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How To Make and Use a Bootable WinPE Drive

Delete Otherwise Untouchable Files

Occasionally, changes in drive or system use or default Vista file permissions for special directories, such as %windir%, %programfiles%, and so forth, will prevent you from deleting files you’d like to get rid of. Case in point: the Windows Home Server Connector troubleshooting guide recommends deleting files from previous installations to solve certain problems, but Vista won’t allow you to delete them in normal operation mode. Boot from the WinPE or WinRE UFD, and you can navigate to %programfiles%\Windows Home Connector and root out all those pesky leftover files and directories to make ready for a pristine new install.

Of course, you must be careful when exercising this function: WinPE or WinRE will cheerfully permit you to delete anything and everything you like. Because deleting the wrong files can render a Windows system completely inoperable, we urge you to restrict your impulses and only delete files that reputable sources tell you should be expunged. Please don’t blame us if you do yourself any harm by taking a “let’s-delete-this-and-see-what-happens” approach to this capability! You may not like the results.

  • masterwhitman
    What, no mention of BartPE or UBCD4Win (Ultimate Boot CD for Windows)? These are two projects that are vastly superior to Microsoft's method (both are built on WinPE but have expanded capabilities) and are far easier to use.
    Reply
  • richwag
    Nice guide. Never knew about it. Thanks.
    Reply
  • when I saw this I thought it was going to be a review of Bart's PEBuilder... It's saved my a$$ many times. Far superior to WinPE...

    How about a comparison/companion article? or an article on tools gearheads & techies find indespensible?
    Reply
  • average joe
    Vista's PE is far more advanced than XP's. The BartPE project is based of XP's PE. Barts is amazingly useful and I can't wait till they move to from PE 1.1 to PE 2.0.

    Some "fairly new" systems will not boot from usb so always carry a cd version as a backup.
    Reply
  • "I usually grab Imagex.exe and the Package Manager using the commands shown in the next screen capture."

    Hmmm... I don't see a 'next screen capture' showing the commands used to get imagex and Package Manager.
    Reply
  • LightWeightX
    Good start to the guide until you get to the WinRE. In section 5, step 2, you describe using imagex and the secret is the number 2 argument however you do not give an example of the command. In the WinPE you use a 240 MB partition, then in WinRE you state you need at least 512 MB.
    Reply
  • sdybas
    Show us howto "use imagex to grab the Windows RE image from the Vista-installation media." Thanks.
    Reply
  • jfutima
    Yes please follow up on the last few comments, I am stuck in that spot.
    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Good article, but it makes a few omissions and goofs here and there.
    1. For using imagex to grab the WinRE image, check out this link:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/winre/archive/2006/12/12/creating-winre-using-waik.aspx
    2. "x64" won't work when you're using copype.cmd - it has to be "AMD64". Just replace all instances of x64 with AMD64 in this procedure, and it'll work.
    3. For the image showing how to grab imagex and the package manager, click on the picture above the text to open up the gallery, then click one pic forward.
    Reply
  • jfutima
    thanks suigi!
    Reply