Free utility slipstreams SP1 with Vista

Custom install disc maker now merges SP1 changes with original Vista

The Croatian college student who created software to shrink Windows Vista's footprint has updated the program so users can build installation media that integrates Service Pack 1.

Dino Nuhagic updated his free vLite utility last week and then again yesterday to support "slipstreaming" of SP1, Microsoft's recent update to Vista. Dubbed vLite 1.1.6 Beta 2, the newest version now includes a "Service Pack Slipstream" action item that lets users merge SP1's changes with the files on an original, or RTM (release to manufacturing) install disc, and then produce an .iso file of the blend that can be burned to DVD and used to install Vista with the service pack included.

To slipstream SP1 with Vista, users need a copy of vLite, the 32- or 64-bit SP1 stand-alone installer that Microsoft posted last month to its download site, and a blank DVD disc.

Nuhagic has labeled 1.1.6 as a beta. "Consider this [slipstreaming] feature a true beta test," he said in a post to his blog last Friday.

"Let's give it more time," he said today in an interview via instant messaging when asked to describe the stability of the slipstreaming function. "I will name it 'final' after some more feedback. I mean, I did try it and it works, but you never know."

After running vLite to slipstream SP1 with Vista, users can then pick and choose which Vista components, hot fixes, drivers and even language packs will be added to the disk image used to create an installation DVD.

Some users have reported dramatic reductions in the amount of hard drive space that their customized Vista installations require. Although Microsoft recommends that people set aside 15GB of storage space to install Vista, vLite users boast of squeezing it into an image file as small as 515MB that takes up just 1.4GB on the drive when installed.

vLite 1.1.6 beta 2 can be downloaded from Nuhagic's Web site or from any of three mirrored sites. Nuhagic has also posted a short description of the slipstreaming process on the site and will update it with screenshots in the future.

"[This is] just to clear some confusion I read on other forums," Nuhagic explained. "[People] are not sure when to apply the changes, and so on."

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