I've been here off and on since late 2008, and I've noticed that I've suggested to many people to create a Windows PE disc for one reason or another.
To avoid sounding too much like a broken record, I figured a FAQ would be a good idea, no?
So, without further ado:1) What is Windows PE? Is it the next version of Windows?
Nope. In a nutshell, it's a miniature version of Windows that boots from a CD (or other removable media) and loads directly to your computer's memory. 2) Why would I need Windows PE? I already have a working version of Windows (XP, Vista, etc.)!
Windows PE, or "WinPE" is best used for when your Windows is NOT working! If your computer has a virus, a corrupt file, or if you just simply want to back up your data without removing the hard drive from your PC, PE can get you there! You can also run some lightweight programs from WinPE!3) I already use Knoppix, BartPE, or Ultimate Boot CDs for that purpose. Why do I need Windows PE?
You probably don't. However, Windows PE does have a few advantages over the former three options:
a) You can install drivers while inside the WinPE environment!! Forgot to load that SATA driver? Just put it on a flash drive, plug it in, and use the drvload
command, and now PE will see your SATA drives without having to create a whole new disc!!
Also, WinPE comes with drivers for flash drives! Just plug it in and go!4) How much does it cost? Is it free? If not, can you hook me up with da warez, winkywinkywinky?
Luckily, this ain't da warez--otherwise, I'd be banned and this whole FAQ would be blown away from the Computer Hope Servers!
It's perfectly free, and even Microsoft has information on PE!http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc507857.aspx
It's free as long as:
a) You don't use it as a full-blown OS. It's designed to reboot itself after 72 hours.
b) You don't distribute it as is. Instructions on how to make your own is fine. Even writing automated creation tools are okay. Distributing an ISO is not so much. 5) Is my 'puter fast enough for it?
As long as you have around 512 MB of RAM, it'll be fine. Microsoft says 256 MB, but one of three things will happen booting PE on a machine with 256 MB of RAM:
a) It'll boot up, but no commands will work.
b) Blue Screen of Death (yes, PE can do this).
c) Black Screen of Death.
However, there is a way to boot PE on machines with 256 MB of RAM. However, I won't get into that unless someone requests that I do so.6) How did you learn about PE?
From this guy:http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=83722
His batch instructions made life a lot easier, as PE's documentation is kind of dry...7) So how do I make me sum PE?
Read on and find out!