In this tutorial, we will show you how to convert ESD to WIM file from the Command prompt, using the DISM tool, or PowerShell scripts. ESD file is a new highly compressed file-based image distribution format developed by Microsoft. The ESD (Electronic Software Download) image files are used to deploy the Windows operating system instead of the classical WIM (Windows Imaging Format) image. Unlike WIM files, you cannot open or mount an ESD file in Windows (unless you’re converting them). The ESD file is read-only. Instead, Windows uses them internally during the clean install or update process. The problem is that many admins using WDS/MDT/SCCM to deploy Windows 10 over the network and usually need to make the same changes to the Windows Image file. So today we will show you how to easily convert ESD to WIM image.
First of all, we’ll figure out what the install.wim and install.esd files are and how they differ.
Install.esd and install.wim are archives containing compressed operating system files, they can include several Windows editions (Professional, Home, Enterprise, etc.). During the installation of Windows, all files are extracted from the install.wim/esd image to the system drive of the computer.
If you compare the size of the wim and esd file, you can notice that the size of a file with the esd extension is smaller, because it is compressed more strongly (a new type of compression is used – Recovery). This compression type packs the Windows installation files even more and, as a result, the size of the install.esd file becomes less than the install.wim file by 30%.
Hint. To compress ESD files, a more efficient LZMS compression algorithm is used, instead of LZX compression used for WIM files.
Microsoft distributes the last Windows 10 builds in the install.esd format. It helps users to save network traffic during upgrading Windows 10 build.
The inconvenience of using the install.esd file is that DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool refuses to mount this Windows image. Accordingly, in such an image it is impossible to inject drivers, security updates, or modify some Windows deployment options. Therefore, in this situation, the easiest way is to convert the install.esd file to install.wim and then just work with the install.wim file.
Extracting Install.esd File From the Windows 10 Install ISO
You can create Windows 10 installation ISO image using the Media Creation tool or the Windows 10 Upgrade assistant. The first thing you need to do is open your File Explorer. Right-click your Windows 10 ISO image and select Mount.
Go to C:\ drive and create a folder Win10. Copy all files from Windows 10 ISO image into it.
When you copied all files, go to the Sources folder, find the install.esd file and make a copy of this file.
Now create another folder on your C:\ drive – name it ESD. Paste install.esd file into this folder.
Hint. How to Open an ESD File? You can view the contents of install.esd using the archiver tools. For example, using 7 zip. Just open the esd file with the 7zip archiver and you will be able to browse the folders in the esd file.
Converting ESD to WIM File on Windows 10 using DISM
The next thing you need to do is open Command Prompt as Administrator. We need to get into the folder we have just created. Type in: –
As we said above, the install.wim or install.esd file can contain several Windows Editions. Each edition of the OS is stored in the file install.esd and has an assigned index (index 1, 2, 3, 4, …). You can get the list of Windows editions in your install.esd file using the DISM tool. Run the following command to list all Windows editions in your image: –
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:install.esd
As you can see, in the install.esd file there is an image of 4 versions of Windows 10 with the indexes: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
Details for image: install.esd
Name: Windows 10 Pro
Description: Windows 10 Pro
Size: 15,103,101,178 bytes
Name: Windows 10 Home
Description: Windows 10 Home
Size: 14,917,903,101 bytes
Name: Windows 10 Home Single Language
Description: Windows 10 Home Single Language
Size: 14,917,646,651 bytes
Name: Windows 10 Education
Description: Windows 10 Education
Size: 14,320,369,327 bytes
The operation completed successfully.
Find the index number of Windows 10 edition you need (we are choosing Index 1, since we are using the Windows 10 Pro edition).
The next command allows you to extract the specified Windows edition installation image from the esd file and convert it to the WIM file format:
dism /export-image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:install.wim /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity
Hint. Four different compression formats can be used in DISM to compress a WIM image. For each of them there is a corresponding option in the DISM /Compress parameter:
- /Compress:none — no compression used;
- /Compress:fast — default WIM image compression type (XPRESS compressions);
- /Compress:maximum — maximum compression (LZX compression);
- /Compress:recovery — this type of compression converts WIM image to ESD format (LZMS compression). As a result, the size of the esd file can be 30 percent smaller than the size of the original wim file. For compressed archives, recovery Microsoft recommends using the esd file extension for images compressed with the recovery compression type.
The DISM utility allows you to use only three options for images in Recovery format:
Dism /Apply-Image, and
Image exporting is started and the process can take a long time. Conversion is quite a resource-intensive task, during which the processor and memory of your computer will be heavily loaded. Depending on your computer hardware, it takes about 10-30 minutes to complete.
Hint. You can extract several Windows editions from the esd to the install.wim file. For example, to create a WIM image file with Home (index:2) and Pro (index:1) Windows 10 edition, you can use the following commands:
dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:install.wim /DestinationName:"W10 PRO version 1909" /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity
Dism /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:2 /DestinationImageFile:install.wim /DestinationName:"Win10 Home version 1909"
In the same way you can add any other Windows edition to your wim file.
Once ESD conversion is completed, you can copy your new WIM image file and go to Win10 original folder, then to Sources and replace install.esd file.
Convert ESD to Install.WIM with PowerShell
Also, you can use the PowerShell cmdlets to convert your ESD file to the WIM image format. Run the elevated PowerShell console and execute the following command to get the Windows editions from the install.esd file: –
Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath "f:\sources\install.esd"
Now you can use the Export-WindowsImage cmdlet to convert Install.ESD to Install.WIM with PowerShell:
Export-WindowsImage -SourceImagePath F:\sources\install.esd -SourceIndex 10 -DestinationImagePath C:\esd\install.wim -CheckIntegrity
Convert ESD to ISO Using DISM++ (GUI)
If you don’t like using command-line tools, you can use the graphical third-party tool Dism++ to convert your ESD file. This is a simple and free utility for convenient work with Windows image and WIM/ESD files. Download and run the Dism++ tool (www.chuyu.me/en/).
- Select File > WIM > ESD/SWM file;
2. Select your source esd file and target wim image path;
Press Finish and wait until the converting process ends.
Hint. With DISM ++ you can also convert ESD or WIM file to Windows ISO image ready for deploying on computers.
How to Convert Install.esd to Install.wim using NTLite Tool
NTLite is a popular tool for serving Windows images. You can use it not only to integrate driver files or updates into wim, but also to configure the automatic installation of Windows and applications. One of the NTLite options allows you to convert ESD files to WIM format.
NTLite is free for non-commercial use. You can download it here: https://www.ntlite.com/download/.
To convert install.esd from Windows 10 image to install.wim format, run NTLite, and follow these steps:
- Select Add > Image file (WIM, ESD, SWM);
- Select your install.esd file;
Select the Windows edition in the ESD image that you want to export to a WIM file;
Select Export > WIM in the context menu. Or click on the heading Operating System and select Export all > WIM;
Wait for NTLite to finish exporting Windows image from ESD file to WIM format. In my case, it took about 10 minutes.
The resulting install.wim file can be mounted using the DISM tool. You can slipstream Windows security updates into a .wim file, inject drivers, change Windows features, and make some other changes to the image. Now, you can use it to create your own Windows installation images and then import them to the MDT, WDS, or SCCM.