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Can't boot WinPE 2.0 from USB-Stick


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You know that the walkthrough that is described in the WAIK is short and logical and it works great. The problems that arise most of the time when trying to boot from USB are hardware related. If you are able to boot in other cicumstances from your USB (assuming that it will see it as a HD too) then it should work with winpe 2.0

I have tried mainly with intel boards cuz they support usb boot and the steps are quiet fast.

Assuming that you have already your source of winpe from the c:\winpe_x86\iso the rest is make sure you format it under a vista or winpe enviroment otherwise i dont think it will work since they use different ways from previous versions.

after using the same script that is in the WAIK for diskpart simply format it as fat32 and go back to your source computer, run the comand for copying your c:\winpe_x86\iso folder which you might want to include also tools like imagex.exe etc.

No matter how many HD's you have connected if your system has a usb boot feature and u can select the priority it will work just fine.

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  • 6 months later...

Finally after having this same problem I figured it out from clues on this post.... thanks aspenjim for the pointer :-)

The Microsoft instructions neglect to mention that to make this work you *have* to repack the PE image. In other words you must follow the custom PE instructions as though you are going to add things into the package even if you don't. This process actually customises the image so it will work on USB/CD etc. I strongly suggest you read the microsoft article Walkthrough: Create a Custom Windows PE Image so you have some background to these instructions.

One other thing to note the "Windows PE Tools Command Prompt" does not usually open in Administrator mode and imagex requires admin rights. So right click and make sure to Run as Administrator. If you have turned off UAC you can ignore this.

Preparing the USB Stick with diskpart (This only works in Vista - everyone else use SP27608 - google it)

*** WARNING *** These commands will wipe your USB stick.

*** WARNING *** Select the correct disk or you may wipe your hard disk (this has not been tested :-)


DISKPART> List disk (choose your USB disk)

DISKPART> select disk x (replace x with your disk number)


DISKPART> create partition primary

DISKPART> select partition 1

DISKPART> active

DISKPART> format fs=fat32 quick

DISKPART> assign


Creating the PE Image Directory

copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86


imagex /mountrw c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim 1 c:\winpe_x86\mount


peimg /prep c:\winpe_x86\mount\Windows


imagex /unmount c:\winpe_x86\mount /commit

Update the ISO files with the new image

copy c:\winpe_x86\winpe.wim c:\winpe_x86\ISO\sources\boot.wim

Copy ISO files to USB stick (replace f: with the drive letter of your usb stick)

xcopy c:\winpe_x86\iso\*.* /s /e /f f:\

Let us know how you go :-)



Edited by rtfmoz
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For those who still having problems booting winpe from Stick after they read this thred:

Some Mainboard's do only boot WinPE from Stick when you format it as FAT System.

I have tested some Gigabyte Mainboard's that now works with this kind of method

1. So make sure your Mainboard can boot from a USB Stick.

2. Make sure that your USB Stick is recognized as DISK under Diskpart

3. Format the USB Stick under Vista or (WINPE 2.0) with a FAT Filesystem (not FAT32, not NTFS)

4. Copy the necessary Folders and Files to the USB Stick

5. Boot from USB stick as USB-HDD Device



Edited by kyor
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