WinPE multi-function (Hirens-type) ISOs
Multiboot, multifunction ISOs are difficult to add as an ISO file to a multiboot USB drive because they are usually designed to be extracted onto a USB drive when booting from USB. For this reason, it is difficult to have all the functions working just by directly booting from an ISO file on a USB drive.
Note: There are different versions of ‘Hirens‘ ISOs, and so they must be treated differently.
If you are using Easy2Boot v2 with agFM, you should be able to MBR and UEFI-boot most WinPE ISOs directly. Instead you can convert multiboot ISOs such as DLC, Strelec, Hirens, HBCD, etc. to a FAT32 .imgPTN file for best (99-100%) functionality and compatibility – see Option 3 below! If possible, make a working version on a spare USB Flash drive and then use the Flash drive to make a .imgPTN file.
Suggested ISO file extensions for E2B (this may not give full functionality)
- Hirens 15 – .isowinvh (or .isowinvhe0 if you get a black screen on XP boot) – Hiren’s MiniXP and linux only (not DOS utils) – see YouTube video
- DLC\DLCD – _.isoHW.isowin (Removable Flash drive only) – for DLC Boot 2016 3.2 and later use a .ISO file extension (add q or ncq to the end of the filename to suppress auto-suggest prompt – e.g. DLC 2017 ncq.isowin – tip: the HBCD Menu shortcut on the Desktop searches the whole drive for a DLC ISO, so place the ISO in the \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS folder so that it is found quickly).
If using E2B v1.B0 or later, use a file extension of _.isoHW.ISO (e.g. DLC 2017_.isoHW.iso) for faster XP loading.
DLCD 2014 v3 works best when converted to .imgPTN.
- Strelec – use .isowin for Mini Win10 booting x86\x64 (E2B v2.04+), .isofira01 may only for 32-bit WinPEs (depends if 64-bit firadisk driver added by Strelec).
If no Desktop icons, find Strelec ISO on E2B drive once booted – right-click – mount with ImDisk – then Start Menu – MinstAll.
Conversion to .imgPTN23 is best for full functionality.
Note: 2020-09-21 ISO and previous ISO has a missing 64-bit firadisk driver so .isofira01 does not work with x64 wim – see comments – add replacement bugfixed .wim file to ISO if using H2 2020 ISOs!
- Hirens BootCD PE 2018 x64 (HBCDPE) – v1.0.0 or v1.0.1 – use ._iso01ncq64.isomap0164 file extension. HBCDPE v1.0.2 – use .isope01 file extension (agFM v1.72g or later required)
- If you are not sure, check this list.
For 100% functionality of most multifunction HBCD ISOs, try Option 3 below.
See bottom of page for suggested E2B+agFM ISO file extensions (for use in both menu systems and Legacy\UEFI support).
Note that Ventoy only displays files with standard file extensions (e.g. .iso).
If you have pre-2016 DLC or DLCD, to boot XP and Win7/8, try the .isoHW or _.isoHW.iso file extension.
There is a blog entry here about adding multiple Hirens and Falcon F4, etc. to E2B.
Note: Older Hirens ISOs do not support UEFI-booting. If there is no \EFI\boot folder inside the ISO then it cannot UEFI-boot. XP and DOS cannot be UEFI-booted. Read here for more info.
Tip: If you only see the wallpaper but no Desktop or Start Menu button, then unplug all USB devices except the E2B USB drive and wait 1 minute.
Note: Option 3 below is recommended for full functionality.
Option 1 – Multiple Hirens ISO files
Most of the Hirens menu items will work just by renaming the .iso file to .isowinvh but the DOS Utilities require the \HBCD\Dos (or DLCD or DLC1, etc.) folder to be extracted onto the E2B drive – see Option 2 .
If your ISO contains Windows Mini7/8/10, use the .isoHW file extension (requires Removable Flash drive).
If MiniXP has problems on some systems (e.g. hanging or no USB access), try .isomemfira.
Note: .isoHW – if booting from an E2B hard disk (and not using a Helper E2B Flash drive), Mini7/8/10 will not load the ISO as a virtual drive. In this case, boot to the Windows Desktop and then run \_ISO\e2b\firadisk\LOADISOPE.CMD from the E2B USB drive. You can then run the menu app (e.g. Y:\DLC1Menu.exe and Y:\DLC1\DLC2Menu.exe) from the mounted virtual CD (Y:).
Kon-Boot won’t work if booting from a Hiren’s ISO because hd0 will be the USB boot drive and not the internal HDD – use the HirensISO.mnu file in the \_ISO\docs folder for KonBoot ISO booting.
If you have trouble getting the HBCD Menu program in MiniXP working (it should work if you use .isowinvh), browse to the Hirens ISO on the E2B USB drive in MiniXP – right-click and choose Mount as ImDisk Virtual Disk, then run \HBCDMenu.cmd from the mounted ISO.
Option 2 – Extracted files – use if you have just one Hirens ISO
If you only have one Hirens iso and if you want all functions to work, you can extract all the files from the ISO and use a FAT32 formatted E2B USB drive.
- Extract the contents of the Hirens iso to the root of the E2B drive using 7Zip.
Note: Some files/folders like [BOOT], livecd, liveusb, *.cfg, autorun.inf, *.doc, grldr.mbr, *.cmd can be omitted.
- Copy the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu files\HirensBootCD_Extracted.mnu file to \_ISO\MAINMENU (or any E2B folder just below \_ISO).
There is a different .mnu file for DLCD versions – e.g. DLCD_ISO_Extracted.mnu
If you use different versions of Hirens (e.g. DLC), you may be able to extract more than one ISO without the files overwriting each other.
Some versions of HBCD/DLCD have bugs e.g. DLC1 version 2 – see here for details.
Booting Hirens ISO files from an NTFS E2B USB drive
If booting from an NTFS E2B USB drive, some DOS utilities will not work unless you choose the NTFS Driver instead of Auto for the DOS driver (when prompted as shown in the screenshot below).
Choose the NTFS entry if running from an NTFS USB drive.
The NTFS driver uses a lot of memory and some DOS drivers may not have enough room to load into memory – therefore some DOS programs may not run if the NTFS driver is loaded.
Note: To fix this without needing to select the NTFS driver, boot to Hirens miniXP. Find and run the \HBCD\Dos\dosimg.cmd file – follow the instructions to make a new Dos .img file. This file will then be used for DOS apps when you reboot.
Option 3 – Multiple ISOs – use .imgPTN files (recommended)
This method works on FAT32, exFAT and NTFS E2B drives and most (if not all) Hirens menu entries should work correctly (including the DOS programs).
The best method (if available) is to follow the recommended method and make a working USB Flash drive. Then, in Explorer, drag-and-drop the flash drive-letter icon onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut to make a .imgPTN23 file.
Use MakePartImage to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file from each Hirens ISO. Usually you just drag-and-drop the ISO onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut (after installing the MPI Tool Kit).
Tip: If the ISO is designed to be extracted and run from a USB drive, I recommend that when prompted to ‘Auto-correct’ the menu and config files in the MPI script, answer ‘N=No’ because sometimes MPI will incorrectly change the grub4dos\syslinux\grub menu files when they are already modified to work when copied to a USB drive.
The E2B CSM menu.lst file will automatically detect and run the following Hirens grub4dos menu.lst files:
If your Hirens version uses a menu.lst file that is in a different folder, you will need to change one of these entries in the \menu.lst file inside the image.
For more details, read my blog entry here about adding multiple Hirens to E2B in this way.
HBCD v9.6 and earlier – see blog post here.
Falcon F4 (F4UBCD-4.6.iso)
MiniXP will work if you just use extension .isowinvH or .isoHW – but to get all working use the F4UBCD.mnu in \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\Falcon 4.6 and follow the instructions,
convert to a .imgPTN file – see my blog post here.
To use MiniXP with a RAID system, copy ISO to \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder and use E2B+DPMS.
For ISO use .isofira01 for 32-bit x86 WinPE and apps – or convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN file for MBR32/64 and UEFI64-booting.
x64 WinPE booting from ISO can be made to work as follows (this is fixed in v1.B9 and later versions):
- Find the Strelec ISO on the E2B drive once you have booted to Strelec x64 Desktop (ignore errors)
- Right-click on ISO – mount with ImDisk as any drive letter
- Run Start Menu – MinstAll
- Run X:\Windows\System32\MInstLink.exe to add all Desktop icons and a fully populated Start Menu.
If you get a ‘Windows cannot find \SSTR\Mist\Minst.exe’ error when using a .imgPTN file – use the Disk Management Desktop shortcut on the Strelec desktop to add a drive letter to the Easy2Boot USB drive volume.
For UEFI32 booting see here
Some versions of HBCD/DLCD have bugs e.g. DLC1 version 2 – see here for details.
If booting from ISO use file extension _.isoHW.iso (E2B v1.B0+ required).
Multiple DLCBoot ISOs on the same E2B drive
Use only one DLC ISO per E2B drive. The HBCD\DLC Menu will mount the first .iso file it can find containing \DLCBoot.exe. If you have multiple DLC ISOs on the E2B drive, any one of them could be loaded!
I recommend you use a spare USB Flash drive and make a working USB version of DLCBoot using the recommended method. Then make a .imgPTN file from the USB flash drive to add to E2B. That way, the configuration files will be set up to run correctly from a USB drive rather than from a CD.
DLC 2016 and later versions contain UEFI boot files. If you make a FAT32 .imgPTN file from them, you can then also UEFI-boot to DLC.
DLC 2017 v3.4 Final (.imgPTN)
- Extract the DLC .rar file to a temporary folder on your Windows hard disk.
- Right-click on DLCBoot.exe and run it as Administrator.
- Click on the CD icon on the top bar (3rd icon just after the text ‘Win Soft’) and make a DLC USB ISO file.
- If OK, drag-and-drop the USB drive icon\letter in Explorer onto the MakePartImage Desktop shortcut (not MPI_FAT32) and make a DLC2017.imgPTN file use FAT32, Volume Name can be anything – e.g. DLC2017 and Syslinux = N – when prompted (if 2019 use Syslinux v603), do NOT allow MakePartImage to AUTO-CORRECT the boot parameters.
I suggest you add at least 5GB to the suggested size when prompted by MPI to allow for extra files which you may want to add.
It is best not to use the syslinux menu system for 2017, so edit \DLC1\Menu\menu.lst and add a # symbol to the first ‘title’ line, e.g.
#title Load Grub4DOS Menu
If you wish, you can also edit \DLC1\Programs\DOS\Menu\en\USB\Menu.lst to remove the Vietnamese menu entry, etc.
Modify the Hirens\DLC menu to return to E2B the menu
If you wish to return to the E2B menu from the Hirens\DLC menu, you must locate the menu fiile – e.g. menu.lst file (may be another name) and modify it.
For instance, HBCD 15.2 has a grub4dos menu at \HBCD\menu.lst and DLC is at \DLC1\Programs\Dos\Menu\en\USB\menu.lst.
You can add an entry to boot to E2B:
title Easy2Boot Main Menu\nBoot to E2B
For a syslinux menu, use COM32 and chain.c32 (assuming you know the path to chain.c32):
/DLC1/Programs/Dos/Menu/en/CD/isolinux.cfg or /DLC1/Programs/Dos/Menu/en/USB/isolinux.cfg (or may be syslinux.cfg)
menu label Easy2Boot
COM32 /DLC1/Boot/chain.c32 ntldr=/grldr hd0 1
E2B + agFM (MBR+UEFI)
If you are using E2B plus the UEFI agFM combination, I recommend converting all ISO files to .imgPTN23 files.
Otherwise here are my suggested extensions for direct booting from E2B (v2.04+)+agFM (v1.50+):
- HBCD-PE-x64 – .isomap64 or .isowin64 (to also work with Ventoy use _.isowin64.iso)
- Strelec PE – .isowin (E2B v2.04+) (if you also use DOS utilities, leave a .iso and choose .isowin if you want to boot to WinPE). For Ventoy use _.isowin.iso.
- DLCBoot – _.isoHW.iso – e.g. DLCBoot2019_v3.6_.isohw.iso and choose Windows option in agFM. DLC will mount and test all .iso files to find the ISO file if it cannot see a \DLC1 folder. For Win10 PEs only can use .isowin for both E2B and agFM.
The following must ALWAYS end in .ISO or else they won’t work correctly:
- Bob Omb’s WinPE – _.isomap64.iso or _.isowin64.iso and use [.isomap] or [.isowin] agFM option (keep extension as .iso or else apps won’t appear in start menu)
- Gandalf PE – _.isomap64.iso or _.isowin64.iso and use [.isomap] or [.isowin] agFM option (keep extension as .iso or else apps won’t appear in start menu) – if RedStone 5 use _.isodef.iso
- Medicat (older ISO versions) – _.isomap64.iso and use [.isomap] agFM option (keep extension as .iso or else apps won’t appear in start menu) – use just .iso if you want full start menu.