95 - Make a bootable Windows Recovery USB Flash drive from a Windows 7 system

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Here is how to make a Windows Recovery USB drive (and thus WinPE) using just a 5 files from a standard Windows 7 OS. There is no need to download or install the entire WAIK.

This method is derived from Jamal's excellent and more detailed tutorial from reboot.pro here.


1. Boot your Windows 7 system and create a new folder on your Windows 7 system - e.g. C:\temp\WinRE

2. Create two new folders inside the new WinRE folder called boot and sources

3. In Windows 7 Explorer, Tools - Folder Options - View - tick Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives, and untick Hide Protected Operating System Files

4. Copy the file C:\Recovery\xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx\boot.sdi to the C:\temp\WinRE\boot folder  (where xxxxx is a folder with a load of letters and numbers!). There may be a 64-bit and 32-bit folder if you have a 64-bit Windows 7 OS installed.

5. Copy the large file C:\Recovery\xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx\Winre.wim to the C:\temp\WinRE\sources folder and rename it to boot.wim  (if there are two folders, the one with the larger WinRE.wim will be the 64-bit WinRE, the smaller WinRE.wim will be the 32-bit version). Choose the appropriate wim file for whatever system you are going to repair or boot on later.

6. Copy the file C:\windows\boot\dvd\pcat\bcd to the folder C:\temp\WinRE\boot

7. Copy C:\windows\boot\dvd\pcat\en-us\bootfix.bin to the folder C:\temp\WinRE\boot 

8. Copy the file C:\bootmgr to the c:\temp\WinRE folder (you may also find this file in the c:\windows\boot\pcat folder)

You should now have a folder structure like this with 5 files:

C:\temp\WinRE\bootmgr

C:\temp\WinRE\sources\boot.wim

C:\temp\WinRE\boot\BCD
C:\temp\WinRE\boot\bootfix.bin
C:\temp\WinRE\boot\boot.sdi

9. Now make a bootable USB drive (HDD or Flash drive), using RMPrepUSB as shown below and click on  6 Prepare Drive:


Note: The following 2 steps are optional and do not need to be done as long as you have set the WinPE v2 [BOOTMGR] option in RMPrepUSB. They are included so that you can make a grub4dos multiboot USB drive.

10. Click on the Install grub4dos button and press the [ENTER] key when prompted to ensure that the grldr file is copied to the USB drive.

11. Press F4 in RMPrepUSB to load a new, blank menu.lst file into Notepad. Then copy the following text into Notepad and save the file.

title WinRE\nBoot to Windows System Recovery 
chainloader /bootmgr

Your USB drive should now contain:

\grldr
\bootmgr
\menu.lst
\sources\boot.wim
\boot\BCD
\boot\bootfix.bin
\boot\boot.sdi



Your USB drive is now ready to test. You can test it by using the Test using QEMU Emulator (F11) button in RMPrepUSB (if it is the 32-bit version of WinRE) or by booting the USB drive from a real system.