Adding Windows Update Optional Extras
Even though you might have all the hotfixes, security patches and Internet Explorer 11 integrated, there are still other components offered by Windows Update. They include the .NET Framework and the Malicious Software Removal Tool. These are executable installers and not Microsoft Update (MSU) files so can’t be integrated. Instead, they need to be installed silently during first logon. Here’s how to add them.
1. Making sure you have downloaded the needed installers and completed step 6 of the main guide on page 1, press Post-Setup on the left of the NTLite window.
2. Click the Add button and browse to the Optional Software folder. Choose a file from the Optional Software folder. Alternatively, drag and drop the folder or individual files onto the window.
3. The setup installer will appear in the list, simply enter /q into its parameter box so the install will be silent and automatic.
Note: If you’re adding .NET Framework and its hotfixes, make sure to put the main installer first and then each update in turn from lowest KB to highest to help avoid issues. Use the Move up/down buttons to reorganize the files in the list, the install order is top to bottom. Make sure to put these updates BELOW the “Placeholder row for potentially deferred updates” to avoid unnecessary updates appearing in Windows Update.
4. Once you have added what you want, proceed to step 7 of the integrate guide on page 1 and continue with the process (Apply, enable create ISO and then Start).
Tip: You can also include third party software installers in this section such as CCleaner, Paint .NET, Skype, VLC and etc. We won’t expand on that too much as this article’s focus is on Windows updates. All you really need to know is the command line switch to make the install automatic, Something like /q, /s or /quiet works in a lot of cases.
During the Windows setup process, the entries in the Post-Setup list will be installed at the “Windows is finalizing your settings” screen, The computer could stay on this screen for several minutes depending on the number of programs and updates to install, so don’t panic.
Note: A few times while testing we encountered a problem after integration and installation that Internet Explorer keeps displaying the “meet your new Browser” welcome page and loads the tab every time you open the browser. To stop this happening you can add a command in the Post-Setup window. Click Add > Add Command and enter Reg in the left Item box, enter the following in the parameters box:
add “HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main”
/v DisableFirstRunCustomize /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
Alternatively, download the small batch file below and either add it to the Post-Setup window as a file or execute it after the installation of Windows (run as admin) if you find you have the problem.
Fitting The Integrated Windows Onto A 4GB DVD
If you integrate all updates into Windows 7, including the optional software, you are left with roughly a 4.9GB ISO image for the 64-bit version. This is too large to fit onto a single layer DVD so you have to make the ISO smaller to get it to fit. There are a few things you can do.
a) The obvious thing to do is not include optional software. As none of it is integrated into the Windows image but installed separately afterward, it makes no real difference if the software is stored on another medium. This will save around 200MB so other reduction options will still be needed.
b) Another option is removing the versions of windows from the ISO you have no use for. If you only want Home Premium or Professional for example, remove all the others which could free up a few hundred Megabytes of space.
This can be achieved by checking the “Remove non-essential editions” box on the image tasks screen before pressing the Process button. All other Windows 7 editions apart from the one you are working on will be removed. Alternatively, open the section and selectively check what you want to have removed.
c) Removing components from the Windows image via NTLite is another option although most of the components are not available for removal in the free version. However, you can remove a few things like unused languages, DVD Maker or TIFF IFilter to free up some space.
The problem with removing components is it could cause problems with the updates you are installing. Therefore, this option is always quite risky and could cause instability or crashes. You also need to apply the same settings to all Windows 7 versions inside the image or it won’t work as intended.
d) A final option to reduce the size of your ISO is removing a few of the files found on the DVD. Once you have extracted or copied the contents of the Windows disc to a folder, delete the contents of the Support and Upgrade folders to free up around 70MB.
Luckily for Windows 7 32-bit, a fully integrated install DVD is under 3.5GB so you won’t have this problem. There’s still plenty of room for other applications.
Integration With a Multiple Version Windows 7 ISO or DVD
Many users will know that an official Windows 7 DVD or ISO image only allows installation of a single version of Windows. If you have a Home Premium disc, you can’t install Professional or Ultimate with it. There is an easy way around this by deleting the ei.cfg file from the Sources folder to unlock all versions on the same disc.
When you perform an integration it is effective on the Windows version you have chosen only. To update everything on a single disc the integration has to be run on each version in turn. The major downside is this increases the time taken to create a fully updated install media by up to five times.
1. After browsing for the copied/extracted Windows 7 files in NTLite, all the versions available will show up in the source list. Choose which one you want to work on first and go through steps 5 and 6 from the main integration guide to add the updates.
2. Instead of following step 7, click the Apply button then expand the “Image process queue (reapply pending tasks to other editions)” tree in the Select image tasks window. Also, expand “Integrate – Updates” and check the relevant boxes for other editions you want to integrate the updates into.
3. As you add a task to the list the right pane will show that the same actions will be applied to each edition. Make sure to enable Create ISO at the bottom before pressing Process. All selected versions will be updated and saved to the image one by one before the final ISO is created. The optional software and post setup updates are added just once so will only appear in the first integration.
Note it is not possible to leave this process completely unattended as the free version of NTLite pops up an OK to continue box after each integrate process is complete. The next integration won’t start until you press the button.
During the install process, you will still be given the choice to install any of the Windows 7 versions available on the media, the ones you have edited through NTLite will be fully up to date once installed. This method should also work if you have created an All-in-one install media with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, although you have to be extremely careful about not integrating the wrong architecture updates, i.e. not using 32-bit updates on a 64-bit version, and vice versa.
Adding Your Own updates to the Integration Process
If you find there are any updates for Windows missing and they haven’t been included in the download lists, you can add them manually if you know the KB number of the update.
1. Visit the Microsoft Update Catalog and type the KB******* into the search box.
2. Check the details on the results page for the correct version and press the blue Download button to download the update file.
3. Move the downloaded file to the Windows Updates Downloader folder. If it’s a Microsoft Update file (.MSU) or a CAB file it can be integrated from the Updates window in NTLite. A setup executable (.EXE) can be added in the Post Setup window of NTLite.
Hiding Hotfixes In Windows Update
If you don’t want to install every single Windows 7 patch to satisfy Windows Update, specific updates can be hidden. You won’t be asked to install the update in future and it won’t be listed as pending for download or install. The Windows 10 and telemetry updates are a prime example of something you might want to hide and not install.
The process is very easy. Open Windows update, click on “xx important/optional updates are available” and find the update you want to hide. Make sure it is not ticked, right click on the entry and select Hide update. The update will then be grayed out, right click and select Restore update to bring it back again.
To restore a previously hidden update, click on Restore hidden updates on the left in the main updates window. Check the required box and click Restore at the bottom.
You will have needed to select manually check or download and choose updates during the install process or the missing updates will try to install automatically. To alter the setting to manual click the Change settings button on the left in the main updates window. Then choose the suitable option in the drop down menu and click OK.
Final Note: Users who have previously been involved with slipstreaming will know there are many other functions you can perform while integrating. You can also perform unattended installs which don’t ask for interaction during install, adjust settings such as Windows Service states, integrate drivers and remove other Windows features. The full removal feature set is only available in the paid version of NTLite which starts at $45 including 1 year’s worth of updates.
Remember that using NTLite to remove any features and components from Windows could break the integration and cause any number of issues because you might be adding updates and the components or required files have been removed.