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What is DISM?

Updated: April 18, 2014

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM.exe) is a command-line tool that can be used to service a Windows® image or to prepare a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image. DISM can be used to service a Windows image (.wim) or a virtual hard disk (.vhd or .vhdx).

DISM replaces the ImageX tool which was deprecated in Windows 8. DISM also replaces Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), PEimg, and Intlcfg that were included in previous deployment toolkits. DISM also adds new functionality to improve the experience for offline servicing.

In addition to the command-line tool, DISM is available by using Windows PowerShell. For more information, see Deployment Imaging Servicing Management (DISM) Cmdlets in Windows PowerShell.

This topic includes:

DISM can be used to mount and service a Windows image from a .wim file, .vhd file, or a .vhdx file or, in some cases, to update a running operating system. It can be used with older Windows image files (.wim files). However, it cannot be used with Windows images that are more recent than the installed version of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) in which DISM is distributed. DISM is also installed with the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 operating system.

For a complete technical description of WIM, see the Windows Imaging File Format (WIM) white paper.

DISM can be used to service the following operating systems:

  • Windows 8.1

  • Windows 8

  • Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Windows Server® 2012

  • Windows® 7

  • Windows Server 2008 R2

  • Windows Server 2008 SP2

  • Windows PE 5.0

  • Windows PE 4.0

  • Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) 3.0

noteNote
DISM cannot mount a Windows image from a VHD on Windows Vista® with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows Server 2008. You must attach the VHD using the DiskPart tool before you can use DISM to service the image. When you service VHD images that have been attached using the DiskPart tool, the changes are automatically committed with each operation and cannot be discarded.

noteNote
To service inbox drivers in an offline image of Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Windows Server 2008 with SP2, you must use the Windows 7 version of DISM or PkgMgr. The Windows 7 version of DISM is available in Windows 7 and Windows PE 3.0 operating systems, or can be installed with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) or the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (Windows OPK) for Windows 7.

For a list of the supported platforms and architecture types, see DISM Supported Platforms.

You can use DISM with .wim files to:

  • Capture and apply Windows images.

  • Append and delete images in a .wim file.

  • Split .wim files into several smaller files.

You can use DISM with .wim, .vhd, or .vhdx files to:

  • Add, remove, and enumerate packages.

  • Add, remove, and enumerate drivers.

  • Enable or disable Windows features.

  • Apply changes based on the offlineServicing section of an Unattend.xml answer file.

  • Configure international settings.

  • Upgrade a Windows image to a different edition.

  • Prepare a Windows PE image.

  • Take advantage of better logging.

  • Service earlier versions of Windows such as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista with the latest Service Pack, and Windows Server 2008.

  • Service all platforms (32-bit, 64-bit).

  • Service a 32-bit image from a 64-bit host, and service a 64-bit image from a 32-bit host. For more information, see the "Limitations" section later this topic.

  • Make use of old Package Manager scripts.

Image servicing and management solutions fall into two main categories:

  • Managing the data or information included in the Windows image, such as enumerating or taking an inventory of the components, updates, drivers, or applications that are contained in an image, capturing or splitting an image, appending or deleting images within a .wim file, or mounting an image.

  • Servicing the image itself, including adding or removing driver packages and drivers, modifying language settings, enabling or disabling Windows features, and upgrading to a higher edition of Windows.

Here are some common scenarios for image servicing and management:

 

Tasks

Capture an image and save it as a .wim file.

List all images within a .wim, .vhd, or .vhdx file.

Manage several images in a single .wim file by appending, removing, or enumerating the images.

Prepare a Windows PE image.

List information about a Windows PE image.

Mount a Windows image.

List specific information about an image mounted from a .wim, .vhd, or .vhdx file, including where it is mounted, the mount status, and the index of each image in a .wim file.

List all drivers in an image or information about a specific driver.

Add out-of-box or boot-critical drivers to support new hardware.

Add operating-system updates such as hotfixes and Windows features.

Add or remove a language pack, and configure international settings.

List all international settings and languages in an image.

Troubleshooting through integrated status and logging.

Manage multiple image versions.

List all features in a package or specific information about a Windows feature.

Check the applicability of a Windows® Installer.msp file.

Update multiple Windows editions by updating a single image.

Upgrade to a higher edition of Windows.

List all of the Windows editions that an image can be upgraded to.

Apply settings in an Unattend.xml answer file.

Split a large .wim file into several smaller files to fit on selected media.

Remote installation. Installing packages to a remote computer over a network is not supported. The Windows image must be present on the local system. DISM can access packages on a network share, but it must copy them to a temporary, writable directory (called a scratch directory). We recommend that you use a unique scratch directory on a local drive for each package you install. The contents of the scratch directory can be deleted after installation.

Answer files. When you specify an answer file (Unattend.xml) for an image, only the settings specified in the offlineServicing configuration pass are applied. All other settings in the answer file are ignored. For more information, see DISM Unattended Servicing Command-Line Options

Version compatibility. DISM can be used with target images of older Windows operating systems, but not with target images of operating systems that are more recent than the installed version of the Windows ADK in which DISM is distributed.

Service Packs. Service packs must be installed online with the Windows Update Standalone installer. For more information about Windows Update Standalone Installer, see Description of the Windows Update Standalone Installer in Windows.

Use an answer file to ensure package dependencies. Some packages require other packages to be installed first. Because of this dependency requirement, you should use an answer file if you are installing multiple packages. By applying an answer file by using DISM, multiple packages can be installed in the correct order. This is the preferred method for installing multiple packages.

Package installation order. Packages are installed in the order that they are listed in the command line. In the following example, 1.inf, 2.inf, and 3.inf will be installed in the order in which they are listed in the command line.

DISM.exe /image:"c:\images\Image1" /Add-Driver /ForceUnsigned /DriverName:"C:\Drivers\1.inf" /DriverName:"C:\Drivers\2.inf" /DriverName:"C:\Drivers\3.inf"

Supported servicing commands are dynamic. The commands and options that are available for servicing an image depend on which Windows operating system you are servicing, and whether the image is offline or a currently running operating system.

Multiple unattend files are not supported. You can specify more than one driver or package on a command line. However, multiple Unattend.xml answer files are not supported. Only a single answer file may be specified on any command line.

Multiple servicing commands are not supported. You can specify multiple drivers (1.inf, 2.inf) or packages, but you cannot specify multiple commands (such as /Add-Driver/Remove-Driver or /Add-Driver/Add-Package) on the same command line.

Logging to a network share. When you use a computer that is not joined to a network domain, use net use with domain credentials to set access permissions before you specify the path for the DISM log that is stored on a network share.

Wildcards. Wildcards are not supported in DISM command lines.

Do not install a language pack after an update. If you install an update (hotfix, general distribution release [GDR], or service pack [SP]) that contains language-dependent resources before you install a language pack, the language-specific changes that are contained in the update are not applied. Always install language packs before you install updates.

See Also

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