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How to Boot Windows PE From a USB Drive

By Codrut Nistor

Posted in Software

Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) is a light version of Windows(XP Windows Server 2003 Vista 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2) and is used for the deployment of workstations and servers. Also You can use Windows PE to create your own customized rescue boot media. The last version is Windows PE is 3.0 based on the Windows 7 build 7600 kernel.Windows PE is a part of Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

Download the Windows Automated Installation Kit and install it. The installation image for WAIK is 1.7GB big so you will need a lot of space for download and installation.

The next step is to prepare the flash drive. You will need at least a 2GB USB flash drive especially if you want to add more tools later. To prepare the USB flash drive just use the folloing commands in the same order:

diskpart list disk select disk # clean create partition primary select partition 1 active format quick fs=fat32 assign exit

Next step is to launch Deployment Tools Command Prompt and use this commands:

copype.cmd x86 c:/winpe_x86

copy c:/winpe_x86/winpe.wim c:/winpe_x86/ISO/sources/boot.wim

The last step is to copy WinPE to the USB flash drive:

xcopy C:/winpe_x86/iso/*.* /e x:/   where x the the drive letter of the USB flash drive.

After that you can add all kind of rescue tools.