Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file

Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file

Summary: Create your own XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO. Detailed step-by-step instructions.


If you are not a TechNet or MSDN subscriber then getting your hands on a copy of Windows XP with SP3 means having to do some legwork yourself (or shell out for a new license ... but I'm assuming that you have better things to spend your money on!).

Check out the XP SP3 slipstreaming gallery

nLiteThe advantages of having a CD of XP with SP3 integrated becomes clear when you have to carry out a reinstall - it means far lass time spent downloading and installing updates, which in turn means the system is back online much faster.

UPDATE: If you are slipstreaming under Windows Vista then you should read this update.

Note: I know that this process will be familiar to some of you, so this post is dedicated to those of you new to slipstreaming.

What you need

Here's what you need to create an XP SP3 slipstreamed .ISO:

The slipstreaming process -->

The slipstreaming process

Here's how to carry out the slipstreaming process.

  1. Install nLite

  2. While nLite is installing, go get yourself the XP SP3 download package.

  3. Next, put the XP installation CD into a CD drive and copy all the files off the disc into a folder somewhere on your system. Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file  STOP - If you want to integrate Windows Media Player 11 into the slipstream ISO, jump to this post for instructions.

  4. Once you've copied the XP source files and have the XP SP3 download in place, you can now fire up nLite to begin the slipstreaming process. Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file Click Next to take you the first step of the process.

  5. Point nLite to your XP source files (the files you copied off the CD). Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file Click Next when you are done.

  6. If you don't have any presets for nLite, click Next.

  7. The Task Selection screen on nLite gives you an insight into how much this tool has to offer. If you're not familiar with nLite them I recommend that you spend some time experimenting with it since it has a lot to offer. For now though we are only interested in service pack integration, so start the ball rolling by clicking on the button labeled Service Pack and the button labeled Bootable ISO. Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file STOP - If you want to integrate Internet Explorer 7 into the slipstream ISO, jump to this post for instructions. STOP - If you want to integrate Firefox 2.0 into the slipstream ISO, jump to this post for instructions. When done click Next.

  8. Select the service pack you wish to integrate. Just click Select and point nLite to the SP3 download and the rest if done for you. Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file Click Next.

  9. The next screen gives you control over the creation of the ISO file. You can burn directly to a CD but we'll just create an ISO file. To do this leave everything as it is and click on Make ISO, select a spot for the .ISO file to go and click Save (remember the the ISO file will be a few hundred MB in size). Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file Leave nLite to churn away at creating the ISO for a few moments and when it's done click Next.

  10. Job done! Consider making a donation to the nLite team for all their hard work. Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file Click Finish.

The whole process, including documenting it) took me less than 30 minutes.

You're now left with an ISO file that you can either mount it as a virtual drive (using a tool like SlySoft's Virtual CloneDrive) of use to burn a disc with.


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Topics: Operating Systems, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • Doh!

    Now you tell me! ;)
    [url=]George Ou[/url] over at [url=]Technology for Mortals[/url] was spinning his wheels for a while but ultimately prevailed.
    D T Schmitz
    • Yup, Adrian and I was chatting about it while I was trying nLite

      Yup, Adrian and I was chatting about it while I was trying nLite. I knew there was nLite but couldn't remember the exact name so Adrian was nice enough to remind me.
      • Yeah ...

        ... our talk, along with all the email people have been sending me was all the catalyst I needed!
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • You better do this since SP3 won't install on a fresh install of XP

    Shoot! Windows XP SP3 will not install on a pre-SP1 machine :(.

    George Ou
  • nLite is great

    Lifehacker did a write up on this a bit ago. They also went over how to use nLite to slim down an XP installation to the bare essentials.
    • Got a link for that? (nt)

      hasta la Vista, bah-bie
  • thank u

    thank u very much for such a very helpful post. honestly reading ur posts here is the first thing i do and ur integrity, simplicity and style is outstanding. thank u very much
  • Worked Great!

    I had no problems what so ever slipstreaming my XP Pro SPZero into a SP3. Now it can see any size drive, unlike what it could do before. The only thing I wish I could have incorperate into it was IE7 since it's not in the SP3 update. If it can be done, Adrian left that part out.
    • Got IE7 In!

      I was able to slipstream both the SP3 and IE7 into the CD. nLite is not able to see .MSI files, so I was unable to get the Zune desktop theme to slipstream (I like that Black and Orange theme). I also tried to get Windows SteadyState to slipstream. It came back with a fault saying it could not install. I'll just have to install it afterwards.
      • Where did you slip in IE7?

        Where did you slip in IE7? Is that actually installed as soon as you install XP?
        • Quite easy...

          You merely download the IE7 installer (and the latest cumulative update for it) and add them as 'patches' in nLite (right after the SP3 gets slipstreamed). It will then unpack the patches and add them to the directory in a jiffy.
          Personally, I don't like WMP so I usually either leave the default version installed and unused, or use nLite to nuke it. IE7 represents a security update, that's why I add it.
          I did all that right when the final version of SP3 came out, then installed a system (yay VM!): it was the first time ever since Win2k came out that I didn't have at least one prompt for an update after installing Windows!
          Bite me: I got just one (the MS spyware scanner).
          Mitch 74
  • XP SP3 Question.

    Is SP3 a full blown service pack? After reading George Ou's blog, it sounds like XP SP3 is an update rollup. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    • It's a full update if you already have SP1 :)

      It's a full update if you already have SP1 :). But it's clearly a roll-up from SP1 and beyond. But nLite gives you a nice work-around.
  • Theme Add-In?

    I saw one other person posted that he could not get the Zune theme added to the ISO.
    I've always liked the Royale themes (blue and black).
    Those themes come as a luna.msstyles file with shell dll files. Can it somehow be integrated as the default theme when the slipstreamed ISO is installed?

    • RE: Theme Add-In

      Yes Nlite has a facility for doing this that works very well!! You can even choose the default theme to start in...
      Bob Wya
  • RE: Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file

    Autostreamer works fine too.
  • RE: Creating an XP SP3 slipstreamed ISO file

    This is great provided one has the XP installation discs. What is one to do when they only have the restore discs provided by the PC manufacturer, i.e., I.B.M.
    • Windows XP reinstall/emergency boot CD

      I also have just a restore CD supplied by the company that refurbished my computer. This is the one provided by Micro$oft for refurbished PCs. Prior to that I just had eMachine restore CD/DVDs.

      I would also like to know how to create a re-install CD and also an emergency boot CD. I've tried BartsPE but do not understand how to do some of the steps.

      Any advice would be most greatfully appreciated. TIA.
      • Try this - The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. It uses Bart's PE, and provides pretty detailed instructions - plus a collection of software tools for diagnosis, repair, and recovery.
  • & without SP1 / SP2 ?

    has anyone tried slipstreaming SP1 *AND* SP3 onto an original copy of windows?