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Stripped Windows?

This is a sort of niche problem, but I figured I'd ask.

I'm working on a project to basically strip Windows to the bare essentials - remove all the unnecessary components, and create a dedicated workstation.

The idea is to create a more stable, faster, and more flexible Windows. It's only going to run a couple of programs and the hardware configuration will be known.

I've heard of 16 megabyte installs of Windows 98 for embedded applications, and know people who've reduced their install to approx. 40mb (I've seen it done), and yes it does get more stable the more you remove.

Is anyone familiar with this kind of thing? Does anyone have any pointers?
Thursday, June 5, 2003

There are two official MS alternatives for this kind of application: Windows NT Embedded, and Windows XP Embedded. I know of no such officially sanctioned alternative for the 16-bit-compliant Win 9x/ME family. I suspect that stripped Win 9x would be a do it yourself hackfest, unless I am grossly misinformed.

These developer-specific products come with configuration software to help you create the target installation set of files.

The purpose is not to reduce the size of the installation in and of itself - it is to remove components of Windows that can't run on the target system and to add replacements for standard components that will run on the target. For instance, you could create a version of Windows NT that is headless (no display), or a version that supports something that NT itself doesn't (like USB.)

I've not worked with this stuff, but that's my take on the territory.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, June 5, 2003

Thanks. I wasn't aware that Micorsoft actually supported this kind of thing. I thought they left it up to 3rd party vendors entirely to figure out.

I don't blame them for not supporting 9x when NT was available to them.
Thursday, June 5, 2003

You might want to take a look at . The stripped down Win9x you've heard about comes from there. I've used the 98lite product in the past and had suprisingly good results. The other option to look at is WinPE. This is based on the XP kernel but allows a lot of modification and customization. If you're a big Microsoft OEM customer you probably get the OPK (oem preinstallation kit) that I believe includes WinPE. Otherwise there is a project out there to custom-create WinPE but it ran into some legal difficulties. The author promises to fix all legal complications in the next version however. The interim page is at .

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Used to be free, I'm sure -- now they talk about a 'downloadable demo' so I'm guessing you have to fork out.

Note: I've not used this, just something I remember seeing from when I upgraded to Win98.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

You mean without a browser?  NOT POSSIBLE!

Nat Ersoz
Thursday, June 5, 2003

I know about 98lite. There's still a free version called 98 preview. It does everything but go the last mile to "micro" install.

Thanks for the pointer on PE, I'll look into that.
Thursday, June 5, 2003

I presume you are being sarcastic Nat. It was clearly proved that IE could be removed from Win 98 with no deleterious effect.

The problem however is that many other apps expect IE, or even IE5

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 5, 2003

I don't want to get flamed, but you could consider Linux desktops. They're cheap, configurable, and easy to lock down. You did not specify which apps you needed to run. There are many Linux apps that might meet your basic Window users' needs. Or you could explore CodeWeaver's CrossOver plugin to run Windows apps using WINE.

Friday, June 6, 2003

It's for recording audio, and we've chosen our program.

Linux is a definate possibility, but I don't think it's quite there yet for audio - very few applications, very few hardware manufacturers support it, etc. Maybe in a few years.
Friday, June 6, 2003

Just to mention:
I've stripped Windows 3.1 to a one 3.5" Diskette (1.4MB).
Well I had to remove even Program Manager (too big - 300Kb :) and replace it with a small app of my own.

Boris Yankov
Saturday, June 7, 2003

I've seen the "3.1 on a floppy" but that's just a bit beyond what we're trying to accomplish.
Saturday, June 7, 2003

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