WinPE Boot Medium

Create a Windows-based Boot Medium

WinPE Support

You can run our programs from a Windows-based bootable CD-ROM, DVD, or USB stick. This article describes how you can create a bootable CD with WinBuilder.

Use the WinPE Boot Medium at your discretion; please read our Compatibility Note . As an alternative, you can also use the Linux-based Runtime Live CD.

Free, licenses for the pre-installed software must be purchased separately.

Version: 06/15/2020 (contains current versions of our software)

System Requirements: Intel processor, 4 GB RAM

What is WinPE?

WinPE Boot Medium

WinPE Boot Medium: Windows Desktop with pre-installed programs

Microsoft's WinPE is a stripped-down version of Windows, capable of running from a boot CD or a USB stick. Its name stands for "Windows Preinstallation Environment". OEM and enterprise customers use it as an installation platform for PCs.

WinPE does not require a hard drive to boot, and it can run solely from a CD or a USB stick using the memory for dynamic data. This feature makes WinPE appealing for data recovery and system maintenance. In fact, you can run our software from such a boot medium. Since WinPE's primary purpose is installing Windows, you can expect most hardware to be supported.

Another useful feature of WinPE is the ability to create a boot medium that provides network access. You can even access the Internet from such a medium.

WinPE is not available for end-user customers, but all files needed for WinPE to run are included in a retail Windows installation DVD.

What is WinBuilder?

WinBuilder is a free utility from that helps you to create your bootable CD or USB stick by extracting the necessary files from a Windows installation DVD. There are currently four WinBuilder versions that work with the respective Windows installation DVD:

  • Win7PE SE — WinBuilder using a Windows 7 installation DVD, 32 or 64-bit, download from project home page

  • Win8PE SE — WinBuilder using a Windows 8 installation DVD, 32 or 64-bit, download from project home page

  • Win8.1PE SE — WinBuilder using a Windows 8.1 installation DVD, 32 or 64-bit, download from project home page

  • Win10PE SE — WinBuilder using a Windows 10 installation DVD, 32 or 64-bit, download from project home page

If you do not have a retail Windows installation DVD at hand, WinBuilder provides links for downloading official ISO DVD images.

Available Plugins

WinBuilder lets you add other applications by using "plugins". We have most of our products integrated into one plugin:

  • Runtime_Software_All.ScriptDownload this plugin. It contains the latest versions of our programs:

    GetDataBack Pro, 32-bit and 64-bit versions

    GetDataBack for FAT, GetDataBack for NTFS, classic versions

    DriveImage XML

    DiskExplorer for FAT, DiskExplorer for NTFS, DiskExplorer for Linux

    Captain Nemo Pro

    NAS Data Recovery

    RAID Recovery for Windows

    RAID Reconstructor

This single plugin contains all the necessary files from Runtime Software. If the software needs a license key, you can enter the license key in the application at run-time or in advance in a license file. To keep the plugins as small as possible, we did not include the help file (CHM) or the startup flash logo.

Possible Uses 

The most compelling benefit of WinPE is that you can run our data recovery software on the affected computer without interfering with the hard drive you need to recover data from. Remember, if you want to recover data, you must not write anything to the affected drive, leaving you in trouble if the drive in question was the system (C:) drive. With a bootable CD or USB stick containing our plugin, you can recover your data without installing a new operating system. Here are some typical uses:

  • Do a data recovery with GetDataBack without having to install a complete Windows operating system. Boot from a CD-ROM or USB stick and run the data recovery entirely from there, using the RAM for dynamic data. Copy the recovered data to another hard drive or — if you have network access enabled — to a network destination. 

  • Edit your hard drive with DiskExplorer. Have unlimited access to any area on any of your drives. For example, after booting from the medium, you can let DiskExplorer overwrite your whole drive with zeros. 

  • Easily make an image of a drive, locally or through the network. 

  • Use a boot medium and restore your system drive from a backup with DriveImage XML

Creating a Bootable CD-ROM With WinBuilder

Warning If you are in a data recovery situation, do not create the bootable medium on the computer where you want to recover data from.

  • 1.  Download one of the WinBuilder projects above, for example,

  • 2.  Extract the zip file into C:\Win10PE.

  • 3.  Below C:\Win10PE\Projects, create the subdirectory MyPlugins_Direct. Below C:\Win10PE\Projects\MyPlugins_Direct, create the subdirectory AppsMy.

  • 4.  Download our plugin Runtime_Software_All.Script and put it into the directory C:\Win10PE\Projects\MyPlugins_Direct\AppsMy.

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Add the Runtime Software plugin

  • 5.  Start the program C:\Win10PE\BuilderSE.exe.

  • 6.  Make sure the plugin Runtime_Software_All is visible and checked in Win10PE SE->AppsMy. Check the desired programs and add your licenses (optional, see below).

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Put checkmarks next to the plugin and the programs

  • 7.  Click "Win10PE SE" on the upper-left corner. If you have a Windows 10 installation CD at hand, you can use that and proceed to step 8. Otherwise, click on the download link in the lower-right corner.

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Download Windows 10 installation ISO

    A browser window opens, and you can download the Windows 10 installation ISO file. Make sure you download the suggested version, "1809" in this example. 

  • 8.  Insert the installation DVD into a drive or assign a drive letter to the ISO that you downloaded. We mounted our downloaded ISO file to drive E:\.

  • 9.  Click on "Config Source" and set the source to your installation DVD, E:\. Click "Set Source". Then click on "Play". 

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Set location of installation files

    WinBuilder should now create an ISO file that you can burn onto a CD, and should be able to boot from. This process should complete within 20 or 30 minutes. If you run WinBuilder for the first time, it might download additional files.

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Checkmark the plugin and the programs

  • 10.  Once you successfully completed the build of your first boot CD, please make sure you can actually boot your machine into it. In our example, the ISO is located at c:\Win10PE\ISO\Win10PESE_x64.ISO. Burn this ISO to a CD or DVD. 

  • 11.  Boot your machine into the CD. The desktop should look like this:

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: WinPE Desktop

Writing the ISO to a USB Stick

Once you have a working ISO, you can quickly transfer it to a USB stick. Select a stick with a capacity between 2 GB and 32 GB.

  • 1.  Start WinBuilder and expand the WinPE10 SE->WriteMedia node. 

  • 2.  Select the script Copy to USB-Device.

  • 3.  Set the drive letter of your new USB stick and click "Copy to USB".

    WinPE Boot Medium

    WinBuilder: Transfer ISO to a USB stick

  • 4.  Follow the on-screen instructions. Your bootable USB stick is being prepared and ready to use after about 2 minutes.

Including License Keys In the Boot Medium 

You can enter license keys for the software on the fly, for example, when you want to copy files with GetDataBack. The downside of this approach is that after shutdown, the software reverts to "unlicensed", and you have to enter the key again.

In step 6 of the above instructions, you can attach a license file to the boot medium. Create a file C:\licenses.txt and type this file name into the box labeled "Text file containing the software licenses". Continue with the remaining steps to create a boot medium with licensed versions of our software.

The license file is a text file with the following format:


[Product2] LicenseName=Name2 LicenseKey=Key2

For example, if you want to include license keys for "GetDataBack Pro " and "NAS Data Recovery", the license file would look like that:

[GetDataBack Pro 64-bit] LicenseName=Donald Duck LicenseKey=S1334SDFD0340DSDF0989
[NAS Data Recovery] LicenseName=Donald Duck LicenseKey=GSGYBSRVTDMLUI

Troubleshooting and Support 

Besides this article, we do not provide support regarding WinPE and WinBuilder. Please read the on-screen instructions as well as Winbuilder's help file that resides in the same directory. For more help, consult the support forum on

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