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Smallest Possible Windows 7 or Win7PE

winpe minimal install livecd

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#1 LonnieTC

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hello All,

 

I am new to this forum and have generally been running on Linux platforms for a long time although I do have a fair amount of Windows experience as well.

 

That being said, and I think that some of this might have already been discussed on the forum, but I am very interested in trying to build a minimal footprint Windows 7, or Win7PE  (x86_64, i.e. 64-bit) such that the only application that I want to put into the system is the latest copy of VirtualBox and have boot up and start in full screen.

 

The objective is to have VirtualBox running on the absolutely smallest possible Windows 7 that is achievable. Of course the Windows core might also need to have drivers for such things as USB, Sounds, etc...

 

Has anyone been able to make something similar, or perhaps have an ultra small footprint Windows 7 or Win7PE configuration?

 

I am just trying to build a demo to see if it is even possible.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and have a great day



#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Start with a quickPE (since it is quick and rather "basic") :

 

http://reboot.pro/topic/18744-quickpe/

 

See what happens attempting to install VirtualBox to it.

 

If it works, good, otherwise another smallish build is MistyPE:

http://reboot.pro/fi...le/357-mistype/

 

As a side note (should either of this not "be enough" to run a Virtualbox) what size would you expect for the build?

 

Wimb has a couple small projects for "full 7" (not a PE) that most probably would work fine:

http://reboot.pro/to...ct-make-mini-7/

but of course is not particularly small in size though it can be very likely trimmed/slimmed.

 

In Win10PE(SE) it is possible:

http://reboot.pro/to...s-within-winpe/

so maybe you could make a win7PE(SE) (i.e. a similar Winbuilder based project) and use the same settings ROYM used for the Win10PE.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#3 LonnieTC

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Thanks for replying to my inquiry, Wonko.

 

I will see if that can help. I am currently running on Debian, but guess that I could setup a Windows 7 VM to develop this on.

 

In just reading the QuickPE information, it seems that it would make a base core of about 200 MB. I was hoping to be much less than that if possible.  Also, in my cursory research on the windows side, I ran across a Win7PE.wim file that is only 140 MB, but I do not yet know how to possibly edit it and even get it into an ISO that I can even boot, but was thinking that there must be a way.

 

My goal which may not be possible with Windows 7, is to be between 50 - 100 MB before adding the latest VirtualBox application (6.0.12) and a global goal of trying to keep the whole ISO below 200 MB, if I can.

 

Cheers



#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Go for the MistyPE project, then.

http://mistyprojects...ocs/readme.html

 

It is more configurable than QuickPE and also you can choose which builder as it should work both with Winbuilder and with PEbakery.

 

If I recall correctly a "base" (but not "empty") build from Windows 7 source should be below or around 200 MB, but using "profiling", see:

http://reboot.pro/to...otwim/?p=203340

you should easily get around 100-140 MB or less (talking of 32 bit, likely 64 bit will need some 1.5x size), and possibly you may further experiment with Wimboot/wof compression:

http://reboot.pro/to...npe-31-wimboot/

 

The issue is that I have no idea on what actual requirements Virtualbox has, maybe it needs very little additional subststems, maybe it needs a whole lot of them (and also specific Virtualbox version might make a difference).

 

Anyway I suggest you for the experiments to use a "portable" version and keep it "separate" from the PE/boot.wim as everything will be faster for the building.

 

:duff:

Wonko



#5 antonino61

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Sorry to butt in unexpectedly, but I am just after trying out a win7 vhd to compare it with my win10 versions. so many ppl say win7 is lighter than win10 so I wanted to scrape a few gbs and secs off the win10 wimboot deployments I mentioned above. 1 and a half day lost - well, nothing is lost in  experimenting - at least now we know that, on the same machine, there is an 8-second bootup delay between win10 (14secs) and win7 (22secs). I was surprised too, despite I have always been a purporter of win10 both in terms of space and in terms of time. win 7 takes more space than and twice as much time as I expected. This was tested after 1 and a half days of getting win7 to the same config as my win10s, not without issues though. the transition from post-install first boot to the most analogous configuration possible to win10 was one hell of an adventure with win7 (initial driver injections, incompatibilities, mismatches, system refractoriness to modification, etc.). there is very very much less to debloat, true, but it is paradoxically not as easy to take out whatever features one does not need as with win10. at the end of the experiment, I also wanted wimboot it to see if less space would factor in timewise. Like hell, it booted into  bsod, and the wim was no smaller than the win10 wims I have. As far as I can understand, whatever makes ppl believe win7 is lighter and faster lies in sheer Impressionistic Enlightenment. To those that say that microsoft has not improved its OSs from win7 onwards, I feel like replying that in fact it has with win10 in many respects, some of which I already mentioned in other posts. the flattened cosmetics has made it lighter and quicker than win10, at least from a mere user's point of view like mine. always ready for anyone who begs to differ, though. 



#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Sorry to butt in unexpectedly, but I am just after trying out a win7 vhd to compare it with my win10 versions. so many ppl say win7 is lighter than win10 so I wanted to scrape a few gbs and secs off the win10 wimboot deployments I mentioned above. 1 and a half day lost - well, nothing is lost in  experimenting - at least now we know that, on the same machine, there is an 8-second bootup delay between win10 (14secs) and win7 (22secs). I was surprised too, despite I have always been a purporter of win10 both in terms of space and in terms of time. win 7 takes more space than and twice as much time as I expected. This was tested after 1 and a half days of getting win7 to the same config as my win10s, not without issues though. the transition from post-install first boot to the most analogous configuration possible to win10 was one hell of an adventure with win7 (initial driver injections, incompatibilities, mismatches, system refractoriness to modification, etc.). there is very very much less to debloat, true, but it is paradoxically not as easy to take out whatever features one does not need as with win10. at the end of the experiment, I also wanted wimboot it to see if less space would factor in timewise. Like hell, it booted into  bsod, and the wim was no smaller than the win10 wims I have. As far as I can understand, whatever makes ppl believe win7 is lighter and faster lies in sheer Impressionistic Enlightenment. To those that say that microsoft has not improved its OSs from win7 onwards, I feel like replying that in fact it has with win10 in many respects, some of which I already mentioned in other posts. the flattened cosmetics has made it lighter and quicker than win10, at least from a mere user's point of view like mine. always ready for anyone who begs to differ, though. 

 

So, you tried A (for several months) and - for whatever reasons - you (partially) succeeded at it.

 

Then you tried B ( for 1 and 1/2 day) and - for whatever reasons - you (partially) failed at it.

 

Conclusion: A is soooo much better than B.

 

(Corollary: All the rest of people is wrong, or see things that don't exist, or both, and I need to make them aware of this, posting these news on the first thread I can find on reboot.pro)

 

Compliments BTW, you made a good candidate for the "most OT post of the year" award. 

 

Random off topic hint: the (larger) key that you have on your keyboard with a sort of arrow pointing to the left or the letters "ENTER" or "INVIO" is something that by convention is used after a period (or dot or full stop)  to get a new line (i.e. making sentences readable).

:duff:

Wonko



#7 antonino61

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Posted 3 weeks ago

sorry, Wonko,

"than win10" at the bottom of my post should read "than win7". anyway, what I meant was that the subsystem requirements that u later mentioned in ur post make it very difficult for a winpe version of windows 7 to be "self-sufficient" and stay small as most win10 counterparts. the other thing I meant is I have stayed with win10 for several years now and 1 and a half days with win7 was enough time for me to run like hell away from it. If u dont believe so, test it for yourself. where shall I paste my post off the OT zone?

As for the paragraphs that I usually don't make, my natural mission is to induce ppl to connect the unconnectable and disconnect the connectable for the sake of training one's intelligence and versatility.

nino



#8 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 3 weeks ago

You see, the report that - after 1 and a 1/2 day of tests you decided to stay away from Windows 7 is a "statement of fact" and a subjective (respectable BTW) opinion.

 

BUT you decided to *need* to post this all in all irrelevant anecdata in order to reply  "To those that say that microsoft has not improved its OSs from win7 onwards" in an existing unrelated topic (and perfectly knowing that it was improper to do so, hence the leading "Sorry to butt in") and the whole stuff seems more an "excusatio non petita" than anything else.

 

Find a thread where there is a comparison of Windows 7 against Windows 10, or - if you cannot find an already existing one, start a new thread for it.

 

BTW the OP asked (for whatever reasons) about a minimal Windows 7 or Windows7 PE, since the question/goal is not at all absurd, replies should be related to the topic at hand and possibly aimed to help/support the OP in reaching that goal and not suggesting to shift/change the goal to something else.

 

 

 

As for the paragraphs that I usually don't make, my natural mission is to induce ppl to connect the unconnectable and disconnect the connectable for the sake of training one's intelligence and versatility.

 

In other words, you are aware that your post is an unreadable blob of text and you made it so intentionally, in order to stimulate the intelligence of the reader (by making it a lot more difficult to read it).

 

Interesting approach for a teacher, a philosopher or possibly even a politician.

 

 

:duff:

Wonko



#9 LonnieTC

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Posted 3 weeks ago

Hi Wonko,

 

I have been reading up on building PE's and am have downloaded and want to try out the QuickPE for experimentation.

 

I did not see a whole lot of documentation but setup a full Windows 7 Pro environment and installed Winlib since it seems that it uses that as part of the build process.

 

Now, if I understand correctly, I need to startup the "_RUN_ME.cmd" which I did and it gives me a number of menu options.

 

My confusion is in what do I need to continue the build.

 

The documentation (http://reboot.pro/topic/18744-quickpe/) mentions:

 

"... the Windows Assessment and Deployment Toolkit (ADK) / Winpe4 or Windows Automated Installation Kit / Winpe3.

The batch also uses wimlib to add extra files within the boot.wim file.

Alternatively, one can also use the Windows Repair Disk or Windows DVD to build a Winpe (no need for WAIK or ADK then).
One can also add Winpe packages or add Windows drivers. ..."

 

Do I need to load up one of these as well and also have the Win7x64 iso mounted?

 

A note is that I am running all of this in a VM on my Linux box.

Thanks



#10 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Well, it depends on what you want to build, the "_RUN_ME.cmd" is only a sort of menu.

 

Since you want to build a Windows 7 PE , i.e. a PE 3.x you choose "1 Make WINPE 3.0 - requires MS WAIK (UEFI ok for x64)" which does nothng more than call the batch "make_pe3.cmd".

 

The procedures needs some files from the WAIK, namely the copype.exe (which possibly has a number of dependencies) and the oscdimg.exe, so yes, you normally want to have the WAIK installed.

 

Wimlib is included in the QuickPE.zip, so no problem there.

 

The idea, summed up on the download page is (I added numbering to the listed steps):

 

 

The batch will :
1-create a winpe using the copype winpe command from MS ADK or MS WAIK,
2-modify boot.wim to add a tinyshell (see screenshot) so that one can launch explorer++, cmd, taskmgr, penetwork, or shutdown/reboot,
3-create winpe iso (less than 200 MB).

In "make_pe3.cmd":

the #1 is essentially made by the command "call copype %WINPE_ARCH% "%dest%"

the #2 is most of the batch, until

the #3 is made by the command "call oscdimg -n -m -o -b"%dest%\etfsboot.com" "%winpe_arch%\iso" "%dest%\winpe3.iso""

 

:duff:

Wonko







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