Cut manual labor time for slipstreaming Service Packs

The term "slipstreaming" means taking the files from a Windows installation CD and patching them with a more recent set of Service Pack files.

For instance, a Windows XP RTM gold CD could be copied to a computer, patched with Service Pack 2, and then re-burned to CD for internal use. If a copy of the most recent version of Windows isn't available, this is a good way to bring existing copies up to speed for future use.

Slipstreaming is typically done "by hand" -- the files from the CD are copied into a directory, and the network-distribution version of the Service Pack is unpacked into the directory with a command-line switch. It's not a complicated task, but it is a time-consuming one. Admins would probably welcome any suggestion to make the job easier.

AutoStreamer by Jason Kelley is a freeware program designed to simplify the job of slipstreaming Service Packs into Windows OS CDs. All AutoStreamer needs is the original CD (or a local copy of the files), a Service Pack File and a decent amount of free space (i.e., 1GB or so). The user can specify an alternate drive or folder for temporary operations if needed -- the default is \$AutoStreamer$. When finished, the program produces an .ISO format file that can be used by any conventional CD burning program to produce copies.

AutoStreamer works with all versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. It does not work with Windows 2000 in any version earlier than Service Pack 3; so you cannot slipstream Service Packs 1 or 2 for Windows 2000 into a distribution. It should also support future revisions of Windows as well, such as Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

AutoStreamer can be downloaded here: http://mhtools.knoware.nl/raptor/autostreamer/AutoStreamer.exe.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- please share your thoughts as well!

This was first published in January 2005

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