Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Create a custom GUI for Windows PE

Creating custom Windows PE images with this applet is easy -- but don't ignore the last two directives.

In this column I will demonstrate how to create a GUI front end for Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE), a...

tool that allows you create custom Windows PE images.

You will need two things: Windows PE (preferably 1.6, which is what I have been developing with) and an OS source. You are better off using a Windows 2003 Server source, integrated with Service Pack 1. That way you can create a custom version of Windows PE that runs in RAM.

The GUI front-end version that I am posting is by no means complete, but it is fully working. I intend to improve upon this product as time goes by, so please drop me an e-mail if you want to contribute some ideas.

At the moment, this version's code is a bit messy, and I would rather people didn't try to adapt the code right now. What I want to do is get it to a stage where all the current bugs (and we know there are going to be some) have been ironed out. Then I will fully document the code and create a general framework for you all to use. I created the program as an HTML application (HTA) with VBSCRIPT as the code language, so it should be easily adaptable in the long run.

Download File: (

  1. Create a folder called C:\windowsPE
  2. Create a subfolder
  3. C:\windowspe\winpe
  4. Copy the windows pe source files into the c:\windowspe\winpe folder
  5. Download the attached zip file and uncompress the files into the C:\windowspe\winpe folder.
  6. Run the current.hta program

The program is very simple and self-explanatory. What you have to bear in mind is the following:
You must specify:
MKIMG configuration (first four options)
Custom background (just pick the normal winpe.bmp if you don't want to change it).

At the moment there is very little error-checking in the program, so if you see a problem, let me know and I will resolve it. I am working error-checking into the code but before I get too carried away, I want to get some feedback from you all. I hope you find this applet helpful.


Paul Davey is a technology development consultant for Atkins, a multinational company specializing in engineering. He can be reached at
This was last published in June 2005

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Group Policy Management

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.