What are your favorite free tools for Win11 Deployment and/or Customization?


muzicman82

Active member
Local time
7:56 AM
Posts
11
OS
Windows 11
Hi all,

I frequently set up new PCs for work. There are never more than maybe 2 of the same system or configuration as they have different uses. Some of them are MINIX mini-PCs and some of them are custom built desktops. Occasionally, there are random model laptops.

My favorite thing to do is just clean install Win11 and then customize. I'm pretty quick at it, but I feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over. If it's a new store-bought laptop, I don't always clean install (though I should). I often just de-bloat and go from there.

I currently use the following tools... If these are yours, THANK YOU.
  • Ninite - to install some software all at once.
  • Winstall - I'm trying to get myself to transition to this, though some things that we use are not in the repository.
  • BloatyNosy
  • Winaero Tweaker
  • Explorer Patcher
  • Software that may or may not get installed:
    • WinSCP
    • Filezilla Client
    • Chrome
    • Notepad++
    • PowerToys
    • AnyDesk
    • VLC
    • 7-Zip
    • Putty
    • Wireshark
    • Advanced IP Scanner
I guess what I'm really after is some ways I can expedite the process of getting everything above installed, and also get Windows debloated and customized. While I like the idea of making a Sysprepped image, I am not sure the same image will always satisfy all of my scenarios.

I know Winaero Tweaker can save and restore tweaks...

One thing I hate about images, is that the day after I make one, it'll be outdated and the pre-installed apps and drivers will need updated. I like the idea of using winget to just install everything at once so it always picks the latest version.

I also assume I could/should make some PowerShell scripts to silently install things not available through winget. Are there any utilities out there to help generate scripts (until I can sit down and learn PowerShell)?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
Hi all,

I frequently set up new PCs for work. There are never more than maybe 2 of the same system or configuration as they have different uses. Some of them are MINIX mini-PCs and some of them are custom built desktops. Occasionally, there are random model laptops.

My favorite thing to do is just clean install Win11 and then customize. I'm pretty quick at it, but I feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over. If it's a new store-bought laptop, I don't always clean install (though I should). I often just de-bloat and go from there.

I currently use the following tools... If these are yours, THANK YOU.
  • Ninite - to install some software all at once.
  • Winstall - I'm trying to get myself to transition to this, though some things that we use are not in the repository.
  • BloatyNosy
  • Winaero Tweaker
  • Explorer Patcher
  • Software that may or may not get installed:
    • WinSCP
    • Filezilla Client
    • Chrome
    • Notepad++
    • PowerToys
    • AnyDesk
    • VLC
    • 7-Zip
    • Putty
    • Wireshark
    • Advanced IP Scanner
I guess what I'm really after is some ways I can expedite the process of getting everything above installed, and also get Windows debloated and customized. While I like the idea of making a Sysprepped image, I am not sure the same image will always satisfy all of my scenarios.

I know Winaero Tweaker can save and restore tweaks...

One thing I hate about images, is that the day after I make one, it'll be outdated and the pre-installed apps and drivers will need updated. I like the idea of using winget to just install everything at once so it always picks the latest version.

I also assume I could/should make some PowerShell scripts to silently install things not available through winget. Are there any utilities out there to help generate scripts (until I can sit down and learn PowerShell)?
So what do you use for deployment - the above are all customisation tools?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
So what do you use for deployment - the above are all customisation tools?
I'm either clean installing with the Microsoft media creation tool and a USB stick, or just debloating a pre-installed deployment.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
What I did so far....

Windows Setup Stick (kept original install.wim, no modified image)

autounattend.xml (just a tiny one that creates a local admin user account and skips those OOBE Questions)

under sources I use the $OEM$ folder.
sources\$OEM$\$$\ ... everything in here is copied to c:\windows
sources\$OEM$\$1\ ... everything in here is copied to c:\

-----------
I place a "sources\$OEM$\$$\Setup\Scripts\SetupComplete.cmd" File
This one is called during installation....

Mine creates a file: c:\install.txt with some Infos
installed day / time ... MAC Adresses / ProductKey (if one is present in BIOS, UEFI)

It also calls 2 .bat Files
(one that adds several Registry Tweaks)
(one that uninstalls several Metro APPs)
-----------

I place Stuff in sources\$OEM$\$1\temp
that Stuff is shown on c:\temp after the installation.
Here I place some Files I want to be on the Compuer, even some installers.
You can let the installer.msi for example be automaticaly installed by calling them in a .batch file

I still learn a lot and I am not sure if this is the best way... but here is what I like

- I dont need an Image to be updated all the time
(sometimes I use a syspreped install.wim because I have Office installed and configured on that image allready.)

I can just replace the "install files for programs" on my USB Stick in that $OEM$ folder to make sure the newest version is preinstalled.

I can easily change things in my "regtweaks" or "removeapps" file


You can additionaly add a Folder on the root of the Stick.
$WinpeDriver$
and put Drivers that should be installed into it that have been exported before.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 5700X
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite V2
    Memory
    2 x 16 GB DDR 4 - 3200 - G.Skill RipJaws V
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4070
    Sound Card
    OnBoard Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Dell S2721DGF
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440 @ 165 MHZ
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Kingston KC3000 M.2PCIe 4.0
    PSU
    be quiet! Pure Power 12 M Modular 80+ Gold
    Case
    Phanteks Eclipse P600s
    Cooling
    be quit! Dark Rock Pro 4
    Keyboard
    Logitech G213 Prodigy
    Mouse
    Logitech G502 Hero
    Internet Speed
    1000 MBit Cable DSL
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender
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