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Useful info for WinPEs, Wimboot and Compact installs

wimboot compact portables winpe

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#1 alacran

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 11:36 AM

Portable programs are very usefull when booting from a WinPE and a Wimboot or a Compact install, when having them outside of our bootable WinPE/Wimboot/Compact (real or virtual) drive.

 

WinPEs: In this case it is even better if your Portables are compressed and self extractable (SFX) as long as they will be expanded usually to %Sytemdrive%\Temp or %Sytem%\Temp folder, in this case both located on X:, wich is the RAM drive where the boot.wim is loaded.

 

For additional info to create your own SFX programs see this topic on Post No. 5: http://reboot.pro/to...utable-from-pe/, the topic also includes links to download some SFX I have made.

 

On Wimboot or Compact install booting: The previous approach is not very useful as the SFX will extract to C:\Temp or C:\Windows\Temp folders depending the SFX creator.  And this will affect adversily our limited espace available when filedisk booting or our available RAM when RAMbooting.

In this case is preferable keep the portables uncompressed ouside the Wimboot or Compact install drive, but in some cases this means a lot of space.

 

Creating a compressed folder (on Compact mode [file by file]) using Wof_compress:

 

Then to save space on NTFS drives we can compress our Portables folder using Wof_Compress by wimb to save space and latter defragment the drive where this folder is located with Deffragler or Winconting, but this may be a very long procedure if this drive is very big, also we need to remember if latter we want to copy the compressed folder Portables to another location, it will be copied but UNcompressed.

 

Creating a compressed folder (on Compact mode [file by file]) using wimlib:

 

But I remembered some time ago a not very well known/used option of wimlib-imagex, by Eric Biggers, also available on its unoficial GUI wimlib-clc, (by retokener), both let us make a WIM image (compressed or uncompressed) of the content of a folder too, and latter extract the info into the WIM file, to an existing target Folder. with our selected compression This way we can apply the content allready compressed to any NTFS drive. This also avoids the free space fragmentation on the drive. See attached picture.

 

NOTE: if the folder doesn't exist, we need to create the folder first.

 

It is necessary to remember any compressed info using Wof_Compress or wimlib-clc can not be read by 7, 8.0 and 8.1, unless the OS accesing the info has the wof.sys or wofadk.sys installed. Win 8.1 Update 1 already has the first version of wof.sys but it is not capable to read files compressed in Compact mode (that starded with 10), 10 already have newr versions of wof.sys integrated and capable to read files compressed in Compact mode.

 

To install wofadk.sys on 7, 8.0 and 8.1, just download and run WinNTSetup by JFX

 

Or from my old post: http://reboot.pro/to...10/#entry210893

 

If for some reason, we want to install the wofadk.sys driver without installing WinNTSetup, it can be downloaded with GetWaikTools from JFX and to install it, it is just put it into Windows\System32\drivers folder and run the attached reg file and reboot the OS.

 

alacran

Attached Files

Get WAIK Tools w/o downloading the huge ISO's by JFX

 

Script to include wofadk.sys on your ChrisPEs: http://reboot.pro/fi...-wofadk-script/

To add wofadk.sys to your old WinPEs see: http://reboot.pro/to...-sd-or-microsd/

 

NOTE: Win10XPE_x64 allready has wof.sys

 

Maybe latter I remember some other things I have tested and make new post on this topic.

 

EDIT: added a picture of my Aplications  (Aplicaciones in Spanish) folder that is Compact LZX (applied using wimlib) located on my UEFI_MULTI (+Ventoy +agFM) by wimb, on a bootable MicroSD 32 GB.

 

alacran

Attached Files



#2 wimb

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:36 PM

Nice, but it is WinPE instead of 5x used here WimPE  ;)



#3 alacran

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 01:18 PM

 My stupid fast typing. Thanks wimb, already fixed.

 

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#4 gbrao

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:01 PM

I'm just getting my feet wet with wof-compress.

 

What are the implications of not using a exclusion list when wof-compressing a drive ?

 

I had a wim of windows 10, lited, with apps etc. I used wimlib to apply the wim to a drive with --compact=lzx.

 

I recreated the Boot folder without any compression. Windows booted fine.

 

EDIT : there were no archives (zip, wim, etc) any no images (except the windows images) in that wim.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

Is there a easy way to tell if a file is wof compressed (in explorer)? Files with regular NTFS compression can be shown in color and have a attribute bit.



#5 alacran

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:31 PM

Better run all your test on a VHD.

 

When appling a WIM file index by means of Dism or wimlib they use the internal exclusion list into Windows\System32\WimbootCompress.ini

WimbootCompress.ini already exist into the OS from 8.1 Update 1 to 10

 

Go to Windows\System32\WimbootCompress.ini, and open it with notepad to take a look, there you will find [PrepopulateList] used during install, all listed in this section will be full size files, during Capture the [ExclusionList] section is all that will not be copied to the WIM file.

 

Also Dism and wimlib have internal ExclusionList embeded into them, and wimlib also has a internal PrepopulateList none as complete as WimbootCompress.ini can be.

 

Also Wof_Compress by wimb has their own default lists and if you select Use Wof_Comppress Tool then additionaly the internal Windows\System32\WimbootCompress.ini is used (if available). But for questions about Wof_Compress by wimb better go to its topic: http://reboot.pro/to...0-wof-compress/

 

No, no colored files on this case, on Compact installs if you select a file from 10 and open file properties, when it is compressed the used size on disk is smaller than the file size.

 

On Wimboot VHD open the VHD with 7-zip and if a file size is 0 then it is only a Pointer to the coupled source WIM file.

 

alacran


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#6 gbrao

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 03:08 AM

Better run all your test on a VHD.

 

When appling a WIM file index by means of Dism or wimlib they use the internal exclucion list into Windows\System32\WimbootCompress.ini

WimbootCompress.ini already exist into the OS from 8.1 Update 1 to 10

...

alacran

Hi, thanks.

I have a old PC that I use to play around with. So I can use a partition rather than VHD.

Re WimbootCompress.ini, that file is used only for wimboot  or for any wimlib apply ? I wasn't using wimboot in the example I posted earlier.



#7 alacran

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 10:00 AM

Don't let the name confuse you, it was originaly created on 8.1 Update 1 for wimboot install, and that's the reazon of the name, but a file with same name, is also used on 10 for compact installs using Dism or wimlib, but actually when using a modded WimbootCompress.ini there has been some problems when using Dism and/or imagex.

The Windows API used do not work fine with some drivers as SvBus.sys driver (required only for RAMboot using grub4dos), the drivers for your printer, (if any), etc (in conclusion all drivers not included into the original install.wim on the original install CD/DVD/USB downloaded) and that's why wimlib is recommended, it do not have this issues and follow instructions on WimbootCompress.ini strictly during capture and apply.

 

alacran
 



#8 alacran

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 02:30 AM

If we like to have some order on the info we keep into our PC and have several folders to store files by category as: Portables, Isos, etc.     It is not a bad idea to add them to the context menu >>> "Send to" that opens when we select a file or folder and make a right click on it.

 

Only thing we need to do is create the required shorcuts on our desk and copy them to this folder located on:

 

C:\Users\USER_NAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

 

The Appdata folder is a hiden folder, so to be able to see it we need to enable on File Explorer the option show hiden files, folders an hiden units.   A shorcut for it is attached, to make things easier.

 

All shortcuts we add there will apear on the right click context menu, including shorcuts to drives or some programs like Wincontig, wimlib-clc, etc.

 

When we send any file, folder or drive to Winconting it will open having it selected and ready to verify if it is fragmented and/or defragment it.

 

If we send a WIM file to wimlib-clc it will open and will have the WIM file selected and ready to run any of the program options as Apply/Extract/Verify/Optimize, etc.

 

Not all programs will function this way when we send to them a file or folder, you will have to check and find those that are capable to work this way.

 

To let this shortcut work on any PC it was created with a relative path to SendTo folder, wich is valid for any user name. I have used it from 7 to 10.

 

NOTE: On 10 OS the shortcut to wimlib-clc has to be "Run as admin" as in attached photo.

 

Also included in the attachment is a shortcut with a relative path to Disk Management or Disk Manager to open it directly from our desk, I have used it from 7 to 10,. it is very useful to have it on our portables when booting from WinPEs too.

 

And this other two also included: DirectX Diag and Task Scheduler,    I have used this two also from 7 to 10.

 

I decided to make this shortcuts for my use some time ago to have them easy available when needed.

 

They were named originaly in Spanish, but for this post  were renamed in English, but as any shortcut just rename them as you prefer.

 

Hope they can be of some use for some users.

 

alacran

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#9 alacran

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 04:33 PM

Yesterday I saw a topic on MSFN Forums related to a free little old portable program DBC Task Manager, there was not a link for the program, then just made a search for it and found a link on MajorGeek: https://www.majorgee...sk_manager.html

 

EDIT: On next post the program + some batch files to copy required dll is attached.

 

 

Author: DBC Studio
Date: 05/28/2015 09:14 AM
Size: 1.10 MB
License: Freeware
Requires: Win 8/Win 7

MajorGeek says: DBC Task Manager provides the user with the look and feel of the Windows 8 task manager while still running on Windows 7. No need for installation, so if you decide that you prefer the Windows 7 task manager you can revert back without anything important being changed or modified.

DBC Task Manager is a task manager application that is similar to Windows 8 task manager and can run on Windows 7.

 

 

And there is a comment from a user (from 2 years ago):

 

 

Authors link is dead but it's saved with archive.org

https://disq.us/url?...c0&cuid=2068243

x86 & x64 included in download.

 

Then I downloaded it just to test it on my running 7x64 and in fact it gives the info as 8.x does it (attached picture),

 

Latter decided to check if it runs from 7x86-WinPE & 7x64-WinPE as a full portable, the program does not run as it is, requires pdh.dll, it was very easy to solve this just copied it from 7x64  C:\Windows\System32\pdh.dll to the x64 folder of the program (same is valid but copying to x86 if you have 7x86 OS), in this case as I wanted to check also the x86 version of the program I copied from 7x64 C:\Windows\SysWOW64\pdh.dll to the x86 folder of the program,

 

Now it runs fine as a full portable from 7x86 and 7x64 WinPEs.

 

I assume adding the required dll from respective OS can also work with 8.x x86 & x64 WinPEs, I wasn't able to test this as I don't have any, when tested on Win10XPE_x64 (it already has the required dll) it runs fine too.

Also tested on ChrisPE-10x64 (adding the respective dll in the tool folder x86 or x64). And it also worked fine too.

 

NOTE: Tested it works on 7 and 10 x86 & x64 WinPEs.  Of course some info can't be gotten on PE, since certain processes are not same as on a real OS, then that info is not available.

 

EDIT: On next post the program + some batch files to copy required dll is attached.

 

alacran

Attached Files



#10 alacran

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:52 PM

For your convenice and to make things easier, I created DBC Task Manager.zip (attached) the two links to program page were deleted as that page do not exist anymore and added three little batch files, just extract it to your OS desktop and run required *.bat file to copy pdh.dll to respective x86 or x64 folder, this will make the tool fully portable and ready to work on a WinPE environment.

 

NOTES:

  • Run the *.bat is only required if you are planning to run the program as a fully portable from a WinPE.
  • Remember Win10XPE_x64 already has pdh.dll for x86 and x64 so no need to run the *.bat file in this case too.
  • If you ran the *.bat on Win7 OS, the progam will also work on a higher version WinPE, as I already tested running it on ChrisPE-10x64.
  • Of course some info can't be gotten on PE, since certain processes are not same as on a real OS, then that info is not available.
  • It may be possible the program doesn't open first time you run it, just close it and run it again, it has to upadate its DBCTaskman.CFG file, once done it works fine.

 

alacran

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#11 Tokener

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 08:44 PM

Thanks for linking to this useful tool.

There is an update (v.1.0.0.1) for DBC Task Manager available at https://www.chip.de/...n_61932006.html

 

@alacran

I would like to ask a question concerning the wimbootcompress.ini.
In the comment of the file (3 top lines) it says that the file is used for capture and apply.

Spoiler

Should the same file be used for both operations?

This question is relevant when using a custom wimbootcompress.ini file.

 

 Thanks in advance.   T.

 

 

 

 

 

 



#12 alacran

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 05:54 AM

Thanks for the link.

 

Those top lines are from MS.

 

And yes same file is used for Capture and for Apply:

  • During capture all under [ExclusionList] section is not copied to the WIM image file.
  • During Apply all under [PrepopulateList] section will be applied uncompressed in case of Compact mode installations, or as real files (not pointers) in case of Wimboot mode installations.

alacran


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#13 Tokener

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 06:53 AM

So when using a custom wimbootcompress.ini to CAPTURE, this identical file must be included in the image,

by placing it as the original file

%WINDIR%\system32\wimbootcomress.ini

or by injecting the file with the wimlib UPDATE command?



#14 alacran

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 07:23 AM

I use to keep into Wimlib_clc folder copies of :

 

WimBootCompress-by-alacran.ini and WimBootCompress-for-VHD_WIMBOOT.ini (the last one not required if using VHD_WIMBOOT by wimb for capture as it is already included in the program).

 

Just by selecting them during capture they are used during capture and will be copied automatically (by wimlib-imagex internal commands) into the WIM file to \Windows\System32 folder but named as WimBootCompress.ini, replacing the previous file if existed, and this new custom version will be then used during Compact or Wimboot mode installations.

 

Please see attached picture, and attached files.

 

NOTE: Both *.ini files are included into Wimlib-clc Script

 

alacran

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#15 Tokener

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 07:44 AM

Thank you for the detailed clarification, this helped a lot.

 

To make an image wimbootable,

would it be enough to insert this wimbootcompress.ini into the image and set the wimboot flag?



#16 alacran

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 08:28 AM

To make an image wimbootable,

would it be enough to insert this wimbootcompress.ini into the image and set the wimboot flag?

 

Yes, that's all you need, of course you have to apply it in Wimboot mode, to a NTFS partition/drive or VHD to boot from it. And if you want to boot it from Windows boot manager add it to BCDs, and additionally create boot files/folders into the VHD only if you want to boot it using grub4dos from MBR, or using G4E + ntfs_x64.efi (only in case of UEFI).

 

NOTE: Just remember ntloader does not work for Wimboot mode installations.

 

alacran


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#17 alacran

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 01:23 PM

Just to make a few more clear the capture in Wimboot mode:

 

Capturing on Wimboot mode using a custom WimBootCompress.ini file reduce significatively the amount of data captured, and anyway we can re-apply the image in any other option as standard mode or Compact mode.

 

Both mentioned custom WimBootCompress.ini files on post No. 14  are very similar, the difference is:

 

WimBootCompress-for-VHD_WIMBOOT.ini excludes from capture all boot files/folders, very useful to deal with VHDs that will be latter applied using VHD_WIMBOOT, which takes care of that.

 

WimBootCompress-by-alacran.ini do not avoid the capture of all boot files/folders (if present), as in some cases the user may have installed them on same partition where the OS is, so this is a more generic option for backup purposes.

 

alacran


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#18 alacran

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Posted 2 weeks ago

I will share here my collection of portables:

 

My Portables Folders located into a separate (2.40 GB) partition at the very end of the disk of all my internal and external (USB) mass storage devices, (LZX Compacted and runnable by means of Pstart).

Folders:

Y:\FirefoxPortable
Y:\LibreOfficePortable
Y:\Portables
Y:\PStart
Y:\VLC

Folders into \Portables

Y:\Portables\aida64
Y:\Portables\Bat_To_Exe_Converter
Y:\Portables\Bat_To_Exe_Converter_old >>> Link pending I can't find it yet, wonko shared it in one of my old topics.
Y:\Portables\BleachBit-Portable
Y:\Portables\BootIce >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\ChipGenius
Y:\Portables\CrystalDiskMark
Y:\Portables\Defraggler
Y:\Portables\Dir_List >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\Disk2vhd
Y:\Portables\DiskGenius
Y:\Portables\DMS Tokener's program
Y:\Portables\Double Driver >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\Explorer++ >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\Simple Firefox Backup
Y:\Portables\Ghost >>> Propietary program.
Y:\Portables\GotchaBACKUP >>> Siginet's program
Y:\Portables\InSpectre
Y:\Portables\LZ4 Compressor >>> alacran's program
Y:\Portables\Microsoft Calculator Plus v1.0
Y:\Portables\Notepad++
Y:\Portables\offlinereg >>> erwan.l's program
Y:\Portables\OTConvertIt >>> ASCII to Hex(2)/Hex(2) to ASCII, ASCII to hex(7)/Hex(7) to ASCII, useful for the Registry
Y:\Portables\Portable PDF Password Remover
Y:\Portables\PowerRun >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\Produkey >>> not anymore into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\Raw Copy
Y:\Portables\Recuba
Y:\Portables\RegConvert
Y:\Portables\ResHacker
Y:\Portables\SDelete
Y:\Portables\ServiWin >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\SVBus_INST_Trusted >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\SwiftSearch >>> now into System_Info program by wimb
Y:\Portables\System_Info >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\UEFI_MULTI  >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\USB_FORMAT >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\usb_format_Tool-HP
Y:\Portables\usbdeview
Y:\Portables\VHD_WIMBOOT_Trusted >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\Vhd2disk_64bits >>> Link (on third comment of this page) not available anymore, but I attached it here.
Y:\Portables\Wimlib_clc >>> Tokener's program

Y:\Portables\Wimlib_clc\wimlib_Property_Switch >>> Tokener's program, in Wimlib_clc folder to share wimlib-imagex files.
Y:\Portables\Win_Reduce_Trusted >>> wimb's program
Y:\Portables\WinContig

Y:\Portables\Windows Update Blocker
Y:\Portables\WinNTSetup >>> JFX's program
Y:\Portables\WOF_Compress >>> wimb's program

 

All wimb's programs can be downloaded from GitHub.

 

alacran

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#19 alacran

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Posted 2 weeks ago

JFYI

 

Some portables from previous list require to run as Admin to work properly, (not required if running from a Win10XPE_x64):

 

usb_format_Tool-HP
Wimlib_clc
wimlib_Property_Switch

 

I usually don't use usb_format_Tool-HP, but I use Wimlib_clc and wimlib_Property_Switch very frecuently, so much I have links on desktop to run them as admin on all my VHDs and WinPEs.

 

Wimlib_clc is my favorite tool to make backups of my drives. And to create AIO ESD files to use latter in WinNTSetup.

 

wimlib_Property_Switch is very useful to rename image files (adding _x64 or _x86 subfix) contained into a WIM/ESD file when mergin x86 and x64 versions in a single AIO ESD file to save space.

 

I haven't found a way on Pstart to run a program as admin. I think a viable option is use AdvancedRun for this, but if there is a way to do it directly on Pstart would be better. Any info about this will be highly appreciated.

 

alacran



#20 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

does 7zSFX Constructor accept a c:\temp and/or c:\windows\temp links elsewhere, so as to be used even with little free space on c:\?



#21 wimb

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Some portables from previous list require to run as Admin to work properly, (not required if running from a Win10XPE_x64):

 

 

All Apps launched by System_Info automatically Run as Admin.

 

System_Info is an AutoIt3 program where the first line of code is:

#RequireAdmin

wimlib-clc is an AutoIt3 program and if Tokener will add this line to his program code then wimlib-clc will also auto Run as admin.

 

Thanks for all the detailed Info with Download Links. 

 

Can try to modify AutoIt3 launcher PS.exe for PStart so that PStart is launched as Admin. Might work ....


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#22 alacran

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Posted 2 weeks ago

does 7zSFX Constructor accept a c:\temp and/or c:\windows\temp links elsewhere, so as to be used even with little free space on c:\?

 

Yes it does, but I think the info from the very first post of this topic is very clear:

 

On Wimboot or Compact install booting: The previous approach is not very useful as the SFX will extract to C:\Temp or C:\Windows\Temp folders depending the SFX creator.  And this will affect adversily our limited espace available when filedisk booting or our available RAM when RAMbooting.

In this case is preferable keep the portables uncompressed ouside the Wimboot or Compact install drive, but in some cases this means a lot of space.

 

Creating a compressed folder (on Compact mode [file by file]) using Wof_compress:

 

Then to save space on NTFS drives we can compress our Portables folder using Wof_Compress by wimb to save space and latter defragment the drive where this folder is located with Deffragler or Winconting, but this may be a very long procedure if this drive is very big, also we need to remember if latter we want to copy the compressed folder Portables to another location, it will be copied but UNcompressed.

 

Creating a compressed folder (on Compact mode [file by file]) using wimlib:

 

But I remembered some time ago a not very well known/used option of wimlib-imagex, by Eric Biggers, also available on its unoficial GUI wimlib-clc, (by retokener), both let us make a WIM image (compressed or uncompressed) of the content of a folder too, and latter extract the info into the WIM file, to an existing target Folder. with our selected compression This way we can apply the content allready compressed to any NTFS drive. This also avoids the free space fragmentation on the drive. See attached picture.

 

NOTE: if the folder doesn't exist, we need to create the folder first.

 

I was using the SFX approach on WinPEs long time ago, in this case all the SFX content is fully extracted first to any location you prefer into the X: drive, just to let us run the portable program, + the Ram required to run it.

 

But latter when Wof_Compress become available I found if LZX Compacting the portables located ouside of the VHD or PE with Wof_Compress is better as we only load on Ram strictly the parts the program uses during run it (just as all programs does, something we can't avoid), LZX Compacting the portables located ouside of the VHD or PE is the only way I use since then.

 

And if you mean extracting the content of a SFX program into a location outside of the VHD (or in Ram), to let us run it, it is ridiculous and time consuming, as every time we run any program it needs to be extracted first as when closing it the info is deleted, so it is always better to read it from a LZX Compacted located on a fixed place.

 

alacran


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#23 wimb

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Posted 2 weeks ago

 

Can try to modify AutoIt3 launcher PS.exe for PStart so that PStart is launched as Admin. Might work ....

 

Yes that works  :) Hello World

 

If  you use the attached PS_x64.exe to launch PStart then wimlib-clc (and probably all programs) launched by PStart are launched as Admin.

 

Attached File  wimlib-clc_2021-11-22_094823.jpg   151.95KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  PS-E.zip   1.12MB   1 downloads


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#24 alacran

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    Mexico

Posted 2 weeks ago

Thanks very much wimb, you are very kind, it was good I asked about this subject, and also that you were very disposed to find a solution.

 

Haven't downloaded and tested it yet, but looking to the picture in your post, the colored icon on left upper corner of wimlib-clc clearly means it is running as Admin.

 

alacran


  • wimb likes this

#25 alacran

alacran

    Gold Member

  • .script developer
  • 2303 posts
  •  
    Mexico

Posted 2 weeks ago

The browser says PS.zip has a virus, I downloaded it anyway as I'm sure it is false positive, but Better reupload it password protected thinking in future readers trying to download it.

 

EDIT: And also will be good if you upload it on your GitHub page too, for easy find it and have all your programs together.

 

alacran







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