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I have been seeing the word “slipstreaming” a lot. What is it?

Let’s just say, with the problems I had reinstalling Windows last week, slipstreaming would have made the installation a lot easier and I would have gotten to bed a lot earlier the night I did the installation.

If you have ever had to reinstall Windows, then you know how incredibly time-consuming it is. The wait for the installation to complete is long enough, but then you have to go and get the latest Service Pack, the latest hotfixes, the latest drivers…it seems endless and takes hours.

Slipstreaming ends all of that. It is, quite simply, the process that puts all of the complete, original installation files, along with current service pack, necessary hotfixes, and drivers all onto a bootable CD. Hence, when you go to install Windows, everything is done for you and when the install is done, your computer is up and ready to go.

To begin, you need your Windows original CD. Copy the disk onto your hard drive (i.e. C:/XP). If your disk already has the latest Service Pack on it, great. If it doesn’t, head on over to Microsoft and download it, and while you’re there, download all of the current hotfixes and updates you need. If you have drivers that don’t come with Windows, then go get those and download them, too. Save all of these in a separate folder on your hard drive. The slipstreaming process will now combine those two folders together by creating an ISO (.iso) image.

One program that can help guide you through this process is called Autostreamer. It’s a very straightforward program and it’s free. Another great program (again, it’s free) is called nLite. If cost doesn’t matter to you and/or you would like other features, then do some research and find the one that is best for you.

Downloading all of the updates and hotfixes and such may seem like a chore at first, but when all is said and done, the end result is so worth it! 