Slipstreaming WinXP for SATA drives (and installation customization)

Friday, September 2, 2005 5:13 PM

It had to be one of the more frustrating computer related things I’ve dealt with. At first I thought there was something wrong with my media or drive as I was trying to install Windows Media Center from a DVD and the drive wasn’t booting like it was on my other machines. That’s still an issue, but even if I got past it (which I didn’t, I ignored it), I would have run into a more important one as you’ll see…

My new Media Center box only has SATA hard drives in it and no floppy. That poses a problem for a WindowsXP based install because it does not contain drivers needed to talk to the SATA drives. So are you SOL?  At the first part of the install, a message is presented at the bottom of the screen telling you to press F6 if you need to install SCSI or RAID drivers. Usually you’d hit F6 to tell the installer that you need to give it additional drivers before it proceeds. The problem is that when you hit F6, the installer looks only at floppy drives, it won’t look to CD drives. That means that if you’re in my boat, with no floppy, well your boat is up the creek as far as this method is concerned!

So how do you get around it? You do something called slipstreaming your installation disk.  Essentially all you are doing is creating a new bootable install disk that contains all the installation files, plus some files you’ve added. This method is fantastic for creating an install that installs/removes specific features of the OS (such as removing IIS from an XP Pro install), adding hotfixes and patches, or adding the latest service pack. In my case, I needed to add additional drivers so the installer would see my SATA drives, as Jeff Key recently experienced as well (his post helped point me in the right direction to what I needed to do to resolve the issue). This process wasn’t nearly as easy as the links on Jeff’s post implied… at least as easy as I expected it to be.

After jumping through some links from Jeff’s post, I found something called the BTS DriverPacks, which is a pack of drivers for all sorts of things you’d need in the installation of special hardware, such as SATA drives.

The steps are actually really simple… and outlined in the articles Slipstreaming Windows 2000/XP [SP1,SP1a,SP2]/Server 2003 SP1 on TechTalk.com, which explained the basic process of slipstreaming a Windows install CD, and slipstreaming BTS DriverPacks on the BTSunattended.net documentation Wiki which explained how to add the BTS DriverPacks to the slipstreamed install CD.  The problem I had was that none of the links explained everything I needed… they each dealt with parts.  So, here is my token PSA post of the week that I hope is picked up my Google and MSN Search to help those poor souls out there like me and save you time in the future (what else did I have to do while I waited for the install to finish?)!

» HOWTO: Create a Slipstreamed Bootable Windows XP Install CD Containing Additional Drivers for a Floppyless and F6-less Windows Install using BTS DriverPack

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