Windows Setup Supported Platforms and Cross-Platform Deployments

Updated: October 20, 2013

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

This topic describes the supported platforms and deployment scenarios for running for Windows® Setup.

When you’re deploying different types of PCs, you can use Windows Setup as a way to choose between your images through the Windows Setup user interface to select a specific image. You can include images for a variety of hardware platforms (such as BIOS and UEFI, 32-bit and 64-bit PCs), and across different versions of Windows (such as Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows 7).

You can also run Windows Setup through a script. Boot the PC to Windows PE, and then use the \sources\setup.exe file to specify your image.

For UEFI-based PCs that support booting into either UEFI or legacy BIOS modes, make sure your PC is booted into the correct firmware mode before starting Windows Setup. Otherwise, Windows Setup may set up the hard drive partitions incorrectly, or may abort the installation if the hard drives are preconfigured. For more information, see WinPE: Boot in UEFI or legacy BIOS mode.

To set up a single environment or set of scripts that can deploy Windows to both 32-bit and 64-bit BIOS PCs, use a 32-bit version of Windows PE and a 32-bit version of Windows Setup.

The 64-bit version of Windows Setup does not run on the 32-bit version of Windows PE.

  1. Boot the PC using the 32-bit version of Windows PE.

  2. Use any of the following techniques to install a 64-bit version of Windows:

    • Run a 32-bit version of Windows Setup, and use the /InstallFrom command-line option to select a 64-bit Windows image:

      X:\windows\system32> D:\setup /InstallFrom:"N:\Windows_64-bit\sources\install.wim"
      
      -or-

    • Run a 32-bit version of Windows Setup, and use the Microsoft-Windows-Setup\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallFrom unattend setting to select a 64-bit Windows image.

      X:\windows\system32> D:\setup /unattend:"D:\unattend_install_64-bit.xml"
      
      -or-

    • Use image-capturing tools to apply a 64-bit version of Windows to the PC.

      Dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:"Fabrikam_64-bit_image.wim" /Index:1 /ApplyDir:D:\
      
      For more information, see Apply Images Using DISM.

WarningWarning
This procedure does not support deploying Windows 7.

You can use the Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 versions of Windows Setup to install previous versions of Windows:

 

Host Operating System Windows 8.1 Setup Support

Windows 8.1

Yes

Windows Server 2012 R2

Yes

Windows 8

Yes

Windows Server 2012

Yes

Windows 7

Yes

Windows Server 2008 R2

Yes

Windows Vista®

No

Windows Server 2008

No

Windows XP with SP3

No

Windows Server 2003 R2 and previous versions

No

Windows XP with SP2 and previous versions

No

You can also run Windows Setup from the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). The following table lists the supported Windows PE environments:

 

Version of Windows Setup Windows PE 5.0 (Windows 8.1) Windows PE 4.0 (Windows 8) Windows PE 3.0 (Windows 7) Windows PE 2.0 (Windows Vista®)

Windows 8.1 Setup

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Windows 8 Setup

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows 7 Setup

No

No

Yes

Yes

Windows Vista® Setup

No

No

No

Yes

Cross-platform deployment is the process of installing a specific architecture of Windows from an environment of a different architecture. For example, you can deploy a 64-bit edition of Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 from a 32-bit edition of Windows PE. The benefit of using a cross-platform deployment solution is that you don't have to maintain multiple versions of Windows PE for installing different architecture editions of Windows. You can build a single Windows PE image that you can use to install both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows.

When you install a 64-bit edition of Windows from a 32-bit version of Windows PE, you must use Windows PE 2.0 or a later version. For more information about Windows PE releases, see WinPE for Windows 8: Windows PE 5.0.

The following table lists the different architecture types of Windows images (32-bit or 64-bit) that a specific version of Windows 8.1 Setup is able to install.

 

  64-Bit Windows 8.1 image 32-bit Windows 8.1 image 64-Bit Windows 8 image 32-bit Windows 8 image

64-bit Windows 8.1 Setup

Yes

No

Yes

No

32-bit Windows 8.1 Setup

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

These cross-platform deployment scenarios aren't supported:

  • Installing a 64-bit Windows image on a 32-bit computer.

  • Deploying a 32-bit Windows image from a 64-bit preinstallation environment.

  • Using a 32-bit version of Windows Setup to upgrade a 64-bit operating system.

  • Using a 32-bit version of Windows 8 Setup to deploy a 64-bit version of the Windows 7 operating system.

    For example, you must use a 64-bit version of Windows 8 Setup to deploy a 64-bit version of Windows 7. In previous releases, the version of Windows Setup version had to match the operating system that you would deploy. For example, you had to use the Windows 7 Setup.exe to install Windows 7.

  • Using Microsoft Internet SCSI (iSCSI) boot disk in a cross-platform deployment scenario.

    For example, installing Windows (64-bit version) from cross-platform media, such as Windows PE (32-bit version), to an iSCSI boot disk is unsupported. You must use the same architecture for Windows PE as the target deployment architecture when you deploy Windows to an iSCSI boot disk.

  • On Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), deploying a 64-bit edition of Windows from a 32-bit version of Windows PE. On some UEFI computers, you can't install Windows in BIOS-compatibility mode and must switch to UEFI-compatibility mode. For more information, see Boot to UEFI Mode or Legacy BIOS mode.

  • On BIOS:

    • Performing cross-platform deployments, except as part of a clean installation, or performing a Windows Deployment Services deployment.

    • Providing cross-platform installation media to users for recovery.

      To prevent users from installing the wrong edition of Windows for the architecture of their computer, don't provide cross-platform installation media to users for recovery or reinstallation. Also, the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) feature that's included on the media applies only to 32-bit Windows installations.



If a .wim file contains both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows editions, you must select the Windows image that you want to install. Typically, Windows Setup uses the product key that you specify in the ProductKey setting to determine which Windows image to install. But if the file contains 2 editions of the same Windows version, like Windows 8.1 Pro, you must use the MetaData setting in an answer file to specify the edition to install.

To choose an image, specify metadata that corresponds to the image index, name, description, or architecture type. For the metadata for architecture type, use 0 for 32-bit editions and 9 for 64-bit editions. For more info, see the MetaDataKey setting.

The answer file must include processor-specific components. The answer-file settings in the windowsPE configuration pass must match the architecture type of the preinstallation environment. The settings that apply to the Windows image must match the architecture type of the image. For example, if you create an answer file that deploys 64-bit images from a 32-bit preinstallation environment, all components in the answer file for the windowsPE configuration pass must include the processor attribute type of x86. Settings to be applied in the specialize, oobeSystem, or other configuration passes must include the processor attribute type of amd64.

All drivers that are included with Windows are signed. In cross-architecture deployments, you can use an out-of-box device driver. But if you use an unsigned out-of-box device driver that's boot critical in a 64-bit installation, the installation may become unusable.

You can install 64-bit drivers for a Windows image during Windows Setup in either of these ways:

  • In attended installations, you can press F6 or click the Load Driver button on the Disk Configuration page of Windows Setup.

  • In unattended installations, you can use the Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsWinPE or Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsNonWinPE component in an answer file to specify a driver path. For more information about how to automate your installation, see Automate Windows Setup.

We added support for Encrypted Hard Drive Devices (also known as E-Drives) in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Windows PE 4.0.

To install a previous version of Windows (examples: Windows 7 or Windows Vista®) to an Encrypted Hard Drive Device, use Windows PE 4.0 or later.

For more information, see Encrypted Hard Drive Device Guide.

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