Customize Windows Installation Components with NTLite

Windows Administrators often need to customize the Windows installation package to optimize the Windows system that suits the environment. For example, why do I need Paint, WordPad, or Windows Media Player when I will be using a better alternative? What’s the purpose of having Accessibility Tools, Floopy Disk Support, or BlueTooth Support when I know I will never use them? Yes, I can manually remove or disable them after the installation but it would be nice if I can customize an installation package that doesn’t include any of those that I know I will never use, especially when the same installation package will be used many times down the road.

NTLite is such a tool designed just for that purpose, modifying a mounted images, Windows installation folders, or live systems to build your own installation image in ISO format and apply them into the target system. Note that the Live Systems feature is limited to the commercial version only. You can check your Live System with NTLite and make your modifications but you just can’t apply them back to the live system.

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NTLite can be installed as regular program or as a portable tool that can be used on other systems. The download only offers one package but you have the option to install as a portable tool. It runs on Windows from 7 and above, including 10 Technical Preview, with both 32 and 64-bit supported.

The tool comes with a clean and intuitive user interface with the sidebar displaying all the available customization choices. Navigating through each of the sections to make changes to the installation that reflects to your real network setups. If you want to work on an image folder or file you have, you can Add them manually from the Toolbar ribbon bar.

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It also supports Windows Unattended feature, providing many commonly used options on a single page for easy setup. When enabled, Windows Unattended installation makes the whole installation fully automated with limited to none user interference. It’s a very efficient way to mass install Windows Systems.

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What’s more interesting and useful is that you can easily integrate application installers, scripts, registry tweaks or raw commands in Post-Setup section, which provides a silent switch and automatically run application installer right after the initial setup is done.

NTLite beta - post setup

Once all the changes are made, switch back to Target section, and click Create ISO button to create the final copy of the installation image.

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Overall, NTLite is a useful tool to have for those who need to install and customize Windows Systems repetitively. It could speed up significantly the whole installation process with all necessary drivers, updates or even 3rd-party programs included and installed automatically. Microsoft offers a number of tools that let you do similar things like that but for some reason I was never convinced doing so. Now maybe with NTLite, I need to look into doing it next time when a massive system installation is needed.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 12/22/2014

Posted in: Tools
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