Windows 10: Create bootable USB installer if install.wim is greater than 4GB  

    Create bootable USB installer if install.wim is greater than 4GB

    Create bootable USB installer if install.wim is greater than 4GB

    Published by Category: Installation & Upgrade
    20 Sep 2018
    Designer Media Ltd

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    information   Information

    As discussed in tutorial DISM - Split install.wim file | Windows 10 Tutorials, it is not possible to create a bootable flash drive in fat32 format if the install.wim file is over 4GB in size. That tutorial presents a method to split the install.wim into smaller sub-files.

    However, since Windows 10 1703, it is now possible to create a flash drive with multiple partitions which leads to an alternative solution.

    Basically, two partitions are created i.e. a small (say 1GB) fat32 partition and a larger NTFS partition. The files from a standard installation iso are copied to the NTFS partition, and the standard install.wim file is replaced with the custom install.wim.

    Similarly, all the files from the standard install.wim are copied to the fat32 partition except the files from the sources folder where only the boot.wim file is copied.

    This guide does not supersede method in above tutorial but is an alternative method if using windows 10 1703 onwards


    Here is a batch file that automates the copying process.

    Here's How

    You need at least an 8GB flash drive or larger depending on size of install.wim

    1) Create folder on C drive called usbcreate (change drive and folder as you wish)

    2) Create text file called ei.cfg with just two lines

    [CHANNEL]
    Retail

    and save in folder c:\usbcreate

    3) mount base iso as a drive and note Drive letter (It is assumed to be E: for this example)

    4) copy custom install.wim to folder c:\usbcreate

    5) create batch file called usbcreate.bat containing following text

    Code:
    
    c:
    
    cd \usbcreate
    
    rd "baseiso" /s /q
    
    md "baseiso"
    
    xcopy E:\*.* "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\" /s /y
    
    diskpart /s "c:\usbcreate\diskpart.dat"
    
    label Q:USB-FAT32
    
    label R:USB-NTFS
    
    xcopy "c:\usbcreate\install.wim" "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\sources\"  /y
    
    xcopy "c:\usbcreate\ei.cfg" "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\sources\"  /y
    
    xcopy "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\*.*" R:\ /s /y
    
    rd "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\sources\" /s /q
    
    md "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\sources\"
    
    xcopy "c:\usbcreate\baseiso\*.*" Q:\ /s /y /e
    
    xcopy "E:\sources\boot.wim" "Q:\sources\" /y
    

    6) Identify disk number for use in diskpart script

    Insert flash drive and open admin command prompt and type

    diskpart

    list disk

    and note drive number of usb flash drive.


    7) Create a text file called diskpart.dat containing following text changing # as appropriate (do not copy lines in brackets). Save file in folder usbcreate.

    Code:
    
    
    (Replace # with drive number of usb flash drive obtained from Step 6)
    
    select disk #
    
    (Warning: Drive gets wiped, so be sure you have selected correct drive)
    
    clean
    
    convert mbr
    
    create partition primary size=1000
    
    create partition primary
    
    select partition 1
    
    format fs=fat32 quick
    
    assign letter=Q
    
    active
    
    select partition 2
    
    format fs=ntfs quick
    
    assign letter=R
    
    exit
    
    


    8) Right click usbcreate.bat and run with admin rights.


  1.    4 Weeks Ago #1

    Just recently ran into this with MY Visual Studio Subscription ISO's. Can't remember if it was the Business or Consumer, might have been both? I just switched tactics and formatted my thumb drives in NTFS via diskpart. Good info though for those that need Fat 32 for UEFI installs. My laptop is fine with NTFS for UEFI so no big deal for me. And my two desktop PC's are legacy BIOS. It will just be mu Wife's Acer laptop that may be an issue. I'll just use a MCT created thumb drive on it if need be.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    4 Weeks Ago #2

    alphanumeric said: View Post
    Just recently ran into this with MY Visual Studio Subscription ISO's. Can't remember if it was the Business or Consumer, might have been both? I just switched tactics and formatted my thumb drives in NTFS via diskpart. Good info though for those that need Fat 32 for UEFI installs. My laptop is fine with NTFS for UEFI so no big deal for me. And my two desktop PC's are legacy BIOS. It will just be mu Wife's Acer laptop that may be an issue. I'll just use a MCT created thumb drive on it if need be.
    Yeah - majority of devices do not boot in UEFI from NTFS regrettably.

    I just created the above batch file to do all the hard work. The reason I had to do this as I need to inject custom drivers into install.wim, or else pc does not clean install (the ubiquitous spinning circles), and this forced my install.wim to be nearly 5GB.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    4 Weeks Ago #3

    At one time I had a custom install thumb drive for each PC. I added the OEM logo's and some extra system page info via $OEM$ folder. These days I just can't be bothered. I still have 3 different drives though, one 32 / 64 bit MCT created drive, one with my MSDN x64 Business and one with my MSDN x64 Consumer. Overkill, but I like to test each one seperatly when I can. Lets me clean install Enterprise if I want too, to. At some point My Visual Studio subscription is going to time out and I'll be left with just the MCT.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 33
    Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
       2 Weeks Ago #4

    @"
    SELECT DISK $($Disk.Number)
    CLEAN
    CONVERT $($PartitionType)
    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY SIZE=500
    FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK LABEL=$($BootPart)
    ACTIVE
    ASSIGN
    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
    FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK LABEL=$($OSPart)
    ASSIGN
    "@ | & "$Env:SystemRoot\System32\DiskPart.exe" | Out-Null
    $Disk = Get-Disk -Number $Disk.Number
    $BootPartition = ($Disk | Get-Partition).AccessPaths[0]
    $OSPartition = ($Disk | Get-Partition).AccessPaths[2]
    This works perfectly fine if you're hellbent on using the DiskPart method. I simply assigned labels for the $BootPart and $OSPart variables. The FAT32 partition contained the EFI files and the NTFS partition contained the full OS. There's zero need for any of those other steps in the original post.

    Likewise you can do this using disk objects with PowerShell, too. Circumventing the 32GB FAT32 limit PowerShell enforces is not hard.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


 

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