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On the internet there are about a dozen Windows operating systems that have been customized and released as an ISO download. These packages are allegedly optimized for gaming, privacy, or install size. We are often asked about these creations on this forum, and the following information is a summary of what many NTLite veterans have previously discussed.

Distributing an ISO is illegal, and all these ISO files are subject to takedown. There are several reasons why people get away with it for a while, and that is because their files are hosted in a country that does not respect intellectual property rights, and Microsoft does not have enough international cooperation to get it addressed. Another method is to bury links in something like a YouTube, Twitch, or Discord channel, and they fly under the radar until someone reports them. This is why you need an invite to join these communities, to weed out potential takedowns.

It is against the NTLite forum rules to share ISO files or links to them, and you cannot discuss anything that would directly violate the Windows license terms. You may post presets (XML) and other relevant tweaks (registry files, batch files, etcetera) to this forum, and discuss how to build a custom image, but everything needs to be transparent, with any files added as attachments directly to the post.

Custom ISO lack transparency, which means you will not be able to figure out every tweak they have used, because much of that information gets lost once the image is converted for distribution. This makes it very difficult to further customize an image since you do not know what it already contains, and some tweaking cannot be reversed, so these make terrible base images to use with NTLite.

To reverse engineer an ISO, check the root directory and see if it contains an NTLite XML. If no XML exists, properly unload any images and exit NTLite, then run NTLite again as an administrator, load the custom image, click "Preset" from the top ribbon bar, then click the small black arrow underneath the "Save" button, now select "Extract current image state" and enter a name for this preset.

After clicking "OK" the extracted XML will be visible in the right pane of NTLite, then you can right-click on it and "Edit" it to view its contents. This will display as many tweaks that NTLite is capable of identifying from the custom image, but there are still many ways the files could have been modified which cannot be tracked, as well as the countless tweaks that NTLite does not recognize.

This forum does not support custom ISO downloads, users need to contact those authors for assistance.

Custom ISO files tend to have a plethora of questionable tweaks, partly because so many people continue to include deprecated registry keys from the 2000/XP era, and because the research people do is lacking, the testing methodology is poor, and attention to detail is not always the best. This is why transparency is important, so that someone else can verify if the tweaks used are valid or even beneficial.

The irony here, is that the authors of these images often add a lot of bloat back in, by integrating and installing too many add-ons and other third party programs. Most people do not need all the .NET frameworks or C++ packages baked in, and extra software is personal preference, which should be left to the user to decide on later, rather than being integrated already.

Malware could be a concern, since you never know if there is something bad in these custom ISO files. While the popular ones are probably safe, it is still important to be aware of this potential issue, because this is one of the easiest ways to get infected online, by inviting malware in through the intentional download and install of something that is not friendly.

There is no good reason to use a machine that has mystery tweaks in it when the veterans here can build images that are equal or better, and we already have public options of those images (link) on this forum, all of which are fully transparent, legal, and supported.

Custom ISO files on the internet are nothing special, because their authors are still using NTLite to create those images, and most of the authors hide that fact from their audience so they can try to appear as a skilled wizard that has achieved something amazing all by themselves, when really they are only doing the same work we do on this forum.

NTLite is what gamers would call an "Indie developer" due to being created and maintained by one person, and it is not affiliated with Microsoft. The rest of the members here on the forum are advocates of NTLite, and we help it grow by teaching people how to use it, finding and reporting bugs, making suggestions, and helping the community troubleshoot Windows and NTLite issues.

The free version of NTLite is ridiculously powerful, but requires a license to unlock its full potential, and one of the problems with someone releasing an ISO is that all the people that download those files have not paid for NTLite licenses. These people are all now directly responsible for slowing down the growth of NTLite and the community.

It benefits everyone to help NTLite and the community grow, because as both of those improve it becomes easier for inexperienced users to create customized operating systems, for veteran enthusiasts to create more robust images, and by reporting Microsoft bugs along the way it helps us all. These are important concepts to consider as Windows becomes more complex, because it has reached a point where a tool like NTLite is almost mandatory in wrangling the bloated operating systems of modern day.

Visit the Gaming Lounge to find more guides like these.
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Even by discussing those ISO's, how to reverse engineer them for users to customise for their own Legal copies of Windows is a very grey area which "could" lead to DMCA takedown notices, all it takes is an ms johnny being in a bad mood.

So far, by being very tight on the rules discussing frankenbuild iso's we have managed to stay under the radar but with more and more people asking about them this could change and we get a strike.

garlin What we need here is for you to post how users can load those types of ISO, save the configuration so that users can use that preset xml file to create their own Legal version, then we can lock this thread and use it for information purposes only, which is what i believe was Hellbovines original intention.
  • "Starting a thread related to a 'frankenbuild' will lead to instant lock & possible deletion"

  • "Mention a frankenbuild in a post will enjoy the same passion"

  • "Starting a thread related to a 'frankenbuild' will lead to instant lock & possible deletion"

  • "Mention a frankenbuild in a post will enjoy the same passion"

That would have to come from nuhi. I think the best we can do in the meantime is to point out the folly of using those builds(as we have been doing for a long time), help people customise the actual configuration to apply on their own Legal windows(they can be useful when used for information purposes only) or point users to the projects hosted here.

A frankenbrew got me started and led me to where i am today.
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No, i just goggle(sic)-fu'd, read, lots trial and error. Luckily the "creator" supplied nLite presets and registry files.
Trying something yourself is much quicker than posting a question then wait for an answer.

Did you asked about that build(s) by it's "name" in forums where copyright and dmca matters?
That was then, this is now. I have the same stance whether im a member or a moderator.
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No, i just goggle(sic)-fu'd, read, lots trial and error. Luckily the "creator" supplied nLite presets and registry files.
Trying something yourself is much quicker than posting a question then wait for an answer.
that's it!

That was then, this is now. I have the same stance whether im a member or a moderator.
I think it isn't related to the topic.
I think it isn't related to the topic.
It is because im not just saying it because its a moderators job, i dont trust fankenbuilds, its not what they have taken out, its what they "may" have put in, they never removed exactly what i wanted to remove but having the nlite preset files was very helpful.

I have had to ask questions with w7 onwards where even using wildcards in the internet search box didnt bring up an answer or gave conflicting results, sometimes you just gotta ask.

we need to ask the right question to get the answer we need, search engines won't read our minds ;)

sometimes we need to feed our hamster to take 2 or 9 lines, mix'em and get results or as you have said earlier, go to the dark side (not asking where), search, test, rip, open it, pay attention to everything, learn what it does but not posting frankendoubts in forums where a complain won't be welcome/isn't needed
I built a wmp10 silent installer just by reading and trial and error(not much error if i remember correctly), i was proud of myself :)
I built a wmp10 silent installer just by reading and trial and error(not much error if i remember correctly), i was proud of myself :)
For english speaking people should be a lot easy against a non-english speaking people because commands are mostly english or "modded" english words.

I could mod xp sp3 bootscreen while everyone else stopped, used hexworkshop (find & replace 3 hex color codes strings in one order, not first the first found), paintshop pro (made sure to keep a bitmap color order to have a smooth image) and reshacker to replace the image but learned from someone's site the process for xp sp1, a msfn's guide page, and trial and error.

Also started mixing in one source the tablet + media center + pro but options to install any of the 3 or a mix of them with a source under 720 MB, edited the txtsetup in notepad and other files with hex editor (made a copy from the source boot files and edited), all of this to have free space in my hdd and get an uncompressed iso, thanks to ricktendo64 for the tablet and mediacenter integration packs.

A guy asked here to add read serial number and set as machine name, did a few gsearchs and found 2 info sources, mix'em and it worked but gave him to mix the sources to make it work, don't know if he did it or was lazy.

The best: some gsearchs, lots of digging in cmd to fix the "defaultuser0" account that always had after NTLite editing win 10 images, I shared this finding with only one nice guy.:cool:

I have seen that you are annoyed by "lazy reading" guys asking for videos, sorry but looks funny:D to me because I got annoyed since I started reading those request. o_O

There are "dark" forums, irc channels, telegram groups where people can go and ask about "doubtfull" (untrusted) windows mods.

Also I saw a "hurting" thread where people showed up and started uploading (some big size) images & sharing their experiences about lag but not related to NTLite (not all were NTLite users), well, that generates server costs and hurts.

I learned years ago that windows is buggy but sometimes is too buggy (thanks to some updates) and people slimming or using slim windows, thinks that is related to NTLite (same as nLite did), yeah sure, some issues are related to dependencies or deep tweaks but easy to fix by not removing/tweaking, can't say the same when the bug comes from ms, drivers or a mix (win not ready for a specific well built driver). A few years ago, I have found a picture posted by someone, a ms joke I guess, but later, I got a BSOD testing win 95 with the text as in the picture posted: This behavior is by design (a bit more or less).

been nice to "chit chat" with Emma ;)