E2B Menu Navigation

Note: You will only see the E2B grub4dos menu when you MBR-boot. If you have the agFM files installed on the second partition, you can UEFI boot to the 2nd partition to run the agFM menu system. These instructions are for the E2B Menu system only. 

Menu Cursor keys

You can use the [UP] and [DOWN] cursor keys to select ‘active’ menu entries or the [RIGHT] and [LEFT] keys for any menu entry (active or inactive).
The [PAGE_UP] and [PAGE_DOWN] keys will also work. 
If a menu entry is not considered a ‘bootable/active’ entry by grub4dos (e.g. a blank entry or line separator), then you can only select it using the [RIGHT] and [LEFT] cursor keys. 
Note: Depending on the menu setting, these other keys may also work in the E2B grub4dos menu system:

  • Ctrl+M or Ctrl+J or * or # or b = [ENTER]
  • v = [DOWN] or [RIGHT]
  • ^ = [UP] or [LEFT]

Initial character hotkey feature (AUTOMENU)

You can press any letter to select a menu entry beginning with the initial letter of the menu entry. – e.g. Pressing V will cause the menu entry ‘Ventoy’ to be selected (if it exists).
If you press it again, then it will jump to the next menu item that begins with that letter. It will cycle round if necessary. If a hotkey has been defined (e.g. in a menu entry), it will override the initial-letter hotkey.
Due to the menu number jump feature (see below) you should avoid using filenames or menu entries beginning with a number. 
You can disable the initial character hotkey behaviour by adding set AUTOMENU=OFF into the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file. 


Some menu items may respond to a pre-defined hotkey, usually signified (by convention) with square brackets in the menu entry – e.g. [Ctrl+A] or [Alt+1]. 

When a menu hotkey is pressed, the new menu is immediately acted upon (you do not need to press the [ENTER] key).
Once E2B starts to enumerate files, you can press a hotkey without needing to wait for the Main menu to be displayed first. e.g. press Ctrl+I whilst E2B is booting and it will proceed to the Windows Install menu. You can define specific hotkeys for specific payload (e.g. ISO) files by creating a matching .txt file. 

Tip: You can also define hotkeys which will be active in all menus (global hotkeys), by editing the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file (e.g. you can specify F9 to reboot the computer even if no menu item is present for it in the current menu).

E2B v1.A8 and later versions have the global hotkey Ctrl+F8 pre-defined – use this to reload E2B in case of any menu error.

E2B v2.16 and later versions have the global hotkey Ctrl+F7 pre-defined – use this if the menu screen does not display properly due to a monitor or graphics display adapter compatibility problem (fuzzy lines, black screen, etc.) to change the display to text mode.

Note: Avoid using Alt+ as a hotkey modifier for Linux ISOs. Some Linux ISOs which use syslinux/isolinux as a boot loader may see the ALT key as a special control key and not show the boot menu. e.g. if you setup a .txt file or .mnu file to boot to a Linux ISO and define a hotkey of Alt+U, you may find the isolinux menu does not display if you use the Alt+U hotkey combination to select that entry instead of using the cursor keys – better to use a Ctrl+ hotkey combination.

Menu Numbers

Each menu can have up to 100 menu lines (0-99). The first menu entry line is always numbered as 0 (even if empty/blank).

If you press the 1 number key, the 2nd line menu entry labelled ‘1’ will be highlighted. If you next press the 3 number key, the #13 (14th line) menu entry will then be highlighted. If you press 1 again, the #1 menu item will be highlighted. Even if you disable the appearance of menu numbers in the menus by using a setting in MyE2B.cfg, you can still use the number keys to jump to a specific menu entry, e.g. 0 will jump to the first menu entry. Note that blank menu entries will be counted too. 

If some menu entries start with a number (e.g. a file named ‘1Ubuntu.iso’), this will interfere with the menu number jump feature – so avoid menu entries or filenames that start with a number. 
You can disable the menu first character hotkey feature by using set AUTOMENU=OFF in \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg – then you can type the menu numbers to jump to an entry even if some entries begin with a numeral.

The menu entry numbers are shown down the side of the menu and these numbers can be suppressed by setting the AUTONUM variable in the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg user configuration file (set AUTONUM=0x2000). 

User Prompts and Questions

Sometimes E2B may need to ask a user something, e.g. 

Load ISO into memory ([Y]/N) :  

You must enter a single letter followed by [ENTER] key. E2B will test for either Y or N. In the example above, any key except N, will cause the ISO to be loaded into memory. 

The default answer is always shown in square brackets [ ]. So [Y]/N  means that only if you press N and then [ENTER] will the ISO NOT be loaded into memory.

Conversely,  (Y/[N])  indicates that any key, except Y, will cause an answer of ‘No’ to be accepted. 

The E2B code will only look for the key press which is NOT in square brackets so always use N or Y (No and Yes) when answering questions.

The answer key that is not in square brackets may be different when using a non-English language – the key that is not in square brackets will not be changed. For instance, if J/[N] is displayed when using the German E2B menu language, N or [ENTER] will be regarded as ‘No’ – any other key will be regarded as ‘Yes’. However, [J]/N should not be used because the grub4dos code will be looking for the English letter Y and not J!

Tip: Try to avoid pressing ESC because this key may have an unwanted affect; if in doubt or if E2B pauses, then press [ENTER]. 

Special Keys

If a payload file is listed in the menu, you can use the following keys or combinations: 

  • [SHIFT]+[ENTER] – ISOBOOT – select linux ISO from menu – hold down SHIFT key and press ENTER to run the ISO using the ‘ISOBOOT’ method. This method uses the special linux cheat code and does not require the .iso file to be contiguous. The file name is recognised so do not change the filename – no spaces allowed. Instead of the normal boot method, ISOBOOT will be run (used mainly for booting linux ISOs which are not contiguous) 
  • [SHIFT]+[CTRL]+[ENTER] – E2B will calculate and dispay the CRC32 value of the file before running it (useful for checking for a corrupt ISO but can be slow!).
  • [SCROLL LOCK]  – VERBOSE/AUTO-SUGGEST MODE. If SCROLL LOCK is on when QRUN.g4b is executed (e.g. when booting from most payload files), the NOSUGredir and redirp variables will be cleared. This allows you to see all E2B messages and suggestions. This is useful if you have suppressed messages by setting these variables in your MyE2B.cfg file but now wish to see the E2B messages – perhaps for a particular payload that is not booting correctly. (E2B v1.91+). If SCROLL LOCK is on, then you will always get the auto-suggest prompt (even if no alternative extension is suggested) – you can then type Y=Yes, N=No, A=Abort or I=use .isoask. 

Note: Because SCROLL LOCK may affect some boot loaders (e.g. isolinux/syslinux goes to shell and user must press ENTER to get menu), the SCROLL LOCK key status is always cleared by QRUN.g4b (you will see the SCROLL LOCK LED go out).

  • [SHIFT] – Hold down before E2B boots/loads – this loads the fast grub4dos USB 2.0 driver (also in Utilities menu). If LEFT-SHIFT or RIGHT-SHIFT is held down before E2B starts to boot (or when the Main Menu re-loads) then the grub4dos USB 2.0 driver will be loaded. The grub4dos USB 2.0 rd/wr driver is useful for these reasons:
  1. Does not suffer from the 137GB sector limitation bug that is present in many BIOSes so the driver can access files past 137GB on the USB drive.
  2. Faster than most USB 2.0 BIOS drivers
  3. If you loaded E2B using Plop!, the Plop! read-only driver will be replaced by the grub4dos read/write driver.

Note that SHIFT+F8 does not reload the Main Menu because it is not seen as an F8 key press. Either use the Reload Main Menu entry or press F8 and then quickly hold down the SHIFT key to load the USB driver if it was not loaded on boot. 

  • [CTRL+F7] – Text Mode (v2.16+)
  • [ALT+F7] – 1024×768 graphics mode (v2.16+)
  • [CTRL+F8] – Reload E2B
  • [INSERT] – Single Step in grub4dos – if the INSERT key is held down just as grub4dos starts to boot, then grub4dos will enter debug/single-step mode. Every key press will cause another line of code (or screenful of code) to be executed. You can keep the INSERT key held down until an error is seen (or the E2B menu is displayed). ‘get_cdinfo’ lines are usually the first to appear, then E2B batch file commands and then IFTITLE ‘test’ lines, before the E2B Main menu is finally displayed.  

Diagnostic Keys

! – (SHOWTIMES) During booting to E2B you can press the ! key  (SHIFT+1 = exclamation mark) to display how long each E2B boot stage took. You can also use ‘set SHOWTIMES=1’ in the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to show the information every time the menu system loads. This can help diagnose slow boot time problems.

Use the ! key to display boot timings.

[SPACE] key (PAUSE STARTUP MESSAGES) – During menu enumeration by E2B (any menu folder), you can press the SPACE key (spacebar) once only to pause the display, press the SPACE key twice quickly to pause it again after file enumeration (the first time is for it to continue and once again for it to stop). This allows you to view the order that E2B has enumerated the files in. E2B menu entries are ordered alphabetically (including folder names).

If you press the SPACE key ONCE during the early initial boot phases, E2B will pause for you to see the early boot messages.

Press any key to continue or press the SPACE key TWICE quickly to make it pause again at the next point. This also works when sub-menu entries are loaded too. Note that if you have used redir or redirp in your MyE2B.cfg file to suppress the start-up messages, you may not see many or any messages!

If you press the SPACE key rapidly, multiple times during startup, E2B will only pause after all the menu files have been enumerated and ask you to press [ENTER] before displaying the Main menu. 

E2B Default Timeout

  Seconds countdown timer at far right (see yellow arrow).

If a menu entry timeout has been set (e.g. by using ‘0 Set default menu entry and timeout’), a seconds countdown number will be displayed to the right of the menu entry. When it reaches 0, the menu entry will be automatically selected.  

Grub4dos menu hotkeys (SHIFT + b, c, e and p)

Grub4dos will respond to the bce and p keys – you must hold down the SHIFT key first before pressing one of these keys if AUTONUM has been used (default).  

If a password has been set (pwd), pressing the SHIFT+b, SHIFT+c or SHIFT+e keys will have no effect, until you enter the correct password after pressing SHIFT+p
Note that if AUTOMENU is disabled by the MyE2B.cfg file, you do not need to press the SHIFT key.

< password prompt after pressing SHIFT+p
  •  [SHIFT]+p – enter grub4dos menu password (if a ‘pwd’ password has been set). If a password is set, then [SHIFT]+c, b and e (see below) will not work until the correct password has been entered. The default password is ‘easy2boot’.
  • [SHIFT]+c – drop to command prompt (e.g. type help to see commands)
  • [SHIFT]+e – edit the current menu entry (any changes you make are not permanent)
  • [SHIFT]+b – boot to the currently selected menu item
  • [ENTER]    – boot to the currently selected menu item
  • [ESC]         – abort from current operation – (if in the command shell after pressing SHIFT+c in the E2B menu, it will go back to the E2B menu) 

Tip: E2B hides the grub4dos help text that is normally displayed below the menu (e.g. if no menu entry help text is specified by using \n after a title command and when you use the Edit key).

You may wish to see the help text when using the menu edit feature. Press SHIFT+c to go to the command prompt and type  setmenu –keyhelp=0=0 then press ESC to return to the menu. Now you will see the grub4dos help text (see screenshot below). You can add this setmenu command permanently, by placing the single line of text into a \_ISO\MAINMENU\!!CONFIG\$menu_help.mnu file.

The grub4dos edit help text can then be seen if you press SHIFT-e to invoke the Grub4dos menu editor (after entering the password if required). 

grub4dos menu edit commands are:

  • e = edit a lined = delete a line
  • O/o = open a new line before/after current position
  • b = boot
  • c  = command-line
  • ESC = return to menu

Menu entry order

E2B will alphabetically sort folders and files and list them in the menu in alphabetical order (not case sensitive). 

I suggest you precede each filename with a letter followed by two numbers and an underscore


This allows you to insert new files into the menu, but also works well with the agFM and Ventoy menu systems.

The E2B menu system will not display the four-character prefix. e.g. a03_WinPE.iso is displayed as ‘WinPE’.

Problems booting grub4dos?

Grub4dos can boot in ‘safe and slow’ mode. Just as the USB drive starts to boot, press the S key. You should see a text message and a 5 seconds countdown if the key press was seen. Grubdos may then be able to boot successfully (but vey slowly!). 

New! Ventoy for Easy2Boot v1.0.97 now released!


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