Back to Basics – Driver Installation Order in WinPE Matters

Ever having troubles about WinPE not finding your disk drive during deployment? Even though you added the correct drivers to it. Well, it can be as simple as your driver were added to the boot image in the wrong order. Did I get your attention? Well, there is more. 🙂

Some Hardware Vendors are Better than Others

While I have to admit I'm a bit biased on using HP hardware. In my defense, their hardware is pretty great, and they are currently one of the better vendors of providing great tools for driver management as well as great information and support. Anyway, back to WinPE drivers. If you take a look at the HP driver package for WinPE 10, you notice a peculiar folder structure. See below image:

This rather strange folder structure in the HP driver package for WinPE is simply there to control the installation order, a requirement for some of the Intel RST drivers to work correctly. The non-VMD RST drivers have to be installed before the VMD RST drivers if you need to support both platforms with the same boot image.

ConfigMgr Boot Images

If you are using ConfigMgr for OSD, you're all good. A little-known fact is that ConfigMgr actually injects the drivers from the source folder in alphabetic order. This is something you can easily confirm with a bit of Process Monitor 🙂

Process Monitor trace during update of a ConfigMgr boot image.

MDT Lite Touch Boot Images

If you are using MDT Lite Touch, it's a bit more challenging. This is because MDT Lite Touch creates its own folder structure for drivers and doesn't care about the initial source folder name. If you need to support both non-VMD RST drivers and VMD RST drivers in the same deployment share, you have a few options. Either you can have your task sequence load the driver on the fly via drvload.exe, or you can remove the VMD RST drivers from Out-of-Box and create an exit script that adds them to the boot image after MDT has added the other drivers. Or replace the entire driver injection process with your own script to totally control the installation order. You can learn more about exit scripts here:

Use AHCI instead of RAID

Another elegant solution to the whole Intel RST Driver mess is to simply not use it. If you have a single NVMe drive in your machine, change your computer BIOS/Firmware to use AHCI instead of RAID. Problem solved 🙂

Happy Deployment / Johan

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Johan Arwidmark

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Claudio Mendes
Claudio Mendes
1 year ago
1 year ago

Have had this problem on both dell and HP.
Even a driver that works for 2 machines then a newer version comes and one of em wont load the storage anymore i PXE.
Also seems like the vendors sometimes forgets about date on the ini file. Newer version work with a new model if u drvload but when u use it in a winpe it wont use it as the same file with a "newer" date is used….

Daniel Barras
Daniel Barras
1 year ago

When I downloaded the newest HP WinPE Driverpack, I noticed the new folder structure and immediately thought "Hey, this is great – they figured it out!" Great article, Johan.