Windows 10 (21H2) NTLite Suggestions/Bugs/Typos

Hellbovine

Active Member
(I'm using the latest NTLite version, 2.3.5.8714 x64)

Here's some suggestions I've come up with, along with a minor bug and typo, after using the latest versions of NTLite over the last few months:

01) Suggestion: I know a screenshot would help, but I use a Chromebook to visit the forums while my PC is being tweaked and isn't online... The suggestion is in NTLite's ribbon menus at the top of the program, if you left-click on "Image", "Preset", or "Tools" they all share a uniform layout, which is good. However, if you then click on the "File" tab, you'll notice that it uses a different drop-down menu instead of the ribbon. It also changes the way the tab color scheme appears, it becomes sort of popped-out and doesn't mesh with the appearance of the other three tabs. I think it would look better if the "File" tab had it's 6 menu options converted into ribbon buttons like how the other tabs are. If you aren't quite sure what I mean about the color scheme, it may be easier to turn on this Windows setting at Start > Settings > Personalization > Colors > Title bars and window borders.

02) Suggestion: In the "Remove > Components" menu, at the top in the ribbon is a "Search Box". I could go either way on this box existing, since it's replicating what already exists right below it, you can click on the grey-text boxes that say "type here to filter" and do the same thing, so it seems redundant to have the ribbon search. If you choose to keep it in the ribbon though I still found it kind of odd that the "Configure > Features" ribbon doesn't also have a Search Box. Either way, whatever happens I feel like consistency is the key. This suggestion plays into the next one too.

03) Suggestion: If you go to the "Configure > Settings" you'll notice that the list of items has it's own version of a filter/search box combo, like a cross between what the Components menu has versus the Features menu. I don't have any preferences really about which type of search is best, but they should all be consistent and uniform.

04) Suggestion: One thing that I did like about the ribbon "Search Box" though is that by default anything you type into that specific box will automatically use the "Expand all" option for the search even if everything is currently collapsed, allowing you to more easily see what is popping up in your results. If you instead use the "type here to filter" it does not expand automatically. Can this automatic expansion effect be added into the "type here to filter" boxes? (if these filter boxes remain in future updates anyway).

05) Suggestion: This is a big one for me personally, is it possible to rename some of the components in NTLite to match how they appear to the users from within Windows? What I mean specifically is if you go to NTLite's menu "Remove > Components > Windows Apps > Apps" and then find something like "ZuneMusic" for example, that app is actually labeled as "Groove Music" when it appears in the Start menu in Windows and also inside "Start > Settings > Apps" within Windows. This was one of the more confusing things to figure out initially when I started using NTLite, and I imagine it must affect other users as well, especially when we talk about more casual users this kind of stuff can be overwhelming at first to figure out which then leads to some people abandoning NTLite. However, I do not know if perhaps there is a good reason for why it is the way it is, maybe the different versions of Windows constantly rename these things and so NTLite had to just pick their own naming scheme and go with that for consistency? If that's the case I can understand if this would be too difficult to change in NTLite.

06) Bug: I used NTLite on a live install and removed OneDrive. It appeared to process successfully and asked me to reboot, and I did. However, once I got back into the Windows desktop I went into the Windows "Start > Settings > Apps" menu and OneDrive was still present. When I clicked on it and then selected "Uninstall" from within Windows it then produced an error saying "Windows cannot find ...AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\..." and now OneDrive remains in the app list, even though it's not actually installed anymore. I don't think that anything I did on my side was responsible for this since I did not use NTLite to remove anything else, I imagine this can be reproduced every time I reformat and reinstall Windows and try this again on a live install.

07) Bug: I haven't done any research to even know what this is, but for whatever reason on a fresh Windows 10 install I get the error "Service MsQuic description extract error 2." within the NTLite txt log that is created after I use NTLite to load a live Windows. Everything still seems to work properly though, I was still able to uninstall FeedbackHub for example on a live Windows, and NTLite processed it without any issues appearing to the user--I never would have known if I didn't check the txt log.

08) Typo: No big deal obviously, but there's a minor typo in the txt logs that appear whenever I try to uninstall something on a live Windows, it says "Waiting other operations to finish" and it's missing the word "for" in there, so "Waiting for other operations to finish".

09) Typo: Just curious, but I noticed there's quite a few instances inside the txt logs that just have a timestamp and then a pound sign (# ) with a whitespace to the right of it... What does this mean? Are these lines necessary? If they're unimportant it would shorten up the lines in the logs if they were removed.

10) Typo: Inside that same txt log the timestamps could be altered so that they always left-align and indent equally. What I mean is right now the timestamps on 24 hour time will appear like this:
5/18/2022 12:56:06 PM
5/18/2022 1:00:27 PM
If it were to put the date and hours with placeholder digits it would always be equally monospaced no matter what date or time combo it was:
05/18/2022 01:00:27 PM
Again, not a big deal, but if you're someone that likes to fiddle with logs it's the small details like this that get noticed.

Thank you for your time, and long live NTLite!
 

Hellbovine

Active Member
11) Bug: NTLite doesn't seem to save to the settings xml that I want it to be fullscreen. Every time I open the program it reverts to windows position of 1920x1040 rather than utilizing my full 1920x1080 and so I have to click the "maximize" button each time I use the program.
 
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Hellbovine

Active Member
12) Question: While using NTLite to uninstall various apps I've ran across an oddity that has caused confusion due to its naming. In Windows if you go to "Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & Features" you will see "Mixed Reality Portal" which can be uninstalled from within Windows. If you want to uninstall it using NTLite then you will navigate to "Components > Windows Apps > Apps" and uncheck "MixedReality.Portal" and it works as expected. The confusion though is that there is another item up one parent directory inside "Components > Windows Apps" called "Windows Mixed Reality" which doesn't seem to be related? There's a few different apps that have some confusion like this too, and I suspect it's a good bit of confusion for other users, especially casual NTLite users. Some of them can be figured out easier, like SkypeApp versus Skype ORTC, at least with the ORTC I can Google around and realize that it is probably the Skype components for the web-browser version of Skype (not the installed app version) and this ORTC is probably handling some sort of plug-in for browsers. But, what is this "Mixed Reality Portal" checkbox in NTLite for?

Another better example is this: In NTLite go to "Configure > Features" and you'll notice there's 2 identically named "Windows Media Player" checkboxes, one residing inside "Features On Demand (Capabilities)" and one inside "Media Features". It's too difficult to know what I'm uninstalling when I pick one of these options without guess and check comparisons to the Windows desktop after I uninstall one of them randomly.

The same issue applies to "Internet Explorer 11" as well, there's 2 identical options.
 
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Hellbovine

Active Member
13) Suggestion: Using NTLite to remove Features On Demand, such as Math Recognizer, Steps Recorder, etcetera, doesn't display how many files or disk space was saved after the processing is completed by NTLite, like it does for items removed from the "Components" menu. I'm not sure if this is intended, but it seems like a useful thing to add.
 

garlin

Moderator
Staff member
05) Suggestion: This is a big one for me personally, is it possible to rename some of the components in NTLite to match how they appear to the users from within Windows? What I mean specifically is if you go to NTLite's menu "Remove > Components > Windows Apps > Apps" and then find something like "ZuneMusic" for example, that app is actually labeled as "Groove Music" when it appears in the Start menu in Windows and also inside "Start > Settings > Apps" within Windows. This was one of the more confusing things to figure out initially when I started using NTLite, and I imagine it must affect other users as well, especially when we talk about more casual users this kind of stuff can be overwhelming at first to figure out which then leads to some people abandoning NTLite. However, I do not know if perhaps there is a good reason for why it is the way it is, maybe the different versions of Windows constantly rename these things and so NTLite had to just pick their own naming scheme and go with that for consistency? If that's the case I can understand if this would be too difficult to change in NTLite.
NTLite favors whatever the package name was when a feature was introduced. Could additional aliasing help? Yes, but you run the risk of absurd descriptions like Windows Media Player/ZuneMusic/Groove Music. There are currently 2594 unique strings in Lang\Template.xml, which is where all component descriptions are written.

Forking Template.xml for the different editions (or sub-editions) isn't practical. The greater challenge (and I've had this discussion before with nuhi) is how do you span W7 - W11 and keep more or less the same UI? Unless it gets rewritten as "skins" that NTLite plugs in for specific Windows editions.

06) Bug: I used NTLite on a live install and removed OneDrive. It appeared to process successfully and asked me to reboot, and I did. However, once I got back into the Windows desktop I went into the Windows "Start > Settings > Apps" menu and OneDrive was still present. When I clicked on it and then selected "Uninstall" from within Windows it then produced an error saying "Windows cannot find ...AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\..." and now OneDrive remains in the app list, even though it's not actually installed anymore. I don't think that anything I did on my side was responsible for this since I did not use NTLite to remove anything else, I imagine this can be reproduced every time I reformat and reinstall Windows and try this again on a live install.
The root cause is removing AppX packages doesn't de-provision them from users' profiles. Those are two distinct steps you're expected to follow.

(NTLite does) DISM /Remove-ProvisionedAppxPackage
(PowerShell can do) Get-AppxPackage -all *OneDrive* | Remove-AppxPackage -AllUsers

Why doesn't Windows clean up the profiles when you remove AppX packages? MS intends to preserve the AppData profile in case the package gets re-installed in the future. Much like a Win32 uninstaller might confirm if you wanted to delete all settings and saved data.

This would be a feature request, a setting to force NTLite to nuke everyone's provision data before package removal.

07) Bug: I haven't done any research to even know what this is, but for whatever reason on a fresh Windows 10 install I get the error "Service MsQuic description extract error 2." within the NTLite txt log that is created after I use NTLite to load a live Windows. Everything still seems to work properly though, I was still able to uninstall FeedbackHub for example on a live Windows, and NTLite processed it without any issues appearing to the user--I never would have known if I didn't check the txt log.
That's normal. Everyone gets that error. QUIC is a cross-platform library for faster network transfers.
 

garlin

Moderator
Staff member
11) Bug: NTLite doesn't seem to save to the settings xml that I want it to be fullscreen. Every time I open the program it reverts to windows position of 1920x1040 rather than utilizing my full 1920x1080 and so I have to click the "maximize" button each time I use the program.

What I do is remove WindowPosition from NTLite's settings.xml and allow it to recreate it.
Code:
<WindowPosition>0,3840,0,2122</WindowPosition>
 

garlin

Moderator
Staff member
13) Suggestion: Using NTLite to remove Features On Demand, such as Math Recognizer, Steps Recorder, etcetera, doesn't display how many files or disk space was saved after the processing is completed by NTLite, like it does for items removed from the "Components" menu. I'm not sure if this is intended, but it seems like a useful thing to add.
Depends on which Feature. Some are pre-installed in the image and can be removed. Others are just placeholders for "on demand" installation from the WSUS servers. Would be nice to have, but they're small potatoes.

Available Features on Demand
Code:
Internet Explorer 11      Install size: 1.66 MB
Math Recognizer           Install size: 32.00 MB
Notepad (system)          Install size: 716.79 KB
OneSync                   Install size: 12.83 MB
OpenSSH client            Install size: 5.28 MB
PowerShell ISE            Install size: 3.58 MB
Print Management Console  Install size: 2.50 MB
Quick Assist              Install size: 1.51 MB
Steps Recorder            Install size: 1.25 MB
Windows Fax and Scan      Install size: 18.76 MB
WordPad                   Install size: 6.57 MB
Wifi drivers              Install size: ~5MB
Ethernet drivers          Install size: 6.57 MB
 

nuhi

NTLite developer
Staff member
(I'm using the latest NTLite version, 2.3.5.8714 x64)

Here's some suggestions I've come up with, along with a minor bug and typo, after using the latest versions of NTLite over the last few months:
Thanks.

01) Suggestion: I know a screenshot would help, but I use a Chromebook to visit the forums while my PC is being tweaked and isn't online... The suggestion is in NTLite's ribbon menus at the top of the program, if you left-click on "Image", "Preset", or "Tools" they all share a uniform layout, which is good. However, if you then click on the "File" tab, you'll notice that it uses a different drop-down menu instead of the ribbon. It also changes the way the tab color scheme appears, it becomes sort of popped-out and doesn't mesh with the appearance of the other three tabs. I think it would look better if the "File" tab had it's 6 menu options converted into ribbon buttons like how the other tabs are. If you aren't quite sure what I mean about the color scheme, it may be easier to turn on this Windows setting at Start > Settings > Personalization > Colors > Title bars and window borders.
File is a menu, concerning the tool itself, while the rest mentioned is the toolbar for operating on the image.
You can find the same approach in any app, the "burger" menu is the File menu, not often used.

02) Suggestion: In the "Remove > Components" menu, at the top in the ribbon is a "Search Box". I could go either way on this box existing, since it's replicating what already exists right below it, you can click on the grey-text boxes that say "type here to filter" and do the same thing, so it seems redundant to have the ribbon search. If you choose to keep it in the ribbon though I still found it kind of odd that the "Configure > Features" ribbon doesn't also have a Search Box. Either way, whatever happens I feel like consistency is the key. This suggestion plays into the next one too.
Search jumps through the components page and points to the component.
While filter removes all from the list that are not having text from the filter.
Then you can also jump with search within the filtered results.

Features is much smaller than components, easily scrollable to not necessitate Search on top of a filter.

03) Suggestion: If you go to the "Configure > Settings" you'll notice that the list of items has it's own version of a filter/search box combo, like a cross between what the Components menu has versus the Features menu. I don't have any preferences really about which type of search is best, but they should all be consistent and uniform.
I don't see search on the Settings page, same story as Features.

04) Suggestion: One thing that I did like about the ribbon "Search Box" though is that by default anything you type into that specific box will automatically use the "Expand all" option for the search even if everything is currently collapsed, allowing you to more easily see what is popping up in your results. If you instead use the "type here to filter" it does not expand automatically. Can this automatic expansion effect be added into the "type here to filter" boxes? (if these filter boxes remain in future updates anyway).
Filter on Settings does what you said (expands on filtering), but the one on Features does not, will see if it can be the same, they are not the same controls.
Imagine typing "A", might be too cluttered at first when it comes to components, then what about when filter is removed, are the expanded states remembered or undone... too complex, there is the expand all button for it.

You can see the effect on Settings currently, I don't like it, it remains expanded after filter is removed, too much to scroll.

05) Suggestion: This is a big one for me personally, is it possible to rename some of the components in NTLite to match how they appear to the users from within Windows? What I mean specifically is if you go to NTLite's menu "Remove > Components > Windows Apps > Apps" and then find something like "ZuneMusic" for example, that app is actually labeled as "Groove Music" when it appears in the Start menu in Windows and also inside "Start > Settings > Apps" within Windows. This was one of the more confusing things to figure out initially when I started using NTLite, and I imagine it must affect other users as well, especially when we talk about more casual users this kind of stuff can be overwhelming at first to figure out which then leads to some people abandoning NTLite. However, I do not know if perhaps there is a good reason for why it is the way it is, maybe the different versions of Windows constantly rename these things and so NTLite had to just pick their own naming scheme and go with that for consistency? If that's the case I can understand if this would be too difficult to change in NTLite.
Parsing of app names is my wish as well, it is mildly improved in the next one where it shows real names for externally added appx/msix packages for integration, but the built-in ones have their names buried in the resources.
Will be done eventually, it's not impossible and didn't want to replace all of them manually - wanted a generic solution to actually read it from the files which takes time and never seemed too important compared to the other tasks.

06) Bug: I used NTLite on a live install and removed OneDrive. It appeared to process successfully and asked me to reboot, and I did. However, once I got back into the Windows desktop I went into the Windows "Start > Settings > Apps" menu and OneDrive was still present. When I clicked on it and then selected "Uninstall" from within Windows it then produced an error saying "Windows cannot find ...AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\..." and now OneDrive remains in the app list, even though it's not actually installed anymore. I don't think that anything I did on my side was responsible for this since I did not use NTLite to remove anything else, I imagine this can be reproduced every time I reformat and reinstall Windows and try this again on a live install.
Confirmed, fixed for next, appreciated.

07) Bug: I haven't done any research to even know what this is, but for whatever reason on a fresh Windows 10 install I get the error "Service MsQuic description extract error 2." within the NTLite txt log that is created after I use NTLite to load a live Windows. Everything still seems to work properly though, I was still able to uninstall FeedbackHub for example on a live Windows, and NTLite processed it without any issues appearing to the user--I never would have known if I didn't check the txt log.
It's just cosmetic, service points but misses the description, will remove that message.

08) Typo: No big deal obviously, but there's a minor typo in the txt logs that appear whenever I try to uninstall something on a live Windows, it says "Waiting other operations to finish" and it's missing the word "for" in there, so "Waiting for other operations to finish".
:) thanks, corrected.

09) Typo: Just curious, but I noticed there's quite a few instances inside the txt logs that just have a timestamp and then a pound sign (# ) with a whitespace to the right of it... What does this mean? Are these lines necessary? If they're unimportant it would shorten up the lines in the logs if they were removed.
They are for debugging purposes, something about where the code has been, sort of a router ping.
If you have excessive number of them, I would be interested to see that log.

10) Typo: Inside that same txt log the timestamps could be altered so that they always left-align and indent equally. What I mean is right now the timestamps on 24 hour time will appear like this:
5/18/2022 12:56:06 PM
5/18/2022 1:00:27 PM
If it were to put the date and hours with placeholder digits it would always be equally monospaced no matter what date or time combo it was:
05/18/2022 01:00:27 PM
Again, not a big deal, but if you're someone that likes to fiddle with logs it's the small details like this that get noticed.
It's user's choice how to present the time/date, once set it is static.

11) Bug: NTLite doesn't seem to save to the settings xml that I want it to be fullscreen. Every time I open the program it reverts to windows position of 1920x1040 rather than utilizing my full 1920x1080 and so I have to click the "maximize" button each time I use the program.
OK, fixed in next.

12) Question: While using NTLite to uninstall various apps I've ran across an oddity that has caused confusion due to its naming. In Windows if you go to "Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & Features" you will see "Mixed Reality Portal" which can be uninstalled from within Windows. If you want to uninstall it using NTLite then you will navigate to "Components > Windows Apps > Apps" and uncheck "MixedReality.Portal" and it works as expected. The confusion though is that there is another item up one parent directory inside "Components > Windows Apps" called "Windows Mixed Reality" which doesn't seem to be related? There's a few different apps that have some confusion like this too, and I suspect it's a good bit of confusion for other users, especially casual NTLite users. Some of them can be figured out easier, like SkypeApp versus Skype ORTC, at least with the ORTC I can Google around and realize that it is probably the Skype components for the web-browser version of Skype (not the installed app version) and this ORTC is probably handling some sort of plug-in for browsers. But, what is this "Mixed Reality Portal" checkbox in NTLite for?
Sort of agree, the App name reading upgrade mentioned earlier might help.
In this case Windows Mixed Reality component is a complete support, while portal is just a portal app, whatever that is does not matter if we're nitpicking.
Also portal should be tagged as a dependee on Windows Mixed Reality, if not, let me know.

Another better example is this: In NTLite go to "Configure > Features" and you'll notice there's 2 identically named "Windows Media Player" checkboxes, one residing inside "Features On Demand (Capabilities)" and one inside "Media Features". It's too difficult to know what I'm uninstalling when I pick one of these options without guess and check comparisons to the Windows desktop after I uninstall one of them randomly.
The same issue applies to "Internet Explorer 11" as well, there's 2 identical options.
The FOD vs Feature dilemma, yes, look at it like this:
FOD is the existence of the feature, it can be installed or completely removed - basically a new generation features.
Feature can be enabled/disabled, it is not actually removed completely when disabled, still existent in WinSxS.
Once FOD removes IE for example, the Feature IE does not exist.
On top of that there is a component IE which also can be removed with a custom engine for those Windows that don't have a FOD or FOD removes incompletely.

The dream is to have a page where you can choose 1 action on 1 listing of a component/package, one day... was planning to do that this year, but then Appx/Msix became complex and required more time, ISO reading support on a horizon and ISO to VM start automation is bumping its head.

13) Suggestion: Using NTLite to remove Features On Demand, such as Math Recognizer, Steps Recorder, etcetera, doesn't display how many files or disk space was saved after the processing is completed by NTLite, like it does for items removed from the "Components" menu. I'm not sure if this is intended, but it seems like a useful thing to add.
FODs are removed by DISM, and packages have only total size listed in them, not per FOD, as far as I see.
Different Windows and patch states differ in those sizes, so it's not worth statically defining them, same could be said for component sizes ... :)
 

Hellbovine

Active Member
Thank you both for looking into these, I appreciate it. I should have clarified in my original post too that I know most of this is minor stuff, but while working on projects of my own sometimes you just don't feel like tackling something big, so being able to work on a few minor things as a way to take a "break" and still be productive can be nice, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to post these :)

I read through all the replies, and I agree with pretty much everything, I did have a follow up question:

When it comes to the FOD stuff, I planned on testing it further today, but I'd like to get confirmation here too just so I know for sure. So when it comes to the NTLite "Configure > Features > Features On Demand (Capabilities)" that "Windows Media Player" when unchecked will not only uninstall Windows Media Player from the Windows "Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Optional features" menu, but it will also permanently remove the checkbox and the actual menu item that used to be inside the Windows "Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off" for "Windows Media Player" which means that it now cannot be re-installed by a user, right?

But, if I were to instead remove "Windows Media Player" from the NTLite "Configure > Features > Media Features" that "Windows Media Player" would remove the checkmark from within the Windows "Turn Windows features on or off" but I could still re-install it as a user if I wanted to?

That's all making sense now. I'm not used to removing components with NTLite, so I'm really taking the time to understand how NTLite and Windows work together, and there's just a lot to learn. In the past the OS wasn't so bloated and I was always able to tweak things the way I wanted by creating and importing .reg files, drivers, and windows updates, but it's just not that simple anymore.
 
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garlin

Moderator
Staff member
You're on the right track.

Some FOD's can be "soft" disabled using DISM (hence "on demand"), meaning users are denied the feature. But no packages are actually removed.
This is the only option MS allows admins using the normal deployment tools.

NTLite supports both soft disabling, and actual package removals. Obviously if the package is gone, then soft disabling is moot. And without the FOD metadata, you can't ask for the package to be reinstalled.

Look at https://www.ntlite.com/community/in...er-lite-offline-os-disk-image.2604/post-25819 for the extreme example.
 

Hellbovine

Active Member
I remembered another thing I wanted to add to this thread, now that I'm doing another round of ISO testing:

When dealing with an ISO in NTLite in the "Finish > Apply" menu on the left-hand side you have the option of "Reapply tasks across editions" and I noticed two things.

14A) The first is a suggestion to sort the child options alphabetically, or better yet keep them organized in the same way the main menu on the left-hand side has them, this way things like "Configure - Features" and "Configure - Settings" are next to each other, etcetera. Right now these different groups aren't grouped together, like "Remove - Components" is in between the two options I just listed for example.

14B) In that same section I have an option to reapply "Integrate - Command" however in the main menu on the left of NTLite there isn't any "Command" section. Is this perhaps an obsolete option, maybe that menu was removed in a past NTLite update?
 
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garlin

Moderator
Staff member
14A) Reapply tasks are grouped in the order they're processed. Add features & updates, remove components, configure what's left, add drivers & post-setup automation.

14B) Alas, the unexplained XML stub in everyone's preset. Like a human appendix??
Code:
        <Commands>
                <PostUpdates>
                        <!--<Command>example [MOUNTDIR]\Windows parameters</Command>-->
                </PostUpdates>
        </Commands>
 

garlin

Moderator
Staff member
14B doesn't exist in presets created by older NTLite builds. If you load a preset, and save it unchanged 14B appears.
 
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