Create a Slip Stream version of Windows XP

Slipstreaming is the process whereby Service Pack files are injected into a release of Windows XP that does not already contain the updated service pack files. Properly prepared a slipstream version of XP is bootable and will function just as the original but the Service Pack files will be installed at the time the operating system is installed.

There are three main reasons for creating a slipstream CD/DVD

1) Windows XP requires that, at a minimum SP1 or SP2 be installed in order to partition and format hard drives that are over 137GB
 (read here for more clarification )

2) You are trying to repair XP or upgrade and get a message that says the CD cannot be run because a newer version of XP is installed

3) By using a slipstreamed version of XP to install with you eliminate the need to apply the Service Pack manually.

How To Create a Slipstreamed version of XP:

The process is very simple. You need the following items
1) A CD or DVD Writer and one blank CD-R or DVD disc

2) Software capable of burning an ISO file. XP's built in recording feature can not properly burn ISO files. Most third party CD/DVD Writing programs such as Nero or RecordNow Max have this function.
If you need a freeware program to facilitate this you can use CDBurnerXP Pro available from

3) A Windows XP CD - the version doesn't matter but it must be a valid version of Windows XP with Product Key

4) A full version of the Service Pack you want to slipstream. These are large downloads and can be located here:
    Service Pack 3 (SP3)
    Service Pack 2 (SP2)
    Service Pack 1a (SP1a)
    Service Pack 1 (SP1 original)
or you can use the file called XPSP2.EXE located in the root of the Service Pack 2 CD if you have one of those.

5) A slipstreaming tool -  AutoStreamer is an excellent freeware tool that is very easy to use. Or if you decide you want more options you can try nLite

Now that you have all the tools necessary just run AutoStreamer and follow it's wizard.


AutoStreamer will create an .ISO file and save it on your hard drive. If you found this helpful please support the author of AutoStreamer by making a small (or huge) donation

Follow these instructions for using CDBurnerXP Pro to create a bootable slipstreamed CD from the ISO file you just created.

1) Launch CDBurnerXP . At the welcome screen "New Compilation window" select the first option to "Create a new data CD......."
2) From the menu select "File"
3) From the File menu select "Write Disc from ISO file..."
4) Point to the location of the ISO file
3) check the box "Finalize Disc (No further writing possible)

Or use your CD writing software to burn the ISO to CD-R. If you need help take this link to Leen Snoek's excellent tutorial

Adding Additional Files to your Slip Streamed disc!

Ok so you got the hang of it. Here is an additional function that you may wish to employ. AutoStreamer allows you to add files to the ISO before it is finished creating it. You can add a directory containing your special drivers so you don't have to search around for them later. Remember that a CD-R can only hold 700MB of data. Windows XP by itself will occupy about 500MB on a CD leaving you with 200 MBs that can be used to add additional files. And a DVD can hold over 4GB of addition data in addition to Windows XP.

How To

1) Check the third item on the AutoStreamer's first screen. It says "I want to manually customize my installation."
2) Continue now as normal however before the ISO file is finally created AutoStreamer will pause.
3) At this point open AutoStreamer's temporary folder. The default is C:\$Autostreamer$ unless you've called it something else.
4) Create a new folder inside the ValueAdd directory and copy your additional files there. Personally I'd include drivers for my hardware, msjava , and a few of my favourite tools.
5) Remember you have about 200MB free space on a CD-R so limit yourself. But with a DVD you can pretty much add everything you like to use.

Addition Tip for DVD users
Why not take advantage of all the space a DVD gives you? We all have favourite programs we install every time we install XP. For me this includes programs like WinZip, a collection of Spyware Tools, my Antivirus, Image Editing software, WinAMP, Nero, Microsoft Office 2007 and the list goes on. Some of the setup files I simply copy to individual folders as in Step 4 above. However for software that comes on CD I create an ISO image of the CD. The ISO, as you know, is an exact image of the original CD. This file can be opened and run from a Virtual Drive on my computer. Nero Ultra Edition has NeroImage which will create such a drive. It will appear just like an additional CD-Rom device in My Computer. I can then load an ISO into it and run the installer program just as if the ISO was a physical CD in a drive.