How to Create a Bootable WinPE 2.0 USB Key

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Windows PE (WinPE) is a feature-limited Microsoft Windows operating system. This operating system can be booted from a CD/DVD or from a USB key, making it ideal for system repair, operating system imaging, and other tasks that must be completed without booting Windows. To create a bootable USB with WinPE, you will need to install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) and use the Deployment Tools Command Prompt.

Things You'll Need

  • USB Key
  • Windows AIK installed=
  • Blank DVD
  • Additional component files (optional)

Install the Windows AIK

  1. Download the Windows Automated Installation Kit from the Microsoft Download Center (see Resources).

  2. Use your CD/DVD burning software to burn the AIK disk image to a DVD. If you don't have burning software installed, free versions are available, such as InfraRecorder (see Resources).

  3. Insert the Windows AIK DVD.

  4. Click "Windows AIK Setup" and follow the prompts to install the software.

Set up WinPE

  1. Click the "Start" button and select "All Programs."

  2. Open the folder for "Windows AIK," right-click the "Deployment Tools Command Prompt" and select "Run as Administrator."

  3. Type the following command:

    copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe

  4. Type the following command and press "Enter" to copy the base image to the c:\winpe folder:

    copy c:\winpe\winpe.wim c:\winpe\ISO\sources\boot.wim

  5. Type the following command and press "Enter" to add custom components to your WinPE image:

    copy <path> c:\winpe\iso

    Replace <path> with the full path to the desired file (for example, c:\imagemaker\imagemaker.exe).

Create Bootable USB Key

  1. Insert the USB key into your computer.

  2. Click "Start," type "cmd" in the search bar and press "Enter" to open the Command Prompt.

  3. Type "diskpart" and press "Enter" to start the Diskpart utility.

  4. Type "list disk" and press "Enter" to view a list of available drives.

  5. Type "select disk <number>," where <number> is the number assigned to the USB key, and press "Enter."

  6. Type the following commands, pressing "Enter" between each line:

    clean

    create partition primary

    select partition 1

    active

    format quick fs=fat32

    assign

    exit

  7. Re-open the Command Prompt and type the following command to copy your WinPE image to your USB key:

    xcopy c:\winpe\iso*.* /e <drive letter>:

    Replace "<drive letter>" with the letter assigned to your drive. If you're not sure, click the "Start" button and select "Computer" to view a list of all connected devices.

References

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Resources

  • Photo Credit ballyscanlon/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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