POMAH-PRESS

USB Multi WIM Setup

24 posts in this topic

I've put together techniques from different guides and made a script that allows one to place several WIM's and XML answer files in some directories on one disk (USB, HDD, CD/DVD,...) and have them listed in script's menu after the installation media's PE boot. You can select an image and an answer file to use and start the installation.

How it works.

PE boots. If you've injected the autostart script into it - disks are scanned and when found USBMultiWIMSetup.cmd is started (if you haven't injected the autostart script you have to manually start the USBMultiWIMSetup.cmd from command prompt). It scans the disk it is on (two dirs, according to path's inside it) for WIM's and XML's. It generates lists/menus including every item it finds. All this is then output to another script which is presented to the end user.

This script currently contains 4 pages/dialogs:

1. IMAGES. Here you can see all the images found and must select one to continue.

2. ANSWER FILES. Same here, only here you select an answer file. If you don't have or don't want to use any - select "[0] - none" or skip to another page/dialog.

3. START SETUP. If you're done you can start setup from here.

0. RESTART WIZARD. This is the page where you can restart the script. It doesn't make much sense now, but I have some future plans for extension of this script, that's where it will be used.

A simple(st) example:

1. You need some files from an NT6.x installation media:

\boot folder with all it's contents

\sources folder with a boot.wim file in it, just this one file, nothing else

\bootmgr file

all this goes to the root of your boot device, whichever you are using. From now on it will be referred to as [boot disk].

1a. This step is required to have the script loaded automatically on PE boot. You have to inject the StartSetup.cmd and winpeshl.ini files from downloaded archive to boot.wim's second image. The path is:

Windows\System32\

2. You can now put your WIM's and XML's to some folders on some disk. From now on that disk will be referred to as [source disk]. Next thing to do is to edit the USBMultiWIMSetup.cmd and enter the path's to WIM's and XML's you are using at the top of the file. In this example we are using:

\IMG for WIM's and

\XML for XML's

so it looks like this in the .cmd:


set wimpth=IMG
set xmlpth=XML

3. You need to put the modified USBMultiWIMSetup.cmd file to the root of your [source disk].

Now, the [boot disk] and the [source disk] can be two different devices/disks or it can be one disk. In this example it is one disk. So the next picture shows the end file/folder structure one should get after peforming all the above steps. It also shows what files/folders should go to the [boot disk] / [source disk] if they were two different disks (according to the color).

tree.png

The run.cmd file included in download is the end user generated script for our example.

The following pictures show what it looks like.

m1.pngm2.png

m3.pngm4.png

Known issues:

Current version doesn't allow to use spaces inside commandline's arguments.

Example:

this works

X:\sources\setup.exe /installfrom:H:\IMG\WIM\ENTx64.wim /unattend:%answ_path%

and this doesn't work.

X:\sources\setup.exe /installfrom:H:\MY IMG\WIM\ENT x64.wim /unattend:%answ_path%

Quotes seem to break the command line as well.

This needs further testing.

Edited by POMAH-PRESS
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I've subscribed to it for now. I'm not one to sticky topics just for fun. We'll see how it goes and I'll keep an eye on it. May end up moving to WinPE forum as well, we shall see.

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Nice little guide. Im sorry for this (probably) dumb question but does vista work as well?

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Well, I don't see why it shouldn't. I don't have any Vista's to test though.

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Well, I don't see why it shouldn't. I don't have any Vista's to test though.

I happen to have vista sp2 and windows 7. If no one else is faster I can try later:)

Just place all wims in wimfiles in wim but boot? From 7 then i guess hehe.

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I happen to have vista sp2 and windows 7. If no one else is faster I can try later:)

That would be great and appreciated.

Just place all wims in wimfiles in wim but boot? From 7 then i guess hehe.

Didn't get that.

Edited by POMAH-PRESS
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I happen to have vista sp2 and windows 7. If no one else is faster I can try later:)

That would be great and appreciated.

Just place all wims in wimfiles in wim but boot? From 7 then i guess hehe.

Didn't get that.

Place all *wim in images.. But Im whondering a little thing with vista.. If i make an 7+vista AIO (in same *.wim) the first part of setup will complete fine but after restart it will fail.. Im whondering if same thing will happen here..

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Not sure if it is related, but the XML inside of the default install.wims for Win7 and Vista have different structure.

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Not sure if it is related, but the XML inside of the default install.wims for Win7 and Vista have different structure.

I see, so there is a possibility this could work?

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I haven't tried capturing a Win7 install using Vista WAIK but you could capture a Vista WIM with the Win7. The only problem I can see is you'd lose a generalize.

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Well i tried exporting first win7 to a new install.wim and then vista using windows 7 waik and i can tell its not working.

New *.wim was moved to windows 7 dvd..

Edited by grabben
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Oh waiit, duh! So in the end, you are attempting to install the Vista WIM using the Windows 7 setup.exe? That could be the problem. You may need to script it to use the Vista setup.exe, call it setup2.exe or something and you could put it in the same place as the Win7 setup.exe. You can try run depends on both to see if the older setup needs different files if that still doesn't work.

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Oh waiit, duh! So in the end, you are attempting to install the Vista WIM using the Windows 7 setup.exe? That could be the problem. You may need to script it to use the Vista setup.exe, call it setup2.exe or something and you could put it in the same place as the Win7 setup.exe. You can try run depends on both to see if the older setup needs different files if that still doesn't work.

Yea i figured it mustve been something with setup.exe.. Yea I am, atleast i tried once hehe..

How can I do that? Not that I need vista today but would be interesting to know:)

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You might want to consider your future plans for vista before tackling this project to get it all in one thing. Any time something comes up and we say "do we need to do this for Vista too?" It all comes down to whether or not the amount of time spent is worth the effort. In my company, we've basically written off Vista right when Windows 7 came out, so no one here will develop any sort of solution for Vista anymore, unless it happens to pertain to Server 2008 which is also going away pretty quick. So if you find that you are in a position to make any kind of solutions for Vista, you may want to consider creating a Key that just does Vista and keep the stuff used more often separate.

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Yeap, that's the way to go I think... 7 and Vista should be deployed separately using this method. I didn't think about Vista when developing this anyway.

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Thanks for reply guys. Well yea, i think ill skip vista.

Its old crap. Windows 7 is here.

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Hi,

I found this post some days ago and it seems like a total different way of having the option to choose from mutiple OS installations. Most guides I've found use the imagex and export wim files into one big wim. This is not usable for me, as I try to put both different types (x86 and x64) and different languages on my USB.

I'm new to all this Windows 7 customization, so my questions reflects that. I hope you can guide me in the right direction. What I did try was to put 1 wim file and 1 answer file on the same (usb-)disk after I had followed the instructions given. I was able to boot into the installation startup, but was told that I needed a driver to install. So I didn't get any further.

1. How can I get to the part where I can start the run.cmd and choose the image file?

2. I probably lack the prior knowledge as to how I can use only wim and answer files to install from.Why are all the files within the source folder from the DVD not needed in this setup?

3. You write that to be able to install either x86 or x64 we must have PE x64 AND x86. Where do I put these or is this setup meant to be started from something else (like an installation DVD)?

(I feel like a genuine rookie here)

Edited by joeb
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Well, it's like it is written in the guide

1. You don't start run.cmd, in fact there is no run.cmd, not until you start USBMultiWimSetup.cmd. That's what you should be doing. To do that you boot into PE - the boot.wim from your installation media (you must put it on your USB drive as described in the guide). When PE boots and the welcome screen is shown you press Shift+F10 to start cmd window. Then you go to the root of the drive where your wims and xmls are and where your USBMultiWimSetup.cmd should be. If you're not used to cmd interface you can just type notepad there, then in notepad window press Ctrl+O to go to open file dialog - that will present you with an explorer-like window and you will be able to browse your disks just like you would in normal windows. And don't forget to enter "*.*" into filename field to be able to see all the files and not only the .txt ones. So you go to the right directory and right-click the USBMultiWimSetup.cmd and click run as administrator (or whatever, I don't remember atm) so it starts executing and not opens in notepad. And you're done.

Or you can avoid all this procedure by integrating files from the archive into your boot.wim like described in the guide - Step 1.a. That way you will see the scripts menu immediately after PE boot. You will just have to Alt+Tab to it.

It's all there in the guide, really. I thought I've put all the necessary info there, but I might be wrong...

2. All the files in the sources folder are used only when you start installation from Windows (like upgrading from XP or Vista or 7...). When you start installation booting from DVD (or USB in our case) PE boots and all the same files located inside the PE image are used. That's it.

3. You put your PE wims on the boot disk, USB in your case. You can put them in any folder you like just change the BCD store accordingly. In my guide I use sources folder because it's the standard folder so you don't have to change anything in the BCD. You could put them in, say, "PE" folder and name the wims "pex86.wim" and "pex64.wim" and change the BCD to reflect that. If you don't want to mess with BCD just take the pe wim you need and put it in sources folder, like described in the guide.

It's all really simple, you just have to do it right once and you will see that. If the above doesn't answer your questions ask more. We will sort this out, I assure you.

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Sooooo... Have you figured that out or what???

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Updated the package today. Changes in changelog.txt.

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I figured this would be the best way of getting the correct information on the query.

I have managed to get a working MultiWim USB drive but I am having issues with getting my custom Wim's to install from the drive. The install wim file from the source DVD works fine and runs through with no problems. As soon as I launch a custom wim installation I get:

Windows cannot open the required file E:\7-32\custom.wim. Make sure all source files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x8007000B

I have made some slight changes to the structure of the Multiboot drive. I have 6 different boot wims referenced from a modified bcd store. The base files for the boot folder are from a Windows 7 Professional SP1 64Bit DVD. The reason for the modification to the drive structure is to accomodate the number of different OS's I manage.

I have a boot.wim for each version of Windows (7, 8 and 10) and each architecture (32bit and 64bit)

My boot folder looks like this:

7-32.wim

7-64.wim

8-32.wim

8-64.wim

etc..

These all work perfectly for the default install.wim

Each OS's install wims are located in seperate folders based on their respective architecture and OS

7-32, 7-64, 8-32 etc..

I modified the StartSetup.cmd to look for these files before placing it in the boot.wim. This allows me to have the correct installation environment running for the version of windows I am running. The error is only displayed after trying to install a custom wim.

Does any one have any ideas what might be causing this problem and how I might be able to fix it?
 

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