BOOT CAMP 556 (24/12/08)
Installing XP on Netbook PCs, part 2
Netbooks, those cute little
laptops with built-in Wi-Fi are brilliant but the cheaper models are
pre-installed with the Linux operating system. Now, as I said last week I’m a
long-term advocate of Linux but these versions look as though they were
designed for five year olds, and they make it really difficult for users to
Most netbooks use Intel
processors and they will run Windows XP but straight out of the box it’s a bit
too big for these machines, however, there are ways to make it smaller. In fact
there is a ready-made version of XP for netbooks, (see this week’s Top Tip),
but we’re going down the DIY route and this method uses a freeware utility
called nLite (http://tinyurl.com/3npo7n).
You will also need a full retail Windows XP installation disc, preferably with
Service Pack 2, if not, don’t worry, there there’s full details of how to ‘slipstream’
XP and SP2 in Boot Camp 428 (http://tinyurl.com/5u7wef).
By the way, it should be a licensed copy, not currently installed on another
PC, as you may not be able to activate it or download security updates.
nLite is a pre-installation
configuration tool and system builders use this type of software to carry out
unattended installations, automatically load drivers, hotfixes, patches and so
on. The features we’re most interested in removes unwanted Windows components
and creates a set of files for burning a homemade installation disc. We’ll make
a start by paring XP to the bone so it fits easily into the limited storage
space on a typical budget netbook, like the 2 or 4Gb Asus Eee PC 700/900 or
Acer Aspire One.
Load your XP installation
disc and if it auto-starts click Exit. Launch nLIte, make sure English is set
as the default language and press Next. Locate the drive containing your XP
installation disc and create a folder on your hard drive for the install files,
call it ‘xplite’ or something similar. Click Next and nLite starts copying
files from the CD to the hard drive; this takes around 3 or 4 minutes.
When it has finished click
Next and the Task Selection menu opens. Here you have the option to add Windows
Service Packs, drivers, hotfixes and patches with your installation disc files.
I would keep things simple and just use the Remove, Unattended Install features
and Create ISO features. Don’t worry, it’s not fixed in stone and you can
easily go back and add or remove items and create another disc if your first
attempt doesn’t work out.
Unattended Installation and Bootable ISO then Next and you will see a tree
listing. Start with Applications and check the Applications you want to exclude
from the installation disc. There’s a trick to save you a lot of clicking.
Check the box next to each item on the tree and this selects all components for
removal, so all you have to do is go through each list and uncheck the items
you want to keep. On this list you
might want to keep things like Calculator and Paint but if you are going for a
minimalist install then check the lot!
Next Drivers and again they
can all go, though if your netbook has a built in webcam you can uncheck
Cameras and Camcorders, otherwise all of the drivers you will need are on the
utility disc that came with your netbook.
Under Hardware Support all
you need to uncheck, to keep are AGP Filters, Battery, CPU Intel, Intel IDE PCI
IDE Controller, Logical Disk Manager, MS Colour Management, Ports (COM and
LPT), Printer Support, Secure Digital Host Controller, Teletext Codec, all USB
entries, Video Capture and Windows Image Acquisition.
In the Keyboards and
Languages section you can leave everything selected for removal except United
Kingdom Keyboard and English (United Kingdom) – though obviously configure as
necessary if you live outside the UK and English is not the keyboard language
you want to use.
The next section is
Multimedia and the items you should definitely keep (i.e. unchecked) are ACM
Core Codecs, Active X, Direct X, Media Centre (if applicable), Midi audio
support, Open GL Support, Windows Media Player and Windows Media Player 6.4,
Windows Picture and Fax viewer and Windows Sounds.
In Network retain Active
Directory Services Dial-up and VPN Support, H323 MSP, Internet Connection
Wizard, Internet Explorer, IP Conferencing, MAC Bridge, Map Network Drives,
MSMail and MAPI, NetShell Cmd Tool, Network Setup Wizard, Outlook Express,
Share Creation Wizard, TAPI Application Support, TCP/IP version 6, and Windows
Messenger, if you need it.
The Operating System
options that should be unchecked are Colour Schemes, Disk Cleanup, Extra Fonts,
File System Filter, Format Drive Support, Group Policy Management (if
applicable), Help Engine, Input Method Editor, Internet Explorer Core, Jet
Database, Local Security, Logon Notifications, MDAC, MS Agent, OOBE, RIS, Shell
Media, User Account Pictures, VB5, VB6, VB Script and Zip Folders.
In Services make sure that
the following are unchecked: BITS, DHCP Client, DNS Client, Event Log, HTTP SL,
Kerberos, NLA, Network Provisioning, Protected Storage, Shell Services, SNMP,
SENS, System Monitor, Task Scheduler, Text Services, Universal P&P, Windows
Firewall/ICS, Windows Management Instrumentation, Windows Time, Wireless
Configuration. Finally, check all items for removal in the Directories listing.
That’s it for the moment; in part 3 we’ll tackle the Unattended Installation
Next Week – Installing XP on Netbook PCs, part 3
using the ISO 9660
(International Standards Organisation) filing system containing files necessary
to boot a computer and run or install software
A program or
data file that tells Windows how to communicate with a particular piece of
Windows installations files with Service Packs, updates, security patches and
are numerous versions of a specially pre-shrunk version of XP on the web,
called Tiny XP. Some releases are less than 250Mb, and it sounds ideal for
netbooks, but there are a couple of serious problems with it. This first and
most obvious one is that it is pirate software and therefore illegal, moreover
you will not be able to download updates and patches or install some Microsoft
software. More worryingly, you have no way of knowing if the download is spiked
with malware or viruses, so you could easily end up compromising the security
of any personal data stored on your netbook. In short don’t do it!
Don't forget, there's a
full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at www.pctoptips.co.uk
© R. Maybury 2008, 0301
Part 1 3 4