Beginner's Guide to Creating a VistaPE CD


Part 1 - Downloading and Installing WinBuilder

Part 2 - Running WinBuilder for the First Time

Part 3 - Configure WinBuilder's Options

Part 4 - Creating your VistaPE Build

Part 5 - Where to go from here...


This guide is aimed at first time users of WinBuilder and those attempting to create a VistaPE CD. It is based on Mustang's Guide.

If you find this guide helpful, please consider making a donation to Mustang at

VistaPE is an extremely useful tool that can be used for Windows system repair and recovery purposes. Let's assume you are here because you have found a need to use VistaPE, but don't know exactly how to go about creating it. By following the instructions in this guide, hopefully, you'll be able to successfuly create a VistaPE CD.

If you have not read the READ ME FIRST: Introduction and Requirements section of this guide, please do so before proceeding.
Part 1 - Downloading and Installing WinBuilder

Download the latest stable version of WinBuilder from the link below and save to to a folder on your computer.

Version 074 was the latest stable version at the time of this writing.

When the download is complete, extract contents of the file to the C:\WinBuilder074 folder.

If you decide to deviate from these instructions and place WinBuilder into a different folder, note the following restrictions:

Do not use any folder that uses User Permissions. This includes any folder on the Desktop, My Documents, etc. Using a folder that has User Permissions will result in VistaPE booting to a black desktop and not working properly. A folder created in the root directory is recommended.

Do not include any spaces in the folder path or name.

Examples: C:\WinBuilder, D:\WinBuilder, C:\WB-Setups\WB074, etc.

Browse to the extraction folder and you can see the executable file WinBuilder.exe now exists in the folder and is ready to be run.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on downloading and installing WinBuilder.
Part 2 - Running WinBuilder for the First Time

For XP, just double-click on the WinBuilder program to run it (or right-click on it and select Open from the pop-up menu).

For Vista, you'll need to run WinBuilder in Administrator Mode. Right-click on the WinBuilder.exe file and select Run as administrator from the pop-up menu. If you get a security warning, click the Run button to allow the program to run. If Vista's UAC is turned on, click Allow on the UAC pop-up window to let the program run.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on starting WinBuilder in Vista.

WinBuilder will start and display the "Welcome" page. Click on the Download tab.


Wait while WinBuilder updates the projects list and displays them in the tree on the left side of the screen.

The current default (as of 06-19-2008) is for VistaPE 12 to be displayed and selected for download. However, until WinBuilder 075 and VistaPE 12 have stabilized, we want to use VistaPE 11. In addition, VistaPE 12 won't build correctly using WinBuilder 074.

Uncheck the VistaPE 12 script as well as all the other project scripts. Below, I've unchecked Optional, VistaPE v.12 (Beta 2) and Live XP.


Next, add the VistaPE 11 server so you can download VistaPE 11. Click the Servers tab and then the Add a new web server button.


Type in and click the OK button.


The new server will be display in the list on the right and VistaPE 11 will now be a project option in the tree on the left. Leave the drop-down box set at Recommended.

Do not check or uncheck any of the main VistaPE 11 checkboxes (shown in Figure 2.5). Leave them just as they are. This will keep them at their default values. If you uncheck one and then recheck it, it will select every script in that tree.

Uncheck the following scripts which are not needed for your first build:
App >> CD Record >> Nero7


If you are using the Windows AIK as the source for your VistaPE build, also uncheck the Addons >> share script to avoid build errors.


Once you have the script selections correct, click the Download button to begin downloading the scripts. This may take a while depending on your internet connection speed and the size of the scripts you've selected.


WinBuilder will display the download progress. Wait until the downloading is finished before proceeding.

After the downloading is finished, WinBuilder may restart and you may get another security warning. Select the option to run the program.
Part 3 - Configure WinBuilder's Options

When WinBuilder is run after the scripts are downloaded, the main screen will be shown.

For now, just notice the locations of the following controls: The Scripts tab, the Play button, the Refresh button, the Script button, and the Paths button.

The Scripts tab should be selected by default. If it's not, click on it.


Several settings need to be changed.

Select the Main Configuration script by clicking on it in the VistaPE tree on the left. The options for the selected script will be displayed on the right.

Change the default Screen resolution setting to at least 1024x768 if you know your monitor can handle it (most can). If you are unsure, leave it at 800x600.


Select the Extended Configuration script. Then check the Mount folder with programs as drive Y: option.


Expand the Build section and select the 0 - PreConfig script. This is where the path to the Windows AIK (WAIK) is saved. The default installation folder is already entered. If you are not using the WAIK or you have installed it into its default location (recommended), leave the settings as they are. Otherwise, click the "Open Folder" button to find the installation folder for the WAIK.


Expand the Finalize section and check the 7 - Create ISO option.


Next, we need to set the path to the source of the VistaPE build. The source can be a standard Vista DVD or the WAIK.

Click the Paths button. Make sure the VistaPE project is selected and then click the "Open Folder" button.


Browse to the location of the source and click the OK button. If you are using the WAIK as the source, browse to the WAIK installation folder.


The Source directory will update to the folder you selected.

Part 4 - Creating your VistaPE Build

You are now ready to create your VistaPE build. Click the Play button to begin the build process.


The first time you run the VistaPE script, you will most likely get an error message stating that wimfltr.sys driver is not installed. Click the OK button to install the driver.

If you see an error about bcdedit.exe not being found, copy bcdedit.exe to the location shown in the error message. Do a search for bcdedit.exe on your hard drive and your Vista source. You should find it.
Either of these error messages should only show up the first time you run the VistaPE script.

WinBuilder will open a new tab, the Progress tab, and display the progress of the build. When finished, it will return to the main screen.


You can view the build log by clicking on the Log button.

It is not uncommon to have one or more warnings in a build. If there are any errors, you can browse the log and see what is causing the problem.

The created VistaPE CD ISO file can be found the the ISO sub-folder in the folder in which WinBuilder was installed. In this example, it is in the C:\WinBuilder074\ISO folder.


This ISO file can be burned to a CD using any ISO capable burning program (such as ImgBurn). If you are unfamiliar with burning an ISO file, the instructions here can provide a reference (you'll just be burning the VistaPE.iso file to a CD instead of the WAIK img file to a DVD).

You may want to consider using CD-RW media for burning your VistaPE CD. This will allow you to reuse the CD as you go through the process of finalizing your VistaPE build.
Part 5 - Where to go from here...

Now that you have completed building a plain VistaPE CD, continue through the next steps (as needed) to finish it.

Booting Your VistaPE CD

Adding Mustang's Acronis Scripts to Your VistaPE CD

Adding Drivers for Unsupported Hardware

Advanced Options and Alternate Configurations

Guide Contents

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