Ever wonder if there was a way to update an OEM XP install CD to include the most recent updates? Want to minimize the time it takes to complete an installation of a workstation? Do you wish it was possible to have all the most recent updates and service packs already installed after a fresh install from the CD of Windows XP? Ever need updated drivers included with an installation CD? Well, other than taking advantage the IT Solutions
offered by Trigon Technology, a Philadelphia IT Support Company
may just be the program for you.
As a follow-up to my previous blog about BartPE, this blog is about nLite - another "must-have" for the Engineer's toolkit. If you have any level of Service Pack of any type of Windows XP installation (OEM, retail, volume license), you can use the nLite application to update it to the latest Service Pack (Service Pack 3), as well as including additional updates that have come out since. nLite gives you the ability to slipstream Service Pack 3 and put in new updates, such as Internet Explorer 7 and other XP "Critical" updates, into the installation CD. You also can update drivers for new hardware that is included on the newest workstations, like SATA and NIC drivers.
In order complete the updates to the CD, all you need to do is copy the files from the CD you need to update to the hard drive of a machine with nLite installed. From there, download the necessary update files (do an install on a new machine, see what update files are needed, and download from the Windows Catalog the KB articles listed), make a few selections in nLite, and there you go! An updated XP installation CD that has the most recent files installed!
One other nice thing about nLite is the ability to even create a new ISO image from the updated installation. This makes it easy to burn to multiple discs, in case you have a number of machines to install quickly. It takes a little while to download all the necessary files needed from the Windows Catalog, but think of it this way - it takes about 4 hours to download and update an installation CD one time but it takes an additional 30 minutes PER MACHINE if you don't. After only 8 installations, you have "broken even" with time. Further updates only take an hour or less but installations will only take longer the more updates there are.
So you see, it is well worth the time and effort to download, install, and get comfortable with the nLite application if you install Windows XP on machines with any sort of regularity. I know I have gotten to know it very well and shared my experiences with my fellow Trigon employees.