First, I have to say that this process is made to look very easy if you follow Microsoft’s documentation, but it will fail if you do. The following howto is the result of several days worth of trial and error, and finally figuring stuff out on my own with some help from posts at technet wds. The resulting CD works in either a non-pxe bootable environment, or if you have NIC’s that are not PXE bootable. The CD also boots you directly into your image store,  bypassing the command prompt screen .

1. Download and install the WAIK. During the setup, specify the install path as c:waik to avoid long paths when inserting commands.

2. Apply the winpe.wim file in the waik to a pre-created winpe directory using imagex.

C:mkdir winpe
From the c:waikToolsPETools directory type:

imagex /apply c:waiktoolspetoolsx86winpe.wim 1 c:winpe

Note: The “1″ specifies the image number in the store. In this case, no other image exists, but the number still needs to be there for the command to complete properly.

3. Copy the entire “sources” folder from the Vista DVD to the c:winpewindows directory, less the install.wim and boot.wim files. You can just drag and drop these files.

4. Create the winpeshl.ini file with the following section [] and line entry

[LaunchApps]

%SYSTEMROOT%sourcessetup.exe,

“/wds /wdsdiscover /wdsserver:yourwdsservername”

Note: You must have the comma after setup.exe and the command options in quotes. This command should be all on the same line, its just seperated here because of how the blog justifies text.

Save the winpeshl.ini file to the following path:

C:winpewindowssystem32

5. Capture the new bootable winpe image using imagex.

From the c:waikToolsPETools directory type:
imagex /boot /compress max /capture c:winpe c:bootpe.wim “my custom wim”

Note: You must add “something here” with the quotes to the end of this command so it will run properly

6. Using the waik, create a seperate WinPE build environment.

From the c:waikToolsPETools directory type:

copype x86 c:winpex86

7. Here is the step that is really undocumented from Microsoft. You need to replace the .wim files in the WinPE build environment that you just created. In this case, the root directory of the WinPE build is C:winpex86. Copy the bootpe.wim file (from step 5) to the c:winpex86 directory. Delete the winpe.wim file and rename the bootpe.wim file to winpe.wim

Now go to the C:winpex86ISOsources directory and copy the bootpe.wim (from step 5) to it. Delete the boot.wim file. Rename bootpe.wim to boot.wim

8. Create the iso image to prepare it for burning to CD. Follow this syntax exactly as it is different from the .chm (help) or other Microsoft documentation sources.

From the c:waikToolsPETools directory type:

oscdimg -n -bc:winpex86isobootetfsboot.com c:winpex86ISO c:winpe.iso

Note: This command is all on one line with single spaces between parameters, it just looks funky here due to text justification.

9. Burn the winpe.iso you just created to CD. You can use a free, open source image burner such as InfraRecorder to burn the iso.

Note: I had problems booting machines with 3com 3c905b and 3c905c cards however, I was able to add support to the image by slip streaming the INF file directly into the image. Before step 5, you can download the drivers for your specific NIC and add them to the image.

From the c:waikToolsPETools directory type:

peimg /inf=c:3comw9×90xbc.inf c:winpewindows

where c:3com is the directory I unzipped the drivers to and the w9×90xbc.inf is the specific INF file to add to the image.

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