Change Default Location of the i386 Folder

Posted on January 7, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Windows Client OS with

How can I change the default location of the i386 folder?

After installing Windows 2000 or XP, if I ever need to add a component to it (like DHCP etc.) it always asks me for the CD, even if I copy the i386 files to my local drive. Can I fix this?

Yes you sure can.  

  1. Open the registry editor and go to

  1. Highlight the Setup folder.

  2. On the right pane, locate the SourcePath.

  3. Double-click the SourcePath and replace the drive letter in the box to C:\ (if you copied the files to your C:\ drive). Make sure it’s C:\ and not C:\i386.

  4. Close the registry editor.

  5. If the system ever needs files from the i386 folder, it will automatically look in the C:\i386 folder.

You can also do the trick with Windows 2000 and XP Professional client computers that were installed from a shared folder on your network, but do not copy the i386 folder to the local drive of each computer. Instead, copy the i386 folder to a share located on a network server. Edit the registry for the Windows 2000 or XP Pro machines and make it point to the UNC path of the network server.

Also, if you installed from a RIS server, keep the RIS server running. Your system is smart enough to grab the files from the RIS server when it needs extra files.

This tip works for service packs too. You’ll notice at the registry string from step #1 that it says servicepacksourcepath. Extract the SP from the command prompt to a folder on your hard drive using the w2ksp# -x switch, make the path in the registry where you put the files, and you won’t have to go fishing for service pack disks again.

Of course you can always Slipstream Service Packs to the i386 folder, then you won’t need this tip.

BTW, you can also download THIS zipped file. Extract it and run the enclosed VB script. The script (written by Bill James) will let you change the default path where XP looks for the I386 folder from the original location on the CD to the new destination folder.


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