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editing default boot.wim

Created: 28 Aug 2013 • Updated: 06 Sep 2013 | 8 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.


Could someone give directions on how to make changes to the default boot.wim?

Looks like it's been prepped and i'm not able to commit after making the changes i need to (enabling bsod auto reboot in the offline registry by using regedit -> loadhive->system->crashcontrol).

This is the error i get:

ImageX Tool for Windows
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. 1981-2005. All rights reserved.
Unmounting: [h:\img_mnt]...
Unmount Error: Changes to the Image could not be commited.
More Info:
The data is invalid.

I've seen several posts where people have mentioned that theyve succesfully edited the wim.. I'm wondering how....

Also read a post where a user mentioned he was able to do an imagex apply and capture to recreate the wim. Would this work? and in this case, should i do it with image 1 or 2 from the wim ? (If both needs to be done, how do i combine both 1 and 2 into a single boot.wim? )


Thanks in advance....

Operating Systems:

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EdT's picture

1. Try editing a local copy of the image, and not a network copy.

2. My article here: describes the building of your own WinPE environment. This article uses the same version of WinPE that is used by Ghost.  For the record, I never had any problems editing WIM files locally using this setup.

Finally, remember that deletions to a WIM file do not shrink the WIM - you need to go through an export process using ImageX in order to get rid of deleted content.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

gbzygil's picture
  1. I am editing a local copy and not a network copy
  2. I am familiar with creation of winpe images. Your article talks about creation of a wim from scratch, which works fine for me. These type of custom wim files are not working well when placed in the wipe\common folder or the ghost boot wizard. Hence the need to edit the wim that comes with GSS.
EdT's picture

Apologies, I assumed that a reference to the H: drive would be a network resource and not a local resource.

What operating system are you running ImageX from?  I found XP worked well with the WIM editing, but if using Win 7 then it may be worth ensuring that ImageX is running as administrator, or try turning off UAC.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

Dpak D's picture

Just wondering whether you are using the Vista version of WAIK ,which should be for GSS 2.5/2.5.1.

gbzygil's picture

I have tried Waik 2.0, Waik 3.0 and the Windows ADK for Win8 and same result with all.

Was anyone ever able to edit the symantec boot.wim files ? (I'm thinking they are prepped\protected in some way)

Nigel Bree's picture

I'm thinking they are prepped\protected in some way

No, they aren't - they are just stock-standard WIMs built by ImageX with no particular trickery.

The only unusual thing about the WIMs at all is that there are two combined, one WinPE-256 for low-memory systems, with all kinds of drivers and optional subsystems disabled to fit - editing this one is generally a bad idea since memory is too tight to add much to it - and WinPE-512 for normal systems.

You can build a combined WIM pair for yourself from scratch using a process like

Known bugs in the "mount" functionality of ImageX is not something I can speak much to, as I never used it and in particular the Ghost Boot Wizard didn't use it either - the main reason for that was that the "mount" option wasn't available on some of our supported platforms at the time, but there are a couple of subtle things that don't work well with ImageX when you mount/unmount WIM images.

The main difference between mount-style editing and the regular ImageX capture is that different compression algorithms are employed; things added to a mounted image are compressed using a low-compression algorithm, used only in ImageX and patented (not for any good reason, it's not an innovative or interesting algorithm) called Express. Also, you don't get single-instancing with mounted images.

As a result, mounted WIM images don't compress very well, you lose most of the advantages of ImageX's single-instancing, and there are platform restrictions which mean you can't always mount anyway.

That's why to edit the WIM files, the Ghost Boot Wizard actually goes through the process of unpacking the sub-image within a WIM and re-packing it again using ImageX so that the high compression options and single-instancing work, and it can run on every supported platform. That process is just more reliable, and gives a much better result especially given that for lots of purposes like PXE boot the raw WIM size does matter.

gbzygil's picture

Thanks for your reply Nigel.

I've been 'applying', making changes and 'capturing' either the image 1 or image 2 from the boot.wim.

I will try merging like youve mentioned.

Meanwhile, do you know of an easy way to enable BSOD autoreboot in WinPE ?

Thats the whole reason why i'm trying to edit the boot.wim. To load the registry hive, update the crashcontrol reg key to 1. Were getting many instances of BSOD while in WinPE (both in regular and WinPE512) and we loose those workstations since they remain in the blue screen until it gets physical intervention (someone to kick the machine). Most of the times, when we retry the task, we dont get the BSOD and are able to succesfully clone the machine...

Nigel Bree's picture

I can't suggest too much - it's so many years now since GSS was cancelled and I haven't touched ImageX since then - but what I'd have probably done at the time since I hated using the WAIK tools so much was probably just opened the image using the Ghost Boot Wizard and start editing it there, so that the GBW unpacked it all for me. Then I'd have gone to the %TEMP% folder where the GBW unpacks the WIM content, edited the registry, and then switched back to the the GBW to let it repack things.

But I don't think I even have a VM with the console installed in it sitting around any more to test whether that would actually work, so I can't really recommend it as a process. Conceivably the way the GBW scripted ImageX might make that not work, but since the GBW is (kinda deliberately) as dumb as a rock in how it goes about things I'd try that first (and you can easily enough use Process Explorer to watch how the GBW runs ImageX to do what it does to edit the WIMs successfully).