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Slipstreaming Windows 2000 Service Pack 1

Microsoft promised a number of features for Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1), but none of them seemed more promising than an install integration feature called slipstreaming, which would allow system administrators to meld the updated SP1 files into a Windows 2000 install share on a network, giving future installations of the OS the SP1 update without needing a separate install. The first peek at this slipstreaming feature came before Windows 2000 was even released commercially, with the High Encryption Pack (HEP), which Microsoft provides on a floppy disk with retail versions of Windows 2000 (you can also download this update from the Microsoft Web site and Windows Update). The HEP didn't come with any particular tools to facilitate slipstreaming the high encryption feature into a Windows 2000 install share, but since it was so small, it was fairly easy to get going. For SP1, however, Microsoft would need to create something far more automated.

With the release of Windows 2000 SP1 in August 2000, Microsoft truly delivered. As promised, SP1 can be easily integrated into a Windows 2000 install share using this slipstreaming feature and, best of all, it is completely automated. Here's how to make it work.

Preparing the install share
SP1 can be installed a number of ways, though it will typically be deployed using a standard "update" installation or an integrated slipstream installion as described here. First, you must prepare an installation share containing the i386 directory from a Windows 2000 Professional, Server, or Advanced Server CD-ROM. I prepared a folder named E:\Software\Operating Systems\Windows 2000\2195_SP1\Pro for this purpose, copying the contents of the Professional i386 directory and sharing it over my local network.

Next, you will need to obtain the Network Installation version of SP1, which is included on the SP1 CD-ROM and available for download from the Microsoft Web site (it's a hefty 87 MB). In my case, I grabbed the download version and extracted it to E:\Software\Operating Systems\Windows 2000\SP1\sp1network\. However you obtain the Network Installation, you'll need to make a note of its location, be it on a CD-ROM drive, a local hard drive, or a network share.

Now you're ready to integrate the updated SP1 files into the Windows 2000 install share, though I should mention that the following steps require you to be running Windows 2000. This is accomplished with the update.exe executable, which I discussed previously in my review of SP1. Update.exe is located in the i386\Update directory of SP1, so if you're installing from a CD-ROM in the D: drive, for example, it will be located in D:\i386\Update\. In my case, however, it is located in E:\Software\Operating Systems\Windows 2000\SP1\sp1network\i386\Update\. To apply SP1 to the install share, you must use a variant of the following command line:

[Path to SP1 Update folder]\Update.exe -s:[install share]

So, for example, if the SP1 CD-ROM is the the D: drive and the Windows 2000 install share is in C:\install, you would use the following:

D:\i386\Update\Update.exe -s:C:\install

I used the following command line to make this happen (note that quotes are required because of the spaces in paths):

"E:\Software\Operating Systems\Windows 2000\SP1\sp1network\i386\Update\Update.exe"
-s:"E:\Software\Operating Systems\Windows 2000\2195_SP1\Pro"

At this point, a GUI-based Setup program launches and integrates the SP1 files into the Windows 2000 install share (Figure). Integration takes several minutes and the process completes (Figure).

Install Windows 2000 and SP1
Once this process is complete, you can deploy Windows 2000 with SP1 as you would normally, perhaps in unattended mode or in normal interactive mode. To test slipstreaming, I installed Windows 2000 from the install share in interactive mode and then created a bootable CD-ROM with Windows 2000 and SP1 (using the excellent CDRWIN program, see John Savill's Windows NT/2000 FAQ for details), performing an unattended installation. In both cases, the installation worked flawlessly, installing Windows 2000 and SP1 together. During Windows 2000 Setup, there are absolutely no changes to suggest that you are doing anything other than setting up Windows 2000.

Also, the install share I used for the SP1 integration included the High Encryption Pack update, so Windows 2000 SP1 installed in high encryption mode, a proof of concept for another handy slipstreaming feature, the ability to slipstream a virtually unlimited number of updates into a Windows 2000 install. You can use this feature to integrate various hot fixes into a Windows 2000 install share if desired.

The ability to perform an integrated installation, or slipstream, of Windows 2000 SP1 is a very powerful feature, and yet it's very easy to use. In addition to the method described here, there are many other options for deploying SP1, including using Systems Management Server (SMS) and Remote Installation Services (RIS). For more information, please read the Windows 2000 SP1 Deployment Guide, which is available from the Windows 2000 SP1 Web site.

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