Access offline files (.wim, .vhd or .vhdx) using DISM


On the installation DVD of a Windows installation you find a file called install.wim. This file contains the complete installation of a new windows installation.

If you want to alter this installation you must use the DISM command. Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM.exe) is a command-line tool that can be used to service a Windows image or to prepare a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image. DISM can be used to service a Windows image (.wim) or a virtual hard disk (.vhd or .vhdx).

The steps for altering a file, in this case the install.wim file, follow these steps.

  • Unpack the ISO from a windows installation to a folder.
  • In this folder you will find the iso\unpacked\sources\install.wim file.
  • To check the versions of Windows in this file use the follwing command. Note the index number of the installation you want to use, standard, core, datacenter, etc.:

  • Next, mount the install.wim file to a folder so you can access the files inside.

The content of the install.wim file is now mounted in the c:\mount folder. You can acces and browse this information. In this case the changes are not kept as the image is mounted as readonly.

To install, for example, the DHCP server feature in this mounted installation you can use DISM again.

And again, you can also use this for altering a windows installation in a .vhd or .vhdx file on a server which is not running.

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