Group: Forum Members
WinRE is the only way to get WiFi support, so if you need that, then that's your answer. Otherwise....
WinRE can be convenient because it doesn't require a download and having to store that download going forward. It also ensures that your Rescue Media uses the same Windows kernel as your main OS, which means if any additional drivers are needed, the drivers installed in the host OS will be usable by the Windows kernel used by Rescue Media, which makes things easier for less experienced users. (On the other hand if you're using an old version of Windows, using a newer kernel for Rescue Media might avoid the need to add drivers in the first place.) WinRE also usually gets updated to newer Windows kernels as Windows itself gets updated, although the current WinPE/RE release is 10 2004, since 20H2 and 21H1 did not include a WinPE/RE kernel update. That can mean that you have a broader library of built-in driver support, which might be useful especially if you ever need to use that Rescue Media on a different PC, possibly unexpectedly. But updates can be a double-edged sword. The initial release of Win10 1809 before Microsoft recalled it contained a WinPE/RE bug that broke Reflect Rescue's automatic driver loading at startup, even though manually loading those drivers still worked. The re-release fixed that, but people who updated to Win10 1809 early and were using WinRE for Rescue Media found that their Rescue Media didn't work properly anymore. By comparison, WinPE 10 always uses the specific release specified by Macrium (currently 10 1709), so that type of issue would not occur.
I personally use WinPE 10 because I have no need for WiFi, I have ample storage to cache the download, and I specifically do NOT want my Rescue Media to be built on a shifting "foundation". I would prefer to use one that Macrium has tested and that will not change simply because I updated Windows.
The choice of WinPE vs. WinRE would not affect what happens to your system after you perform a restore. It's just the OS that Reflect Rescue runs on, and once you're not running it anymore, then it's not part of the picture anymore. The driver support has nothing to do with drivers for your installed Windows environment, but rather drivers necessary to see your hardware while the Rescue environment itself is running.
As for SSD lifespan, first of all the WinPE package doesn't get updated constantly. It gets downloaded once does not get updated afterward. The exception would be if Macrium updated Reflect to have WinPE 10 use a newer release than 1709, in which case you'd have to download that new release once, and then that wouldn't get updated either. But as a point of reference, my Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB SSD is rated for 600 TBW (terabytes written). I've used it as the sole internal storage in my everyday laptop, and after 18 months of use, Samsung Magician says I've written 12 TB to it over its lifetime. So at this rate, my SSD will last me 75 years. Even if you had a lower capacity model that has a lower endurance rating due to having fewer cells to use for wear leveling, I would say there's still plenty of headroom.