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How To Make and Use a Bootable WinPE Drive

A Recipe for a Bootable WinPE/WinRE UFD

Any good recipe starts with a list of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to put this project together (I assume readers are working with post-SP1 Windows Vista installations throughout):

  • 1. Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) version 2.1. This is a tool for burning an ISO image to DVD (which refers to the bootable disk format created by the International Organization for Standardization). If you have Nero Burning ROM, Easy DVD Creator, or some other DVD burning tool, it may be up to this task. If not, grab a copy of Alex Feinman’s "ISO Recorder v3" freeware to handle this job. If you want to create a bootable Vista recovery environment (with the same recovery-tool functionality depicted on the previous page), you’ll need a Vista-installation DVD from which you’ll pluck that tool.
  • 2. A UFD that’s at least 256 MB in size. A 1 GB model might work better if you decide to switch back and forth between Windows PE and Windows RE boot-ups. If there’s anything on this UFD, back it up because you’ll wipe it clean as part of your preparation for creating a bootable WinPE or WinRE image.

Ed Tittel is a freelance writer, trainer, and internet consultant. His work has appeared on many sites, including Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, TechTarget, and more. He has also contributed to multiple books, including the "For Dummies" series, where he wrote about HTML, HTML4, XHTML, XML, and CCS. He was also series editor of the Exam Cram books until 2005.