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Updating Your Windows XP Install CD:
A Slipstream & Bootable CD Guide

Company: Microsoft
Product: Windows XP
Date Written: August 20, 2004
Author: Jason Rabel

Windows XP Slipstream and Bootable CD Guide


Originally introduced with Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system, the ability to integrate service packs and hotfixes into the initial installation of the operating system became known as "slipstreaming". The process of slipstreaming a service pack or hotfix is nearly identical for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003. In fact, when a service pack is released the Retail / OEM Windows CDs eventually get shipped with the integrated update.

Many system administrators and OEMs slipstream various (Microsoft and in-house) updates into their standard Windows distribution. By updating the install CD, it saves time later that the user would have to spend manually downloading and installing updates and drivers.


Required Software & Hardware:

For the purposes of this article, we will slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and create a bootable CD (just like a regular Windows install CD). However, you can use the same steps to slipstream Windows 2000 & 2003 service packs and / or hotfixes.

  • A Retail or OEM Windows XP (Home/Professional), 2000, or 2003 CD*
  • A computer running Windows XP (Home/Professional) or Windows 2K w/Administrative Rights
  • A minimum of ~1.5GB available hard disk space
  • A CD burner, ISO Buster and Nero Burning ROM 6
  • The network installation file of the Windows Service Pack or HotFix(s) - (SP2 Available Here)
  • Optional: The updated Windows Deployment Tools (SP2 Deployment Tools Available Here)

For more information on the Deployment Tools, please refer to this Knowledge Base article. Most people probably will not use it, however it is included for completeness.

The version of Windows XP does not matter. Some people might own an original XP and some might already have SP1 integrated into it, either will work just fine.

*Please note that you probably will not be able to use a "rescue" or "restore" Windows CD from some OEM companies. Those CDs have been customized and Windows will give you an error during the slipstream process if you try to apply a service pack or hotfix to them.


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