Windows 8 FAQ

Using Windows PE or RE Environment

1. What is Windows PE and what is it for?

Windows Pre-Installation Environment or Recovery Environment is the new environment for deploying or recovering Windows 8. It is now on version 4. You come across it when you first install Windows 8 on a new PC. Instead of a text based install screen like you did with Windows XP, it is now all graphical. Windows PE is also used when you want to deploy Windows over the network using Windows Deployment Services to new PCs.

2. Where can I get Windows PE or RE?

You can download the Windows Assesmment and Deployment Kit (ADK) from Microsoft Downloads.
An update for ADK for Windows 8.1 is also available from Microsoft Downloads.

The tools include the following:
* Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)
* Deployment Tools
* Windows Preinstallation Environment
* User State Migration Tool
* Volume Activation Management Tool
* Windows Performance Toolkit
* Windows Assessment Toolkit
* Windows Assessment Services - Client
* Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express

3. How do I create a Windows PE disc?

a) Click on Start, Programs, Microsoft Windows AIK, Windows PE Tools Command Prompt.
b) To create a Windows PE Build for x86 environment, enter copype x86 C:\winpe-x86, for the x64 enviroment, enter copype amd64 c:\winpe-amd64.
c) If you need additional software, such as ImageX.exe, then copy the files here before burning them to disk.
e.g. copy “c:\program files\<version>\Tools\x86\imagex.exe” c:\winpe_x86\iso\
d) You may also need the package manager (offline wim management)e.g..
xcopy “c:\program files\<version>\Tools\<architecture>\Servicing” c:\winpe_x86\iso\Servicing /s
copy %windir%\system32\msxml6*.dll c:\winpe_x86\iso\Servicing
e) Copy the boot image. e.g. xcopy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\iso\sources\boot.wim /y
f) Create an exclusion list called Wimscript.ini with a list of files to exclude under [ExclusionList] and [CompressionExclusionList] using notepad and save it to same location as ImageX.exe e.g.c:\winpe_x86\iso\.
g) Create a bootable iso file e.g.
oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe_x86\fwfiles\ c:\winpe_x86\media c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso
h) When image is ready, can can create a bootable disc using any CD/DVD media burner e.g. Nero, Burn.

Full instructions (with amendments) are available on Technet.

4. How do I create a Windows RE (Recovery Environment) partition?

See these step by step instructions on creating a Windows RE partition.