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Old Feb 12, 2008, 11:39 AM   #1
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caveman-jim
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Slipstreaming Windows XP with service packs, drivers, applications etc.

I was asked to give some details about creating a Slipstreamed Install CD for Windows XP. Here are some 'basic' steps to creating a XP CD with service packs and patches slipstreamed, drivers integrated, customized unattended setup, autologin and post install application installation:

Pre-requisites:
Broadband Internet connection
~5Gb Free Space
CD Writer & Blank CD
Original Windows XP CD & Genuine License Key
Motherboard Driver CD (or latest updated drivers for your motherboard)
The ability to:
  • burn CD's
  • use command prompt
  • use right click context menus
  • install applications
  • have patience.

Step 1 - Download & Install Applications & Tools

Download CTUpdate, 7Zip, nLite, and install nLite and 7-Zip.

Step 2 - Define temp build locations & start downloading updates

Make a folder 'nlite' in the root of your drive you want to use. Inside the folder extract CTUpdate.zip. Open the folder and run 'Update Generator.EXE'. Check the box for the language of Windows XP you use - e.g. English. Check the box for 'clean up download directories'. Click 'Start'. This is now downloading the latest critical updates and hotfixes for Windows XP in your selected language. This will take a while, so continue on.

Inside the 'nlite' folder make three folders, one named XP + todays date, e.g. 'XP02122008', one named 'Drivers' and a folder named 'ISO'. Don't use spaces in folder names, use an underscore if you want to be more verbose or increase readability (e.g. XP_Feb_2008).

Step 3 - Prepare Drivers

Insert your motherboard drivers CD. Use 7Zip to open the driver packages and extract them to different directories inside the 'Drivers' folder. If 7Zip can't extract them, try opening a command prompt and running the installer with a '/?' and see if there is an extract command. For example, running the Intel chipset driver installer with -A extracts all files to C:\program files\intel. If you're downloading the drivers from the web, look for .zip packages to download instead of installers.

Now, we need to wait until the update generator has finished downloading. You might want to spend this time organizing your Drivers folder, into 'Wifi', 'Network', 'Chipset', 'SATA', 'RAID', 'SCSI', 'Audio', 'Video' etc. Inside each directory you could make a subfolder for the vendor, so your Video folder could hold 'ATI', 'nVidia', 'VIA', 'SiS', 'Intel' folders. It depends on how much effort you want to put in as to how many different packages you download and rip apart.
If you want to just focus on the essentials, concentrate on chipset, sata/raid, and networking (such as Intel matrix storage drivers, via sata raid, ati sata raid, nvraid, intel pro/1000 drivers, marvell yukon, nvidia ethernet, broadcom 440/netXtreme).

Step 4 - Download applications for install.

Many applications can be silently installed using command line switches. For example, java can be be installed with the command
Code:
java_release.exe /S /v/qn
We can also silently install DirectX 9. Download the end user runtimes install package from microsoft and extract it to a folder (say, C:\nlite\apps\directx\) using 7zip. Running
Code:
dxsetup.exe /silent
will install the update without prompting.

Once the Update Generator process we started in Step 2 has finished downloading (it will pop up an alert box), we can move onto step 5.

Step 5 - Begin Slipstreaming

Insert your Windows XP CD, and close the Setup popup if it opens. Open Windows Explorer and look at the CD label given to the CD, e.g. 'WXPFPP_EN'. Make a note of this, we'll need it later.

Step 5a - Open nLite.

Select the language you wish to use, and click next. Click browse and select your CD drive. You will be prompted where to save the installation files, browse to your XP_date folder (e.g. C:\nlite\XP02122008). Wait till it's finished copying files, and click next.

Step 5b - Presets & Last Session

At the presets page, you should have none, click next. On the Task Selection page, we'll select the operations. In our case we are going to assume that the CD we are using is an original Windows XP Professional CD, with no service packs. Click on 'All' to select all options, and click next.

Step 5c - Service Pack.

Select the service pack to install, it will be located in the ctupdate folder under the Client\WXP\<lang>\ folder, where <lang> is the selected language. For English this will be enu, giving our example final path as 'C:\nlite\ctupdate4\client\wxp\enu'. The Windows XP SP2 installer is named 'WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe' for English. Select this file and let nLite do its thing.

Windows XP SP3 - nLite now supports XP SP3 final. Click here for more info.

Step 5d - Hotfixes, Addons and Update Pack.

Click the Insert button and browse to the updates folder, as before for the Service Pack. Select all the files, except the Service Pack. Note that nLite is pseudosmart and has some checking to see what kind of file you are selecting. Also, if you don't want IE7 installed and integrated automatically, don't select any files with 'IE7' in the name. Hit next when you're done.

Step 5e - Driver Integration.

Click the Insert button and select 'Multiple Driver Folder'. Browse to your Drivers folder, and click OK. Follow the prompts and select the drivers you want to install; be sure to pick on those that are for 32bit XP; if one for XP is not listed, pick Server 2003 or Windows 2000. Pay attention to prompts for 'textmode' or 'pnp' - this refers to when the drivers are loaded in setup. If you need a driver to be able to install Windows on your AHCI or RAID chipset, make sure it is selected as 'textmode'. Note that Slipstreamed CD's do not allow the F6 method of loading drivers during setup reliably. Hit next when you're done.

Step 5f - Component Removal.

Here you can specify items are not installed. Note that you can completely bork the OS if you click without considering the consequences. Use the Compatiblity warning to prevent you from accidentally removing something you wanted. For now, lets click on 'Network' and select the 'MSN Explorer' and 'Windows Messenger' entries. Click next when you're done.

Step 5g
- Unattended Settings.

Here we can change the setup experience so remove steps. Fill in your key, user names & passwords, owner and network ID, etc. as required. For our test, you will need to set the Autologin to 'Administrator', with a logon count of 1. Give it a strong password (and remember what that password is!). Under 'runonce' enter the following command to add: '%SOURCE%\Support\install.bat'. We'll use RunOnceEx to run a batch file on first login, to install applications for us.

Step 5h - Options.

Under the general tab, under the Driver Cabinet section, set High Compression and Merge to 'enabled'. Under the Misc section, set Remove Duplicate Files to 'Enabled'. Under the Setup Look change the Black Background and Classic settings to Yes.
Under the Patches tab, set your desired number of simultaneous connections to your required amount (this is the same as the evid patch, which is now detect by most AV as an undesirable app), and enable Unsigned Themes support (if you plan on using 3rd party windows themes). Disable SFC (Windows File Protection).

Step 5i - Tweaks

Decide what you want to work and how - here are my basic suggestions:


I usually select the following:
Boot and Shutdown
  • Auto-End Tasks Immediately
  • Auto-Kill hung applications immediately
  • Numlock ON
  • Setup Prefetch Cache - Applaunch & Boot Enabled
  • Status Messages - Extended
Desktop
  • Show IE, My Computer, My Documents, My Network Places - Enabled
  • Wrap Icon Titles - Enabled
Explorer
  • Add Command Prompt
  • Advanced Search - Preconfigure Options
  • Launch Folder Windows in Seperate Process
Internet Explorer
  • Enable Google URL-Search
  • Set Internet Explorer to accept 10 connects at a time
Performance
  • Run 16-bit Windows Applications in separate process
Privacy
  • Remove Alexa
Security
  • Always Show Updates Under Software
Start Menu
  • Reduce Popup Delay
  • Remove Search for People from Search
  • Remove Search the Internet from Search


Messenger - Disabled


Step 5j - Apply Changes

Click yes to begin the process of integration and customization. This will take a while, so go read a book or watch a movie. Note that any hotfix incompatibilities will pop up an alert, which require you to click ok before the process can continue.

Step 5k - Final Customization & ISO Creation

Once the build is ready, we can tweak it just a little more. Copy the DirectX folder we extracted earlier into the Support folder of the build. To find the path easily, click the 'explore' button and it'll open right up to it. Inside the support folder we need to create a txt file, named install.bat. This file will run after setup completes and the administrator autologon occurs. Put the line '%SOURCE$\Support\DirectX\dxsetup.exe /silent' into the file and save it. Make sure it's named install.bat and not install.bat.txt!

You can integrate similar applications like this, including .NET framework, Antivirus applications, adobe reader, flash player, klite codec pack... it's up to you. I recommend after getting familiar with nLite, you visit the MSFN forums, and see what they're doing. It's awesome.

Now we need to switch back to nlite and make the CD/ISO. I recommend making an ISO, so you can test it in a VM or burn multiple copies easily. We need to change the volume name to the correct one for your install. Look on this list to see what it will be, for example the new Windows XP SP2 Professional Retail label is VRMPFPP_EN, or the one you recorded earlier. Now you can make your ISO, click the Create ISO button and give it a name - something useful like 'XPSP2-02122008.ISO'. Once the ISO is completed you can burn it and test it out.

I recommend trying it in a Virtual Machine first, so you can play around with application installation, etc.

Next patch day you can come back and re-run CTupdate, update your drivers folders, and build off this install image to keep yourself up to date. Load the last session and deselect what you've already done (integrated drivers or hotifixes). Note that if you ISO size exceeds CD size (700mb for a standard CD-R) then you can burn to DVD and boot without problems (as long as your machine has a DVD drive).

If you're feeling good about your slipstream, have a crack at adding Microsoft Update activeX to your install, too - MSFN

My current XP slipstream installs are patched to January 08, with Office 2007 SP1, .NET frameworks 1.1 - 3.5, DirectX 9c Nov 07, Java 1.6.0.4, Adobe Reader 8.1.2, Flash & Shockwave players, klite codecs (full, playback), user hive profile clean up, hautesecure, powerdvd and roxio creator installed on first run, with custom theme and the i386 folder copied to the windows directory. Microsoft Update installed and IE7 not installed, and hidden from the update view.

Sources:

MSFN
Tacktech
Aaron Stebners Blog
RyanVM
AppDeploy

Last edited by caveman-jim : May 15, 2008 at 01:43 PM.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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Holy crap bat man...

Nice walk through

If I could rep you I would
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 12:25 PM   #3
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Awesome post Jim!
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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Killer post Jim!

+Rep!

I repped him for you Uber.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 06:45 PM   #5
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Question:

When adding more aps to the build you have
Quote:
Step 5k - Final Customization & ISO Creation

Once the build is ready, we can tweak it just a little more. Copy the DirectX folder we extracted earlier into the Support folder of the build. To find the path easily, click the 'explore' button and it'll open right up to it. Inside the support folder we need to create a txt file, named install.bat. This file will run after setup completes and the administrator autologon occurs. Put the line '%SOURCE$\Support\DirectX\dxsetup.exe /silent' into the file and save it. Make sure it's named install.bat and not install.bat.txt!

You can integrate similar applications like this, including .NET framework, Antivirus applications, adobe reader, flash player, klite codec pack... it's up to you. I recommend after getting familiar with nLite, you visit the MSFN forums, and see what they're doing. It's awesome.
How can I get multiple applications installed? You can't create multiple install.bat files.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 07:16 PM   #6
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edit the install.bat
e.g.
Code:
%source%\support\directx\dxsetup.exe /silent
%source%\support\java\jre.exe /S /v/qn
...
etc.

The batch file is so that you can just edit the source directory and dump more installers in the SUPPORT folder, and edit the install.bat to include more and more setup commands and switches. BTW you want to use start /w on the front of the commands, this makes the batch file wait until the executable has completed installing, so you don't end up with 25 processes all trying to hit the CD, disk, proc and ram all at once.

E.G.

Code:
@echo off
start /w %SOURCE%\support\directx\dxsetup.exe /silent
start /w %SOURCE%\support\java\java.exe /S /v/qn
Note you should not include any spaces in your paths, and rename long executable filenames to be more friendly with 8.3 formatting.
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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Note that if you slipstream XP SP3 and use an HD audio device (integrated realtek audio, or ATI HD audio on HD2400/2600/2900 etc., and so on) then you will need to install KB888111 before you can install your audio drivers. However, KB888111 (which will usually be distributed with your HD Audio drivers, in a folder like 'MSHDQFE\Win2K_XP\us') will fail to install as it is for XP SP2. Extract the hotfix using 7Zip or similar, and use device manager to install the Microsoft UAA HD Bus Driver for HD Audio for any PCI devices listed without drivers, then run the installer for your Audio package.

I haven't tried slipstreaming the UAA drivers yet, will post back if I do and report results.

Rage3D News story on this from January

Last edited by caveman-jim : Feb 18, 2008 at 08:46 PM.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:27 PM   #8
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Slipstreaming the UAA drivers works fine, just point nLite to the expanded KB888111 contents as a multiple driver folder and it'll work fine.
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Old May 15, 2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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http://www.nliteos.com/

nLite 1.4.5 Final
2008.05.08
Finally the XP SP3 was released so here is the final nLite version update as well.

Just one important thing changed, SP3 Slipstream under Vista. It would reject your valid CD-Key. Not my doing but it is fixed anyway.
So in order to fix the XP SP3 CD-Key issues remake the Slipstreamed version from scratch with this nLite version.
Update: if you are upgrading from RTM to SP3 then first slipstream SP2 if you are using Vista as a host.
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