Step by step to boot windows 8.1 in vmware using wimboot.

Microsoft has introduced a cool boot tech since windows 8.1 update, intall an OS without extract files, only need pointer files.

It does save a lot space, and it can use the same file for system recovery, cool!

follow me to explore this new deployment method in vm.

1. Prepare fles we need:

1.1. Download  a winpe (I got an copy, it supports legacy bios only, and it’s x86)

1.2. Download the trial windows 8.1 iso.

2. Prepare the wimboot-compatable wim file

2.1 Mount the winpe in windows 8.1(your workstation),suppose it’s mounted at F:, extract the dism.exe from F:\SOURCES\boot.wim, you can use 7z for this. suppose D:\downloads are your workspace folder, save the dism.exe in your workspace folder.

2.2 Mount the windows 8.1 iso in windows 8.1(your workstation),suppose it’s mounted at G: .

Open a command line, navigate to your workspace folder, type like this:

D:\Downloads>dism /export-image /wimboot /sourceimagefile:G:\sources\install.wim /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:d:\downloads\wimboot.wim

so it will use the dism.exe in the workspace folder, it generates a new wim which will be used to boot the new system.

 2.3. prepare an ISO file contains the wimboot.wim. we need this iso later.

3. Prepare VM

3.1 Create a vm in vmware, close vmare, and add following line into your new *.vmx file


3.2  Open vmare again, select the windows 8.1 iso in the vm config, let it to use the iso in its cd rom.

3.2 Boot the vm, it will display a different logo comparing the legacy bios mode. continue until parition select.

by default the disk size is 60GB, for data safety, we should use two partitions, one for OS, the other one for data.

when you create the 20GB partition, the installer will create some system partitions.

format all partitions.

3.3 Exit the installer after that, the vm will reboot, during that, power off vm directly. close vmware.

3.4 Remove the line from *.vmx file, so that the vm will be in legacy BIOS mode.


3.5 Open vmware again. add an extra cd rom for eaiser windows 8.1 iso in cd rom 1, select the iso file contains wimboot.wim in cd rom 2.

3.7 Boot the vm, use following command to assigna drive letter for system partition. this will assign a drive letter to the EFI partition


> select disk 0

> list partition

# if you created partition like what I said, the second partition is about 100MB, otherwise, change the partition id respectively.

> select partition 2

> assign letter Y

> exit

3.8. in the command line promit, type nodepad to open an intance of notepad, change to file filter to all files, otherwise it only display *.txt. you can find the second cd rom, maybe its drive letter is E: or F:, copy the winboot.wim to C:. you may need to refresh the list after system has repsonse to make sure the file has been copied correctly.

3.9 use following command to deloy the system from wimboot.wim

dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:”C:\wimboot.wim” /ApplyDir:C: /Index:1 /WIMBoot

after this, you can navigate to C: to check files, either in command line or in a notepad.

4. Create boot record for the OS.

bcdboot c:\windows /s Y: /f UEFI.

5. Exit command line, the winpe will reboot automaticly, once again power off during reboot. and close vmware

6. Add back the firmware=”efi”. now you have a wimboot os base system now. Simply power on your vm, continue your installation as usual.

7. When you boot into the desktop, you can check the disk space, about 800MB is used by system folders, the other space is used by the page file(denpends on your RAM size), the hibration file, winboot.wim file, and swap page file.




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