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Preparing Windows PE : Working with Windows PE (part 2)

3/5/2013 6:14:15 PM

Prepping the Image

Once you have added all required components, applications, and updates to the image, you can prepare it for capture. The preparation process removes all components that you have not installed and prepares the image for capture.


Once you prepare an image, you can no longer service that image, which is why you work from a copy of the Windows PE image that you apply from the .wim image file, rather than preparing a mounted .wim image file.

To prepare an image for capture
Ensure that all required components have been installed. You can do this by listing the components in the component store and verify that a plus sign (+) is next to the component’s name:

peimg /list c:\winpe_x86\base

Use the Peimg command to prep the Windows PE image:

peimg /prep c:\winpe_x86\base

Peimg confirms your intent to prepare the image.

Enter yes to confirm the /prep command. You can prevent the prompt by using the /f command-line option.

Capturing the Image

Once you have prepared the image, it is ready for capture. Use ImageX to capture the image into a Windows Imaging (.wim) file.

To capture the Windows PE image
Use ImageX to capture an image of your Windows PE build folders:

imagex /boot /capture c:\winpe_x86\base c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim “Windows PE”


The /boot option marks the image as a bootable image. The /capture option instructs ImageX to capture the contents of C:\winpe_x86\base in the image file c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim and name it Windows PE. For an explanation of all ImageX commands, see the “Deployment Tools Technical Reference” topic in the Windows Automated Installation Kit User’s Guide (WAIK.chm).

Creating Bootable Media

Using the /boot flag during capture marks the boot.wim file that you created in the previous section as a bootable image file. By placing this file on bootable media, and preparing that media for booting, you can create a bootable image of Windows PE.

Many Windows maintenance and troubleshooting utilities can make use of Windows PE, including utilities created for managing disks and recovering systems. Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) is one example of a recovery tool that uses Windows PE. Many other utilities created by third-party manufacturers also use Windows PE.

This section covers the creation of bootable Windows PE media based on CDs, DVDs, UFDs, and hard disks. You can use all of these technologies for Windows Vista deployment, creating an array of possible solutions for corporate deployments.

Staging a Boot Image

The Windows PE boot image needs supporting files to be made bootable. If you copy your boot.wim file into the ISO\Sources folder of the build directory, you can create your bootable Windows PE by using the entire ISO folder hierarchy. A completed ISO folder hierarchy looks similar to Figure 1.

Figure 1. Windows PE ISO folder hierarchy.

To stage a captured Windows PE boot image
If the boot.wim file is not in the build environment’s Sources folder, because you capture it to a different path than recommended in the previous section, copy it to the Sources folder of the Windows PE build directory (path is the path containing the boot.wim file you captured by using ImageX):

xcopy /chery c:\path\boot.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\Sources\boot.wim

Creating Bootable CD/DVD Media

Once the boot image is properly staged, you can create a bootable CD or DVD that uses your Windows PE image.

To create a bootable Windows PE CD or DVD
Use the Oscdimg.exe command to create an .iso image that can be burned onto a CD or DVD:

oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe_x86\etfsboot.com c:\winpe_x86\ISO c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso

Using a CD/DVD burning application, burn the .iso image to a CD or DVD.

Creating Bootable UFD Media

USB Flash Drives are available that have the capacity to hold an entire custom Windows Vista deployment. The first step, however, is to make your bootable Windows PE media. Once you’ve accomplished this, you can copy any custom images and Unattend.xml files you have made onto the UFD for deployment.

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