Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows 7

 

Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK or WAIK) is a collection of tools and technologies produced by Microsoft designed to help IT professionals to deploy Microsoft Windows operating system images in a corporate environment. WAIK includes Windows Preinstallation Environment (Win PE), a miniature version of Windows that can be booted via CD and USB flash drives  and is used to deploy, troubleshoot or recover Windows environments.

By the way, the WinPE operating system was designed to reboot itself after 72 hours – So you won’t consider using it for non-maintenance purposes…

Windows PE, or “WinPE” is best used for when your Windows is NOT working!  If your computer has a virus, a corrupt file, or if you just simply want to back up your data without removing the hard drive from your PC, PE can get you there!

 

What you need:

To build a Windows PE build environment, you will need a computer running a Windows 7, Vista, Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 operating system.

As long as you have around 512 MB of RAM, it’ll be fine.  Microsoft says 256 MB, but one of three things will happen booting PE on a machine with 256 MB of RAM:

a) It’ll boot up, but no commands will work.

b) Blue Screen of Death (yes, PE can do this).

c) Black Screen of Death. (click here to learn about Black Screen of Death)

The WAIK downloadable is a 1.7GB file (!)

How to create the bootable CD image:

 

WinPE program1. After downloading the WAIK file and installing it into your PC, you will find a new folder named “Microsoft Windows AIK” in your PC programs list (click the “Start” button and “All Programs”)

 

2. Run as administrator the program with the black icon, named “Deployment tools command prompt”.

 

 

 

3. A black, scary window will open. No worry. Simply type one of the following messages:

copype command

If you have a Intel based machine (see the name of your CPU under system information) , type:

copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe

And if you have a machine with an AMD based CPU (where your CPU name may be Athlon, Phenom, Turion or any other XXXon kind of thing) – then type:

copype.cmd amd64 c:\winpe

Press “Enter” and wait for a “Success” message.

4. Now you will need to copy a specific file named “ImageX.exe” located in this folder:

C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\arch

Into this folder:

c:\winpe\ISO

5. Open the ”Deployment tools command prompt” once again and now type the following command:

copy c:\winpe\winpe.wim c:\winpe\iso\sources\boot.wim

 

6. Finally, 2 last commands (I promise) :

>cd winpe

press “Enter”

>oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe\etfsboot.com c:\winpe\ISO c:\winpe\winpe.iso

press “Enter” and wait for a “100% complete” message.

100% ISO complete
You have just created a bootable ISO image of WinPE named winpe.iso.

See here how to burn this ISO file into a CD

 

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Ability to create a boot CD that provides network access (access the web from within the dead OS!)
  • WinPE comes with drivers for flash drives, so you can install missing drivers while inside the WinPE environment!  Forgot to load that network driver?  Just put it on a flash drive, plug it in, and use the WinPE drvload command, and now PE will see your network card without having to recreate the WinPE image.
  • If you are an IT professional, the sky is the limit once you have mastered this platform

Cons:

  • Downloading the WAIK package is not all there is to it. After downloading, you need to read the documentation and follow endless instructions to actually create the bootable WINPE CD. Be aware!… click here to see a comparison of easier to use Boot Disk solutions
  • No technical support
  • Limited set of recovery tools. (no password recovery, no license recovery, no hardware diagnostic tools)
  • Very slow download from the MS servers

Windows AIK download:

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=5753#overview

Obviously, a recordable DVD disc is required…
These discs are quite inexpensive today and you can find tons of products at Amazon.
Don’t make too much thinking. You need the DVD only once so you can easily compromise on brand quality!

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