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MDT 2010 and Windows Recovery (WinRE) October 27, 2009

Posted by keithga in MDT 2010.
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(New for MDT 2010)

Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) is a set of tools included in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. It can help diagnose and recover from errors that prevent Windows from booting successfully. It’s the modern equivalent of repair tools like “fixmbr”.

Typically WinRE works along side of WinPE. There is no need to install it into a functioning OS, if you can get to a functioning OS, then there is typically nothing to recover.

Back in BDD 2007, we added code to the BDD Welcome Wizard to display a link to the WinRE tools if they were installed on the image. However for some reason, WinRE support was yanked from the WAIK, so most people could never install WinRE into their BDD/MDT Litetouch boot images.

Changes for MDT 2010

New for MDT 2010, when building a new Litetouch WinPE WIM (Update Deployment), if MDT detects the presence of Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 in the workbench, then it will leverage the boot.wim file from those directories, which is great since these boot.wim files contain the WinRE bits. This is a change from MDT 2008, where the Litetouch.wim boot file comes directly from the WAIK.

If you have a pre-existing delivery mechanism for distributing Litetouch Images in your company, like PXE, USB Flash, or DVD, you now automatically have a boot recovery method, since WinRE is automatically included in the litetouch WinPE Boot wim.

It is possible to add WinRE to the local machine for recovery, however chances are that if your client machines are having problems booting to the OS, either they have bad hardware (not fixable by WinRE), or their boot environment is messed up enough that booting to WinRE off the local hard disk is also not an option. Having WinRE available over the network via PXE boot is typically good enough.

Keith

Keith Garner is a Deployment Specialist with Xtreme Consulting Group
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