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!).
The 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:
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.
STOP - If you want to integrate Windows Media Player 11 into the slipstream ISO, jump to this post for instructions.
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.
Click Next to take you the first step of the process.
Point nLite to your XP source files (the files you copied off the CD).
Click Next when you are done.
If you don't have any presets for nLite, click Next.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Leave nLite to churn away at creating the ISO for a few moments and when it's done click Next.
Job done! Consider making a donation to the nLite team for all their hard work.
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.