How To: Slipstream Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1
There’s nothing we dislike more than firing up a fresh, new installation of an operating system only to find a slew of hotfixes, updates, and patches awaiting us through the Windows Update mechanism. Granted, we can take some small comfort from the fact that the updating process is relatively automatic—but not so when it comes to outfitting a new OS installation with all the requisite driver packages. This list can be a doozy: videocard drivers, soundcard drivers, motherboard drivers, etc.
But you can reduce the time and effort it takes to get a fresh install into tip-top shape. By creating a slipstreamed installation disc you’ll have all the patches, fixes, drivers, and options you need at the ready to be easily and automatically integrated into your next OS install—be it XP or Vista. This is especially relevant now, with new service packs available for both OSes (SP1 for Vista and SP3 for XP). If your original OS disc shipped prior to the SP release, your slipstreamed disc will give you all the newly added features. Depending on your operating system, you can make your customized installation disc using one of two handy tools, nLite or vLite. We’ll show you how.
What you Need:
• A Windows XP Pro Installation Disc
• A Windows Vista Home Premium Installation Disc
1. Setting Up an XP Slipstream Disc
First things first: Download nLite, then point the program to the directory where your Windows files reside. Just to clarify, that’s not C:\Windows\; the program wants the location of the installation files for your OS. The easiest way to accomplish this is to put your installation CD in the drive and tell nLite to look for the files there. Once nLite finds them, it’ll ask you where you want to save the installation files that will subsequently be modified by your tweaks. Make a new folder on your hard drive for this part. The program will copy over the installation files automatically.
Hit Next to be taken to the Settings menu. If you’ve crafted a customized nLite installation in the past, the parameters of your configuration will be listed here. Load them up and press the Next button until the program prompts you to burn a disc. Done!
If you’re starting from scratch, ignore the Settings screen and click Next. You can now decide what options you want to modify to create your customized installation disc. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going with the default All option. But once you’ve played around with nLite, you might identify certain areas of your installation that you don’t want to tweak. If so, you would deselect them from this options menu so they won’t appear later.
To start loading XP Service Pack 3 into your Windows disc, click Next. After you’ve done that, go to http://tinyurl.com/4qvth5
and download the SP3 installation file. Select the executable in nLite and hit Next. Congratulations—you now have an SP3 installation disc!
2. Tweaking an XP Slipstream Disc
Now that SP3 is integrated, you’ll be staring at nLite’s Hotfixes and Updates screen. As the name suggests, this is where you can integrate any number of hotfixes or update packs into your installation—the same way you slapped SP3 onto your disc. Your best bet is to ignore this screen for now. Once you’re done making the slipstreamed disc and you have SP3 up and running, make a note of what fixes pop up in Windows Update and download them from Microsoft’s knowledge base. You can then integrate them into a future version of your slipstreamed disc.
The Drivers screen is a bit more important, as it allows you to integrate drivers directly into the slipstreamed disc. We wanted to pre-install the drivers for our videocard, so we grabbed the driver pack from Nvidia’s website. We then extracted the files from the archival executable to a separate folder and selected this folder as the source of the drivers in nLite. When you do this, the program gives you a list of all the drivers in the directory—in our case, a single file. We selected that, clicked OK, then clicked Next.
This takes you to the Components screen, where you can strip out the unwanted side features of the operating system. If you want a safeguard against removing critical applications, click the Compatibility tab and select the different topics that represent functionality you know you need to keep.
Otherwise, start stripping. We trimmed the fat from the applications section and nuked a ton of configurations from the keyboards menu. Your final selections are up to you, but here’s a helpful hint: If you don’t know what something does, don’t get rid of it.
3. Installing an XP Slipstream Disc
Next, you’re presented with the Unattended screen, where you can shorten and modify the actual installation process of Windows XP itself. A number of tabs are responsible for the different sections of the installation routine. We started off by entering our Windows product key into the appropriate section on the General tab and turning off System Restore (we live on the edge). We then selected the Users tab and added all the different XP accounts we typically have on our machine, making sure to assign each to the appropriate local group.
We added our naming and workgroup details under the Owner and Network ID tab, leaving the Domain name field blank. We then made sure to set the correct options for our Automatic Updates and upped our display resolution to something a bit higher than Windows’s default—remember, since we’ve slipstreamed our videocard drivers, we should have no problem matching our monitor’s native resolution. Hit Next!
We didn’t change any of the settings on the following Options screen. It’s for editing system options that we’d much prefer to keep as-is at this point. Once you click Next, you’re presented with the final Tweaks menu. These are registry edits that control operating system-level functionality, the kinds of things you typically play with immediately after installing Windows.
We used this screen to delete unwanted desktop icons and adjust our Windows Explorer options (showing all file extensions, for example) to reflect our personal tastes.
We’re not going to run through all the options—that would take several more pages. Pick what suits you and hit Next; nLite will make the changes you’ve specified. After hitting Next one final time, nLite will present you with the option to create an image of your installation or burn it to rewriteable media directly. Make sure you hit the Make ISO or Burn button to do so—don’t just hit Next!
Adding drivers for your computer to the Windows CD makes the process of reinstalling your operating system easier by installing the drivers automatically during Windows XP setup. You will need:
1. Windows Installation CD
2. Drivers for your computer.You can either obtain this by downloading them from the website of your computer manufacturer or you can backup the current drivers on your computer. Follow this tutorial to learn how to backup drivers for your computer. Any driver that is an executable(.exe) has to be extracted since Windows XP setup needs the driver files only. Extract them by running the setup and copying the files from the extraction folder. You can also follow this tutorial to extract the files from the .exe
3. nlite. Download nlite. nLite simply copies your Windows XP install files and then adds drivers to it.
Now that you have everything you need we will begin the process:
1. Install nlite
2. Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD/DVD drive and open nLite. Then Click Next
3. Click Browse to locate your CD/DVD drive that has your Windows XP installation Disc
4. Locate your CD/DVD drive and Click OK
5. nLite will then ask you to browse for a folder where the installation files can be saved. Click OK. Then click Browse to select a folder.
6. nLite will start copying files from your XP installation CD to the folder you specified. Click Next when copying is done
7. You can import previous settings by clicking import. We will not need this in our case. Click Next to go to the next step
8. We are now ready to add drivers. Click Insert,then choose either Single Driver(add just one driver) or Multiple Driver Folder(add multiple drivers)
9. On the Task Selection screen, Click Drivers and Bootable ISO(this will create an ISO file that can be burned to a blank disc) then Click Next
10. Browse to the folder where the drivers are located and click OK.
11. Choose the drivers you want to integrate and Click OK. If you want to include all,just click All then OK
12. nLite will then show the list of drivers to be integrated. Click Next
13. Click Yes to start the process of integrating drivers
14. Click Next after the process is complete
15. nLite will then guide you to create the Bootable ISO. Click Make ISO and select where to save the ISO. Select the folder then Click Save
16. When the ISO building process is done. Click Next and the Finish
You can then burn the ISO to CD using a program such as ImgBurn. Follow this tutorial to learn how to burn an ISO.With nLite you can add Service Packs, Update, Tweak etc to your Windows Installation CD
Slimming Down Windows XP Professional Using nLite
See also: Related discussion thread
Note from torowl: I have used nLite slim down XP and installed in my EEE. I’m posting the step by step instructions here to share my experience. After installation, XP take about 687M SSD, this is the best result I can get so far. And this includes hotfixes and few addon softwares includes Windows Media Player 10. I also installed Office 2003 and Divx, didn’t get any issue, so far so good.
I’m not an XP expert. All options that removed are based on my limited knowledge. Some options removal may be wrong. You are welcome to point out for discussion.
nLite Installation and Startup
1. Download nLite from http://www.nliteos.com/download.html.
I’m using version 1.4.
2. Download hotfixes: SP3 hot fix is available now. Use either SP2 or SP3 hotfix depending on the version you're using (SP3 is preferred).
• XP SP2 Update Pack: goto http://xable.net/xp-sp2-update-pack-download.php,
and click Xables-November-SP2-UpdatePack.7z to download.
• XP SP3 Update Pack: goto http://xable.net/xp-sp3-update-pack-download.php,
and click Xables-November-SP3-UpdatePack.7z to download.
3. Also you can find a lot of addons from http://www.nliteos.com/addons.
For more addons, you can find them from here http://www.winaddons.com.
4. Install nLite.
5. Create a folder and copy the XP installation files (everything) from CD to that folder.
6. Run nLite, in the welcome window, click Next to Locating the Windows installation window. Click the “Browse” button to locate the folder that you created. Click “Next” and nLite will check your Windows version information. If you do not have SP3, slipstream SP3 in first.
nLite browse dialog contains a browse button. Read only text of Windows operating system version name, Language, Service Pack version, windows version number, path to the files and size. All dialogs contain a back button, next button and cancel button. They also contain a Tray button, where you can drop the program to the system tray to retrieve later.
7. Click “Next” to Preset window. In the first run, you don’t have any preset ini files. It will show empty here. Click Next.
nLite presets dialog contains a list box of possible presets and their dates which is empty , and an import button.
Task Selection Window
8. In the Task Selection window, select all except Service Pack and Drivers. We already have SP3, or have slipstreamed it if necessary. If you select driver, nLite can embed the drivers into XP installation. I think it is not a good idea to add Eee drivers into XP installation, because we need to run ACPI before install Eee drivers.
nLite task selection dialog shows a series of buttons which are grouped by a set of labels to their left. All buttons are pressed except for service packs and drivers.
Hotfixes, Addons and Update Packs Window
9. Click “Next” to Hotfixes, Addons and Update Packs window. Click “insert” to insert hotfixes and addons. I didn’t add Adobe Acrobat Reader, Windows Live Messenger and Divx addons, somehow these don’t work well for me.
nlite Hotfixes, Addons and Updates contains a list of patches to be applied, with column headers of Name, Description, Language, Build Date, Size and Mor Info. More info column contains URLs.
10. Click “Next” to Components window, and also in the popup Compatibility window. This is just to avoid you accidentally removing important components for selected function. You don’t need to select anything and click OK.
nLite compatibility dialog contains a series of checkboxes. None of them are selected.
11. In the Components window, you can select the listed items that you feel you won’t need on your Eee.
nLite components dialog contains a tree view of items with check boxes next to them. All 10 items are not checked.
Here were my selections:
I think Defragmenter is no use for 4G SSD, but I keep Defragmenter anyway, no biggee.
nLite components dialog Applications tree. All items are selected except Calcuator, Charmap, Defragmenter and Paint. Therefore these are the items that will be kept.
Select “All” to be removed because we have the Eee driver CD.
nLite components dialog drivers tree. All items are selected for removal.
If you are planning on using PDAnet so that you can use your Windows Mobile phone as a modem, you need to leave the drivers for “modem” unchecked.
• Windows Image Acquisition: If deleted, will loss transparent icon text in desktop. (Hahutzy)
• Modem Support: Don't remove it if you want 3G wireless. (goofy)
• Bluetooth Support: I recommend to leave BT support. If you buy a USB BT dongle, without BT support it would not work. (michalbit)
• Multi-processor support: If you have an Intel Atom processor, you will need this for SMT support. It can be removed in Celeron models
nLite components dialog hardware support tree. Items that aren't selected for removal are AGP filters, Battery, CPU Intel, Intel PCI IDE controllers, Logical Disk Manager, Microsoft colour Management (ICM), Multi-Processor Support (for Atom) Ports (COM and LPT), Printer Support, Secure Digital Host Controller, Teletext codec, USB Audio Support, USB Ethernet, USB video capture devices, video capture and Windows Image Acquisition.
If you need IME, you need to keep the keyboard that you need. Select all to remove except what you need.
nLite components dialog keyboard tree.
Select all to remove except the language that you need. (In my case, I keep Simplified Chinese).
nLite components dialog language tree.
• Windows Media Player: If removed, may cause issues for iTunes, NTI CD Maker 7, and Winamp 5. (_Mazza_)
• DirectX Diagnostic Tool: Very helpful if you are having trouble installing some games.
note from robuust: I remove Windows sounds, because I don't have sound switched on while working (and the onboard speakers are not that good either :P)
also speech support can be safely removed, and you can always download and install later if needed.
nLite components dialog multimedia tree. Items selected for removal are AOL Art Image Support, DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Images and Backgrounds, Intel Indeo Codecs, Mouse Cursors, Movie Maker, Music Samples, Old CDPlayer and Sound Recorder, Tablet PC.
I kept Windows Messenger because Live Messenger has annoying ad bars that are not good for the Eee's 800×480 resolution.
nLite components dialog network tree. Items selected for removal are Client for Netware Networks, Communication Tools, Control Test Terminal Program, Connection Manager, Frontpage Extension, Internet Information Services, MSN Explorer, Netshell Cmd-Tool, Network Monitor Driver and Tool, NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS protocol, Peer to Peer, Synchronisation Manager, Vector Graphics Rendering (VML), Web Folders.
Operating System Options:
• 16-bit Support: Don't remove if you intend to install applications that use older versions of InstallShield or plan to make bootable USB flash drives. (Jay Jech)
nLite components dialog Operating System Options tree. Items not selected for removal are Color Schemes, Disk Cleanup, Extra Fonts, File System Filter Manager, Format Drive Support, Group Policy Management Controller, Help Engine, Input Method Editor, Internet Explorer Core, Jet Database Engine, Local Security Settings, Login Notification, MDAC, Out of Box Experience (OOBE)Shell Media Handler, User account pictures, Visual Basic 5 runtime, Visual Basic 6 runtime, Visual Basic Scripting Support, Zip Folders
Do not check Manual Install and Upgrade, if you want to install XP from USB pendrive according to http://www.eeeguides.com/2007/11/installing-windows-xp-from-usb-thumb.html.
This cannot be emphasized enough. If you have trouble installing using a USB flash drive, check this setting first!
• Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS): You may need to keep this if you are going to install Dot Net CF 3.0 (citivolus). Also removing BITS may cause issues with Windows update (ma10). Picture is updated to preserve BITS.
• Task Scheduler: Required for Prefetcher to function properly. (kaiserpc)
nLite components dialog Servicess options tree. items not selected for removal are Background Intelleigent Transfer Service, DHCP Client, DNS Client, Event Log, HTTP SSL, Keberos Key Distribution Center, Network Location Awareness (NLA), Network Privisioning, Protected Storage, Shell Services, System Event Notification (SENS), System Monitor, Text Services Framework, Universal Plug and Play Device Host, Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Windows Management Instrumentation, Windows Time, Wireless Configuration.
nLite components dialog Directories tree; all items are selected for removal.
12. Click Next to Unattended window. In the General tag, input your XP serial number and it will not ask for it later during installation. Also, check “Turn off Hibernate”.
nLite unattended windows dialog gemeral tab A dialog with combo boxes and check boxes. most options are set to their defaults. Turn off Hibernate is checked.
nLite unattended window dialog users tab contains controls for adding users, setting passwords, setting automatic login counts, password expirey etc.
Owner and Network ID tab:
nLite unattended window dialog Owner and Network ID tab has edit boxes to set computer name, workgroup name, full name and organisation.
nLite unattended window dialog regional tab contains controls to set language, location, keyboard and time zone.
Desktop Themes tab:
nLite unattended window dialog desktop theme tab. Sets the default desktop theme. Windows classic will allow for better performance and will give the classic windows start menu.
nLite unattended window dialog display tab. set colour depth, screen resolution and refresh rate. Defaults are used.
For the other tabs, you can leave them as they are.
13. Click “Next” to Options window. In the General tab, you don’t need change anything.
nLite options window general tab. a list of options and values beside each option in a combo box.
In the Patches tab, choose Disable SFC.
nLite options window patches tab. Lists Three different options with descriptions and a disable button for each.
14. Click Next to bring up the Tweaks window.
nLite tweaks window has two tabs; general and services. the general tab has a tree view of 13 items with checkboxes next to them.
Here are my settings in General tab:
Boot and Shutdown:
nLite tweaks window boot up options tree. Each item in this tree has a sub tree with disable and enable radio buttons. To select an item for deletion, the disable button must be activated. Options selected for disabling are control alt del at logon, Do not parse autoexec.bat, and numlock.
nLite tweaks window Desktop options. Each item has a sub tree of radio buttons. Items selected are: desktop icon size is set to 32, internet explore icon is set to show, my computer icon is set to show, my documents icon is set to show, my network places icon is set to hide, recycle bin button is set to show.
nLite tweaks window explorer options. A lot of these are user preference, especially for users of screenreaders. Options checked in the graphic are Classic Control Panel, Disable Prefix Shortcut to, Remove Send To on context menu, Show Drive Letters in front of Drive Names, Show estensions of known file types, Show Map Network Drives buttons in Explorer Bar, use small icons in explorer bar.
nLite tweaks window Internet Explorer tree. Items checked for inclusion are Disable download complete notification, Disable Market Place Bookmarks, Disable Media Player 6.4 created bookmarks, Disable Password Caching, Enable Google Url/Search
My Computer and Network:
nLite tweaks window My Computer and Network tree. Once again user preference. The only item selected here is Remove shared documents
nLite tweak window performance tree. Most items are checked. items that aren't checked are Process scheduling and Use Windows classic folders/No Task Sidepanel.
nLite tweaks window privacy tree the only option checked is Remove Alexa.
nLite tweaks window start menu tree. options selected are: clear most recently opened documents list on logoff, disable and remove Documents list from the Start Menu, Disable Drag and Drop, Disable Highlight newly installed programs, Disable popup on first boot, Hide Run button. My network Places has a radio button subtree set to Don't display this item. Printers and faxes has a radio button sub tree set to don't display this item. Other items selected are Remove Logoff User, Remove Search For People from Search, Remove Search the Internet from Search, remove Set Program Access and Defaults, Remove Windows Catalog shortcut, Remove Windows Update Shortcut, use small icons on Start menu.
nLite tweaks window taskbar tree. The only item selected is Hide Volume Control Icon in System Tray.
nLite tweaks window Visual Effects tree. No items are selected.
Windows Media Player:
nLite tweaks window Windows Media Player tree. Items not selected are disable all streaming protocols, do not show anchor in Designmode, No virtualisation, Remove all context menu entries, Zoom video to windowsize.
(I didn’t change anything in Services)
nLite tweaks window services tab. The second tab of the tweaks window. a lisst of services and their status, all of which on this screen are set to default.
Implementing the Changes
15. Click “Next” and nLite will process changes base on your previous choices.
nLite processing window. The processes it will undertake are listed, the current one is bolded and the rest are greyed out. Underneath this is a progress bar. Underneath that is text of what is being done, in this case extracting cabs. The next button is greyed out and the Cancel and Tray buttons are available.
It will take a while. After it is done, it shows the new installation files size.
nLite processing screen when done. The same screen as previous but the list of processes is all greyed out and the status bar is gone. The text now reads “Finished! Total size is 189.53MB. The installation was reduced by 429.33MB.” The next button is now available.
Bootable ISO Window
16. Click “Next” to Bootable ISO window. Click “Make ISO” button to generate a new ISO file.
nLite bootable ISO window. Contains options for creating an ISO/burning a disc. options include Mode combo box, label edit field, ISO Engine combo box, Boot sectore combo box. There is an Empty progress bar and Make ISO button. Information text reads “If you want to include additional files on your CD/DVD, copy them to the working directory before starting, or just click next if you want to make the ISO later”.
17. Use Nero or some other tool to burn ISO file, and then you are ready to install Windows XP for Eee.