I need a Windows box, so I figured I’d experiment with Windows 8.1. I know it’s terrible, but I want to see just how much less terrible I can make it.
The first thing I wanted to do was figure out how to slipstream updates into it. I recommend slipstreaming because you get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD. It’s very similar to slipstreaming Windows 7, but not quite identical.
You can download all the hotfixes in MSU format using Windows Updates Downloader. Click the + icon, click Update Lists, then download and run the update list for the OS you want. At that point you’ll get a menu that lets you pick and choose update categories and even individual updates. Click the download button to get started.
Save (or move or copy) all the downloaded updates into a directory named patches.
If you’re not already running Windows 8.1, you’ll need a new version of DISM. Download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit and install it.
Download the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (which also works with 8.1 images) to put the ISO image on a thumb drive at least 8 GB in size.
Copy your patches directory and sources\install.win off the thumb drive into a directory on an NTFS volume. Open an administrative command prompt, change to that directory, and run the following command:
dism.exe /get-wiminfo /wimfile:install.wim
Note the index number of the version of Windows you’re going to be installing.
Copy and paste the following six lines into a file named update.bat. Change the number in line 2 in boldface to match the index number you got from running dism.
"c:\program files (x86)\windows kits\8.1\assessment and deployment kit\deployment tools\amd64\dism\Dism.exe" /Mount-Wim /WimFile:%~dp0install.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:%~dp0WIN8
"c:\program files (x86)\windows kits\8.1\assessment and deployment kit\deployment tools\amd64\dism\Dism.exe" /image:%~dp0WIN8 /Add-Package /PackagePath:"%~dp0patches"
"c:\program files (x86)\windows kits\8.1\assessment and deployment kit\deployment tools\amd64\dism\Dism.exe" /image:%~dp0WIN8 /Get-Packages | more
"c:\program files (x86)\windows kits\8.1\assessment and deployment kit\deployment tools\amd64\dism\Dism.exe" /Unmount-Wim /MountDir:%~dp0WIN8 /commit
Now run update.bat and sit back and wait. How long it takes will depend on the speed of your CPU and your disk and how many updates there are.
Copy the patched install.wim into the sources directory of your thumb drive. Now you can use that USB drive to make pristine, pre-patched Windows 8.1 builds.
And the good news is, any time you need to update, all you have to do is copy the additional patches into the patches directory and run update.bat again. Update.bat will skip any previously installed or superseded updates. Then you can just copy the re-patched install.wim into place.