How to Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 3 to Create an Integrated XP Setup Disk with SP 3

Merge XP SP3 into Your Installation CD

How to Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 3 to Create an Integrated XP Setup Disk with SP 3

This tutorial takes you through the steps of integrating the Windows XP Service Pack 3 into the files from an existing Windows XP setup CD. A new setup disk will be created. This disk will have the full XP installation with SP3 already merged into it. Such a slipstreamed CD has a few advantages over installing your current version of XP and then running SP 3 afterwards:


  1. Windows XP Professional or Home Setup CD

    You will need your existing Windows XP Professional or Home setup CD. This CD can either be the original Windows XP release CD, or one with either SP 1 or Service Pack 2 integrated.

    If your computer did not come with such a CD, but you created your own Setup CD by following the instructions given in's How to Create a Bootable Windows XP Setup CD/DVD on a Preinstalled Windows System, you might want to try using that CD instead.

    WARNING: do not attempt to use this guide to slipstream your Windows XP Media Center 2005 disk. Slipstreaming of this version of XP is not supported by Microsoft.

  2. A CD/DVD Burning Software, a blank writeable CD and a CD/DVD Writer

    After creating a new XP Setup CD that has Service Pack 3 integrated, you will need to write it onto a new, blank CD (such as a CD-R or CD-RW). You can also use a DVD+/-R(W) if you want. As such you will need a CD/DVD writer and a program to burn the new CD.

    For the purpose of this tutorial, I will describe the procedure for using the ImgBurn, a free utility listed on the Free CD and DVD Burners and Copying Software page on

  3. XP Service Pack 3

    Windows XP service pack 3 can be downloaded directly from Microsoft.

The Basic Steps to Merging SP3 into the XP Setup CD

  1. Download and Save XP Service Pack 3

    If you have not already downloaded XP service pack 3, get it now, and save it with the filename of "XPSP3.EXE" at the top level of drive C:. Actually, you can save it anywhere you want, and leave it at its default name if you wish. However, for the purpose of this tutorial, I will assume that you saved it so that it can be accessed as C:\XPSP3.EXE. If you save it as some other name, you will have to change the command lines I supply below yourself to the appropriate one.

    Note: if you did not configure Windows to show you the full filename you should probably do so before changing the name of the file. Otherwise, you may be inadvertently saving the file as "XPSP3.EXE.EXE" without your knowing. (That is, you see the filename as "XPSP3.EXE" in Windows Explorer but it's actually "XPSP3.EXE.EXE".)

  2. Extract or Download the Boot Sector of the XP Setup Disk

    You will also need the boot sector of an existing bootable Windows 2000, XP or 2003 setup CDROM. You can either extract it from your CD yourself, or just download a boot sector already extracted by others. To save myself some time describing the procedure for extracting the boot sector, this tutorial will just use the same method mentioned in my guide to create your own XP setup disk. That is, download the file from [this location] (link removed, see below) and save it somewhere on your computer.

    Update (2017): the site mentioned in the previous paragraph is no longer available, and I don't know any reliable alternative locations that provide the file. Sorry.

    When you've got the file, open it by doubleclicking it in Windows explorer. Go into the "cds" folder and into "wxphome" (or "wxppro"; it doesn't matter which) folder, followed finally by the "files" directory. Drag the "w2ksect.bin" file into C:\ (the root directory/folder of drive C:). Don't get creative and place it in some other directory. If you do that, ImgBurn will not be able to find "c:\w2ksect.bin" later.

  3. Create a Working Folder

    Create a temporary folder for the integration to take place. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will assume that you have created a folder called "XPSETUP" at the top level of drive C:.

    To create a folder, open "My Computer", go to drive C:, right click somewhere in the window and select "New" followed by "Folder" in the menu that appears. Then change the default name from "New Folder" to "XPSETUP". If you did this correctly, you will have a new folder, C:\XPSETUP.

  4. Copy the XP Setup Disk intto C:\XPSETUP

    Put your existing XP setup CD into your drive. If the setup wizard appears, dismiss it. Drag all the files and folders on the CD into C:\XPSETUP.

  5. Open a Command Prompt

    Open a command prompt window. You can do this by running the program "Command Prompt", found in the Accessories folder of your Start menu.

  6. Slipstream the Service Pack

    From the command prompt window, which will be a black window with a blinking cursor, type the following, followed by the ENTER key.

    C:\XPSP3.EXE /integrate:C:\XPSETUP

    Note that there is only one space character -- between the "C:\XPSP3" and the rest of the line. If you did not name the service pack "XPSP3.exe" and place it at the top level of C: as I described earlier, you'll have to modify the command line accordingly.

    The process will take some time to complete, so take a coffee break if you wish.

This completes the slipstreaming part of the tutorial. You will now need to burn it to make a bootable CD or DVD.

Create and Burn Your New XP with Service Pack 3 CD

  1. Download ImgBurn

    If you have not downloaded ImgBurn, get it now and install it. You will find it listed on's Free CD and DVD Burners and Copying Software page.

    The version of ImgBurn I used to create this guide was

  2. Create the ImgBurn Project Configuration File

    Open up Notepad, and copy the text from the box below (make sure you select everything - click in the box and type Ctrl+A to select all) and paste it into a blank Notepad window. Save the file as "" (including the quotes, which you need to prevent Notepad from adding a ".txt" extension to your filename) somewhere on your desktop (or anywhere you like). Do not add or delete anything from the file.

  3. Burn the CD

    Put a blank CD or DVD into your drive.

    Start ImgBurn. Select "Mode | Build" from the menu. That is, click the "Mode" menu, and select the "Build" item on the menu that appears.

    Then, select "File | Load Project". Look for the xpsp3.ibb file you saved in the previous step, select it and click the "Open" button.

    Finally, click the "Build" icon at the bottom of the window. To find out which picture the "Build" button is (there are no visual cues, even as to which picture actually represents a button), hover your mouse over the pictures near the bottom of the window and wait for the tooltip to appear. When you hover your mouse over the correct picture, a tooltip will appear with the text "Build".

    If ImgBurn presents you with a dialog box giving you the statistics of your new CD, such as the number of files it will contain and so forth, just click OK to accept it.

Congratulations. You have successfully created a new XP setup CD. This setup disk will allow you to install Windows XP with Service Pack 3 already integrated in it.

Copyright © 2008 by Christopher Heng. All rights reserved. Get more "How To" guides and tutorials from

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