Windows Preinstallation Environment

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WinPE uses the same kernel as Windows XP, and it displays the same splash screen.
WinPE 2005, immediately after boot, running the Factory.exe application, which can be used to install drivers on the system.
WinPE 2.0 (Vista) running the shell (Command prompt) with several of the built in programs, Notepad, Registry Editor, and the Windows Task Manager.

Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) is a lightweight version of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista that is used for the deployment of workstations and servers. It is intended as a 32-bit or 64-bit replacement for MS-DOS during the installation phase of Windows, and can be booted via PXE, CD-ROM, USB flash drive or hard disk. Traditionally used by large corporations and OEMs (to preinstall Windows client operating systems to PCs during manufacturing), it is now widely available free of charge via the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).


[edit] Overview

WinPE was originally intended to be used only as a pre-installation platform for deploying Microsoft Windows operating systems, specifically to replace DOS in this respect. In later versions WinPE has developed into a platform for the following uses:

  • Deployment of workstations and servers in large corporations as well as pre-installation by system builders of workstations and servers to be sold to end users.
  • Recovery platform to run 32-bit or 64-bit recovery tools such as Sysinternals ERD Commander or the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).
  • Platform for running 3rd party 32-bit or 64-bit disk cloning utilities.

The package can be used for developer testing or as a recovery CD/DVD for system administrators. Many people[who?] on the Internet have created customized WinPE boot CDs and included other third-party applications for different uses.

Version 2.0 introduced a number of improvements and extended the availability of WinPE to all customers, not just corporate enterprise customers by downloading and installing Microsoft's Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

The newest version is 3.0, based on the Windows 7 Beta kernel.

It was originally designed and built by a small team of engineers in Microsoft's Windows Deployment team, including Vijay Jayaseelan, Ryan Burkhardt, and Richard Bond.[1]

[edit] WinPE Versions

The following versions are known to exist:

[edit] Windows PE 1.0

Built from the first version of Windows XP Professional.

[edit] Windows PE 1.1

Built from Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

[edit] Windows PE 1.2

Built from Windows Server 2003 family.

[edit] Windows PE 2004 (1.5)

Built from Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (SP2).

[edit] Windows PE 2005 (1.6)

Built from Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

[edit] Windows PE 2.0

Built from Windows Vista(6.0.6000), this version differs from previous versions in that it does not require a source CD as the files are built into the initial installation of the toolkit. This means that the download is now 900MB instead of the 60MB or so of the earlier versions. It is possible to modify the bootable image created to contain a variety of plug-ins such as WMI access, Windows Scripting Host (WSH), additional drivers and other 32-bit applications (or 64-bit for the 64-bit version). Other new features include the ability to use a re-writeable RAM disk (WinPE 1.x versions used a read-only RAM disk), and the hot-plugging of extra peripherals such as USB flash drives.

[edit] Windows PE 2.1

Built from Windows Server 2008, the same codebase as Windows Vista SP1.

[edit] Windows PE 3.0

Built from Windows 7 code base. It is included in WAIK 3.

[edit] See also

  • Live CD
  • BartPE, a free third-party alternative to WinPE
  • WinBuilder, a tool for creating Windows XP-based live CDs in a modular way
  • VistaPE, a tool for creating Vista live CDs

WINPE Builder , creates custom WINPE Images, and will help you boot to usb.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "WinPE Patent Filing". USPTO. 2001-07-24. Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 

[edit] External links

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