For every installation of Windows Vista, you need an image in the WIM format. One great feature of WIM images is that you can mount and inject them with device drivers or other files. In this post, I will be explaining how to mount an image in a WIM file with ImageX. ImageX is the tool for capturing and applying images. But it can also be used to modify an image. This article is based on Windows Vista Beta 2.

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ImageX is part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) , which is a part of Business Desktop Deployment (BDD 2007). You can download it at Microsoft Connect . After installing BDD 2007, you have to install WAIK. You find the WAIK installation folder in the BDD Vista folder. There is the WAIK setup file for every CPU type. For a 32-bit Intel CPU you can start waikx86.msi, for example.

To be able to mount an image, you have to install the WIM filter first. Start the Windows Explorer with Administrator rights. To do so, you have to right click on its icon. Then, go to C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\tools. There, you can choose the correct folder for your CPU type. To install the WIM filter, right click on wimfltr.inf and then click on "install". Now, you have to reboot.

You will find the ImageX tool in the same folder as wimfltr.inf. As it is command line tool, you have to open this folder on the Command Prompt. Don't forget to start the Command Prompt with Administrator rights.

Before you can mount an image, you have to find out the image number within the WIM file since it can contain more than one image. The WIM file of my Windows Vista Beta 2 DVD contains seven images; for every Windows edition, one image. Enter "imagex /info img_file", where "img_file" represents the location of the WIM file. You should see now the description of the WIM file as an XML file. The name of the tag for the image number is IMAGE INDEX.

One last step is necessary before we can finally mount the image. Create a new folder where the image shall be mounted. This is the image path. Now, you can mount the image:

imagex /mount img_file img_number img_path

With this command, you only have read access to the image. If you want to inject a device driver or a file, you also need write access. The command for this looks like this:

imagex /mountrw img_file img_number img_path

Once you've modified the image you can unmount it with this command:

imagex /unmount /commit img_path

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Update: Please, also check out my article about GImageX, a GUI tool for mounting WIM files and DISM another tool that can be used to mount WIM images.

  1. Avatar
    Velvettrooper 16 years ago

    one step that is missing in the writeup is that you need to export the image prior to mounting it. from within the WDS console, right click the image you want to mount and select “export image”. other than that, this is an excellent write up on how to do this!!

  2. Avatar
    Joshua 15 years ago

    is there any way of getting the WIM filter separatley from the WAIK??

  3. Avatar
    pinky656 15 years ago

    I have a big problem. When i write the command in the CMD, it says: access denied. please can you help me?

  4. Avatar
    Divya 15 years ago

    Since WAIK is 1GB and you only want ImageX. Look at this page, which has a link to a seperate ImageX and WIM filter.

  5. Avatar
    Yuva 15 years ago

    I succeeded in my first try on referring to your post.. Great Job dear. I was struggling how to extract the WIM Image file.. Neat post dude.

    Systems Engineer,
    Microsoft Navic Networks.

  6. Avatar
    Jesse Proulx 15 years ago

    Pinky656: Hey i had a very similar problem. I fixed it by going to windows aik folder/tools/*select your processor Architecture*(amd64 for any mainstream 64 bit proc or x86 for 32bit procs)/

    then right clicking on wimfltr.inf and doing install.

    not sure why but then there is an issue with the wim filter driver it says access denied. hope that helps.

  7. Avatar
    Jesse Proulx 15 years ago

    wow epic reading fail. sorry about that. but yeah try doing that step again as described in the article. also after you mount it in read/write you need to unmount the image with the /commit argument

    imagex /unmount /commit c:\path_to_mount_point

  8. Avatar
    Stone 11 years ago

    The access denied for me was caused by anti-virus on the server I was trying to mount to.

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