I'm walking through the following step-by-step guide for deploying Windows 7 via AIK: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349348%28WS.10%29.aspx

On step 4 (Capturing the Installation onto a Network Share), I run into a bit of a snag: attempting to connect to a network drive repeatedly fails. I'm using/deploying Dell Optiplex 380 64 bit machines, and the network cards seem to be really wonky. On the machine that I'm using to run AIK etc, the network driver wasn't found automatically. I had to manually go in and install the driver (which was found on the OEM installation media). I've since copied this to the USB key that I'm using for the Autounattend.xml so its handy.

I think that because of this, the PE environment doesn't or can't instantiate the network device.

Is there a way to install/configure the network device through the command prompt in PE? If not, I read about adding in the answer file path(s) to drivers, but if I did it this way, would I have to start the process all over again (i.e. create new Autounattend.xml with the PnPcustomizations path included, re-run the installation on the reference machine, install all the applications, re-make the PE iso, reboot into new PE iso)?

Any shortcuts, direction, or advice would be appreciated.


  • It's damn rare that a NIC driver from a major manufacturer doesn't make it into WinPE. You can also copy pnputil (from Win7) to WinPE 3.0 and use it to load drivers on the fly with pnputil -i driver.inf – Chris S May 22 '10 at 5:03
  • I guess this was one of those rare occurrences. After mounting the .wim to inject the driver, I looked in the INF folder, and indeed the driver wasn't in there. Thanks! – stormdrain May 22 '10 at 16:37

You are asking two different things with two different answers.

1)You can use netsh to set network preferences from the command line in WinPE.

2)If your problem is the lack of a network driver, you can inject it directly into the .wim that you are using as your preinstall environment with DISM, which is part of WAIK. This will cause your network device to be properly detected and initialized when using WinPE. Your existing unattended files will continue to work properly.

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  • I guess I wasn't totally clear - sorry. But the problem was lack of driver, so #2 was exactly what I needed. I followed the instructions in your link, injected the driver, re-made the iso, and I have network connectivity! Thanks very much. – stormdrain May 22 '10 at 16:39

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