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Installing Windows 10X (from cabs) on real hardware

Created: January 18, 2021 Last Update: January 18, 2021
Authors: NT Authority, Albacore, Gustave Monce, Rafael Rivera, Daniel Kornev
Status: Draft


Here's some quick notes on installing Windows 10X on real hardware from cabs. For this example, we're assuming a system with no other critical disks installed, and a helpful host system being around to set up the initial image.

This guide has been created for the 20279 version of Windows 10X.



  • Windows 10 Iron or Cobalt (20279 or 21xxx+)
  • Utility USB flash drive of ~8GB+


  • Graphics card with DCHU drivers available
  • UEFI system firmware with the ability to disable Secure Boot
  • Boot drive larger than 100 GiB
  • Learn how to disable Secure Boot in your device, and change its boot order to allow booting from the USB Flash Drive


Note: If your device doesn't have a built-in Ethernet adapter, prepare an external Ethernet adapter (USB/USB-C/USB-C Hub with Ethernet). You won't be able to pass through the OOBE without internet connection.

Common: Files & Tools


  1. Create a folder called 10X in the root of your drive, e.g, C:\10X
  2. Create a subfolder called Sources
  3. Create a subfolder called DCHUDrivers
  4. Download bits (e.g., by using Gus's UUPMediaCreator)
  5. Put them into Sources folder (e.g., C:\10X\Sources)
  6. Make sure that bits are in Sources folder directly (\10X\Sources\*compdb*.cab should be at this level)
  7. Download from Rafael
  8. Unpack it to your Sources folder (e.g., C:\10X\Sources)
  9. Open command line in the Sources folder and run fixup.cmd in it
  10. Move FM folder from \10X\Sources to \10X
  11. Move OEMInput.xml from \10X\Sources to \10X
  12. Your resulting folder structure should look like this:
(disk root)
           -----appx (includes folders for each AppX)
           -----%Release_Type% (e.g., Retail)
                -----%Architecture_Name% (e.g., AMD64)
                     -----fre (includes the rest of the cabs)
           -----(several top-most cabs with compdb in the name, and .uupmcreplay file)

Install Tools

Note: Both ADK and WinPE should have the same or higher version as your Windows 10X Image.

  1. [Optional] If you have previous kits (e.g., WP8 Tools), remove them
  2. Download the ADK Insider Preview ISO for your host OS version (only tested with Windows_InsiderPreview_ADK_en-us_20279.iso)
  3. Install Deployment Tools, ICD, Configuration Designer, and uncheck the rest if possible/as needed
  4. Download the Windows Preinstallation Environment ISO for your host OS version (only tested with 20279 version)
  5. Install Windows Preinstallation Environment

Configure Your BSP

Board Support Packages (BSP) is a collection of drivers/settings required to run Windows 10X on a hardware platform. The BSP also includes a set of device drivers that are specific to the components/silicon used in the device, mostly in the form of .inf files and their associated .sys/.dll files.

You will need a BSP for your device if you want it to use all of its devices (WiFi, Cameras, etc.).

To configure your BSP, you need to obtain DCH (Universal) Drivers for your device, and then prepare the OEMDriversFM.xml feature manifest XML file with the links to your drivers.

Prepare DCHU Drivers for Your Hardware

  1. Obtain DCHU Drivers for your hardware (especially GPU)
  2. Find all infs that contain "firmware update" in them and remove them
  3. Copy all remaining drivers to your DCHUDrivers subfolder (\10X\DCHUDrivers)

Form A BSP for Your Hardware

  1. Use OEMDriversFM.xml example from Albacore
	<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
	<FeatureManifest Revision="1" SchemaVersion="1.2" xmlns:xsd="" xmlns:xsi="" xmlns="">
				<DriverPackageFile Path="C:\10X\DCHUDrivers\WcosGraphicsDriver.Intel\bin\Drivers\iigd_oc" Name="iigd_dc_base.inf"/>
  1. For each of your drivers put a link to it in the form like one above.

Configure Your Image

  1. Edit OEMInput.xml (remove VM_*, uncomment UEFI_Hardware line, add/remove features etc.)
  2. Add a link to your BSP (OEMDriversFM.xml) to your OEMInput.xml like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<OEMInput xmlns:xsi="" xmlns:xsd="" xmlns="">
    <Language Default="true">en-us</Language>
	  <!--Windows 10X Feature Manifests-->
	  <!-- Your BSMBSP -->

Build Your Image

  1. Prepare your environment:

Start > open elevated *Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment

  1. In that window, type this (where C:\10X is your actual folder):
> cd C:\10X
  1. Unless you use a non-prod machine, run this command to unregister the imaging toolchain overrides:
> "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Kits\10\Assessment and Deployment Kit\Deployment Tools\%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%\DISM\wimmountadksetup%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%.exe" /q /uninstall
  1. Run IMGGEN in your Command Prompt window (give a name to your ffu, e.g., SurfaceGo.ffu if your device is Surface Go). Important: Use absolute paths both in files (OEMInput.xml & OEMDriversFM.xml) AND in the command line:
> imggen c:\10X\SurfaceGo.ffu C:\10X\OEMInput.xml C:\10X\Sources AMD64

Prepare USB Drive for Flashing

Note: You can follow Microsoft docs (Part I: Create Multipartition USB Drive, Part II: Install WinPE), or you can follow these instructions (taken from the docs):

  1. Get an empty Flash drive (with size at least 8GB)
  2. In the same Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment's elevated Command Prompt window open diskpart and press Enter
  3. Follow these instructions to create two disks:
List disk 
select disk X (where X is your USB drive) 
create partition primary size=2048 
format fs=FAT32 quick label="WinPE" 
assign letter=P 
create partition primary 
format fs=NTFS quick label="Images" 
assign letter=I 
  1. Create Working WinPE files by using this command (where C:\WinPE_amd64 is the location of your choice):
copype amd64 C:\WinPE_amd64
  1. Create bootable media with it (where P: is the letter of the FAT32 partition of your USB Flash drive):
MakeWinPEMedia /UFD C:\WinPE_amd64 P:
  1. Copy your Image (.ffu file) to the I: drive (the second partition of your Flash drive formatted with NTFS)

Apply Your Image

  1. Boot from WinPE drive
  2. Open diskpart
  3. Type this:
list disk

Take a note of the name of your device's main disk drive, e.g., disk 0 4. Type exit to leave diskpart 5. Use this command (and specify the correct path to the ffu that you created above, as well the number of the physical drive):

dism /apply-ffu /imagefile:C:\YourDevice.ffu /applydrive:\\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0
  1. Once complete, remove your USB flash drive
  2. Type exit in the Command Prompt window

Load Windows 10X

At this time, your Windows 10X will boot. If everything is correct you should see the OOBE.