Building a Windows PE Image

The first step in creating a customized Windows PE 2.0 image is to modify the base Windows PE image (Winpe.wim) by using ImageX and PEImg tools. ImageX is required to extract the files to a local directory. PEImg enables you to add and to remove packages, and to add out-of-box drivers and language packs. ImageX then enables you to recapture changes back into a .wim file.

The following diagram illustrates how a custom Windows PE image is built.

The general process for creating a custom Windows PE image includes:

  1. Applying the base image (Winpe.wim) by using ImageX to a local directory share. For example,

    imagex /apply WinPE.wim 1 C:\myWinPE
  2. Using the peimg /list command to see which packages are installed and available for installation. For example,

    peimg /list C:\myWinPE\Windows
  3. Adding drivers, packages, and language packs as appropriate by using peimg /install command. For example, to add the HTA package,

    peimg /install=WinPE-HTA-Package C:\myWinPE\Windows
  4. Copying any additional files or tools that you intend to include in the image. For example,

    C:\myWinPE\Program Files\myapp\myapp.exe.
  5. Preparing the image by using the peimg /prep command. This command will remove any packages and language packs that are not designated for the final image. For example,

    peimg /prep c:\myWinPE\Windows
  6. Capturing the new bootable image by using ImageX. For example,

    imagex /boot /compress max /capture c:\myWinPE c:\boot.wim "My Winpe Image"

The customized image is now ready to be copied or burned to bootable media. The most common method is to create an .iso file and then burn the image onto a CD-ROM. For more information about bootable methods, see Booting Windows PE.

Supported Packages

Windows PE 2.0 provides the following optional packages:

Package Name Description


Additional font support for ja-jp, ko-kr, zh-cn, zh-hk, and zh-tw.


HTML Application support


Microsoft Data Access Component support


Windows Script Host support


Windows Recovery Environment support


Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) support


Microsoft XML (MSMXL) Parser support


The base Windows PE image (Winpe.wim) contains all the packages listed above, but they are not installed. They are only staged. You must use the PEImg tool to install the appropriate packages. When you run the peimg /prep command, packages that are not installed will be removed from the final image.

Supported Customizations

Windows PE 2.0 supports the following customizations:

  • Adding and removing packages and language packs from the base image.
  • Adding third-party drivers and third-party components.
  • Adding Windows PE updates.
  • Adding out-of-box Windows PE language packs.
  • Customizing temporary storage.


Once the peimg /prep command is applied to an image, the image is final. You can no longer add or remove packages. However, you can still add drivers and language packs.


It is recommended that you recapture and save a copy of the image prior to running the peimg /prep command. This ensures that you have a customized base image that you can later modify. You must then reapply your customized base image, run the peimg /prep command against the image to optimize for size, and then recapture the new image.

Customizing Windows PE Environment

You can customize your Windows PE image to include specific environment settings when Windows PE boots up. For example, you can define specific network requirements, run customized scripts, or start customized applications. You can define these settings by using a combination of Winpeshl.ini, Startnet.cmd, and Unattend.xml.

You can launch customized applications by using winpeshl.ini, define custom command-line scripts by using Startnet.cmd, and define various Windows PE settings and actions by using Unattend.xml. For more information, see Include a Custom Script in a Windows PE Image.

You can define temporary storage to support customized applications. For more information, see Add an Application to a Windows PE Image.

See Also


Booting Windows PE
Windows PE Customization How-To Topics
Windows PE Walkthroughs