WinRE, Page files, and GPMC Scripts

Since this blog is hosted on Technet, it is probably good to talk about technologies from time to time.    So I wanted to mention some things that I’ve come across recently.   While some of these are anything but new pieces of information, sometimes you don’t come across them until well after they’re available on the net.

The first thing I wanted to mention was WinRE, the Windows Recovery Environment.    While it is available to you by booting to a Vista/W2K8/Win7/W2K8R2 DVD, it is also possible to build and customize your own WinRE environment.   If you’ve tried searching for documentation on this, you’ve probably noticed that it seems a bit lean.    A friend pointed me towards one of the best WinRE resources I’ve seen so far on the net:   I particularly like their post on how to make a bootable WinRE partition on the hard drive.   Granted, the post is a couple of years old already, but the steps are still great.


Within the e-mail distribution lists for our team, a topic that comes up about every 3-6 months is, “What are the recommendations for page files?”   Here are the resources that we usually pass around for understanding page files and determining the size you need to set them to:

An important thing to remember about page files is that while Windows may not need to have a page file defined, the applications running on your system may require one.    Domain Controllers require a page file because the algorithm used to determine the memory available to allocate to caching the AD Database expects a page file because it uses the size of the page file as a variable in the calculation.   This is mentioned in the second paragraph in the Summary section of KB 889654.


One of the most overlooked capabilities made available when installing the Group Policy Management Console in Windows Server 2003 was the “Scripts” directory located within the installation location.   With Windows Server 2008, installing the GPMC does not install the scripts.   The GPMC scripts are available as a separate download.   You can find them here at and searching for “GPMC Sample Scripts”.   I was recently onsite with a customer evaluating their current GPOs and the scripts provided us with excellent information that was invaluable to our work.

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