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Vista SP1, the cleanest install

Posted in Uncategorized by iamscience on December 5, 2008

Now that Vista SP1 is finalized, it is a good time to do some spring cleanup and start from scratch with Microsoft’s newest code. Overtime installing trials and random programs, lots of files get left behind so, might as well start from scratch. Below is just a quick guide of how to install SP1 pretty cleanly.


When SP1 is available to the general public, I’d recommend getting the standalone update exes. Burn x86, x64 or both onto a DVD.

Backup all users files and important documents, get them off your hard drive. I use to store keys and documents.

Insert your Vista disk, boot off DVD and format and install as usual. After about 15 minutes it will ask you to type in a username and password, don’t do that instead press "ctrl-shift F3", your screen will go black and your computer will reboot into "audit mode", this will allow us to install stuff before making a user name. Do not close out the Sysprep screen that comes up, just leave it alone and ignore it.

From here, insert your burnt SP1 setup files, and go ahead and run it. It will take probably about 30 minutes, it rolls up all the Windows updates to date along with a new kernel which has been tweaked for Windows Server 2008, which brings some performance improvements, so it takes a bit.

After SP1 is finished installing, the computer should have booted back into "audit mode" with a confirmation saying SP1 installed successfully along with the sysprep window. One more step, press your windows key + r, or go to the run box, and type "vsp1cln" and cleanup the temporary files SP1 has left behind.

Once that is finished, go to the sysprep window, set it to reboot into OOBE do not check generalize and click ok to reboot. You will then setup your user account and such on the next reboot, from there you can install your drivers and programs.

The reason I do my install this way, is because there is no clean method of integrating SP1 into the Vista DVD, plus Microsoft has identified a few device drivers that would fail after the Vista SP1 install. This is a problem with some driver makers, and not Microsoft. A simple reinstall of the drivers fixes this, but if you install SP1 before you install drivers, you will not run into that issue.

Now my personal experience with SP1 has been great, it is quite a bit faster, things just seem snappier.


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