Windows Tip Sheet

See the nLite

Harried by the mundane tasks of configuring and loading desktops? Here's a miracle tool.

If you spend part of your day configuring or loading desktops, you can simplify your life with a terrific and free tool. Go to and download a copy of nLite, which is currently at version 1.4. This miraculous tool allows you to build customizable installations for just about any Windows OS you need to deal with today, except for Vista -- more on that in a moment.

Tired of building an XP box, loading Service Pack 2, loading all the new updates and then configuring it? With nLite you can streamline and simplify this process.

Here are just a few of nLite's features:

  • Service Pack Integration
  • Component Removal
  • Unattended Setup
  • Driver Integration
  • Hotfixes Integration
  • Tweaks
  • Services Configuration
  • Patches
  • Bootable ISO creation

I've used nLite in the past to create unattended installation CDs that have made life very easy.

Because Vista has a whole new way of installing and configuring, the author of nLite decided to develop a new solution, instead of trying to force Vista support into nLite. I think it's a wise move. If you require Vista support then visit and download vlite.exe. It has many of the same features of the original nLite.

Tech Help -- Just An
E-Mail Away

Got a Windows, Exchange or virtualization question or need troubleshooting help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail to the editors at [email protected]; the best questions get answered in this column and garner the questioner with a nifty Redmond T-shirt.

When you send your questions, please include your full first and last name, location, certifications (if any) with your message. (If you prefer to remain anonymous, specify this in your message, but submit the requested information for verification purposes.)

There is enough online documentation to get you going for both applications, although most if it is pretty self-explanatory. So don't fumble around in the darkness of configuration and installation. Head towards the (n)lite.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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