page contents

About the Post

Author Information

HOW TO: Create Windows PE Disk to USB Flash Drive

Recently, I had to create a custom image and I was pleasantly surprised with the way it turned out. It allowed me to shave 3 hours off an installation, so I could deploy a standard image to workstations. This is part one of a 3 part series that will detail how to perform the following tasks:

  • Create a USB Drive that has Windows PE
  • Sysprep and get around a fatal error
  • Capture and then deploy the image from the USB Windows PE drive

Deploying operating systems is much faster via USB flash drives when compared to DVD/CD ROM drives. Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool is a great for deploying base operating systems with an ISO file, but what if you wanted to deploy an operating system and applications already configured, such as Microsoft Office. What could you use to deploy this custom image faster?

Windows PE

What is Windows PE? It’s a small operating system used to install, deploy, and repair Windows.

Windows Preinstallation Environment (AKA Windows PE and WinPE) is a lightweight version of Windows used for the deployment of PCs or troubleshooting an operating system while it is offline. It is intended to replace MS-DOS boot disks and can be booted via USB flash drive, PXE, CD-ROM or hard disk.

Here are the steps to creating WinPE:

  1. Download the Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 from here.
  2. Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1.


  3. Take the Default and click next (Customer Experience is turned off)


  4. Accept the License agreement


  5. Ensure that Windows Preinstallation Environment is selected (default)


  6. Accept the UAC Control


  7. Open the start menu and look for the Deployment and Imaging command line (Click start and type deploy)


  8. Pin to Start (Right click on icon and select Pin to Start)


At this point, you have the AIK installed and the command line tools pinned to the start menu, so you can find it easier. Now, it is time to create the WINPE disk.

  1. Issue the command copype.cmd amd64 c:\winpe_x64


  2. Copy the winpe.wim file from C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\en-us to C:\WinPE_x64
  3. Issue the command imagex /mountrw c:\winpe_x64\winpe.wim 1 c:\winpe_x64\mount
  4. Issue the command imagex /unmount c:\winpe_x64\mount /commit
  5. Create the C:\WinPE_x64\ISO folder
  6. Copy the contents of the C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\Media folder to C:\WinPE_x64\ISO
  7. Create the C:\WinPE_x64\ISO\Sources folder
  8. Issue the command copy c:\winpe_x64\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x64\ISO\sources\boot.wim
  9. Prepare the USB drive (steps below)

Prepare USB Drive:

  1. diskpart
  2. list disk
  3. select disk 1
  4. clean
  5. create partition primary
  6. select partition 1
  7. active
  8. format fs=ntfs label=”WINPE” quick
  9. assign
  10. exit

Issue the command xcopy h:\winpe_x64\iso\*.* /s /e /f e:\ 

Now you have a USB Flash drive that will boot a Windows PE disk to allow you to capture and deploy custom Windows images.

For more information, please see the following: Windows PE USB: Install Windows PE to a USB drive and Howto – Creating a WinPE boot image with .NET Framework and PowerShell

Optional if you want to use a CD (slower) for deployment:

Create a bootable ISO image. (If you don’t have a PXE server or just want to mount an ISO for test, here you find the additional steps to create a bootable ISO)

  • Create the C:\WinPE_x64\ISO folder
  • Copy the contents of the C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\Media folder to C:\WinPE_x64\ISO
  • Create the C:\WinPE_x64\ISO\Sources folder
  • Copy (or move) the winpe.wim file in C:\WinPE_x64 to C:\WinPE_x64\ISO\Sources
  • Rename the winpe.wim file in C:\WinPE_x64\ISO\Sources to boot.wim
  • Copy the etfsboot.com file from C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment and Imaging Tools\amd64\Oscdimg to C:\WinPE_x64
  • Create the bootable ISO by running the following command:

    oscdimg -b”c:\WinPE_X64\etfsboot.com” -n C:\WinPE_X64\ISO

6 Responses to “HOW TO: Create Windows PE Disk to USB Flash Drive”

  1. Fine way of explaining, and pleasant paragraph to take facts on the topic
    of my presentation subject, which i am going to convey in academy.

    Here is my blog: my review here (Luciana)

    May 31, 2014 at 10:38 AM
  2. This article offers clear idea for the new people of blogging, that genuinely how to
    do running a blog.

    August 27, 2014 at 4:24 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HOW TO: Sysprep with Windows 8.1 | Scott Mattie's Blog - December 16, 2013

    […] Create a USB Drive that has Windows PE […]

  2. HOW TO: Sysprep with Windows 8.1 - SQL Server - SQL Server - Toad World - December 16, 2013

    […] Create a USB Drive that has Windows PE […]

  3. HOW TO: Deploy Windows 8.1 via WINPE USB Disk | Scott Mattie's Blog - December 30, 2013

    […] Create a USB Drive that has Windows PE […]

  4. HOW TO: Deploy Windows 8.1 via WINPE USB Disk - SQL Server - SQL Server - Toad World - December 30, 2013

    […] Create a USB Drive that has Windows PE […]

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.