Add drivers to Windows Installation Media

When installing Windows 7 onto newer, or special, hardware, you may need to add drivers to the Windows installation ISO.  You may also need to add USB3 drivers to an installation ISO if you’re planning to install the OS from a bootable USB stick.
In the example below, I’m working with a Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit OS installation image. This process can be used with other version of the Windows 7 OS, but there will be some slight differences in WAIK commands.


To start, you will need the following items:

  1. Windows 7 installation ISO or disk
  2. Windows Automated Install Kit (AIK)
  3. The Device Driver files

Windows AIK

First, we’ll need to download and install the Windows Automated Install Kit.  The WAIK is available as an ISO file. To begin, download the ISO and either burn it to a disk, unpack the ISO to a directory, or use a software tool to mount the ISO as a virtual drive. Once that’s done, launch the WAIK installer and run the “Windows AIK Setup.”

Create Project Directories

After we’ve installed WAIK, we will create three directories to hold the files that we’re working with. I like to create a “project” folder at the root of one of my drives.

Project Directories:

  • c:\project\install\  — Contains the unpacked ISO image.
  • c:\project\drivers\  — Contains the driver files to be added to the image
  • c:\project\wim\  — The location we will mount the intall.wim and boot.wim files

Extract Windows Install Media

Next, we’ll need to unpack the Windows installation ISO to our “c:\project\install” directory.  A tool such as 7-Zip works nicely for this task.

Extract Driver Files

Now, let’s extract our driver files to the “c:\project\drivers” directory. It’s important that we have the .inf, .sys, .cat, and other associated files (.dll, .man…).

Backup Original WIM Files

The last step I like to do before we start modifying files is to make a backup copy of the boot.wim and install.wim files. I prefer to copy them to another directory and rename the copies as “install.wim.bak” and “boot.wim.bak” – this way I know those are my original files…just in case something goes wrong.

WAIK Commands

Now we will launch the “Microsoft Windows AIK Deployment Tools Command Prompt” from the Start Menu. It’s important that we right-click and choose “Run As Administrator.”



We’ll begin the driver slipstream process by installing the driver files to install.wim.
In our Deployment Tools Command Prompt, type the following commands.
Mount the install.wim file:
imagex /mountrw C:\project\install\sources\install.wim 1 C:\project\wim
Install drivers to install.wim using DISM:
dism /Image:C:\project\wim /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\project\drivers\ /recurse
Unmount the install.wim file:
imagex /UnMount /Commit C:\project\wim\


Now we will install the driver files in the boot.wim file.
Again, in the Deployment Tools Command Prompt, type the following commands.
Mount the boot.wim file:
imagex /mountrw C:\project\install\sources\boot.wim 2 C:\project\wim
Install drivers to boot.wim using DISM:
dism /Image:C:\project\wim /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\project\drivers\ /recurse
Unmount the boot.wim file:
imagex /UnMount /Commit C:\project\wim\

The final step is to create the new ISO file, or copy the install files to a USB flash drive.

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