As reported earlier, the latest build of Vista SP1 released to testers (6001.16633) is in the EXE standalone update format. Many of you will no doubt be wondering as to how exactly the bits can be integrated into a Vista RTM ISO if at all possible.
There’s some good news and there’s also some bad news.
First of all, it must be noted that we are still unsure if the SP1 update will remain in the EXE format and that anything noted below is subject to change. The primary reason being Microsoft’s documentation for Vista Service Packs state that they will be provided in the MSU format whereas it is currently being offered to testers in the EXE format.
Unlike previous service pack updates for older Windows OSes, Microsoft do not provide any switches in the EXE to allow for simple integration. Part of the problem has to do with the completely different format that the Vista Setup DVD uses where each edition of Vista is a separate index in the install.wim and that each index needs to be separately updated. While Microsoft could implement a switch to allow the user to select which index to update or a switch to update all the indexes, it will turn out to be a very lengthy and time-consuming process as we are talking about gigabytes of files that need to be updated/replaced, saved and recompressed. Unfortunately, Vista also does not implement an Updates folder unlike Office 2007 where one could stick all the latest updates in the folder in the ISO and setup would pick them up and install them.
The format of Vista SP1 as an update is broken up into 5 CAB files which the Vista SP1 installer installs on top of Vista RTM using a single EXE installer (spinstall.exe). For those of you that have been following how to integrate Hotfixes via guide or have used vLite, there’s reason to rejoice as both methods support CAB integration. Unfortunately, since the currently available tools from the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) are not designed for SP1, one runs into a few issues. Namely, the main SP1 CAB, windows6.0-kb936330-X86.cab cannot be integrated with the tools from the RTM version of WAIK (peimg and pkgmgr error out) nor can it be integrated with vLite. The updated WAIK tools from Beta 3 of Server 2008 do not work either. Some good news out all this is that the other smaller supplementary CAB files have no issues being integrated with peimg since they are using the same old internal format being used with current Hotfixes.
Until Microsoft release newer tools, that option should be avoided unless a workaround is found for the main SP1 CAB.
Long story short, if you want to integrate Vista SP1 into a Vista RTM DVD, the only option for the moment is to reverse integrate it:
1. Install Vista RTM to a secondary partition (not the main boot partition). The primary reason for this is one doesn’t want all the boot associated files of that computer related to BCD and boot.ini being part of the final image.
2. Once in the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) after setup, type Ctrl-Shift-F3 to enter Audit mode. In case you’re wondering what/where OOBE is, it is the part after setup where the user is setting up his/her username, password etc.
3. The system will then reboot into Audit mode and a Sysprep window will pop up. Do not close the Sysprep window.
4. Run the Vista SP1 installer and let it do its thing.
5. After the SP1 setup is complete, you’ll find yourself back at the main Vista desktop with the Sysprep window open and SP1 will be installed and ready to go. From the Sysprep selection window, select OOBE, Generalize, and to Shut Down the system.
6. Boot the system into a WinPE disk or another OS install (ie. XP), do NOT boot back into Vista, and run the following imagex command (imagex can be found in WAIK):
imagex /compress maximum /flags “Business” /capture d: c:\install.wim “Windows Vista Business”
where d: is the drive Vista is installed on and c:\install.wim is the location to store the new install.wim. Replace “Business” with whatever edition of Vista you are installing and replace the drive letters with your own.
7. Once the image has been built, replace the old install.wim in the Vista RTM ISO in \Sources\ with the newly created install.wim using a registered version of UltraISO (Version 8.0 or higher). Save the ISO and you’re done.
You can also rebuild the ISO using vLite by extracting the contents of the Vista RTM ISO to a temporary directory, replacing the install.wim and using vLite’s Vista Burning/ISO creation features. One can also use vLite to remove unwanted features in Vista SP1 even though vLite was primarily designed/tested on Vista RTM.
It has to be noted that the above method is for a single edition of Vista. If one wanted to integrate SP1 into all the editions of Vista, they would have to follow Steps 1-5 for each edition and use the imagex /append function to build an install.wim that contains all the editions of Vista.
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