When you add/change/remove Windows component, Windows looks for the i386 folder at the path of CD or network share from which you installed Windows. If that original source is not present, you are prompted to provide it.

To make these add/change/removes go smoothly and without prompts for media, copy your i386 folder to a local drive, and then use the registry to tell Windows its location. This is particularly helpful to techs who must support staff traveling with laptops. The keys that need to be modified are at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup

Three string values at this path can be modified:

ServicePackCachePath

ServicePackSourcePath

SourcePath

If you copy your i386 folder to “c:\utility”, then enter that exact value in for each of these three strings (without the quote marks, and note that it is not necessary to put the “\i386” at the end of the path).

Make sure that the i386 folder that you copy to the local drive matches the service pack level of the operating system. If it does not, you will often be prompted for the service pack files when adding/changing/removing components.

Also: if you do this, you can delete the folder “ServicePackFiles” at C:\%system%\. It is no longer needed. This folder is created if you applied your service pack after you installed your OS. If the service pack was already slipstreamed into your installation media, the ServicePackFiles folder is not created.