How To Build A Bootable USB Windows Environment with PE Builder

Over the time, we have covered quite a few ways of building a bootable USB drive for Windows installation. We’ve also covered a way to make a bootable Windows 8 To Go USB drive that puts a working Windows 8 environment into your pocket. Here I am going to show you another easy way to make a USB bootable media based on Windows PE that integrates a set of tools that enables you to boot up your computer for easy maintenance and fast recovery tasks when the native system is corrupted or cannot be used.

Aomei PE Builder is a free bootable USB driver builder that creates a bootable environment based on Windows PE. What makes it different from a traditional Windows PE is that it offers a user-friendly GUI that runs like Windows, including Desktop, Windows Explorer, Start Menu, Taskbar, etc., and it’s network ready. When you are boot into it, you are using it just like using a Windows 7. What’s even better, the bootable media created by PE Builder can be a CD/DVD disc, USB drive (flash drive or external hard drive), or ISO image file, so you can choose what fits you the most.

Go ahead to its website and download the tool and install it on your computer first. If all go well, you will have it ready in a minute or two. PE Builder works only on Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers, though both 32-bit and 64-bit editions are supported.

When launched, it first asks to select some of the portable tools that you want to build into your bootable media.

PE Builder - Wizard

Move to next, it asks which type of media you would like to build, CD/DVD, USB boot device, or ISO image file. On the screenshot below, I chose to export to an ISO file.

PE Builder - options to create the image

Move to next, it starts to the process to build the bootable media. It could take a few minutes to get all done.

PE Builder - in the process

That’s it. Once it’s done, give it a try booting off to this new bootable PE media and see for yourself. In my case, I set one of my virtual machines to boot off from the ISO image file I created using PE Builder, and here is what I got.

PE Builder - desktop

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 11/17/2014

Posted in: Tools
Discover more: ,