The WinPE and E2B WIMBOOT process (E2B v1.A8+)
WIMBOOT is part of the iPXE project and works by loading one of the images inside the boot.wim file into RAM and then E2B will use it to inject the file winpeshl.ini and a batch file (startupe2b.bat) into the image. WinPE will then run the batch file via winpeshl.ini which will then load the ISO file as a virtual DVD and then run Setup.exe.
WIMBOOT will only be run by E2B:
- If the ISO contains a install.wim or install.esd file. (the boot.wim image must contain \Windows\Boot\PXE\bootmgr.exe).
- If you do not press a key when prompted to skip wimboot.
Microsoft WinPE boot process description
- Winpeshl.exe is run (required file - must not be deleted) - if winpeshl.ini exists the application(s) specified in X:\Windows\system32\winpeshl.ini are run.
If the winpeshl.ini file exists but is invalid, a cmd shell will be opened and the process will stop.
- If winpeshl.ini does not exist then X:\Setup.exe is run, if it exists.
X:\Setup.exe allows the user to choose a language and then choose either Repair or Install - if you choose Install it runs X:\sources\setup.exe.
The \Sources\Setup.exe will look on all drives for a \Sources folder containing both the file "setup.exe" and a install.wim, install.swm or install.esd file in the same folder - if not found it will prompt you to install CD\DVD drivers.
Windows can then be installed using the \Sources\install.* files.
- If no winpeshl.ini file is found and no X:\Setup.exe is found then cmd /k X:\Windows\system32\startnet.cmd is run.
- Usually, Windows PE's boot.wim install images contain the X:\Windows\system32\Startnet.cmd file which just contains the command Wpeinit.
- Wpeinit.exe loads network resources and coordinates with networking components like DHCP. It also loads a X:\Unattend.xml file (if it exists) to process settings such as firewall, network and display settings.
- When Wpeinit.exe completes, the Command Prompt window is displayed.
- The boot process of Windows PE is complete.
Flow charts (not 100% correct!):
Wimboot and UEFI
You can now directly UEFI-boot to grub2 and run Wimboot. The E2B grub2 'W' menu system allows you to copy as many different Windows 7/8/10, etc. ISOs onto the USB drive and boot to the Windows installer - see here for details of how to implemennt the grub2 menu system on your E2B drive.
Recommended for Easy2Boot (fastest flash drive!)
SanDisk Extreme SDCZ880-128G-G46
Fastest USB 3!
See Blog post