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WinPE is packaged with a large collection of drivers, however, there are many devices that are not part of the WinPE list of drivers.  For WinPE to recognize your device, you need to add a driver. Your device then communicates with WinPE and loads at boot time of WinPE.

The main devices to be concerned with are hard drive/RAID controllers, network interface cards (NIC) or USB controllers and USB hubs.  

If you intend to use a network device then you need to ensure that your NIC is supported in WInPE.  If your hard drives are attached to a RAID controller then you need to ensure that your RAID Controller is supported in WinPE, either by a WinPE driver or by adding a driver.  

A device driver is a collection of files (also referred to as a driver package) and generally comprises of:

  1. The driver software.  These files have a .SYS extension.
  2. The driver information, or INF, file which contains the installation instructions for the drivers.  These files have a .INF extension.
  3. An optional security catalog which signs the drivers for operating systems which require signed drivers, commonly used on x64 operating systems.  These files have a .CAT extension.
  4. One or more optional supporting software library files (Dynamic Link Library) which contain further code to support the driver software.  These files have a .DLL extension.

Your best sources for driver packages are the CD that comes with your device (or motherboard) or downloads from the vendor website as a ZIP file.  When downloading a package from the vendor website, it is best to source a ZIP package for easy extraction.