a file of any size).

Please let me know if you think this is a bad idea ASAP, otherwise I will remove the CONTIG.ISO file in the next version.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Problems adding WiFiSlax to E2B!

Yesterday, someone contacted me via a Chat Session on my www.easy2boot.com website to ask about getting WiFiSlax ISOs to work with E2B. He had tried both the latest 64-bit and 32-bit versions.

The 'List of tested ISOs' page showed that I had tested wifislax-4-7-2-final.iso successfully but this user could not get it to boot.

Since he mentioned that he was using an E2B USB Hard Disk and I had my Corsair 256GB GTX USB drive handy, I downloaded the wifislax64-1.1.iso file and quickly tested it using Virtual Box and VMUB. I had no problems and it booted to the WiFiSlax desktop.

However, I then tried booting it from several 'real' systems and they all failed to boot.
Even the older 4-7-2 ISO failed in the same way.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Play WAV files from FreeDOS with E2B

You can play wav files using FreeDOS through your PC speaker, the sound quality is amazingly good!

This works on computers that have an internal PC speaker fitted but won't work on a VM as the PC Speaker is connected to a hardware timer chip which is not emulated by most VMs.

1. Go to http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php/Digital_Sound_System#Download and download the 2006 version
2. Unpack the contents to a newly created \DSS folder on your E2B drive
3. Edit the \DSS\dss.ini file and change the SoundDevice section to use the PC Speaker as  device 8

[SoundDevice]
Device=8

4. Copy a .wav file to the \DSS folder (or several)

To play the wav file (e.g. ring03.wav)

1. Boot to E2B on a system that has a PC Speaker
2. Go to the DOS menu and boot to the FreeDOS floppy image
3. At the C: prompt type

cd \DSS
DSS ring03.wav /L-

The /L- tells it not to loop

You can press F1 for help, or type DSS /? for command line options.

Try pressing the Fn keys for different screen affects whilst it is playing.

I got a repetitive clicking sound approx. every second, but if you use the down-arrow to reduce the volume, it is less intrusive.

If you play an MP3 file, you get some horrible noise for a few seconds, but then it plays OK.
You cannot play midi files via the PC Speaker.

It does not seem to work on all systems for some strange reason (e.g no sound, bad sound or DSS crashes!), but does work on other systems.

Good Luck!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Installing Avaya Appliance Virtualization Platform (AVP) using E2B

When installing the Avaya Appliance Virtualization Platform v7 to a server, you usually need a DVD which contains an OS that installs onto the internal hard disk and a USB flash drive that contains a configuration file.

If you have an E2B (Removable-type) of Flash drive, you can install AVP without needing a DVD.

1. Download the AVP ISO
2. Drag-and-drop it onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut
3. Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd
4. Run \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe and switch in the new image file
5. Open Windows Explorer and copy your AVP .cfg configuration file to the root of the USB drive (there should be \EFI and \clover and \e2b folders present if you have the correct partition).

You should now find that you can boot to the E2B drive's CSM menu and select option 1 to MBR-boot to start the formatting of the internal drive and the unattended installation of AVP.

I have not tested this process using an E2B USB HDD, but it has been tested using an E2B USB Flash drive. As I think the script searches only Removable USB drives for the .cfg file, this does not work under a VM like VBox if the E2B USB drive appears as a IDE\SATA\SCSI fixed disk and not a true USB drive. You could connect a 2nd USB flash drive containing the .cfg file instead of placing the file on the E2B drive.

Headless Server

If your appliance has no keyboard or monitor, we need to make some changes to the \menu.lst file so that it runs automatically (which is dangerous because it will format the internal HDD!):

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Windows Answer File Generator website has moved!

It is now at www.windowsafg.com

This allows you to generate autounattend.xml files easily for both MBR and UEFI installs.

You can use XMLtoE2B.exe to tweak the xml file for use with E2B.

As I have lost the source files for XMLtoE2B, the top buttons which try to open pages on the old WAFG site will no longer work.


Easy2Boot v1.99b Beta now available


Changes from v1.98 are:
v1.99a - updated "\_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS\APPS\CHOCBOX\chocolatey-core.extension.1.3.1.nupkg" to 1.3.3. Automatic bugfix for menu.lst file in old .imgPTN files if selected via the E2B menu system.

v1.99b - setting redir now suppresses the 'System Hard Disk (hd1) not detected' warning message, GIFtoIMA.cmd script now asks user for transparency\opaque background setting, Utilities Menu - List Files entry now has extra option to list UTILITIES_MEMTEST files, UPDATE_E2B_DRIVE.cmd now repositions cmd shell window, fix dpms2.g4b so doesn't crash VBox 5.2.8.

v1.99b is available from Alternate Download Areas.

I am still working on the eBook (it will be available as a PDF). There are still a few chapters to write, then lots of pictures to add + proof checking!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Using SDI_CHOCO with Windows 10 1709 (and fixing the 'No internet' prompt)

The 1709 version of Windows (as well a many other versions - but not all versions!) seems to have broken internet connectivity during the Specialize pass of an automated install again and also broken something in MSOOBE.exe too!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Revised MemTest86.imgPTN file (and how to fix a corrupt E2B drive)

If you are having problems when using the ready-made MemTest86.imgPTN file which I made available in a previous post, please update to the latest version here.

The previous version was not compatible with the latest versions of RMPrepUSB (grub4dos installer) and could cause strange effects such a 'GRLDR not found' errors on booting and perhaps not being able to return back to the E2B menu from the CSM menu.

If you have been using the latest version of RMPrepUSB to install grub4dos on your E2B drive, make sure you are using the latest version of the MPI Tool Pack to make your .imgPTN files.

If you have used the latest version of RMPrepUSB to install grub4dos on your E2B drive, you will need to remake all your .imgPTN files again. Alternatively, edit the \menu.lst file inside each .imgPTN file and replace "Missing MBR" with "helper" throughout the file.

If you update your E2B USB drive to version 1.99a Beta or later (available in Alternate Download area), when you switch to a .imgPTN file using the E2B menu (not using SWITCH_E2B.exe) E2B will automatically make the patches to the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file as it is run. Once it has been patched, you can use SWITCH_E2B.exe as well as the E2B menu system to select a .imgPTN file.

Fixing a 'broken' E2B drive

If your E2B drive has a problem booting or switching back to the E2B partitions, try this process using any version of RMPrepUSB...

1. RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+B  (writes a standard MBR)
2. RMPrepUSB - Ctrl+G - Y=MBR - cancel grldr copy (installs grub4dos to MBR and backs up the standard MBR to LBA1 - grub_inst will not back up the MBR if it contains grub4dos which is why we install the standard MBR first)
3. Now select the drive in Windows Explorer - Properties - Tools - Check (to fix any errors)

If the drive is in the CSM mode (i.e. has a switched-in .imgPTN file), switch it back to the E2B mode by booting to it and using the CSM  0 - EASY2BOOT menu option or using \e2b\SWITCH_E2B.exe - Restore E2B partition(s) button.

Now repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 above.

Finally, update to E2B v1.99a and use the E2B menu to switch in any 'old' .imgptn file in order to 'fix' the menu.lst file inside it:

i.e.
1. Boot to E2B menu
2. Select .imgPTN file in the E2B menu and switch to CSM menu to 'patch' the \menu.lst file inside the .imgPTN file.
3. Select menu item 0 EASY2BOOT in the CSM menu to return back to the E2B menu.

You can now use SWITCH_E2B.exe or the E2B menu to select the old .imgPTN file.

Drive not listed in SWITCH_E2B.exe?

If you have switched to a .imgPTN file and then tried to switch it back using the CSM Menu 0 option, you may find that it will may no longer boot to grub4dos or be listed in by SWITCH_E2B.exe.

SWITCH_E2B.exe only lists drives that have grub4dos boot code in the MBR (LBA0).

If you follow the process above, it should fix the issue.

No files? unformatted drive?

If Windows wants to format the E2B drive and it appears unformatted, the CSM menu may have restored your old original backup partition. This type of problem only happens if you have re-partitioned your E2B drive after you originally installed E2B onto it.

To fix the issue, follow the FAQ Troubleshooting guide