Before you reinstall Windows 7 or make a fresh install on a new computer, imagine how convenient it would be to have a fully-customized installation DVD which, when installed, automatically installs all of the latest updates and service packs along with it. Imagine if you could have a Windows 7 install disk which installs your own customized version of Windows, with your own choice of programs and components and your own desktop and interface settings. This is exactly what it means to slipstream Windows. Follow this guide to make your very own fully-customized silent Windows 7 installer.
Things You’ll Need
- Original and genuine Windows 7 DVD (Any edition, either 32- or 64-bit)
- High quality blank DVD-R disk
- Reliable DVD writer drive
- 10 GB of free hard drive space
- RT Se7en Lite (Free)
1: Getting Started
First, download and install RT Se7en Lite. It’s a free program that makes custom Windows slipstream installations much easier to configure and set up. Ensure that you download the correct version. There are separate versions for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.
Copy the entire contents of your Windows 7 DVD to a location on your hard disk. Back in RT Se7en Lite, click the ‘Browse’ button and choose this directory now containing all of the Windows installation files and data.
2: Windows Slipstream with Updates, Service Packs, Drivers and Applications
Select your edition of Windows from the list which appears. Ensure that you select the edition that you have the product key for. Ensure that the box beside ‘Slipstream Service Pack’ is checked and click ‘OK.’ In the next window, click ‘Browse’ and select the service pack file. You can download Windows 7 Service Pack 1 here. Click ‘Start’ and wait for RT Se7en Lite to integrate the service pack with your Windows installation files.
You can add any other updates that you want to integrate into your Windows slipstream DVD by clicking the ‘Integrate’ button in the left-hand toolbar. To install updates, open the ‘Updates’ tab. The updates need to be in the .MSU format for RT Se7en Lite to recognize and integrate them. You can download all of the updates manually from Microsoft’s website.
Open the ‘Drivers’ tab to integrate any hardware drivers you want into your Windows slipstream installer. This is especially convenient, since you shouldn’t have to install any additional drivers after you install Windows. In order to add drivers, you’ll first need to download the latest versions of them from the Internet. Once downloaded, they need to be extracted to their respective folders. Back in RT Se7en Lite, specify the drivers to integrate into your Windows slipstream by clicking ‘Add’ and pointing to the .INF file for each driver.
You can also add some applications to your custom installation, but this is rather more complicated. In order for it to work, the application needs to be able to be installed silently, i.e.; without any user intervention. Many programs can do this, but they need you to specify a switch (a small command) or you will need to download a special version of the program.
3: Remove Unwanted Features from Your Windows Slipstream
Click the ‘Features Removal’ button on the left-hand toolbar to access this feature. You should proceed with caution, as removing certain features may cause problems with your system. Here you can remove any features and files included by default in your operating system. This is ideal for saving system resources and disk space but, it is rarely necessary on more powerful computers. If, for example, you will never use Windows Media Player or the games included with Windows 7, then you can remove them from your Windows slipstream installation simply by de-checking the relevant boxes. You can also tell RT Se7en Lite not to include any drivers on your Windows slipstream disk, especially if you have already integrated all of the necessary drivers in the previous step.
4: Customize Your Windows Slipstream
Click the ‘Customization’ button to access the various customization options for your Windows slipstream installer. Here you can specify everything from wallpaper, themes, sound themes and more. You can also choose a customized login screen, although this is subject to certain restrictions as noted in the program. The ‘Tweaks’ section, accessible from the left-hand toolbar also allows you to make some customizations and minor performance improvements.
5: Burn Your Windows Slipstream DVD!
Once you’ve configured everything, you’ll now be ready to burn your fully customized and integrated Windows slipstream installation to DVD. You can also copy it to a USB drive or other media. Click on the ‘ISO-Bootable’ button in the toolbar to access the final step. You’ll need to specify a few self-explanatory options before continuing. Finally, insert your blank DVD and choose the lowest speed recording setting before burning the disk. This will help to minimize the risk of any errors. Once done, you’ll have your very own Windows 7 installation disk ready to use!