Handy Software: Ninite and WintoFlash

Posted on 24th Dec 2009 at 09:05 by Harry Butler with 9 comments

Harry Butler
If you're like me you've probably had to install Windows 7 on more than one or two computers recently, either in your household or at work. Unless you're deploying using drive imaging though this can take a while, first waiting for Windows to install and then laboriously installing all the necessary software.

Luckily though there are tools out there which can massively speed up your re-installs and I've found that using WintoFlash and I can fully reinstall a system in as little as thirty minutes.

The first utility, WintoFlash, is a very simple application that accomplishes the not so simple task of making any version of Windows bootable from a flash drive. As long as your USB drive is up to snuff, this massively reduces the install time of Windows thanks to the USB drive's far superior sustained transfer speeds.

While the humble 24x DVD drive should be able to deliver speeds of roughly 30MB/s that is usually the best case scenario, with real world read speeds across the whole install much lower. Access times when using a DVD drive will always be much higher than the sub 20ms of a decent flash drive too, and you'll be amazed by the speed at which Windows installs from a decent USB drive in comparison to the clunky DVD. My best time so far is under four minutes using a Corsair Flash Voyager GT.

Once you've installed your OS then comes the laborious process of installing all your favorite applications. Firefox, Steam, iTunes, VLC media player, Flash, Adobe reader, Office - the list is deceptively long and even if you've got all the .exe files ready then the system will still need baby sitting for a good hour or so while you run through the installers. That is unless you use the fantastic Ninite to do all the work for you.

Handy Software: Ninite and WintoFlash Ninite and WintoFlash
Ninite allows you to pick and choose from a huge number of applications for automatic installation. It's awesome.

The Ninite site offers a huge list of commonly installed applications for you to pick and choose from, creating a custom all in one installer. Just pick the applications you want to install and Ninite will supply an installer that not only automatically downloads the applications you request, but installs them for you with all the bloatware and opt ins automatically removed!

It's an awesome service that even checks your PC's language and 64-bit status to make sure you get the right versions of the applications you choose. It's fully automated and runs in the background too, so you can simply set it running and forget about it, returning later to find all your applications installed for you.

Ninite's also ideal for idiot-proof installing. As the installer selects the typical settings and auto-opts out of bloatware it's ideal for linking to less experienced users. Just send them the Ninite link and the installer does the rest for them.

Sadly though Ninite doesn't support local download caching yet so it's still dependent on a decent internet connection. Nevertheless, combined with WintoFlash Ninite takes a great deal of pain out of reinstalling a PC and from my experiences with should be an essential bookmark on any enthusiasts radar.


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Aracos 24th December 2009, 10:34 Quote
Wow thank you very much, I am definately getting that ninite! I only use a select few programs on my XP installation and that will make the process MUCH quicker.
yakyb 24th December 2009, 11:07 Quote
i may be an old fuddy duddy when it comes to this sort of thing but i prefer doing them all myself
mjm25 24th December 2009, 13:04 Quote
you sir, are a legend. gonna reinstall windows 7 when the browser ballot screen goes active and get rid of internet explorer once and for all.

ninite is super sexy... and Harry... you've always been my favourite.
Skiddywinks 24th December 2009, 13:46 Quote
Haha, if only I had known. I am literally just about to do a clean install of Windows 7 so that I can make an image for my SSD coming tomorrow. I suppose I can use Ninite this once at least.

God, the times I have formatted. What a life saver this would have been.
mooseguy 24th December 2009, 19:17 Quote
Originally Posted by mjm25
you sir, are a legend. gonna reinstall windows 7 when the browser ballot screen goes active and get rid of internet explorer once and for all.
You don't need to wait...
Just click on 'Turn Windows features on or off' in the start menu, you can get rid of IE there.
Skiddywinks 24th December 2009, 20:14 Quote
Hmm, very handy that Ninite. Just formatted now before making an image, and it does everything with very little fuss. Will be awesome when it can do a lot more programs.
mjm25 26th December 2009, 00:14 Quote
Originally Posted by mooseguy
You don't need to wait...
Just click on 'Turn Windows features on or off' in the start menu, you can get rid of IE there.

indeed, but then steam doesnt function quite right, unless anyone has a solution... :D
xaser04 4th January 2010, 16:26 Quote
WintoFlash seems interesting to me. Although I read this one day to late as I have just upgraded my Gaming Laptop to Win7. Although I havn't done my main gaming PC yet so I will try this out.

Dumb question - Can I use a USB external HD instead of a USB flash drive?

In regards to the other program well tbh I prefer to do this myself. I had meticulously set up folders of programs I wanted to install on my external HD which were installed one by one once I had Win 7 fully setup.

As I get new programs (which I may wish to use in the future) I back them up into these folders. Whilst this may take more time I prefer the thorough approach. Also, alot of the programs I needed to install I had backed up from the previous Vista install so I had to do them manually.
centy 5th January 2010, 02:34 Quote
If i set it up and download the ninite installer now but not install it for a while, will it fetch any updated versions of the software or do I need to run set it up closer to the time I'm doing a fresh install?
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