Windows Preinstallation Environment provides a fast and reliable way to install Windows or perform recovery and troubleshooting activities. One of the best things about Windows PE is that it can be installed on a USB drive, CD, DVD, etc. and later boot your system from an external source. To achieve this, you need to learn how to install Window PE on a hard drive (as an external source). This can be done by following this step-by-step guide.
What is Windows PE?
The Windows Preinstallation Environment is a lightweight operating system that was initially introduced by Windows with XP. Its primary objective was to replace the MS-DOS-based booting environment. Ever since Windows has deployed the Preinstallation Environment in all the operating systems, it has a dedicated UI that can help you install the primary operating system, perform a system recovery, or troubleshooting activities. Simply boot your system from the hard drive having Windows PE to do this.
How to get Windows PE?
Before you install Windows PE on your hard drive or any other external unit, you need to meet specific prerequisites. Earlier, users need to buy Windows development kit to install Windows PE.
Now, users can download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for free from windows assessment deployment. It has all the primary deployment tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment that you would need to install Windows PE on a hard drive.
In addition to that, you need to make sure that your system has enough RAM and that there is required space on the hard drive (512 MB) to support Windows PE.
To install WindowsPE, refer to these steps:
a) Install Assessment and Deployment Kit.
b) Pick Deployment Tools and Windows Pre-installation Environment.
How to install Windows PE on your Hard Drive?
After getting the source for Windows Preinstallation Environment, you can proceed and learn how to install Windows PE by following these steps.
Setting up the Drive
Firstly, we need to set up the hard drive by making a bootable disk. You can also utilize a sector of the drive and make it bootable.
It should have all the necessary bootstrapping kernels that are needed to boot a system. In the case of an emergency, you can simply boot your system from the bootable disk.
- After installing the Windows Preinstallation Environment ADK on your system, simply plug in the USB drive.
- Now, you need to reboot your system. You must have gotten a bootable CD with your Windows. If not, then you can quickly burn a bootable CD.
- Once it is done, you need to reboot your system from the CD as a source. Instead of installing the OS on your system, select the USB drive.
- Make sure that the drive is already formatted. If not, the operation will automatically format it.
- After completing this, just turn off your system or restart it.
After setting up the hard drive, you need to install Windows PE on it. To do this, follow these steps:
- After rebooting your system, insert the WinPE CD, if it hasn't been inserted before.
- Visit the hard drive location and create a new folder with the name of "Mining."
- Once it is done, you need to visit the file location of the Windows PE CD. Go to the "i386" folder in it. Here comes the crucial part. You need to select all the files from the i386 folder and manually copy them to the "Mining" folder that you have just created. If you copy these files after booting your system from WinPE, then your system won't include all the required files and folders.
- After copying these files, you have to look for the "ntdetect.com" and the "setupldr.bin" files.
- Simply select these files and copy them to the root directory of your system. Afterward, just rename the "setupldr.bin" file to "ntldr" without using any extensions.
The last and the most crucial part to completely install Windows PE on your hard drive involve the scripting process. To do this, follow these steps:
- Launch the file location on the USB drive and visit the "Mining" folder that you have created. Here, you need to launch the "system32" file.
- There would be a file with the name of "startnet.cmd". This is a critical file as it involves information related to networking, bootloader, etc. for the system You can just edit the file and add your scripts to customize anything.
- Additionally, you can find other scripts to run as well. Just go to command prompt and look for files with type "/?". This will provide access to other scripts that you can edit.
After following this approach, you can easily install Windows PE on a hard drive and use it at the time of an emergency.
Tips for Running Windows PE Installation
Here we have listed some tips for installation of Windows PE:
- For installing the 64-bit Windows version, you can use the 32-bit Windows PE version.
- If your computer does not boot, try these tips and make sure you boot after every step:
- Update the firmware to the latest version
- For an external drive like a USB, add it to a different USB port.
- In case your PC needs registry changes or drivers for booting, add that driver to the Windows PE picture.
- WindowsPE offers support to the dynamic hard disks, but the windows setup does not. It means if you install Windows to a dynamic disk made in WindowsPE, it may not work in Windows.
- When WindowsPE reboots, you lost all your changes. So, make sure you use our professional data recovery tool for successful recovery.
Why Do You Require Windows PE for Windows 10?
Windows Preinstallation Environment can do a lot of things for you:
- Collects and apply windows pictures
- Set up HD and prepare it for the installation of almost all versions
- Perform changes to the Windows as required
- Install Windows via scripts/applications from an external storage/network
- Automation of tasks via Graphical user interface/custom shell
- Automatic recovery using recovery software
- Helpful in recovering data from unbootable devices
How to Run the Installation of Windows PR on SSD?
Installing Preinstallation Environment on your SSD can be a great alternative to building a bootable DVD or USB stick. Here we’ll discuss the installation steps of Windows PE into the virtual disk:
- Download Win10ISO picture.
- Extract the file named as \sources\boot.wim.
- To make a virtual disk, make %windir%\system32\diskpart.exe.
- Now, use the boot.wim picture to the virtual disk.
- Add WindowsPE to the boot menu.
- Alter the user locales and input.
- After some time, your systems restart. It is time to boost directly to Windows PE.
How to Install WinPE to a Portable Hard Drive?
Step 1. Prepare the partition for Windows PE
- Open the command prompt and type diskpart.
- Press enter and then type list disk.
- Note the disk number of your portable HD.
- Type select disk X (replace it with disk number you noted)
- type clean to erase disk data and then create a partition primary to create a single partition.
- Now, use these commands to format the partition made:
Select partition 1
Format quick fs-fast32
Make sure you press enter button after each command.
Step 2. Copy WindowsPE to HD
Now, use a 7-zip tool to extract WinPE ISO to the portable drive directly. Here are the steps for it:
- Right-click on WinPE ISO picture.
- Choose 7-zip and then extract files.
- Now, set up a path of extraction and hit ok.
Step 3. Boot your Drive
- Open company prompt
- Type c:\download\bootsect_x86.exe /nt60 D: and hit enter button.
(Replace D: with the letter of your hard drive)
Windows PE is a tiny OS used to install and repair windows. We have discussed the step-by-step process to install it on your HD quickly.
If you wish to recover your lost content, then you can try Wondershare Data Recovery pro that supports Windows PE as well. In this way, you can perform the data recovery operation while using Recoverit data recovery without any trouble.
- Recover lost or deleted files, photos, audio, music, emails from any storage device effectively, safely and completely.
- Supports data recovery from recycle bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorders.
- Supports to recover data for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, system crash under different situations.
Computer Data Recovery
- Windows PE
- System problems
- PC Errors