MR Rescue Media, which we can create via the Other Tasks menu in Macrium Reflect, is based on Windows PE, that is to say an actual, although minimal, Windows operating system. Windows PE, warns Microsoft, is not designed to be the primary operating system on a computer. Yet, in case of need, we can boot from it as an alternative to everyday Windows, either from CD/DVD, USB drive or even from the internal hard disk if we add a Recovery Option to Windows Boot Manager menu (via the MR Other Tasks menu).
The main purpose of MR Rescue Media is for backup-related tasks, but some users may want to use it for other tasks too. In fact, MR Rescue Media WinPE includes a simple file explorer (PE Explorer) that allows to explore folders, delete, copy and paste files, or even launch programs with the usual double click. A simple text editor is provided too, as an alternative to Windows' own notepad.exe. Besides, we can run DOS-style commands and even PowerShell scripts.
There are some limitations, though. Just to say one, there are no file viewers nor editors for other file types such as PDF documents or images. Suppose you are browsing your backed up files but you can not see what's in a PDF or in a JPEG file unless you extract/restore them and reboot to regular Windows. Also, MR natively only supports BitLocker disk encryption, not VeraCrypt. More in general, you may wish to enrich your MR Rescue Media with new features and make it more like a full-blown "emergency disk".
Indeed, if your MR Rescue is on USB drive, adding portable apps to it is straightforward. Just create a new folder on the USB drive and drag and drop the app files.
Using them is easy too. When you boot from Rescue Media, use PE Explorer to open the app folder and double click on your app (sometimes it's inside a "bin" folder).
But then, you'll find out, not every app works in Windows PE.
First, you are supposed to only copy "portable" apps, meaning that no installation is needed.
Secondly, apps must match the "bit" version. 64-bit apps on 64-bit Rescue. 32-bit apps on 32-bit
. It's not like regular Windows where 32-bit run on 64-bit systems anyway.
Thirdly and most importantly, not all apps will work, anyway. Most apps just don't work in WinPE.
That's why I'm starting a list of Windows apps that do work (or at least seem to work, according to first preliminary tests) in my WinPE10-64b environment created with MR6.3.1835 (UEFI).
I'm going to update the list when I find new ones or new apps are recommended by other users in this thread. 64-bit apps:Snipaste 1.14
NirSoft UsbDeview 2.71
CPU-Z 1.80Sumatra PDF 3.1.2
Mini Tool Partition Wizard 10
(but it asks for the WinPE-enabled registered version)Recuva 1.53
Gimp 2.8 *
the Gimp portable app as such did not work, but copying from installed folder "c:\program files\GIMP 2" did work.Explorer++ **
** thanks jphughan
So far, the easy part. Now, suppose you need a Rescue CD, so you can't just add a folder the existing Rescue Media, or there are other reasons that make you want to integrate the new apps in WinPE when you create the Rescue Media, rather than add them later.
HOW TO INTEGRATE THE APPS
See Andrew's reply in this old thread: https://forum.macrium.com/Topic1587.aspx
Anyhow, here's how I do it in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (V. 1703 "Creators""), step by step:
1. If you never did it before, let MR Rescue Media Wizard download the PE10 "base" file, winpe.wim. It's a large file (over 200MB) but you just need to download it once.
In my PC, MR downloads winpe.wim to
C:\ProgramData\Macrium\Reflect\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Windows Preinstallation Environment\amd64\en-us
2. Copy winpe.wim to a new location, let's say D:\myfiles\, and rename it custom.wim.
3. From a command window (cmd.exe), run as admin the following command in order to "mount" the custom wim image and thus be able to put new items into it.
dism /mount-wim /wimfile:"D:\myfiles\custom.wim" /index:1 /MountDir:C:\boot\macrium\mount
Actually I run the command from another dos-like window that's called Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment, which comes with Windows 10 ADK https://developer.microsoft.com/it-it/windows/hardware/windows-assessment-deployment-kit#winADK
but I guess the ordinary command window should work too.
4. Copy your apps to c:\boot\macrium\mount\myapps
5. Run this command to save and unmount.
dism /Unmount-Wim /MountDir:C:\boot\macrium\mount /Commit
If you don't want to save, but discard changes, run
dism /Unmount-Wim /MountDir:C:\boot\macrium\mount /Discard
In any case, you must unmount what you mounted.
6. Run Macrium Reflect - Other Tasks - Rescue Media Creation Wizard, and click the Rebuild button when it shows ("Rebuild the rescue environment by copying the required files").
7. In the "Prepare Windows PE Image" select "Custom base WIM" D:/myfiles/custom.wim, and any other options you need.
8. After the Rebuild process, we are read to write the Rescue files to an USB drive or burn them to CD/DVD. If you instead terminate the procedure by clicking Cancel in the "Burn Rescue Media" window, and you added the Recovery Option to Windows boot, the rebuilt rescue environment will be available when you boot your PC anyway.
Finally, boot from your new MR Rescue Media environment, open the app folder and try if the apps work.
Keep in mind that, if you integrate the apps, you'll find them on drive "BOOT" ( X: ), which is RAM disk. That means that whatever changes you make on that drive, be it write, delete, edit settings, etc., they will be lost at reboot. On the other hand, what you do on other drives, is "for real", so be careful.
(POST EDITED TO ADD APPS AND EXPLANATIONS)