AMOEI PE Builder is a freeware tool that allows you to create a Windows recovery CD/DVD/ISO with an easy-to use GUI. In addition, you get a couple of useful recovery tools, such as a free system backup tool and a partition manager.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor in chief of 4sysops. He has more than 35 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

Creating a recovery CD ^

A while back, I described how you can create your recovery CD with the WAIK (WAIK was renamed to Windows ADK). The procedure is not complicated, but it involves a lot of type-type because you have to do most of the installation work at a command prompt.

Windows PE with Explorer

Windows PE with Explorer

With AMOEI’s PE Builder, the process will go much faster. Also, you don’t need to download the Windows ADK, and quite a few useful troubleshooting tools are already included. In addition, you can start Microsoft’s Windows Recovery Environment from AMOEI’s Windows PE installation.

Adding files and drivers

Adding files and drivers

The freeware tool comes with an easy-to-use wizard. After five clicks, your recovery CD is ready to be created. You will need a few more clicks only if you want to add your own tools and drivers, which the wizard supports. At the end of the procedure, you can burn your CD/DVD, create a USB recovery stick, or just store your installation as an ISO file which you can use in virtual environments.

Creating bootable media

Creating bootable media

Note that you can’t create the recovery CD on Windows 8.1. At the moment, the PE Builder wizard only runs on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012. However, you can use the boot media that the tool creates to recover a Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 machine.

Included recovery tools ^

PE Builder’s wizard allows you to choose which of the integrated tools you want to include in your recovery CD. Since they are all quite lightweight, I see no reason not to copy them all to your Windows PE installation. The integrated tools are as follows:

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard: A partition manager can certainly be useful if you have to troubleshoot a Windows installation that is unable to boot up.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard: Before you start troubleshooting a Windows installation in offline mode, you might want to create a system image so you can restore the original installation if you totally messed it up.

AOMEI Backupper Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard

Everything: For some reason, this tool is not selected by default in the PE Builder’s boot media creation wizard, but I find the tool quite useful for troubleshooting. It is a search utility that displays all files of the Windows installation that you want to recover. The very fast search filter allows you to locate every file within seconds.

Everything

Everything

Recuva: This nice undelete tool fits very well on every recovery CD. Whenever you have to undelete important files, it makes sense to unplug the machine immediately to ensure that Windows doesn’t have the chance to overwrite the accidentally deleted files. You can then undelete the files when the Windows installation is offline.

Recuva

Recuva

QtWeb: This lightweight and portable web browser allows you to download more troubleshooting tools from your Windows PE environment. Be aware that, for some reason, the browser has problems with HTTPS.

QTWeb

QtWeb

Other tools included are 7-Zip (file archiver), IrfanView (image viewer/converter), Notepad++ (my favorite text editor), SumatraPDF (helpful if you have to read documentation during your troubleshooting session), Q-Dir (nice file explorer), PENetwork (useful network configuration tool), FileZilla (FTP, FTPS, and SFTP client), OSFMount (mounts images as virtual drives), BOOTICE (restores the MBR and the Partition Boot Record), and CPU-Z (gathers information about the CPU, RAM, mainboard, etc.).

The AMOEI web page also lists NTPWEdit, a freeware tool that allows you to reset Windows passwords, but I couldn’t find it on the recovery CD. However, it shouldn’t be a big problem to add the tool with PE Builder’s wizard.

Conclusion ^

AMOEI PE Builder allows you to quickly create a bootable troubleshooting media and comes with quite a few useful tools. Windows PE is lightweight and boots up quickly from optical discs, which is perhaps the biggest advantage over a Window To Go recovery environment for which you also need a Software Assurance license. A downside of Windows PE certainly is that you can only use portable recovery tools.

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14 Comments
  1. aaron83 5 years ago

    NICE!!..thanks a lott!..i have 3 day searching and downloading windows aik tools....pe builder is teh final solutions.......thanks a lot again!!

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  2. Michael Pietroforte 5 years ago

    You are welcome. Just notice that PE builder is only for creating recovery media whereas the ADK tools are mostly for deploying Windows.

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  3. Ron MVP 5 years ago

    Thanks for finding an alternate PE builder. I've been looking for a while now.

    PS: as well as using "Everything" during recovery, I have been using it in place of the build in Windows File Find tool for several years now. I find the near instant file name search very useful and have adopted a file naming (including IE Favorites names) to make file name searches easier and more successful. (I don't need the text search feature which requires file indexing). I highly recommend it for anyone who does file name searches with any regularity.

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  4. Michael Pietroforte 5 years ago

    Yeah, Everything is amazingly fast, but don't you also need indexing for file name search?

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  5. Mike 5 years ago

    Too bad the AOMEI tool won't run on Win 8.1.

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  6. aaron83 5 years ago

    hi, i have 3 day try to use this tools but fails!....make correctly the iso or usb pensdrive instalation and even, boot correctly, but loading some drivers fails, system reboot one, and once agains....tomoroy im goin to uploa a printscreen with errors...i try to edit wim for delete the missing drivers and see what happen at the end...regards!

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  7. […] Create a recovery CD with PE Builder This caught my attention rather quickly.  A long time ago, around 2006 I used something called Bart PE Builder to do a rescue type CD.  I used it a lot and it save a lot of customers over the years.  The last version of it was in 2006 and the web site is still up!  But there is a new vendor in this space – AMOEI’s PE Builder is the tool.  The result is the same thing – an ISO that you can use to rescue physical or virtual machines that are having boot issues.  Rescue meaning to edit the partition table or copy files off the partition.  Find out more here. […]

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  8. Michael Pietroforte 5 years ago

    Mike, yeah it is a bit strange. You try to run in it compatibility mode, but I didn't try that.

    aaron83, did you create the boot media on the same machine?

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  9. aaron83 5 years ago

    Michael Pietroforte yes, i create a iso and usb stick but drivers missing warning and restart OS latter was the only thing i get....i edit wim'AMOEI’s PE Builder and wim'AIK to see diferences but really are a few...iso and usb stick boot created with AIK, boot ok into virtual and others hardw....for now i start to add portables tools into wim'AIK but without gui or explorer interface....a very minimalistic enviroment....
    Wherever im so curiouse to see AMOEI’s PE Builder running and drivers loading error make me stop...anyone have the same problems?....
    Thanks and regards!

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  10. Michael Pietroforte 5 years ago

    Hmm sounds odd. The machine where you create the ISO should have all the drivers. Maybe you try to create the ISO on another computer.

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  11. aaron83 5 years ago

    no work 🙁 ,i have tested exec only into one pc AMOEI’s PE Builder, i think maybe iso creation and latter booting into virtual pc have some error in drivers' loading...but i prepare usb stick and boot directly, no virtual pc to depure drivers'error in that way...well, after all i have to continue my "own" project, personalize and adding a few, ore same tools using AIK...after all, i only need boot a minimalistic enviroment, a few graphical tools to partitioning, recovery, clone, view folders into "old sys" and stuff like that....

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  12. Edward 5 years ago

    Thank you! Downloaded, installed, and tested. No problem. Excellent program. By the way, this tool is called AOMEI PE Builder, but not AMOEI. I noticed the vendor's website stated the latest version supports win8.1. http://www.aomeitech.com/pebuilder/changelog.html

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  13. Michael Pietroforte 5 years ago

    Edward, thanks a lot for the hints! I updated the article accordingly.

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  14. Thalles 4 years ago

    there is a way to include the winpe powershell windows using AMOEIs PE Builder?

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