Replace Windows RE With Custom Environment

1 – Turn off Hidden Files and Folders, and unprotect hidden operating system files.

Open Windows Explorer (Computer window), hit ALT key > Tools > Folder Options > View Tab > Radio button “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”, un-tick “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”

2 – Navigate to C:\Recovery. Add your local Administrator account to the Security tab.

Right click the folder, select Security tab, Click “Continue” button to view the object’s security properties,  Add…, “Administrator” (you are editing an image that is in a workgroup from the built-in Administrator profile, aren’t you?), Grant “Full Control”,  Apply, OK.

3 – Double click past the GUID folder. Replace the Winre.wim with your custom WinPE/RE environment customized to your needs. Make sure the file is called “Winre.wim”. Also make sure it is x86 vs. x64 depending on your OS version.

You can check a particular WIM file information with the following command from an Elevated Command Prompt:

dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:"C:\Path\To The\wimfile.wim" /Index:#


dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:"C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\x86\winpe.wim" /Index:1

4 – Remove the Administrator account from the C:\Recovery folder, resetting it back to it’s original permissions.

5 – At this point, you can reboot your machine, press F8, select “Repair Your Computer” and wait for it to start up.

Microsoft MDT 2010 – Install SP1 + Support for 512E Hard Drives

Update the WAIK from RTM to include SP1 Features and Enhancements:

1 – Download the WAIK supplement located here

2 – Mount the ISO or burn off to a DVD

3 – Place the ISO or DVD into your MDT Deployment Server

4 – Open an Elevated Command Prompt and enter the following command:

xcopy X:\ "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools" /ERUY

It will copy 134 files.

5 – Run the second following command from an Elevated Command Prompt:

xcopy X:\*winpe-dot3svc* "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools" /ERY

It will copy 82 files.

(X: refers to your virtual drive or physical drive letter).

At this point, WAIK is now updated to Windows 7 SP1.

Advanced Format Drives have new levels of sector blocks and without a proper driver are not detected by Windows PE RTM. SP1 should fix the issue for you, but adding the latest Intel driver should also help you out.

We will now add the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) driver to support advanced formatting of new 512E sector hard drives.

At the time of this writing, the driver was at version and available here.

Import the drivers into the Deployment Workbench for your Boot WIMs and OS Driver selection profiles.

Now that drivers are updated, we will edit the control files to support the new SP1 version over RTM edition of WAIK.

If you regenerate your boot WIMs at this point, the WIM looks for a RTM code in the registry. Since we are now on SP1, a change has to be made to look for the upgraded components.

NOTE: This breaks the use of Windows RE in Windows PE RTM. If you haven’t used RE in your image deployment solution, don’t worry about it.

If you do, you have to use an unsupported tweak to the Registry to make SP1 think it is RTM.

Reference MS Posting available here. Read and understand the warnings depending on your deployment environment.

Modify the Settings.xml file in the deployment share’s “Control” folder to tell MDT to never use the boot.wim.  The settings look like this:


Update them to say:


Now, update your Deployment Share’s boot WIMs.

Add the new boot WIMs to your WDS server, and you are ready to rock!

Reference notes from Microsoft regarding 512E and 4k sector hard drives is available here.

Additional write-up by Dell and Advanced Format Disks is available here.