Well, I had my first major experience with Nlite and Windows XP tonight. I installed a new 160 GB Seagate hard drive into Mom’s Compaq Evo 510 and I used Nlite to slipstream SP2 into Windows XP, since SP2 is necessary to properly use a drive that big.
The resulting image was far too big to fit on a CD, so I started pulling stuff out.Mainly I pulled out stuff like Outlook Express, MSN Explorer, and Media Player. I thought about removing Internet Explorer, but since Mom is going to use MS Office, I thought twice about that. Office uses IE for some things. If I’d been building the system for me, I’d pull that too.
I also removed most of the international support. I saw no need for anything other than US English and maybe Spanish, so I pulled the rest.
Installation went fast. Really fast. I laid down Windows XP, Office 2000, and Firefox in less than an hour. I used the Nlite CD to install the OS, and I installed Office and Firefox from a USB flash drive. All I need now is antivirus software and the system would be usable.
It boots lightning fast–we’re talking 20 seconds from POST to a desktop with no hourglass. Installing antivirus software will slow that down, but it’s impressive. Part of that is due to the new hard drive, but it’s a Seagate 7200.10. It’s newer and faster than the five-year-old Western Digital drive the system came with, but the 7200.10 isn’t exactly new technology anymore.
Memory usage isn’t bad either–100 megs at boot. That’ll double or triple once I install antivirus software, but at least I’m starting lower than usual.
I didn’t check disk usage, but I’m sure it’s much lower than the typical 1.5 GB.
I’m a believer. The results make me wonder just how old and slow of a computer I could get away with XP on.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.