Slipstreaming WinXP and SP2
A while back some
IT administrators wrote in to let me know they wanted the PCstats
Newsletter cover tougher technical topics. Sure the Beginners Guides are
good refreshers for experts, the Weekly Tech Tips
invaluable... but what about more complex issues in the
day-to-day grind of keeping office PCs up and running?
Well you may not realize it, but some of PCstats.com's best Guides have
come from our collaboration with IT staff facing ugly "get it
fixed, or get a new job" situations. The Hard Drive Data Recovery guide being a prime
example. [Hint: never format the boss's notebook before backing
it up!] So whether you work for MTV or NASA, if you're facing a difficult problem in your IT department, or even a mundane one you wish someone had the answer to, write in
and let us know the details.
Slipstreaming WindowsXP with Service Pack 2
is an advanced guide, and one that could save you and your IT department a ton of time
installing new PCs. In "A Reader Asks..." we also cover how to
prevent SP2 from being automatically installed onto PCs if
you are concerned about SP2 bugs. An updated look at
Windows XP SP2 is here for reference. Next up is our review of
PC5300 DDR-2 RAM, the award winning MSI K8T Neo2
Socket 939 Athlon64
motherboard, and Albatron's
PCX5900-based video card. PCstats Industry Insights
has a few words on 64-bit Intel CPU's, and last but not least is our Weekly Tech Tip! Enjoy :-)
is the technique for combining an installation CD like WindowsXP, with the
latest Service Pack. This drastically cuts down on the time it takes to
install a PC, because the patches and OS are installed together.
Slipstreaming is the IT Departments secret weapon against lengthy
With XP Service Pack 2 just released, users and
IT departments across the world are scrambling to
test and update their Microsoft-based PCs with its new features.
Unfortunately, updating to service pack
2 (SP2) is a time consuming process, especially if you have more than
one PC to upgrade. In this guide, PCstats will detail how to create a bootable
Windows XP CD with Service Pack 2 included. We will also cover the
steps for creating a network installable file with the same modifications
for use by a large IT department, as well as a Windows 2000
bootable CD with the latest Service
Pack 4 included. Continue
Since Crucial's inception, the
company has never catered towards the enthusiast market... Yet, now that
Crucial has released the Ballistix
line especially for enthusiasts. Each heatspreader encapsulated DDR2
module is 512MB each in size, and features sleek black
PCB shielded by orange aluminum heatspreaders!Continue
The motherboard PCstats is testing today is made by MSI Computer, and based on the second generation VIA K8T800 Pro chipset. The K8T Neo2 motherboard supports Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/FX processors, comes equipped with four DDR RAM DIMM slots that accommodate up to 4GB of dual channel PC3200 memory, and packs in a
long list of features. Continue
A Reader Asks...
Q:I'm a bit concerned about Microsoft's automatic distribution plans for XP Service Pack 2. I've read your article, but I've also been
hearing horror stories about installation problems, crashed
out PCs, etc. I use my system for a home business and I really
can't afford to have it develop a glitch due to this new
service pack. I'm perfectly satisfied with the way my XP
Professional install runs now. Is there some way I can prevent
A: Yes there is, at least temporarily. To allay business concerns about the new Service Pack (I had heard that many corporate IT departments were testing SP2 not as a patch but rather as a whole new version of Windows due to the massive changes it makes) Microsoft made a registry tool available that will prevent the automatic download of the service pack for 120 days.
The tool is available here and is a very small download. The automatic download of Service Pack 2 will be prevented, while allowing automatic update to grab essential patches and hotfixes. As for the future after the next 120 days, at
least SP2 will be a known quantity by that point. It's been
far from a smooth rollout for Microsoft, so I'm assuming they
are going to take steps to rectify some of the problems we're
seeing over the next few weeks. Many people have had no
problems at all, like me (phew). I'd use the tool and watch
the news for the next couple of months and you should have no
reason to worry (just backup before you upgrade).
Waiting for the next Windows
Service Pack has become a way of life for
Windows users, especially professional ones. Microsoft's irregular
barrages of bug fixes, new features and changes to the institution that
Windows has become are viewed with a mixture of expectation and trepidation by home users (and with
outright fear by business IT departments). Microsoft's newly
released Service Pack 2 for Windows XP is a big event for the XP user
community. In this article, we will look at the new features Windows XP
Service Pack 2 offers, as well as why the average user should bother with it. Continue
PCI Express videocards in short supply, those of you looking for the
best performance may want to cast an eye towards nVIDIA's GeForcePCX 5900
series. The PCX 5900 core
itself is architecturally identical to its AGP counterpart, the
GeForceFX 5900, but nVIDIA engineers have placed a HSI
chip between the GPU and PCI Express which allows them to communicate
together. The Albatron Trinity PC5900 videocard is powered with 128MB of
DDR RAM, and supports both analog and DVI monitors. Continue
This is an article for overclockers which explores the
age old question; "How does cooling affect Overclocking?" In an
enthusiasts attempt to reach higher clock speeds, there will eventually
come a time when the temperature of the processor, memory, or some other
electrical component becomes the limiting factor. Luckily, overclocking has become so mainstream that it
has spawned an entire market to provide it with the necessary hardware. Yet, heatsinks are not the
only method of coaxing a toasty processor into giving up an extra GHz
||PCstats Weekly Tech Tips
One feature of Windows I can't live without is the context menu (brought up by right clicking on the mouse). Just imagine what you would do if you lost this service all of a sudden because a mouse died for some reason... Luckily this function can be done with the keyboard too - as long as you know the trick. ;-)
It's pretty easy to bring up the context menu on the keyboard, all you have to press is Shift + F10 and you're set. Use the directional keys on the keyboard to scroll through the different options and you should be set. This tip is great for those of you who are more the keyboard type, and would prefer not to use the mouse as much.
We're looking for new people to join the PCStats Folding@Home team and help us to break into the top 50 teams! If you think you got what it takes, join here.
A few weeks ago, I reported that Intel was quietly shipping some of its processor with 64-bit extensions enabled. It had already made an official announcement that the Xeon family would fully support the technology, but there was no word on the 90nm Pentium 4. After all, Intel has maintained that it wouldn't unveil the technology until Microsoft laid the groundwork with a compatible version of Windows XP.
I recently confirmed with Intel, however, that there are a number of OEM workstations shipping with 64-bit Pentium 4 processors and motherboards based on the 925X chipset, including two from Dell. Intel's web site currently claims that the 925X is the only desktop chipset validated for use in a 64-bit platform, however the Intel representative to whom I spoke also suggested that 915P motherboards could be made compatible with the proper BIOS update.
It also shouldn't come as much surprise that Microsoft is hustling to support Intel's EMT64 technology. The latest beta build of Windows XP 64-bit Edition, released on August 18th, will properly install on enabled Pentium 4 platforms - something it wouldn't do previously.
All the while, Intel continues down playing the importance of EMT64. "There still aren't any mainstream 64-bit operating systems or games that take advantage of the technology," said the rep. Right, but isn't the hardware infrastructure necessary before developers start writing their applications?