What is Slipstreaming?

What is Slipstreaming?

Have you ever heard of slipstreaming? It’s a procedure that most people don’t know about, but it can be really useful when you need it. Slipstreaming is all about integrating patches and service packs into the installation files of a software, so that when you install the software, all the updates are automatically installed too.

Let me give you an example. Do you have an old Windows XP installation CD? What if you could combine Service Pack 2 with your original installation disc and create a hybrid Windows XP SP2 installation CD? Or maybe you want to put together several drivers, patches, and other updates into a single installation process.

That’s where slipstreaming comes in.

How To Slipstream an XP SP2 Installation Disc

Making a slipstream is a bit more involved, but don’t worry, it’s not too difficult. If you’re creating a Windows XP SP2 slipstream, there’s actually a free tool that can help you out. It’s called Autostreamer. You can find it on various third-party download sites. Here are a few links to get you started:

  • Softpedia.com – Autostreamer
  • FileForum – Autostreamer
  • Major Geeks – Autostreamer

Once you have the program, it will guide you through the slipstreaming process. You just need to choose whether to use a Windows CD or the i386 folder on your hard drive. Then, you’ll need to point it to the Service Pack 2 file (which you need to download separately). The program will create the slipstream and give you an ISO file that you can burn to a CD.

If you want to understand what’s happening here, I can give you a rough outline of how you would do it manually:

  1. Copy the entire contents of your Windows XP installation CD to a folder on your hard drive. Let’s call this folder “xp” on your C drive. Note that your installation CD must be a retail or upgrade version of the OS. It won’t work with an OEM version.
  2. Download the Service Pack 2 installation package.
  3. Create another folder on your hard drive called “sp2”. Put the downloaded file into this folder.
  4. Open up the command prompt and navigate to the “sp2” folder. Use the following command to extract the SP2 installation file: “xpsp2.exe -x:C:\sp2”. You’ll see a dialog box while it extracts. When it’s done, you’ll find a new folder called “i386” inside the “sp2” folder. This folder contains the extracted files for SP2.
  5. Combine the two folders. In the command prompt, navigate to the “i386/update” folder that you just extracted. Then, run the command: “update -s:c:\xp”. This will slipstream the SP2 files into the XP installation files.
  6. Next, you need to make the CD bootable. Many people use an ISO program like ISO Buster to do this. It’s trialware, but you can use the free features for your needs. In ISOBuster, select the “folder” called “Bootable CD” with the XP installation disc still in your CD drive. You’ll see a file called “Microsoft Corporation.img”. Choose “Extract Microsoft Corporation.img” from the menu and save it to “C:\xp”.
  7. Eject the XP installation CD and insert a blank, recordable CD. Use a CD burning program of your choice to burn the entire contents of the “XP” folder to the CD. Make sure you select the option to create a bootable CD. You might need to choose the referenced IMG file as the bootable file. Not all CD burning programs can do this, but the latest version of Nero Burning ROM should work.
  8. And there you have it! You’re done!

What, You Want More?

Slipstreaming can do much more than just integrating a service pack. You can also add your own custom drivers and applications into the installation process, creating one install CD that does everything for you. But I have to warn you, it gets more complicated than what I just explained. It’s so involved that I’d rather give you some links to help you get started, instead of trying to explain it myself.

  • Unattended Windows – a great and very detailed tutorial on creating some really fancy slipstreams.
  • nLite – an application that automates the creation of more advanced slipstream CDs.
  • InstallRite – allows “application cloning” to make it easy to redistribute full applications. It’ll make it easier for you to slipstream apps into your installation CD.

Slipstreaming is probably not something you’ll do every day, but it can be really handy in certain situations.

Leave a Comment

Do not miss this experience!

Ask us any questions

Get in touch