Installing to USB Drive

The option to create a bootable USB drive was added in a previous version of Mini-WinFE. This feature should be used with caution due to the risk of data loss. Make sure that the correct target drive is selected and manually back up the contents of this target drive (and any other volumes contained on the same disk). Please note that I have only tested this script in Windows 7 (SP1) and Windows 8.1 - it should also work in Windows Vista but will not function in any Operating Systems predating Windows Vista (Windows 2000/XP/etc.).

This project has two options for creating a bootable USB drive -

  1. Create USB
  2. Create USB (GPT UEFI)
...I recommend that you use the first. If the source files are compatible with UEFI based systems then a BIOS and UEFI bootable stick will be created. Option 2 will only work on UEFI systems. For more details about UEFI/BIOS and GPT/MBR partitioning see here

The steps for manually creating a bootable USB drive are included elsewhere in this documentation - click on the links at the bottom of this page.

The Create USB script has a number of options, including -

The create USB script will automate the steps listed in the DiskPart section here. One primary partition will be created spanning the whole disk - this will be NTFS or FAT32 formatted with volume label set as WinPE.

The following WinPE versions can be booted on BIOS and UEFI based systems -

32-bit WinPE 2.x/3.x can only be booted on BIOS based systems.

The following is a very simplified explanation of the stages involved when booting WinPE from a USB drive (NOTE - If the BIOS does not support booting from USB devices then you will have to boot from a CD/DVD as an alternative) -

The command-line DiskPart utility can be used to prepare a USB (or Hard Disk) drive to boot WinPE. The steps involved are detailed here

The Rufus (GUI based) utility can be used as an alternative - see here

Document date - 27th April 2017