Create Bootable CD
Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 3

Slipstreaming a Service Pack, is the process to integrate the Service Pack into the installation so that with every new installation the Operating System and Service Pack are installed at the same time.

Slipstreaming is usually done on network shares on corporate systems, but it also makes sense for the home user or small business user to do.

Microsoft added the ability to Slipstream a Service Pack to Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It not only has the advantage that when you (re)install your OS, you don't have to apply the Service Pack later, also if you update any Windows component later, you'll be sure that you get the correct installation files if Windows needs any.

Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 3

Download the (full) "Network Install" of the Service Pack (English version [316.4 MB]), and save it to a directory (folder) on your hard drive (in my case E:\XP-SP3). Other languages can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download site.

Note: do not use spaces in the folder name!
Next copy the contents of your Windows XP CD to your hard drive. Just create a folder (I used \XP-CD), and copy all the contents of your Windows XP CD in that folder.

Next, open a Command Prompt (Start > Run > cmd), and go to the folder where you downloaded SP3 (cd \foldername).

Type the command: servicepack filename /integrate:drive/path. In my example the command is WindowsXP-KB936929-SP3-x86-ENU.exe /integrate:E:\XP-CD.

From some sources I hear you will need a Windows XP Home or Professional with SP2 Setup CD. You cannot slipstream SP3 into an original Windows XP CD or an XP with SP1 CD. Slipstreaming SP3 will only work with an XP + SP2 CD.

Others have suggested that slipstreaming with an SP1 integrated CD does work. Here is what I found:

Windows XP (Gold): Slipstreaming SP3 seemed to work fine... untill it came to the point I had to activate Windows XP. It would not activate XP over the Internet & could also not update via the phone using the automated system.

I didn't speak to a live person about it though. Without activating I couldn't use Windows Update without activating.

Windows XP + SP2: Slipstreaming SP3 worked fine. I also was able to skip putting in the product key during installation (which was not an option with the XP gold 'slipstreamed' version).

I had to activate to use Windows Update - which worked without a problem using the Internet activation - but I didn't get any errors on Windows Update, and updates where provided.

If you get the error:
This Service Pack cannot be integrated into a destination that also has integrated Software Updates

Consult the Service Pack documentation for more details about supported integration scenarios.

This is caused by the fact that your Windows XP CD contains updates that will be automatically installed when you run setup. These type of CD's will usually be from larger OEM suppliers (like Dell, HP, or others).

You cannot use this type of CD to create a slipstreamed install.

First, the files will be extracted, and next they will be integrated in your Windows XP files:

When ready, you should get a confirmation. Windows XP Service Pack 3 has now been integrated into your original Windows XP files.

Creating a Bootable CD

For this part I used IsoBuster and Nero Burning ROM 7*.
*)You can of course use your own favorite CD-burning program.

After you install IsoBuster, you can choose to use only the product's free functionality for what we want to do, IsoBuster will look like the image below (you need to have your original Windows XP CD in the CD-ROM drive).

Start to extract the boot loader from the original Windows XP CD. Using IsoBuster, select the "folder" Bootable CD, and right-click Microsoft Corporation.img.

From the menu choose Extract Microsoft Corporation.img, and extract it to the folder on your hard drive where you have your Windows XP files (E:\XP-CD in my case).

Next, start Nero Burning ROM, and choose CD-ROM (Boot) in the New Compilation window. On the Boot tab, select Image file under Source of boot image data, and browse to the location of the Microsoft Corporation.img file. Also enable Expert Settings, choosing No Emulation, and changing the Number of loaded sectors to 4 (otherwise it won't boot!)

The ISO tab should be configured correctly as shown below:

If you have an older version of Nero you won't have the option Do Not Add ";1" ISO file version extention under Relax ISO Restrictions. You won't be able to boot your new CD, so update Nero!

You can configure the Label tab to your liking, I would however recommend that you keep the Volume Label the same as on your original Windows XP CD. Here are some (English) Labels:
  • Windows XP Professional: WXPCCP_EN
  • Windows XP Home: WXHCCP_EN
  • Windows XP Professional OEM: WXPOEM_EN
  • Windows XP Home OEM: WXHOEM_EN

Next press New, and from the File Browser window, select the files and folders from your slipstreamed location (in my case E:\XP-CD).

Now drag & drop the selected files in the ISO1 window.

Next, burn your new CD.

You now have a Bootable, Slipstreamed Windows XP Service Pack 3 CD!