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Preparing Windows PE : Working with Windows PE (part 3) - Customizing Windows PE

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To create bootable Windows PE UFD media
1.
Insert your bootable UFD device into an available USB port on your system.

2.
Use the DiskPart utility to prepare the device for loading Windows PE. To run DiskPart, type diskpart at the command prompt and then press ENTER.

3.
Run the commands shown in Table 1 to prepare the UFD.

Table 1. Preparing a UFD for Windows PE
CommandDescription
list diskLists available disks.
select disk nWhere n is the UFD you are preparing. Be sure to select the correct disk when using DiskPart. DiskPart will clean your primary hard disk as easily as it will clean your UFD device.
cleanRemoves the current partition structures.
create partition primary size=sizesize is the size of the disk as shown in the list. If you omit size, DiskPart will use all of the available space for the partition.
select partition 1Selects the partition you created in the previous command.
activeMarks the new partition as active.
format fs=FAT32Formats the UFD partition with the FAT32 file system.
assignAssigns the next available drive letter to your UFD.
exitQuits DiskPart.

4.
Use the Bootsect.exe command to write a new boot sector to the UFD, where e: is the drive letter assigned to the UFD device:

Bootsect /nt60 e: /force

5.
Copy the contents of the ISO folder to your UFD, where e:\ is the drive letter assigned to the UFD device:

xcopy /chery c:\winpe_x86\ISO\*.* e:\

6.
Safely remove your UFD.

Note

Some UFD devices do not support this preparation process. If necessary, use the UFD device manufacturer’s processes and utilities to make the disk bootable. Once you’ve done this, proceed from step 4 to prepare the device.


Making Your UFD Bootable

Creating a bootable UFD requires careful work. Many UFDs are not bootable, and need to be converted before use. They are shipped with a flag value set to cause Windows to detect them as removable media devices rather than USB disk devices.

To make your UFD bootable, consult with the device manufacturer to obtain directions or utilities that will convert the device. Many manufacturers make these instructions available through their product support systems. Ask specifically how to switch the removable media flag. This action will cause Windows to detect the device as a USB hard disk drive and will allow you to proceed with the preparations for creating a bootable UFD.


Booting from a Hard Disk Drive

While it might seem strange to be booting Windows PE from a hard-disk drive, you can do this to perform refresh installations of Windows Vista. By loading Windows PE onto the hard disk and booting it to RAM, you can repartition your systems disks and install the new Windows Vista image. You can also use Windows PE as the basis for the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) to recover unbootable systems.

To boot Windows PE from a hard-disk drive
1.
Boot your computer from prepared Windows PE media.

2.
Using DiskPart, prepare the computer’s hard disk for installation of Windows PE. Use the DiskPart commands shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Preparing a Hard Drive for Windows PE
CommandDescription
select disk 00 is the primary hard-disk drive.
cleanRemoves the current partition structures.
create partition primary size=sizesize is a partition size large enough to hold the Windows PE source files.
select partition 1Select the partition created by the previous command.
activeMarks the new partition as active.
formatFormats the new partition.
exitQuits DiskPart.

3.
Make your hard disk bootable:

bootsect /nt60 c:

4.
Copy the Windows PE files from your Windows PE media to your hard disk:

xcopy /chery x:\*.* c:\

Customizing Windows PE

Most Windows PE customization tasks will involve the processes described in the previous section. You will import and install additional components, add applications, import and install updates, and prepare and capture the resulting image.

Other tasks you might see when customizing your Windows PE implementation include adding hardware-specific device drivers and customizing the actual settings used by Windows PE when it runs. This section covers the installation of device drivers and details changes that you can make to base Windows PE configuration settings. 

Windows PE supports four configuration files to control startup and operation. These files can be configured to launch custom shell environments or execute specified actions:

  • BCD The Boot Configuration Data (BCD) file stores the boot settings for Windows PE. This file is edited with the Windows Vista command-line tool, BCDEdit.

  • Winpeshl.ini During startup, you can start custom shell environments using the Winpeshl.ini file. This file is located in the %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 folder of the Windows PE image. You can configure this file with the path and the executable name of the custom shell application.

  • Startnet.cmd Windows PE uses the Startnet.cmd file to configure network startup activities. By default, the Wpeinit command is called to initialize Plug and Play devices and start the network connection. You can also add other commands to this script to customize activities during startup.

  • Unattend.xml Windows PE operates in the windowsPE setup configuration pass of a Windows Vista installation. In this pass, Windows PE uses the appropriate sections of the Unattend.xml file to control its actions. Windows PE looks in the root of the boot device for this file. You can also specify its location by using the Startnet.cmd script or by using Wpeutil.exe with the appropriate command-line options.

Your final environment can run custom application shells (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) running on Windows PE.
Other -----------------
- Maintaining Security : Restricting Content in Windows Media Center, Creating Trusted Contacts, Installing Critical Fixes
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- Maintaining Security : Restricting DVD Movies in Windows Media Player, Preventing Access While Using Windows Media Player
- Maintaining Security : Maintaining High Security, Setting Internet Explorer Security
- Maintaining Security : Restricting Access on the Computer
- Preparing Windows PE : Setting up the Environment
- Preparing Windows PE : Exploring Windows PE
- Planning Deployment : Starting Deployment Workbench, Updating BDD 2007 Components
- Planning Deployment : Installing BDD 2007
- Planning Deployment : Preparing for Development
 
 
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