WinPE Boot CD or USB Stick.

WinPE Support

You can run our programs from a bootable CD-ROM*), DVD, or USB stick. This article describes the WinBuilder boot CD-ROM. As an alternative, you can also use the easier to create, ready-to-use Runtime Live CD.

*) In this article we use the term "CD" for both media types, CDs and DVDs.

What is WinPE?

Microsoft's WinPE is a stripped down version of Windows, capable of running from a boot CDs or a USB stick. Its name stands for "Windows Preinstallation Environment". It is used as an installation platform for OEM/Enterprise customers.

WinPE does not require a hard drive to boot, it can run solely from a CD or a USB stick using the memory for dynamic data. This feature makes WinPE appealing for data recovery and system maintenance purposes. In fact, you can run our software from such a boot medium. Since the primary purpose of WinPE is to install Windows, you can expect most hardware to be supported.

Another useful feature of WinPE is the ability to create a boot medium that provides network access. You can even surf the Internet from such a medium.

WinPE is not available for end user customers, but all files needed for WinPE to run are included in a retail Windows installation DVD.

What is WinBuilder?

WinBuilder is a free utility from that helps you to create your own bootable CD or USB stick by extracting the necessary files from your Windows installation DVD. There are currently four WinBuilder versions that work with the respective Windows installation DVD:

If you do not have a retail Windows installation DVD at hand, WinBuilder provides links for the download of official ISO DVD images.

Available Plugins

WinBuilder lets you add other applications by using "plugins". We have most of our products integrated into one plugin:

  • Runtime_Software_All.Script plugin
    (contains GetDataBack Simple, GetDataBack for FAT, GetDataBack for NTFS, DriveImage XML, DiskExplorer for FAT, DiskExplorer for NTFS, DiskExplorer for Linux, Captain Nemo, NAS Data Recovery, RAID Recovery for Windows, RAID Reconstructor, DrvCopy (DC))

This single plugin contains all the necessary files from Runtime Software. If the software needs a license key you can enter the license key in the application at run-time or in advance in a license file. In order to keep the plugins as small as possible we did not include the help file (CHM) or the startup flash logo.

Possible Uses

The most compelling benefit of WinPE is that you can run our data recovery software on the affected computer without interfering with the hard drive you want to recover data from. Remember, if you want to recover data you must not write anything to the affected drive, leaving you in trouble if the drive in question was the system (C:) drive. With a bootable CD or USB stick containing our plugin you can recover your data without installing a new operating system.

Here are some typical uses:

  • Do a data recovery with GetDataBack without having to install a complete Windows operating system. Boot from a CD-ROM or USB stick and run the data recovery entirely from there using the RAM for dynamic data. Copy the recovered data to another hard drive or - if you have network access enabled - to a network destination.
  • Edit your hard drive with DiskExplorer. Have unlimited access to any area on any of your drives. For example, after booting from the medium you can let DiskExplorer overwrite your whole drive with zeros.
  • Easily make an image of a drive, locally or through the network.
  • Use a boot medium and restore your system drive from a backup with DriveImage XML.
Creating a Bootable CD-ROM With WinBuilder

Warning: If you are in a data recovery situation, do not create the bootable medium on the computer where want to recover data from.

1. Download one of the WinBuilder projects above, for example

2. Extract the zip file into C:\Win10PE

3. Run c:\win10pe\BuilderSE.exe

4. Click "Source". In "Source directory" specify the location of the Windows installation files. This can be the DVD drive letter or the directory the installation files were copied to. In our example the content of the Windows 10 installation DVD is in the directory C:\Win10PE\en_windows_10_multiple_editions_version_1511_x64_dvd_7223712\.

5. Click the big blue "Play" button at the top right of the screen. WinBuilder should now create an ISO file that you can burn onto a CD and should be able to boot from. The processing should be finished after 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Once you successfully completed the build of your first boot CD please make sure you can actually boot your machine into it. In our example the ISO is located at c:\win10pe\ISO\Win10PESE_x64.ISO. Burn this ISO to a CD or DVD.

7. It is now time to add Runtime's plugin. Download our plugin Runtime_Software_All.Script.

8. Click "Script". On the left-hand panel select "MyPlugins Direct". Then click on "Put your Plugins here".

9. Paste our plugin Runtime_Software_All.Script into that directory.

10. Click the "Refresh" button. Make sure the checkbox next to "MyPlugins Direct\AppsMy\Runtime Software ALL" is checked. Verify all desired programs are included. Click "Refresh" again.

11. Verify the plugin is now visible under "Win10PE SE\AppsMy\Runtime Software ALL" as well.

12. On the left-hand side select "Win10PE SE", then press the big blue "Play" button.

13. After 5 to 10 minutes the processing should conclude. Burn the resulting file c:\win10pe\ISO\Win10PESE_x64.ISO to a CD or DVD.

14. Boot your machine into the CD. The desktop should look like this:

Writing the ISO to a USB stick

Once you have a working ISO you can easily transfer it to a USB stick. Select a stick with a capacity between 1 GB and 32 GB.

1. Start WinBuilder and expand the "WinPE10 SE\WriteMedia" node.

2. Select the script "Copy to USB-Device".

3. Set the drive letter of your new USB stick and click "Copy to USB"

4. Follow the on-screen instructions. You bootable USB stick is being prepared and ready to use after about 2 minutes.

Including license keys in the boot medium

You can enter license keys for the software on the fly, for example at the time when you want to copy files with GetDataBack. The downside of this approach is that after shutdown the software reverts to "unlicensed" and you would have to enter the key again.

In step 10 of the above instructions you can attach a license file to the boot medium. Create a file "C:\licenses.txt" and type this file name into the box labeled "Text file containing the software licenses". Continue with the remaining steps in order to create a boot medium with licensed versions of our software.

The license file is a text file with the following format:



For example, if you want to include license keys for "GetDataBack Simple" and "GetDataBack for NTFS" the license file would look like that:

[GetDataBack Simple]
LicenseName=Donald Duck

[GetDataBack for NTFS]
LicenseName=Donald Duck

Troubleshooting and Support

Beside the text you are just reading, we do not provide support regarding WinPE and WinBuilder. Please read the on-screen instructions as well as the help file that resides in the same directory as the WinBuilder. For more help consult the support forum on


We do not endorse running our programs under WinPE or a boot medium created with WinBuilder. You assume all risks from the use of our software. Since WinPE is a very reduced version of Windows you should run our software only if special circumstances prohibit the use in a full Windows installation. Some features might not be available and our software might behave unpredictably. Due to limited resources on WinPE our software can close unexpectedly. When using our software under a boot medium the help system and foreign language modules are not available.

When you use our software or the plugin posted above beyond the restrictions of the shareware evaluation version you must have purchased a valid license key from Runtime Software, LLC. You are not allowed to give away boot CDs, DVDs, or USB sticks containing the full versions of our software. You are not allowed to use a boot medium to circumvent license restrictions.

We do not provide support for creating a bootable medium or for the use of our software running from a bootable medium.