Window XP installation in Just 15 minutes!

The trick is to use Norton Ghost or any other imaging software and Microsoft Sysprep.

Instead of it taking a few hours of toiling away to reinstall a system, I can do this all in about 15 minutes.
Tools Required:
Step by Step Procedures:
 Install XP and Sysprep
  • Install Windows XP on a clean
    hard drive.
  • Do not install any
    drivers or other utilities that are hardware specific beyond what Windows
    itself installs.
    • This is necessary to make
      sure the image is as portable as possible across different types of
      systems. However, different storage controllers and different HALs
      (Hardware Abstraction Layers) make this harder to predict.
    • Most modern computers
      these days work fine with a standard ACPI HAL, but if this image is to be
      truly portable across multiple machines then it must be determined which
      specific HAL will be needed. Refer to Microsoft KB309283
      if you are completely lost.
    • It is also important
      to determine if the target system uses a storage controller that normally
      requires a driver disc during a regular XP install. If this is the case,
      then the necessary paths to the drivers must be included in the
      Sysprep.inf file. These must be added to the [SysprepMassStorage] section in the form
      PCI\VEN_###&DEV_#### =
      where VEN_#### should be
      replaced by the Vendor ID number (i.e. VEN_1234) and the DEV_#### should
      be replaced by the Device ID number (DEV_1234). This information can
      usually be found in the specifc driver INF files. Here is an example for
      adding the VMWare SCSI controller driver to sysprep.inf

….snipped out windows mass storage driver list….
  • Create a testuser account with administrative
    privileges. Use this account to install and configure all the software and
    policies on the system.
  • Remember to run Windows
    Update, Office Update and make sure all the rest of the software is up to
    date. You’ll probably end up rebooting a few times in between but keep
    going until everything is updated.
  • Copy all the start menu items
    from the testuser account to
    the Administrator start menu. (Note:
    This is necessary as some installers do not create start menu items in All Users but within the testuser
    items missing on the Administrator
    start menu.)
    profile only. This leaves some
  • Log out and log back in as
    the computer Administrator and then copy the testuser profile folder to
    the default user profile folder. This is done via Control Panel ->
    System -> Advanced -> User Profile “Settings” then select testuser
    and click Copy to. Copy all of this to c:\Documents and Settings\Default User.
    If you don’t understand then refer to Microsoft
  • {Description of Microsoft KB291586:


    This is an updated version of the System Preparation tool
    (Sysprep.exe) for Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3, as contained within the
    The System Preparation tool
    The Windows XP System Preparation tool enables administrators to prepare
    Windows XP system images as part of an automated deployment. You can use the
    System Preparation tool to perform the following tasks in a manner that is
    supported by Microsoft:
    • Prepare Windows for duplication from one computer to another computer.
    • Change security identifiers (SIDs) and other system and configuration
    settings to make them unique.
    • Configure user-specific information to be customized by the end-user when
    Windows starts the first time.
    • Create images of operating systems.
    • Duplicate disks.
    • Automate the Windows mini-Setup program.
    • Perform auditing tasks.
    The Sysprep.inf file
    The Sysprep.inf file is the answer file for the Sysprep.exe program. To build
    the Sysprep.inf file, run the Setup Manager Wizard. Select the Sysprep Answer
    file option.
    The folder
    The Support\Tools\ folder includes detailed documentation that
    describes the latest features of the deployment tools and how to use them. The
    documentation includes the Sysprep.exe program.
  • Delete the testuser account. Make sure that c:\Documents and Settings\testuser has
    been deleted too.}/*ONLY FOR KNOWLEDGE PURPOSE*/ }
  • Download Sysprep for XP SP2.
  • Extract the files to c:\sysprep.
  • Create the basic sysprep.inf file by running setupmgr.exe. This a tool Microsoft
    provides for creating an answer file so the restore doesn’t involving
    asking the normal setup questions. The basic steps are below:
    • Run setupmgr.exe
    • Click Create New
    • Click Sysprep
    • Then choose whichever
      product you are using. In our example it would be XP Professional.
    • The next question
      asks: Do you want to fully automate the install? All this
      question determines is who is going to accept the EULA, you or the person
      restoring the image. Also, picking yes means that you must enter your
      Product Key. I pick no because this is for my own use and I don’t want
      someone to swipe my Product Key accidentally, but a large company or OEM
      may choose differently.
    • The next few sets of
      options are for you to enter in any information like your Name,
      Organization, Time Zone, Product Key (I leave this blank), Network
      Settings, etc.
    • I leave the Computer
      Name option set to Automatically generate computer name.
    • Once completed, a
      dialog box will ask where you want to save the file.
      c:\sysprep\sysprep.inf is the path we’re using in this example.
    • On the completion
      screen, click Cancel to close setupmgr.exe.
The process of creating a basic sysprep.inf
file is now completed.
Before proceeding to the next
step, create a custom hardware drivers directory for any drivers needed
for the target system. Usually I use c:\drivers.
Open c:\sysprep\sysprep.inf in Notepad and add
the following lines to the relavent sections (if the heading doesn’t
exist, create it):
Do not close the sysprep.inf yet!
OemPNPDriversPath points to the c:\drivers
directory created earlier. For organizational purposes, I split up my
custom driver files based on category (i.e. hardware_cat in the example
above). For example, all video drivers go under c:\drivers\video and network drivers
under c:\drivers\network. In
each of those directories, the specific driver bundles are placed with
their driver inf files (i.e. driver_dir). For example, the latest nVidia
drivers would go into c:\drivers\video\nVidia\.
The last part is referring to driver_inf
is just that, the name of the inf file. For example, for the latest nVidia
driver, the path would be c:\drivers\video\nVidia\nv4_disp.inf.
In sysprep.inf, the path would
be written as OemPNPDriversPath=drivers\video\nVidia\nv4_disp.inf;
  • Do not forget the semi-colon as a separator. For the next driver, repeat the procedure by placing the path after the semi-colon without leaving a space. Once all the drivers are added, save the file.
  • Run c:\sysprep\sysprep -bmsd. This will build the Windows XP standard mass storage drivers section.
  • While editing sysprep.inf
    there is an option labeled InstallFilesPath which usually points to c:\sysprep\i386.
    I usually copy the contents of my XP CD’s i386 directory into c:\sysprep\i386. This isn’t necessary.
  • Add any custom Storage drivers to the [SysprepMassStorage] section as detailed above.
  • Now run C:\sysprep\sysprep.exe 
  • Pick options Mini Setup and Detect non-plug and play hardware. If you don’t have a volume
    license and plan on just using this image for restoring the computer the image was made on, then pick the option Don’t regenerate security identifiers. If you have a volume license key and will be using this image for multiple machines then leave that option unchecked. Ensure that Shutdown is selected from the Shutdown mode drop-down menu and click Reseal.
  • If you left the SID option to regenerate, then a pop-up will ask you to confirm. hit OK to continue.
  • This will take a while and your system will shut down once the process is complete.
If any problem persists give your comment