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.
“One of the annoyances with installing a fresh copy of Windows XP these days is that the driver set is six years out of date, and there’s been a LOT of new hardware emerge since then,” APCMag writes, ” It’s one thing to install the latest graphics driver, but it’s another to have to set up everything from the chipset to the storage drivers.” TinyXP addresses this issue by adding up-to-date drivers to the installation image. A new version has been released to the dark side of the web, which has Service Pack 3 slipstreamed.
However, that’s not all TinyXP offers. True to its name, it also offers installation options that greatly reduce the footprint and size of the operating system, with the smallest installation type leaving you with a 50MB memory footprint. “The BARE option is a seriously stripped-back installation of XP – no themes or games and minimal services, but there’s still enough functionality to support all hardware types, and the system footprint is tiny – only 50MB of system RAM is used on a fresh install.”
Obviously, TinyXP isn’t exactly out of the shade when it comes to the issue of legality, so for most of us, using vLite or nLite seems like a better option. These tools are drop-dead easy to use (I’m speaking out of experience here), and you get to remove the parts you really don’t need. They also warn you of specific tools you really shouldn’t remove, so little can go wrong.