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Since I need to run some Windows applications on unbootable Windows hosts, I need to find how to build a live image of Windows7 as an alternative to the Linux-based live solutions to run the OS off a USB keydrive.

I only know a little bit about WinPE (BarPE, etc.), and need to learn more before deciding if it's a good alternative. I'm especially concerned about the need to include a lot of video/network (Ethernet and wifi) drivers so that users aren't stuck with a non-functioning solution.

I didn't find forums about where to ask, so figured maybe someone here would know a lot of WinPE and could help.

Thank you.

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Put in a new HDD and install a temp copy of windows on this temp HDD. Run applications that you need to and remove the HDD whenever you are finished. –  kobaltz Mar 16 '12 at 12:41
    
I do not believe Windows 7 by default supports this. Windows 8 will support this when its released. –  Ramhound Mar 16 '12 at 12:50

2 Answers 2

If you really want to run Windows 7 from a USB drive, you may use a Utility like WinBuilder to make a portable environment.

Windows 7 does NOT natively support this functionality, but it is possible by creating a Ramdisk image (WinBuilder automatically does it). By using WinBuilder you can also create PE (Preinstall Environment OR Portable Environment) of other Windows OS, too.

If you want to embed or install your apps into the PE, you may need to read some MSKB and MSDN Articles. WinBuilder has an option to make an ISO file or a bootable USB. You can make an ISO and Write it to USB (you will have a backup at least), or make a bootable USB directly (you need to go through the whole process each time you want to create a bootable USB).

For drivers, you can use some third party utility to do the same (eg: RT7Lite).

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I can Really Help you into that if You want. –  Akshat Mittal Mar 16 '12 at 14:06

The linux live-cd BootMed comes with Wine set up and ready to use. Depending on what window's applications you're trying to run, this could be a solution.

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This doesn't let the user make a Windows 7 live-cd. –  Ramhound Mar 16 '12 at 13:47
    
@Ramhound But it does let him "run some Windows applications" which he states is his goal. –  David Oneill Mar 16 '12 at 15:58

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