Macrium Support Forum

7.2 choices: WinPE or WinRE?

By dbminter - 30 October 2018 11:06 PM

I'm in the process now of updating Reflect 7.1 to 7.2.  I understand that in the Rescue Media Builder in 7.2, there's an option between booting to WinPE and WinRE.  I'd never heard of WinRE until recently, so I was always using WinPE and have only used that.  Unless WinRE is what boots from the Windows 10 installation flash drive media when you choose repair options or WinRE boots from the Recovery Drive.  Either way, if there's the option to choose between WinPE and WinRE for Reflect Recovery Media, which is preferred?  What's the difference between the two?

By jphughan - 31 October 2018 1:12 AM

WinRE is Windows Recovery Environment.  It's the environment that exists on the Recovery partition that gets created as part of default Windows installation since Windows 7 (or Vista?).  If your system doesn't have a Recovery partition, the WIM file for WinRE should still be at \Windows\System32\Recovery.  Reflect can pull the necessary files from either of those locations.  It's built on top of WinPE with a custom UI that does not get carried over into Reflect Rescue Media.  So technically both the WinRE builds and WinPE builds run on Windows PE, but I suspect the naming was implemented this way to distinguish having Reflect build from the system's WinRE environment vs. a downloaded Windows ADK.

In terms of which is preferred, there's no universal answer, but in general WinRE is the recommended choice for most users because it does offer some benefits.  First, it's the only way to get WiFi support on Rescue Media if that's important to you.  Second, it obviates the need to download a large Windows ADK.  And third, it's always kept in sync with the version of Windows you're running, which means if Microsoft adds some new feature to a future version of WinPE/WinRE that's useful for your system, you don't have to wait for Macrium to update Reflect to officially support that newer version anymore before you can build your Rescue Media with it.  On the other hand, if you're running Windows 7 (for example) and want to build your Rescue Media with a newer WinPE version in order to gain broader hardware support (USB 3.0, NVMe, UEFI, etc.) -- or for that matter if you for some reason need to build your Rescue Media with an older version of WinPE -- then you'll have to use the WinPE options, because again your WinRE version will always match your "main" Windows version, and there are times where you might specifically not want that.
By dbminter - 31 October 2018 1:26 AM

I went with the WinRE option because the wizard said it was recommended for my system.  It seems to be what I needed.  Unless it was automatically enabled by default, I didn't have to enable Legacy EFI support to get the proper resolution for my screen in the WinRE rescue media.  And it detected my SSD, which I had problems with on WinPE 5, which had a proper screen resolution but didn't recognize the SSD and the WinPE 10 which recognized my SSD but had the incorrect screen resolution.

Thanks for explaining the differences!