Sunday, March 15, 2009

Custom WinPE Building: Post-Script and PE 3.0

I hope everyone enjoyed and found something of interest in the recent custom PE boot-disk building series I posted recently.

The purpose of that project was to build a Win PE 2.0 based boot-disk, that has a great VistaPE GUI interface (instead of the standard CLI shell) and the PGP WDE drivers injected so I could “liveCD-boot” a PGP WDE system (assuming we have the user’s passphrase).  And it had to handle the Dell GX 7xx series USB keyboard drivers.

However, there were a few extra links and tips that didn’t directly pertain to my focus and I decided to leave out.  You might want to be aware of them so I’m sharing them now.

This thread has a tip in it offered by “ctmag” that claims when followed, it resolves the USB keyboard pickup issue in VistaPE builds.

add the following lines at the end of the [Process] section of 04-additional.script



it will need some more space on the disc and also in RAM, but it fixes the USB Mouse/Keyboard issue and it also fixes a bug where when you booted from an USB drive the USB drive was not visible (only the X drive was visisble..)

Because I was able to get my USB keyboard issues going with my custom method, and had to do the extra work for PGP driver injection, I never went back to try this out.  If you aren’t messing with PGP drivers and only doing VistaPE building, it might be a faster fix.

Another thing I didn’t do (but aggravates others) is to take out the “"Press a key to boot from CD” prompt with the PE boot disk.  I leave it in, as from time to time a technician will leave a boot disk behind in a user’s system and leave the site.  Next time the user boots (if this is removed) they end up on a WinPE or Linux desktop and it confuses the fire out of them.  This check allows the system to continue booting to the main OS if a key isn’t pressed.

However, if it annoys you and you want to just boot directly from the CD to the WinPE environment, then do this:

if you don't want to be prompted to boot from the WinPE 2.0 CD or DVD, delete the bootfix.bin file from the \ISO\boot folder before creating your WinPE 2.0 CD/DVD.

Easy enough.

This new VPELDR file seeks to get around some of the hardware detection and pickup issues the “stock” VPELDR has.  With the exception of the USB keyboard, I’ve not had any issues so I haven’t tried it.  Swapping out the stock for the new one seems to cause other potential issues.  However, if you have a driver that is giving you the blues in WinBuilder/VistaPE building, you might want to try it. Note, VistaPE/WinBuilder 12 will have some new tricks that will surpass this interim tweak, so if things are good-enough, just make a note and leave it alone for now.

Yes.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, WinPE 3.0 is based on the Windows 7 WAIK.  Just like WinPE 2.0 was/is based on the Vista WAIK.

So what I did (being the curious dude I am) was to re-follow all the steps in my custom WinPE building project, even down to the PGP WDE driver injections.

Only this time I used the WIM source file from the Win7 WAIK kit instead.

Everything went smoothly.  No errors at all.

When I was done, I created my Custom WinPE 3.0, PGP WDE injected driver and VistaPE enhanced ISO file.

Worked absolutely-fricken-perfect!

So now instead of a Vista SP1-based WinPE 2.0 custom boot disk tool, I’m now using a Windows 7 (beta)-based WinPE 3.0 custom boot disk tool.

Wicked cool!

How I got the key guts needed for the Windows 7 WAIK PE 3.0 building work and am using them on my XP/Vista systems under the Windows Vista RC1 WAIK install…well it’s not rocket-science, but it will have to remain a post for another day.


--Claus V.

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