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How to Add Device Drivers to an Online Windows PE Image

Published: February 29, 2012

Updated: May 31, 2012

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) might not include the device drivers needed for your deployment of Windows by default. For example, Windows PE might require an additional driver to support a network adapter or hard disk drive. By adding a device driver, you can use the device during deployment. You can add drivers to a running instance of Windows PE by using the Drvload tool. Drvload accepts one or more driver information (.inf) files as input.

During online installation of a driver in Windows PE, if the driver .inf file requires that the computer restart, Windows PE ignores the request. If the driver .sys file requires that the computer restart, you must install the driver to the offline Windows PE image instead. For more information, see How to Add Device Drivers to an Offline Windows PE Image.

  • At a command prompt, use the Dvrload tool to load the .inf file for the device driver. For example:

    drvload D:\drivers\example.inf
    

    where D:\drivers is the path to an .inf file located on a drive that the system can access, such as a DVD-ROM drive or USB flash drive. You can specify multiple paths by separating each path with a comma.

    ImportantImportant
    If driver installation requires restarting the computer, do not install the driver online, because Windows PE typically runs from RAM disk and cannot provide persistent storage for the driver. Instead, add the driver to the offline Windows PE image instead. For more information, see How to Add Device Drivers to an Offline Windows PE Image.

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