Why WinPE bootable media is needed?
Bootable media ISO-image downloaded for Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud contains a Linux-based bootable image with tool necessary to perform a recovery from existing backups. This image contains common freeware drivers that cover most of the regular recovery scenarios on different devices.
The ISO-image is being updated along with other Acronis software, however new devices and drivers might be released which the media won't be able to cover at some point in time. In addition to that some manufacturers develop proprietary drivers that can't be inserted in the free ISO for legal reasons. Not only those drivers are not present in the media, some of the devices simply don't have any drivers for Linux at all.
Some known examples of such cases include:
If the bootable media image doesn't detect disks, network adapters, USB controllers and other devices the drivers need to be loaded manually. WinPE-based media provides an option to inject the drivers while creating the ISO-image as well as loading the drivers from the .inf files on the go.
Creating the WinPE media
The article describes how to build a WinPE-based bootable media. You might need to use a WinPE-based media to boot machines with specific hardware. For example, in case a Linux-based bootable media does not detect RAID arrays because RAID controllers use proprietary drivers and these cannot be integrated into a Linux-based bootable media.
Bootable Media Builder component is included in Agent build 26407 and later.
To build a WinPE-based bootable media:
- To download the installation file: in Management Console, click the Account button in the top right > Downloads > select All agents for Windows (64-bit) or All agents for Windows (32-bit)
Bootable Media Builder creates bootable media with both 32-bit and 64-bit components. In most cases, you will need a 64-bit media to boot a machine that uses Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
- Run the downloaded installation file.
- If Cyber Protection Agent is installed on the machine: click Modify installed components and select Bootable Media Builder
If Cyber Protection Agent is not installed: click Customize installation settings > click Change in What to install section and make sure Bootable Media Builder is selected (other components are not required for installing Bootable Media Builder, select them as needed):
- Start installation.
- After Bootable Media Builder is installed, launch it. It is located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Acronis\MediaBuilder\MediaBuilder.exe
- Click Next:
- Select bootable media type: if you are not sure what type you need, select Windows PE (64-bit).
Select the subtype of the bootable media: WinRE or WinPE.
Creating WinRE bootable media does not require the installation of any additional packages.
- If you choose WinPE media, select Windows ADK to install. We recommend using the latest version: click download Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) and download Windows PE add-on
- Close Bootable Media Builder and run the downloaded ADK file.
- Select where to install Windows ADK and click Next:
- Make sure Deployment Tools feature selected and click Install:
- Run the downloaded Windows PE add-ons file and install:
- Once ADK and Windows PE add-on installation is completed, start Bootable Media Builder once again.
- In the Select the bootable media type to create step, select Create WinPE automatically:
- Select bootable media GUI language and the firmware interface that will be used after recovery:
- Specify pre-configured network settings, if necessary:
- Select how to register the bootable media in the Cyber Protection service on booting up. For more information about the registration settings, refer to Registering the bootable media.
- Optionally, add drivers for specific hardware. Add drivers for the hardware which is not detected by the Linux-based bootable media:
- Select the type of media to create:
- Review all the options you have specified and click Proceed.
When you boot the machine with the WinPE media that you created, here is the first screen you will see.
For more information see Registering the bootable media.
Here is the screen which you will see
The WinPE media described in this article is supposed to help with situations where the disks or NIC are not recognized by Linux bootable media due to a lack of drivers.