These are fairly detailed steps for making an OS disc that will behave just like an original from Microsoft, but will also have the most current service pack built-in (“slipstreamed”). They do assume, however, that you have a good amount of experience with the command line, command parameters, Setup Manager and sysprep, and burning CD’s

1. Use a program such as ISO-Buster, WinIso, or Magic ISO to extract the Microsoft boot image file from original Microsoft media. Any bootable OS disc from Windows 2000 forward will do. The file you wish to extract is named Microsoft.img, and it will be the same version no matter what bootable OS disc you choose to use. Save this file off for future use.

2. Download the Service Pack you wish to slipstream. From the command prompt, navigate to your download directory, and extract the Service Pack. The command is: “name_of_the_file.exe –x”

3. Copy the entire contents of your OS disc to your hard drive. Now it is time to slipstream the service pack into your original I386 directory. At the command line, change directories to the I386/update folder that was created when you extracted the service pack file in step 2. The command to slipstream is: “update.exe /s:x:\[path]”, where “x” is the drive letter where you copied the files of your OS disc, and “path” is the path to your i386 folder. An example is: “update.exe /s:d:\winxp” Do not include the quotes. A dialogue box will appear that tells you that the service pack files are being incorporated into your network installation.

4. Now for making your disc “keyless”. This means that the disc you create will not prompt you for a key when you use it to install the OS, or at any other time.

Note: these instructions are not intended to help you violate Microsoft licensing. The key you use needs to match your media. This procedure is most helpful to those who have a volume license agreement and volume license media. If you have single license media, this will not remove the need to activate the license, or magically allow you to install the OS on more than one computer.

With that said and out of the way, you need to run through Setup Manager to create a sysprep.inf file. You can, of course, use one you already have created. Once you have your sysprep.inf file that includes your license key, rename it to “winnt.sif” and save it to your freshly slipstreamed i386 folder. When you boot from your completed CD later on, the setup routine will look to see if a winnt.sif file exists, and use any settings winnt.sif specifies.

5. Now you are ready to burn. The following details are for Nero, but similar functions should exist in whatever burning application you prefer. Drag all of your OS folders and files into your project. If you really want to be consistent, give the disc the same name as the volume label of your original media. This will help you know in the future that the disc was created properly, and from genuine Microsoft media. In your burning application, specify your extracted “Microsoft.img” file as your boot image. Enable expert settings, or whatever allows you to specify “no emulation”. Set your number of loaded sectors to “4”. Data Mode should be “1”, and file system should be ISO9660 + Joliet. File name length should be “Max of 31 characters (Level 2)”. “Character Set” should be ISO9660. “Allow path depth of more than 8 characters” can be selected. “Allow more than 255 characters” can be selected. “Do not add the “;1” ISO file version extension” can be selected. Finally, “Allow more than 64 charaters for Joliet names” can be selected. Now burn.

A final word of caution: you have now created a slipstreamed, bootable, KEYLESS disc that can be used by anyone and anywhere. In other words – control your media. No, I do not work for Microsoft. This is just a necessary disclaimer to protect AppDeploy, to protect any certifications you hold, and to protect your company from licensing violations. Enjoy the convenience of your new CD.

Craig --<>.