How to create an installation CD from the files on your laptop if your laptop came without installation or recovery CD's ?
The method below uses a script that runs under autoit (free program), and that automatically creates a bootable CD from the i386 directory that is always present on the hard drive of this kind of Windows distributions. The programs needed to make the actual ISO image are mkisofs.exe and slipstreamer.exe. The script also uses the program dd.exe to extract the bootcode from spcmdcon.sys in the i386 directory.
It was written by the people of the Dutch version of the German computer magazine c't, so the instructions involve some Dutch texts. Don't worry, I will guide you trough these.
The script does not include any drivers or installed programs, so the first thing you need to do is to create the backup of your drivers and applications. They should be on your C-drive too. With my Acer 9814 the eRecovery program had the option to make this bacup automatically, creating an autorun CD (not a boot CD) with a menu that lists all drivers and programs. Tools like Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 and Macromedia Flash Player weren't on the CD though.
In the magazine they also advise to do a Windows update so you have all the latest patches. I suppose the script also includes these patches, so you won't need to download them again after reinstalling Windows.
Another thing they advise is to include Service Pack 2. Although Windows Media Center 2005 includes SP2, you can still do this to overwrite OEM-version components with the original Microsoft versions. Maybe it's a good idea to make two CD's, one with the OEM versions, and one with the original versions. Maybe the Acer hardware needs the adapted versions to be able to function without problems. To include SP2, just create a temporary directory on your hard disk and copy the contents of a SP2 CD to it.
Next comes the fact that Media Center is too big for one CD due to the added programs. These progams are compressed in the 3 cab-files in the cmpnents\mediactr\i386 directory of your hard drive, so you can burn this complete directory structure (209 Mb) on a CD. That way you can insert that "extentions" CD in the drive when Windows asks for the location of the missing cab-files.How to obtain the (free) autoit scripting program ?
Go to www.autoscript.com/autoit3
, read the introduction, select Autoit on the first line to go to the download screen and there you just press the "Download Autoit v3". Run the autoit installation file.How to obtain the (free) script and programs involved ?
Go to www.fnl.nl/ct-nl/archief2006/ct2006-04
and wait till you are redirected to the articles of that issue.
Under the fourth paragraph you see a clickable line with the Dutch text "Download de bij dit artikel horende bestanden
". This link will let you save 0604_122.zip to your hard disk. Extract the zip file in a separate folder.How to create the Windows installation CD ?
Doubleclick on slipstreamer.au3 in the unzipped folder. This wil open a window with 3 entry fields. The third one is greyed out until you select the Service Pack checkbox left of it.
In the first field, on the right of "Installatiebestanden
", you enter the location of your i386 directory, normally C:\i386. You can also use the browser-button on the right to navigate to this directory.
In the second field, on the right of "Doelmap
", you select where the ISO file wil be written.
Now you can check the Service Pack checkbox, and locate the XPSP2.exe file in the root directory of the directory you copied the files to.
The checkbox "OEM-bestanden met SP-bestanden overschrijven
" will overwrite the OEM
versions with the original SP2 versions.
Last thing you need to do is to select wether you are creating an XP Home or XP Pro CD.
Unfortunately XP MCE is not available.
When you klick the Start button the process will step trough the script and show you what
files are processed. If you selected Service Pack 2 you will see a popup window stating "De geinstalleerde installatie is voltooid
". If you klik OK the process continues. Only when the line"--KLAAR!------"
is showed in the original window, the ISO is ready to be written to CD. The name will be XPCD.ISO.
Now you can create a CD from this file using Nero or NTI, but mind you that you don't just copy the file to a CD. You have to select Create CD from ISO in the menu and then locate the ISO-file.
I didn't write the MCD extentions to another CD so I couldn't install those files, but apart from that the CD worked fine. During the installation Windows also asked for the files OEMBIOS.BIN, -.DAT, -.SIG and -.CAT, but I couldn't locate those on the C-drive, the PQSERVICE partition or the backups I made with eRecovery. They are on the original Win MCE Cd though, in directory i386. I skipped those files and couldn't find anything wrong with the installation afterwards.
Don't forget to write down the registration key from the label at the bottom of the laptop because you need this during install. You will also have to register your copy within 30 days after installation.
After installing Windows, you can insert your driver and application disk and configure Windows to your needs. One problem I found was the Realtec High Definition Audio that had a yellow exclamation
point in Device Manager. As far as I know the sound was OK though.
When attaching hardware to the laptop I also get warnings that some files on the laptop are not original and would best be replaced by the files from the original Windows CD. But I could just skip those warnings. Probably you won't get this when you incorporate the original SP2 files.