Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Windows XP deployment tips?

Hello. I have a small company that sells PCs via the net. The user can customize every aspect of the machine, and has the choice of buying Windows (XP), which is installed by us so the user receives the machine in a ready-to-rock state.

But since every machine is almost always 100% different from one another, deploying XP is a huge pain in the ass. I've tried HDD images, Sysprep, you name it. An image of XP doesn't like being installed on a computer with a completely different motherboard. I would be able to live with installing the thing from scracth if it wasn't for one thing: installing all the Windows Update patches is a time waster. Is there a better way to do this? Perhaps I can download all fixes (including the Service Pack) as executable files and then just run then on the new machines? Anything? I'm starting to spot a few gray hair lines here.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

You should be able to "slipstream" the XP installation so you end up with a fully, (or nearly fully patched machines)

Here's a link for slipstreaming SP1a,

Here's a google search link for several articles that detail putting rollups, and other hotfixes in as well


Jason (
Sunday, March 07, 2004

That's the great thing about installing Windows.  When the machine boots for the first time, you're about 60 percent done.  Now go getcher patches.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Thanks.. that helps. While I'm at it I'm also looking into the "unattended installation" thing. That, combined with the slipstreaming thing, is pretty much what I was looking for.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Microsoft provides OEM "pre-install" tools (free of charge, I think) to help companies that sell PCs to pre-install Windows on the systems that they build to sell to their customers. This is not only for big companies - according to their web site, it's available even if you only build one system a month. It allows you to buy licenses and copy (using disk imaging, for example) the Windows operating system to each system that you build in a state that's not quite fully installed and will work on any system even if the motherboard and other hardware components are different. When the purchaser (or you, if you are finalizing the install for your customer) first boots the system, it asks for the license key, detects the hardware and finalizes the installation. You should be installing the latest OEM kit when you do this (which is SP1, maybe even with later patches).

Start here:
and find out more about Microsoft's OEM System Builder program. When you register, you can get the "OEM Preinstallation Kit" and other tools. I don't know much more about the current program, I used it when I worked for an OEM about a decade ago, but I haven't looked at it since then.

Philip Dickerson
Monday, March 08, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home