Guide: NTLite For Beginners

Hellbovine

Well-Known Member
The following is a beginner's guide on using NTLite. It is designed to take inexperienced computer users through the entire process, step-by-step, so there is nothing for them to interpret.

If you follow these directions you will end up with a simple base image that you can use to install a clean version of Windows onto your computer. Alternatively, you could take this base image and continue tweaking it further with NTLite to suite your specific needs.

This guide is focused on Windows 10, version 21H2 (also called the November 2021 update) since it is the latest, official version, that is available from Microsoft at the time this guide was created. I do not recommend using Windows 11 right now, since it is too young and all new operating systems take several years to mature and become stable (3rd party software and drivers need time to update too).

STEP 1: DOWNLOAD AN OFFICIAL ISO FROM MICROSOFT
For this first step go to the official Microsoft page where the Media Creation Tool and ISO file are available for download:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO
Note: version 22H2 is out now, so the Microsoft ISO link will point to that unfortunately. Because 22H2 is bugged and should not be used (link), you will have to use another website, like uudump.net or the Rufus script to download the 21H2 ISO.

This is the first place where many users will run into trouble, because this web page tries to detect what kind of device you are using, and then automatically shows you the Media Creation Tool or the ISO file, depending on what it detects.

1A) If you are on a Windows device you will need to download the Media Creation Tool, and then run it as an administrator. Accept the license terms, then select "Create installation media" when given the option. On the next screen you may uncheck "Use the recommended options" and then change the language, edition, and architecture if needed. At the next screen choose the "ISO file" option to begin downloading. Once the download is complete, skip the "Burn the ISO to a DVD" screen and choose "Finish" to close the tool.

1B) If you are on a non-Windows device, such as a Chromebook, then you will be able to skip using the Media Creation Tool and are able to download the ISO directly from Microsoft. Just scroll down to "Select edition" and select the Windows 10 ISO, then click "Confirm", now choose your language and click "Confirm" again below that. The page will refresh automatically and then you can choose from 64-bit or 32-bit to download.

Note: all users should choose 64-bit unless you have a specific reason you must use 32-bit, as the latter is being phased out and made obsolete. Also, be aware that the ISO file is up to 5.5 GB and can take a long time to download on a slow internet connection, so it is best to download via Ethernet rather than Wi-Fi.

STEP 2: PREPARE A USB THUMB DRIVE
In this step you need to get a USB drive that has at least 8 GB or more capacity.

2A) Format the drive (this erases everything on it). To format the drive go to the drive, right-click on it and format it as exFAT or NTFS (do not use FAT32). Click the "quick format" option and then also change the label (name) to W10 and then start the format process.

Note: I highly recommend getting a USB 3.0 or 3.1 thumb drive to use, as they are much faster. Also be sure to plug the drive into a high speed slot. These are usually labeled as "SS", "Superspeed", or with a "3.0/3.1" label on the motherboard or the computer case. You really want a high quality USB drive, and I personally recommend the Samsung 3.1 BAR Plus 32 GB since it is cheap, fast, and has a lot of features to help keep your data safe.

STEP 3: DOWNLOAD NTLITE AND PREPARE ISO
In this step we are going to download the NTLite program and prepare the Windows ISO for editing.

3A) Visit https://www.ntlite.com/download/ and download the latest, stable version of NTLite, which is about 23 MB in size. Use whichever version (64-bit or 32-bit) that matches the operating system you downloaded earlier. Save the file to a location you can find easily, then when it is finished downloading, run it as an administrator. NTLite is a portable program so it will extract itself rather than installing.

3B) Once the ISO download is finished, go to the location where you saved the ISO file and then right-click on it and select "Mount" to access the files inside. Press ctrl+a on the keyboard to select all files, right-click and choose "Copy", then go somewhere else like your desktop and right-click to create a new folder. Name the folder W10 and then go inside the folder and right-click in the blank area and select "Paste". We are doing this because we do not want to work on these files while they are in a mounted directory. Now exit out of everything and reboot before moving forward.

STEP 4: CONVERT ISO TO WIM
The ISO downloaded from Microsoft needs to be converted into WIM format before it can be used. To do this, follow the list below.

4A) Temporarily disable your antivirus (it slows down NTLite), and then run NTLite as an administrator. From the menu bar at the top, click on "Image", then click "Add", and select "Image directory". Navigate to your desktop and click on the W10 folder we previously created and click the "Select Folder" button.

4B) Now in the middle of the screen in NTLite it should have a header that says "Image history" with multiple Windows 10 operating systems to choose from. Double click on the one that matches the type of license you own. Most people will want to choose the "Windows 10 Home" edition, unless you know for sure you own something else. NTLite will present a message saying that it needs to convert to the WIM format, so click "OK" to begin. The conversion process will take several minutes, depending on your processor speed, and will have a box that says "Completed" when it is finished. When it is complete, press "OK" and then NTLite will automatically begin mounting this edition so we can edit it.

4C) Once the mounting process is completed the NTLite pages will update and new menus on the left side will appear. There are only a few tweaks to do in this guide, then any future editing will be up to each user to research (you can get help on the NTLite forums). For now, on the left menu click on the "Apply" option. Now in the middle of the screen click on "Save the image and trim editions". This option will make it so that all of the other unneeded editions of Windows are removed. Now click on the "Don't backup log and preset" option as well since it is not needed right now. With these 2 options selected, click on the "Process" button on the top left, and click "Yes" to the screen that appears, and NTLite will begin processing the image.

4D) Once NTLite is finished processing, click on "File" from the top menu and select "Exit". You now have a fresh copy of Windows 10 on your desktop you can use to install on any computer (you still need a license to activate it). The W10 folder on your desktop should be backed up somewhere safe so that you have an original copy you can refer back to at any time. This is especially important if you want to edit the operating system to include additional tweaks, as you will make mistakes along the way and will inevitably need a fresh copy of files to use. With a backup copy though, you will not need to repeat all of the steps in this guide again.

4E) Once you are done backing up the folder somewhere, go inside the W10 folder on your desktop and use ctrl+a to select all of the files, right-click and choose "Copy", and then navigate to your USB that was formatted earlier and paste the files directly into the root of the USB drive. Do not include the actual W10 folder itself, only the files inside it. You now have a USB drive that you can boot into to install Windows!

For more guides like this one, visit the following link:
https://www.ntlite.com/community/index.php?threads/gaming-lounge.2999/
 
Last edited:

barberouge

New Member
Thanks HellBovie, you are a fantastic member.

I would share that, you may download ISO directly from Microsoft Website if you change your user agent to linux (in firefox or chrome).
Also, I just use 7zip to unpack the iso to a folder, then start ntlite and point that folder.
 
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