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PEBuilder 1.4: add 'system' files option - please?

Hello there, like several others, I offer my congratulations as it seems your company is gaining traction and interest with favorable reviews popping up online about the worthiness of your apps. Great job... I'm just about to begin experimenting with your Backupper and Partition Assist programs, booting from PE and I have a request ;-):

I don't know how many others will find this useful, but when I have reason to boot from external media (CD/DVD or bootable USB) I often want to do tasks other than just backing up, restoring or re-partitioning. Some of the apps (notably, Directory Opus) require additional Windows system binaries and libs that don't get packaged up by default by the PE Builder.

I was hoping for a way of specifying additional 'system' files for PE Bulider to bulid into the appropriate directories in the boot.wim file. To be clear, I am not talking about the conviently provided 'System' tools with apps like CPU-Z... no, I'm talking about adding operating system files that should be included in the [boot.wim]\Windows\System32 folder that some of my apps have dependencies on.

I am going to try and copy them manually and then repackage the boot.wim file - hoping that will work. But I was otherwise wondering if you'd be able to provide a 'System' folder option in the Add Files / Add Folder UI that would allow us to specify files to add to the boot.wim system directories, instead of to the collection of user added files under the default 'My Tools' dir...

Does my question make sense?


  • Nothing...? :-(

  • Steje,

    That's a very good idea.  This should go in Suggestions and Feedback, though.  I'll pass the idea onto development.

  • Ah yes, sorry... I was hoping there was already a way I was missing, but this is obviously a feature request. Can you 'move' this post to the Suggestions and Feedback forum...?

    For the curious, though it'd be 'nice' if AOMEI built this capability into their PEBuilder, you can do this 'after the fact' using the ImageX.exe tool included with the Windows AIK:

    Once you've (for instance) created a bootable USB drive from PEBuilder, you can copy the resulting usb_drv:\sources\boot.wim file back to your HDD, mount it RW using imagex.exe to a local (empty) folder, then delete and copy contents as you would in a normal folder. I'd suggest NOT deleting anything as you should assume either AOMEI or MS adds things it needs for the programs to run properly... but using this method you can ADD various system dll's etc to folders like 'System32' and SysWOW64', that might be required for other apps to work within the PE environment provided by AOMEI's builder app. You can use programs like Dependency Walker in order to figure out what other dll's are needed by whatever applications you might want to run under PE. 

    Once you've added whatever files you need, you can unmount the WIM file using ImageX.exe with the /commit option to save the changes you made. This can take a bit of time, as it's basically zipping up the WIM file in the background with your changes in it. You'll get a completion message from ImageX.exe... so leave the command window open. Once complete, just copy the boot.wim file back to the usb_drv:\sources folder...

    It can be a bit of trial and error getting things to work this way ;-)...

    Though it's not my software - I'll add a sensible disclaimer here for AOMEI... Please don't expect AOMEI to support your attempts to get any apps that aren't theirs working like this. They just provide the PE environment for THEIR apps to work, leaving this sort of attempt to get some extra usability and value out of the PE boot environment they provide strictly a 'use at your own risk' proposition...

  • Thanks for the tip! Would this be the way to get Remote Desktop working? (That's really all I need in my PE environment.) I'll try it, but it would be good to know if someone else has already succeeded.

  • @lclibtech: sorry, I hadn't realized you had posted here back in March.

    I'm no expert in Remote Desktop, so I can't say if it'll work easily or not. You can start by adding the mstsc.exe and dll from a working computer of the same Windows version and see what happens :-). If it doesn't work while booted under the PE, you can run the EXE through Dependency Wlaker to see what dependency modules are missing - then attempt to add those files from a full Windows system and see what happens.

    Sometimes, you still get weird errors that the application will fail to load, or some other errors about the "side by side" configuration being messaed up and using sxstrace to debug it... which hasn't gotten me very far :-(.

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