WinPE was originally intended to be used only as a pre-installation platform for deploying Microsoft Windows operating systems, specifically to replace DOS in this respect. WinPE has the following uses:
Deployment of workstations and servers in large corporations as well as pre-installation by system builders of workstations and servers to be sold to end users.
Platform for running 3rd party 32-bit or 64-bit disk cloning utilities.
The package can be used for developer testing or as a recovery CD/DVD for system administrators. Many customized WinPE boot CDs packaged with third-party applications for different uses are now available from volunteers via Internet.
The package can also be used as the base of a forensics investigation to either capture a disk image or run analysis tools without mounting any available disks and thus changing state.
Version 2.0 introduced a number of improvements and extended the availability of WinPE to all customers, not just corporate enterprise customers by downloading and installing Microsoft's Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).
Built from the first edition of Windows Vista. This version differs from the other versions since it doesn't need the disc to load all the files. This means that the download is now 900MB in size instead of 60MB from the previous versions. It's possible to modify the default startup disc to have access to a few plug-ins like WMI, Windows Scripting Host, additional drivers and other 32-bit applications (or 64-bit applications for 64-bit versions). Other new features include the capability for a rewritable RAM disk since WinPE version 1.x only has a recordable RAM disk.