How to Slipstream Windows 7 and Simplify Reinstallations

It’s a known fact that Windows 7 is an incredibly stable and solid operating system. You may never know when you need to reinstall your OS though.  When the OS is fresh in the market, there may not be much updates to handle after the installation.

However, when the operation system matures, you’ll probably need to download and install updates and patches more often. And then comes the irritating part with having to reinstall applications and drivers. Spending many hours to make progress and multiple restarts isn’t a great way to deal with things. Let’s take a look at another way today!

In this article, I would like to share a few things about on how to perform an unattended Windows 7 installation with all the service packs, patches and some of your favorite applications too. It is called ‘Slipstreaming’.

Slipstreaming is the art of unpacking the operating system disk, adding the necessary patches and software and repacking the disk.

Slipstreaming is usually done by administrators to install software on multiples system for the network drives but now with the advent of large capacity flash disk and pen drives,  it makes sense for home users too.

With RT 7 Lite we can run the entire installation unattended and without going through the default steps. However for this to happen, we need to spend some time tweaking and creating the installation disk. Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

  • RT 7 LITE
  • Windows 7 Image / Disk
  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Drivers
  • Windows 7 Updates  ( MSU FILES)
  • Virtual Box for testing

Getting Started

Getting started with RT seven lite is a simple task. RT seven lite is a standalone installer which can be downloaded from www.rt7lite.com.

Launch RT 7 Lite and select the Windows 7 installation image or select the folder where the installation files are present. RT 7 Lite needs the setup files to be present on the hard disk, so if you have the contents in the DVD, copy it to some location in the hard disk. Once you choose the installation image and extraction path, RT Seven lite make the Windows 7 files ready for tweaking.

RT 7 Lite Main Screen

RT 7 Lite Main Screen

After extracting, we need to select the target image and check the ”Slipstream Service pack option “ to add a service pack to the installation disk.

Select Windows Image

Select Windows Image

Next step is to select the Windows 7 service pack. If a service pack is selected, RT seven Lite will start unpacking, integrating and saving SP1 with the Windows 7 setup files.

Service Pack Integration

RT Seven lite will load the customized Windows 7 setup files along with SP1. By default, most of the key features of slipstreaming are disabled. We can enable those features by going to task tab and by checking ‘select all’ checkbox.

Task Selections

Integration

When you click integration, you will see the items that can be added to the custom Windows build. In the update tab, we can add updates and also define the order in which the update packs have to be installed. RT Seven lite needs the updates to be in MSU format, which can be downloaded from Microsoft’s website. To add a driver to the installation, we need to unpack the respective driver file and select the INF file of the driver to be included in the disk.

Add drivers to the installation image

We can also add applications to our Windows 7 installation media, but we need to know the silent switches for installing these applications. We can find the silent switches by using Universal Silent Switch Finder or Google it to find the silent switches.

If you are going to add application without silent switches or with wrong switches, you are going to get pop ups for those applications during the Windows 7 Installation.

Adding applications to the installation image

Customization

In the customization tab, you will be able to add your own screen saver, wallpaper and themes, change default windows notification sound and a bunch more.

Customization – Changing Wallpaper

Removing Features

Removing unwanted Windows Components may sound counter intuitive but it can make your system faster and less memory hungry. You do have to be careful while removing the standard features of Windows 7 though. If you are unsure of what you are doing, I personally  recommend you just skip this step and move on.

While removing features, you have to pay special attention to the items marked in red, as other application will be having dependencies on this.

Remove features

Unattended Installation

You have to move slowly to each and every section here and pay attention to filling the details for making the installation fully automated.  You can fill your product key and create users in advance here. Don’t forget to select the installation drive in “Hard Disk Configurations” and to set time zone in “Regional”.

Unattended Installation

Create Users

Tweaks

The Tweaks options are up next. You can tweak your control panel, desktop, start menu, task bar, internet explorer and much more here.

Apply Tweaks

Apply Tweaks

Test and Burn the ISO

Once you are satisfied with the tweaks and customizations, you can click on the apply button from any of the task tabs and press commit to build the image.

Save Image

Save Image

Creating an OS image takes time and the software may not respond during this process. Once done, we can choose what we want to do with the custom image. Feel free to burn it right away or save it for future use. To make sure everything is working fine we can test our OS image using virtualbox or any other virtualization software.

Burn Options

 Wrapping Up!

That’s it– you have created a custom installation disk for Windows 7.  Thanks you so much for reading. If you have any question, please post them in the comment section below. Happy slipstreaming!


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  • RazrBit

    RT 7 Lite is a horrible tool, left to die and get all the hate. I’d never recommend it, not even mention it to anyone. The only best tool in my book is Win Toolkit by Legolash2o.

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  • S8

    I admit rt7 had its flaws but if you were careful you could make a good stable system it was just alot of trial and error. Also it was the first of its kind for windows 7 when no one else even attempted or new how, and it would still be at the top if it hadn’t stopped being updated. Wintoolkit is simply new which gives people a false belief that well its new so must be better, it uses all the same technologies rt7 used, to do what it does and isn’t even 50% as powerful half the stuff never actually gets removed and under half the tweaks are actually applied but it’s safe basically dummy proof that’s why people like it so much because they don’t know what there doing in the first place and mess up and give up. When you get into something like customizing a installation like I said trail and error alot of reading manuals and guides pen and paper to write out your own notes and a VM machine dont expect it to be perfect the first round and reinstall your main OS of you’ll be highly disappointed and well hostile toward that app hint hint. Heck I have even gone about 50 installs with just wintoolkit without getting the results I want not because I broke something just cant get none of my settings to actually stick so then I have to finish up in rt7 to remove the stuff and apply the tweaks wtk fails to do.

    • Passerby

      Thanks S8,

      Trying to research on these two tools and your post is quite useful. I’ve yet to use any of these tools yet but those word does help with the decision.

      However the prospect of Win ToolKits still being updated (last update 2nd Feb) does seem to give it more merit. Perhaps those problem you’re facing could be solve (should you want to help the developer) by sending a bug report of some kind.

      In the meantime, I guess I’ll halt this ‘project’ of mine till decision making is less of a troublesome thing.

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