Lab 1: Install Windows PE

Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) is a small, command-line based operating system. You can use it to capture, update, and optimize Windows images, which you'll do in later sections. In this section, you'll prepare a basic WinPE image on a bootable USB flash drive and try it out.

The Windows PE USB must be at least 512MB and at most 32GB. It should not be a Windows-to-Go key or a key marked as a non-removable drive.

Prepare the WinPE files

  1. On your technician PC, start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment as an administrator:

    • Click Start, type Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment. Right-click Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment and select Run as administrator.
  2. Copy the base WinPE files into a new folder:

    copype amd64 C:\winpe_amd64

    Repeat if you’re also deploying x86 devices:

    copype x86 C:\winpe_x86

    Troubleshooting: If this doesn't work, make sure you're in the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment, and not the standard command prompt.

Add to WinPE (Usually not needed)

Note, when you add more packages to WinPE, it slows WinPE performance and boot time. Only add additional packages when necessary.

Common customizations:

  • Add an update. If you're going to be capturing an FFU at the end of the lab, apply KB4048955 to your WinPE image. To learn more, see: WinPE: mount and customize.

  • Add a video or network driver. (WinPE includes generic video and network drivers, but in some cases, additional drivers are needed to show the screen or connect to the network.). To learn more, see WinPE: Add drivers.

  • Add PowerShell scripting support. To learn more, see WinPE: Adding Windows PowerShell support to Windows PE. PowerShell scripts are not included in this lab.

  • Set the power scheme to high-performance. Speeds deployment. Note, our sample deployment scripts already set this scheme automatically. See WinPE: Mount and Customize: High Performance.

  • Optimize WinPE: Recommended for devices with limited RAM and storage (for example, 1GB RAM/16GB storage). After you add drivers or other customizations to Windows PE, see WinPE: Optimize and shrink the image to help reduce the boot time.

Create a bootable drive

  1. Plug in a USB key that you don't mind formatting. Note the drive letter it uses, for example, D.

  2. Install WinPE to an empty USB drive:

    MakeWinPEMedia /UFD C:\winpe_amd64 D:

    When prompted, press Y to format the drive and install WinPE.

    Repeat if necessary, plugging in a separate USB key for use when deploying x86 devices:

    MakeWinPEMedia /UFD C:\winpe_x86 E:

    When prompted, press Y to format the drive and install WinPE.

  3. In File Explorer, right-click the drive and select Eject.

Try it out

  1. Connect the WinPE USB drive to your reference device.

  2. Turn off the device, and then boot to the USB drive. You usually do this by powering on the device and quickly pressing a key (for example, the Esc key or the Volume up key).

    Note On some devices, you might need to go into the boot menus to choose the USB drive. If you're given a choice between booting in UEFI mode or BIOS mode, choose UEFI mode. To learn more, see Boot to UEFI Mode or Legacy BIOS mode. If the device does not boot from the USB drive, see the troubleshooting tips in WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive.

    WinPE starts at a command line, and runs wpeinit to set up the system. This can take a few minutes.

Leave this PC booted to Windows PE for now.