The ultimate reinstall disc
If you want full control, then it’s possible to create the ultimate customised install media. But be warned: It’s for technically-proficient PC users only.
Download and install the free version of NTLite from www.ntlite.com. Once set up, launch the app. The simplest way to use it is in conjunction with a previously created installation USB flash drive – with that plugged in, click Add to select the drive containing your Windows install files. The OS should appear in the list – click it to mount it.
Once the source has been added, several options appear down the left-hand side of the NTLite window. Start with Components – read the warning – it’s a good idea to test your customised Windows install in a virtual environment, such as VirtualBox, as advised – and click OK. From here, you can remove various components – including drivers, selected apps, and localization files – to slim down the size of your install media and subsequent Windows install. You’ll see some options are marked in blue and greyed out – you need to pay for a full license (from £42.90) to access these.
The Configure section enables you to choose which elements are pre-installed, and which ones need to be manually enabled after installation – you can disable Internet Explorer 11 and Windows Media Player, and enable Hyper-V support out of the box, for example. Go to Integrate to slipstream Windows Updates and Drivers into the media – these will be automatically installed after Windows, so while lengthening the overall install time, it saves you the hassle of doing so manually. Finally, the Automate section enables you to skip some of the setup questions. Once done, apply your changes, then – if necessary – generate a new ISO file, which you can burn to disc or copy to a USB flash drive using a tool such as Rufus (https://rufus.akeo.ie).
If you switch to portable apps, you save time configuring them.