Windows PE Technical Reference
Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) is a minimal operating system designed to prepare a computer for Windows installation. It can be used to start a computer with no operating system, to partition and to format hard drives, to copy disk images, and to initiate Windows Setup from a network share.
Windows PE is available as a standalone product to customers with the proper licensing agreement, and is an integrated component of many Windows technologies, including Windows Setup and Windows Deployment Services (Windows DS).
Windows PE 2.0 is the latest release based on the Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system.