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Windows PE Facts

Windows PE is a thin version of Windows 7 that you can use to install and troubleshoot a Windows 7 installation. Windows PE:

  • Runs from the command line.
  • Boots the system with a limited version of Windows 7, which provides disk access and limited networking support.
  • Has two different architectures: a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version. The version must match the intended installation version of Windows 7.
  • Uses one of the following as the boot source:
    • WinPE DVD
    • USB flash drive
    • Windows Deployment Services (WDS) boot image via the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE)

Use the following steps to create a bootable Windows PE disc for capturing system images:

  1. On a technician computer, open an elevated command prompt.
  2. Copy the Windows PE files to the local Windows PE build directory with the correct architecture and path information. For example, to copy the PE files for a 32-bit architecture to the c:\winpedirectory, enter:
    c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe
  3. Copy the base image in the local Windows PE build directory (i.e., winpe.wim) into the \winpe\ISO\sourcesfolder and rename the file to boot.wim. For example, enter:
    copy c:\winpe\winpe.wim c:\winpe\ISO\sources\boot.wim
  4. Copy ImageX to the ISO subdirectory of your Windows PE build directory. For example, enter:
    copy "c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86\imagex.exe" c:\winpe\iso\
  5. Use the Oscdimg.exe tool to create an ISO image file from the Windows PE build directory�s ISO subdirectory. For example, to use the contents in the c:\winpe\iso directory to create an ISO image, and copy the boot files from the etsfboot.comfile into the boot sector of the ISO image, enter:
    oscdimg -n c:\winpe\iso c:\winpe\winpe.iso -bc:\winpe\
  6. Burn the image (c:\winpe\winpe.iso) to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM disc.

Note: As an alternative to steps 3 and 4 above, the following steps copy the ImageX tool in the Windows PE WIM image. (Tip: You must return to step 5 to complete the bootable Windows PE disc).

  1. Create an empty directory that will be used for mounting the install image.
  2. Run the ImageX command with the /mountrw command to mount the winpe.wim file. This mounts the image in a read/write state.
  3. Copy ImageX to the root of the winpe.wim file.
  4. Run the ImageX /unmount command with the /commit switch to save the changes to the image.
  5. Copy the winpe.wim file to the \ISO\sources\ directory and rename the file to boot.wim.