ARTICLE: Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 3

Have you ever had to install Windows XP on a number of computers? Did you also have to install the Service Pack 3 (SP3) after the install? That task seems easy but the job could be made simpler -- if SP3 is slipstreamed into the Windows XP install CD, two jobs can be cutdown to just one.

That is the purpose of this article, to illustrate the procedure of slipstreaming SP3 into the install CD. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to successfully get this done.

Requisites. The following are required to put together a custom Windows XP install CD slipstreamed with SP3:

* Windows XP install CD
* or bbie.exe (download here)
* cdimage.exe (from Microsoft OPK)
* Windows XP Service Pack 3

Download or create one from the install CD using bbie.exe.

Service Pack 3 needs to be downloaded from the Microsoft website. After downloading, copy/move the file to a location that is easy to get to in the command line. A good location for this would be the "C:\" directory. This is only temporary and the Service Pack file could be deleted after slipstreaming.

Slipsteaming. Start off by copying the entire contents of the install CD to the harddisk. For this guide, let us name the target directory C:\XPCD (this directory name can be changed to a name of your choice).

Then, open a command shell: Start --> Run.. --> "cmd.exe" (without quotes)

Execute on the command shell as seen from the screenshot below (click to enlarge):

Executing "WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe" with the switch /s instructs the file to integrate or slipstream the updates to the directory that follows the colon (:), in this case C:\XPCD -- the directory or distribution folder which contains the contents of the Windows XP Professional CD.

The Service Pack executable will then self-extract and proceed to patch the distribution folder, C:\XPCD. A window will prompt when SP3 slipstream is done.

Re-Create the Install CD. Create the image of the install CD using either cdimage.exe or oscdimg.exe. The binaries can be taken from the Windows OEM Pre-installation Kit CD.
cdimage -l XPCD -b -n -h C:\XPCD XPCD.iso

After creating the install CD image, XPCD.iso can be burned to a blank CD. To ensure that the install CD is working without hitch, installation can be tried on a virtual machine prior to finally burning it to a blank CD.

I hope this article saves you time by cutting the job to a simple install directly to SP3. This tweak can be combined with adding SATA chipset drivers for better functionality.

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