Using nLite to Integrate RAID Drivers into Windows Installation Media

by Chris Sanders [Published on 27 Jan. 2010 / Last Updated on 31 May 2009]

Windows Server 2003 can be a challenge to install when the drivers for your RAID controller aren’t built into the installation CD. Here is a good way to overcome this without use of a floppy drive.

Although Windows Server 2008 has become the prevalent operating system of choice, application compatibility issues and strained IT budgets are causing Windows Server 2003 deployments to still be prevalent on newly purchased servers. The problem in these deployments arises when you are using a newer RAID controller with drivers that are not bundled with the Server 2003 installation media. To compound the problem, the only way to access additional drivers during a Server 2003 installation is via floppy disk. It’s not big news that most newer servers don’t even come floppy drives these days.

One of the best ways to overcome this is to slipstream RAID drivers into the Windows Server 2003 installation media. My application of choice to do this is nLite. The nLite application can be obtained from Once installed, you can copy your installation media to the local computer you are working from, import the RAID drivers you require, and create an ISO image that includes the new drivers.

nLite also has several other great features. Not only can you integrate RAID drivers, you can integrate ANY drivers you wish. Along with this, nLite can be used to further expand your unattended OS installations for both Windows Server 2003 and 2008.

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The Author — Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is a network security analyst for EWA Government Systems Inc. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.

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