Sunday, December 09, 2007

Windows XP - A Custom Setup Build

I am a freaking web surfer and I strongly recommend myself to have windows updates applied to my operating system. One of the ways to keep my computer/laptop healthy and protected. I use to depend on Autopatcher - an offline windows updates/patches collection/applying tool to keep my operating system up to date. Few months back Autopatcher discontinued its service because Microsoft was unhappy with it. From that day onwards my search was ON to get new alternative for it. All I wanted is to have an offline copy of windows updates so that I can install those whenever I make a fresh installation of windows operating system on my boxes. My search got over with “Windows Update Downloader”, a free utility which has a good list of windows updates, clever enough to connect Microsoft Windows update website and download patches/updates to local machine.(Recently I came to know that Microsoft has launched a web site for bulk patch/update downloads, named "Microsoft Update Catelog"). I was happy when I was browsing downloaded patch files (around 100+) in the download directory hive. The next challenge was how to apply these patches. Who will like installing 100+ patches double clicking one by one? (if you think you are such a person then I recommend reading this blog post completely :). I started looking out for an automated utility or an approach which can be done with a minimal code or a setup. But luckily I found nLite - a free utility which knows how to merge all these updates/patches with Windows XP setup files and slipstreaming service packs (SP2). It also facilitates integrating unattended installation setup, system drivers, windows tweaking, optional component removal, adding extra files in to setup disk and finally creating ISO image or burning directly to discs. After working with this tool I was able to create a Windwos XP setup CD which is an integrated version of XP SP2, patches/updates and my machine drivers! Now onwards, all I have to do is initiate the installation process and just sit back and relax. When windows setup finishes its installation and the machine restarts, it is just ready for next level operations with no much time spending on basic driver installations. Nice tools and good experience :)
Yeah, though I restore my machine(s) using drive imaging tool but sometimes I require fresh CD/DVD based installation for several technical reasons and that is where my above effort will help me to get updated windows operating system in one shot installation process.

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