Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jun 2008 18:48 UTC, submitted by Dan Warne
Windows Through all the Windows and Microsoft bashing on the intertubes, it's almost easy to forget that Windows does, in fact, have quite a few positive aspects as well. One of those aspects is the modularity of its installation system, which allows you to create your custom installation image of Windows - with relative ease. Sadly, Microsoft decided to keep this ability away from normal users, making it a sort of OEM tool only. Lucky for us, there's a tool called vLite/nLite which allows us to slipstream fixes, applications, and drivers into the installation image as we please. This functionality of course also made its way to the 'underground' community, who used it to produce something called TinyXP. APCMag decided to take a look at it.
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Great stuff
by cmost on Mon 30th Jun 2008 19:05 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I use "TinyXP" and its big brother "TinyVista" on two of my computers. I have legal licenses for Windows XP Professional and Windows Vista Ultimate but I prefer these customized variants instead of the "real deal." The programmers who have assembled these variants should be hired by Microsoft because they dispense with the crap and extraneous bullshit that most users don't use anyway to create a lean, mean low footprint OS that takes care of business. Leave it to the hacker community to fix the problems with Microsoft's bloatware. Great job guys! Before jumping on your favorite bittorrent site to snag a copy of these customized Windows operating systems, people should be aware that malicious hackers often bundle viruses, spyware and copies of unlicensed software in these custom Windows re-spins. Just a friendly warning!

Reply Score: 10

RE: Great stuff
by sappyvcv on Mon 30th Jun 2008 19:08 UTC in reply to "Great stuff"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Do you honestly think it's that simple? That Microsoft is incapable of doing what these guys did?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Great stuff
by hobgoblin on Mon 30th Jun 2008 20:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Great stuff"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

incapable? no. unwilling? very likely...

Reply Score: 14

Pirate
by zenulator on Mon 30th Jun 2008 19:12 UTC
zenulator
Member since:
2008-06-29

You can just make your own without pirating. That way you know exactly whats there and whats not. Seriously the articles on here are getting lame.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Pirate
by fretinator on Mon 30th Jun 2008 20:09 UTC in reply to "Pirate"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

You can just make your own without pirating. That way you know exactly whats there and whats not.

Informative, useful comment.

Seriously the articles on here are getting lame.

Unfortunately, only exceeded by some comments.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Pirate
by Ben Jao Ming on Tue 1st Jul 2008 00:00 UTC in reply to "Pirate"
Ben Jao Ming Member since:
2005-07-26

The articles are fine. You're just ignoring the fact that these versions of Windows are distributed in a pirate-like manner and not necessarily meant for people with a valid license.

Less complaining and more news submissions, thanks.

Edited 2008-07-01 00:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Pirate
by Morgan on Tue 1st Jul 2008 02:57 UTC in reply to "Pirate"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Seriously the articles on here are getting lame.


Then put your keyboard where your mouth is, so to speak. Write a gripping, factual, current article and hit the submit button already! We're waiting...

Reply Score: 3

Comment by TusharG
by TusharG on Mon 30th Jun 2008 20:36 UTC
TusharG
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've used nLite and created WindowsXP installation disk for my HP laptop. HP didnot gave me the OS installation disk and only gave me a option of creating restore disk along with hell lot of crapware and unwanted programs.
I used nList along with one pirated XP disk dumped the pirated one on disk, replaced the i386 folder of pirated one with mine and burn the DVD!
I use my original serial number that came with Laptop and I dont have the HP's bolted installation but simple clean xp installed on my laptop. Rest of the laptop drivers I downloaded from HP site.
What these guys are doing is nothing a complex thing.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by TusharG
by WorknMan on Mon 30th Jun 2008 22:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by TusharG"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

used nList along with one pirated XP disk dumped the pirated one on disk, replaced the i386 folder of pirated one with mine and burn the DVD!
I use my original serial number that came with Laptop and I dont have the HP's bolted installation but simple clean xp installed on my laptop.


A couple of questions for you:

1. What is nList?
2. Why did you replace the i386 folder?

I tried something similar to what you did with my dad's new PC. The vendor put the reinstall files on the hard drive instead of giving him a restore/install CD. I tried installing a pirated copy of XP (he's got OEM Pro so used an OEM Pro disc) and using his legit key, but it didn't work. I'm not sure why.

A bit off-topic, but I find it a bit disconcerting that more and more OEMs are refusing to hand out install CDs with new PC purchases. I'm not sure of the logic behind that one.

I even went to the vendor (a local shop) and asked for a CD, but was denied. I was about to raise hell, but my dad just didn't care about it that much, so I just left it alone. Not my PC anyway ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by TusharG
by kaiwai on Mon 30th Jun 2008 22:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by TusharG"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

[q]used nList along with one pirated XP disk dumped the pirated one on disk, replaced the i386 folder of pirated one with mine and burn the DVD!
I use my original serial number that came with Laptop and I dont have the HP's bolted installation but simple clean xp installed on my laptop.


A couple of questions for you:

1. What is nList?
2. Why did you replace the i386 folder?

I tried something similar to what you did with my dad's new PC. The vendor put the reinstall files on the hard drive instead of giving him a restore/install CD. I tried installing a pirated copy of XP (he's got OEM Pro so used an OEM Pro disc) and using his legit key, but it didn't work. I'm not sure why.[/quote]

That is always the case. In Microsoft's pursuit of 'clamping down on piracy' - they've made owning a computer a giant inconvenience. This is what happens when you put anti-piracy measures above the convenience for end users.

A bit off-topic, but I find it a bit disconcerting that more and more OEMs are refusing to hand out install CDs with new PC purchases. I'm not sure of the logic behind that one.


HP, Toshiba and Lenovo are some of the companies I know who have moved over to this 'restoration cd' - their excuse is that it restores the whole machine, with all the drivers required. The old system was a hit and miss of installing the operating system, then having to load the individual driver cds for each of the bits of hardware.

To be cynical at the same time, I have a feeling they also did it so that you can't avoid installing crapware - I mean, why else would they have a restoration programme without the ability of selecting what stuff one would like loaded onto the machine?

I even went to the vendor (a local shop) and asked for a CD, but was denied. I was about to raise hell, but my dad just didn't care about it that much, so I just left it alone. Not my PC anyway ;)


Ring up Microsoft or the HP themselves. Don't blame the local shop guy, he's only person relaying the products - he can't do anything about it himself apart from ring up HP on your behalf.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by TusharG
by Doc Pain on Mon 30th Jun 2008 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TusharG"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

HP, Toshiba and Lenovo are some of the companies I know who have moved over to this 'restoration cd' - their excuse is that it restores the whole machine, with all the drivers required.


What about his thing called "restore partition" that I had heared of in relation to "Windows" - does this perform the same purpose? I mean, a partition on the harddisk that is sold anyway is much cheaper than providing a separate DVD for system repair. (I'm not a "Windows" guy", so I may ask politely.)

The old system was a hit and miss of installing the operating system, then having to load the individual driver cds for each of the bits of hardware.


But this problem occurs as soon as you have any additional hardware in or arund your system that requires additional drivers. I don't know how about this in other countries, but in Germany, installation media gets thrown into the garbage can as soon as the hardware is unpacked; "Well, I dont know what I could need this for, so..." :-)

Of course, it's basically a good idea to have the drivers availabe that turn the machine inter a usable thing right after install; the "hunt for drivers" across the Web is something that really bothers users (at least, I've been told so), but most users would definitely like to have a system that automatically loads the drivers for the hardware it has just recognized, or downloads them automatically if they are not available from the booting media.

To be cynical at the same time, I have a feeling they also did it so that you can't avoid installing crapware - I mean, why else would they have a restoration programme without the ability of selecting what stuff one would like loaded onto the machine?


This contradicts to the assumption that users will only want to use what came preinstalled. And crapware is usually installed automatically without involving the busy user. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by TusharG
by kaiwai on Tue 1st Jul 2008 01:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by TusharG"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What about his thing called "restore partition" that I had heared of in relation to "Windows" - does this perform the same purpose? I mean, a partition on the harddisk that is sold anyway is much cheaper than providing a separate DVD for system repair. (I'm not a "Windows" guy", so I may ask politely.)


There are two phases. The restoration partition is not accessible through Windows (although some hacking does make it available). When you create your restoration DVDs on Toshiba, Lenovo and HP, you create a restoration DVD. Once the restoration DVD is created (from the stuff in the hidden restoration partition), you are then given the option to then delete that partition so that you can reclaim the space.

What is basically on the DVD is a couple of giant images that are plonked onto the hard disk, and when the operating system first loaded, there are a series of scripts to run and install the various drivers as found in a directory in the C: drive. For the lenovo had, it takes quite a while.

As see with Windows XP SP3, HP tried to cut down this autodetection and installation by hard coding in things to the registry - with disastrous results when people applied Windows XP SP3.

So it is actually up to you to create the restoration DVD as soon as the laptop loads up the first time. Its a way, I guess, for them to save $2 per unit, resulting in, I assume, a few million saved each year.

But this problem occurs as soon as you have any additional hardware in or arund your system that requires additional drivers. I don't know how about this in other countries, but in Germany, installation media gets thrown into the garbage can as soon as the hardware is unpacked; "Well, I dont know what I could need this for, so..." :-)


When I bought this Dell 8400 - if you did an operating system restoration using the bundled copy of Windows XP, you would also have to run through the 8 different cds that came with the system. One for the modem, another for the chipset, another for the audio card, one for the screen etc. etc. Its alot of work, and for the average user - they expect to plonk in one cd, and come back 30 minutes and later and find that the whole system has been restored - drivers and all in one go.

Of course, it's basically a good idea to have the drivers availabe that turn the machine inter a usable thing right after install; the "hunt for drivers" across the Web is something that really bothers users (at least, I've been told so), but most users would definitely like to have a system that automatically loads the drivers for the hardware it has just recognized, or downloads them automatically if they are not available from the booting media.


Which is where the restoration dvd's come in. For me, I have nothing against the idea of the restoration dvd, what I do object to is the inability to actually choose what not to install. The ability to say, "just restore the operating system - and nothing else".

This contradicts to the assumption that users will only want to use what came preinstalled. And crapware is usually installed automatically without involving the busy user. :-)


Well, the thing is that they've not turned the desktop into an advertising platform for every two bit company who makes utterly crap software but can find no otherway to market other than to participate in shovelware.

I remember years and years ago, OEM's used to have awesome software bundles; full version card making software, encyclopedia's, budgeting and cheque book software. All of it full version, and it used to be part of their marketing - get a computer, get all this software - and you'll be ready to use the computer.

The better the software, the bigger the bundle - the better your sales were. I remember when I bought my first PC, there were 4 software bundles you could choose from - a gaming pack, office pack, family pack, and a few others.

Now, basically, the software loaded onto machines are no longer 'value added' but 'burden added' shovelware where the OEM vendor has rushed to the bottom in price, and now turning your computer into an advertisement platform just to make a decent margin on the laptop.

Hence the reason when I bought my lenovo, did a low level format, and installed Solaris on it - I've never looked back. I suggest, that unless you *really* *really* need to run Windows, look for an alternative; cheap laptop + Ubuntu, and get an Xbox, Playstation or Wii for games. Thats what I've done, and believe, I'm a whole lot happier.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by TusharG
by burnttoy on Tue 1st Jul 2008 06:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by TusharG"
burnttoy Member since:
2006-07-28

What about his thing called "restore partition" that I had heared of in relation to "Windows" - does this perform the same purpose?

Had that on a Vaio laptop. Works great until your HD dies then what do you do?! If something is going to die in a computer it'll probably be the HD. *shakes fist at Sony*. For the cost of a couple of cents of DVD this problem would "go away"... well, except the crushing feeling you get when your computer say something like "OS not found" on a black screen in white system font...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by TusharG
by Bounty on Tue 1st Jul 2008 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by TusharG"
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

or you're a regular user (meaning you don't have special boot disks and don't go around fixing your family's computers)

and need to upgrade your HDD, or want to play with linux for a while (meaning wipe whole hdd), then decide to go back to windows.... or want to make an 'ultimate' boot cd w/o trying to hack into your special proprietary (undocumented) restore software to get i386 files.

If they want to save money by not including many DVD's then they can put all the extra crappy software on 1 other "drivers and apps" DVD.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by TusharG
by kaiwai on Wed 2nd Jul 2008 01:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by TusharG"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What about his thing called "restore partition" that I had heared of in relation to "Windows" - does this perform the same purpose?

Had that on a Vaio laptop. Works great until your HD dies then what do you do?! If something is going to die in a computer it'll probably be the HD. *shakes fist at Sony*. For the cost of a couple of cents of DVD this problem would "go away"... well, except the crushing feeling you get when your computer say something like "OS not found" on a black screen in white system font...


Well, you could always create the restoration DVD as soon as you get the computer.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by TusharG
by burnttoy on Wed 2nd Jul 2008 07:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by TusharG"
burnttoy Member since:
2006-07-28

Nice idea. The "make restore DVDs" just bombed out on my Vaio leaving half burnt DVDs that were of no use at all. Go figure...

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by TusharG
by kaiwai on Wed 2nd Jul 2008 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by TusharG"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Nice idea. The "make restore DVDs" just bombed out on my Vaio leaving half burnt DVDs that were of no use at all. Go figure...


Maybe the first silly thing you did was purchase a Sony laptop - whose reputation is known for crappy reliability. Secondly, how did it 'bomb out'? saying without explaining provides me nothing.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by TusharG
by evangs on Tue 1st Jul 2008 05:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by TusharG"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

I've just recently bought an Acer laptop (after 8 years on Linux and 5 years on OS X) and I was so surprised that it didn't come with restore discs. The installation files were on a separate partition on the hard drive.

I was so annoyed that I ended up swearing for the first time in years. The wife overheard me and said we should return the laptop if that's what it does to me ;) .

Reply Score: 2

It's not illegal
by Karitku on Mon 30th Jun 2008 20:46 UTC
Karitku
Member since:
2006-01-12

I think this been said few times but it's not piratism to make custom Windows XP, it's piratism if you use serial key you didn't bought! Basicly what tinyXP and others do is use unattended installation system that is totally legal, I think even Royal theme is legally available now. Very bad article really and if you want more information how to do unattended install read here: http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/

Reply Score: 4

RE: It's not illegal
by mallard on Mon 30th Jun 2008 21:10 UTC in reply to "It's not illegal"
mallard Member since:
2006-01-06

While I agree with the sentiment that as long as you have a legal license, it doesn't matter which disc you install from or how you get that disc, the fact remains that the creators of TinyXP do/did not have permission to distribute Microsoft's copyrighted Windows, thus they infringed copyright aka "piracy".

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's not illegal
by flanque on Mon 30th Jun 2008 21:55 UTC in reply to "It's not illegal"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Maybe, but I'd imagine there'd be some clause in the EULA that prohibits it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: It's not illegal
by Morgan on Tue 1st Jul 2008 03:12 UTC in reply to "RE: It's not illegal"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Maybe, but I'd imagine there'd be some clause in the EULA that prohibits it.


And violating an EULA is not (yet) illegal. It does mean that the license to the product you paid for is null and void for legal purposes, i.e. you supposedly cannot sue Microsoft for any damages their software caused to your hardware or your life, but then if you read the EULA it also states that you cannot hold them liable if you DO otherwise abide by and agree to the contract. Because of this I've never understood the actual purpose of the EULA apart from artificially restricting what you can/cannot do with the software you paid good money for.

Even Apple is guilty of such nonsense; the agreement I click through on my eMac when I reinstall says I agree not to install OS X to a non-Apple machine. I don't really see the point in that; while I certainly won't use the PPC-only install disc on an Intel box for purely technical reasons, I have no problem buying Leopard and putting it on said generic box. I bought the computer, I bought the software, it's not my fault they work so well together and it's not my problem that Apple relies on legalese instead of physical preventive measures to avoid the union of the two.

In the future, i think we're either going to see less of EULAs or at least a more relaxed language in them due to end user apathy, or we're going to see lots of lawsuits and transition from civil to criminal liability for breaking them. The latter, if it happens, will ultimately lead to a surge in Free software use and might just change the software/OS world for the better.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: It's not illegal
by jjmckay on Wed 2nd Jul 2008 04:54 UTC in reply to "RE: It's not illegal"
jjmckay Member since:
2005-11-11

[quote]Maybe, but I'd imagine there'd be some clause in the EULA that prohibits it.[/quote]

Well it's certainly not the Santa Clause prohibiting it.

Reply Score: 2

Non-latin characters
by s-peter on Mon 30th Jun 2008 23:06 UTC
s-peter
Member since:
2006-01-29

I've tried TinyXP and was very impressed by it at first. However, there is a major problem with it; support for non-latin characters is entirely removed (couldn't even add them after the initial install). Even though my native language happens to use latin characters, I frequently use other languages that don't. Also the native languages for a huge part of the world's population don't use latin characters. So that makes it useless for many people.

Reply Score: 3

Tried one called JACKED
by No it isnt on Mon 30th Jun 2008 23:32 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

What really impressed me with XP JACKED was the fact that it would boot and run in a virtual machine (QEMU) limited to 16 MB RAM. It could even start apps, as long as they were proper 32 bit Windows apps (Win 3.x support was ripped out, and with that support for a whole number of fairly recent installers). It was mostly usable, although some core parts of the OS were missing. I used it for playing Oblivion, since I only had 1 GB RAM at the time.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by greaze
by greaze on Tue 1st Jul 2008 00:22 UTC
greaze
Member since:
2008-07-01

i don't know how deep are their modification, but if it's just a matter of setting/tweaking, they should do that as an application/livecd that you can run on a vanilla installation and get the same result.

Reply Score: 1

How to use Nlite
by mdavid2574 on Tue 1st Jul 2008 06:08 UTC
mdavid2574
Member since:
2008-07-01

Please see this article:

http://technichristian.net/?p=14#more-14

for customising Windows with nlite.

Reply Score: 1

Despite legally owning XP
by deathshadow on Tue 1st Jul 2008 20:18 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

I ran the pirated copy of corporate within a month of starting to use XP because I kept running out of activations and having to get them on the phone every five minutes because I change out my cards that often. In general I've always found pirated copies of XP with the various things nuetered (that should never have been in the OS in the first place) a whole different beast from the pile of garbage most windows users are saddled with.

Today, I run a legal install of XP x64 that I stripped down using XPLite - the reason for x64 was not so much for the extra memory support (though it is nice), but for that there's no WGA. (that it's just 2K3 with a slap of paint doesn't hurt).

Reply Score: 2