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Slipstreaming Windows XP SP1a Slipstreaming Windows XP SP1a: To save some time with Windows XP installs and applying service packs, be sure to checkout this guide.
Date: July 1, 2004
Written By:

For those of you unfamiliar with the term slipstreaming, it is basically the process of integrating service packs or hotfixes into an application or Operating System install. The whole point of this exercise is to speed up deployment of OSes and applications by reducing the time needed to download service packs to each PC that is configured. Although a time investment is needed to setup your first slipstreamed CD, the time saved from, say installing an OS and downloading (or copying from a network share) a service pack ten times pays for the initial setup by itself.

We've covered slipstreaming before in our Office XP slipstream guide, so let's continue the lesson with Windows XP.

Step 1

The first thing you will need to do is copy all the files on your Windows XP CD over to your hard drive. We'll be using C:\WinXP as our example for the rest of this article, but feel free to call it whatever you wish.

Download the latest Service Pack from into a folder by itself. We used C:\SP1a, but you are free to name it as you please. At the time of this writing, the latest (and publicly available) service pack is . It is important you grab the version of the service pack (in the appropriate language), as it will include all the necessary files needed for slipstreaming and weighs in at 134MB.

Step 2

After downloading the service pack, you'll need to extract the contents. There are two ways of doing this:

1) Go to your command prompt (Start - Run, and type cmd then press Ok).

Browse to your SP1a folder and type: xpsp1a_en_x86.exe -x

A window will pop up asking where you would like to extract the files to. You can just point it back to your SP1a folder.

Note that the actual name of the service pack install files (xpsp1a_en_x86.exe) may be different depending on the language you selected.

2) Another method (and faster) is to go to your Run window (Start - Run), and type the path to your service pack executable. In our example, it is: C:\SP1a\xpsp1a_en_x86.exe -x

As with the first method, a pop up will ask where to extract the files. You can also add the path to the line to skip that pop up as follows: c:\sp1a\xpsp1a_en_x86.exe -x:c:\sp1a

Step 3

The next step is to actually update the Windows XP files themselves. We'll stick to the command prompt method, but this will also work using the Run window. Browse to your C:\SP1a folder, and go to the update folder. Type update /s:c:\winxp, where c:\WinXP is the path to your Windows XP files.

Once the update is finished, a pop up will appear telling you so. Windows XP has now been slipstreamed.

Step 4

Unless you're planning to install over a network, the next step would be to burn everything to CD, which we will demonstrate using Nero. The first thing you will need to do is to extract the boot loader off your original CD using a program such as ISO Buster, or download it from here. Next fire up Nero, and close any wizards that pop up.

Choose CD-ROM (Boot), and browse for your boot loader file. If you've extracted your own, Nero will find it as soon as you point it to where you saved it. If you've downloaded ours, you'll need to switch the file type to all files in order to find it. It's important to select No Emulation and set the Number of loaded sectors to 4 as in our screenshots above.

Under the ISO tab, configure all your Nero settings as above.

You'll need to enter in your volume label information next. You can leave this at Nero's default, and we've had no issues with this in the past, but feel free to enter your original media's volume label information. Under the Dates tab, make sure the "Use the date and time from the original file" is checked off.

Once you've completed the above steps, click on new, and a file explorer window will appear. Drag and drop the contents of the C:\WinXP folder into the new CD window. The total files shouldn't add up to more than 550MB under most scenarios, so a 74min/650MB CD should be enough. Once that is done, begin the burn process, and when the CD is finished, you're set to go.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.


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