Deploying drivers to down-level operating systems in WinPE 4.0 or a later version fails

Applies to: Windows 8Windows 8 EnterpriseWindows 8 Enterprise N


Deployment of out-of-box drivers fails in various scenarios involving deployment of a down-level operating system image from Setup.exe from a WinPE 4.0 or later environment or the use of DISM to offline inject out-of-box drivers into a down-level image. Down-level operating systems are previous versions of Windows such as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2). These scenarios include down-level deployment from WDS, MDT, and System Center 2012 SP1 Configuration Manager when using WinPE 4.0 or a later version as well. WinPE 4.0 is the version of WinPE that is shipped with Windows 8.


The running operating system (WinPE 4.0 or a later version) lacks the logic necessary to determine which version of drvstore.dll is required to service drivers on down-level operating systems. The critical device database was replaced by the Drivers hive in Windows 8, and as a result, the inbox version of drvstore.dll does not currently have the capability to service down-level driver stores properly. Additionally, scenarios involving Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 SP2 have a requirement that any driver injection be done offline using the down-level version of DISM or pkgmgr.


This is a known issue and Microsoft is investigating fixes for various scenarios.

You may work around the issue in many cases by pre-injecting the out-of-box drivers for these down-level deployment scenarios. You must pre-inject the required drivers into the boot.wim and install.wim using the matching servicing stack tools; e.g. use the Windows 8 version of DISM on the technician system to inject a driver into the WinPE 4.0 boot.wim, and use the Windows 7 version of DISM to inject drivers into the Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 install.wim or your generalized OS .wim file. Use pkgmgr to inject drivers into Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 SP2 images.

A hotfix is available which enables down-level scenarios which deploy via Setup.exe. This hotfix is available at Note that this hotfix only enables Setup scenarios such as WDS or running Setup from a local flash disk. Running DISM in the WINPE environment to inject drivers into a down-level operating system will still fail.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Cumulative Update 2 includes support to deploy by using WinPE 3.1. You may also work around this issue by using this functionality. This update is available at