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dforionstar

How to identify cumulative nLite customizations?

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I would like to thank the developers of nLite for such a thorough and useful product!

I have used it several times, and have a confusion I would appreciate having clarified.

It seems that each time I load a Last Session preset and make a few adjustments, I wind up with a new Last Session that only contains the most recent incremental changes. I also notice there are new file changes to the XP_Source folder. I had presumed this XP_Source folder would remain the untouched original Install source folder, but that is apparently not the case.

I would have assumed nLite would apply the cumulative custom changes to files from the original XP_Source, and store all of these in a new folder, or just store the cumulative custom changes to the newly created ISO. In any case, the XP_Source folder should remain in virgin, unchanged form.

It seems the only way to see what the cumulative custom changes are, is to go through all the ini files and manually merge them, carefully taking into consideration what may have been added/removed/added/removed throughout the chronology of events.

If there is a way to preserve ALL my cumulative custom changes in a single ini file, I would greatly appreciate knowing how to set this up.

Thank you!

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nlite is not designed to be run multiple times on a modified source. Your results will range from unpredictable to bad and unuseable.

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It seems that each time I load a Last Session preset and make a few adjustments, I wind up with a new Last Session that only contains the most recent incremental changes.

That's why it's called "Last session".

For the source remaining untouched, you have your (read only) XP cd or you can make a backup of it somewhere else on your HD.

As indicated by newposter, you are not supposed to use a modified set of files as new source, but depending what you are doing, it is possible. Common sense applies.

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It seems that each time I load a Last Session preset and make a few adjustments, I wind up with a new Last Session that only contains the most recent incremental changes.

That's why it's called "Last session".

For the source remaining untouched, you have your (read only) XP cd or you can make a backup of it somewhere else on your HD.

As indicated by newposter, you are not supposed to use a modified set of files as new source, but depending what you are doing, it is possible. Common sense applies.

Thank you.

Yes I could use the CD as source. For convenience and speed, I had created a folder called XP_Source, like it suggests in the guide. The problem is the XP_Source folder gets modified with the customizations but I did not get that impression from reading the guide, which I read before using nLite.

I would of course prefer not to make changes to a modified install, but to re-make the install from scratch with the complete changes. It could take longer but would be a clean nLite install each time. Also, I would be able to compare the INI files.

OK, so if I use the CD (very slow on my notebook PC), or I use a READ-ONLY folder, so that I will be sure the SOURCE doesn't get modified, will nLite still write the modified changes to a new folder before it creates the ISO? And will the cumulative customizations be pervasive throughout all subsequent presets as along as I always load LAST Session?

Thank you.

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dforionstar, as far as I know, nLite will never create a new folder. It always modifies your source folder. What I do is copy my CD contents one time to a folder on my HDD, then make a copy of the files/folders there to my working folder. BTW, if you look at the Properties of folders, they are all marked as Read-only (at least they are on my machine) and unchecking that has no effect because it is just changed back. As others have pointed out, Please make sure to always start with a fresh copy of your CD files/folders, do all your work in one nLite session and integrate only one SP. Enjoy, John.

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dforionstar, Please make sure to always start with a fresh copy of your CD files/folders, do all your work in one nLite session and integrate only one SP.

Thank you johnhc. This should be put in the guide.

I assume that by always starting with a fresh copy of the CD files/folders, the resulting session ini will contain all the modifications, which is what I would expect.

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dforionstar, I think the reason these admonitions do not show up in the guides is that they are not absolutely true. If you look at the FAQs on the nLite site, the author (nuhi) says, for example, that you can remove additional components from a source folder that already has components removed. There are probably other examples of this. I have found it is dangerous and at the very least, ill defined. I do not do it and I admonish all to avoid it. The results can be really bizarre and difficult to understand.

Your Last Session.ini will reflect the nLite run last made. There is a file in the nLite folder in you Program Files folder called Presets. It contains all Last Session files with a time stamp. You can Load from here or go to the folder to look around. When I start an nLite session, I select a Preset that represents what I want to do at the time. If I like the result I copy the .ini and _u.ini files and name them to suit the result. Enjoy, John.

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Thank you John.

With the help of WinMerge, I was able to quickly consolidate all the ini and _u.ini files into a single pair. I then tested these in Virtual Box with good success.

Do you know (or anyone else) of a quick way to make my flash drive BOOTABLE, so I can put the modified nlite installation on it to speed up the install on the actual Hard Disk. Otherwise I have to use the slow CD-drive in my notebook PC.

Thanks again.

Dave

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dforionstar, glad you are in good shape. There is a forum several below this one about Windows on USB. I suggest you check it out. I tried to get my system to boot memtest86 from a USB stick with no luck. I finally decided that my BIOS was not capable of booting from a USB stick at all. I will wait to try it again when I get my new build going. Here is a simple process that claims to prove whether your machine is capable of booting from a USB Stick. It did not work for me but did on one of several machines for a friend. Please let us know what you learn. Enjoy, John.

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Thanks John.

I just ran the Memtest86. I am able to boot from USB stick. In the BIOS, I had to set the USB HD to be the First Device. The Memtest86 website is primarily Linux.

I need to be able to put the XP install on the stick and be able to run Setup.exe. I do not know how to proceed. Any suggestions? It can't be as simple as just copying all the windows files that nlite created???

Thank you.

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Do not expect a big difference in install speed from USB vs CD.

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Any suggestions? It can't be as simple as just copying all the windows files that nlite created???

No, it is not.

There are three main programs/methods in the given thread:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showforum=157

Choose the one that you think better suits you:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=111406

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=120444

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=121446

Read the FAQ's before, EXPECIALLY if you are nliting, and EXPECIALLY FAQ #2:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=116766

Do not expect a big difference in install speed from USB vs CD.

Though sticks tend to be less sensitive to surface scratches....;)

jaclaz

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Thank you jaclaz!

I had already been wading through the many alleged methods to make this work. I succeeded at getting my notebook PC to boot a WinBuilder (LiveXP) session from UFD (USB flash drive), only to realize after the fact, that it will not run an nLite installation.

Specifically what should work is a simple non-PE setup, similar to a CD. This way, as the nLite configurations change, they can be copied to the UFD and run. I need a non-PE environment so that I can be sure to have access to the Windows XP Repair option. It seems many of the developers of these methods were not using nLite when their methods were developed; they were using non-nLited install sources.

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