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Customizing Windows XP CDs

I use computers. I also have lots of them. What does that mean? I usually have to re-install Windows every once in a while. So after finally getting fed up of installing Windows and then having to install the service pack(s), and then my drivers, etc. I finally did something about it. No, I didn't switch away from Windows, I modified my Windows CD.

What I did was took some stuff from the way OEMs customize their copies of Windows when they send them to you. You know when you buy a Dell for example, when you re-install Windows it already has the drivers for everything. Plus I also used some stuff from the deployment tools given out for free by Microsoft to deploy Windows on a large scale.

The result? Now I have a copy of Windows that comes with the Service Pack, plus all the drivers I need and then some. Plus the most important thing, it loads the drivers for my Serial ATA controller when it loads the rest of the mass storage controllers during the text-based portion of the setup so I don't have to plug a floppy drive in so I can give it the drivers.

If you are interested in doing this, here are some links for you. First you'll probably want to add the service pack into the cd. Please note though, the directions on adding the service pack on that page is for Win2k, they changed the command switches slightly for XP so make sure to check them by doing /?. Next you'll probably want to add extra drivers to the CD. And finally you'll probably want to add Plug & Play drivers and mass storage controllers.

I also made it so it automatically fills in all the information for the setup program. You can do this too by extracting the files in the SupportToolsdeploy.cab file on your Windows XP CD. Then open the deploy.cfm and read the sections on how to write a winnt.sif file to fill in values for the setup. If you choose, you can make the whole process completely automated.

Posted on: Sep 5, 2004 at 8:09 pm - (3) comments.

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