Creating a customised Windows XP CD using nLite

Last night, when I was installing Windows on my Mac, I needed a Windows XP CD with service pack 2 included (i.e. a slipstreamed service pack as Apple Boot Camp doesn’t allow the use of a non-SP2 CD). I didn’t have one – only a Windows XP (RTM) CD, an integrated SP1 CD, and an SP2 update CD – but that’s no problem, as you can create your own slipstreamed XP SP2 CD.

The official method linked above works well, but (as highlighted in the August 2006 edition of Personal Computer World magazine) there is an easier way – using the excellent (and free) nLite deployment tool for unattended Windows. After copying the contents of my original Windows XP (RTM) CD to a temporary location on my hard disk, I was able to use nLite to integrate the service pack (from my SP2 CD) and make a bootable .ISO image of the new distribution (ready for burning to CD using the software of my choice) using just a few mouse clicks. I could also have integrated drivers (e.g. the ones from the Macintosh driver CD that Boot Camp creates), included updates/patches, removed components, applied tweaks and generally customised the Windows XP installation to suit – all using one simple wizard.

Thanks to Dino Nuhagic (Nuhi) for creating nLite (and for making it free) – it really is a very useful tool.

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