Windows Vista SP1 Slipstreaming Mess!

Remember all those slipstreaming tutorials you could find on the Internet? I think we had one or two for Windows XP here on Neowin.net before some data on our servers was wiped due to a run-in with Microsoft; we also lost the Windows Server 2003 as a Workstation guide that way.

Anyway, generally speaking, any self proclaimed geek of the households first duty after the release of a Service Pack for Windows, was to update the original image with the slipstreamed version that made it possible to clean install a PC directly to the latest Service Pack.

That whole process just got a whole lot more tricky!

"Can I slipstream Windows Vista SP1 into an existing install image?"
Nope. Well, not directly, anyway.

"Um.. but when I get SP1, I want to upgrade my deployable .WIM images with the new bits. I can't do that in an offline way like I can with other updates?"
Sorry. No.

"Are you going to tell me why?"
Absolutely! You don't think I would have opened up this nasty can of worms without giving you a good explanation, did you?

"Well..."
Okay. So here's the deal. And those of you who have experienced the SP1 installation have experienced this as well. When you do the SP1 installation, even if it's from Windows Update (when available), you're going to see your machine shutdown and restart on it's own several times. That's to be expected. See, there's this important part of the OS known as the "servicing layer" in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. This is the part of the OS that allows for easy update installation with minimal disruptions, allows for an update to be applied to an offline captured image that's within a .wim file, among other things. Well... let's say that that servicing layer ALSO needed to be updated? What then?

"Oh.. I get it. You can't update the thing that makes the updates happen smoothly, because the thing that makes updates go smoothly is itself being updated!"
Bingo. You got it. So hopefully the news that you can't just do an offline upgrade to an image .WIM file won't be too tragic.

"So.. what do I do instead?"
You are going to have to install your image to a machine. Install the Service Pack. Then re-capture the image.

"Simple!"
Not so simple. There are additional steps that involve some cleanup once you've sysprepped your newly updated SP1 machine. Detailed steps are available in the new WAIK documentation.

"Won't I lose a valuable re-arm to my image when I apply the service pack this way?"
No. SP1 grants you an additional re-arm. We don't want you to be penalized for having to generalize a system that additional time.

"Wait... there's a new WAIK?"
If you're using the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit), you will definitely want to get the new version that has support for both the original Vista as well as the new servicing layer that's in both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008.

Of course, the easiest way to do this all would be to get a copy pre-slipstreamed SP1 version of Windows Vista from Microsoft when it becomes available, and start with that as your new installation base. If you're not doing any other custom image management, that's definitely the easiest solution. Just add it to your own Microsoft Deployment workbench or use it to build your new images from there.

Thanks to Avi for posting this article in our Back Page News section of the forums.

On other notes, Microsoft made its own slipstreamed image available to its MVLS partners!

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60 Comments

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yeah, i've tried those before, i was hoping you'd found something new

see, the thing is that the vast majority of differencing programs are simply useless for large files (install.wim).

Visual Patch is the only one that may be up to the job, but it's expensive

"You can't update the thing that makes the updates happen smoothly, because the thing that makes updates go smoothly is itself being updated!"

This is complete BULLS**T and nonsense. Vista OS installation is just collection of off-line files burned and sold on DVD. There are very limited number of variations available and OEM pre-activated copies follows some strict rules. For example you have:

a) Vista RTM CD and
b) Vista SP1 RTM CD

Service Pack 1 is just:

a) collection of "Vista SP1" files which are different from "Vista SP1"
b) tool which can apply these files on working version.

Give me "Vista CD", "Vista SP1 CD" and for $10 I will create a slipstream application which will convert "Vista CD" to "Vista SP1 CD". There are plenty application in the market which will calculate differences between files on those CDs and will create slipstream Patch. Microsoft had all update libraries at their hands in order to do off-line update if needed.

I think true is that for some reason application designers made mistake and they were out of time, so management decided to create some mumbo-jumbo BS and hoped that customers will swallow it.

(EJocys said @ #1)
There are plenty application in the market which will calculate differences between files on those CDs and will create slipstream Patch.

care to name a few?

(unkle stu said @ #23.1)
care to name a few?

http://www.pocketsoft.com/rtpatch.htm
http://www.indigorose.com/visual-patch
http://www.magpiesoft.com/products/patchbreeze.htm
http://www.agensoft.com/patchfactory.html
...

Also, any backup software or archiver can look for the differences.
Difference between Vista Genuine CD and Vista SP1 genuine CD can be expressed into bytes or file list. Slipstream patch (synchronization script) must be able to convert ~4 types of Vista CDs to ~4 updated versions by applying differences. So when some expert says that it is not possible to create slipstream patch then its called BS.

What I know so far there is no way to have SP1 direct integration, but a reverse integration will do. Do a google search and there will be a guide on that.

wasn't the slipstream plan for Vista supposed to be putting the SP1 installer in a special folder and it would be run automatically after install?

I'm not sure if this is even a big deal.

I can download the 400 Meg SP1 Update, or I can download the 2.x Gig SP1 ISO.

Either way, I'm still downloading something big.

It doesn't matter if I go with the weird slipstream method or the pre-made SP1 ISO.

Either way, I'm still burning something to disc.

For now, I have downloaded the 400 Meg SP1 Update. Later, before I ever have to re-install Vista, I will download the 2.x Gig SP1 ISO. Many Torrent sites seem to have this already.

Are people really THAT upset that the Slipstreaming process has changed so much?

What is the big problem?

You are forgetting the extra time involved in updating to SP1 (minimum of 30 minutes, usually much more). That extra time adds up for people who have to update many computers.

I found the best way is to do it the way it is layed out here.

Now that Vista SP1 is finalized, it is a good time to do some spring cleanup and start from scratch with Microsoft's newest code. Overtime installing trials and random programs, lots of files get left behind so, might as well start from scratch. Below is just a quick guide of how to install SP1 pretty cleanly.

When SP1 is available to the general public, I'd recommend getting the standalone update exes. Burn x86, x64 or both onto a DVD.

Backup all users files and important documents, get them off your hard drive. I use http://skydrive.live.com to store keys and documents.

Insert your Vista disk, boot off DVD and format and install as usual. After about 15 minutes it will ask you to type in a username and password, don't do that instead press "ctrl-shift F3", your screen will go black and your computer will reboot into "audit mode", this will allow us to install stuff before making a user name. Do not close out the Sysprep screen that comes up, just leave it alone and ignore it.

From here, insert your burnt SP1 setup files, and go ahead and run it. It will take probably about 30 minutes, it rolls up all the Windows updates to date along with a new kernel which has been tweaked for Windows Server 2008, which brings some performance improvements, so it takes a bit.

After SP1 is finished installing, the computer should have booted back into "audit mode" with a confirmation saying SP1 installed successfully along with the sysprep window. One more step, press your windows key + r, or go to the run box, and type "vsp1cln" and cleanup the temporary files SP1 has left behind.

Once that is finished, go to the sysprep window, set it to reboot into OOBE do not check generalize and click ok to reboot. You will then setup your user account and such on the next reboot, from there you can install your drivers and programs.

The reason I do my install this way, is because there is no clean method of integrating SP1 into the Vista DVD, plus Microsoft has identified a few device drivers that would fail after the Vista SP1 install. This is a problem with some driver makers, and not Microsoft. A simple reinstall of the drivers fixes this, but if you install SP1 before you install drivers, you will not run into that issue.

Now my personal experience with SP1 has been great, it is quite a bit faster, things just seem snappier.

...my personal experience with SP1 has been great, it is quite a bit faster, things just seem snappier.

Yeah, because you have a bald system with only Vista on it. XP without anything else on it is nice and snappy as well. It's only when you load it up with all the stuff you actually need: Office (oh, wait, that's another activation gone, back on the phones for me), Creative Suite, Visual Studio, whatever that it slows down. Plus all those useful utilities that make life easier. And all those settings and configuration you did over the course of the last year.

I don't agree with a complete wipe-and-reinstall just because a Service Pack has come out. Got a day to waste getting your system back how it was before the upgrade? I wait until it's running like a sloth in jam and schedule a day of disk swapping / update downloading / configuration. My XP system is currently due for one, it's finding the time.

(mrbester said @ #18.1)

Yeah, because you have a bald system with only Vista on it. XP without anything else on it is nice and snappy as well. It's only when you load it up with all the stuff you actually need: Office (oh, wait, that's another activation gone, back on the phones for me), Creative Suite, Visual Studio, whatever that it slows down. Plus all those useful utilities that make life easier. And all those settings and configuration you did over the course of the last year.

I don't agree with a complete wipe-and-reinstall just because a Service Pack has come out. Got a day to waste getting your system back how it was before the upgrade? I wait until it's running like a sloth in jam and schedule a day of disk swapping / update downloading / configuration. My XP system is currently due for one, it's finding the time.

Don't get angry at me...get angry at the author...

I agree with you, I personally did an upgrade without a complete format, but I also followed those instructions last night as well. They both seem to work well.

redo the image? it's not that time consuming or difficult. In fact, I think this is the superior option as it's much quicker than having to reinstall the os again. It's not like you'll go through hardware changes that frequently

I can understand why it may be an issue for companies but why are home users crying about this? Can't you just make an image of an Vista install with SP1 applied? And used that when you reformat?

I wonder how many ways it has to be said, but there is no way to directly slipstream however a guide has been available for months for the alternate procedure that MS are suggesting. If you want detailed instructions, then see vlite.net's second post on their front page for the link to the guide.

It amazes me how so many ppl have problems slipstreaming when I have had the best of ease slipstreaming it, but at that im a MCSE, on MSDN, Technet, and a beta tester that said, STOP SPREADING FUD!!!! Learn how to use Technet, and WAIK .....AND MOST OF ALL USE YOUR EYES AND READ!!!!

WAIK will get you nowhere in terms of trying to directly slipstream SP1. There just is no way to directly slipstream SP1, MS have seen to that. I also hope you do realize that the Q&A is from an MS employee...

Frankly, I'm surprised that so many people are surprised with this issue. It has been known for months that it can't be slipstreamed and a guide has been available for months on the alternative way to do it. See vlite.net's second post for more info.

there is no way to slipstream sp1!
it says so!
who cares?
wait for new install media to come out, build a sysprepped image, push the pack through wsus or deploy an MSI, seriously, whats the big deal?
theres only about a trillion ways to get and install vista sp1, whats the issue here?

all they need to do is provide a download link to the .iso for people who have their own valid serial. but they are too stingy to pay for the bandwidth. they could even create a private torrent for it and wouldnt have to pay hardly anything for bandwidth. Wonder if these corporations will ever realise who put them where they are today.

Yep, the trackers already have it. I have a LEGAL copy of Vista, but downloaded a slipstreamed copy of vista/sp1.
Wiped a backup drive out, installed & activated w/o any problem. I prefer, when an SP is released to slipstream it
and install fresh.


(Hooya said @ #11.1)
I'm sure that private tracker torrent will exist soon enough, just not a private tracker from Microsoft. :cool:

BEfore everybody goes bashing microsoft answer my question. When apple comes out with a major update to osx do they give you a slipstreamed image for free? SP1 as I understand it has major updates to the OS like the kernel and things like that . if this was apple they would call it osx 10.6 and charge you for it.

Microsoft cant do anything right in some peoples eyes. They could give out windows 7 for free and they would still bash them.

(majortom1981 said @ #10)
<snip>f this was apple they would call it osx 10.6 and charge you for it. <snip>

Actually, that's one of the reasons why I really dislike the Mac OS scheme, they release a new, gotta pay for it version every year or so, which is just asinine to me.

(Hooya said @ #10.1)

Actually, that's one of the reasons why I really dislike the Mac OS scheme, they release a new, gotta pay for it version every year or so, which is just asinine to me.

But at least each new Mac OS is faster, has a single desktop SKU and adds more *desired* features than the previous one for about $100. Each MS OS is $200-$300 (unless you'll take a crippled version), slower, more bug ridden and adds "features" like DRM, DX10, 20% less FPS in games than XP, and WGA.

(stgeorge said @ #10.2)

But at least each new Mac OS is faster, has a single desktop SKU and adds more *desired* features than the previous one for about $100. Each MS OS is $200-$300 (unless you'll take a crippled version), slower, more bug ridden and adds "features" like DRM, DX10, 20% less FPS in games than XP, and WGA.


You're aware of why it's faster, right?

You've been using what essentially is the same OS since 2001, that's why. Since then you've probably got new hardware. Hence "faster".

If Microsoft put a search feature in Windows XP and started charging people for it we'd have people crying all over the place, but Apple seems to be able to do it without much fuss. Funny that.

(stgeorge said @ #10.2)
But at least each new Mac OS is faster..

i feel bad for Intel's R&D division. apple's perpetually faster releases are going to put them out of a job

why would you want to format a computer every several months? ... this is insane ... efven if you do it for whatever reason ... not good man, not good ...

(zeta_immersion said @ #8)
why would you want to format a computer every several months? ... this is insane ... efven if you do it for whatever reason ... not good man, not good ...
Says who? I format my computer almost monthly. I enjoy it and it brings me nothing but happiness. Now you're going to tell me your hard drive loses it's durability or something?

(Lucas said @ #8.1)
Says who? I format my computer almost monthly. I enjoy it and it brings me nothing but happiness. Now you're going to tell me your hard drive loses it's durability or something? :rolleyes:

Funny you say that, because it actually brings me happiness as well to be using a clean, new install.

I got my hands on a sliptreamed copy of SP1 and reinstalled it on my Media Center PC. It was a lot better than installing the original and waiting another 30 minutes to upgrade to SP1.

I fully agree that it should be provided as a free download.

maybe i have several computers and format about every 3 months, installing vista then sp1 everytime would be a royal pain in the a$$.

basically us home users will have to illegally download a slipstreamed iso and use our legit key, thanks microsoft for forcing ppl to become pirates! Thought u didnt like pirating?

(torrentthief said @ #6)
basically us home users will have to illegally download a slipstreamed iso and use our legit key, thanks microsoft for forcing ppl to become pirates! Thought u didnt like pirating?

What the hell are you talking about? Just download the service pack and install it. Besides, didn't you say in a previous news comment that you don't steal?

(GreyWolfSC said @ #6.1)
What the hell are you talking about? Just download the service pack and install it. Besides, didn't you say in a previous news comment that you don't steal?

Call it a hunch but his username's a little incriminating.

(bobbba said @ #5)
"we also lost the Windows Server 2003 as a Workstation guide that way. "

big loss... :rolleyes:

it is actually, go troll somewhere else

/fail

(xinary said @ #5.1)

it is actually, go troll somewhere else

/fail


What possible tangible benefit would paying £500 for a server operating system and then using it just as a client have?

This IMAGE Microsoft Vitsa SP1 slipstreamed image should be made available to ANYONE who bought this OS for FREE

GOT THAT MS???

(DirtyScab said @ #1)
This IMAGE Microsoft Vitsa SP1 slipstreamed image should be made available to ANYONE who bought this OS for FREE

GOT THAT MS???

You can "order" new installation media from Microsoft directly. You only have to pay a minimal shipping/handling charge. (about 10 ~ 15$, I paid 8 euros last time I did this)

So turn off the damn capslock dirty one.

(MMaster23 said @ #4.1)

You can "order" new installation media from Microsoft directly. You only have to pay a minimal shipping/handling charge. (about 10 ~ 15$, I paid 8 euros last time I did this)

So turn off the damn capslock dirty one.


Thats interesting that people keep saying this cause when I call MS and attempt to order just the media, they either go into "You're a Pirate!" mode or tell me the kit costs around $30. I got my Vista through the "Power Together" offer and I went through hell getting a 64-bit install disc from MS Sales. Ended up getting it for free but the point is that the original asking price fro the media kit isn't what people are claiming.

(Angel Blue01 said @ #4.3)
What about the OEM lisence version? Upgrade? N?

The cool thing about Vista is these are all the same disc, your key determines which version you get and which license you are presented.
(Actually I'm not 100% sure about OEM since I haven't bought a new machine with Vista yet, but I know for sure that "Upgrade" and "N" versions are available on the retail disc I have, and since that is the case, I don't know why OEM would be any different.)

(MMaster23 said @ #4.1)

You can "order" new installation media from Microsoft directly. You only have to pay a minimal shipping/handling charge. (about 10 ~ 15$, I paid 8 euros last time I did this)

So turn off the damn capslock dirty one.

It's not just the 10-15 dollars. It's the delayed gratification. If they provide a downloadable image or a slipstreamable SP, I can be ready to do a fresh-install with SP1 integrated that evening. If they have to mail it to me, it could be two weeks. While this is an inconvinience for individuals, I could see it extremely frustrating for businesses who may want to hold off on deploying SP1 until all the infrastructure-- including the install/reinstall/restore-to-image discs-- are ready.

(MMaster23 said @ #4.1)

You can "order" new installation media from Microsoft directly. You only have to pay a minimal shipping/handling charge. (about 10 ~ 15$, I paid 8 euros last time I did this)

So turn off the damn capslock dirty one.


where on the site i can do that?

I agree it should be FREE. THey should have a website that you go to and type in your install key, because thats really all you paid for. Then they should let you download a FREE Slipstreamed copy of vista.

(warwagon said @ #4.7)
I agree it should be FREE. THey should have a website that you go to and type in your install key, because thats really all you paid for. Then they should let you download a FREE Slipstreamed copy of vista.

Agreed

and why should you have to pay more? when you already paid a bs amount in the first place

also I remember XPsp2.exe(not a full version, just the service pack) was posted out on disk for free
some page you filled out or a phone number you rang
heres the xpsp2 page http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloa...us/default.mspx
hopefully it will come for vista sp1 and sp1 integrated dicks

As long as "they" explained how to do it manually and that Microsoft itself gonna release slipstreamed images of the OS with SP1 included, I don't see where's the problem. But, maybe it's just me :ponder:

Not too messy really. Same as when you had to do RIS images. You had to deploy the old image, patch it and then re-image it with the new updates applied.

With WDS/WAIK it's only SP1 that needs to be sorted out in this way, still a vast improvement on the old RIS model.

Or simply have SP1 on your WDS server (SCE, SMS etc.) and your image will still pick it up. Requires a reboot or two after you've deployed the image, but it's hardly taxing really.

Shouldn't be long now, till I can get my hands on this puppy.

(Microsoft's own slipstreamed image)

Can't wait, I'll be going 64bit for the first time.