Slipstreaming Windows XP

November 2nd, 2005


For those who read my recent post on the perils of leaving an unpatched Windows computer connected to the internet, you may have noticed a slight problem. The typical home user would install Windows XP, then connect to the internet and run Windows Update to download/install Service Pack 2. In the time it takes to download the updates, however, your computer has a non-trivial chance of being compromised and turned into a zombie. So what’s the solution?

The first option would be to get a copy of SP2 on CD. Microsoft provides them for free (plus a shipping charge). But there is still a drawback. If you configure your network/internet as part of Windows setup, you could still be compromised in the time it takes to install SP2 from CD.

A better option is known as “slipstreaming.” If you have a Windows XP installation CD, you can combine it with Service Pack 2 to create an integrated installation. This, in turn, can be burned to disc—thus creating a Windows+SP2 installation CD. The slipstreaming process will also save the time required to install SP2 (and the required reboot).

The process is fairly straightforward and is described in detail at Tom’s Hardware. It does require you to download a very large (270+ MB) file from, so no dial-up allowed! The same file appears to be on the SP2 CD, however, so you could probably skip the download if you have the disc.

Copyright © 2005 by Chad Cloman

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