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How ImageX Works

ImageX is an imaging tool built from a set of APIs, known as Imaging APIs for Windows. The primary purpose of ImageX is to capture, modify, and apply images for deployment in a manufacturing or corporate IT environment. ImageX supports the new Microsoft Windows Imaging (.wim) format.

ImageX Architecture

ImageX relies on several components, including the ImageX executable (ImageX.exe), the WIM File System Filter (Wimfltr.sys and Wimfltr.inf), the WIM API set, and the .wim file format. The following diagram shows the interaction between these components.

Component Description


An executable program that uses an API layer to support interaction with the .wim file. This interaction includes capturing the image, compressing the image, mounting and unmounting the image, applying the image, and so on.

WIM File System Filter

After installing the WIM FS Filter driver, the WIM File System Filter handles the browsing and editing capabilities for the .wim file. After you mount a .wim file to a directory, the filter monitors all file system requests for files or data and maps the requests to the appropriate data within the .wim file. This enables you to view the contents of your image file from any standard file-management tool, such as Windows Explorer.

The offline servicing of your image enables you to view and edit your .wim files without having to reapply and recapture the image. To mount and edit the contents of your .wim file, a user-mode tool and a kernel-mode file-system filter interact with each other using a communication protocol and the WIM API set.


The API layer that interacts with both the ImageX executable program and the WIM FS Filter driver. It is also the primary interface for third-party tools and setup technology.

The APIs can be categorized into the following functions:

  • Add, update, and remove file data.
  • Add, update, and remove image data.
  • Extract image data.
  • Mount an image using the WIM File System Filter.
  • Manage spanning of images.
  • Monitor messaging status and progress.

Windows Imaging (.wim) file

A collection of image files that contain an operating system and its components. ImageX uses the .wim file format for capture, offline servicing, and the deployment process, providing a comprehensive imaging solution for your deployment scenarios.

See Also


What is ImageX?
ImageX Command-Line Options