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nLite allows you to add service packs, hotfixes and drivers to the Windows installation and create a new ISO image that can be burned to a CD. It also allows you to remove items that you don't feel like having installed, and is the perfect companion when you want to shrink down a Windows installation for a UMPC device like the Asus EEE PC or Everex Cloudbook.


Using nLite

Copy installation files from Windows XP installation CD

Adding Service Packs

If your installation media is a few years old chances are that it doesn't contain the latest service packs. Service Pack 2 (SP2) is a whopping 272 Mb download. Combine that with a slow Internet connection and you have some serious download time ahead of you. With nLite you can include the latest service packs with the installation itself (my installation CD already had SP2 on it, but when SP3 is out I am updating my installation media with it).
I am using CTUpdate to keep already installed machines up-to-date (because my LAN bandwidth is much higher then my WAN bandwidth is), but if the need arises to install/re-install a Windows computer I have not only a long installation process in front of me, but also tedious patching (although CTUpdate makes it much easier). Why not integrate the hotfixes, addons and update packs straight to the installation media? That way the system will be fully patched (well, as patched as it was when the installation CD was created) by the time it gets installed. Combine that with CDRW media and you got a winning solution.

Adding or Updating Drivers

Although Microsoft ships a lot of drivers with Windows XP, there is still a lot of drivers that is not included - especially for newer hardware (like my GeForce 8800GT graphics card or drivers for the UMPC that are coming to the market now days). With nLite you can add those drivers in so next time you re-install the computer all your audio, graphics and other cool stuff are fully functional from the start.

Removing Windows components

Short on disk space? With todays hard drives capacities you think that is not possible (at this moment you can buy a single disk having a terrabyte [TB] of storage), but don't forget UMPC market. The Asus EEE PC have a solid state drive with a capacity of 2-4 Gb, not that much space to move around with especially when just the Windows XP installation takes up about a gigabyte installed.

Make Windows XP install automatically (unattended installation)

Installing the computer often? I do that with some computer, especially if they are used in malware research. Wouldn't it be great if all the installation choices was already decided ahead of time so that the installation process could take place without intervention? nLite can do that for you.
I usually leave out the product key information as it is different for each machine, and although I could make a updated installation disk for each computer I rather not have to keep track of multiple installation disks. Besides, the product key is nicely printed on the computer itself.

Configuring System Options

Tweaking the Windows XP installation

Create a bootable cdrom