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I can't do WHAT?! Why can't I create my own slipstreamed installation of Windows Vista SP1?

I can't do WHAT?! Why can't I create my own slipstreamed installation of Windows Vista SP1?

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gumby "Can I slipstream Windows Vista SP1 into an existing install image?"

Nope.  Well, not directly, anyway.

"Um.. but when I get SP1, I want to upgrade my deployable .WIM images with the new bits.  I can't do that in an offline way like I can with other updates?"

Sorry.  No.

"Are you going to tell me why?"

Absolutely! You don't think I would have opened up this nasty can of worms without giving you a good explanation, did you?


Okay.  So here's the deal**.  And those of you who have experienced the SP1 installation have experienced this as well.   When you do the SP1 installation, even if it's from Windows Update (when available), you're going to see your machine shutdown and restart on it's own several times.  That's to be expected.

See, there's this important part of the OS known as the "servicing layer" in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.  This is the part of the OS that allows for easy update installation with minimal disruptions, allows for an update to be applied to an offline captured image that's within a .wim file, among other things.

Well.. let's say that that servicing layer ALSO needed to be updated?  What then?

"Oh.. I get it.  You can't update the thing that makes the updates happen smoothly, because the thing that makes updates go smoothly is itself being updated!"

Bingo.  You got it.  So hopefully the news that you can't just do an offline upgrade to an image .WIM file won't be too tragic.

"So.. what do I do instead?"

You are going to have to install your image to a machine.  Install the Service Pack.  Then re-capture the image.


Not so simple.  There are additional steps that involve some cleanup once you've sysprepped your newly updated SP1 machine.  Detailed steps are available in the new WAIK documentation.

"Won't I lose a valuable re-arm to my image when I apply the service pack this way?"

No.  SP1 grants you an additional re-arm.  We don't want you to be penalized for having to generalize a system that additional time.

"Wait.. there's a new WAIK?"

If you're using the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit), you will definitely want to get the new version that has support for both the original Vista as well as the new servicing layer that's in both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008.

Of course, the easiest way to do this all would be to get a copy pre-slipstreamed SP1 version of Windows Vista from Microsoft when it becomes available, and start with that as your new installation base.  If you're not doing any other custom image management, that's definitely the easiest solution.  Just add it to your own Microsoft Deployment workbench or use it to build your new images from there. 


** I can never say "here's the deal" without thinking of former teammate-turned-security-guru, Kai "the Security Guy" Axford

  • BAD news you think , not really : you can't just do an offline upgrade to an image .WIM file because

  • That is disappointing. Especially when one of the biggest things MS touted about the new .wim imaging system was its flat-file nature and not having to image down to a workstation every time you want to add an update or driver to it. Out comes the first big update (SP1) and not only do we get a "its RTM but you cannot have it for a month" we also get a "no-slipstream for you!" (Best soup nazi voice) :)

    Fun times indeed!

  • I agree that the messaging wasn't as clear as it could/should have been.  But apparently there has never been an official claim that offline update would support service packs.  It's still a good solution for all other updates.

    And as for SP1 availability - watch this space.  There is an announcement coming soon.  :)


  • Way back when, one of the touted benefits of Windows Vista was that then-future updates, including service

  • Yet another thing that makes me want to stick with XP. Wake me when vista has offline integration.

  • You haven't been paying attention.  I thought the reason you couldn't do it with a service pack was a pretty good one.  You're really going to stick with XP - where you absolutely have to re-build all your images, install the packs, and then re-image, for EVERY LITTLE OS OR DRIVER UPDATE?

    Sorry to sound harsh here, but when people make comments like they're going to "stick with XP" for some functionality that is STILL WAY BETTER than XP ever could do, it looks like the commentor should do some more research.  Or read my blog posts more carefully.  :)

  • Any indicators as to when there will be a pre-slipstreamed SP1 copy of Vista available?


  • I'm assuming SP2 will be the same thing...needs to update the engine right? Kind of makes the whole WIM feature useless IMHO. Layer upon layer of complication is what it seems to be, but I'm obviously not an engineer who can explain these things away. I'm just a typical admin for a helpdesk who can't understand for the life of me how all this great technology helps me in any way present any ROI to my users.

  • Maybe I'm a bit confused why this is bothering so many people..... can't the SP1 be integrated in a VM?

  • soZexy (love your handle) - its' not about VMs.  It's the same in VMs or real machines.  The problem is whether or not an image of Vista can be upgraded, using new functionality (nobody else, and not XP) has around upgrading offline installations even while they're in a .WIM file.  

    Folks- again, forgive me if I'm being harsh with some of you - but I don't think this is a big a set-back as some of you seem to think it is.  SPs are a different animal.  This one happened to mean upgrading the very functionality that makes offline updates possible.  I know that a big part of that is to keep Windows Vista's servicing identical to what also shipped in Windows Server 2008 - not coincidentally on the very same day that SP1 RTM'd.  Will it happen in SP2?  It might.  It might not.  But I do know that most people prefer a product to be IMPROVED, with as little disruption as possible.  SPs don't happen that often.  Off-line updates for the vast majority of updates will and do work really well.  Do they work in XP?  No.  They NEVER worked in XP.  It was never a feature of XP.  I could go on and on about the benefits of Vista around imaging and deployment and updates that are saving so many companies so much time (and big $$s).  Believe me - most of those people are not unhappy they moved to Vista.

    What's also funny (and at the same time, sad) to me is - we were transparent.  We gave you information that other companies would have held back.  SP1 is "done".  The code is not going to be changed.  Should we have waited to announce that, just because there are drivers out there (and believe me, it's actually a VERY small number of drivers - like seven out of 70,000) that have a problem with SP1?  The reaction to that news leads me to believe that sometimes being transparent can cause a few people to get bend-out-of-shape.  And in the blogasphere as well as the media, bad news travels faster than good news.  

    I would like to believe that people are more reasonable than that.  And I also sincerly SINCERELY hope that the reactions this whole episode has created will not cause our product teams to hold back information in the future.  If we want to choose between HONEST, or LOVED, I think we would like to try and achieve both.  But it doesn't always work out that way.  So I prefer HONEST.  Hopefully the LOVE comes out of respect and appreciation for the former.


  • "SPs are a different animal.  This one happened to mean upgrading the very functionality that makes offline updates possible."

    Why? Why are SP's a different animal? All they should be is a collection of hotfixes and patches. In this case, they are 500+ of these all rolled into one.

    In any case, I'm sure there are great reasons for this. I'm sure there is a great reason why the core needs to be updated. I'm sure there are great reasons why previous drivers that worked need to be reinstalled after Service Packs. I'm sure there is a fantastic reason why it requires an hour to replace a few thousand files on a computer. I'm sure there is a great reason why the fetch data could not be reused and it has to take days to rebuild. I'm sure there is a great reason why a computer needs to reboot 3 or 4 times to install a service pack.

    Yep...those are all probably great reasons. The only question I have is, with all of these great reasons, why is it continually beoming harder and harder for me to manage my end users with the functionality, transparency, and reliability we had with XP? SP1 is a downright work-stopping process that slows the computer down for days. This is the exact opposite of efficiency.

    I'll have to wait and see what the WIM/slipsteaming process ends up to be in the end, all I can say is that for Service Pack 1...THE MOST CRITICAL SERVICE PACK Microsoft has ever released...the process is kludgy and complicated and is still trying to fix major core problems with the Vista RTM. This SP1 should have been slick, easy, and gobs of options should be available. What we are finding is that, yet again, Microsoft has gone off and discovered some new cool technology that they will most likely dump in the next version of Windows that is supposed to make our lives easier, but is so complicated, changes already established methods, and has so many dependencies that it actually accompished the opposite when placed into the real world.

  • "And I also sincerly SINCERELY hope that the reactions this whole episode has created will not cause our product teams to hold back information in the future."

    Is that supposed to be some kind of threat? What is this glorious information you've given us that you won't be giving us next time if we continue to tell you how poorly this whole SP1 issue has been handled? Is it that next time you won't tell us ANY method to integrate the Service Packs? We're barely getting ANY information as it is. We're all scrambling to even figure out this SP1 mess...and yes, IT'S A MESS!!!!!

    Brilliant plan. Threaten us. Glad your our "advocate" on these matters.

  • Linux-Ubuntu only required 20 minutes and one reboot to update everything including the applications (OpenOffice, FireFox, WINE, etc). There's also a number of nice wizards to facilitate slipstreaming all patches for deployment in the enterprise. It's been this way for a number of years. It's amazing how primitive Linux must be architecturally compared to Vista. Wow.

  • I wrote about this approximately a week ago,saying that I could not understand why SP1 can not be slipstreamed

  • I wrote about this approximately a week ago,saying that I could not understand why SP1 can not be slipstreamed

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