Andrew Connell

HOWTO: Create a Slipstreamed Bootable Windows XP Install CD with F6-less Windows Install


In my blog post, I explain my specific situation: I needed a Windows XP Media Center Edition bootable install CD that contained drivers for SATA drives because I didn’t have a floppy on my new machine. This article explains the steps I too to create the bootable CD that installed Windows XP Media Center onto my SATA drives but the same steps can be used for any Windows based install.


We’ll need a utility called ROBOCOPY which is included in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools , a free download from Microsoft. If you don’t already have ROBOCOPY, download and install the resource kit.

1: Copy Windows XP CD to a Working Directory

Pretty self explanatory. I copied the entire contents of Windows XP Media Center Disc 1 to my local drive and place it in the following directory: c:\UWXPCD (the directory will make sense in later steps)

2: Obtain the BTS DriverPack Base & Mass Storage DriverPack

There are various BTS DriverPacks (provided by ). I was only interested in the MassStorage DriverPack one as I just needed the drivers for the installer to see my SATA drives. You also need the DriverPack Base as it contains the installation instructions and a batch file that helps you apply the DriverPacks.

Extract the DriverPack Base to something like c:\BTS_DriverPacks, then place the MassStorage DriverPack in the c:\BTS_DriverPacks\DriverPacks folder.

3: Apply the BTS DriverPacks to your Windows XP Install Binaries

You now have both the drivers needed for the installer to see the SATA drives (BTS MassStorage DriverPack, and any others you elected to add) and the installer binaries unpacked and on your disk. You now need to apply the BTS DriverPacks to the installers. Follow the instructions outlined on the slipstreaming BTS DriverPacks tutorial.

The only special note I’d mention here is you can skip down to part 4: the slipstreaming process. The reason I say this is in part 3: choosing the method, if you go to one of the bulleted links, it contains instructions in each method… and you need to ignore them… you need to follow the instructions in the tutorial.

You’ll see right away why in step 1 why I said to extract the contents of the Windows XP install CD to c:\UWXPCD. The included CMD files are hard coded to look in that directory. No big deal… let’s continue.

4: Add the Necessary Boot Files From Your System

It’s not explicitly mentioned in the slipstreaming BTS DriverPacks tutorial, or in some other helpful articles I found on (I’ll mention the articles later), but when you create a bootable CD, some important files are mistakenly left out that caused me quite a few headaches… these three files are listed in Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q314079 .

These three files (boot.ini, NTLDR, and are all in the root of your boot drive (usually c:\). By default Windows is setup so you can’t see these files. To see them, open Windows Explorer and select Tools | Folder Options in the menu, then click the View tab and make sure Show hidden files and folders is checked & Hide protected operating system files is unchecked. Copy these three files to the c:\UWXPCD directory.

5: Obtain A Boot File

This is really part of the next step from the URL I found, but it warrants it’s own step because it’s pretty important. When you create a bootable CD, you need to specify a boot file. In the article Creating bootable Windows 2000/XP/2003 Disc (Easy CD Creator 5) , step 2 has a link to a file “”. Download and extract it’s contents somewhere on your disk.

6: Build the Bootable Slipstreamed Windows XP Disk

I have Roxio Easy CD Creator, but the article Slipstreaming Windows 2000/XP [SP1,SP1a,SP2]/Server 2003 SP1 contains a list of links at the bottom of the article contains links to creating bootable CDs with various products. The only things I’d point out are make sure the files you added in steps 4 and 5 above are included in what you add to your disk.


The only thing I’ll add is that for Windows XP Media Center I had to burn a CD with the I386 directory from the Windows XP Service Pack 2. In retrospect, I could have slipstreamed that in with one of the articles listed above, but I hadn’t done that and heck, I had a working bootable, slipstreamed disk so I just used it. Hope this helps someone else out there (and me if I ever have to do it again)… might as well write it… what else do you have to do when you’re waiting for updates to install.

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to delivering industry-leading on-demand video training to professional developers. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.