Avr 242014

In the previous article, we have seen how to benefit from the new wimboot feature of MS Windows 8.1 using the DISM command.

Thanks to the free/opensource WimLib, let’s now see how we can proceed with the capture/apply phase. This WimLib method will be similar to the DISM one.

Since Wimlib 6.3, you no longer need a Windows 8.1 Update 1 source which means you can use any Winpe 3/4/5 version !


Here below the procedure (we assume Win8.1U1 is already installed on C drive):

1-Lets make a WINPE out of  windows (7 or 8) iso/dvd (I use QuickPE) .

2-Boot onto this Winpe (I use rufus to « burn » the winpe iso onto USB).

3-Capture the installation : wimcapture.cmd c:\ e:\install.wim --wimboot
Note : e:\ is a second partition on my hard drive.
Note : wimlib binaries are in x:\extra\wimlib if you used QuickPE.

4-Format C drive (so that we start from a fresh drive)

5-Apply our wim file (from step 3) to my C drive : wimapply.cmd e:\install.wim c:\ --wimboot

Note : before step 5, you may want to perform the following command wimlib-imagex update install.wim 1 --command="add CustomWimBootCompress.ini \Windows\System32\WimBootCompress.ini" in order to fully apply bootmgr files (and not use pointers to the wim file).
Here is the customewimbootcompress.ini.
This applies only if you have one unique boot & system partition which is nowadays rarely the case as Windows always created a hidden/reserved partition for the boot files.

And voila, you should end up with a C drive occupied by only 250 MB (before 1st boot where pagefile.sys and hyberfil.sys will be created).

 Posted by at 21 h 30 min

  25 Responses to “Windows 8.1 update 1 and Wimboot made easy part 3”

  1. Hi this, and your previous tutorial seem great but I’m still alittle confused – can you just explain the capturing of the installation bit as I presume I download WimLib but where do I unzip this to for step 3?

    I also linked to this post on an Asus T100 forum as there are a few people looking to do similar here


    • Hi Andy,
      I usually use QuickPE to generate my WinPE.
      Using QuickPE, unzip wimlib in pe_extra folder, make your PE, boot your PE, on from the command line launch wimlib from x:\extra\wimlib.


      • Thanks Erwan – I will give that a try later.

        Can I just ask what sort of space saving you have noticed with the new wimboot set up now your system is a few days / weeks old – is their actually much of a disk saving in real world use?

  2. Before :
    17gb (including pagefile/hyberfil) occupied on C drive

    After :
    3GB occupied on C drive (including pagefile/hyberfil)
    8GB occupied by my « master » WIM file.

    That is a 6GB disk space saving.
    And that is also super easy to come back to a clean installed/activated Windows whenever I want.

    It does not seem much disk saving but on expansive/small SSD drive, it can make a difference.
    Specially for 16/32GB tablets.

  3. Ok that sounds great.

    I think I have created the winre iso from the QuickPE program but it’s on 193mb – does that sound ok? I’m confused where the rest of the 2.9.gb windows iso I told QuickPE to use has gone and how this is going to end up on my c drive…

    • 193mb is the perfect size : you now have a bootable iso.
      Now boot it (burn to a cd or better burn to an usb keu using Rufus).
      Then stick the usb key in your computer, reboot while pressing f12 and from this booted winpe, use wimlib (from x:\extra\wimlib) to capture/apply to/from a wimboot wim).


  4. Can I also just confirm when you say the following above you mean I can use any Windows 8 ISO and don’t actually need 8.1 or 8.1 Update 1?

    Since Wimlib 6.3, you no longer need a Windows 8.1 Update 1 source which means you can use any Winpe 3/4/5 version !

    • Correct. I tested it myself.
      I used a winpe 4 and captured/applied a wimboot image with success.


      • Ok can I also ask if I am I meant to be using the winpe not winre option (Make WINPE 4.0 – requires MS ADK) when using QuickPE (option 2) as when I have tried using option 4 (Make WINRE from iso x86) I couldn’t get it working.

        Also tried the dism method in your previous method and got a dism message saying the process (or something like that) was in use.

        Thanks again!

        • Option 1/2 needs MS WAIK or MS ADK as source.
          WinRE (option 3) will use files from your system recovery (if any) as source.
          Option 4/5/6/7 will use a DVD or ISO as source.

          Any of these generated WinPE (option 1 to 7) will work with wimlib.

          In previous post you mentionned to managed to generate a 195MB iso file : next step is too burn it to USB and boot from there to launch wimlib from the command line (in x:\extra\wimlib folder).

          • Yes I managed to generate an iso file, used rufus to place this on the usb stick and booted into this fine however both the wimlb versions I downloaded and placed in extras/wimlib (from here) gave errors.

            Once was that something image wasn’t compatible with the version of Windows I was using (my winpe used a x86 source) and the other version I tried gave me a different error 🙁

            I will try again now to get the exact errors for you. Thanks again for your help!

          • use wimlib 1.6.3 here for winpe x86.
            use wimlib 1.6.3 here for winpe x64.

            You are almost there, you have done the most difficult part : generate a winpe with wimlib inside and boot from it 🙂
            All is left now is capture then apply.

  5. Ok great – will get both and put them in extras/wimlimb and extras/wimlib64 just in case and try again!

  6. Ok I’m in WinPE but when I try the command wimcapture.cmd c:\ e:\install.wim –wimboot what drive are you assuming c: is?

    My c is the system reserved of the machine I am booting Winpe on so I think I need to change this to x: which is the Windows install area that has been created within Winpe with several setup.exe files however I then get the following error:

    [ERROR} Failed to open « \\?\x:\\Program Files\Common Files » for reading: No such file or directory

    Sorry for no doubt the simple error I’m making!

    • You want to capture your installed windows 8.1 update 1.
      It is probably C drive.
      You dont want to capture you winpe ram disk (x:).

  7. Hi!
    cannot get usb to boot into winpe… tried making winpe iso using various source iso, all STOCK msdn…
    Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 x86 ITA – X17-59212.iso
    but selecting the resulting winre.iso in rufus, it selects bios+uefi and ntfs, and this does not boot on asus t100,,, forcing mbr+uefi, rufus complains that when destination is UEFI, i have to use EFI bootable ISO as source… choose efi iso or select bios instead of uefi…

    hints? thanks…

    • Hi,
      If you choose ‘mbr or uefi’, rufus should not care whether your iso is uefi compliant or not.


      • if i choose uefi, it complains as i already wrote…
        if i leave default bios+uefi, it creates the usb drive, and going in asus t100 bios it says windows boot or uefi drive (my usb pen)…
        selecting uefi drive, it returns to bios ASAP, doing nothing…
        tried with different usb drives, no luck…
        asus t100 has a 32bit 8.1 OS, so i’m using those iso i listed as base to build my winpe with quickpe… it’s a straight procedure, so i don’t understand what and where it fails to build a bootable usb drive… winpe creation does not give errors, nor rufus if i leave defaults…
        what else can i try? 🙁
        thanks, anyway…

  8. Hi and thanks for the tutorial. One question: can we set a compression ratio for the .wim file?

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