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One of the most time consuming steps in installing Windows, is adding all the security updates that came out since that version of Windows was released. To compile five years worth of updates since the release of Windows 7 SP1 in one handy installation package, Microsoft recently released the Windows 7 SP1 rollup. A similar rollup is also available for Windows 8 / 8.1.

With the release of new updates comes the opportunity to create streamlined installation media, an up-to-date installation package, complete with the latest security and feature patches. While it takes a little bit of effort to create, it is entirely worthwhile, as each time you need to use that installation media, you’ll be saved the burden of downloading and installing updates.

I will show you how to update your installation media for Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, and Windows 10 How to Get a Cheap Windows 7 or 8 License Now to Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free How to Get a Cheap Windows 7 or 8 License Now to Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free Worried about the future of your old or pirated Windows copy? Now is the time to snatch a cheap Windows 7 or 8 license to secure yourself that free upgrade to Windows 10. We show... Read More , as well as explain why it might not really be necessary to do this for Windows 10 – yet.

Note: If you have a Windows product key, you can legally download the respective Windows ISO files How to Download Official Windows ISO Files Free from Microsoft How to Download Official Windows ISO Files Free from Microsoft You can download Windows installation files free from Microsoft. We'll show you a hack that allows you to download ISO files for any edition of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 from Microsoft's Tech... Read More  free from Microsoft.

Create Streamlined Windows 7 Installation Media

I recently detailed how to download and install the Windows 7 SP1 rollup package How to Half Your Windows 7 Installation Time with an Update How to Half Your Windows 7 Installation Time with an Update If you'll ever need to reinstall Windows 7, you can now cut the setup time in half. The Windows 7 convenience rollup compiles all Windows updates and security patches since SP1. Let us explain... Read More , and we’ll need all of the same files to complete the streamlined installation media. Here’s what you’ll need:

You’ll also need some software to unpack an ISO, and some software to mount an ISO.

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1. Unpack

Before we start fiddling around, make a new folder in the root of your C:\ directory, and name it something easy to remember. I’ve opted for “W7Streamline,” and put the Servicing Stack Update and the Convenience Rollup Package in there. This is the folder I will reference for the rest of the tutorial.

Head to your Windows 7 ISO, and unpack it into the first folder we created. I’ve used 7-Zip as it does everything I need (and we’ll need it later on), but you can use whichever application you prefer.

Just to clarify: “W7Streamline” is the folder containing my now extracted Windows 7 ISO, named “Windows7SP1x64.”

File Update Folder Structure

2. Integrate

Launch an elevated Command Prompt by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Command Prompt (Admin). We will now use the DISM command to grab some information. Enter the following command, replacing my file path with your own:

Dism /Get-WIMInfo /WimFile:C:\W7Streamline\Windows7SP1x64\sources\install.wim

This command tells us the name 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is an antiquated tool from an era of text-based input. But some commands remain useful and Windows 8 even added new features. Find out which ones. Read More of the Windows 7 edition in the ISO. Make a note of the edition: we will need it later. If your ISO contains more than one edition, just note the name of the version you’d like to create an updated ISO for.

Control Prompt Installation Version

We’ll now mount the image offline. This allows us to map the contents of the image to a specified directory so we can service or modify its contents. In this case, we will need to create a new directory. Use the following command:

mkdir C:\W7Streamline\offline

We’ll now mount the installation media. This will allow the DISM command to access and work with the installation files. Use the following command:

Dism /Mount-WIM /WimFile:C:\W7Streamline\Windows7SP1x64\sources\install.wim /Name:"Windows 7 ULTIMATE" /MountDir:C:\W7Streamline\offline

Make sure you change the file path to match your own, as well as checking the edition of Windows 7 matches the one you noted down earlier.

Mount Offline Image

Next up, we’ll integrate the Servicing Stack Update to the installation media, using the following command:

Dism /Image:C:\W7Streamline\offline /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\W7Streamline\Windows6.1-KB3020369-x64.msu

The above command integrates a 64-bit package What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? Do you know whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit and does it even matter? Yes it does! Let's take a look at where these terms come from and what they mean for you. Read More . For a 32-bit package, use the following command:

Dism /Image:C:\W7Streamline\offline /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\W7Streamline\Windows6.1-KB3020369-x86.msu

Again, make sure you replace my file paths with your own, and make sure to use the correct command for your system architecture.

Add Update Package Windows 7

We’re getting there! The next addition is the Convenience Rollup package itself. As this is just under 500 MB of updates, it will take a little while for the process to complete. Use the following command for 64-bit:

Dism /Image:C:\W7Streamline\offline /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\W7Streamline\windows6.1-kb3125574-v4-x64_2dafb1d203c8964239af3048b5dd4b1264cd93b9.msu

For 32-bit:

Dism /Image:C:\W7Streamline\offline /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\W7Streamline\windows6.1-kb3125574-v4-x86_ba1ff5537312561795cc04db0b02fbb0a74b2cbd.msu

Add Convinience Package Windows 7

Finally, we need to commit the changes we have made. Use this command:

Dism /Unmount-WIM /MountDir:C:\W7Streamline\offline /Commit

3. Update

You’ve successfully integrated the Convenience Rollup package. Now we need to update the actual ISO. We’ll do this using the oscdimg tool, included as part of the Windows AIK you downloaded earlier. This tool allows us to make a new ISO image with the modified install.wim file we just created.

First, install the Windows AIK. You’ll need to mount the disc image we downloaded using your favorite mounting software. I’ve used WinCDEmu, but Windows 10 has its own integrated mounting feature. Once mounted, open the new directory and browse to StartCD, then select Windows AIK Setup from the options. Once installed, you should spot the following items in your Start menu:

Start Menu Windows AIK

And yes, before anyone mentions it: I am using the Classic Shell replacement How to Make Windows 8 or 8.1 Look Like Windows 7 or XP How to Make Windows 8 or 8.1 Look Like Windows 7 or XP Is Windows 8 too modern for your taste? Maybe you prefer a retro look. We show you how to resurrect the Start menu and install classic Windows themes on Windows 8. Read More in Windows 10. Windows 7 forever!

Back to work! Right-click Deployment Tools Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. You can then run the following command, swapping out my file paths for your own:

oscdimg -m -u2 -bC:\W7Streamline\Windows7SP1x64\boot\etfsboot.com C:\W7Streamline\Windows7SP1x64\ C:\UpdatedWindows7Media.iso
  • -m ignores the maximum size of an image
  • -u2 produces an image that has only the UDF file system on it
  • -bfilelocation specifies the location of the El Torito boot sector file

Success! You’ve created an updated Windows 7 installation media. Keep it safe, and you can use it to save mountains of time the next clean install you have to take care of.

Windows AIK Command Line

Create Streamlined Windows 8/8.1 Installation Media

Creating Windows 8/8.1 installation media follows a similar procedure to Windows 7, but instead of exclusively using the Command Prompt, we’ll use well known Windows installation customization tool WinReducer. For this part of the tutorial you’ll need:

You’ll also need the following tools, but before you rush out and download everything, please read the next section:

Setting Up WinReducer

A couple of years ago, you would have had to download and manually install each of the tools I listed. The latest versions of WinReducer now feature an auto-download tool. When you first open the software, you’ll be asked to activate your edition. Press No. You’ll then immediately meet a configuration error. This is fine. Click OK to head straight to the WinReducer configuration page.

WinReducer 8.1 Configuration

Click the Software Installation button at the bottom of the configuration screen. Note the toggles for each of the aforementioned tools? Switch each one to On. Under Windows Themes Packs, select Official. Under WinReducer GUI Themes, select Default. Now press Download.

WinReducer Configuration and AutoDownload Options

When the downloads and installations are complete, WinReducer will automatically close. Reopen it. You’ll now meet this screen, confirming your configuration is correct:

WinReducer Correct Config

Press Start, followed by ISO, then browse to the location of your Windows 8 or 8.1 ISO. This will automatically begin the extraction of the ISO so it can be mounted as an offline image, an action we completed manually during the Windows 7 section of this article. When the extraction is finished, select Mount. This could take a little while. When it is complete, you’ll end up at this screen:

WinReducer 8.1 System Tab

Select System. At the bottom of the screen you’ll spot the WinReducer Updates Tool button. Select this, and then load the updates for the correct system architecture your installation will be using.

WinReducer Download Windows Updates

Once the updates are downloaded, they’ll be integrated when you compile the ISO. Head to FINISH, press APPLY, then Yes.

You’ve done it!

Should I Create Streamlined Windows 10 Installation Media?

The glory of Windows 10 being so young is the as-yet minimal number of security and feature patches that have been released. Sure, there have been major updates to the entire system, but if you download a Windows 10 ISO, you’re likely to install a post-November update build An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update The Windows 10 Fall Update contains many minor improvements, a few feature updates, and a bunch of new settings. We show you what to expect and which default settings you might want to adjust. Read More . This means your clean install will be relatively up to date from the get-go.

As well as this, Microsoft is gearing up for the general release of the next major update to Windows 10: “Redstone 1,” also known as Anniversary Update Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features You will love the Windows 10 Anniversary Update! The second big upgrade to Windows 10 since its launch in July 2015 is expected this summer. Here we highlight the most exciting features. Read More . Microsoft is aiming to release Redstone 1 in time for the one-year anniversary of Windows 10 in July, meaning there will be a new base ISO for users to download and create installation media from How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media Regardless of how you arrived at Windows 10, there's a way to create your own installation media. Sooner or later you might need it. Let us show you how to be prepared. Read More .

If You Do Want to Do It

We wouldn’t be MakeUseOf, if we didn’t show you how to do this! To create streamlined Windows 10 installation media, you’ll need:

This process is exactly the same as for the Windows 8/8.1 streamline installation media, so I’m not going to flesh this out too much.

Download the linked version of WinReducer. Upon opening, you’ll meet the same activation and configuration error screens. Click through them. Head to the Software Installation button. Ensure each toggle is turned On. Under Windows Themes Packs, select Official. Under WinReducer GUI Themes, select Default. Now press Download. This will complete the WinReducer configuration.

WinReducer Windows 10 Updates

Reopen WinReducer. Select Start, followed by ISO, then browse to your Windows 10 ISO. Wait for the ISO to extract and mount, then head straight to the System tab. Select the WinReducer Updates Tool, then load the updates for your corresponding system architecture. Download the available updates. Now head to Finish, then Apply.

As mentioned above, there will likely be a new and updated base Windows 10 ISO available this summer, though there is no confirmed date as yet. However, this will guarantee your installation is completely up-to-date, minimizing your download and update time following a clean installation.

Installation Media Complete!

You now know how to create streamlined Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10 installation media, saving you bundles of energy the next time you have to perform a clean install Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Ever wanted to reset Windows 7 without losing personal data? Between a factory reset and a reinstall, it was tough. Since Windows 8, we have two new options: Refresh and Reset. Which one is right... Read More .

We also touched upon why it might not be entirely necessary to make streamlined Windows 10 installation media just yet – but as this is supposedly the last Windows operating system ever, I imagine that update catalogue is going to swell and swell. Meaning somewhere down the line, producing streamlined Windows 10 installation media will be extremely useful – and now you know how to do it.

Do you create streamlined Windows installation media? Do you prefer using the Command Prompt or a specialist piece of software? Let us know below!

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