VistaPE is built to be a simple and flexible tool for System Administrators and advanced users. VistaPE can be loaded on a regular or crashed system. It allows the user to get full access to all disks in order to restore data, check for viruses, fix system boot problems, or transfer data over via network and the Internet.

This project
is meant to be a universal tool with the flexibility to grow with your needs.

VistaPE is created as a project (set of scripts) for WinBuilder. You are free to customize it in any way you want. All you need for this project is a licenced copy of Microsoft Windows Vista (any edition) or the free download of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

Main Functionality
  1. support for a big number of SATA/RAID/SCSI/NIC drivers
  2. capable to read and write on NTFS/FAT32/FAT partitions
  3. full support for networking
  4. automatic definition of hardware devices
  5. booting from WIM images
  6. booting from CD/HDD/UFD/Network
  7. compatibility with Microsoft Windows Vista
  8. no uptime and starting processes limits


  1. You will need Microsoft Windows Vista DVD or installed Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) to create a working VistaPE. To make things convenient and let WinBuilder run faster we recommend you to copy the content of the DVD disk to the hard drive. You can create only basic builds with WAIK, it does not include Windows explorer.
  2. VistaPE requires at least 256Mb of RAM (though we recommend 512Mb)
  3. About 2Gb of free space on hard disk will be needed during the creating process.
  4. This project only runs from NTFS partitions to allow handling WIM images.


Important building steps
  1. Open the second tab in WinBuilder marked "Path" and browse to the folder containing the Windows Vista or WAIK files (Source directory).
  2. Click on the "Play" button to start Building "VistaPE".

More detailed information about this project and its internal functions can be found on this page: How it works?.

Note about virtual computers

Running VistaPE on VMWare has some known issues. For better results it is recommended to use VirtualBox, VirtualPC or test VistaPE builds on a real computer.


VistaPE needs to mount WIM files with write permission. This is only possible running this winbuilder project from an NTFS partition.

Some users also reported success after using a shorter pathname for their winbuilder folder, such as C:\WinBuilder or C:\VistaPE.
Eliminating spaces from folder paths may also assist in debugging.


Q: How to start networking support?
A: "Wpeinit.exe" is used to find the network adapter and start networking support. If a network adapter is found, networking support will start automatically.

Q: How to configure a static IP address?
A: You can configure network settings with the latest PENetCfg

Q: VistaPE doesn't load using VMWare (sometimes).
A: VMWare support for Windows Vista is experimental right now and there are some issues with loading VistaPE using VMWare. For better results it is recommended to use InnoTek VirtualBox, Microsoft VirtualPC or test VistaPE builds on a real computer. It is also not possible to load VistaPE using Qemu at the moment.

VistaPE doesn't load using Qemu.
A: It is not possible to load VistaPE using Qemu at the moment.

Q: Error loading winload.exe
A: This error is most probably induced by mistakes in building process. Check for errors while running WinBuilder in the log.

If you still have any questions, you are welcome to search for answers in our Forum.

Change log

Version 008 update 2 - 20.04.2007

  1. "Copy Files"
  2. "Shell & Config"
  3. "Xchm 1.9"
  4. "FOXIT PDF Reader"

Version 008 update 1 - 10.04.2007

  1. fixed WimUtil problem
  2. fixed VirtualBox script
  3. Infra Recorder updated
  4. new wallpaper

Version 008 - 02.04.2007

  1. fixed network support
  2. network configuration (PENetCFG)
  3. faster booting process
  4. small fix for shortcut
  5. WSH/MDAC/HTA/WMI/XML support
  6. WinBuilder 068 compatibility
  7. other small fixes and updates for program

Version 007 – 23.02.2007

  1. All base scripts were rewritten
  2. You can choose between “wimutil” and “imagex” (request installed WAIK)
  3. Support for x64 hosts (only with “imagex”) for building. You can build only x86 version, x64 planed only when we will be have more program for this platform.
  4. Configuration for FBWF  driver (now default free disk space on disk X: is 64Mb)
  5. Automatically creating shortcut for Explorer, LiteStep and BS Explorer
  6. Default shell is LiteStep, BS Explorer is not supported now  and will be removed in next version
  7. Some changes in variables:
    • %VistaTemp% - deleted (use %TargetDir%)
    • %BootSRC% - mount point for boot.wim (%BaseDir%\BootWimSrc)
    • %VistaInfo% - mount point for install.wim (%BaseDir%\InstallWimSrc)
    • %ES% - shortcut for program (%TargetDir%\windows\system32\shortcut.inf)
    • %VistaInfo% - VistaPE configuration and settings (%ProjectDir%\script.project)
  8. Add many new programs

Version 006 RC5 – 02.02.2007

  1. Add “winutil.exe” – free replacement for “imagex.exe” – now builder is is fully independent and legal
  2. Explorer and MMC
  3. Support for localized distributions
  4. Support WAIK as source (not for all scripts)
  5. Automatic detect source (WAIK or Windows Vista CD)
  6. Transition from model “deleting of undue” to model “copying of necessary”
  7. Set English as default language
  8. Possibility change source directory for all scripts with programs
  9. All programs can run both from memory (boot.wim) and from disc
  10. Support of multi boot – just rename and place necessary boot file as “%TargetDir%\boosect.bin”
  11. Grub4Dos as boot manager
  12. “programs.wim” was disabled - WIM driver works unstable in VistaPE
  13. Possibility of running “WPEinit” in background mode
  14. Configuration for screen resolution
  15. “standard” and “full” methods of building – first is equivalent to 005 version in entry-level configuration, second copies all content of boom.wim or winpe.wim (depending on source)
  16. Equalization of systems and programs, lots of new scripts and many others

Please let us know if this page is not complete or in case you still haven't found the needed information.