Restore a WIM into a VMWare Workstation VM

We tried this for hours and unsuccessfully searched the net for an answer so I thought I would add information on how we accomplished this.

We created corporate WIMs of our standard load for each department in our company. These were created on Dell Optiplex 760s (both the standard and Small Form Factor). We DID sysprep the images before making them however I don’t believe these instructions would make a difference either way. Restoring these on to physical hardware worked fine however attempting to restore one of these in to a VMWare Virtual Machine did  not.

In summary, we are going to mount the WIM and inject the VMWare SCSI and LSI drivers. Following are the details.

  1. Do this from a Vista workstation or Windows 2008 Server.
  2. Copy the WIM file to your local machine. A pain I know but mounting doesn’t appear to work over the network. For this example, we will say our WIM is named Corporate.wim and we placed it in C:Images on our local machine.
  3. Download and install the Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. To install you will have to burn the image to a DVD or use a program such as Virtual CloneDrive to mount the image.
  4. When running the setup there are many items that can be installed. The only one you need to do is the one that says “Windows AIK Setup”.
  5. Now, open an elevated Windows PE Tools Command Prompt from Start…All Programs..Microsoft Windows AIK. You should have a command-prompt window open to c:windowssystem32
  6. Type cdimages and hit enter on the keyboard. You should now be at a C:Images> prompt.
  7. We now need to create a directory in which we will mount the WIM to. Type md mount and hit enter on the keyboard. This creates a directory named mount as a subdirectory of the Images directory.
  8. Now let’s mount the WIM by typing imagex /mountrw Corporate.wim 1 mount and hit enter on the keyboard. After a few moments you should see a message stating Successfully mounted image (RW). Note: In this example I used the number 1 since I wanted to restore the 1st image within the WIM. Obviously change the number accordingly based on the index value of the Image you want to restore.
  9. Now we need to inject some VMWare SCSI drivers into the WIM. You can minimize the command-prompt until we are ready to continue.
  10. Download the SCSI floppy image from VMWare. The name of the file will be vmscsi-1.2.0.4.flp. This floppy image contains the following files (disk.tag, txtsetup.oem, vmscsi.cat, vmscsi.inf, vmscsi.sys). We want to extract those five files out of the image. I’m sure there are many ways to do this however what I did was to use an existing VM from VMWare Workstation and changed the floppy drive to point to this image instead of Auto Detecting. Put these five files in a directory named SCSI within C:Images
  11. Now bring the command-prompt back into focus and type the following: peimg /inf=scsi*.inf mountwindows and hit enter on the keyboard. If all goes well you will receive a message that states PEIMG completed the operation successfully.
  12. Now we need to save the image. Do this by typing the following at the command-prompt. imagex /unmount /commit mount Then hit enter on the keyboard. If all goes well you will see a message that states: Successfully unmounted image.
  13. Now you can create a new blank Virtual Machine from within VMWare Workstation. Make sure the disk size is at least as large as the Image that you are restoring!
  14. Boot to a WinPE disk or Vista Install disk and get to a command-prompt.
  15. Type diskpart and hit enter.
  16. Type select disk 0 and hit enter.
  17. Type create partition primary and hit enter.
  18. Type select partition 1 and hit enter.
  19. Type assign letter=c and hit enter.
  20. Type active and hit enter.
  21. Type format and hit enter.
  22. Type exit and hit enter.
  23. Now use imagex to restore the WIM into the VM. There are many ways to do this and it’s described in great detail all over the net. I really wanted to document what I couldn’t easily find.
  24. When you start the VM after this is all done, hopefully it works as it did for me. If it still doesn’t work, then try injecting the LSI drivers to see if it helps.
  25. If you start the VM and are presented with an error message referencing winload.exe, boot to a Vista DVD and choose Repair computer. Problems will be detected and it will ask you to restart. Everything should work at this point.

 Good luck!

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About Brian Drab

IT Manager with an absolute love for technology!
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