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WinPE 2.0 simple Ghost Menu HTA

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Most of the WinPE help seems to tend toward advanced plug-ins to create a live cd desktop.

I like that too, but my main need at work is maintaining a simple and easy imaging platform for technicians.

If anyone is looking for something like that, here is my first stab at a solution.

Some features:

  • dynamically creates image options from directory structure = easy updating, no editing WinPE image
  • displays a separate details panel for each image for in-depth image info, version history, notes, etc
  • relies on a basic WinPE 2.0 image with only stock add-ins = easy to build and maintain


To begin, you'll need a working WinPE 2.0 with WMI, Scripting, XML, HTA packages installed.

Networking needs to be functional also.

There is a ton of help on this site and others for getting that far.

I really recommend the PXE or RIS/WDS bootable WIM setup.

Add a line in the startnet.cmd to create a mapped drive to your image location, example:

net use z: \\server\imageShare

In the image share location, create a new directory for the imaging HTA to use, example:


This path is hardcoded into the HTA and you may need to change it for your situation, see notes in HTA itslef.

Referring to the screencap above and using the example mapped drive z:, here is a description of how things should work:

  • category buttons (Dell WS, HP WS,...) are generated from subdirectory names in z:\winpe
  • shortcut links in category subdirs point to image targets
  • radio button entries are created from shortcut links in each category subdir
  • radio button names are created from description field of shortcut
  • details for each image are linked from an .htm file with the same name as the .gho target

When creating shortcut links, be sure to use the mapped drive path instead of a unc path.

The quick and easy way I have made the details files is saving from Excel as .htm. Name it the same as a .gho and it should display, sometimes takes a little experimenting to make it look right. An obvious upgrade would be to use a nice spreadsheet control or something, but I took the simple way.

We'll be using ImageX for more images pretty soon and this interface should be easy to adapt for that also because the buttons are only command lines actually.

Hope this can help some people. I'm no web designer or code engineer, so there is a lot to be improved but it is meeting our needs currently.

Thank you,


if you like the backgound in there, here it is:


Here is the HTA code:

'* File: wizard.hta
'* Author: greg & fisher
'* Created: Mar 2007
'* Modified:
'* Version: .9
'* Description: windows imaging platform
'* Dependencies: tested on and for WinPE 2.0 with WMI, Scripting,
'* XML, HTA packages
'* Notes: Line 26 - might want to make this "normal" when you are
'* testing and don't want the hta fullscreen
'* Line 58 - customize your headings here
'* Line 72, 101 - confirm directory.name path, this would be a mapped
'* drive to the filer where the images shorcut dir is
'* Line 193 - confirm background image source location
'* Line 200 - confirm path to ghost executable

<!* HTA Header >
<TITLE>Imaging Application</TITLE>
<!-- external stylesheet -->
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="htaStyle.css" />

<!* Begin Script >
<script Language=VBScript>

'* Globals
'* setup global script parameters
Option Explicit
Dim strTaskValue, objShell, objFso, strBody, objWmiService
Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set objFso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set objWMIService = GetObject ("winmgmts:\\.\root\cimv2")

'* Window_OnLoad
'* load up behavior and preferences
Sub Window_Onload
strBody = "<H1>PE Build and Recovery Environment</H1>" &_
"<H2>Select Images to apply an OS image using Ghost.<BR><BR>" &_
"Please select an image category:<BR><BR>"
End Sub

'* enumDirs
'* find directories and create category buttons
Sub enumDirs
Dim colSubfolders, objFolder, fileName
'enumerate folders in images folder
Set colSubfolders = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Associators of {Win32_Directory.Name='z:\winpe'} Where AssocClass = Win32_Subdirectory ResultRole = PartComponent")
'create html buttons from each folder name
For Each objFolder in colSubfolders
fileName = objFolder.fileName
strBody = strBody &_
"<button id='" & fileName & "' onClick='enumImages("" & fileName & "")'>" & fileName & "</BUTTON>"
'post resulting html body to document
strBody = strBody & "<BR><HR><BR>"
body.innerHTML = strBody
End Sub

'* enumImages
'* find images and create radio buttons
'this sub is a little messy because of limitations of win32_shortcutfile and need to go between fso and wmi for different info
'also, without the advantages of .net sorting classes, the old bubble sorting is not the funnest

Sub enumImages(fileName)
Dim colFilelist, objFile, strButtons, objShortcut, colTargetList, objTarget, x, y, strKey, strItem
ReDim arrButtons(1,-1)

'reset display element style
details.innerHTML = ""
details.style.visibility = "hidden"
' strButtons = "<table id=buttonTable>"
'enumerate ghost image shortcuts in specific images subfolder from enumDirs
Set colFileList = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("ASSOCIATORS OF {Win32_Directory.Name='z:\winpe\" & fileName & "'} Where ResultClass = CIM_DataFile")
'find ghost image shortcut targetpath (fso)
For each objFile in colFileList
If objFile.Extension = "lnk" Then
Set objShortcut = objShell.CreateShortcut(objFile.name)
'find ghost image shortcut target (wmi)
Set colTargetList = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Select * from CIM_Datafile Where name = '" & replace(objShortcut.targetpath,"\","\\") & "'")
'add radio button label (from fso) and radio button target (from wmi) to an array
For each objTarget in colTargetList
ReDim Preserve arrButtons(1,UBound(arrButtons,2)+1)
arrButtons(0,UBound(arrButtons,2)) = objShortcut.Description
arrButtons(1,UBound(arrButtons,2)) = "<Input type=radio name=radioList id='" & objTarget.Drive & objTarget.Path &

objTarget.fileName &_
"' onClick=showRadioInfo>" & objShortcut.Description & "</BUTTON><BR>"
End If
'perform a a shell sort of the string array based on button label
For x = 0 To UBound(arrButtons,2) - 1
For y = x To UBound(arrButtons,2)
If StrComp(arrButtons(0,x),arrButtons(0,y),vbTextCompare) > 0 Then
strKey = arrButtons(0,x)
strItem = arrButtons(1,x)
arrButtons(0,x) = arrButtons(0,y)
arrButtons(1,x) = arrButtons(1,y)
arrButtons(0,y) = strKey
arrButtons(1,y) = strItem
End If
'create combined buttons html code from sorted buttons array
For x = 0 To UBound(arrButtons,2)
strButtons = strButtons & "<tr><td id=buttonTd>" & arrButtons(1,x) & "</td></tr>"
' strButtons = strButtons & "</table>"
'create a start button with start image command and append and post resulting html to body
body.innerHTML = strBody & strButtons & "<BR><HR><BR><button id=start Accesskey=S onclick=doTask(strTaskValue)><U>S</U>tart

End Sub

'* doTask
'* run task selected by radio button
Sub doTask(doMe)
objShell.Run doMe
End Sub

'* showRadioInfo
'* display details of radio button selection in details divider
Sub showRadioInfo
Dim objTextFile, Radio, strRadioValue, strDetails
'set details and start element styles
details.style.visibility = "visible"
start.style.visibility = "visible"
'find checked button
For Each Radio in Document.getElementsByName("radioList")
If Radio.Checked = True Then
'create imaging command line from button id
strTaskValue = Chr(34) & "%programfiles%\ghost8\ghost32.exe" & Chr(34) & " -clone,mode=restore,src=" & Chr(34) &

Radio.Id & ".gho" & Chr(34) & ",dst=1"
'display image details in details element if they exist
If objFso.FileExists(Radio.Id & ".htm") Then
Set objTextFile = objFso.OpenTextFile(Radio.Id & ".htm", 1)
strDetails = objTextFile.ReadAll()
'display error message in details element if no matching details file found
strDetails = "Can't find anything!!!<BR><BR>" &_
"Make sure the info file has the same name as the .gho and has an .htm extension."
End If
End If
'post resulting html to details element
Details.innerHTML = strDetails
End Sub

'* Reset
'* reset the tool interface, also reloads the code (helpful for programming)
Sub Reset
End Sub

<!* End Script / Begin HTML >

<DIV id=bg>
<img src=winpe.bmp>

<DIV id=body></DIV>
<DIV id=details></DIV>

<DIV id=tools>
<Button id=ghost onclick=doTask('"%programfiles%\ghost8\ghost32.exe"')>Ghost</BUTTON>
<Button id=cmd onclick=doTask('%comspec%')> Cmd </BUTTON>
<Button id=notepad onclick=doTask('notepad')> Notepad </BUTTON>
<Button id=taskmgr onclick=doTask('taskmgr')> Taskmgr </BUTTON>
<Button id=close onclick=self.close()> Quit </BUTTON>
<Button id=reset onclick=reset> ResetApp </BUTTON>
<Button id=reboot onclick=self.navigate('reboot.hta')> Reboot </BUTTON>

<!* End HTML >




Edited by keythom

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Nice this should help some people out.

What about adding an option for images to be on a USB Drive weather they ghost or wim. This will cope with situations where you have no network conectivity an engineer could boot an UFD and load the image by USB disc

can't beleive 18 views and not one thanks!

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Hi keythom!

Awsome first two posts.... love the work, thanks for sharing.

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This is a good start, as I've been looking for something similar.

I'm unclear on where the files you provided would actually go, however. And the "z:\winpe" structure is a little hazy to me as well. Perhaps a screenshot of the explorer tree would help?

I think it's:







Is that correct? And the images themselves can be elsewhere as defined by the shortcuts, yes?

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Here's an embarrassing attempt at a graphic explanation if it helps any.

I'm sorry for any harm to your eyes.

Please let me know if you try this and if you have any trouble, I'll try to help.

For the imaging to launch, you'll need to put the ghost files into \program files\ghost8\ or set the location in the HTA. There is a comment at the top with the line number for that.

I'll update when I have some imageX incorporated.

For testing I map the drive to the ghost images location as it is set in our PE image and launch the HTA on my normal workstation. I did work for a long time using some .NET classes and was very disappointed when I ran it on WinPE though.

have a great weekend!



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In WinPE 2.0, I get the Access Denied error when starting an HTA from a non-system drive like a mapped drive or removable media device.

Try launching the HTA from a location on the system drive, should be X:.

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Great Stuff!! I am working on something similar. A couple things I added which might be helpful to some folks.

We have about 8 locations and customizing the paths for each of them was a pain. So I called an IPCONFIG > x:\ipconfig.txt in startnet.cmd. I used a read in the txt file to map the drive based on the dns suffix (or you could use ipaddress ranges, etc). That made sure the mapping to Z:\ was consistent.

In the fat vs thin image arguement, we chose to go with 2 very, very thin xp images (Apic & Pic) with extensive post image scripting for machine specific customizations (laptop/desktop/workstation, Lenovo/HP, SP/MP, Raid/NonRaid, IDE/Sata, etc). I used the machine type wmi script from the bdd (2.0) to idenify the machine type as a text file. I put a hook on the end of my imagex.bat to call copy.vbs which copies all of the machine specific software and drivers based on x:\machinetype.txt[to the local PC before it reboots and starts sysprep. I have a call in my sysprep that launches the drivers and software installs.

We use a modified wizard.hta from December's technet in our WinPE and the net result is a KISS boot disc that is location and machine independent. The tech just clicks a button to image the machine either up, down, or up and down, and walks away until the XP mini-setup. Three screens there and then give it 5-15 mins (desktop vs laptop) and the unit is ready for data migration. We can't use accounts in sysprep (to automate the mini setup) and I don't think our users (read engineers) will be ready for automated data migration any time soon, so that is a far as we can go with automating our process.

Hope this helps.

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In WinPE 2.0, I get the Access Denied error when starting an HTA from a non-system drive like a mapped drive or removable media device.

Try launching the HTA from a location on the system drive, should be X:.

No dice - still get "Access is denied" when launching from x:\ghosthta - perhaps if I knew where you placed the HTA files?

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I launch all my HTA's via network share (mapped drives), that way I can update them without having to rebuild my WinPE Images.

In WinPE2 I use the following to call my HTA files:

cmd.exe /c Mshta.exe z:\PATH\FILENAME.hta

Edited by Jazkal

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I've found that for some reason you always have to specify the full path of the file for mshta to execute properly. So even if you are in the folder where the .hta file is located, you still have to type the full path.

X:\Windows\System32>mshta.exe X:\Windows\System32\wizard.hta

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