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[Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

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[Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

Postby westonpf » February 11th, 2015, 11:22 am

Before starting you will need a working WinPE 5.1 USB flash drive and a Windows 8.1 ISO with update 1 included.You will also need a USB hub, mouse, keyboard and possibly a second NTFS formatted flash drive.

The creation of the new WimBoot file will be done on a desktop machine (or laptop) running Windows 8.1u1 not the tablet so you'll need access to one of these as well.

Create a VHD 25GB on your desktop PC - if you don't know how to do this you'll need to do a quick search, it's really simple.
Use DISMGUI to apply Windows 8.1 pro install.wim to the VHD
Code: Select all
bcdboot X:\Windows
(where X is the VHD)
Copy the WinRE.wim file from the VHD for use later
Code: Select all
copy X:\Windows\System32\Recovery\winre.wim C:\winre.wim
(Where X is the VHD)


Restart the PC and boot in to new VHD
At startup
CTRL-SHIFT-F3 to enter audit mode
Install required apps
Install Drivers
Setup system as required, everything you install now will be compressed in to the new wimboot file so I would suggest installing as much as possible at this stage.It is also worth running the windows updates at this point to get the system as up to date as possible.
in command
Code: Select all
dism /Cleanup-Image /Online /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase
C:\Windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep /generalize /shutdown /oobe


Shutdown and boot back in to the main Windows install (not the VHD)

Mount the VHD
in command
Code: Select all
md C:\Recycler\Scratch
dism /Capture-Image /WIMBoot /Imagefile:"C:\install.wim" /capturedir:X: /name:"Windows wimboot" /ScratchDir:C:\Recycler\Scratch
(where X is the mounted VHD, this will cerate the bootable install.wim in the root of your C drive)

Copy the new install.wim to a WinPE USB flash drive, if the new install.wim is larger than 4GB it won't fit on a FAT32 WinPE USB so it will need to go on a second drive formatted as NTFS
copy the WinRE.wim to the same drive as the install.wim

Boot your tablet from the WinPE flash drive.

Format the eMMC on your tablet using the reccomended partition layout complete with image partition. The size of the partition for your image files will need to be sufficient to hold the files plus 100MB overhead.

Code: Select all
DISKPART
LISK DISK (note the number for the eMMC)
SELECT DISK (enter number of the eMMC)
CLEAN
CONVERT GPT
CREATE PARTITION EFI SIZE=100
FORMAT QUICK FS=FAT32 LABEL="System"
CREATE PARTITION MSR SIZE=128
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SHRINK MINIMUM=xxxxxxx (enter total size of install.wim + WinRE.wim + 100MB in MB, this creates space for the recovery partition, 6GB would be 6000)
FORMAT QUICK FS=NTFS LABEL="Windows"
ASSIGN LETTER="C"
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
FORMAT QUICK FS=NTFS LABLEL="Images"
ASSIGN LETTER="M"
SET ID="de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac"
gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001



Copy the install.wim to the image partition
Code: Select all
md M:\Windows Images
md C:\Recycler\Scratch
copy X:\install.wim M:\Windows Images\install.wim
(X is the location of your install.wim)
Copy the WinRE.wim to the image partition
Code: Select all
md M:\Recovery\WindowsRE
copy X:\WinRE.wim M:\Recovery\WindowsRE\WinRE.wim
(X is the location of your WinRE.wim)
apply the image
Code: Select all
dism /apply-image /imagefile:"M:\install.wim" /index:1 /applydir:C:\ /wimboot /ScratchDir:C:\Recycler\Scratch

Set up booting
Code: Select all
C:\Windows\System32\bcdboot C:\Windows

Set up Recovery (not tested)
Code: Select all
C:\Windows\System32\Reagentc /SetREImage /Path M:\Recovery\WindowsRE /Target C:\Windows
C:\Windows\System32\Reagentc /setosimage /Path M:\Windows\Images /Target C:\Windows /Index 1

Now reboot without the WinPE USB and you should have a working system, if you installed drivers in the VHD before creating the wimboot file you should have a fully working system.


Caveats!!!
There is a very real risk that this will leave you with a non-working tablet. (No BIOS settings are changed so provided you have a Windows 8.1 install disk you can still perform a standard Windows install)
I have not tried this on a Linx tablet, I have done it on my ACER tablet (similar specs to Linx 8) and it worked with Windows 8.1pro.
This will erase everything on your tablet including the recovery partition, make sure to create a recovery USB.
Backup any important data stored on your tablet (you do this anyway don't you).
Please note that some people have reported issues with the recovery USB and you may find that it doesn't work.
Although this method places a winre.wim on the drive I have not tried using the recovery tools so I can't vouch for them actually working.In the event that you need to reinstall and the RE doesn't work it can be done by re-applying the install.wim from the Images partition by using WinPE.
DISMGUI and command prompts need to be run as Administrator.
If your tablet is working properly and you don't need a different version of Windows don't bother with this, it isn't worth the risk or effort.
I understand that the same method can be used for Windows 10 but you will probably need the version of dism that ships with Windows 10.
You will need a proper Windows 8.1 installation ISO, there is a version that you can download from MS where the installer is in esd format rather than wim. I have not tried applying install.esd to a VHD so can't confirm whether or not it would work (esd can be converted to wim but it takes ages).
Anything you install in the VHD before creating the wimboot file will be retained in the wimboot file and should be installed in a recovery situation, be careful with this if you sell the tablet the new owner will be able to restore back to this image as well, it is probably worth entering license keys and any registration details after creating the wimboot and installing on your tablet.
If you install loads of stuff before creating the wimboot file it can get quite large so the Image drive will be subtstantial, this will reduce the size of the C drive and the space you have available post install.
westonpf
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Re: [Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

Postby Mevihiphop » May 3rd, 2015, 9:23 pm

Did I read this correctly as the VHD eventually being booted on the donor machine? Could this stage be done in a virtual machine? Could the use of, for example, virtualbox negate the need to DISM the install.wim at the start too and just boot with the ISO and install on the virtual machine?

I have used this method to make disk images for other machines (preparing a VHD in virtualbox before adding it to the windows bootloader), only never with a .wim or WIMBOOT as the end aim.
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Re: [Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

Postby westonpf » May 4th, 2015, 5:15 am

It is possible to do something very similar with a VM. Once you have installed Windows the VM would need to be offline so that you can create the wimboot image.

I went with the VHD method as on a lower spec PC it was quicker as there is no VM at work. The VHD install boots natively and then the image is created in the main Windows native installation.
westonpf
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Re: [Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

Postby Mevihiphop » May 4th, 2015, 10:10 am

I used to do a ton of VHD work when I was active on the O2 Joggler forums. Anything to make the process quicker. I have used a couple of scripts that can be added to the Windows context lists, so that a right-click can mount or un-mount a VHD. I think this is the one:

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Re: [Guide] Creating a WimBoot Installation

Postby nememo » May 4th, 2015, 10:53 am

Wow, the joggler! I've still got mine in a box somewhere - blast from the past!

And on the topic of creating a WIM, IF I can ever get my dev VM working (It's pretty broken) I had a load of scripts - mount the WIM, apply windows updates, integrate the drivers etc - I'll put those on here and it makes it much easier to create your own WIM. Creating and capturing the wimboot was a bit more painful, but it was still scripted.
Now I've got another baytrail device (Vensmile IPC002) I intend to go back and revisit this all - so I advise people to go and check the Toshiba forums as that's where I got all my wimboot info from - the encore device originally never shipped with wimboot and those guys got it working from scratch.
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