Windows 8 based PE boot disk with explorer shell and many great utilities

This is my newly created customized Windows 8 PE x86 boot disk with windows 8 explorer shell and many great diagnostic and repair utilities.

I have updated the iso  on 06.07.13 to include two imaging /cloning applications.  Drive Image XML and Drive Snapshot. Shortcuts for each  in the start menu and on the desktop.

ISO bootable image includes the following open source free apps

·         Google Chrome 26

·         Opera 12

·         7Zip

·         MBR Fix

·         ServiWin

·         Regshot

·         AMSN

·         ANote

·         Eraser

·         Filezilla FTP

·         Foxit PDF Reader

·         Infran View

·         Multi Res

·         Notepad ++

·         Process Explorer

·         Process Hacker

·         Tree Size

·         Tweet Deck

·         IMDisk Virtual Disk

·         Defraggler

·         VLC

·         Virtual Keyboard

·         DriveImage XML

·         Drive Snapshot

·         All the basic windows apps

·         Plus much more

All portable apps are listed in the Windows Start Menu under all programs.


If you prefer to use the Portable Apps menu instead then run the Portable Apps Menu shortcut on the desktop.  The portable apps menu also allows you to download more apps by selecting the Apps>Get more apps. These freshly downloaded apps will only be available during the current session.




image Gandalf's_Win8PE_x86-4-30-2013 4-17-37 AM

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It’s a large download (about 500mb) so be patient it can take 10-20 minutes (depending on your internet speed) to download. After downloading burn the bootable Gandalf’s_Win8PE_x86.ISO file to CD, USB or mount  the iso.

21 Responses to Windows 8 based PE boot disk with explorer shell and many great utilities

  1. Ben Fern says:

    Awesome PE boot diagnostic disk!! Thanks for sharing. I will be back

  2. Scott Emick says:

    Does it include disk defrag, just curious?

  3. Steve says:

    nice job. An imaging client like clonezilla or Acronis would round this disk out perfectly

  4. Very nice. I’m wondering, if we’re comfortable editing files into the ISO, if that would somehow render it unbootable. I’d like to put Fab’s Autobackup, D7, and a few others onto the desktop.

    • gandalf50 says:

      It shouldn”t break it, but unless you’re familiar with how winpe boot disk work, adding to the iso will not make it part of the booted windows. The files you add will exist on the cd drive when you boot up and they may or may not work. They most likely wont unless they are self-running exe’s or portable apps. If you are familiar with wim files that’s where the main windows boot exists and what you need t edit

      • Fang says:

        When I try to mount the boot.wim file it says I don’t have permission. Any idea why that would be? I’ve mounted many others before.

      • gandalf50 says:

        How are you trying to mount it? You should be using dism
        Create a directory like c:\mount
        Mount the PE boot.wim by running the command
        dism /mount-wim /wimfile:C:\boot.wim /index:1 /mountdir:C:\mount

      • Fang says:

        I should also mention I’ve made sure I have the necessary file permissions and the the read-only file attributes are not set.

  5. Hey, next suggestion: Skip the “Press a key to boot to CD” stage.

    • gandalf50 says:

      I would just change your boot order to boot from hard disk first. Then if you want to boot from CD or USB hit the key to enter your computers boot menu, usually F12 but, watching to start screen it usually tells you.

    • Paul Ronco says:

      Thanks. This allowed me to take a DISM image of Windows 8 without requiring me to install Windows ADK and make my own boot CD.

      Checksums would be nice to include, if not in the readme then at least in the web description. I got an MD5 hash of 9e6a00427675dbd46af192c76a1e1444 after two separate downloads, so I’d assume it’s correct.

      • gandalf50 says:

        Glad I could help. I have now included a checksums.txt file. And yes the MD5 hash of 9e6a00427675dbd46af192c76a1e1444 is correct.

  6. kykc says:

    Thank you, awesome toolset.
    One problem though – there’s no .net integrated, so I’ve tried to integrate from ADK into boot.wim (dism add package), but somehow integration fails and image becomes “not serviceable”. Can you provide some feedback on this problem?

    • gandalf50 says:

      Yes I am aware of this problem. I tried to adding powershell 3 and its dependencies as well as netfx and a few others using dism add package and they do not take for some reason. Haven’t had any success finding a solution. If you find one before me please let me know.

  7. Paris says:

    Thanks for your effort. I’ve been using ERD for the last couple of years, but I am thinking of letting my technet account lapse. I know ERD is specific to the OS 32, or 64 (not sure why). Is it the same with this boot disk or can I mount and maintain both with this?

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