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How To Make and Use a Bootable WinPE Drive

Creating the WinPE image

Not counting download time, it will take about an hour to complete this project. Here’s what you must do to create the necessary files to copy to your UFD, presented in the order in which these steps must be completed:

  • 1. Download the Windows AIK and ISO Recorder v3, if you need or want it (both are linked to from the previous page).
  • 2. Burn the ISO image onto a DVD, then run the file called startcd.exe to launch Windows AIK. Here’s what you’ll see on-screen:

  • 3. Click the option labeled “Windows AIK Setup” (Please note that platforms upon which you install AIK must meet this software’s Technician PC requirements, which  means a Vista PC with a CD/DVD burner, image-burning software, .NET Framework 2.0, and network access. RAM must at least total 512 MB, while 1 GB or more is recommended. See "Build a Technician Computer" for all the details). Next, click your way through the installation screens to make the WAIK tools available on your desktop.

  • 4. Click Start> All Programs> Windows AIK> then Windows PE Tools Command Prompt. This produces the following screen (we’ll show all additional commands in this display frame, where I changed the command prompt to PETools> ):

  • 5. Type Copype.cmd x86 C:\winpe_x86 at the command line. Here, use x86 for a 32-bit environment and x64 for a 64-bit environment. The location on your PC where all the various WinPE binaries, optional components, and directories will be created is at C:\winpe_x86.

  • 6. Next, you can copy any tools or utilities that you might wish to use from the WAIK Tools directory for your architecture (x86 for 32-bit Vista and x64 for 64-bit Vista) into the ISO subdirectory one level below C:\winpe_x86. I usually grab Imagex.exe and the Package Manager using the commands shown in the next screen capture.

That’s pretty much all there is to setting up the Windows PE image that you’ll eventually copy to your UFD. The next sequence of commands is listed in the next screen shot.

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.