Monday, August 16, 2010

Create Windows XP Pro SP3 OEM Install CD

How to create a Windows XP Pro SP3 OEM install CD with IE8 and many of the latest security updates.

1. Grab a valid Windows install CD. In my case, a OEM install CD since I wanted to use the COA sticker product id on the computer box. The OEM stickers all were Windows XP Pro on Dell computers. You can use an existing Dell Windows XP Pro CD, or contact Dell for one, or download one (not sure if the downloaded CDs are legal). See on how to determine what type of windows license key you have.

2. Copy the CD onto your computer for modification.

3. Use nLite to modify the CD and add the components you want. In my case I wanted to add SP3, latest security updates, and IE8.

4. Addons including IE8 can be found here:

5. The latest security updates can be found here: These can be used with the latest nLite, just follow the RyanVM nLite integration instructions on the RyanVM site. Even with these latest security updates, I found that windows still wants to download and install many additional updates. But at least this will be less than it would be without it.

6. Add the IE8 add on from the nLite add on site above. You can add others but be careful to not add more than will fit on a single CD. If you have a DVD drive on your install computer and a DVD burner available then you can add all kinds of additional software from the addon site. You can also integrate the universal drivers if you have room (see below). Since my computers only had CDRom drives, I had to keep it small.

7. One problem with installing Windows is drivers for existing hardware. For example the network card, audio, and video was not setup during the windows install on my Dells. This is particularly frustrating since you can't access the internet to download drivers. However, a very nice solution is to use DriverPacks found here:

7a. Download the driver packs base:

7b. Download all the driver packs for your version of Windows:

7C. Run DriversPack Base. I created a Stand Alone Driver Disk and put it on a usb thumbdrive. This worked amazingly well. After the Windows install I just hooked up the usb thumbdrive and ran DP_Install_Tool.cmd. It takes awhile to run, but when it is finished all hardware had updated drivers and worked without issue. It installed missing audio drivers, network card drivers, and video drivers. It really is quite amazing. You can even run it multiple times. I ran it after throwing a wireless network card in one computer and after adding a usb wireless adapter in another, in both cases it installed the needed drivers. I plan on keeping it around for those cases where you have a network card, video card, usb wireless adapter, etc but don't have the driver cd. It is easier than trying to find the correct driver on the web.

8. Create a installer for all the free applications you want installed using Ninite. This is nice because it creates a click free install for as many applications as you want. The only drawback is the free version requires each computer to download the applications. However, you can kick it off and forget about it, so not a big deal. The installer can be included on the Windows XP CD by just putting it in the directory before creating the ISO image using nLite or just throw it on a usb thumbdrive. The installer is small since it downloads all the applications from the web. If the install fails for some reason (in my case unplugging the network switch during the install), then just go the ninite site and create another installer for the pieces that did not install. Or just kick off the full install again.