How to create a Windows Image (.wim) file

Depending on what you need the .wim file for, you can create it manually or automatically.

– To manually create a .wim file (capture image) you need a bootable CD with Windows PE (with ImageX.exe included) that you can create using Windows Automated Installation Kit.

The basics steps are:

  1. Boot your computer using Windows PE disk.
  2. In the Windows PE command prompt navigate to the folder with ImageX.
  3. To capture the C: partition, use the following example:
    imagex.exe /capture C: D:\CapturedImage.wim “My captured image”Where: C: is the partition to be captured; D:\CapturedImage.wim is the place of the captured file; “My captured image” is the name of the file.
    More switches can be found on the ImageX Command-Line Options page.

If you need the image for deployment, do not forget to run sysprep before capturing the image!

– To automatically create a .wim file you can use a capture media created using Configuration Manager.

If you want to capture a Windows XP OS, copy sysprep files to C:\sysprep. Newer operating systems have sysprep files installed by default.

To use capture media:

  1. Insert the CD into your CD/DVD drive and shortly autoplay will open Image Capture Wizard.
  2. Clicking Next will show you Image Destination page. Select where to save the wim file.
  3. On the next page enter some information about the image.
  4. On the Summary page click Finish. The task sequence will start sysprep and restart the computer. After restart, the computer will boot to Windows PE and will capture a image of the machine.

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