Windows 10 Pro – Export Image Split WIM (SWM) to WIM

Have you had it happen to you that you set out to perform a task but keep running into a wall?  A solid brick wall?

In my quest for creating a Windows image file (WIM) for Windows 10 Professional, to import into Microsoft Deployment Tools (MDT) 2013 Update 2, I spent days trying to perform what should have been a simple task.

The situation was this:

For a lab/ test environment I have two Dell All-in-One computers that I want to test an image on.  The PCs came with Windows 10 Pro 64 pre-installed.  I attempted to import Windows 10 Pro 64bit from Dell media DVD but it includes two Split WIM files (install.swm and install2.swm) instead of install.wim.  It turns out that .swm files are not supported in MDT 2013.  Thus, I set out to merge install.swm and install2.swm into install.wim.

It took countless failed attempts to finally get it to work.

dism /export-image /swmfile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim is what I found online to be the right command but it failed miserably with the following:

Error 87:

The Export-Image option is unknown.

That was when attempting to export the files on a Windows 7 machine.  Entering dism /? in the command line clued me in on the fact that the /Export-Image option was not available for whatever reason.

So I moved on to a Windows 8 machine.  The /Export-Image option worked but I was prompted with this:

The command-line is missing the /sourceimagefile option

So I spent what seemed like an eternity searching Google for answers but would stumble upon the same command line over and over:

dism /export-image /swmfile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

I moved on to a Windows 10 machine thinking it mattered; it probably doesn’t.

…and again I tried…

dism /export-image /swmfile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

…and was greeted with:

The command-line is missing the /sourceimagefile option

…so I tried..

dism /export-image /sourceimagefile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

…but /sourceimagefile: does not allow for wild characters so that failed…and then I tried…

dism /export-image /sourceimagefile:install.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

…and thought I had it figured out as it began the process but again failed miserably at the end with a different error message:

The specified image file did not contain a resource section

…and I was back to square one.

You know that increasingly upsetting feeling that you get after failing so many times?  And you are following the instructions to the tee but yet something is missing?  Then you recompose yourself and realize that this has been done before and thus you must be doing something wrong.

So I issued dism /export-image /? at the command prompt and stared at the results for several minutes…and then it dawned on me.

I did a Google search for /sourceimagefile: and /swmfile: and found this post.

DISM /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:C:\Temp\SP2Recovery\Source\install.swm /swmfile:C:\Temp\SP2Recovery\Source\install*.swm /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:C:\Temp\SP2Recovery\Destination\install.wim

I took that example and modified it to look like this:

dism /export-image /sourceimagefile:install.swm /swmfile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

…but first…

I copied both install.swm and install2.swm into a new folder called images, located in Documents folder.

At the command line I did this:

cd c:\users\administrator\documents\images

…to be in the same directory as the .swm files.

…Finally, running the following from an elevated command prompt:

dism /export-image /sourceimagefile:install.swm /swmfile:install*.swm /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install.wim

…and the magic happened, successfully exporting the two .swm files into one very large install.wim file I needed to import into MDT 2013 Update 2.


21 thoughts on “Windows 10 Pro – Export Image Split WIM (SWM) to WIM

    1. Hi Ant. I don’t remember having to edit the unattend.xml at all. My problems deploying a Windows 10 image with MDT 2013 Update 2 had to do with applying GPOs to the image and also with exporting SWIM to WIM. After I had the WIM file, I was able to import it just fine and create installation media. These MDT 2013 Windows 10 youtube videos helped me a ton.

      That link is just part one of the video series; I viewed them all from beginning to end.


      1. Oh man! Thanks for replying so quick. I’ll take a look. I’m wanting to edit the unattend to auto join the domain and prompt for a PC name. I’ll see if I can figure it out. Thanks again!


  1. Great tutorial and thanks for sharing how you were able to achieve your goal.

    Can you explain to me how you ended up importing this into MDT?

    Did you just import the install.wim and then create a sysprep and capture task sequence or did you use the entire media and with the newly created install.wim.



  2. Thanks So much for this. Have a few new Dell towers on the way for the office that have 7 Pro pre-installed but come with 10 pro upgrade. Want to create a custom image with domain settings and pre-install out internal software, I remember running into a similar issue few years ago in school when I wanted to create a custom Windows 7 Image but tried using a Dell factory image with SWM files.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, this was a great help for extracting an Acer recovery image. I translated it to the equivalent PowerShell:

    Export-WindowsImage -Verbose -SourceIndex 1 -DestinationImagePath C:\Users\ahovda\acer.wim -SourceImagePath K:\d2d\images\WOP000990OXXEN11.SWM -SplitImageFilePattern K:\d2d\images\WOP000990OXXEN11*.SWM


  4. Well, I didnt have much problems exporting both swm files into a single install.wmi. However, when I open it from WSIM the image is detected as Windows 10 Home Single Language, which makes no sense since both swm files were taken from a Win 10 Pro DVD. Did you experience the same?


    1. Hi. I don’t recall…although sounds familiar…but if so, I’d just go through with it anyways and rename it Win10Pro. You’d have to check that Win 10 Pro features are in fact available.


  5. Just wanted to say thank you for helping end what has been a week-long journey of restoring a hard drive I stupidly blew away the partitions on thinking I would relegate it to a spare, then ended up needed the Dell factory image from for the new SSD! I would say as an intermediate-to-advanced computer user, most of the blueprints for disk partitioning and DISM I needed ended up being found in the M$ documentation (which is actually very good, btw), but came to a halt upon the discovery of five separate .swm files. Thankfully I stumbled across this post and was able to get the rest of the way there; now it’s working brilliantly. I’m not big on leaving comments but this was so helpful, I feel obligated. From one IT professional to another, thank you sir!


  6. I know I am late to the party, but wanted to drop a line just to say ‘Thank you so much’. I am now, officially- another poor soul you have helped with your post. After a day and a half of trying every related command line I could possibly punch in, with absolutely no success – I had all but giving up…then I ran up on your web page. Within 5 minutes of following your directions- I am now watching the files extract as I type this. Again a sincere big ‘thank you’ for taking time out to share and publish this info. I am sure your page will help many many users for years to come.


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