How to detect whether you are in Windows PE

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 11 July 2012 / Last Updated on 11 July 2012]

A tip on how to detect whether your are in Windows PE or a full installation of Windows.

If you are developing a custom deployment solution you may need to have a way of determining whether or not you are currently running in Windows PE or in a full installation of Windows.  The simplest way to do this is to query for whether the following registry key is present or not:


Mitch Tulloch is a seven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. For more tips by Mitch you can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.


The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see .

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