Notes on the walkthrough for creating a Win7 Rescue CD/USB with Windows PE

I’ve got two PCs - one running Win7 64-bit and the other running WinXP. I used the walkthrough here:

to create the BartPE version of the boot disk, and that worked great with the WinXP PC. However, for whatever reason, it just wouldn’t work properly with the Win7 64bit PC (which I built in 2007 on an Intel Bad Axe 2 motherboard). I got rid of the blue screen crash by switching AHCI to IDE in the BIOS settings, and even got cbu.exe to run, but the GUI had weird glitches that prevented me from selecting which drives to restore from.

So I set out to make a Windows 7 WinPE boot disk, following the “Creating a Windows 7 image with Windows PE” portion of the walkthrough. I managed to slog through and make both a boot CD and boot USB stick, but the results are quite a bit inferior to the BartPE version, and it is all but impossible for the typical layperson to figure this out.

I supply my notes in the hopes that Comodo will be able to at least improve the walkthrough, if not supply a rescue disk. These notes assume that you are attempting to make the boot CD or USB stick on a Win7 64bit system.

  1. After downloading and installing Windows AIK for Windows 7, if you have UAC on, you need to set the Windows PE Tools Command Prompt shortcut in the Start menu to run as administrator by going to the properties of the shortcut. If you don’t, you get an error in step 2 about needing administrative access. Alternatively, you could probably just turn off UAC temporarily.

  2. You need to type in exactly what the examples say, except what you need to change. When the example says to type:
    copype.cmd x86 c:\winpe_x86
    …that’s what you do - if you’re running AIK on a Win7 32bit system. But if you’re running AIK on a Win7 64bit system, you need to change all instances of x86 to amd64 and all instances of winpe_x86 to winpe_amd64, because the Comodo Backup installer installs a 64bit version on Win7 64bit and a 32bit version on Win7 32bit, but won’t install a 32bit version on Win7 64bit. If you copy over a 64bit version of Comodo Backup onto an x86 boot disk, cbu.exe won’t run. So if you have a Win7 64bit system, you need to change the example to:
    copype.cmd amd64 c:\winpe_amd64
    When the example says to type:
    oscdimg -n -bc:\winpe_x86\ c:\winpe_x86\ISO c:\winpe_x86\winpe_x86.iso
    …that’s exactly what you do, and the lack of a space in the -bc:\ part is not a typo. If you’ve got a Win7 64bit system, you need to change all of the x86 parts to amd64.
    In step 3, look out if you’re doing amd64 instead of x86. The example needs to change to:
    dism /image:c:\winpe_amd64\mount /Add-Package /PackagePath:“c:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\amd64\WinPE_FPs\”
    …note that the \PETools\x86\ part needs to change to \PETools\amd64\

  3. I skipped step 4 entirely because it was optional and entirely beyond me, with no apparent ill effects.

  4. I had to do step 7 using the Windows GUI because the command gave an error (it’s just copying a file to a folder and renaming the file). I don’t know how to correct that line.

  5. If you’re making a CD, burn the resulting winpe_x86.iso or winpe_amd64.iso file using ImgBurn. The walkthrough also tells you how to set up a USB thumbdrive and that runs quite a bit faster, though it would help in the DiskPart walkthrough to tell the user to use the command “list drive” so they know which drive to select.

The amd64 version works on my Win7 PC, without the show-stopping GUI glitches that the BartPE version experienced. Annoyingly, it’s stuck on 800x600, while the Comodo Backup GUI is designed for 1024x768, so you have to move the window around to see everything on it. You also have to change directories and run cbu.exe with the command prompt. If somebody could figure out how to build it to automatically set the display to 1024x768 and automatically run X:\Comodo BackUp\cbu.exe at startup, that would be a lot more friendly.