How to add different payload (e.g. ISO) files
Check this list to see if your payload file has already been tested and how to get it to work with Easy2Boot.
New! E2B eBooks are now available (includes a complete course on making a multiboot USB drive and Installing Windows).
First - try with no spaces or special characters in the file name
You must never use the equals sign (=) in any filenames. This can cause E2B to abort!
Some OS's (e.g. Linux, grub4dos and Windows) can be fussy about filenames (depending on what type of file it is). For your first attempt with a new payload file, always use a filename with no spaces and no special characters (I always use underscores instead of spaces), e.g. use "Windows_8_x64_x32_Install.ISO" - avoid 'special' characters in filenames like spaces, parentheses (), = signs, brackets , quotes ' " or ampersands &.
Once you have it working, you can then rename the file to include spaces and other special characters, etc. to see if it still works.
If using the ISOBOOT feature in E2B, the linux ISO filename should not have any spaces in it.If you need a special menu entry with special characters for any payload file, you can create a matching menu entry .txt file for it.
Download tip: Do NOT download files directly from the internet straight onto your E2B USB drive. A downloaded file can be highly fragmented and this will cause your E2B drive to become fragmented also. Always download a file to your system disk first and then copy the file to your E2B USB drive.
- Quick Instructions on adding payload files
- About the E2B folders
- Adding Payload files - the 4 options
- Change file extension
- Use a .mnu file
- Make a .imgPTN file
- Copy all your payload (ISO, etc.) files to the \_ISO\xxxx menu folders (menu folders are in uppercase letters).
- Run \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS (run as admin).cmd to make the files contiguous.
(Note: Some files such as .VHD, .WIM and Windows/WinPE ISOs do not need to be contiguous - so don't worry if they can't be made contiguous).
- Now MBR-boot to the E2B Main Menu.
Main Menu folder
\_ISO\MAINMENU - iso/payload files in here wil be listed in the Main menu. This folder must not be deleted.
User .mnu files + payload files are usually added to sub-folders (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU or \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS\STEVE) below a menu folder – these will be listed in the appropriate menu.
Standard Sub-Menu folders
\_ISO\ANTIVIRUS - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\DOS - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\BACKUP - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\LINUX - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\UTILITIES - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\WIN - copy ISO and other payload files here. Use for WindowsToGo images/VHDs.
\_ISO\WINPE - copy ISO and other payload files here.
\_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST - copy memory test ISOs/payload files here
E2B will detect and list files automatically on boot.
You can create new folders underneath these folders, but only .mnu files will be enumerated by E2B below this 2nd level.
All the 9 folders have identical functions (only the menu heading is different). E.g. You can place a linux ISO file in the \_ISO\DOS folder and it will work in the same way. You can add more of these sub-menu folders.
The 'Special' Sub-Menu folders
\_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx - copy your Windows install ISOs (and .imgPTN files, v1.75+) into the correct sub-folders under here
\_ISO\AUTO - copy only ISO/payload files here or into sub-folders (any depth). All .mnu files are ignored. Direct Boot Menu
Read more about the files and folders here or see below.
- Copy your Windows Installer ISOs to the correct \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx sub-folder.
For example: Windows 8 installer ISO files must go in the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 folder. Windows 8 .imgPTN files can be copied to \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 or can be placed in any of the normal menu folders.
Note: For Windows Vista/7/8/10 .ISO files, use a 'Removable-type' of USB Flash drive (or connect an extra small 'Helper' USB Flash drive of the 'Removable' type as well), or use MakePartImage to convert the ISO file to a .imgPTN file which also will support UEFI-booting.
You can download Microsfoft Windows ISOs using this useful utility.
- Copy all other bootable files (e.g. .iso, .imgPTN, .ima, .img, .vhd, .vhdx, etc.) to the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder (or any one of the other eight normal menu folders - see list below).
For example, if you have a linux Ubuntu LiveCD ISO file or a Windows Installer .imgPTN file, you can copy it to any one of the 9 'normal' menu folders - it will be listed in the corresponding menu and should boot when selected.
The \_ISO\WIN folder is typically used for your WindowsToGo .VHD and .imgPTN files (which boot to a full Windows OS).
WinPE\WinBuilder ISOs can be placed in the \_ISO\WINPE folder.
Windows Install ISOs and Windows Install .imgPTN files must be placed under \_ISO\WINDOWS into the correct sub-folder (e.g. \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10).
Some payload files may need to have their file extension changed. For example, WinPE ISOs (not WinBuilder ISOs) should be renamed to .ISOPE01, Some Hirens ISOs can work with an extension of .ISOHW (or .ISOWINVH or .ISOMEMFIRA). Check the 'List of tested ISOs' for instructions for each payload file. Also, E2B will often auto-suggest a 'better' file extension based on the name of the file. For .ISO files, to prevent E2B from prompting you each time you boot from it, use the .isodefault file extension - but only after it has been tested first as .iso. WinBuilder-based ISOs must have a .iso file extension.
Tip: Simply rename the ISO file to anything you like (E2B does not need to recognise the exact file names), or if this does not work due to spaces or special characters in the name, run \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe and then drag-and-drop each E2B payload file onto the form to make a custom menu entry .txt file for each payload file.
- Most payload files need to be contiguous (this applies to all types of USB drives) - to avoid any 'not contiguous' error messages from E2B, double-click on the \MAKE_THIS_DRIVE_CONTIGUOUS.cmd file on the E2B USB drive to run WinContig and make all files on the USB drive contiguous - OR - run RMPrepUSB - CTRL+F2 to run WinContig instead.
Note: Not all files need to be contiguous. .VHD\.VHDX\.WIM files do not need to be contiguous but must not contain spaces in the filename. Windows Install ISOs do not need to be fully contiguous.
For instructions on how to add UEFI-bootable images, click here.
4. When you select an ISO (for example) from the E2B menu, E2B will usually run the QRUN.g4b grub4dos batch file. This batch file will look at the file name and may suggest a better file extension to use (auto-suggest feature).
For instance, if you are booting from the Hiren's Boot CD ISO, QRUN will suggest that you use the .isowinvh file extension instead of the .iso file extension.
Y=use suggested extension, N=use original extension, I=use .ISOASK, A=Abort
If the ISO file does not boot correctly, change the file extension to .isoask (or type I for 'ISOASK' instead of Y or N).
You will then be presented with a range of different options to try.
Once the ISO is booting correctly, simply change the file extension to the one that worked - e.g. Hiren's.BootCD.15.2.isowinvh.
See he re for more details.
Note: If you have disabled the auto-suggest feature using the MyE2B.cfg file settings, press SCROLL LOCK (on) to allow you to see the messages and suggestions.
Tip: When E2B asks questions, one of the answers will often be in [square brackets] - e.g. Y/[N] indicates that N is the default answer). If you just press ENTER, the default answer will be used.
The Easy2Boot folders
'NORMAL' MENU FOLDERS
- \_ISO\MAINMENU (files are listed in the MAIN Menu)
- \_ISO\ANTIVIRUS (files are listed in the ANTIVIRUS Sub-Menu)
- \_ISO\BACKUP (files are listed in the BACKUP Sub-Menu)
- \_ISO\DOS (files are listed in the DOS Sub-Menu)
- \_ISO\LINUX (files are listed in the LINUX Sub-Menu)
- \_ISO\UTILITIES (files are listed in the UTILITIES Sub-Menu)
- \_ISO\UTILITIES_MEMTEST (files are listed in the MEMTEST Sub-Sub-Menu, under the UTILITIES Menu)
- \_ISO\WIN (files are listed in the WINDOWS Sub-Menu, e.g. Windows To Go VHDs or .imgPTN files)
\_ISO\WINPE (files are listed in the WINDOWS PE Sub-Menu)
Note: There is no difference in function between any of these 9 'normal' menu folders, you can put any payload in any of them and it will behave identically. e.g. you can put a DOS floppy image in the \_ISO\LINUX folder and it will boot in exactly the same way as if it was in any of the other 8 folders.
'SPECIAL' MENU FOLDERS
1. \_ISO\WINDOWS (only for Windows Installer files which MUST go in the correct sub-folders)
- 2. \_ISO\AUTO (all payload files in all sub-folders will be listed in the DIRECT BOOT Sub-Menu, .mnu files are ignored)
1. The \_ISO\WINDOWS folder
- Windows 7 Installer ISOs must be copied to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN7 folder.
Windows 8 Installer ISOs must be copied to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\WIN8 folder, and so on.
- Think of the \_ISO\WINDOWS folder as a WINDOWS_INSTALL folder.
- Windows Installer .ISO files must be copied to the correct \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx sub-folder.
- .imgPTN files made from Windows Installer ISOs can also be copied to the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders (except the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder). They must be contiguous.
- Windows ISO files usually do not need to be made contiguous.
Windows Installer .ISO files may not work correctly in any of the other menu folders.
Any other type of payload file (e.g. .VHD files) will NOT work in any of the \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders.
For UEFI-booting, you must convert the ISO to a FAT32 .imgPTN image partition file.
The \_ISO\WINDOWS\INSTALLS folder can be used for automated installations of Windows 7/8/10 with drivers+applications+Windows updates - see SDI_CHOCO for details.
E2B 'Fixed-disk' drive and Windows Vista+ Install ISOs
If using an E2B USB Hard Disk or an E2B USB Flash drive of the 'Fixed disk' type, you will also need to connect a 'Helper' USB Flash drive of the 'Removable' type as well (or use MakePartImage to make a .imgPTN file from the Win 7/8/10 Installer ISOs).
Note: Windows Vista/7/8/10 installation ISOs won't work properly under QEMU or any other Virtual Machine ('No CD\DVD drive driver found' error). You must use a real system (or use MakePartImage to make a .imgPTN file from the Win 7/8 Installer ISOs).
Some (but not all) Windows Install ISOs can be given a .isoPE01 file extension and may then work in the normal menu folders (but only on an E2B Removable USB drive or E2B Fixed-disk+Helper Flash drive combination).
Tip: If you convert your Windows Install ISO to a .imgPTN file using the MPI Tool Kit, it will not need a USB Helper flash drive, it will support UEFI booting and it will behave exactly like it was being booted as a 'flat-file USB drive instead of an ISO. So, if using a Windows install ISO does not seem to be working correctly, try adiing a .imgPTN file in the \_ISO\MAINMENU folder (the ISO file is not then needed).
You can also convert a working single-partition Windows Install USB flash drive (e.g. as made by Rufus or WinSetupFromUSB, etc.) to a .imgPTN file and then add it to E2B.
2. The \_ISO\AUTO folder (Direct boot menu)
- All .mnu files will be ignored
- All the payload files in all sub-folders will be listed in the menu
Do not place Windows Installer ISOs in this folder, they probably won't work!
You can make multiple new sub-folders (to any depth) in the \_ISO\AUTO folder and place payload files (and .txt files) in any of them. All payload files and folders will be alphabetically sorted and the payload files will all be listed together in the DIRECT BOOT menu. Any .mnu files present will be ignored. This allows you to group your payload files (e.g. .iso or .imgPTN) into different folders, but still have them all listed in one single menu. You can change the menu heading of the DIRECT BOOT menu by making a new STRINGS.TXT file (see Changing the text\language for details).
Adding Payload files - the four options
I recommend that the file name does not contain spaces or special characters to start with (you can try changing the filename later).
Don't forget to make all the files contiguous after you have copied them to the E2B drive!
Here are the four ways to add 'payload files' to E2B.
- Original payload file (+ matching .txt file - optional)
- Change the payload file extension
- Payload file + .mnu file (can be placed in folder below the menu folder)
- Convert payload to a .imgPTN partition image file (mostly used for UEFI+MBR booting)
To boot via UEFI, you must use a .imgPTN file (option 4).
For options 1, 2 and 4 you can also add a matching .txt file to change the menu entry text.
Tip: If you have multiple payload files to copy to the E2B USB drive, only copy them in a single-session at a time. Two or more copy operations at the same time not only slows down the total copy time, but also causes file fragmentation which means that WinContig will take much longer to run. e.g. you can select a group of files and drag them to an E2B drive folder to copy them over, but don't start another copy operation before it has finished. Do not use any special 'turbo' copy utilities - they often cause the files to be fragmented. Downloading files directly onto a USB drive can result in heavily fragmented files.
OPTION 1. Just copy over the payload file
Copy the payload file to a folder at the \_ISO\xxxx 2nd level (e.g. \_ISO\MAINMENU) - this works for most linux ISO files and others such as .ima, img, .vhd, etc.
Note: Windows Install ISO files must be copied to the correct \_ISO\WINDOWS\xxx folder - see below.
You can also copy payload files to any of the other 8 pre-defined menu folders (ANTIVIRUS, BACKUP, DOS, LINUX, UTILITIES, UTILITIES_MEMTEST, WIN and WINPE).
Note that UTILITIES_MEMTEST is a sub-sub-menu of the UTILITIES sub-menu.
Payload files will not be automatically listed in the menus if they are in any folder below these folders - to be automatically listed, they must be at the 2nd folder level.
Easy2Boot does not care which of these folders you put the payload file in - e.g. you can put dosboot.ima in the \_ISO\WIN folder and Ubuntu.iso in the \_ISO\WINPE folder and they will still boot OK! All of the normal menu folders behave identically. You can make more sub-menu folders using the E2B Utility in the \_ISO\docs folder if you wish.
Menu entries will appear as the actual filename of each payload file, unless a .txt file is also present.
A matching .txt file can be added (same filename as the payload file) to change the menu entry text to be anything you like (e.g. Ubuntu.iso and Ubuntu.txt).
Payload files, .mnu files and folders are listed in the menu in alphabetical order.
You can add a sort order prefix string using _xxxxxx_ as the prefix (where xxxxxx can be any number of characters) - the prefix string will not be listed in the menu, e.g.
\_ISO\MAINMENU\_100_Ubuntu v11.3 64-bit.isodef
\_ISO\MAINMENU\_150_Ubuntu v11.3 32-bit.isodef
will be listed as Ubuntu v11.3 64-bit and Ubuntu v11.3 32-bit in the Main menu, in that order (E2B v1.A9+).
Note: Depending on it's contents, a .txt file can cause the payload file to not be listed in a menu!
Tip: You can also configure E2B using a MyE2B.cfg file so that the file extension will or will not not be listed in the menus.
OPTION 2. Use a special file extension
For special ISOs or other bootable files, you may need to change the file extension to a 'special' E2B file extension that is recognised by E2B, such as .isomem or .isowinvh (for example, if you have a WinBuilder WinPE ISO, see here for details.). E2B may suggest an alternative file extension if it recognises the name of the payload file.
Use .isodef for .ISO files if you do not want to see the suggestion prompt.
Tip: If you have an ISO file which does not boot correctly, try .isoask. You can then try a variety of different boot methods. When you find one that works, rename the ISO file with the new file extension - e.g. rename MSDart5.isoask to MSDart5.isomemF01.
A 64-bit ISO can be given a file extension ending in 64 (add 64 to the end - e.g. .iso64) and it will only be listed in the E2B menu, if E2B is running on a 64-bit CPU (v1.56+). Similarly, add 32 to the end of the file extension and the file will only be listed on systems with a 32-bit CPU (E2B v1.62+). This only works however, if you do not use a .txt file. 3GB and 4GB can also be added (if pwd can also be added for password protection. - e.g. Ubuntux64.isodef64pwd4GB.
OPTION 3. Copy the payload file and add a special .mnu file
E2B may have some trouble booting a few 'special' linux ISOs or some other 'special' ISO files (such as Ophcrack or KonBoot) or you may want to boot some linux ISOs with persistence. These may require a special small .mnu file to be added for each ISO or payload file.
A .mnu file is simply a grub4dos menu that is specific to a particular payload file. Typically, you will copy the ISO file and the special .mnu file to the \_ISO\MAINMENU\MNU folder or another menu folder (the name of the sub-folder 'MNU' is not important and can be changed or you can have many different sub-folders of different names).
Follow the instructions inside each of the .mnu files (open using NotePad). The name of the menu file does not need to match the payload file, however the .mnu file contents may need editing so that the correct ISO filename is specified. Often, there will be more than one line that needs changing - i.e. the ISO file name may need to be changed on several lines inside the .mnu file.
Many different Sample .mnu files for particular payload files (e.g. linux + persistence, etc.) can be found in the E2B \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files folder.
To avoid the .mnu file and ISO file both being listed in a menu, always place the .mnu file and the payload (e.g. ISO) file at the 3rd level or deeper (the 3rd-level and lower folder names can be anything you like - it does not have to be folder name of 'MNU') - e.g.
\_ISO\LINUX\FRED\DORIS\Ubuntu.mnu - only this menu entry will be listed in the menu
\_ISO\LINUX\FRED\DORIS\Ubuntu.iso - ISO file will NOT be listed in the menu
\_ISO\LINUX\MNU\LUbuntu_With_Persistence.mnu - only this menu entry will be listed in the menu
\_ISO\LINUX\MNU\LUbuntu.iso - ISO file will NOT be listed in the menu
2nd folder level example:
\_ISO\LINUX\UbuntuWithPersistence.mnu - this menu entry will be listed in the menu
\_ISO\LINUX\Ubuntux64.iso - this ISO file will also be listed in the menu
For a list of tested ISOs (payload) files see here.
Note: The string $HOME$ is often used in E2B .mnu files - the string $HOME$ will automatically be replaced by E2B with the path of the .mnu file - e.g. if the .mnu file is in \_ISO\WIN\ABC\XYZ, then $HOME$ will be replaced by '\_ISO\WIN\ABC\XYZ'. This allows you to place the payload (e.g. ISO) file and .mnu file in any folder or sub-folder you like, without needing to change the text in the .mnu file each time.
The string $NAME$ will be replaced by the filename (without extension) of the .mnu file (v1.67+).
OPTION 4. Boot from a partition image (.imgPTN) file
- Full functionality of complex multiboot ISOs such as Hirens/DLC ISOs which contains DOS+Linux+Windows payloads
- If you want to UEFI-boot (inc. Secure Boot)
- If you want to boot to Windows Installers but without needing a WinHelper USB drive
- Other situations - e.g. boot to fully-installed 'flat-file' Windows or linux OS's.
E2B can boot from image files which are complete sector images of a whole partition. You can make a partition image (.imgPTN) file from an ISO, IMG or ZIP file, or from a USB drive or from a folder containing the payload files. Download and install the MPI Tool Kit and then drag-and-drop each payload (e.g. ISO file) onto the MPI Desktop shortcut. This will automatically convert your payload to a .imgPTN file. For instance, you can drag-and-drop a clonezilla ISO onto the MPI_FAT32 desktop shortcut to make a .imgPTN file which will boot via MBR or via 32-bit or 64-bit UEFI (clonezilla contains both 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI boot files).
Once converted to a .imgPTN file, the original source file is not needed.
For UEFI booting, you will need to make a FAT32 .imgPTN file using MakePartImage. A .imgPTN file can also be used to hold bootable images of USB Flash drives or large Windows All-in-One Installers as well as linux or other UEFI-bootable files. You can place these images in any of the Menu folders at the 2nd level (except the \_ISO\WINDOWS\XP folder).
If your payload/ISO supports UEFI-booting you will need to make a FAT32 partition image file to be able to UEFI-boot from it.
The E2B USB drive itself can be NTFS or any supported format, but the .imgPTN file will need to be made as a FAT32 partition image (e.g. drag-and-drop the payload file onto the MPI_FAT32 shortcut).
If you want to install Windows 7/8 in MBR-mode only, containing a very large .wim file (>4GB) using an E2B USB Hard Disk, you can make an NTFS partition image file (and then no Helper USB Flash drive is needed). You can also create partition images from each of your bootable USB (single paritition) Flash drives that you already have and then copy the partition image files to your E2B USB drive. Note: Most systems will not UEFI-boot from an NTFS partition (but, for example, some ASUS BIOSes can UEFI-boot from both FAT32 and NTFS).
E2B completely replaces it's own partition table with a new partition table containing just your image that is contained in the .imgPTN file. so all the E2B files will 'disappear' once you switch partitions. See the YouTube videos for more details (at bottom of home page).
Choose the CSM Menu option 0 to restore the E2B partition, or use the SWITCH_E2B.exe - Restore E2B ptn(s) button under Windows.