One of life's great annoyances is reinstalling an operating system. Not only do you have to retransfer all your previous files, like documents, but you have to install every single driver and update, including service packs, again. On the upside you have a fresh, fast system that is less likely to piss you off on a daily basis. I decided to have a go at slipstreaming a Vista DVD, including important updates, turning off Windows features I never use, and integrate drivers I always use. This is something I've always wanted to do, but it was not until January this year that I bought myself a copy of Vista Ultimate.
- Download and install vLite. A nifty little program that does all the hard work while you watch a movie.
- To run vLite you have to install WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit). Run vLite and a popup will give you the link.
- After WAIK has been downloaded and installed go to its installation path (normally C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\x86) and copy the files wimfltr.inf and wimgapi.dll to the vLite installation folder (normally C:\Program Files\vLite)
- Start vLite again, if you use an installation DVD, insert it, and select the drive/folder where you have the installation files. In my case F:\.
- Select a place on your hard drive where you want to copy the installation files (this step is only for those of you who have installation files on a DVD, or ISO)
- Under the Tasks tab choose what kind of slipstream you want to make. I checked all of them. Start with the Service Pack integration. Vista SP1 for 32-bit can be located here. Integration took almost one and a half hour on my PC, and this is the part where you fire up a movie and relax.
- The next thing I did was to integrate drivers. I am very happy with my driver set so I used DriverMax (free and very useful) to backup my drivers to a folder (I used C:\User\Ruben Larsson\My Drivers). Then use Insert>Multiple Driver Folder to add all your current drivers to the installation DVD (If you happen to use a nVidia graphics card I recommend a visit to http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/ for latest nVidea drivers, read Modified INF section if your card is not supported).
- You can tweak around a bit, disable things you are not too fond of, like Windows Firewall, Vista Welcome Center and the extremely annoying UAC.
- Finally click Apply to slim it down and use the ISO tab to create an ISO-file or burn a disc.
Piece of cake. And next time you reinstall Vista you do not have to search for driver CDs and download 72 new updates before the computer is usable. I quick reminder: DON'T FORGET TO BACKUP YOUR DATA BEFORE YOU REINSTALL.
UPDATE1: So Vista SP2 has just been released and you can download it from Microsoft's Download section but not too fast! It appears that if you've used vLite to integrate Vista SP1 AND you have deleted components with this program you will not be able to upgrade to the latest service pack. If you just integrated SP1 with your Vista install disc you can do a work around as described on this forum: msfn.com. Looks like I have to do a reinstall or an upgrade (though it's an downgrade in this respect).