Customize Windows components with NTLite

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 20, 2014

The Windows installer does not offer many customization options. While it is possible to enable or disable some features afterwards, you generally end up with a selection of common tools and features that you may not require.

What's the purpose of installing Bluetooth support for example if you know you never need it? One could say that it does not really matter if features are installed or not as they don't get in the way usually and don't use lots of disk space either.

Some tools may still come up in searches for example and it may be beneficial to the security of a system if certain features that you are not making use of are not installed at all.

NTlite is a program that you can use for that purpose. What makes it interesting is that it can be used on mounted disc images, Windows installation folders or live systems. The latter option is reserved to the commercial version though.

NTlite can be installed regularly or as a portable version. After you have started it up for the first time you pick a Windows installation that you want to customize.

The program supports all versions of Windows from Windows 7 onwards including Windows 10.

Note: Some removal options are reserved to the commercial version as well.

A sidebar displays the available customization options:

  • Removals: Lists Windows components including names, notes and size. Components include features and tools like drivers, accessories or hardware support. If you don't use screensavers, Bluetooth or Floppy disks, you can disable these here.
  • Features: This is the list of features that Windows users can enable or disable in the "Windows Features" control panel applet.
  • Updates: Language packs and hotfixes can be added here.
  • Drivers: Support for additional drivers can be added in this menu.
  • Settings: A variety of preferences such as autoplay, auto-reboot and services can be customized here.
  • Unattended: Customize setup options so that these selections don't have to be made during installation of the operating system.
  • Post-Setup: Add commands and application installations that are executed after the operating system setup completes.

A click on create ISO creates a new disk image based on the changes that you have made in the program. Presets can also be saved so that you can load them again at a later point in time.

The free version of NTLite is heavily restricted. While you can remove some features and customize others, many are blocked in that version.

The program is easy to use on the other hand even for inexperienced users but it needs to be noted that the removal of components may result in issues later on.

NTLite is an interesting program, especially for users who install Windows a lot and want to customize the process. Since it is possible to include updates, drivers and third-party programs on disc, it can speed up the installation process significantly.

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  1. CHEF-KOCH said on December 28, 2014 at 11:08 am

    WinToolkit is a lot of better, NTLite is only a gui for that what windows already can but WinToolkit provides a lot of more tools/features and comes with less bugs.

  2. Vali said on December 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I use this software along with the “GodMode” trick of Windows (Desktop / New / Folder , which will give the name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} . The folder will automatically assume the icon of the Control Panel of Windows.) Thanks for this usefull info.

  3. Arthur said on December 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    If you removed Bluetooth support for example and then found you needed it in the future, how would you restore it without reinstalling the OS? Does NTLite backup the files it removes to a folder first?

    1. dwarf_t0ssr said on December 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      I think something like that could be remedied by installing proprietary drivers. It would likely only delete the MS drivers for bluetooth, and not forbid any 3rd party bluetooth capability.

  4. Rick said on December 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Note: Some removal options are reserved to the commercial version as well.

    All of the important / highly useful options are only available in the commercial version! The free version is absolutely useless and there are so many other alternatives now.

    1. Croatoan said on December 21, 2014 at 1:17 am


  5. dwarf_t0ssr said on December 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    All set with Windows 7 for now. Used RT 7 Lite to make an ISO with great results, and nLite for XP before it. Good to know that solutions are being offered for later Windows versions too, for when that day comes.

  6. Andy said on December 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    The old version of nLite for XP and earlier was free and had no restrictions. It was a great program and easy to use. As pointed out above, the new version has a lot of restrictions unless you buy the commercial version. If you don’t feel like paying you could try WinToolkit instead. I don’t find it quite as easy to use but it has many similar features and gets the job done for free.

  7. kalmly said on December 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Yes. It is interesting. However, it looks like one would need the pro version for any serious removals, but then I’m judging from the screenshot.

    BTW, can it remove those gaudy tiles Microsoft is so enamored of these days?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Have not run it on W10 yet so cannot say but doubt it. Yes, you need the pro version for most features.

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