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BOOT CAMP 428 (13/06/06)

Slipstreaming Windows XP, part 1

 

If your PC is less than a year or so old then it probably came with what is effectively Windows XP Mark 2. Releases of XP since early 2005 have included Service Pack 2, which was the most comprehensive upgrade of Windows XP to date. SP2 was much more than a collection of security updates and patches; it replaced large portions of the XP operating system and contains a lot of major upgrades and improvements. In short if you haven’t got Windows XP with SP2, you should have otherwise you are missing out on some very worthwhile features, not to mention increased security.

 

If you have been using Windows XP since before the middle of last year then you will face a problem, If, for any reason your current installation crashes and you have to reinstall Windows. Since your installation CD is most probably pre Service Pack you will also have to go through the lengthy and, for some, troublesome process of re-installing Service Pack 2. There is a solution, though, and that is to create your own integrated Windows XP/SP2 installation disc, using a technique known as ‘slipstreaming’. Not only will this make installation easier and quicker it also provides you with a backup copy of your Windows disc.

 

The Slipstreaming facility is built into Windows 2000 and XP; it was designed to assist network engineers and administrators manage large-scale installations by creating a network file or, in this case, a bootable installation CD that contains both the operating system and the most recent Service Pack. We mentioned it briefly a few months ago in Boot Camp 405 and since then we have received a steady stream of requests from readers asking for more information.

 

Creating a Slipstreamed copy of Windows is actually quite easy but it involves several quite separate stages. As far as I am aware no one has yet come up with a utility or program that will do the job for you in one go but should take less than an hour and it will not interfere with or harm your current installation.

 

To make your own Slipstreamed copy of XP you will need a few things and the first and most important one is an original licensed copy of the Windows XP installation disc. Incidentally, whilst you can make a copy of your CD this does not entitle you to install it on more than one PC at a time and if you try you will find that it can’t be ‘activated’ and your existing system may require re-activation.

 

You will also need a copy of Service Pack 2, you may already have one on CD, however if it is more than a few months old it may be out of date and its better to use the latest version and you can an download a specialised standalone copy of SP2 for IT engineers from Microsoft. Other requirements are a CD/DVD writer drive, a CD Burning application like Roxio Easy Media Creator, Nero Burning 7 or an excellent freeware utility called ImgBurn, a couple of blank discs, a small shareware utility called IsoBuster and around 2Gb of free hard disc space on your PC.

 

The first step is to create two new folders on your PC and copy the installation files from your XP CD into one of them, and the SP2 download into the other one. Begin by opening Windows Explorer, select the C: drive then go to New > Folder on the File menu. Call the first folder xp2, repeat the process and call the second one sp2. Next load your XP disc, open it in Windows Explorer, highlight all of the files (Ctrl + A), press Ctrl + C to copy the files then open your newly created xp2 folder and press Ctrl + V to Paste the files into it. This may take a few minutes.

 

The SP2 download comes in the form of a compressed file and this has to be extracted. Download the file into the newly created sp2 folder on your PC (it will be called something like WindowsXP-KB8359-SP2-ENUJ.exe). If it ends up somewhere else copy and paste it into the sp2 folder. It’s quite large (around 266Mb) so it may take a while. When it has finished rename it to something a little more manageable like sp2.exe.

 

Next go to Run on the Start menu and type 'cmd’ and this will open a DOS type Command window.  At the flashing prompt type:

 

cd\ and press Enter.  Then type the following (without quotes):

cd  sp2 (Enter)

sp2.exe -x:c:\sp2 (Enter)

 

The Extracting File progress box will be displayed. When it has finished press OK. To check that the extraction process has been completed correctly open the sp2 folder in Windows Explorer and you should see a subfolder called i386.

 

The final step this week is to update XP with the extracted i386 file. To do that open a Command window (‘cmd’ in Run on the Start) and type the following:

 

cd\ (Enter)

cd sp2 (Enter)

cd i386 (Enter)

cd update (Enter)

update -s:c:\xp2 (Enter)

 

After a moment or two The Windows SP2 Setup Wizard dialogue box will open showing a progress bar indicating that the files are being integrated. If everything has gone according to plan you will see a dialogue box saying ‘Integrated install has complete successfully’. If so you can click OK and proceed to the next stages in part 2.

 

 

NEXT WEEK - Slipstreaming Windows XP, part 2

 

JARGON FILTER

 

ACTIVATION

In order to use Windows XP it has to be authorised by Microsoft, Product Activation is normally carried out on-line and only takes a few moments

 

BURNING

Process of recording data on a blank or rewritable CD or DVD

 

DOS

Disc Operating System -- a program that runs independently of Windows responsible for controlling disc drives, organising data and memory resources.

 

TOP TIP

Whist we’re only looking at Slipstreaming Service Pack 2, more recent security patches and ‘hotfixes’ can also be integrated into a slipstreamed XP2 disc, though the process does require some familiarity with command line operation and is therefore not for complete novices. The basic steps are to download the files from the Windows XP Update site and save them all into a newly created folder. The updates are then combined with Windows installation file using the /integrate command. There’s a detailed explanation in MS Kowledgebase article 828930. Don’t forget, there’s a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at www.rickmaybury.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© R. Maybury 2006, 0706

Part 2

 

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