How to Use vLite to Trim Down Windows 7 for a Custom Installation
For anyone who has ever used Windows, there is one fact that can never be denied...it is bloated. Even with Windows 7 having a lower footprint and more customization than Windows Vista, it is still bloated. This tutorial aims to help the user with using vLite: a program designed by a developer named nuhi. To summarize the program's ability, it takes in the source files of a Windows Vista/7 installation, you choose an edition to modify, and then components can be added, modified, or deleted.
PREREQUISITES Windows Vista/7 (RC or above recommended) A CPU that supports Virtualization (optional) 2GB or more of RAM (optional, for Virtual PC/VMWare/etc.) 6GB or more of free Hard Disk Space
Attempting to make a custom installation of Windows is not a daunting task but many things can go wrong...as always follow my optional testing environment below to make sure that any issues won't be encountered when a clean install is performed on your native hardware. Please note that it is highly inadvisable to do an upgrade with a lite build...always do a clean install
Install either Virtual PC 2007, VMware Workstation or another virtualization solution to test your builds in a virtual environment before testing on native hardware.
1. To start off download vLite and the Windows Vista SP1 WAIK.
To guarantee no compatibility issues between vLite and Windows 7, set the vLite installer for Windows Vista compatibility and run as a administrator. Do the same for the WAIK setup.exe on the ISO. When running vLite always run as an administrator.
Download MagicDisc or another ISO mount program and just mount the WAIK instead of burning it to a DVD
2. Browse to the location of the installation files.
If you choose a DVD or a mounted ISO than you will be required to copy all files off the media to a location on the computer.
3. Choose your edition of Windows to modify.
NOTE: I will be using Ultimate edition in this tutorial and in all my INIs.
4. Choose your options.
- Unattended setup (Do not select this one if modifying Windows 7)
- Bootable ISO
- Enable before apply.(Click this to make an ISO at any time during this process)
5. Integration Tab: Hotfixes, Drivers, and Language Packs.
·For Hotfixes you will need either the .cab or .msu of the update (these can normally be found on Microsoft's website...Windows Vista only right now)
·For Drivers you will need the *.ini(s) of the driver...these can be found in the folders of driver installers (use Google)
·For Language Packs you will need to find the .cab of the language you want to install (use Google)
Can't select anything in these windows? Don't forget to hit the enable button in the top left hand corner.
6. Components Tab: Select from the categories listed. Their explanations will be available when you highlight an entry including any possible warnings.
When you click on the tab you will notice that a windows comes up with presets (ex. Aero Glass). Check beside one of these to hide the services/files needed for that feature so you don't accidentally delete/corrupt it.
7. Tweak Tab: Choose various tweaks to enable by default.
8.Hit apply and watch vLite strip 7 down to your specifications. You can choose to either rebuild one edition (your chosen one), all of them, or just save changes.
It is generally not recommended to rebuild all editions when you hit apply…this just wastes space considering you are going for the edition you chose
9. Deployment: Choose a method below
·The USB Key Method – Follow the link above to use your modified source files on a USB Key for installation
·The Burn Disc Method – Proceed to the ISO tab and choose “Direct Burn”. Give it a label and if necessary you can split the image up on multiple media. Hit “Make ISO” and your done
Hope it helps