Ok, so do you install XP from time to time? It's certainly not as bad as with 98 (remember formatting and reinstalling every two weeks? I sure do.) but now and then you just need to redo your system, or maybe you just need to put XP on your mom's new pc, or you built a computer.
And once you do, then you have to install all your software drivers, go on windows update, get the service packs, etc. Hassle. Wait. Irritation.
Do what I did- use the magic of slipstreaming! so you won’t have to spend half your life on Microsoft’s Windows Update web site.
What's slipstreaming, you ask? Back when Microsoft was making Windows 2000, the company thought up a more elegant way of integrating service packs and other fixes back into the core OS, so that customers could always maintain an install set of the latest version of Windows, ready to be installed at any time on new machines. In the old days, this process was convoluted at best, and service pack installs often required users to reinstall components that had previously been installed. It just wasn't elegant, but Windows 2000 fixed all that, and in XP the slipstreaming process is largely unchanged. Slipstreaming is not limited to service packs- you can include product updates and drivers for all of your hardware components.
First, copy all the files from your XP install disk to a folder on your computer. Name it XP. Or name it susan. It doesn't really matter.
Then go download service pack 2. You'll have a bigger download than when your pc gets it through Windows Update, that's because you're getting the full thing, not just the parts your individual computer needed. It's only 230 mb or so. Save it somewhere.
Get Service pack 2
Now get the drivers for your Raid or SATA setup. This will save you that hassle of pressing f6 and inserting a driver disk. Keep them somewhere handy. Now we're getting something truly magical- nLite.
Download it and the nLite optional runtimes (unless you have the .NET framework installed) and launch nLite.
A guide to using nLite that they wrote so I don't have to
Basically you load your copied XP install files, load service pack 2 into it, load any drivers you want to be included with windows by default, load any hotfixes etc, then go through and customize your Windows install. Don't want Internet explorer included? Remove it. Don't want Media Player? Remove it. Don't want Outlook Express? Remove it. Want the install to go unattended? Do it. You can seriously customize the whole thing here. Then you get to change how Windows itself runs- I especially like speeding up my start menu and making windows autokill any hung program or service in 100ms after giving the shutdown command- now my PC always shuts down instantly.
Feel free to take out the unneccesary files to make room for your custom install drivers/updates. I usually start at the language directories and work my way through. nLite gives comments on most files so you know if it's safe to pull it out or not.
Then at the end, it builds a bootable ISO. Load the ISO into your burning program of choice, make a CD, and presto- you're all set. Just make sure you use a legitimate product key with it or you'll be screwed when it comes to security patches down the road.
Very nice, I've done this at work when I was in desktop support (SP1 then). You can also do it to MS Office too.