What's New in Windows PE

This topic describes the new and changed functionality of the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE/WinPE) and compares it with previous versions of Windows PE and MS-DOS.

New and Changed Functionality


The 32-bit versions of WinPE in the WinPE add-ons for Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022 aren't supported. The last supported version of 32-bit WinPE is available in the WinPE add-on for Windows 10, version 2004.

This table compares the features and functionality with those of previous versions of Windows PE:

Feature Windows PE for Windows 11 Windows PE for Windows 10 Windows PE 5.0 Windows PE 4.0
Scripts used to deploy Windows PE No change. No change. No change. CopyPE updated for use with the Windows ADK.

MakeWinPEMedia added to make creation of USB flash drives or ISO files easier.
Scripting tools No change. No change. .NET Framework optional component renamed to WinPE_NetFx.

PowerShell optional component renamed to WinPE_PowerShell.

Winpeshl.ini allows you to launch apps with command-line parameters in quotes. For more info, see Winpeshl.ini Reference: Launching an app when WinPE starts.
.NET Framework 4.5 optional component added (WinPE_NetFx4).

PowerShell 3.0 optional component added (WinPE_PowerShell3).
Image capturing and servicing tools DISM supports Windows 11. DISM supports Windows 10 and Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (ICD) features. DISM supports Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 images but doesn’t support Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 images. For more info, see DISM - Deployment Image Servicing and Management Technical Reference for Windows. Image capturing tools included with new dism /Capture-image and dism /Apply-image commands.

Doesn't support servicing Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 images.
Optimizing Windows PE No change. No change. The profiling feature is removed.

The default amount of scratch space is 512 MB for PCs that have more than 1 GB of RAM.
No change.
File management No change. No change. No change. File Management optional component added for discovering and restoring deleted files from unencrypted volumes.
Memory No change. No change. Maximum supported:
  • x86: 64 GB
  • x64: 4 TB
No change.
Virtualization No change. No change. No change. No change.
Networking No change. No change. No change. Optional Remote Network Driver Interface Specification (RNDIS) feature added for enabling network devices that implement the RNDIS specification over USB.
Recovery No change. No change. No change. WinRE Configuration utility added (winrecfg.exe) to support configuring Windows RE in an offline operating system.
Security No change. No change. No change. Secure Startup optional component added for provisioning and managing BitLocker and the Trusted Platform Module.
Architectures Supports x64 and arm64-based PCs No change. No change. Supports x86, x64, and Arm-based PCs.


Windows PE version 2.x and Windows PE version 3.x are no longer in support and have been removed from the table. You can see the archived documentation for these versions of WinPE here.

Check the WinPE version

To see which version of Windows PE you're running, type regedit and locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinPE registry key.

Comparison with MS-DOS

Windows PE is similar to MS-DOS. It also includes support for the following features:

  • The NTFS 5.x file system, including dynamic volume creation and management.
  • TCP/IP networking and file sharing (client only).
  • 32-bit or 64-bit Windows device drivers.
  • A subset of the Windows application programming interface (API).
  • CD, DVD, and USB flash drives.
  • Windows Deployment Services server.
  • Image management and servicing (DISM).
  • Hyper-V drivers (all drivers except for display drivers). This enables Windows PE to run in a hypervisor. Supported features include mass storage, mouse integration, and network adapters.
  • Optional support for PowerShell, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Windows Data Access Components (Windows DAC), and HTML Applications (HTAs).

Where is WinPE.wim?

In Windows 7, the main Windows PE boot file was renamed to boot.wim. This file is in Windows PE in the \sources folder. It can be modified in the same way as WinPE.wim.

WinPE overview