How to Create a Custom Windows CD with Integrated Service Packs

Slipstreaming Your Windows Installation.

I really hated how long my Windows installations were taking because of all of the service packs and hot fixes I’d have to load to bring it up to date. I thought it would be great if I could have all of the updates already on the disk and have them load during the installation. So off to Google I went where I found all about a process referred to as “Slipstreaming.” Slipstreaming doesn’t just call all of the updates to install post Windows installation, but actually replaces all of the old files with the “new and improved” versions so it’s all up to snuff when Windows is installed. All versions of Windows 2000 and XP can be Slipstreamed. Here’s how to do it…

Step 1: Update your files

Although the process is pretty much the same for all applicable Windows versions, let’s assume we want to Slipstream a Windows 2000 Professional cd with service pack 4. Create a directory called win2k and copy your entire Windows cd to it. I like to include all of my systems’ drivers, custom reg files, and tools that I put on most of my installations on the cd as well to have everything I need on one disk. To do so you may need to free up some extra space to get it all to fit on a 700MB cd, so trim the fat by removing the following directories:

\bootdisk
\discover
\setuptxt
\support
\valueadd
\autorun.inf
\read1st.txt
\readme.doc
\setup.exe
\i386\win9xmig
\i386\win9xupg
\i386\winntupg

Download service pack 4, making sure to get the full network installation and not the express. It should be called w2ksp4_en.exe. Execute it with the “-x” switch and tell it where to save, c:\sp4 for example.

Now have it update your i386 directory by executing the following command:

c:\sp4\i386\update\update.exe -s:c:\win2k
You’ll now see the installer in action, updating your c:\win2k\i386 directory. When finished, you should see this:

Step 2: Make it better

If you want to get rid of the laborious task of entering the ridiculously long cd key, find the “setupp.ini” file in the “i386” directory, remove the “read only” attribute and open with your favorite text editor. The actual numbers may vary, but the file will look something like this.

[Pid]
ExtraData=646E77637A6F6D79626A1D94089595
Pid=51873000

Change the last 3 digits of the Pid number to 270. OEM CDs contain the letters “OEM” rather than “000”. It should now look like this:

[Pid]
ExtraData=646E77637A6F6D79626A1D94089595
Pid=51873270

Now create a directory for all of the extra stuff you’ll want on your new Windows cd. I made mine c:\win2k\AddOns. Copy all of the tools, drivers, and updates that you want into this directory, making sure that you don’t exceed the 700MB limit. You can have your custom scripts and drivers run during the install by creating a “winnt.sif” file and adding all of the pertinent information in it. I opted not to do this because I’ll be installing Windows on many different systems where such drivers/add-ons would not be desirable, plus I’m kind of lazy, 😉 But if you would like to do this you can read all about how, here.

Step 3: Make the CD

After copying all the AddOns you want, and making sure it doesn’t excide 700MB, it’s time to burn your new cd. You’ll need a boot image that you can get here. Unzip it to a temp folder. Since I use Nero, my directions will be for Nero, but it should be the same for any cd burning software. Open Nero and select CD-ROM (Boot). On the Boot tab, select Image file and browse to the w2kboot.bin file where you extracted it from the bootimage.zip
In the browse window, set filter to all files (*.*)
Check Enable expert settings
Set to No Emulation
Leave Boot message and load segment on the default settings.
Change Number of loaded sectors to 4

Now select the ISO tab and set exactly as it is in the following image:


Click NEW and navigate to your win2k directory and drag everything into the ISO1 window.
Burn the disk making sure to finalize the cd. You should now have a new bootable Windows cd with SP4.
If you have any problems, give me a shout.