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JSI Tip 6818. Windows Preinstallation Environment.

Software Assurance and Enterprise Agreement customers will receive WinPE:

"Microsoft Windows® Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) is a minimal operating system based on the Windows XP kernel. WinPE functionally replaces DOS and contains the minimum functionality needed to run Windows Setup, scripts, or custom installation and imaging applications. With WinPE you can automate the preinstallation of Windows to your workstations and servers. You can also:

  • Create and format disk partitions, including NTFS file systems.
  • Access file shares on your internal network and make up to four network connections.
  • Support all mass-storage devices that use Windows 2000 or Windows XP drivers.


WinPE is a bootable CD that supports all mass-storage and networking drivers contained on the Windows XP Professional CD and includes:

  • A hardware-independent Windows environment for both x86 and IA64 architectures, with a small footprint on both the bootable media and in memory.
  • A subset of the Microsoft Win32┬« API, a command-line interface (Cmd.exe) capable of running batch files, and support for standard scripting environments used to create custom tools or scripts.
  • Network access and support for standard network drivers that may be required for copying images and test suites from a network using TCP/IP. You can add or remove network drivers to customize WinPE.
  • Support for all mass-storage devices that use Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 family drivers. As new devices become available, you can remove unneeded drivers or add additional drivers.
  • Support to create, delete, format, and manage NTFS partitions.
  • Hardware diagnostics can be run by loading and testing specific hardware drivers.


The size of a custom version of WinPE will vary depending on the set of drives chosen to include. The approximate size of a non-clustered version of WinPE is listed in the following table.

Platform On-Disk Image Size In-Memory Size
Intel x86 WinPE ~120 MB ~40 MB
Intel IA64 WinPE ~220 MB ~42 MB


All Enterprise Agreement and Software Assurance Membership customers will receive Windows PE in the October 2002 update to the CD kit."

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