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Creating Macrium Reflect Rescue Media

The AchieVer

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The AchieVer

Introduction to Macrium Reflect


Using Macrium Reflect you can backup whole partitions or individual files and folders into a single compressed, mountable archive file. You can use this archive to restore exact images of the partitions on a hard disk so that you can easily upgrade your hard disk or recover your system if it breaks. You can also mount images as a virtual drive in Windows Explorer to easily recover Files and Folders using Copy and Paste. 

Inside a PC, the operating system, applications and all your files need to be kept somewhere when the power is off. This permanent storage is usually a hard disk drive containing a spinning magnetic platter. The information on the platter is recorded and read by read-heads. So that the read-heads can store and find recorded data, the disk is split into blocks, usually of 512 bytes, which are numbered from the start to the end of the platter.

So that the operating system can use different file systems or provide multiple volumes (like the C: drive, D: drive and recovery area), it partitions these blocks into volumes (sometimes also called partitions). These volumes and their file systems are the first thing you'll see when you start Macrium Reflect



Figure: Macrium Reflect showing the volumes and file systems on a system disk

Macrium Reflect showing the backup task pane


Rescue Media Builder - How It Works



v7.2 of Macrium Reflect includes a new Rescue media builder user interface that offers:

  • Simplified user interface with one click build for most scenarios
  • Windows RE support. Windows RE is usually available as a no download option on the majority Windows installations from Windows 7 and later.  

    For the majority of PCs, Windows 10 WinRE adds WiFi support when booted in the rescue media.

    Note: A few WiFi adapters are unsupported. The vast majority of adapters will be automatically supported and will automatically connect using a WiFi profile copied from Windows during the build process. 
  • Windows PE 10 1709

  • New network TaskBar icon and management UI in PE/RE. Right click on the Network icon to open the UI.  

The Rescue Media Builder executable 'RMBuilder.exe' is located in the Macrium Reflect installation folder, usually 'C:\Program Files\Macrium\Reflect'. RMBuilder.exe can be launched independently or by taking the Rescue Media build menu option in Macrium Reflect.

RMBuilder.exe depends on the following files:

File name
DVD/CD Support 32 Bit PrimoBurner.dll
  64 Bit PrimoBurnerx64.dll
Free Edition 32 Bit WaikFiles00x86.exe
  64 Bit WaikFiles00x64.exe
Home/Workstation Edition 32 Bit WaikFiles15x86.exe
  64 Bit WaikFiles15x64.exe
Server Edition 32 Bit WaikFiles20x86.exe
  64 Bit WaikFiles20x64.exe
Server Plus Edition 32 Bit WaikFiles25x86.exe
  64 Bit WaikFiles25x64.exe


Note: RMBuilder.exe requires Macrium Reflect to be installed.


Windows Image File (WIM) and toolset files location

For Windows PE 3.1/4.0/5.0/10 the files required to build the Macrium Rescue media are copied from the Input location to the Repository.  The Repository is then used to populate the Staging Area when rescue media is built from scratch or stale. 

For the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) the required files are located on the current system and copied to the Staging Area when rescue media is built from scratch or stale. 

The Staging Area provides the files for the Boot Menu and for creating ISO/DVD/CD and USB boot media.



Windows PE 3.1/4.0/5.0/10

Required files to populate the PE Repository are searched for in the following sequence...

  1. PE Zip files: -  PE zip files(s) containing the Windows Image (WIM) file and toolset files are saved to the Macrium download folder by the Reflect download manager ReflectDL.exe.  

    The default location is 'C:\users\<USER>\Downloads\Macrium'

    Windows PE File Name
    PE 3.1 pe3x64.zip
    PE 4.0 pe4x64.zip
    PE 5.0 pe5x64.zip
    PE 10 pe10_1709x64.zip


  2. WAIK/WADK - Windows is searched for installations of the Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for PE 3.1 or the Windows® Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK). These products contain the Windows Image File (WIM) and tools to create the rescue media. 


    Note: The WADK and WAIK download is several GB. It isn't necessary to manually install these products unless you are having problems with the automated download.
  3. Automated Download - Finally, any missing files are automatically downloaded directly from Microsoft and copied to the PE Repository.

    Note: If there is no Internet connection at this stage then the build process will fail.



PE Repository

Files located in 1. above are copied to the PE repository in the following folders.

PE Version
3.1 C:\ProgramData\Macrium\Reflect\Windows AIK
4.0 C:\ProgramData\Macrium\Reflect\Windows Kits\8.0
5.0 C:\ProgramData\Macrium\Reflect\Windows Kits\8.1
10 C:\ProgramData\Macrium\Reflect\Windows Kits\10


Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

Files for the Windows Recovery rescue environment are pre-existing and located on the local file system.

The folowinng folders, and sub-folders are searched for file WinRE.wim

<ALL VOLUMES>\Recovery

If multiple copies of WinRE.wim are found then each WIM is examined and the WIM that contains the most recent Windows OS is copied to the Staging Area.

Additional toolset files are copied from folder 'C:\Windows\Boot' 

Staging Area

The Staging Area is re-populated each time the rescue media is re-built. Immediately after the Windows Image (WIM) file is copied to the Staging Area, it is mounted and the current version of Macrium Reflect is copied to the WIM file system along with required components and additional files extracted from WaikFilesxNNnnn.exe. 


PE Version
3.1 C:\boot\macrium\WAIKFiles
4.0 C:\boot\macrium\WA4KFiles
5.0 C:\boot\macrium\WA5KFiles
10 C:\boot\macrium\WA10KFiles
WinRE C:\boot\macrium\WinREFiles



When the 'Build' button is clicked files are copied from the Staging Area to the rescue media target. For the Boot menu, the Windows Boot Configuration Data (BCD) is updated to add a 'Macrium Reflect System Recovery' menu option which loads the Windows Image File (WIM) directly from the Staging Area. 


Creating rescue media


Macrium Rescue Media Builder provides a simple interface to allow for quick rescue media generation by selecting where the rescue media will be generated and then clicking a 'Build' button.

All options for the rescue media will be suitably defaulted based on existing rescue media builds and a scan of the operating system environment.

  1. Choose a rescue media target under 'Select Device'
  2. Click 'Build'


The 'Header' area shows the currently selected Windows PE/RE version and settings. 'Show more' expands the view to show the selected Advanced options. 


Rebuilding the Windows Image File (WIM)

If the Rescue media needs rebuilding then this will be indicated in the header area. Reasons for rebuilding:

  • A later version of Macrium Reflect is available and needs to be added to the build.
  • A later version of Windows RE is available. A Windows update can cause the installed version of Windows RE to be updated. 
  • Any 'Advanced' settings that have changed since the rescue media was last built. If you click 'Show more' these settings will be highlighted in blue text. 
  • A 'Custom WIM' file has changed since the last build. 
  • The '\Boot\Macrium\Drivers' sub folder contains new or changed driver files.

Pressing 'Build' will re-populate the Staging Area, mount the WIM and copy the relevant files before dismounting the WIM and continuing with the build target operation. 


WIM Rebuild Override

Overriding the default WIM rebuild behaviour may be useful to create rescue media without updating to a later release of Macrium Reflect, or, to force a rebuild to troubleshoot corrupt or non-booting rescue media or boot menu option. 

The default WIM rebuild action can be overridden by pressing the 'Ctrl' key. Once pressed, and if appropriate, the 'Build' button becomes a 'Split' button showing either a 'Skip WIM Rebuild...' or a 'Force WIM Rebuild...' menu option,  the opposite of the default 'Build' button behaviour. . 



The override menu is not displayed in the following scenarios:

  1. The  'Remove boot menu' option is selected. WIM operations are not relevant in this case.
  2. The WIM needs rebuilding and the 'Current boot menu' option is selected. In this case, the default operation of rebuilding the WIM is the only operation relevant and available. 


The 'Select Device' area shows a list of possible ways the rescue media can be created.

Windows Boot Menu Will either add, update or remove an entry from the Windows Boot Menu, select from the 'Boot Menu Options' for the desired action.
USB Flash Drive Creates the rescue environment on an external USB flash drive. At least one partition is required on the drive with enough space for the rescue media files or the disk should be empty of partitions but be large enough for a new partition to accommodate the rescue media files.
USB HDD Creates the rescue environment on an external USB HDD. As with the USB Flash Drive option a partition must be available with enough space or there should be enough space to create a new partition.
ISO File Creates an ISO file suitable for either burning with third party software or booting a virtual machine from.


Note: In the case of external USB Flash/HDD the creation process is non destructive. No existing partition will be removed from the disk, only files added to an existing partition or a new partition created.


Boot Menu Options

Selecting the 'Windows Boot Menu' device will offer the following options

No boot menu

Do not add a boot menu option to the Windows boot menu.

Note: This option is not visible if a Macrium Reflect rescue environment exists in the Windows boot menu
Add boot menu Add the currently selected WinPE/WinRE environment as a Windows boot menu item. A description of the current enviroment can be seen to right of this option. Also, review the 'Header' area further up in this document.
Remove boot menu Remove the currently configured Macrium Reflect rescue environment Windows boot menu item.
Current boot menu Retain the currently configured Macrium Reflect rescue environment Windows boot menu item.


USB Rescue Media Options

Selecting either 'Removable USB Flash Drive' or 'Removable USB Hard Drive' device will offer the following options

Check for devices missing drivers on boot Scans for Mass storage or network controllers that do not have driver support and show a dialog to assist with adding and loading drivers.
Enable Multi Boot (MBR/UEFI) Enables USB media to boot on both MBR and UEFI systems.
Create Portable Technicians Rescue Media

Adds support for running the 'Technicians Portable' form of Macrium Reflect rescue environment.

Note: This will require a valid Technicians license key


ISO/CD/DVD Rescue Media Options

Selecting 'ISO File' or 'CD/DVD Burner' device will offer the following options

Check for devices missing drivers on boot Scans for Mass storage or network controllers that do not have driver support and show a dialog to assist with adding and loading drivers.
Prompt for key press to continue boot sequence Shows a simple prompt during boot, pressing any key will boot from the ISO media and not pressing any key will boot from the normal volume.


Advanced Options

The 'Advanced' button opens options to change PE version and choose additional features for the rescue media build.


The default Windows PE version selected on a fresh installation:

Default Rescue Environment
Windows XP/Server 2003 Windows PE 3.1
Windows 7/Server 2008 Windows RE if available otherwise Windows PE 3.1
Windows 8.0/8.1/Server 2012/R2 Windows RE if available otherwise Windows PE 5
Windows 10/Server 2016./17 Windows RE if available otherwise Windows PE 10


Note: If you have already built rescue media with an earlier version of Macrium Reflect then that PE version will be defaulted




Choose from 32 or 64 bit. 
WinRE is only available for the same architecture as the current Windows OS.


It's only necessary to choose an alternative architecture when creating rescue media to boot a different PC.
iSCSI Support Enables restoration and clones to iSCSI connected disks. Please note that adding these components may several minutes to the creation process. 
See Adding iSCSI support to Windows PE for more information on using iSCSI in Windows PE
Add Support Add the components required to run 'managebde.exe' and unlock BitLockered drives to Windows PE.
Auto Unlock Automatically unlocked BitLockered drives when the rescue media starts.

Also see: Adding BitLocker support to Windows PE and BitLocker Restore Outcomes

Legacy EFI Screen Resolution Select this option if you are experiencing very low, less than 1024 x 768, screen resolution in PE 10 or WinRE. Some early UEFI BIOS chipsets are incompatible with Windows 10 Pre-Installation Environment graphics output. Selecting this option will cause the PE 5.0 EFI microcode to be used instead of PE 10 when starting the rescue environment.
Copy WiFi Profiles

Select this option to copy WiFi profiles, including passwords, to the rescue media. If possible a WiFi connection will be automatically established when Windows RE starts.

Note: This option, and WiFi support, is only available in Windows RE 10. WiFi profiles are encrypted to prevent unauthorised access.
Custom base WIM Use your own customized WIM for the rescue media. This is an advanced topic not covered in this help.



Mass Storage and Network devices will be listed showing the current state of driver support. Drivers can be added for devices missing driver support as well as updating drivers previously added to the rescue media.

The status of a device can be one of the following

Device Status
Device Detected The device has no drivers and will not function in WinPE/WinRE. If you require this device then drivers should be added.
Device support in WinPE The device has a supporting driver in WinPE/WinRE. Generally you do not need to update this form of driver.
Compatible device support in WinPE The device has a compatible driver in WinPE/WinRE. Again, this driver generally does not require updating.
Driver already present in Drivers folder A driver has been previously added to the Macrium Reflect rescue media for this device.
Copy host driver

For Vista based and later operating systems if a device is found without driver support then the operating system will be scanned for a compatible driver. If discovered the host OS driver will be added to the rescue media.

Note: If no compatible device is found then the status will remain at Device Detected


How To Update Drivers

Note: Click Update or double click a device to add or update a driver for a device.

WiFI Device Support

Note: WiFi device support will only be available in WinRE based rescue environments, even if drivers are added for the device.



This dialog will show the current driver information for a device. To update the driver, click Browse, select a folder and click the Scan button (optionally select to scan subfolders before starting the scan). The folder willk be checked for an updated driver based on either version number or date and if discovered, a prompt will be shown for update confirmation.


Once an updated driver has been found and selected, click Apply to save the updated driver or Cancel to retain the current driver.



Macrium Reflect Rescue Media files can be stored on a different volume, this tab allows for selection of the preferred volume. Select a volume by clicking the check box and then Click OK. Rescue media files will now be stored on that volume, any existing Macrium Reflect rescue media files from previous builds will be moved to a newly selected volume.

Note: This option is not available in Windows XP


USB Flash Drive Formatting



The following partition is required on the USB flash drive for booting the Macrium Reflect rescue media:
  Boot__________________ Type__________________ Min*Partition*Size_________________
  Multi-Boot MBR / UEFI FAT32 1.2 x Size of Rescue Media PE files
  MBR Only FAT32 or NTFS  1.2 x Size of Rescue Media PE files

The Rescue Media PE files vary in size dependant on PE/RE version. 1GB will be sufficient for all PE and RE versions as of May 2018. If there is insufficient free space then the build may fail. 

Rescue Media Builder will first attempt to non-destructively copy the PE/RE files to an existing partition, then non-destructively create a new partition if necessary.  If this is not possible then  you will be prompt to destructively format the drive.   

The Flash drive is prepared and files copied according to the following steps...

  1. The flash media is first searched for a partition of sufficient size and the required file system type as defined in the above table. If found then the PE/RE files are copied to the Flash drive.


    For Multi-Boot (MBR/UEFI) rescue media the suitable partition is determined in the following sequence: 

    The current 'Active' partition is checked for suitability.
    If not found, the first suitable FAT32 partition is used. This partition is then marked 'Active'

    For non Multi-Boot (MBR) rescue media the suitable partition is determined in the following sequence: 

    The current 'Active' partition is checked for suitability.
    If not found, the first suitable FAT32 partition is used. This partition is then marked 'Active'
    If not found, the first suitable NTFS partition is used.  This partition is then marked 'Active'
  2. If no suitable partition/file system is found and the rescue media creation is Multi-Partition Aware then the flash drive is searched to locate unallocated space to create a 1GB FAT32 partition. 

    USB flash Rescue media is considered Multi-Partition Aware if the host OS is Windows 10 Release 1709 or later and the target Win PE/RE WIM is also Windows 10 Release 1709 or later . In all other cases only a single partition will be allowed on flash media.

    There can be a maximum of 4 primary partitions on the drive.  
    If a partition is successfully created and formatted then it is marked 'Active' and the PE/RE files are copied.

  3. If the rescue media creation is not Multi-Partition Aware or if the partition in step 2 cannot be created then Rescue Media Builder will prompt to format the Flash Drive. This is destructive and all existing data will be lost on the drive:


    Partition and File System Created

    Y FAT32 1GB
    N FAT32 32GB or the maximum size of the flash drive

    If a partition is successfully created and formatted then it is marked  'Active' and the PE/RE files are copied.




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Anyone could upload created ISO file with this method?.?.


Kind Regards



PS: Sorry for my misunderstand about this software. It'll create only the backup Partition based iso.

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An off topic request:

Hi The AchieVer ,


Please make a tutorial for PE Builder in Aomei Backupper. It should work in all version of windows starting from WINXP to Win 10.






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The AchieVer
20 hours ago, sid_16 said:

An off topic request:

Hi The AchieVer ,


Please make a tutorial for PE Builder in Aomei Backupper. It should work in all version of windows starting from WINXP to Win 10.






Sure . Here you go :





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