• Home  / 

How to boot WinPE 2005 (WinPE 1.6) from WDS in Windows Server 2008 R2

By arwidmark / June 2, 2010


Ever needed to deploy a device not capable of running WinPE 2.x or WinPE 3.0?  Here are the steps to PXE boot WinPE 2005 (WinPE 1.6) from a WDS running Windows Server 2008 R2.

Disclaimer: This is not supported by Microsoft!  Use at your own risk…

Step 1 – Add a boot menu to WDS, follow this guide

Adding a boot menu to Windows Server 2008 R2 WDS


Step 2 – Create a WinPE 2005 bootable ISO

1. Copy the WINPE folder from the Windows PE 2005 CDROM to C:\

2. Insert the Windows Server 2003 SP1 CD-ROM (F: in this example). Start a command prompt and type:

cd /d c:\winpe

mkimg.cmd F: C:\winpe2005 /WMI

Note: This compiles WinPE 2005 with WMI support

3. Add support for WHS/ADO/HTA by starting a command prompt and type:

cd /d c:\winpe

Buildoptionalcomponents /S:F: /D:C:\winpe2005 /Q

4. Create a Bootable CD by starting a command prompt and type this

cd /d c:\winpe

oscdimg -h -n -betfsboot.com C:\workdir C:\WINPE2005.ISO


Step 3 – Add necessary boot files and create the entry for WinPE 2005 in the PXE menu

1. Expand the following files from a Windows Server 2003 SP1


2. Copy the expanded files to D:\RemoteInstall

rename setupldr.ex_ to NTLDR

rename startrom.n12 to startrom.0

3. Copy C:\WINPE2005.ISO to D:\RemoteInstall

4. In D:\RemoteInstall\Boot\, create a file named winnt.sif with the following content

[SetupData] BootDevice = “ramdisk(0)”
BootPath = “\i386\System32\”
OsLoadOptions = “/noguiboot /fastdetect /minint /rdexportascd /rdpath=winpe2005.iso”

5. Update the default file in the pxelinux.cfg folder

LABEL WinPE 2005
 KERNEL startrom.0

Step 4 – Configure the readfilter in WDS to allow the WinPE2005.iso to boot

1. Add winpe2005.iso to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WDSServer\Providers\WDSTFTP\Readfiler

2. Restart Windows Deployment Services

Bonus reading…

If you need scratchspace in WinPE 2005

How to create a custom WinPE 2005 SDI image 

If you need to reduce the WinPE 2005 size (Step 4)

Adding a Windows PE 2005 image to WDS (boot-in RAM)

/ Johan





About the author