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Customize Windows RE

Updated: October 20, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

You can customize Windows® Recovery Environment (Windows RE) by adding packages (Windows PE optional components), languages, drivers, and custom diagnostic or troubleshooting tools.

In this topic:

To complete this walkthrough, you need the following:

To customize Windows RE, you must mount both the Windows base image file, and the Windows RE image file inside that image.

noteNote
We recommend that when you update your Windows reference images with boot-critical drivers and languages that you update the included Windows RE image at the same time, to help make sure that any necessary files are included in both images.

  1. On your technician computer: Click Start, and type deployment. Right-click Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment and then select Run as administrator.

  2. At the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment command prompt, create a copy of the image file. In the Windows product DVD, this file is located at \sources\install.wim:

    md c:\mount
    
    xcopy D:\sources\install.wim C:\mount
    
  3. Mount the Windows image for editing:

    md C:\mount\windows
    
    Dism /mount-image /imagefile:C:\mount\install.wim /index:1 /mountdir:C:\mount\windows
    
    noteNote
    If you use a copy of the base Windows image from the product DVD, you can use any of the available images.

  4. Mount the Windows RE image for editing:

    md C:\mount\winre 
    
    Dism /mount-image /imagefile:c:\mount\windows\windows\system32\recovery\winre.wim /index:1 /mountdir:C:\mount\winre
    
    noteNote
    The Windows RE image should always be index number 1.

When you add languages to Windows RE, you need to add the base language pack and the corresponding language packs for each of the Windows PE optional components in the Windows RE tools image.

noteNote
To ensure a consistent language experience in recovery scenarios, add the same set of languages to the Windows RE image that you add to the Windows image. Do not add more than ten language packs to a Windows image. Multiple language packs increase the size of the Windows image and also affect the overall performance of a system during deployment and servicing.

  1. List the Windows PE optional components in the Windows RE tools image:

    Dism /Get-Packages /Image:C:\mount\winre
    
  2. Review the resulting list of packages, and then add the corresponding language packs for each package in the image, including the base Windows PE language pack.

    For example, the following code shows how to add the French (fr-fr) language pack to the base Windows PE image, and then to each of the optional components that are present in the default Windows RE image for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2:

    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\lp_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-Rejuv_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-EnhancedStorage_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-Scripting_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-SecureStartup_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-SRT_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-WDS-Tools_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-WMI_fr-fr.cab"
    
    Dism /image:C:\mount\winre /add-package /packagepath:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\WinPE_OCs\fr-fr\WinPE-StorageWMI-Package_fr-fr.cab"
    

Add any third-party drivers that your reference computer requires to boot, such as storage or video drivers. For more information, see WinPE: Mount and Customize.

noteNote
Alternatively, you can add any boot-critical drivers that are not included in the basic Windows image by using your answer file.

  • If your reference computer requires a third-party driver to boot, you must add the driver (.inf file) by using the Dism command together with the /Add-Driver option. For example:

    Dism /Image:C:\mount\winre /Add-Driver /Driver:"C:\SampleDriver\driver.inf" 
    

    where C:\SampleDriver\driver.inf is the location of the .inf file.

You can add a custom troubleshooting or diagnostic tool to your Windows RE image. Be aware that when adding a custom tool, there are additional steps required to register the custom tool during deployment. For more information, see Add a Custom Tool to the Windows RE Boot Options Menu.

When you are satisfied with the Windows RE boot image, save your changes back into the Windows RE and Windows base images.

  • At the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment command prompt, unmount the Windows RE image:

    Dism /unmount-image /mountdir:C:\mount\winre /commit
    
  • Optional: make a backup copy of the Windows RE image. You can often reuse the same customized Windows RE image for multiple PC configurations.

    copy C:\mount\windows\windows\system32\recovery\winre.wim C:\mount\winre_backup_x64_with_fr-fr.wim
    
  • Unmount the base Windows image:

    Dism /unmount-image /mountdir:C:\mount\windows /commit
    

If you’re deploying Windows using Windows Setup, update the other Windows images inside the base Windows file (Install.wim).

If you’re deploying your reference image by using Windows PE, Diskpart, and DISM, then continue to Deploy Windows RE.

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