WinPE – loading drivers to a live instance

Back in Vista/WinPE2 days, I recall going though some pain trying to load network and storage drivers into a live WinPE instance.  I vaguely recall giving up.  This experience has prevented me from even trying to do such a thing in more recent years.  However, today I really wanted to avoid building new WinPE media just to test the validity of a driver.  Fortunately, it appears WinPE has come a long way…

  1. Get you driver, load it to removable media, connect the media to your running WinPE instance.
  2. “cd” to the driver directory
  3. Run “drvload [path to inf file]”
  4. If you just loaded a network driver, run “wpeutil initializeNetwork”.
  5. Done!

This procedure allowed me to get an OS deployment done now, rather then spending hours loading drivers into our MS Deployment Workbench, rebuilding media, and testing, testing, testing.