Quick reference (for latest E2B version)
A ‘payload file’ can be any type of file which is usable by E2B, e.g. .ISO, .IMA, .VHD, .WIM, .help, .bmp, .jpg, .cfg, .imgPTN, .isodef (same as .iso but does not prompt user to change the extension), .isomem, .isoDOS01, etc. Use the SITE MAP for help.
Modern computers have two different methods of booting, ‘Legacy‘ and the new ‘UEFI‘ method. Before you can Legacy\MBR boot to the E2B menu system, you must ensure your BIOS Boot configuration settings are correct:
- CSM\Legacy Mode = Enabled
- Fast Boot = Disabled
- Secure Boot = Disabled
- Legacy booting from external media = Enabled (if available – latest systems only)
See the FAQ pages if you are having problems.
If you cannot get into your BIOS settings menu and have a Windows 10 system:
- Press Windows key + X key
- Click ‘Power Options’ and ‘Additional power settings’ (on right-hand side)
- Click ‘Choose what the power buttons do’ (on left-hand side)
- Click the link ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable’
- Under Shutdown settings, uncheck ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’
- To MBR\Legacy boot – boot to partition 1
- To UEFI-boot – boot to partition 2
Three different menu systems
E2B v2 can add grub2 agFM boot files onto the second partition. The USB drive will then have three different menu systems:
- Easy2Boot – grub4dos-based BIOS\Legacy\MBR menu system (recommended for Legacy\MBR booting)
- agFM – grub2-based menu system (BIOS\Legacy\MBR and UEFI32 and Secure UEFI64)
- Ventoy for Easy2Boot – grub2-based menu system (BIOS\Legacy\MBR and UEFI32 and Secure UEFI64) – ‘Ventoy for Easy2Boot’ is a slightly modified version of the official Ventoy source files. In addition to the ‘Ventoy for Easy2Boot’ version provided, you can also convert the USB drive to an ‘official’ 100% compatible Ventoy USB drive containing the latest version of Ventoy by using a partition image.
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.
Tip: The Windows utility \E2B Launcher.exe on the E2B USB drive contains lots of help, instructions, hot links to utilities, etc.
The agFM alive grub2 File Manager (agFM) can be added to the E2B USB drive. This allows you to UEFI-boot from the second partition and then select and directly boot from the ISO, WIM, VHD, EFI and .IMG files including Windows Install ISOs+SDI_CHOCO XML files. It also supports UEFI64 Secure Boot and can switch-in and out .imgPTN partition image files. If Ventoy is also added to the second partition, you can MBR-boot to Ventoy from the E2B menu, or UEFI-boot to Ventoy from the agFM menu. Ventoy provides an alternative method of booting ISOs which in some cases may be more successful than agFM.
Using partition images
You can select an .imgPTN file from the E2B menu system (or use SWITCH_E2B.exe or the agFM menu) BEFORE you can UEFI-boot from the E2B drive. The E2B partition 1 is replaced by the contents of the .imgPTN file. All .imgPTN files are whole partition images and are mainly used for UEFI-booting but you can also MBR-boot from them. You can only boot from one .imgPTN file at any one time – after use, you must restore the original E2B partition 1 and then you can choose another .imgPTN file to UEFI-boot to a different UEFI payload. See the UEFI section below for more details…
Make an E2B drive
- If possible, use a large (at least 16GB) and fast USB 3 Flash drive (any SanDisk Extreme but avoid the SanDisk Go as it is too slow!). USB Hard disks and SSDs can also be used.
- Download and run the .exe (self-extracting file) (it runs Make_E2B.exe) to make an NTFS E2B drive (if your language+keyboard combination is not listed, click on the Make_E2B_USB_Drive.cmd wrench\spanner button instead of the big red button). Use a Windows 10 system if using a USB Flash drive.
- E2B uses two partitions, 128GB max for Ptn1 + Ptn2. Make_E2B.exe can make a larger second partition for you. Keep the E2B Ptn1+2 size below 128GB for best BIOS compatibility due to a commonly found USB BIOS bug which cannot access files past 128GB on USB drives.
- E2B v2 can add a second partition and menu system (grub2 agFM) for UEFI-booting (optional). Ventoy can also be added (optional).
- Check that your E2B MBR\Legacy menu works by using the green QEMU button or run \QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd from the E2B drive.
- Now simply copy over your payload files/ISOs (see below) to one of the menu folders under \_ISO.
- For UEFI booting, add agFM to the second partition when making the USB drive – or copy .imgPTN files to the E2B drive and then select one of them before you can UEFI-boot. You can make .imgPTN files using the MPI Tool Kit. .imgPTN files must be contiguous.
- You can add your own folders and files, e.g. \MyFiles\.
- Press F1 in the E2B Main menu for help.
- Run \E2B Launcher.exe to help you use the included scripts and utilities which are present on the E2B USB drive.
Types of files
- E2B can Legacy\MBR-boot from .iso, fixed-type .vhd, fixed-type .vhdx, bootable WinPE .wim, .ima, .img, .zip (floppy disk image), .bin (e.g. memtest86.bin), .dmg (single partition only), .isoHW, .isodef, .isoDOS01 and .isowinvh and many more special types…
- agFM can Legacy and UEFI-boot directly from ISOs and VHD files too.
- Ventoy only lists payloads with standard file extensions such as .iso, .vhd, .wim, etc. You may need to add a plugin in order to see certain files in the list (e.g. .wim and .vhd, etc.).
- E2B menu folders can also contain .bmp and .jpg (to load as the wallpaper), .cfg (overwrites\replaces MyE2B.cfg which must be larger than the selected .cfg file), .uni.gz and .f24 font files (to load a different font) and .help text files (displays any text you like)
- .mnu files contain grub4dos menu entries and the contents are automatically added into the E2B menu (they should start with a ‘title’ or ‘iftitle’ line and are then followed by more lines of grub4dos commands)
- .txt files (optional) should have the same filename as the payload file (they only contain a ‘title’ or ‘iftitle’ line), e.g. Ubuntu64.iso + Ubuntu64.txt
Example .txt file contents: title Ubuntu 64-bit v1.9.3\nFirst help line\nSecond help line.
- .imgPTN files are partition image files. They will replace the E2B partition when selected. They can be used for both UEFI and MBR booting, but one must be selected and ‘switched-in’ first. Use .imgPTN23 if you want the second partition to be kept after switching (recommended for E2B+agFM drives).
Add payload files
- Always check the List of tested ISOs/payloads page first before adding any new payload file – this page may include special instructions for adding a payload.
- Copy the payload file to any suitable menu folder under \_ISO (e.g. \_ISO\LINUX) – the E2B payloads folders are in capital letters and are under \_ISO\ and under \_ISO\WINDOWS\.
- You can delete any payload file from the USB drive when it is no longer wanted (tip: in Windows use SHIFT+DEL so it is not just moved to the Recycle Bin).
- Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd to make the payload files contiguous. .imgPTN and most Linux ISO payloads need to be contiguous (usually Windows install ISOs, VHDs and WIM files do not need to be contiguous)
- For a first test, do not change the name of the payload file and ensure the filename does not contain spaces – E2B may suggest a better file extension after selection.
- Windows Install ISOs work best when used in the correct folder – e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\.
- E2B will try to boot Windows Install ISOs using WIMBOOT which requires 2GB+ of RAM – if you have less than 2GB of RAM, you can skip WIMBOOT by pressing ENTER when prompted and use a Removable USB drive for E2B (or add a WinHelper USB flash drive if your E2B USB drive is a hard drive).
- WinBuilder-based files must end in .ISO with no spaces in the filename (Win10PESE.iso) – Tip: add a .txt file for a nicer menu entry which can contain spaces.
- Once a payload is working OK, change the file name to add spaces and make it look nicer in the menu and then check that it still works OK – e.g. Ubuntu v13.1 (64-bit).isodef.
- If a payload does not seem to be work correctly (e.g. multi-payload ISOs), convert it to a .imgPTN file.
- You can fully automate a Windows install+drivers+apps+updates using SDI_CHOCO.
- Menu entry order – payload file names starting with _ followed by some characters and another _ will be sorted by the 2nd character onwards and the _*_ part of the filename will not be displayed in the menu – e.g. _010_Ubuntu.iso will be ordered in the menu as if it begins with 010_ and will be displayed in the menu as ‘Ubuntu’ (E2B menu only). Alternate xxx_ prefix is also supported (e.g. a23_Ubuntu.iso).
- Payload files which have _. at the end of the filename and before the extension will override the actual file extension – also the characters after _. will not be displayed in the E2B menu – e.g. Hirens_BootCD_.isoHW.iso will boot as if it had a isoHW file extension but will be displayed in the menu as ‘Hirens_BootCD’ (E2B menu only).
- File extension suffixes can be added to standard E2B file extensions, such as PWD, QUIET, QUIETP, NCQ, 4GB, 3GB, 32 or 64 – e.g. Ubuntu 64-bit.isopwd644GB.
NOTE: Ventoy only lists standard file extensions, e.g. .iso. agFM understands and lists only a subset of these special file extensions.
Example E2B file names:
- Ubuntu_x64.iso – standard Ubuntu ISO
- Ubuntu version 13.1 (63-bit) 2018-10-03.iso – changes the filename so it looks nicer in the menu
- Ubuntu version 13.1 (64-bit) 2018-10-03.isodef – use .isodef so no suggestions and boots immediately
- _100_Ubuntu version 13.1 (64-bit) 2018-10-03.iso – add a sort prefix so filename will be sorted as if it started with ‘100_’
- _200_Win10PESE_x64.iso – standard WinBuilder WinPE ISO (must end in .iso – no spaces in filename)
- _130_Win10PESE_x64_.isoNCQ.iso – does not complain if not contiguous and run without suggestions (extension must be .iso for WinBuilder ISOs)
- _150_ChrisR’s_WinPESE_(64-bit)_.isoNCQ.iso – change name so looks better (spaces not allowed for WinBuilder ISOs) – can add a .txt file
- _155_ChrisR’s_WinPESE_(64-bit)_.isoNCQ64.iso – only listed in menu if 64-bit CPU and no messages/prompts
- a23_MSDaRT 7_.isoPE0164.agfmiso0164.iso – E2B will not display a23_ or characters following _. – will boot from E2B using isoPE and swap hd0 with hd1, will boot from agFM as iso01 and swap hd0 with hd1 – both E2B and agFM will check for 64-bit CPU.
- \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\Windows 10 32-bit.iso3GB – only listed in menu if system has less than 4GB of RAM (spaces are allowed in the filename).
E2B Menu entries
- Files and folders are enumerated in alphabetical order and are not case-sensitive
- The file name is listed in the menu (unless a .txt file with the same file name is also added)
- Add a .txt file of the same name as the payload file to specify your own menu entry text, a different hotkey and menu help text
- Do NOT change any of the E2B files (except \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg which is the menu configuration file)
- The Menu entry order can be changed by using a sort order prefix – e.g. _100_Ubuntu64.iso, _130_Mint.iso, _150_blank_entry.mnu or c21_Ubuntu x64_.isodef.iso.
- Add your own grub4dos menu entries by adding .mnu files. .mnu menu file examples can be found at \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\ (open with NotePad to read the instructions) e.g. .mnu files for blank menu entries, Linux+persistence, directly booting to Windows ISOs with a specified XML file, TrueCrypt disks, change menu language and keyboard type, change font, etc.
- To remove the startup blue-and-white text eBook banner and 5 second delay – see the instructions in eBook #1
- The \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file is the user E2B configuration file (Main Menu heading and Menu Footer text, language, colours, menu size and position, etc.) – quick reference here
- The \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file contains many examples of all possible configuration settings (uncomment the settings to use them)
- Use \_ISO\E2B_Editor.exe to design and configure your 800×600 or 1024×768 E2B menu (change wallpaper, layout, colours, Main Heading, Footer Help text, etc.)
- Each menu can load a different background wallpaper – see here.
- Check your menu works using the QEMU button in Make_E2B.exe or run \QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd on E2B drive
- Example MyE2B.cfg ‘themes’ can be found in \_ISO\docs\Templates folder
- Run \_ISO\PimpMyDrive.cmd to add example menu files to the E2B menu which allow you to change the language, theme, wallpaper image, etc.
- Use set pwd=fred in the MyE2B.cfg to change the menu password to ‘fred’ (default is ‘easy2boot‘)
- One animation can be added to the menu and up to 10 wallpaper STAMPS can be added to the menu – edit the \_ISO\MyE2B.cfg file to remove any animation and\or STAMP. Tunes can also be played on the internal speaker.
- Global hotkeys can be defined in the MyE2B.cfg – see \_ISO\Sample_MyE2B.cfg file for examples
- E2B supports different text fonts and also large 24-pixel high fonts (mainly English characters only)
- For linux+persistence use a .mnu file (usually you need to create another xxxxx-rw file)
- The agFM boot files will allow you to UEFI-boot and select and UEFI-boot from ISO and VHD files
- agFM includes the Kaspersky shim so that you can Secure Boot to agFM grub2 – Secure boot is then disabled so that you can boot any secure\non-secure payload.
- From agFM you can boot to Ventoy (F5) (even Secure Boot).
- You cannot UEFI-boot to the E2B menu system but you can directly UEFI-boot after a .imgPTN file has been selected and ‘switched-in’
- The Utilities – Memory Test menu contains a ready-made MemTest86 (UEFI+MBR) .imgPTN23 file which can Secure UEFI boot after it has been selected and switched in
- Select the .imgPTN23 file from the E2B menu (OR use \_ISO\SWITCH_E2B.exe to select it) to replace the E2B partition
- Make a UEFI-bootable FAT32 .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit and MakePartImage.cmd (Windows app.) – just drag-and-drop an ISO onto the MPI_FAT32 Desktop shortcut. If a file in a Windows Install ISO is larger than 4GB, use SPLIT_WINISO.exe to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file.
- Copy the .imgPTN file to the E2B drive (name it .imgPTN23 to preserve partitions 2 and 3 after switching)
- All .imgPTN/.imgPTN23/imgPTNREP3 files must be contiguous (run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd)
- Once the .imgPTN file has been selected and ‘switched-in’, it will replace one or more of the E2B drive partitions
- You can then UEFI-boot from the ‘switched-in’ partition if it is a FAT32 partition and contains suitable EFI boot files
- If you want the 2nd Primary partition on the E2B drive to be kept, use the file extension .imgPTN23 instead of .imgPTN. This will also keep the 3rd Primary partition if one is present.
Tip: MBR-booting may be more successful with some BIOSes if you use a .imgPTN23 file extension rather than the .imgPTN file extension.
- To boot from an image (e.g. Mac OSX hfs volume), place the file on the 3rd partition and use a .imgptnREP3 file extension – it will replace partition 3.
- UEFI-multibooting directly from the E2B drive can be done by adding a FAT32 partition (and optionally adding rEFInd into the .imgPTN file) – see here for details or for latest 2020 agFM (recommended)
- Add Lnn_ prefix (letter and two number and underscore) to force agFM to change menu entry display order and use first-letter hotkeys – e.g. a23_Ubuntu x64.iso, a44_Ubuntu x64 v7.iso, b32_Ubuntu x64 v8.iso.
- 100’s of Frequently Asked Questions here
- All about UEFI
- For faster virtual testing of USB booting without needing to reboot the system, I highly recommend Virtual Box + VMUB
- Read my E2B eBooks