DISM capture and apply WIN10 image failure. Need guidance

boothard driveimagingpartitioninguefi

I've hit quite a snag here.

I booted from WINPE5.1 and ran DISM and captured a Windows 10 golden instance image and the UEFI System Partition (what I traditionally knew as system partition) saved to external hard drive. It seems that I did not image the Microsost Reserved Partition (MSR) and I proceeded to run diskpart and clean disk 0.

I then applied Windows .WIM to primary parititon created in disk part, and the system .WIM to the primary partition labed System. I then set this system partition as active.

Windows will not boot. What steps am I missing? In reading these articles it seems that I should have included the MSR partition and set the primary partition I created as a GPT partition–something I did not do.


Obviously, I'm missing a lot of steps given that imaging for UEFI system is not as straight-forward as for MBR. I still have a good windows .WIM file (I think). Is there a way I can create the necessary system and MSR partition so I can boot to windows from my .WIM?

In general, how should I go about imaging and deploying a Windows 10 image in UEFI system? Instructions on the internet are all over the place. Switching to legacy BIOS to boot is not an option. It also seems like a lot of work just to use .WIMs (file based) over sector based imaging. There has to be a benefit to doing it this way, right?

Please help.

Best Answer

Compared to sector-based images, Windows images (.wim) have several advantages, including deduplication, creating multiple images in one file using image indexes, and built-in support for image servicing (inserting files, packages, updates, etc.) using DISM.

Microsoft provides a detailed Windows deployment guide using Windows images available at Microsoft Docs. I will summarize the main steps below.

  • First, ensure that the target disk has a GPT partition table. You can use Diskpart to clean the disk and partition it as GPT. All partitions on the disk will be destroyed. You can refer to the Windows partitioning guide for details. The guide uses these commands to create a GPT partition table:

    list disk
    select disk 0
    convert gpt

    Replace "0" with the actual number of the target disk obtained in the list disk command.

  • Next, prepare EFI, MSR and Windows partition using Diskpart or a similar tool. The guide above assumes that we create a 100MB EFI system partition, a small MSR partition, the Windows partition, and a Recovery partition.

  • After partitioning, apply your Windows image to the Windows partition. For example:

    dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\install.wim /Index:1 /ApplyDir:W:\

    Replace W:\ with the path to the Windows partition, and D:\install.wim with the path of your Windows image file. Files included in the image will be unpacked to the specified partition.

  • Install boot files into the system partition using the BCDBoot tool included in the new Windows installation. For example:

    W:\Windows\System32\bcdboot W:\Windows /s S:

    Replace W:\Windows with the path to the new Windows installation, and S:\ with the path to the EFI system partition.

  • Finally, install the Windows recovery image to the recovery partition.

    md R:\Recovery\WindowsRE
    copy W:\Windows\System32\Recovery\winre.wim R:\Recovery\WindowsRE\winre.wim
    W:\Windows\System32\reagentc /setreimage /path R:\Recovery\WindowsRE /target W:\Windows

    Replace R:\ with the path to the recovery partition.

Alternately, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit contains all the necessary tools for creating, customizing and deploying Windows installations. If you regularly deploy Windows, I highly recommend the tool.