The Windows Imaging Format (WIM) is a file-based disk image format developed by Microsoft to help deploy Windows operating system. The DISM tool (Deployment Image Service and Management Tool) can perform servicing tasks on a WIM file. For example, you can add or remove a device driver from an offline image.
However, when you download Windows 10 using Media Creation Tool or the Windows 10 Upgrade assistant, you’ll find
install.esd instead of
install.wim has given way to
install.esd, an Electronic Software Download (ESD) file format, perhaps due to its high compression ratio.
ESD is a highly compressed format whose file size comes around 80% compared to WIM image. But the ESD image format is read-only and thus has drawbacks. For instance, it can’t be deployed using a WDS server. So you need to convert the ESD file to a WIM file to service the image or to deploy it. You’ll need convert the
install.wim in the Windows source in order to integrate updates and drivers (a.k.a. slipstream) with the original setup disk.
How to Convert ESD to WIM in Windows 10
NTLite is an excellent tool that helps you integrate updates, drivers, automate Windows and application setup, speed-up the Windows deployment process, and have it all set for the next time. It can easily convert an .ESD file to .WIM format.
Start NTLite and add a source (image directory or point to a .esd file)
Right-click on the source, and click Convert, and select WIM (standard, editable) from the submenu.
It asks for confirmation. The confirmation window also has a checkbox named Replace source image. Enable the option if you don’t want the source image (.ESD).
The ESD to WIM conversion (or vice versa) operation may take around 10 minutes to complete, depending upon the Windows 10 version and ESD/WIM file size.
Here you go!
It’s extremely easy using NTLite. If you prefer a native and command-line method, we have the DISM command-line to accomplish the task.
Convert ESD to WIM Using DISM in Windows 10
To convert an ESD file to WIM format (e.g.,
install.wim) using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool (DISM) in Windows 10, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Create a folder named Win10_ISO
- Create a folder on your hard disk and name it
- If you already have a Windows 10 installation USB flash drive created using Media Creation Tool, copy
X:\is the drive letter of your USB flash drive.
#1. If you have a dual architecture Windows 10 Setup USB media, copy the
install.esdfile for correct bitness to
D:\Win10_ISO. Windows 32-bit one is found under
\x86\Sourcesfolder for 32 bit, and the 64-bit version is located under
\x64\Sourcesfolder. Maintain the same directory structure in the destination folder.
#2. If you have the Windows 10 ISO image, mount the ISO by right-clicking on it and clicking Mount. Access the mounted drive and copy the entire contents to
Step 2: Find the Windows Editions & Indexes Info in the ESD file
- Open an elevated Command Prompt window.
- Type one of the appropriate commands below to find the Windows editions (and their indexes) available in the ESD file.
(For more details, check out article Find the Windows version, build and edition from ISO or DVD.)(a) If ESD file was copied from USB flash drive to
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:D:\Win10_ISO\install.esd
(b) If ISO contents were copied to
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:D:\Win10_ISO\Sources\install.esd
(c) If your ISO is dual-arch, use the appropriate path.
Windows 32-bit ESD file:
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:D:\Win10_ISO\x86\Sources\install.esd
Windows 64-bit ESD file:
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:D:\Win10_ISO\x64\Sources\install.esd
- Note down the index number for the preferred Windows 10 Edition (Home, Pro etc).
Step 3: Convert ESD to WIM Using DISM
For purpose of illustration, we’ll extract the Windows 10 Pro image (
Index Number: 1 as in the above screenshot) to a WIM file.
- Type the following command to convert ESD to WIM:
dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:D:\Win10_ISO\install.esd /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:D:\Win10_ISO\install.wim /Compress:Max /CheckIntegrity
The source path in the above command applies if you copied the ESD file from the USB flash drive to
Instead, if you copied ISO contents from a single architecture (32 or 64 bit) Media Creation Tool ISO to
D:\Win10_ISOfolder, use this source path:
For dual architecture ISO image, the valid paths are below (for x86 and x64 respectively):
D:\Win10_ISO\x86\Sources\install.esd or D:\Win10_ISO\x64\Sources\install.esd
DISM starts extracting the ESD to WIM format. It’s a resource-intensive task which may take 10 minutes or so to complete.
It’s done now. Compare the file sizes of
install.wimto your USB flash drive, and then delete the
install.esdfile on your USB drive as well as
Note: If you have a multi-architecture ISO, repeat the process for the other bit version (x86 or x64) in the same way.
That’s it! You’ve now converted the ESD file
install.esd to WIM format (
install.wim). You can now create an ISO (of
D:\Win10_ISO folder contents) using NTLite, PowerISO, or any other software.
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About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.