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Slipsteaming Your XP Install CD

Slipsteaming your XP install cd

So you just burned your drives, installed windows again and began the process of downloading all the updates and junk from Microsoft to patch up all the holes in the SP1 setup. Or you are pulling your hair out trying to figure out where your raid/sata driver floppy has been hidden so you can press F6 like a lab rat after a crack rock and begin your reinstall. My friend, we are about to put an end to massive downloading of patches and the F6 pressing frenzy that numbs your finger tips. In the following steps we will create a windows install cd that includes your raid/sata drivers and SP2. So gather up the needed materials and lets begin!

Items needed:
Windows XP CD
Internet Connection
CD Burner
ISO Buster (www.isobuster.com)
Nero or newer (www.nero.com)
<note: you may use other software than listed if you know how.>

Step 1: Lets get together some files!

The first thing needed is the full standalone install file for SP2. Grab the standalone version of SP2 from Microsoft by using this link. Now that SP2 is on your hard drive platters, look up the latest drivers for the motherboard’s or add-in card’s RAID or SATA controller and download them. When the final cd spins down from the burn process the need for a floppy will cease to exist and SP2 will be already installed when windows finishes.

Step 2: Setup files get an update.

Before we can place SP2 on the ink for the new Windows install cd it must be extracted to a folder so the original setup files can be updated. To do this open the Command Prompt window (start, run, cmd.exe) and change directory to the folder where the SP2 standalone file was saved. To extract the SP2 files, type xpSP2 -x and replace the xpSP2 with the file name of the SP2 standalone file. A prompt will appear for a destination to place the extracted files. To make things easy simply place them in C:xpsp2, a new folder that will be created.

Once the extraction of all SP2 files has finished, place your Windows install cd in your drive and copy all files to a folder on your hard drive. To make things simple again simply create a folder named xpsetupcd. Once the copy is complete return to the command prompt as it is now time to update those setup files. To do this type the following; C:xpSP2i386updateupdate /s:C:xpsetupcd. The update will begin and once finished SP2 will now be ready to go with the new installs of Windows from the cd that will be burned.

Step 3: RAID/SATA drivers are needed too.

This step is completely optional if RAID/SATA drivers are prefered to be kept on a floppy. To insert the RAID/SATA drivers browse over to the xpsetupcd folder and create a subfolder of $OEM$ called $1 and a subfolder of $1 called drivers. Once finished the full path should be C:xpsetupcd$OEM$$1drivers. This folder is where Windows will look for non-standard drivers it needs. Just to keep things all neat and clean a subfolder in drivers can be created to organize the type of driver placed there, an example would be a subfolder of RAID for the RAID drivers or SATA for the SATA drivers. Just keep the names of the folders below eight characters so windows will recognize them and look in the folder.

Now that the folder structure is complete the drivers can be placed in their appropriate places. To do this simply copy the Windows XP RAID/SATA drivers to their folder created for them. If your driver came in a zip file simply unzip the file and copy the proper drivers to their folders. Now the .SYS file for your specific RAID/SATA controller needs to be located. It is usually named after the controller it is intended for, an example would be fastts2k.sys for a Promise FastTrack TX2 RAID controller. Make sure the SYS file used is the one for Windows XP and copy it to the i386 folder of the windows cd (C:xpsetupcdi386).

Step 4: Drivers meet Windows. Windows meet Drivers.

So far the Windows install cd has been updated to SP2 and had RAID/SATA drivers placed in its ranks. Now Windows needs to be told what to do with the drivers. In order to find the information to do this some digging in the driver’s INF file is required. The INF file is usually found in the same place as the SYS file that was found in Step 3. The INF file will probably even have the same name as the SYS file. Once located, right click the file and open it with NotePad. The PCI identifier will need to be located at this point. The PCI identifier usually begins with PCI/VEN. Once the PCI identifier is located copy from the beginning of the PCI identifier tag all the up to, but not including, the first period (or the end of the line, whichever comes first). Now open the TXTETUP.SIF file, located in C:xpsetupcdi386 folder, and paste the PCI/VEN string under the [HardwareIDs Database] section. After the paste, add an equal-sign followed by the name of the driver in quote. An example using a Promise RAID controller is this: PCI/VEN_105A&DEV_3376="fasttx2k". Return to your INF file to look for more PCI identifier strings and if more are found copy and paste them to the TXTSETUP.SIF in the same manner as the first.

Once all the PCI identifier strings have been copied, scroll down further in the [SourceDisksFiles] section of the TXTSETUP.SIF file and add the following text:

driver_filename.sys = 1,,,,,,_x,4,1, where "driver_filename.sys" is the name of the RAID/SATA driver’s sys file. Don’t forget to include the ".sys" part of the filename.

Next scroll to the [SCSI.Load] section and enter driver_filename = driver_filename.sys, 4 Again, use the name of the RAID/SATA driver to replace "driver_filename" and notice there is no ".sys" on the left side of the equal-sign.

Last, scroll down to the [SCSI] section and add driver_filename = "RAID/SATA Device Name". Use whatever name that is prefered for the "RAID/SATA device name", but it is easier if the name is of the RAID/SATA controller on the motherboard. An example would be driver_filename = "FastTrak TX2" if the controller were a FastTrak TX2.

This finishes the hard part of file customising, but don’t forget to save the TXTSETUP.SIF file! Click on file in the toolbar and choose "Save" before getting frisky and clicking the big red X.

Step 5: Customizing the Setup Routine

At this point it is necessary to point the Windows Install towards our new drivers we have inserted. Browse to the i386 folder in the setup files (remember C:xpsetupcdi386?) and create a file called WINNT.SIF. This file can be used to create an unattended install of windows, but there is not room in this article for that so look for a future article about how to do that later. In the new WINNT.SIF file enter the following text:




OEMSkipWelcome = 1


Now a little bit of customization will need to be performed.

For the line OemPnPDriversPath= the path of the INF file for the RAID/SATA drivers will need to be inserted. An example would be if your drivers were located at C:xpsetupcdi386$OEM$$1driversRAID and following the Promise Fast Track controller, then use OemPnPDriversPath=driversRAIDFastTrackWinXP to tell the install which drivers to use.

Another few fields can be filled in to keep some of the standard aggravation out of the Windows install. Simply fill in the ProductKey path, the FullName path and the OrgName (if applicable) to keep from having to enter all that information during the setup.

Also, if the preferred install path for Windows is not C:Windows, then edit the TargetPath field as necessary.

Step 6: Burn It!

The first thing needed to make a bootable slipstreamed Windows install disk is the boot image of the original install disk. To extract this .img file simply place the original install disk in the cd/dvd tray, load up ISOBuster, select "Bootable CD" on the left, right click Microsoft Corporation.img, and select "Extract Microsoft Corporation.img". This file needs to be placed in the folder where the original install disk files were copied (C:xpsetupcd). Load up Nero, or another CD burning app (the following instructions are for Nero, other apps may vary), and head for the New Compilation window (not the wizard, close that if it opens). In the left pane of the New Compilation window select "CD-ROM (Boot)" and open the tab labeled "Boot". In the "Souce of boot image data" section choose "Image File" and point it towards the Microsoft Corporation.img file ISOBuster extracted.

Select "Enable Expert Settings" and set "Kind of emulation" to "No Emulation" and "Number of loaded sectors" to 4. Now select the ISO tab and set the "File/Directory name length" to "ISO Level 2". Double check, and change if necessary, that "Format" is set to "Mode 1" and "Character Set" to "ISO 9660". Also make sure all four boxes for "Joilet", "Allow pathdepth of more than 8 directories", "Allow more than 255 characters in path, and "Do not add the ‘;1’ ISO file version extension" are checked. The last step in the New Compilation window is to select the Label tab and change the "Volume Label" field to match the original Windows install cd. To find out the volume label of the original cd simply open My Computer and look at the label shown when the cd is inserted.

The hard work is done! To finish out the new slipstreamed Windows XP install cd simply click on the "New" button of the New Compilation window, browse to the folder where the original install cd contents were copied (C:xpsetupcd) and add all its contents to the CD image. Make sure a fresh blank cd is in the burners tray and click on "Burn". Once finished burning, and provided everything went well, a new "hot off the burner" slipstreamed Windows XP SP2 w/ RAID/SATA drivers cd will be ready to use. Enjoy!


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