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Capturing a Windows XP reference image after sysprep.

- - - - - deploy install windows xp sysprep usb

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22 replies to this topic

#1
techsup1983

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Hello.

I'm looking for some information about deploying a custom sysprepped image of windows xp via USB.

I know this OS is old but it's still used quite a bit in businesses some legacy apps don't play well with windows 7.

I'm ok with installing the reference image, configuring the software and creating the answer file.

What i'm wondering about are the steps that come after that. What do I do then? I know for windows 7 i captured install.wim and replaced this on the install media sources directory. But what about windows xp?

I've not seen any .wim files on the install media.

I've seen a bit of software available for installing windows xp from usb. But I want a fully updated pre-configured sysprepped xp sp3 with all the latest lan/wlan drives. I know how to inject these drivers to the image already.

But how do i get a fully installed/configured windows xp back to winxp.iso with all my customizations? is it possible?

Please can someone assist me with the next steps.

Thanks.


Edited by techsup1983, 11 July 2015 - 09:25 AM.



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#2
jaclaz

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Well, you are seemingly "mixing together" two different deployment methods.

 

The "normal" XP install starts from a .iso which is normally "attended" and the setup can be made "unattended" or if you prefer answers to the questions asked during the setup phases can be pre-written.

What actually boots the first time is a sort of "recovery console", and what boots after the so-called text setup phase is the actual OS in not-configured state from the internal hard disk.

 

Starting from the new "paradigm" of .wim, since Vista, the install is actually the applying to the disk partition/volume of a pre-made sysprepped image, of course "generalized", hence the possibility to "install" a Vista or 7 (or later) by simply applying the .wim, without any real *need* to run setup.exe, see:

http://reboot.pro/to...external-drive/

 

So what you could use is either the Offline Sysprep:

http://www.911cd.net...hp?showforum=43

http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=19397

 

Then transfer the hard disk partition image with whatever tool you see fit or are familiar with or capture it as an XP .wim (you will need some files from Windows 7 or later), some ideas are here:

http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=25716

 

Basically the idea is to create a sysprepped image, capture it as a .wim, then apply it to the target from a PE not unlike the way Fujianabc detailed for Vista/7, the real issue with XP sources are of course the HAL/Kernel  changes and mass storage devices (unless you need this for a specific given machine).

 

Depending on the actual use you may have restrictions preventing you from using this particular approach:

http://reboot.pro/to...loyment-system/

http://thuun.boot-land.net/PantherXP/

which is more or less derived from the way the lesser known WINFLP edition install, a low-resources needed version of Windows XP for some markets, that was the first example of deploying XP through a (primitive and using an actually different format) .wim.

 

I hope that I have not confused you too much :w00t: :ph34r:, only trying to give you some ideas and references to "previous art" :).

 

jaclaz



#3
techsup1983

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Hello. Thanks for taking the time to reply with a detailed answer. There are some nice new tools for me to check out there and some things I can try. I will ready through those forums that you posted too, they look quite interesting.

I have been looking at adding Winxp.wim into winpe_x86.iso and have this install the wim, I may use that method but i'm trying to figure out the below mystery.

 

I recently come across a download of an auto-install xp sp3+raid drivers+all windows updates+flash that came as a windows xp iso. Which had the same file structure as the original xp disk. It didn't look like any 3rd party software was used to create it.

Someone has set up a fully updated auto-install Windows XP SP3. I'm not sure exactly how this was created. But having tested this i'm very curious on how this was put together.

 

I haven't see any traces of nLite and the above is downloaded as an ISO. So I'm guessing the creator installed this on a VM / Physical machine and then managed to Windows update it, add flash and sysprep and somehow turn it back into an ISO. (although i'm just guessing)

 

I would really like to learn the secrets of how it was made and mimic it in my auto install. i'm after adding some additional apps to it too

citrix receiver, adobe reader, flash, java, silverlight, .net framework. I don't know if this is even possible with out some 3rd party imaging software.


Edited by techsup1983, 11 July 2015 - 12:53 PM.


#4
jaclaz

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It isn't a good idea to name WAREZ on msfn.org, see Rule #1.a:

http://www.msfn.org/...tion=boardrules

 

not even discussing on how these are created :no:.

 

jaclaz


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#5
techsup1983

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Hi, I apologise for using that as an example. I was just trying to make my question more clear. I've edited the post so the file name is no longer there and i've tried to explain what it was instead.

 

What I'm after is finding out how to turn Windows XP back into an ISO after it's been fully configured and sysprepped.


Edited by techsup1983, 11 July 2015 - 12:51 PM.


#6
jaclaz

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What I'm after is finding out how to turn Windows XP back into an ISO after it's been fully configured and sysprepped.

Yep, this is what I tried to explain to you that an .iso cannot be.

 

Such a .iso is more simply an updated .iso, with added (say) Drivers Packs and maybe even third party programs with (possibly) some unattended scripts and even (maybe) a WPI (Windows Post Install Wizard).

 

The difference is that the .iso remains a "setup" (and NOT a sysprepped image), the OS is installed from the .iso source while in the case of the sysprepped image the image is deployed and then only minor adjustments are made.

 

Everyone will have it's own saying on which one is a "better" approach, and everyone will have his/her own lkes and dislikes, a whole series of other "mixed mode" approaches are possible, but you have to first convince yourself that "install" is different from "deploy" and "sysprep".

 

The rule of the thumb is that if the source (be it a .iso or whatever other format) has a "main" \i386 directory it is an "install", if it has a "main" \Windows directory it is a "deploy" (of a sysprepped or non sysprepped image).

 

jaclaz



#7
techsup1983

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Hello. Thanks for explaining. It's much clearer now.

What I thought was possible isnt, and I need to approach things differently.

I'm looking into the Windows Post Install Wizard for my applications.

 

One other question. After the windows xp deployment how would I get a folder on the root c:\install with my applications in?

Do I just make one on the root of the install media called "Install" ?

thanks.



#8
jaclaz

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One other question. After the windows xp deployment how would I get a folder on the root c:\install with my applications in?
Do I just make one on the root of the install media called "Install" ?
thanks.

There must be a communication problem of some kind. :w00t: :ph34r:
 
If you deploy a windows XP a C:\install folder is ALREADY in the source and it is deployed just like the rest of the system.
If you install a Windows XP a C:\install folder may be created as part of the install or post-install procedure.
http://unattended.ms.../unattended.xp/
http://unattended.ms...xp/view/web/63/
 
jaclaz

#9
MrMaguire

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What you want to accomplish isn't really possible with Windows XP. As far as I know anyway. You can create and capture a custom .wim image and deploy it via Windows Deployment Services. But even then, without a generalised image, you're still restricted to using very similar hardware with that one particular image, and you'll have to create an image for each set of hardware.

 

Most if not all of those highly taboo and evil .iso images on the internet are created with nLite or similar. That's probably your best option for integrating updates and drivers while still having a generalised (universal) image that will install on any hardware, though I'm not sure how and if one can integrate programmes. You may be able to have the programmes on the image and have them install automatically before Windows reaches the desktop (which I think you hinted at earlier), but I've never looked into that.

 

If you're a Network Administrator and looking to deploy a Windows XP install to 100s of the same computer, with the same software. Nothing beats good ol' Symantec Ghost Solutions Suite. ;)



#10
jaclaz

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What you want to accomplish isn't really possible with Windows XP.

Oh, yes it is perfectly possible (given links in post #2).

jaclaz

#11
techsup1983

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Thanks both for your replies.

I've managed to sort out everything with jaclaz earlier suggestion of using the Windows post install wizard. I created post install script to make the directory and copy the files i needed from copy "%wpipath%\Install\

I used this to install all the missing applications too. Has worked great so far.

Thanks for all your help.



#12
Kelsenellenelvian

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Please remember WPI is not free for business uses

#13
techsup1983

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Ok, thanks. Kind of raining on my parade with that last post. It's a bit of a shame to hear that about WPI after i've taken the time to set it up already.  With XP been EOL and XP installs happening only once in a blue moon I will have to seek out an alternative to WPI.

 

One of Jaclaz's links earlier pointed towards quite a few apps which would fill the void.

http://unattended.ms...xp/view/web/58/

One which has caught my eye is Xplode but i've been unable to find a download link.


Edited by techsup1983, 17 July 2015 - 10:25 AM.


#14
submix8c

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I'm confused. Did you read the second link in Post #8?


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#15
techsup1983

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Yes sorry I was editing my post while you was typing.



#16
submix8c

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On the Archive. Same/similar licensing as WPI.

https://web.archive....ode:Information

 

Is there a reason you can't use the other two methods? After all, there are *four*, two of which are free (as in beer).

 

This link, already given in Post #8. Do read *all* links jaclaz gave, please.

http://unattended.ms...xp/view/web/63/


Edited by submix8c, 17 July 2015 - 10:49 AM.

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#17
techsup1983

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Hi submix8c. I have managed to sort out the post install by using a batch file to install the programs. Went really well. Managed to sort it in another post. http://www.msfn.org/...l/#entry1102972

 

Thanks for the info mrmaguire. I think that my company has ghost but they've never shown it me. Deployments aren't even my job.

I'm just setting this up as a personal project. What I'm thinking of next is how to make everything legitimate to install from USB. If I can't work things out then it won't get used.


Edited by techsup1983, 19 July 2015 - 05:03 PM.


#18
submix8c

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Well, you failed to note that the Unattended Guide has a (moderate) wealth of information.

 

I suggest reading it in its entirety instead of asking the question then having someone else (her) point you to the specific subsection. It may speed you up by allowing *you* to go "OH, I needn't even ask that Q since here's the answer."

 

I don't mean to be rude to say that. Just stating the obvious. Start here -

http://unattended.ms....xp/view/web/1/

 

Now, as for Installing from USB, go here:

http://www.msfn.org/...ndows-from-usb/

Bear in mind XP is a mite different than Vista and Above. The Reboot is the key. Observe the "Pinned" topics referencing XP. Do read *thoroughly* through said topics so you'll *thoroughly* understand (as is with the Unattended guide). We'll be able to assist from there as necessary in case of confusion/clarification.

 

As for Ghost, remember the difference between Install and Image (as has already been described). Also not *any* decent Cloning software will work for "image deployment".

 

HTH


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It’s a little shocking to see an XP deployment in the works well after End Of Support. I would strongly recommend alternative routes to an XP deployment/installation directly on hardware.

 

Step one for me would be to see if I could get the applications to work in a modern version of Windows. Some applications may be completely incompatible with Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, but you might be surprised just how many “legacy” applications can be easily made compatible with some work in the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) or sometimes just some tweaking of the installers with Orca.

 

Step two for me would be to look into virtualization solutions. This could be the simple virtualization solution of Windows XP Mode with application integration if your workstations are running Windows 7. The enterprise equivalent Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) if you are running Windows 7 and have the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) through Software Assurance. Or for Windows 8 or newer, Client Hyper-V.

 

Step three would be to really evaluate the costs of your remaining options. What is the cost of getting an XP image up and running? Does your hardware even support Windows XP and are drivers available? What is the cost of having your legacy applications on an insecure platform? By comparison, what is the cost of updating the applications to compatible versions? Updating or replacing an application is often more cost-effective than you think when you consider the ramifications of compromised customer data due to an infected machine, the difficulty of managing that machine as modern management tools are incompatible, even the difficulty of something as simple as replacing a printer when compatible drivers aren’t available.

 

If despite these alternatives you still end up moving forward with a Windows XP deployment, you might want to consider using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1, the most recent version to still support Windows XP deployment. With MDT you can easily create the ISO/DVD/USB installation media you’ve described and you can even deploy over the network with PXE if desired. You can also deploy applications separate from the operating system, so you can ultimately use the same disk to deploy the “finance” department with their accounting software as you use for the “design” department with CAD and graphics software and the “production” software with CAD/CAM software, for example.

 

Brandon
Windows Outreach Team- IT Pro
Windows for IT Pros on TechNet


Brandon
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#20
jaclaz

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It’s a little shocking to see an XP deployment in the works well after End Of Support

Dear Brandon,

haven't you noticed, on this board we also assist people having issues with a number of other Operating Systems well after End of Support, including Windows 3.1/3.11, Windows 95 and 98, Windows NT4 and 2000. 

 

We even support people using Windows Me :unsure:.

 

It's a little shocking that you are a little shocked at this :w00t: which is pretty much normal on msfn.org, particularly in a sub-forum titled:

Unattended Windows 2000/XP/2003 

Get help and new tips 'n' tweaks to make your unattended installation of Windows 2000, XP, and/or 2003 better!

 

what did you expect to see inside it?

 

No new threads since midnight of the 8th of April 2014? :whistle:

 

jaclaz


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#21
submix8c

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XP Virtual Mode isn't (IMHO) a full XP Install. "Everything" might be there but you're "stuck" with XP SP3 that can't be slipstreamed due to the fact that it follows the old OEM axiom "Just give them the bare minumum so they'll be dependent upon us." Indeed, you just stated "EOS" so what would be your solution?

 

I have yet to complete my little "project" but its entirely feasible to pull the Drivers (which also support USB AFAICT) from the SysPrepped XP Mode VHD, integrate them and all (workable) updates into an Install Medium, reformat the VHD, reinstall, thus having a *real* (e.g. fully updated and slipstreamed, even customized to user's taste) Virtual Machine, given the key components.

 

However, this isn't what the OP asked for and you're seemingly "promoting" Upgrading (sounds like a hard-sell to me).

 

We appreciate your comments and concerns, but please be so kind as to let us do our thing (help those that want to use an outdated/unsupported OS) while you do yours (help those that use an OS that MS still supports).

 

Thanks for reading. And a big Welcome Back to the WinOutreach Team as we have many members using Win8.x and many planning the Win10, of which much is yet to be learned, even on MSFN.


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#22
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XP Virtual Mode isn't (IMHO) a full XP Install. "Everything" might be there but you're "stuck" with XP SP3 that can't be slipstreamed due to the fact that it follows the old OEM axiom "Just give them the bare minumum so they'll be dependent upon us." Indeed, you just stated "EOS" so what would be your solution?

 

I have yet to complete my little "project" but its entirely feasible to pull the Drivers (which also support USB AFAICT) from the SysPrepped XP Mode VHD, integrate them and all (workable) updates into an Install Medium, reformat the VHD, reinstall, thus having a *real* (e.g. fully updated and slipstreamed, even customized to user's taste) Virtual Machine, given the key components.

In regards to Windows XP Mode not being a full install, I’m not sure exactly what you mean. I think I disagree. Windows XP Mode is a complete Windows XP Professional environment, there is no code difference between it and Windows XP Professional installed from installation media.

 

If what you are implying is that it is a difficult solution to implement because you can’t deploy it complete with updates, applications, and configuration, then you do have a legitimate concern. Windows XP Mode is deployed to individual systems as the equivalent of a fresh installation and will need to be configured, updated, and have applications installed for each one. This is precisely the scenario that MED-V is designed to address. MED-V effectively allows you to deploy a centrally configured image to XP Mode across an organization, but it requires access to MDOP and thus SA (Software Assurance).

 

Another potential concern with Windows XP Mode are the restrictions of running in a virtual environment, especially a Type 2 Hypervisor. Any virtualization solution will abstract the operating system from hardware resources and that can affect performance. The three big concerns here are memory, graphics, and peripherals.

  • Memory is only a concern if you have less than 4GB of RAM. For example, on a 2GB system you may choose to allocate 1GB to the host and 1GB to the guest, effectively halving the amount of available memory. By contrast if you have 6GB of RAM you can easily allocate the maximum 4GB to the guest and 2GB for the host.
  • Virtual environments are abstracted from the physical hardware of their host. For graphics intensive applications like CAD or design software, this means no hardware acceleration and poor graphics performance.
  • Again because of the abstraction from the host, connectivity to physical devices can be difficult to manage. If your software requires direct access to physical devices, i.e. USB, PCI, Serial, Parallel, you may be better off with a physical environment.

Hyper-V on Windows 8.1 (as opposed to Windows XP Mode on Windows 7) warrants many of the same considerations. Hyper-V virtual machines can be managed more easily, either by managing the VHD files or by managing the virtual machines the same way you manage physical machines. On the other hand Hyper-V doesn’t include a free license for Windows XP.

 

My point is not that you should do one thing or another, but that there are many options and they all warrant serious consideration. I would also like to stress that virtualization is absolutely not the universal fix. First consider updating the application (which I imagine the OP has, since it is the easiest route) then the next step is to consider making the application compatible.

 

Fixing compatibility isn’t always as hard as it seems. You can use Orca to get past installation errors (MSIs) if that is the hang-up. If the program doesn’t run or has errors, it’s usually caused by looking for resources that have been relocated in new versions of Windows or which the application doesn’t have access to. Shims are used as a layer between the application and the resources. For example, if the application looks in C:\Program Files\ as a hard coded link, but is installed on a 64 bit system and thus the program files are actually stored in C:\Program Files (x86)\, the CorrectFilePaths shim can be used to sit between the program and the operating system to translate any queries from C:\Program Files\ to C:\Program Files (x86)\. You can use pre-configured sets of shims that mimic older environments via compatibility modes, or you can use ACT to build custom sets of shims if the built-in compatibility modes don’t work.

 

Each scenario is unique, with different applications, hardware, budgets, etc. but I’ll see if I can list some of the more common solutions and their considerations:

  • Upgrade Apps:
    This is the easiest solution, but often costs money. Even so, consider the cost of the app upgrade vs. the time to develop and implement other solutions. The true cost to upgrade the app could be less than the cost to develop another solution. Think about how much time is being spent here trying to figure out Windows XP deployment, what is the cost of that vs the app upgrade?
  • Fix Compatibility:
    While fixing compatibility issues is more difficult than upgrading the apps to compatible versions, it is free and allows you to run the application on an operating system that is current with today’s management and deployment tools, compatible with new hardware or software should you chose to add it, and kept up-to-date against security vulnerabilities and stability issues.
  • Virtualize:
    If you have to run an out-of-support, vulnerable Windows XP environment, it is far better to do so in a minimal, isolated environment. If the environment breaks, it doesn’t take down the whole operating system and the user can continue to work without the app. If the environment gets infected, only data used by the app and exposed to the virtual environment is compromised. Better yet, the environment can be kept offline to best prevent the possibility for compromised data. We’ve only talked about client-side virtualization, but you could also consider server-side virtualization where you host your XP environments on a Hyper-V server, etc. and remote into them from the workstations.
  • Physical Deployment:
    If you consider all the options and it still makes sense, then you might not have a choice but to deploy to a physical workstation. To accomplish this requires older tools and methods that won’t be applicable to modern operating systems. If you deploy the workstations on the network you can never be certain of their security, even if running security solutions, because there are core vulnerabilities that aren’t patched. If you need to replace or add hardware you are likely to run into compatibility issues. If the system is unstable and it crashes, you lose the ability to use the computer altogether while the issue is repaired. You may want to consider isolating the workstation(s) by an air gap.

I don’t want to tell you what to do or imply that any one solution fits all, but I do hope you’ll consider the above before you decide to implement an EOS or EOL component in a production environment.

 

If you do move forward, learning MDT 2012 makes deployment of different app configurations easier, makes deployment more feasible via USB or network, and is much closer to the deployment methods used for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10; so the knowledge you gain can be reused the next time you need to deploy, regardless of operating system.

 

 

 

It’s a little shocking to see an XP deployment in the works well after End Of Support

Dear Brandon,

haven't you noticed, on this board we also assist people having issues with a number of other Operating Systems well after End of Support, including Windows 3.1/3.11, Windows 95 and 98, Windows NT4 and 2000. 

 

We even support people using Windows Me :unsure:.

 

Please don’t infer that I’m trying to prevent you from assisting someone using Windows XP; that certainly isn’t my intent. I merely wanted to add my two cents about considering the alternatives, and add my recommendation for MDT.

 

However, this isn't what the OP asked for and you're seemingly "promoting" Upgrading (sounds like a hard-sell to me).

 

Licensing for various options is a whole other consideration, one that I won’t (and can’t) get into. I am merely providing options that are technically possible. I assume the OP is familiar with what they can or cannot do and can judge for themselves. The OP might be running Windows 8.1 VL and SA (and thus upgrade rights to Windows 10 and downgrade rights through Windows 95).

 

Brandon
Windows Outreach Team- IT Pro
Windows for IT Pros on TechNet


Brandon
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The Springboard Series on TechNet

#23
jaclaz

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It’s a little shocking to see an XP deployment in the works well after End Of Support

Dear Brandon,

haven't you noticed, on this board we also assist people having issues with a number of other Operating Systems well after End of Support, including Windows 3.1/3.11, Windows 95 and 98, Windows NT4 and 2000. 

 

We even support people using Windows Me :unsure:.

 

Please don’t infer that I’m trying to prevent you from assisting someone using Windows XP; that certainly isn’t my intent. I merely wanted to add my two cents about considering the alternatives, and add my recommendation for MDT.

 

Let's make a deal :), I won't infer anything (as I haven't inferred anything till now BTW, I only faked being shocked :w00t: as a response to your being shocked ) as long as you don't play the poor innocent passer-by shocked by what is perfectly normal activity on this board, particularly in the sections related to XP and other after EOS MS Operating Systems.

 

As well, it is perfectly normal, as a MS representative, that you illustrate the current alternatives and the new Microsoft products, and it is always good to hear something directly from the mouth of the wolf :thumbup:, and I have to say that - unlike some of your colleagues :whistle: - you seem like wanting to interact with the board members, besides merely suggesting the use of MDT or consulting the docs of the Springboard Series, which is very good :):

JFYI:

http://www.msfn.org/...dows/?p=1086835

and following few posts.

 

jaclaz







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