Sunday, December 07, 2008

Custom Win PE Boot Disk Building: Step One – WAIK up

First Review the prior links in this series.

Now what we have to do is install the Windows Automated Installation Kit so we will have the foundation for all our additional building efforts.

I’ve covered this part before here on GSD so you might want to also review my Windows PE 2.0 Free For Everyone (Almost) post first.  Most of what follows comes directly from it.

Also, this walkthrough will be specifically to create a x86 32-bit based WinPE 2.0 based boot disk.

Step One – Get the WAIK

From Microsoft download either of these two file packages.

I am going to be using the second one as it incorporates Vista SP1 while the first does not.

Step Two – Install the WAIK on your system

It can be installed on any of the following systems: Windows Server 2003 SP1; Windows XP SP2, and Windows Vista.

Note: The installation application says it must be an XP Professional version, but I just installed it and ran it on my Windows XP SP2 Home system just fine with no complaints at all.

Once downloaded, you have an IMG file which you then have two options to use.

1) Burn it to disk using a disk-burning application, or

2) Mount it as a virtual cd/disk image using a virtual disk application like the freeware SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive.  For tips on that try this post: Installing Windows AIK without a Disc is Free and Easy – ITsVISTA blog.

Take your pick.

Run the installer and get it loaded up.

(Note: All my systems are NTFS partition formatted and for this to work, the primary volume/partition that you will be working on should be the same as well.)

Step Three – Create the C:\winpe_x86 system folder

The C:\winpe_x86 folder will be the workhorse of our building work.  So we got to get it right.

I recommend first reading the Toss DOS, Install Vista with Free WinPE at ITsVISTA.

His steps are so easy to follow it’s become the defacto standard to me.

  1. Go to the Start menu and under All Programs find the Microsoft Windows AIK folder and launch Windows PE Tools Command Prompt, or open a command prompt and type cd c:\program files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools.

  2. Create a local Windows PE build directory by typing the command copype.cmd <arch> <destination>. If you’ll be working with 32-bit machines (the rest of the examples will assume you are), replace <arch> with x86. If you’ll be working with 64-bit machines, replace <arch> with either amd64 or ia64, depending on which chipset your computers have.

  3. You’ll see a list of files copying.

So just follow step one as is.

At step two type in exactly the following command paying mind to the spaces and <enter>:

copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86

The files will copy and when done you will see the cursor again.

Step Four – Validate

If everything went as planned you should now find the following when you look at your C: drive:

Double click “My Computer” or open Windows Explorer.

Open the C: drive.

Browse down and you should now see a folder “winpe_x86”

Double click it.

In there will be two folders “ISO” and “mount” along with two files, one of which is winpe.wim.

Open the ISO folder and there should now be even more folders and files.

Open the “sources” folder and you should find a “boot.wim” file.


That completes getting the WAIK installed, and creating the foundational c:\winpe_x86 folder.

Extra credit reading

Class dismissed until next lesson!



JMisner said...

Hi Claus,

I had probably glanced over the answer to this at some point, but are there any real advantages or disadvantages of using either WAIK or a Vista RTM/SP1 retail copy when building VistaPE? About a year ago I remember reading over at VistaPE's forums (if I'm not mistaken) that using the retail disc as a basis for WinPE2 actually included 'more', and what that more is I do not know. Maybe libraries or frameworks?

I got some time though, I'm waiting for VistaPE 12 to be released stable before I make my next disc...unless you've had good experiences. One of the previous v12 betas gave me all sorts of problems, though I haven't tried RC1 yet.


Claus said...

@ Joe - No, I don't think I've mentioned the VistaPE/WAIK vs. VistaPE/VistaRTM build comparison.

It hasn't been until the past month or so that I've had opportunity to do a build of the latter. Up to now all my VistaPE building has been WAIK based only and I've had no complaints (until Dell Optiplex systems came round).

I'll dip into a deeper comparison in a following post. But I will say this, the VistaPE RTM build honestly knocked my socks off with all the "extras" that are possible one I had them loaded up. AT the core (to me) you get an expanded driver support thing with more Vista-centric utilities.

I've done the last two VistaPE walkthroughs on my blog from a WAIK standpoint. I think after I get done with this particular series I will do the third based on VistaPE 12 RC1 (or whatever is released at that point) using the Vista RTM method instead. Might be a fun and useful post to folks.

I've been using the RC1 version for more than a few months and the only problems I have were my own making...nothing from the WinBuilder side. By all means, try it out when you get a chance. I'd recommend just creating a VistaPE12-RC1 folder on your root and dumping it into that one, along side your current VistaPE build. That way if you don't like it, you haven't done anything to your trusted current builder version.

We will be using the VistaPE system to do some "prep work" for the ultimate product in this series, but surprisingly, I don't intend to "use" it like you might expect.

Most of the problems I'm seeing reported in the VistaPE forums regarding v12-RC1 are when people get crafty and get off the recommended build path a bit. I don't do that with very few exceptions, and I don't include a lot of the apps that are offered in the scripts. I like to keep it pared down to the bare essentials for my target support work. I think that helps as well.

All of this said, I personally would only find using a Vista RTM base (and all the extras) truly worthwhile ONLY if you have a bunch of Vista Business (or other Vista builds) to support. If you do, then it will make a golden PE 2.0 boot and support disk. If your shop is still Windows 2K or XP, or even a few Vista systems, the WAIK base will still cover all your support needs just fine.


Thanks for taking the time to share a comment!


Claus V.

Anonymous said...

Don't you know how to remote boot winpe on itanium systems?