How To: Slipstream your XP installation

Think of how you treat a brand-new car: You cherish and pamper it at first. You even give up your Sunday afternoons to wash and wax it by hand. Your heart skips a beat whenever you see that gleaming steel beast waiting for you in the parking lot. A newly installed version of Windows XP can inspire similar devotion. Not only do you thrill at its pristine condition but you patiently, and even eagerly downloaded all the latest patches from Windows Update so as to keep your OS shipshape.

But over time, most of us begin to take that new car—and that clean WinXP installation—for granted. As it accumulates miles and wear and tear, your erstwhile pride and joy becomes just another drain on your wallet—and your time. Hand-washing, you discover, just isn’t worth the effort anymore. In its place: a quickie car wash at the local gas station. If only there were a simple wash-and-rinse equivalent for WinXP.

Guess what? Such a thing does exist. It’s called slipstreaming—the mystical art of creating an up-to-the-minute Windows XP setup CD with all the latest patches preinstalled, so you won’t have to spend half your life on Microsoft’s Windows Update web site. As always, Maximum PC is here to show you how to do it. Heck, we’ll even help you add RAID or Serial ATA controller drivers to your CD so you won’t need a floppy drive (or the F6 key) to install Windows. (Note: Service Pack 2 wasn’t available when we went to press, but it should be by the time you read this. If SP2 isn’t available, the instructions in this story will still work with SP1.)

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