Windows PE (WinPE)

Create WinPE ISO and Boot-able USB

1: Download and Install Windows ADK


Download and Install Windows ADK

2: Create working files

No matter what type of media you're going to create, the first thing to do is create a working set of WinPE files on your technician PC.

  1. Start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment as an administrator.

  2. Run copype to create a working copy of the Windows PE files. For more information about copype, see Copype command-line options.

copype amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64

3: Customize WinPE (Usually not needed)

Note, when you add more packages to WinPE, it slows WinPE performance and boot time. Only add additional packages when necessary.

Common customization

  • Add an update. If you're going to be capturing an FFU at the end of the lab, apply KB4048955 to your WinPE image. To learn more, see: WinPE: mount and customize.

  • Add a video or network driver. (WinPE includes generic video and network drivers, but in some cases, additional drivers are needed to show the screen or connect to the network.). To learn more, see WinPE: Add drivers.

  • Add PowerShell scripting support. To learn more, see WinPE: Adding Windows PowerShell support to Windows PE. PowerShell scripts are not included in this lab.

  • Set the power scheme to high-performance. Speeds deployment. Note, our sample deployment scripts already set this scheme automatically. See WinPE: Mount and Customize: High Performance.

  • Optimize WinPE: Recommended for devices with limited RAM and storage (for example, 1GB RAM/16GB storage). After you add drivers or other customizations to Windows PE, see WinPE: Optimize and shrink the image to help reduce the boot time.

4: Create bootable media

Now that you now have a set of working files, you can use MakeWinPEMedia to build bootable WinPE media.

Create a bootable WinPE USB drive

  1. Attach a USB drive to your technician PC.

  2. Start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment as an administrator.

  3. Optional You can format your USB key prior to running MakeWinPEMedia. MakeWinPEMedia will format your WinPE drive as FAT32. If you want to be able to store files larger than 4GB on your WinPE USB drive, you can create a multipartition USB drive that has an additional partition formatted as NTFS. See Create a multipartition USB drive for instructions.

  4. Use MakeWinPEMedia with the /UFD option to format and install Windows PE to the USB flash drive, specifying the USB key's drive letter:

MakeWinPEMedia /UFD C:\WinPE_amd64 P:

This command reformats the partition.

Create a WinPE ISO, DVD, or CD

  1. Use MakeWinPEMedia with the /ISO option to create an ISO file containing the Windows PE files:Copy

MakeWinPEMedia /ISO C:\WinPE_amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64\WinPE_amd64.iso 
  1. Optional Burn a DVD or CD: In Windows Explorer, right-click the ISO file, and select Burn disc image > Burn, and follow the prompts.

Create Multiple Partitions on Your USB drive

list disk
select <disk number>
rem === Create the Windows PE partition. ===
create partition primary size=2000
format quick fs=fat32 label="Windows PE"
assign letter=P
rem === Create a data partition. ===
create partition primary
format fs=ntfs quick label="Other files"
assign letter=O
list vol

I also have a blog post on a custom PowerShell function to prepare a USB for WinPE.


Here is a quick video on the full process, note I already prepared my USB for WinPE.

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