Creating bootable WinPE media

To perform deployment and offline imaging, you have to boot the machine in to ManageEngine pre-installation environment. To boot these computers, you have a to create a WinPE  (Windows Preinstallation Environment) media. ManageEngine Desktop Central offers 3 types of media to help you boot the machines in to your network environment.

USB Media

You will be using an external USB (a pendrive or hard disk) to load the WinPE components which will boot the machines in to WinPE environment. If you are planning to perform imaging and deployment in less number of machines, you can use USB media. 

PXE server

To boot media using PXE (Preboot Execution Environment), the target computers must support PXE. The created WinPE boot files are transferred to the target computers using TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) service. This considerably reduces the time required for booting multiple machines as compared to using other media types. It also eliminates the need to have a technician onsite to install the bootable media into the system. To know more about PXE boot server, click here

ISO media

ISO is a disk image file which can be used to load the WinPE components. You can use this media to boot a virtual machine. While booting virtual machines, you can upload the ISO file with WinPE components to boot the virtual machines, and perform imaging and deployment. 

Steps to create bootable WinPE media

Follow the steps given below to create a bootable WinPE media,
  1. Under Deployment tab, click Bootable Media and select Create Bootable Media.
  2. Select the media type USB or PXE or ISO
  3. Specify a media name
  4. Select WinPE tool installed location. If the WinPE tool is not available, download and install the tool in the server machine and specify the location. This WinPE tool will help in performing the imaging and deployment process in the target computers
  5. Select the architecture of the WinPE tool according to your target computers requirement
  6. If you are creating USB media, select the USB drive where you want to store the WinPE tool and it is recommended to select "Format USB drive" to avoid errors.
  7. Select Add Network & Hard disk Drivers. Here you will be able to view the manually added and the automatically collected drivers from the imaged computer. Select the required network drivers for WinPE media creation from the list of available network drivers. You can choose the required drivers based on the manufacturer, model, storage type and hardware ID. While selecting, ensure that the selected drivers are compatable with the selected WinPE version and the target computer's hardware configuration (You can ensure this using Hardware ID).
  8. This step varies for each media creation.

    If you are creating USB media follow the steps given below:

    • If you want to copy and use the created WinPE media immediately, select Create & copy to USB. This will copy the media to the selected USB drive.
    • If you do not have a USB drive currently or you want to create the media now and use it later, select Create Bootable Media. This will store the media in the server path in the zipped file format. This zip file can be later downloaded, extracted and copied into a USB drive by following the step given below,
      • Go the default browser download location and search for your media file name.
      • Extract the zip file.
      • Open the extracted folders, select "USBCopy.bat".
      • Run this bat file in command prompt using administrator privileges. List of removable disks will be displayed. 
      • Select the drive to copy USB media. 
      • It is recommended to format disk before copying media. Enter Yes to format the disk. 
      • Enter Yes to copy media.

        USB media has been successfully copied. You can use the media to perform deployment and offline imaging on any computer.

    If you are creating PXE media follow the steps given below:

    • If you want to immediately publish the created WinPE media in the PXE server, select Create & Publish media
    • If you want to create the media now and use it later, select Create Bootable Media. You can later get this media published by selecting Publish under actions.

    If you are creating ISO media follow the steps given below:

    • To create ISO file of the WinPE media, select Create and Download ISO. 
You have now successfully created the media. The next step is to boot the target computer using the created media.

Steps to boot the machines using the created WinPE media

Booting machines using USB media:

Connect the USB to the target computer. Open Boot order menu, select the USB drive either from LEGACY BOOT or UEFI BOOT. Ensure that you select the required boot option based on the created image to perform proper deployment.

Booting machines using PXE media:

You have to configure DHCP server to host PXE media. Refer this document to know how to configure DHCP server. After configuring DHCP server, open Boot order menu in the target computer and select Onboard NIC. By now, all the files required for booting proces will be transferred to the target computer.

For ISO:

You can upload this downloaded ISO file in the target virtual machine to perform imaging and deployment. You can also mount the ISO file in a CD drive and use the CD for booting process and select CD/DVD drive from the boot order menu.