WinRE: So is there any good way to get MDT to place any form of WinRE on a partition other than C:?

This question was asked by Joe Zeppy.  The answer depends on a few things

  • Operating System being deployed
  • Partitions that are being used
  • Size of the Partitions
  • BIOS or UEFI

Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10

If you are deploying Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, WinRE.wim will automatically place WinRE.wim in the following locations:

Single Partition Deployments – There is no other options but to place WinRE.wim on C: since this is the only drive, which should be Partition 1.

BIOS with System Partition – WinRE.wim will be placed on the System Partition, which should be Partition 1.  This assume there is enough space on the System Partition.  If not, it will be on the C: Partition

UEFI with Recovery Partition – When deployed with MDT 2013 Update 1 (R2), a UEFI system will have an EFI System Partition (1), an MST Partition (2), Windows Partition (3), and Recovery Partition (4).  In this case WinRE.wim will automatically be placed on the Recovery Partition (4).  Prior version of MDT created a Recovery Partition at the beginning of the drive.  In these cases, WinRE.wim would be in the Recovery Partition (1).  This assumes that there is enough space on the Recovery Partition.  If not, WinRE.wim will be on C:, except in the case of Windows 10, which will create an additional Recovery Partition.

So as long as your Partitions are set properly there is nothing you need to do.

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WinPE: Wireless Support in WinRE 10

When running dism /Get-Features agains the Windows 10 WinRE.wim, there is a Feature Pack installed called WinPE-WiFi.  You won’t find this in Boot.wim or ADK WinPE.wim, or as an ADK Optional Component.

Feature Name : WinPE-WiFi
State : Enable Pending

So what can we do with this?  Apparently if you have Wireless Drivers installed in WinRE (they are there by default for Surface Pro systems), you can use wireless with a few easy steps.

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Partitions: Windows 10 (Technical Preview) Requirements for WinRE

So I decided to have a look into the C:\Windows\Panther\setupact.log to see what Windows 10 needs as it relates to WinRE.  As a reminder I have a few other writeups on why the default partition sizes don’t work.  Head over to my Partitions page to read those

So here is what was in the setupact.log

Windows 10 Enterprise x86
	[setup.exe] winreMeetPartitionReq Required free space: 0x238DE882

Windows 10 Enterprise x64
	[setup.exe] winreMeetPartitionReq Required free space: 0x2633E3BC

Windows 10 Enterprise x64 UEFI
	[setup.exe] winreMeetPartitionReq Required free space: 0x2313E3BC

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WinRE: Capture WinRE in a Windows 8.1 Base Image

Hopefully this post will clear up some confusion about how to make sure that WinRE is in your Windows 8.1 Base Image and how it works

Quick Summary

Don’t mess with anything

Detailed Summary

Let’s get started.  First of all lets get some beginning stuff out of the way

  1. Build on a VM (non UEFI preferred)
  2. Make sure you follow my Partitioning Requirements
  3. Don’t enable PrepareWinRE in CustomSettings.ini

Now you are going to run your Task Sequence from Imported Operating System Media.  Once you start your Task Sequence and the Install Operating System step is complete, WinRE will be located on your OSDisk in Windows\System32\Recovery.  ReAgent.xml will have a bunch of zeroes everywhere, which basically means that it is not enabled.

7-10-2015 1-10-16 AM

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Partitions: 300MB UEFI Windows RE tools Partition (Doesn’t Work)

Hopefully you read my post on WinRE: Media Install of Windows 8.1 (and Partition Problems!) and realize there is a problem with the UEFI Partitioning of Windows RE tools being 300MB.

I still stand by my Partition Recommendations of increasing the size of this partition, and this post will show how close this Partition is to almost working.

During the Generalization phase of Unattend, Windows Setup will try to move WinRE.wim from C:\Windows\System32\Recovery to where it needs to be, which is in the System Partition of BIOS MBR (Partition 1) or the Windows RE tools Partition of UEFI GPT (Partition 1).

This is validated by looking in the C:\Windows\Panther\setupact.log.  Windows Setup will check the partition at offset 0x100000 which translates to Byte 1048576 (which divided by 1024 gives us 1024 KB)

7-9-2015 3-19-13 PM

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WinRE: ELI5 MDT ZTIWinRE.wsf and Step Add Windows Recovery (WinRE)

Now I should first post about what WinRE is before writing this, but most of us know what it is so I will address that later.  This post will focus on MDT and the implementation of ZTIWinRE.wsf that is referenced in the Task Sequence Step Add Windows Recovery (WinRE).

If you don’t want to take the time for my ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5), then how about a summary:


Ok.  Now for the ELI5.  For starters, in MDT there is a Step in the default Client Task Sequence called Add Windows Recovery (WinRE).  This is in the Postinstall phase.  As you can see it is a simple Run Command Line entry to run ZTIWinRE.wsf (in the Scripts directory).

7-9-2015 11-31-03 AM

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