A. The Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) includes the Imagex utility, which, in addition to facilitating the capture and deployment of WIM images, can also be used to mount a WIM file so that you can access its content.

See also, "Patching Multiple Images in a WIM file" and "Q: How do I install language packs into a Windows Imaging format (WIM) file?"

But before you can mount a WIM file, you need to install the WIM File System Filter, which is responsible for handling all file system requests to the mounted WIM file, enabling browsing and editing of its contents. To install the WIM File System Filter, navigate to the C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86 folder, right-click wimfltr.inf, and select Install. This will install and activate the wimfltr.sys file system filter.

After you install the WIM File System Filter, you can mount a WIM by following these steps:

  1. Create a folder on the file system that will be used to access the WIM file content (e.g., d:\vistamount).
  2. Start a command prompt with Administrative credentials (Start, Programs, Accessories; right-click Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator").
  3. Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86 folder on a machine with WAIK installed (assuming you're running on an x86 architecture box).
  4. Run the Imagex command with the /mount switch to open the WIM file in read-only mode or the /mountrw switch to open with full read and write abilities. Use the following command syntax: imagex </mount or /mountrw> <location and name of WIM file> <image number to open in WIM file> <path to enable access to WIM file content via> For example, to mount the first image of the standard Vista install.wim file to path d:\vistamount, use the following command:
    C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86>imagex /mountrw d:\Sources\install.wim 1 d:\vistamount

    You can then modify the WIM file via standard file system manipulation tools, such as the command prompt and Windows Explorer.

    Once editing is complete, unmount using the Imagex utility with the /unmount switch, and if you wish to keep the changes made also add the /commit switch (if you don't specify the /commit switch, all changes will be lost, and you won't be prompted for confirmation). Unmounting without the /commit switch is significantly faster because it doesn't have to convert file system changes to the relevant area inside the WIM file.