Slipstreaming using Autostreamer 1.0, Jeff Browning

Slipstreaming is a procedure that merges a service pack with the contents of the Windows operating system CD to produce a new bootable Windows CD with the service pack.

The slipstreaming feature first appeared with the release of Windows 2000. Unfortunately this procedure is not simple for the average user as shown in

A Windows CD with the service pack can be very useful when repairing an existing Windows installation that contains the same service pack. The powerful repair utilities on the Windows CD will not work unless the CD has the same service pack as the Windows installation in need of repair. Also, reinstalling Windows is simplified using a slipstreamed Windows CD since the service pack does not need to be installed separately.

Autostreamer 1.0 is a small ~500 KB program that simplifies the process of slipstreaming service packs with Windows 2000, Windows XP (Home and Professional), or Windows Server 2003. This program produces an iso image file that can be used to create a bootable CD using CD burning software such as Roxio CD Creator or Nero Burning ROM. An iso file is a single file containing all data, files, and folders needed to create bootable CD with the operating system files and folders. CD burner software reads the iso file and extracts all of the contents (files, folders, and boot information) to produce a new bootable CD. Autostreamer1.0 can be downloaded from Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (129 MB) can be downloaded from Windows XP Service Pack 2 (272 MB) can be downloaded from

In the following example, Autostreamer is used to slipstream a full version of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 located on the C drive in the folder Win XP SP2. After downloading and unzipping Autostreamer 1.0 to a directory on the computer, click AutoStreamer.exe to start the program. Insert the original Windows CD and select “I want to use my existing Windows CD” as shown in figure 1 and click Next.

figure 1

Autostreamer then needs to identify the drive containing the Windows CD and the location of the service pack as shown in figure 2. Click the magnifying glass icon to specify the location of the Service Pack and Windows CD. Autostreamer usually can automatically detect the Windows CD when clicking on the magnifying glass icon. Click Next after Autostreamer has correctly located the Windows CD and the service pack.

Figure 2

Figure 3 shows the default label for the CD image and the default file name and location for the iso image file. These file names and paths can be changed if necessary. Click Finish to begin the slipstreaming procedure.

Figure 3

Autostreamer integrates the service pack with Windows and produces the iso image file as shown in figure 4. This procedure can take up to 25 minutes and involves several steps that do not require any user interaction. When Autostreamer finishes as shown in figure 5, click Exit to close Autostreamer. The iso image file contains the Windows operating system with the integrated service pack that is used as a source to produce a bootable CD.

Figure 4

The procedure for producing a bootable CD from the iso image file is fairly simple. Consult the documentation for your CD burning software on how to create CD using an iso image file. Creating a bootable CD from this file is easy using Nero 5.5. Open Nero and then click the Open button in the New Compilation window. Select “Image files (*.nrg; *.iso; *.cue)” under Files of type and go to the location of the iso file. Click on the iso file to select it and then click the Open button. When the Nero Write CD window opens, then click Burn to create a CD from the image file. The bootable Windows CD that is produced contains the integrated service pack and works exactly like the original Windows CD.

Figure 5

Jeff Browning is a HAL-PC member and SIG Leader of the PC Upgrade & Troubleshooting Workshop. Send questions or comments to him at