Create a Bootable Customized Vista Install DVD

January 7, 2009

in Vista

by David Hakala

The Windows Vista installation DVD comes with many enabled features and components that most users don’t need. Depending on how old your installation DVD is, it lacks important updates and service packs that you will have to download and install if you re-install Vista. Of course, it does not contain the latest third-party device drivers. You will have to download and re-install those, too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an installation DVD that installs Vista exactly the way you want it? Here is how to make one.

Gather your Vista installation DVD, a blank DVD disk, and all the Service Packs and device drivers you need. Then download and install the freeware program vLite from



VLite automates the customization process. First, it copies the installation files from your Vista installation DVD. Then it lets you slipstream (merge) any Service Packs into the installation files. Now you can remove Windows components such as Internet Explorer, Movie Maker, Media Player, and games; tweak settings; apply downloaded patches and Hot Fixes; and add third-party drivers. You can preset service settings or disable services entirely.

When you have Vista exactly the way you want it, vLite lets you burn an ISO image to DVD or multiple CDs. The resulting disks are bootable so you can do a clean installation onto a freshly partitioned and formatted hard drive.

A customized installation DVD with the latest updates saves time and money when deploying Vista on multiple machines. Single-machine users may need to re-install Vista only rarely, but not having to download and install every update made since your Vista copy was purchased or the third-party drivers for your peripherals is a blessing.

A customized installation also saves time when you run Windows Update. That service will not check for or download updates for Vista components that are not part of your customized installation.

As you continue adding and deleting drivers and Windows components, it is a good idea to create fresh customized installation DVDs using vLite.

David Hakala has written technology tutorials since 1988, in addition to tech journalism, profitable content, documentation, and marketing collateral.