Installing Windows PE on HDD/SSD

Installing Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) on your HDD/SSD can be an alternative to creating a bootable USB stick or DVD. Assuming that Windows 10 is installed and running, you can easily install Windows PE for future use without any third-party tools or Microsoft's infamous Media Creation Tool. By installing Windows PE into a virtual disk, you do not need to modify existing partitions on your HDD/SSD.

The following commands need to be run in a console with Administrator privileges:

  1. Download a Windows 10 ISO image and extract the \sources\boot.wim file.
  2. Run %windir%\system32\diskpart.exe to create a virtual disk:
  3. Apply the boot.wim image (assuming its path is c:\boot.wim) to the virtual disk:
  4. Add Windows PE to the boot menu:
  5. You may also want to change the input and user locales. For example, to set a German keyboard layout and German number, date and time formats:

When the system starts, you can now boot directly to Windows PE:

Windows Boot Manager