Pre-Install Windows Customization

good
key review info
application features
  • Integrate third party apps, Windows updates drivers or language packs
  • (5 more, see all...)

There is no denying that, along with installing Windows, various components will also be pushed onto the system despite the fact that you do not need them. RT Seven Lite comes to correct this problem by allowing you full pre-install customization of your copy of Windows.

Microsoft has made huge progress by redesigning the way Windows installs. The entire process takes much less time to complete, the number of steps you have to go through have been reduced and are also much clearer. However, at the end of the task, your system will still shelter data you will never use on a regular desktop.

Software such as RT Seven Lite tackle this exact issue, at the same time offering the possibility to enable your own configuration of the operating system, instead of the default one provided by Microsoft. The options available in this sort of programs let you create a custom installation copy of Windows 7, with the OS already tailored to suit your needs.

The best part is that you can run the entire procedure automatically, without having to go through the normally required default steps. Simply start the installation and it will be carried out unattended. However, for this to happen, you have to spend some time making all the tweaking.

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Getting RT Seven Lite on the system is an easy task, since the installation procedure is a standard one. Although the freebie relies on donations and advertising to cover development costs, it will not push third party apps onto your system; but its interface sports an advertising banner that promotes various products.

As the emphasis of the application is on its set of customization options, looks have been neglected in favor of a simpler, straightforward frame that can be used with minimal effort by most users, despite the fact that this sort of program addresses the advanced user segment.

The first step to customizing your copy of Windows before installation is to load it into the program. RT Seven Lite can work with both ISO (which will be extracted to a user-defined location) or you can point it to the folder of the extracted installation data. If you feed it file/folder containing multiple editions of Windows 7 the app will prompt you to choose one for customization.

Also, if you pick the 2.6.0 beta version of the app you will be able to slipstream Windows Service Pack 1 in the installation procedure. The earlier versions of the product do not feature this options and you will only be able to slipstream updates, drivers, language packs and applications.

The structure of RT Seven Lite is pretty simple. All the menus run down in the left hand side of the screen and you will have access to them only after loading Windows 7 installation files. The tasks available include slipstreaming updates, third party apps or drivers as well as deactivating components and features you do not need in Windows, tweaking up the control panel, Windows Explorer, the desktop, Internet Explorer or services.

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Moreover, the application makes available visual customization options for the OS. These include defining a different default screensaver, wallpaper, theme or modifying the logon screen or the various system sounds. Personalization settings do not stop at this as the app also features the possibility to change the background in Windows Media Player and Media Center, the Start Menu orb or the back and forward buttons in Windows Explorer.

In case you want your OS stripped of specific components, RT Seven Lite accommodates your need with no problem. “Features Removal” section is the place to disable various tools (Internet Explorer, Notepad, Wordpad), accessories (sticky notes, character map, speech support, clear type tuner) and even drivers, language packs, services or system components (Narrator, Tablet PC items).

To make it easier for you to avoid trouble, the developer marks in the list the important components likely to be needed by other applications to work properly.

The level of customization available in RT Seven Lite is deep enough to affect the shortcuts visible in Control Panel, personalize the taskbar and the Start Menu or Explorer’s context menu. You can install the OS with UAC, Windows Defender or the firewall disabled by default if you plan on replacing Microsoft solutions with your own choices.

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As mentioned earlier, although the application is a cinch to use, the changes it allows should be operated by experienced users that comprehend the consequences of every modification. Alteration of the way services run on the system is also on the list. In their case you can do the tweaking yourself for every item in the list or you can opt for predefined tweak plans (blackviper presets).

An important detail is that every element under “Services” tab is accompanied by a description informing of its purpose. This way you will be able to make the changes knowing exactly what each service does and the components it affects.

RT Seven Lite’s OS tweak possibilities go as far as allowing you to add your own registry. This way you can preserve the settings for specific application you want to slipstream into the installation.

Getting various programs on the system immediately after OS installation is not a difficult job. Under “Integration” tab RT Seven harbors a section where you can add the apps to be installed. The options available include silent installation (as long as you know the silent switch), otherwise the entire task is carried out regularly, meaning that you have to go manually through the installation screens.

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However, one of the most interesting parts in RT Seven Lite is the one offering the options for unattended installation of Windows. The set of choices here cover everything to complete getting Windows 7 on your system without you having to click once in the process.

The program can automatically punch in the product key for the OS, activate it once online, type in the name of the computer or create multiple user accounts protected by user-defined passwords. You practically get to provide all the information needed for the installation to complete without stop; this includes defining the drive you want the OS on, the network location, hiding EULA page and the regional settings (keyboard, currency and date format, time zone, UI language).

Applying all the changes to the loaded copy of Windows may take a while and resource usage is quite high, but re-packing Windows archives requires a bit of effort. During our tests we experienced some problems that caused the application to interrupt Windows image customization process and rollback all the changes; it turned out that this was caused by trying to integrate a non-existent file.

The end-result of all the customization can be wrapped up in an ISO archive or you can burn it all straight to a disc. There is also the possibility to create a bootable USB device, but all our attempts to achieve this failed as the image could not be loaded from the device during boot.

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The Good

RT Seven Lite offers an extremely wide range of customization options which cover everything from the shortcuts displayed on the desktop and control panel, defining a your own default screensaver, theme or wallpaper to changing the default status of services or disabling components you do not need.

It can turn Windows installation into a completely automatic process that does not require user input. Slipstreaming possibilities allow you to create an updated copy of Windows as well as integrate your own applications. Support for silent installation of third party programs.

The Bad

We were unable to create a bootable USB device. Despite marking the important services that might affect the well running of the system it is quite easy to make a mistake.

Once you start committing the modifications there is no possibility to turn back to a previous step: you can only start the entire process again (luckily you can export the settings, so you won’t start from scratch).

The Truth

RT Seven Lite is definitely not a tool for the average user. It is recommended to test the resulting image in a virtual machine before proceeding to the installation on a real one as there is no guarantee that the result will work.

Support is available in the program as guidelines and explanation of the purpose of each category. However, it definitely puts at your disposal an incredible number of customization options along with the possibility of creating an unattended Windows installation disc.

Note: RT Seven Lite is in beta stage and, as such, Softpedia awards it with the default 3-star rating.
user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 3
pricing / value 3


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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