How to Install WinPE on a Hard Drive

Jun 04, 2020 • Filed to: Windows Computer Solutions • Proven solutions


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 major 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 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 certain prerequisites. Earlier, users need to buy Windows development kit to install Windows PE. Now, users can download Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for free from here. It has all the major 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 needed space on the hard drive to support Windows PE.

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.

1. 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.

  1. After installing the Windows Preinstallation Environment ADK on your system, simply plug in the USB drive.
  2. Now, you need to reboot your system. You must have gotten a bootable CD with your Windows. If not, then you can easily burn a bootable CD.
  3. 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.
  4. Make sure that the drive is already formatted. If not, the operation will automatically format it.
  5. After completing this, just turn off your system or restart it.

2. Installing WinPE

After setting up the hard drive, you need to actually install Windows PE on it. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. After rebooting your system, insert the WinPE CD, if it hasn’t been inserted before.
  2. Visit the hard drive location and create a new folder with the name of "Minint".
  3. 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 "Minint" folder that you have just created. If you will copy these files after booting your system from WinPE, then your system won’t include all the required files and folders.
  4. After copying these files, you have to look for the "" and the "setupldr.bin" files.
  5. 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.

3. Scripting

The last and the most important part to completely install Windows PE on your hard drive involve the scripting process. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the file location on the USB drive and visit the "Minint" folder that you have created. Here, you need to launch the "system32" file.
  2. There would be a file with the name of "startnet.cmd". This is an extremely significant file as it involves information related to networking, bootloader, etc. for the system You can just edit the file and add your own scripts in order to customize anything.
  3. Additionally, you can find other scripts to run as well. Just go to command prompt and look for files with type "/?". This will provide an access to other scripts that you can edit.

After following this approach, you can easily install Windows PE on hard drive and use it at the time of an emergency. Furthermore, 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.

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Theo Lucia

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