There are situations where you need a specific Windows system file from the
install.wim image present in a Windows 10 setup disk or ISO. In the case of missing system files, the DISM & SFC procedure will automatically restore them. Alternatively, you can restore missing Windows system files (of any version) from the WinBindex.
So, why do you need the install.wim extraction method?
In some circumstances, extracting from
install.wim in Windows ISO/DVD is the only option possible. Let’s say you want to repair or restore the Windows Recovery Environment on a computer. For that, you’ll need the
WinRE.wim image present inside the
install.esd in a Windows 10 DVD or ISO.
(For a piece of brief information about ESD & WIM formats, go to the end of this article.)
There are at least two ways to extract files from the Windows 10 Setup DVD or ISO. Though the title says “Windows 10”, the instructions below apply to Windows Vista through Windows 10.
Extract individual files from Windows 10 DVD or ISO (install.wim)
In this example, let’s see how to extract a file named
WinRE.wim from the Windows 10 Setup disk or ISO.
Method 1: Using 7-Zip to extract files from Install.wim
- Download and install 7-Zip from
- Insert your Windows 10 DVD and browse to the
Sourcesfolder inside the DVD. If you have a Windows 10 ISO, double-click the ISO to mount the ISO to a drive letter.In multi-arch DVDs, make sure you access the correct “Sources” folder matching your computer’s bitness (x86 or x64). The paths are “X:\x86\Sources” & “X:\x64\Sources” for 32-bit and 64-bit versions, respectively.Note: The Mount feature is built-in in Windows 8, 8.1, and Windows 10. In Windows 7 and earlier, you need to use a third-party tool such as WinCDEmu, or WinISO to mount ISO to a drive letter.
- In the Sources folder, right-click
install.wim, click 7-Zip, and click Open archive.
- Each index you inside the
install.wimrepresents a Windows Edition.You’ll need to find the index number of the edition you want. To do that, double-click to open the
.xmlfile. It opens in Internet Explorer by default.You can see the list of indexes and the corresponding Windows edition. For example, here are the details about the Windows 10 Professional Edition (Index #6) image.
-<IMAGE INDEX="6"> <DIRCOUNT>20479</DIRCOUNT> <FILECOUNT>89140</FILECOUNT> <TOTALBYTES>14413947833</TOTALBYTES> <HARDLINKBYTES>5930108924</HARDLINKBYTES> -<CREATIONTIME> <HIGHPART>0x01D62758</HIGHPART> <LOWPART>0x0BE4BCB2</LOWPART> </CREATIONTIME> -<LASTMODIFICATIONTIME> <HIGHPART>0x01D6275C</HIGHPART> <LOWPART>0xE8134B3E</LOWPART> </LASTMODIFICATIONTIME> <WIMBOOT>0</WIMBOOT> -<WINDOWS> <ARCH>9</ARCH> <PRODUCTNAME>Microsoft® Windows® Operating System</PRODUCTNAME> <EDITIONID>Professional</EDITIONID> <INSTALLATIONTYPE>Client</INSTALLATIONTYPE> -<SERVICINGDATA> <GDRDUREVISION>0</GDRDUREVISION> <PKEYCONFIGVERSION>10.0.19041.1;2016-01-01T00:00:00Z</PKEYCONFIGVERSION> <IMAGESTATE>IMAGE_STATE_GENERALIZE_RESEAL_TO_OOBE</IMAGESTATE> </SERVICINGDATA> <PRODUCTTYPE>WinNT</PRODUCTTYPE> <PRODUCTSUITE>Terminal Server</PRODUCTSUITE> -<LANGUAGES> <LANGUAGE>en-GB</LANGUAGE> <FALLBACK LANGUAGE="en-GB">en-US</FALLBACK> <DEFAULT>en-GB</DEFAULT> </LANGUAGES> -<VERSION> <MAJOR>10</MAJOR> <MINOR>0</MINOR> <BUILD>19041</BUILD> <SPBUILD>264</SPBUILD> <SPLEVEL>0</SPLEVEL> <BRANCH>vb_release</BRANCH> </VERSION> <SYSTEMROOT>WINDOWS</SYSTEMROOT> </WINDOWS> <NAME>Windows 10 Pro</NAME> <DESCRIPTION>Windows 10 Pro</DESCRIPTION> <FLAGS>Professional</FLAGS> <DISPLAYNAME>Windows 10 Pro</DISPLAYNAME> <DISPLAYDESCRIPTION>Windows 10 Pro</DISPLAYDESCRIPTION> </IMAGE>To summarize the XML file’s contents, here is the list of indexes found inside the
install.wimand the corresponding editions.
1 - Windows 10 Home 2 - Windows 10 Home N 3 - Windows 10 Home Single Language 4 - Windows 10 Education 5 - Windows 10 Education N 6 - Windows 10 Pro 7 - Windows 10 Pro N 8 - Windows 10 Pro Education 9 - Windows 10 Pro Education N 10 - Windows 10 Pro for Workstations 11 - Windows 10 Pro N for Workstations
As a side note, I’ve found that the WinRE.wim (Windows Recovery Environment image) file size is precisely the same in every Windows 10 Edition. However, the best practice would be to get a copy only from the specific index folder in the install.wim.
The ISOs downloaded from Microsoft site contain multiple Windows images combined into a single .wim file. If you have a custom ISO or DVD (e.g., distributed by your organization) has a single Windows image (Pro, Home, Education Edition, etc.), the index number folders won’t exist.
- Double-click the appropriate index number folder in 7-Zip. For instance, if you’re looking to extract files for Windows 10 Pro, double-click the folder named “
- Browse to the
Winre.wimto the desired location.
- Close 7-Zip.
- Unmount the ISO or eject the Setup DVD from the drive.
Using the above method, you can extract any file from the
7-Zip supports the ESD format as well. That means you don’t have to convert the install.esd to install.wim to extract its contents.
DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool) tool is to service online and offline Windows images. To mount the
install.wim file and extract its contents, follow these steps:
Note: If you have
install.esd instead of
install.wim, you’ll need to convert the ESD to WIM format before you can mount it using DISM.
- Insert your Windows 10 DVD and browse to the
Sourcesfolder inside the DVD. If you have a Windows 10 ISO, double-click the ISO to mount the ISO to a drive letter.
- Open an elevated Command Prompt window.
- Find the list of indexes and the corresponding editions found in the
install.wim, by running the following command:
dism /get-wiminfo /wimfile:"G:\sources\install.wim"
G:\is the drive letter of the mounted ISO or Windows Setup DVD.
In the case of ISOs downloaded from Microsoft, you’ll see more indexes (Meaning: Multiple windows images or different editions combined into the install.wim). For example, here’s the list of indexes found inside the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft:
Index : 1 Name : Windows 10 Home Description : Windows 10 Home Size : 14,168,728,218 bytes Index : 2 Name : Windows 10 Home N Description : Windows 10 Home N Size : 13,409,860,497 bytes Index : 3 Name : Windows 10 Home Single Language Description : Windows 10 Home Single Language Size : 14,168,323,899 bytes Index : 4 Name : Windows 10 Education Description : Windows 10 Education Size : 14,413,769,870 bytes Index : 5 Name : Windows 10 Education N Description : Windows 10 Education N Size : 13,651,680,505 bytes Index : 6 Name : Windows 10 Pro Description : Windows 10 Pro Size : 14,413,947,833 bytes Index : 7 Name : Windows 10 Pro N Description : Windows 10 Pro N Size : 13,649,482,925 bytes Index : 8 Name : Windows 10 Pro Education Description : Windows 10 Pro Education Size : 14,413,708,288 bytes Index : 9 Name : Windows 10 Pro Education N Description : Windows 10 Pro Education N Size : 13,651,618,023 bytes Index : 10 Name : Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Description : Windows 10 Pro for Workstations Size : 14,413,739,079 bytes Index : 11 Name : Windows 10 Pro N for Workstations Description : Windows 10 Pro N for Workstations Size : 13,651,649,264 bytes
- Now, let’s mount the image
#6(Windows 10 Pro) to a folder using the following commands:
md C:\WinMount dism /mount-wim /wimfile:"G:\sources\install.wim" /index:6 /mountdir:"C:\WinMount" /ReadOnly
The 2nd command-line takes a few minutes to complete. It extracts/maps the
install.wim(the specified index #) to the mentioned folder so that you can access its contents using File Explorer.
If you skip the
/ReadOnlyparameter accidentally, the following error would pop-up:
You do not have permissions to mount and modify this image.
Verify that you have Read/Write permissions or mount the image using the /ReadOnly option. Note that you cannot commit changes to an image with read-only permissions.
- Open the
C:\WinMountfolder and copy the required files from it. The
WinRE.wim(the file we want to extract) would exist under the following path:
- Once copied the required file(s), it’s time to unmount the image. To do so, run the following command-line:
dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:C:\WinMount /discard
When I ran the Unmount command above, the following error displayed in the console:
The directory could not be completely unmounted. This is usually due to applications that still have files open within the mount directory. Close these files and unmount again to complete the unmount process.
However, since the entire directory was already empty, all I had to do was delete the
WinMountfolder manually. I didn’t have to run the DISM unmount command-line again.
Gigabytes of data are written to or removed from the file system when you mount and unmount the Windows image. Unlike Method 1, each DISM command-line would take a few minutes to complete.
Using 7-Zip or any third-party archiver (as discussed in Method 1) is the fastest method to view and extract the contents of a Windows image file (*.wim).
Some Windows 10 ISO have
install.esd instead of
install.wim. ESD is a highly compressed format whose file size comes around 80% compared to the 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.
7-Zip can handle ESD as well as WIM. Whereas, DISM would throw the following error when you try to mount an ESD file (
[DISM] Error: 11
An attempt was made to load a program with an incorrect format.
So, if you plan to use DISM to view or extract from the image, you must first convert the ESD file into WIM format using DISM, nLite, or any other utility. This is discussed in the article How to Convert ESD to WIM Using DISM or NTLite in Windows 10.
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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.