As James and I mentioned in our blog post What’s coming in IE8 for IT Pros?, IE8 can now be slipstreamed into Vista and Window Server 2008 OS images. If you manage the desktop images for your organization, slipstream saves you time by simplifying the task of adding Internet Explorer 8 and any IE updates. If you’re adding Internet Explorer 7 to a Windows XP image you’ll typically install XP and then add IE7 before capturing the image -this can take 2 hours! With IE8 and Windows Vista, you are able to integrate IE8 into the image file of the original operating system in about 15 minutes. No more booting the OS image, manually installing IE and re-capturing the image. The slipstreaming support also extends to IE8 cumulative updates and language packages. Slipstreaming IE8 into an OS image will only be supported on Vista and Windows Server 2008 platforms. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 do not currently offer a solution for slipstreaming Windows components, which are built using update.exe.
Here are the steps to create a Vista image with IE8 being the out of box browser by default. You can try this yourself with IE8 beta1.
1. Install Windows Automated Install Kit
The Windows Automated Install Kit (WAIK) is a tool available for Vista and Windows Server 2008 to manage and customize OS images. This is the tool you’ll be using to slipstream IE8. Download a version of WAIK that matches your local machine configuration (not the image you’ll be slipstreaming IE8 into).
Note: Using a WAIK x64 bit version for a Vista x86 image will not work. For more information, please refer to the WAIK Readme.
2. Create the Vista directory
Copy the Vista directory from the CD onto your local machine.
3. Create 3 temp folders: Mount, Pkg, Sandbox
You can name each folder whatever you want, however remember the purpose of each folder created.
For this example, I created:
Your final folder structure should look something like this:
4. Download IE8 Beta 1
Download IE8 Beta1 to your local machine from here. For this example, I saved the IE8 Beta1 exe in c:SlipstreamingIE8x86en
5. Extract and expand the MSU file
From the IE8 exe file:
- To extract the MSU, in the command prompt run this <IE8.exe path> /x: <folder you want the MSU to be placed>. For example: c:SlipstreamingIE8x86enIE8-WindowsVista-x86-enu.exe /x: c:SlipstreamingIE8x86en
- To expand the MSU, in the command prompt run this expand.exe <path to the IE8.MSU> -F:* <pkg folder>. For example: expand.exe c:SlipstreamingIE8x86enIE8.MSU -F:* c:Slipstreamingpkg
1. Mount the Vista install image to your temporary location.
In the command prompt, run this imagex.exe /mountrw install.wim <imagenumber> <mountfolder>
For this example: I am slipstreaming IE8 into Vista Ultimate which has the imagenumber = 4. The command I ran is as such “C:Program FilesWindows AIKToolsx86imagex.exe” /mountrw C:SlipstreamingVistaSP1x86ensourcesinstall.wim 4 C:Slipstreamingmount
If you don’t know the image number of the OS image you are using, you can use the arbitrary large number instead of 4 in the command above like this: imagex.exe /dir c:VistaRTMsourcesinstall.wim 20. This triggers help information to be displayed. From the output in your command prompt, choose the SKU that you are using and the IMAGE INDEX is the <imagenumber> that you need.
2. Slipstream IE8 into the Vista image.
If you are using Vista Gold image, you need to change a read only attribute flag prior to executing a slipstream command: attrib -R “<mountfolder>WindowsOffline Web Pages”
For example: attrib -R “C:SlipstreamingmountWindowsOffline Web Pages”
Now, you are ready to slipstream IE8. Run this in the command prompt: pkgmgr.exe /n:<package folder>WindowsVista-KB#-NEUTRAL.xml /o:”<mount folder>;<mount folder>windows” /s:<sandbox> /l:<where you want the log file to be stored>. Ensure the pkgmgr.exe you use is the one installed with the WAIK tools.
For example: “c:Program FilesWindows AIKToolsx86Servicingpkgmgr.exe” /n:”c:SlipstreamingpkgWindows6.0-KB944036-x86.xml” /o:””c:Slipstreamingmount”;”c:Slipstreamingmountwindows”” /s:”c:Slipstreamingsandbox” /l:”c:Slipstreamingslp.log”
Once the slipstreaming command is finished successfully, the slp.log will say “exit code 0x00”.
Remember to add the read only attribute flag back after slipstreaming is complete if using a Vista Gold image: attrib +R “<mountfolder>WindowsOffline Web Pages”
For example: attrib +R “C:SlipstreamingmountWindowsOffline Web Pages”
3. Save the changes.
Use imagex.exe to save the changes: imagex /commit /unmount <mountfolder>
For this example: “c:Program FilesWindows AIKToolsx86imagex.exe” /commit /unmount c:Slipstreamingmount
You are all done!!! The Vista install image on your local machine is the new Vista build with IE8 slipstreamed.
Since IE8 is part of the Vista image, you can customize it by creating an answer.xml file and running Vista setup with unattend option as such: <VistaPath>setup.exe /unattend:<answer.xml path>
The Unattended Windows install option enables customization of the OS install, and the answer.xml file provides the “answers” for customizations and drives the unattended install.
You can find more about unattend installs and answer files here:
- Unattended Documentation (This documentation is also included in the WAIK)
- IE Settings customizable via unattend
After you install the final image, IE8 beta1 will appear under installed updates as such and can be uninstalled in the same way as when installing IE8 standalone.You will be reverted to IE7 if you choose to uninstall IE8. Note that when slipstreaming IE8 Beta2 or later builds, IE8 will not appear under Installed Updates. This change was made based on the feedback we received from the IT Professionals. Users will not be able to uninstall IE8 once the administrator has slipstreamed IE8 into Windows Vista images.
IE Deployment Program Manager
Update 1/19 – Updated information in final paragraph to indicate that uninstall is not available when slipstreaming IE8 Beta 2 or later.