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Been away fora while. Which utility for unattended Win 7 install? ...


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Been away for a long time, but I'm now getting started with Windows 7.

Back in the Win XP days, I used nlite to build a customized, silent install for Win XP, and that has been a HUGE timesaver for me whenever I have had to re-install Win XP on my main desktop system. I was disappointed to see that vlite apparently doesn't support Win 7.

I am about to install Win 7 Ultimate on one of my laptop systems, and I'm not sure which is the best utility for this purpose, since there is more than one. I'm looking for a utility that has the same (or better) functionality as nlite and is also STABLE! In your experience, which utility would best meet my needs? Ideally, this utility will also allow me to automatically include the serial number for different systems (I have four now, possibly six in the future), as well as selecting diffent options for different target systems.

I'm also interested in doing a silent, unattended install for all the simple utilities like WinRAR as well as the monster packages like MS Office or Adobe Creative Suite, but not necessarily at the same time as I'm installing Windows. Which utility would you recommend for this purpose.

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You have a few choices depending on how much customization you want, however for all options your going to need to have the Windows AIK installed. Very handy tool for all deployment options and I would recommend you have a good look at it and get familiar with its tools.

For customization of a Windows install I personally use RT Seven Lite. Which is supported here on MSFN. Its one of the stickies in this Unattended section You can pretty much customize every aspect of a install. However RT Seven Lite isn't your only option.

There is also 7Customizer (which is also supported here at MSFN ) which is also a awesome tool and is fully portable as long as you have the files it needs from the Windows AIK installed. There are plenty of other tools out there that can do just as good a job, you personally just have to look through the tools yourself and find which best suites your needs.

For the installation of programs after a install you have a few options. Do you want the programs to be installed straight after the install? I.E. on first logon? If so you can make the autounattended to run programs on either first boot or first logon. This methods works fairly well but it means you have to know all of the silent switches or silent installs for all the programs you want to install.

Personally what I do for a Windows 7 install is make my own custom WIM files. This involves creating a base image with all of my programs installed sysprep it and then recapture the image, then deploy the image straight up that way once Windows has finished installing all of my programs are installed and ready to go. This method is best explained here on this thread.

Hope this clears some stuff up for you not confused you even more :/

If I have made any of it hard to understand just tell me and I'll try and make it clearer



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I've been trying to figure out the best approach also, & I'm still slightly confused. RT7lite seems good, has Black Viper services tweaks presets which I really like, but seems he has a few bugs to fix yet? 7Customizer seems stable but I want to pre-treak the services, turn off Areo, etc like RT7lite does. CalBoy , your step-by-step instructions seem complete, but I'd be afraid I'd mess something up.

What I really want is a configuration program that is id1ot-proof like X-Setup was for utilities. Something that has good info for what each action does, & warns if hazardous. I don't care if it is pre-install or post-install. Something that can install all the MS patches & 3rd party drivers & delete all the old DLLs. A mini-configurer for when I about to install with my new optimized installer to turn on/off extra application installers (eg install MSOffice & other major apps). Any advice here is appreciated.

x509, I own a reg for WinRAR but actually use 7-zip. Easier to use for me, & 7z files seem smaller.

Also, unless I'm deploying alot of computers at once, I tend not to put smaller utilities like that or web browsers, etc on install CDs anymore. There is a new version every few weeks/months so I'll end up uninstalling, downloading, & reinstalling anyway. A big program like Adobe Creative Suite would be useful; they only patch 1-2 times per year per app, unless you're going to upgrade (from CS4 to CS5) by the time you install next.

Edited by re8
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