You can create a single preinstallation environment by using Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) to employ Windows Setup to install both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. For example, you can use a 32-bit preinstallation environment to deploy both 32-bit versions and 64-bit versions of Windows® 7 and Windows Vista®.
The version of Setup must match the version of Windows that you are installing. For example, if you are installing a 64-bit version of Windows 7, then you must use the Windows 7 version of Windows Setup. You cannot install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) by using the Windows 7 version of Setup, and vice versa. This issue does not apply if you are using Windows Deployment Services to deploy the image. With Windows Deployment Services, the version of Setup must match or be newer than the version of Windows that you are installing.
There are several ways to perform this scenario:
- Use the ImageX /append command to
update an Install.wim file to include both 32-bit and 64-bit
versions of Windows.
Change the default Install.wim file in the /Sources directory to include a 64-bit version of Windows. During Windows Setup, the 64-bit version of Windows will be installed. If there are multiple Windows images of the same edition that apply to different architecture types, you must either select the correct Windows image during Setup or specify the
MetaDatasetting in an answer file. For more information about using
MetaData, see the Windows® Unattended Setup Reference.
- Use the command-line /installfrom
option of Setup.exe.
By using the /installfrom option of Setup.exe, you can specify a path to a different Install.wim file during Windows Setup. This facilitates the deployment of Windows images for different architecture types. For more information, see Windows Setup Command-Line Options.
- Use an answer file (Unattend.xml) for
By using an answer file with the
\ImageInstall\OSImage\InstallFrom\Pathsetting that is specified in the Microsoft-Windows-Setup component, you can perform cross-platform deployments during unattended installations.
Automatically Selecting a Windows Image to Install
If there are both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows editions in
a .wim file, you must choose which Windows image to install.
Typically, the product key you specify in the
ProductKey setting is used to determine which Windows
image to install. However, if there are two instances of the same
Windows edition - for example, Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit and
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit - you must specify which version to
install. You can use the
MetaData setting in an answer
file to select the index number of the edition you want to install
from the image file. For more information, see the Windows®
Unattended Setup Reference.
MetaData setting is used to specify
which image to install. Use the
Value settings in the
Microsoft-Windows-Setup component to specify which Windows image to
install. For example, if there are two versions of the Windows
Vista Ultimate for different architecture types in a Windows
image—for example, the 32-bit edition of Windows Vista Ultimate and
the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate—you must specify
metadata that corresponds to the image index, the name, the
description, or the architecture type. For the architecture type
metadata, use 0 for 32-bit and 9 for 64-bit. For more
information, see the
MetaData setting in the Windows®
Unattended Setup Reference.
The answer file must include processor-specific components. The answer file settings in the windowsPE configuration pass must match the architecture type of the preinstallation environment and the settings that apply to the Windows image must match the architecture type of the image. For example, if you are creating an answer file that deploys 64-bit images from a 32-bit preinstallation environment, all components in the answer file for the windowsPE configuration pass must include the processor type attribute of x86. Settings to be applied in the specialize, oobeSystem, or other configuration passes must include the processor attribute type of amd64.
Installing 64-bit Drivers
In 64-bit installations, all device drivers must be signed. In cross-architecture deployments, you can install an out-of-box device driver. However, if you install an unsigned out-of-box device driver in a 64-bit installation, it might result in an unusable installation. Unsigned boot-critical drivers will result in an unusable computer. Unsigned non-critical drivers will result in the device not being usable. All drivers included with Windows are signed. For more information, see Understanding Device Drivers and Deployment.
You can install 64-bit drivers to a Windows image during Windows Setup in one of the following ways:
- In attended installations, you can press F6
at the Disk Configuration page of Windows Setup, or click
the Load Driver button..
- In unattended installations, use the
Microsoft-Windows-PnpCustomizationsNonWinPE component in an answer
file to specify a driver path. For more information, see the
Windows® Unattended Setup Reference.
Limitations of Cross-Platform Deployments
- Cross-platform installation to an iSCSI-based
boot disk is not supported.
- Cross-architecture installations should only
be used in factory deployment, Windows Deployment Services
deployments, and clean-installation scenarios. OEMs should not
provide cross-architecture installation media to end users for
recovery or reinstallation. End users could install the wrong
version of Windows for the architecture of their computer. In
addition, the Windows Recovery feature included on the media would
only apply to 32-bit Windows installations.
Also, upgrade scenarios using a 32-bit version of Windows Setup to install a 64-bit operating system are blocked.
- Only x64 (AMD64) Windows editions are
supported from 32-bit preinstallation environments for
cross-architecture deployments. Cross-platform deployments of
Itanium-based Windows images are not supported. Additionally,
deploying a 32-bit image from a 64-bit preinstallation environment
is not supported.
- Cross-platform deployments of multilingual
Windows images that require language-pack installations are not
supported. 32-bit language packs cannot be installed onto 64-bit
Windows images. For cross-platform installations, language-pack
package "Add" actions are ignored because the architecture of the
language pack must match the architecture of the Windows image. We
recommend that language packs be installed to the offline Windows
image before deployment.
- Installing a 64-bit Windows image to a 32-bit
computer results in an unsuccessful installation. Ensure that you
are installing 64-bit Windows images on 64 bit–capable
- When you install a 64-bit version of Windows
from a 32-bit version of Windows PE, you must use
Windows PE 2.0 or Windows PE 3.0.
Cross-platform installations are supported only by these two
versions of Windows PE. Previous versions of Windows PE
do not support cross-platform installations.