Discussion in 'Application Software' started by freddie-o, Jan 28, 2019.
Tried WinXshell. Not a fan of the UI .
I used the Explorer setting - then launched WinXshell via pecmd.ini - you end up with normal GUI but WinX start menu
My beloved portable app launcher (dock) is hidden halfway behind the taskbar. It's the same one I use in my main OS so if I adjust the positioning it will reflect there too.
Not really a fan of the Start menu.
But it works for testing... As windows 11 is still in the preview stage - as folks catch up with the changing times..
True. Different strokes for different folks
Talk about different strokes:
A few years ago I had this strange idea of using Autohotkey as a "shell" in my cusom PEs.
This is winpeshl.ini:
Everything is driven by Autohotkey code, no GUI shell, only hotkeys and nice (.ahk) graphical shells for .cmd scripts, diskpart stuff, UUP apply, etc.
And of course keys for launching my favorite tools.
Sounds strange, but actually works very well.
To this day I believe I'm the only one in the world who uses Autohotkey as a PE shell
For me I consider it my 2nd OS and so I use Win10XPE boot.wim in place of my Recovery winre.wim
It has to have a Desktop environment with all these capabilities
--prepping and installing Windows in my main PC
--installing other OSes to an external hard drive for testing purposes
--creating and restoring Images of my Windows OS
I understand, I also want the things you mentioned in my custom PE:
Spoiler: I used a spoiler for this because this section ran a little long...
- Prepping and installing Windows: Inspired by the great WinNTSetup by JFX, I made my own .ahk GUI, that lists the available .wim files in my "OS-Sources" folder, has a disk partition menu (it even recognizes my PCs based on BIOS string in registry), and an output window that lists all relevent OS info (which PC it recognizes, which HD, which partitions, diskpart output, HWID, etc.). All of this is done with basic MS tools and Autohotkey functions, it just displays it in a more informative way than normal Windows setup does. I never use standard setup.exe anymore...
In this manner, you can even apply UUP files, without the need to convert to .wim. Also, registry mods before setup starts, etc.
- Creating and restoring images: Same thing, for example I use Terabyte Image for Windows which is started with ctrl-sh-B ("Backup"). For things like this you don't need a graphical desktop environment at all. Using a hotkey has some advantages as well: some notebooks have unfamiliar/ hard to use touch pads, and accidentally clicking on the wrong button in these powerful tools can have some undesired consequences
Of course, I do use a grahical FILE explorer, for x64 PE (without WOW64) I use "JustManager" (which unfortunately is not actively supported anymore), for x86 (or x64 with WOW64), I use the excellent portable XYPlorer (even the old, free 11.90 version is GREAT for PE, lots of customizations possible with simple .ini files, hardly any file dependencies, apart from the WOW64 system in PE, of course).
- Troubleshooting: None of the major tools REQUIRE a graphical shell. My PE has a minimum of customizations (it builds in a few seconds, mostly using Eric Biggers' Wimlib with the "Update" command, no mounting and unmounting needed). For pure x64, I only need 2mb (Autohotkey.exe, Nircmd.exe for some commands missing in .ahk, Driveletterview.exe for restoring drive letters, Imdisk.exe for mounting my ISO with portable tools: TCC/LE command prompt, DriveSnapshot and other imagers, HWInfo, etc. etc.)
I'm not trying to convince you, like I said I think I'm the only one who uses AHK as a PE shell, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm not "missing out" on anything with regard to powerful tools. Of course, I also use Win10XPE, but having a minimal bare bones custom PE also has it advantages (one example: new Windows versions always have some new file dependencies for Explorer Desktop UI, as we're seeing with Windows 11 now).
Which brings us to Ventoy again: To me this is a great way of putting multiple PEs on a single USB, and with the latest release, some of the PE-related problems in earlier versions seem to be resolved. Have you tested the new version?
I just thought since we were on the subject I'd share also my opinions and preference
I appreciate that very much. It's almost as if I want you to tell me how my way of thinking sucks
No it's all about personalization depending on the need, use, scenario, etc...
Now that we're having a nice conversation going, and on topic in this thread;
- You wouldn't happen to know of another/ better File Manager for "x64 Only" PE? (Without WOW64)? Like I said, I'm using the excellent "JustManager", which unfortunately hasn't been in active development for years, and as you know 7Zip's File Manager is also very good, but maybe you've heard of others in the mean time?
(PS: There's also an x64 file manager on the @active Boot Disks, I believe, haven't used that in a while).
I'm content with Windows Explorer Personally I prefer reliability when doing tasks. So much so that for a dual pane file manager I just use this AutoIt script to open 2 instances of Explorer
When Windows Explorer would appear on the screen at the coordinates that I want (every time), in the View mode that I want (detail view), I might start using it.
But I guess that's a bit much to ask from our friends at Microsoft
Never mind all the other features I'm missing.
Still, thank you for replying, I appreciate that.
Will it be possible to run an SSD firmware update tool in WinPE? I had flashed an unofficial firmware onto the SSD which made it crash constantly. The firmware tool has to be run with the SSD as an attached storage device. NVMe enclosures are too expensive and the HDD in the laptop is wonky and can't be trusted with a firmware update I think. Or should I try with Windows To Go instead?
Early on I've tried flashing Adata M.2's from WinPE and it didn't work. Maybe it needed some VC runtimes or something.
With some of the new firmware updates, they update in stages, so a reboot is required. Your better off trying WinToGo...
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Hello @chrisr welcome back and thank you
Updated links of Win10XPE_2021-10-27 in the OP