Mirage bootable USB media can assist you with recovery operations and system imaging. After the bootable USB drive is created, it contains a clean install of Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise Edition, or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition. The Mirage client is also installed and preconfigured to connect to your Mirage server when the client machine restarts.


Mirage supports creating bootable USB keys for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 only. For Windows 10 endpoints, create a Mirage WinPE image on a bootable USB drive, provision a Windows 10 base layer, and restore the CVD to the new device.

You can customize the bootable USB key to accommodate different hardware platforms and additional Windows pre- and post-installation actions, for example, joining the new system to the required domain or renaming the system. The following are the most common use scenarios:

  • Restoring a device that can no longer boot to Windows

  • Restoring or reimaging a remote device in the field

  • Provisioning or imaging a new Windows installation on an existing machine quickly

Deploying the Windows image with the Mirage bootable USB key generally takes 15 to 30 minutes.

The following components are required:

  • Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition machine.

    This is represented in this guide as drive C.

  • Mirage bootable USB Scripts provided by VMware.

  • Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Professional or Enterprise Edition DVD or ISO file.

    This is represented in this guide as drive D.

  • A USB Drive with at least 8 GB available disk space

    This is represented in this guide as drive U.

  • Mirage client MSI installer file x86 or x64 version.

    You can find current clients on the Mirage support downloads page.

  • Drivers for the end point hardware.

    • Network drivers are highly recommended.


You can access all other drivers with the Driver Library feature within the Mirage server.

Limitations of the Bootable USB Drive

  • The Windows installation is not activated and does not include a product key. Windows installation allows you to work with a non-activated machine for a few days. You can work around this limitation by editing the autounattend.xml file.

  • Some antivirus products (for example, Trend Micro) are known to prevent copying autorun.inf to removable disks . As the process of creating a bootable USB disk requires copying such a file, you must disable the antivirus application while creating the USB disk using this utility.

  • If you attempt to install Mirage with an SSL-enabled server, the newly deployed client machine might not be able to connect to the server, as it is not yet a member of the domain. In such a case, add a custom action on the USB disk to add the client machine to the domain.

Windows XP Bootable USB Keys

Mirage does not support a bootable USB key for Windows XP. To restore a bare metal Windows XP device, use your Windows 7 bootable USB drive, and then use Mirage to restore the device to a previous Windows XP snapshot.