Thursday, September 4, 2008

Integrate or slipstream Windows XP or Vista updates into installation

For anyone who installs Windows XP on a regular basis, you know that keeping everything patched can be a pain. I have an XP Pro installation disc with service pack 2, and after the install there are over 100 updates to download. Well, you can change that by "slipstreaming" your installation disc. This process lets you download the latest service pack release from Microsoft, integrate it with your Windows XP installation disc, then create a new disc that will install both Windows XP and the latest service pack. The process isn't that difficult either, but does require some software you may or may not have. There are quite a few different guides out there, but the best one I had found is here: It uses service pack 2 in the instructions, but you can substitute any service pack in that you may need. After creating a slipstreamed install CD and installing Windows, I went from 100+ updates to 6, which I'm sure anyone could appreciate.

I've actually come back to this post to give you an update. There is a free application out there called nLite which makes this process much easier for Windows XP, or vLite for Windows Vista. I highly suggest using these free applications instead of trying to do it manually. They will extract the files from your install CD, let you integrate service packs, updates, drivers, etc, and then create an .ISO for you to mount or burn to CD for future use. It's also really use if you run into a problem during a Windows install saying that a hard drive doesn't exist, which you can find in another post on this site. In order to use vLite you'll also need the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) installed, which you can download for free direct from Microsoft. For Windows 7 the link is here. For XP and Vista you can get it from here. It's rather large, but once you have it you can mount it to a virtual drive using something like Daemon Tools and install from there.

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