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I'm trying to figure out a way to add an application into WinPE so that I can run it from the command line (specifically, Firefox though I will probably have to add IE as well). I've read through this tutorial, but it seems to be concerned with adding applications that the user has created as opposed to a third party. Am I missing something? Can I simply copy C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox to a folder in the mounted WinPE image?

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I don`t think it is possible to insert GUI applications such Firefox on WINPE. As far I know only command-based programs are allowed... – Diogo Jun 1 '12 at 1:08
I'm certain that it is. In fact, the WinPE-HTA package "Enables the creation of GUI applications using the Internet Explorer script engine and HTML services.". I assume that I need that package, but I do not know what else I need. – graf_ignotiev Jun 1 '12 at 17:51
Take a look at this video. Maybe it helps. – Diogo Jun 1 '12 at 18:01
Also, WinPE-HTA is a tool already provided for WINPE, it is a optional tool as the related website says, it is not a standalone application such as Firefox... I'm hope I'm wrong, but I still think installing aditional softwares such as GUI-based tools are not allowed on WINPE. – Diogo Jun 1 '12 at 18:06
I'm reading through this post and it seems to indicate that what I'm looking for is possible, but I have to look through it and see if it delivers. – graf_ignotiev Jun 1 '12 at 21:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have been working away on doing this at my company and it is actually really easy to run a browser in WinPE. All you need to do is download a portable browser (Chrome, Firefox etc... IE is the only one that is not able to be portable).

So search online for "Chrome portable" or "Firefox portable" and download that. Then move the portable browser into the WinPE image (I put it in %systemdrive%\windows\system32\).

Once you are at the command prompt in WinPE you can just type the name of the executable and it will run the portable browser.

An example of this is: I want to run Google Chrome in WinPE, I downloaded the portable Chrome browser and moved the folder and files into the WinPE image under the system32 folder. I boot in WinPE and at command prompt I type:


Now you have a web browser in WinPE. You may have to change your directories to point to wherever you injected the browser into the image, but you get the point. After doing that, you can also create a batch file to run this at WinPE startup but thats another topic.

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make a shortcut, rename to the program name only (eg: Firefox) and copy to /Windows directory. You can now run firefox from the command line, parameters are working too (eg: "firefox" will open firefox and the website)

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I'm pretty confused by your answer. Can you go into more detail? Especially in the steps before I would make a shortcut. Specifically, I need more instructions on how to install firefox in the first place. – graf_ignotiev Jun 1 '12 at 17:32

When I made my PE3 disk, I applied the .wim to a blank hard drive on my test machine and made edits while booted from the hard drive. Then I would commit the changes back to a .wim and reboot to see if everything worked. I found this to be very convenient when adding programs (especially non-portable apps) because shortcuts had targets that actually existed and the apps were being tested in the actual environment they were expected to run in before they were actually committed to a disk. Most apps can be installed normally as you would in normal windows using this method. And any registry edits and temp files are saved and it just works better all around because every bit of that is being saved back to a .wim

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As far as firefox, just use 7-zip and extract the firefox installer. Inside is the entire contents of what would be installed to c:\program files\mozilla firefox and it even works as a portable app :) just copy it to program files in the PE and you should be set! – Ben Bryan Sep 1 '14 at 1:56

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