Do you want to split a Windows image (WIM) file into multiple image (SWM) files, but don’t know where to start? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process and tell you everything you need to know about the separation process.
What are WIM files?
First, what is a Windows image file? What purpose does this serve? The WIM format is used to create disk image files. Developers use WIM to store the contents of an entire hard drive in a single file.
Vendors will use WIM to preload OS and other applications on a computer system. The reason they do it this way is because WIMs tend to load faster. In addition, they are less likely to encounter errors.
WIM files are bootable, so they are also used to quickly start the installation process.
What are SWM files?
WIM files are usually large, given the amount of information stored internally. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to split the WIM into multiple smaller SWM files, allowing administrators to store all of this data on multiple storage devices.
One example would be storing SWM files on multiple DVDs instead of trying to save one WIM file to one DVD.
File sharing restrictions
There are restrictions on file splitting. For example, users are not allowed to split SWM files. In addition, users need to keep all SWM files in one folder. For any DVD deployments, you need to copy all files to the target computer before you can run Windows installation.
Split image file
Follow these steps to split the Windows image file into smaller SWM files.
First, let’s mount the Windows ISO file. Open a command prompt by running Run (Windows + R) and typing CMD. With the command prompt open, enter the following command:
Dism / Split-Image / ImageFile: C: / SWMFile: C: / FileSize:
Remember to replace the following values:
- C: – Replace with the location of the WIM file you want to convert to SWM.
- C: – The location where you want to save the converted SWM files.
- – The maximum size in MB for each SWM file.
An example of this would be:
Dism / Split-Image /ImageFile:D:sourcesinstall.wim /SWMFile:E:sourcesinstall.swm / FileSize: 3800
Storing SWM files on USB
Storing SWM files on a USB stick is a great idea. This comes in handy if you need to install Windows 10 from a USB drive.
Saving a WIM directly to a USB stick can sometimes fail as most USB sticks are formatted using the FAT32 format. FAT32 is necessary because it allows USB devices to boot BIOS or UEFI based computers. However, FAT32 files cannot store more than 4GB. This is where SWM files come in.
Just remember, all SWM files must be stored in the same folder to work.
Storing SWM files on DVD
As with USB drives, SWM files can also be stored on DVDs. Use Command Prompt to copy SWM files to DVD. At the command prompt, enter:
copy C: *
For this example, replace with the location of the SWM file. Replace with the target destination. An example of this would be:
a copy of C: images install.swm D: *
Do this until all the SWM files you intend to copy have been saved to DVD.
Load the DVDs on the computer where you are going to use the files. Copy the contents of the DVDs to your computer until all files are transferred. You can then use Windows Setup or a script to apply the Windows image.