Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE)
The Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) was designed as a lightweight, command-line only version of Microsoft Windows. Originally released in 2001 to OEM and large corporations, the latest versions are distributed via the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK), and now free of charge to the public.
WinPE has been designed as a flexible boot environment, capable of booting from CD/DVD, USB flash drive, or other methods such as Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) or external hard disk. Although frequently configured as a utility environment for operating system deployment and recovery capabilities, WinPE provides a versatile framework for building custom boot environments capable of repairing the MBR or other disk areas, salvaging files from an unbootable operating system disk, or many other hard disk or system related tasks.
Firesage Solutions provides support for WinPE by a few different avenues, for example:
- MBRWizard Boot Builder- Creates a WinPE ISO designed to help solve Master Boot Record (MBR) corruption or other problems.
- KAPE- Assists in building custom WinPE boot environments
- Bootsage- Assists in creating a bootable USB flash drive from an existing WinPE or Windows 7 CD/DVD/ISO
Microsoft has released a few different versions of the WAIK over the years, with the latest based on the Windows 7 platform. Each version is currently supported when installed on Microsoft operating systems Windows XP or newer. We recommend using the latest version of WinPE due to enhanced functionality, stability, and driver support, but we support each of the versions starting with WinPE 2.0. Please see the following Microsoft links for more information, and to obtain the latest versions before running the Firesage Solutions build tools:
- What is Windows PE? (Microsoft Technet)
- WinPE 3.0- Based on the Windows 7 plaform
- WinPE 2.1 - Based on Windows Vista / Server 2008)