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Ask HN: What are the first things you do on a new Windows 10 PC? Any checklists?
21 points by thrwy20190807 on Aug 7, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments
I'm curious what some of the things are you do on a windows 10 PC. I don't have a checklist but there are a few settings I usually end up modifying, or software I install. (such as winrar.)



Ninite[0] (YC W08) is a useful site for setting up a Windows PC. It allows you to install (or update) your choice of around 100 apps and tools in 13 categories (including Compression, where you can select WinRAR) for Windows 10 (also 7 and 8) in one shot, like so:

- You first check off the apps/tools you want from a checklist on the site -- they are grouped by category

- You then download a custom installer which will install the apps/tools you selected from the checklist.

This custom installer will install the apps/tools you chose, using the latest version, skipping installing toolbars, skipping reboots, doing all the work in the background, etc. -- there's a description of all this on the page.

(There's also a pro version for managing multiple PCs)

[0] https://ninite.com/


Ive written a tool which does all of the but instead uses the Chocolatey package manager. Useful for centralising software updates, uninstallers ect

Chocolatey Quickstart: https://github.com/RoryCrispin/Chocolatey-Quickstart


I don't have a custom decrapification script because my reinstall frequency isn't high enough to warrant the effort of maintaining one, especially when you consider the rate at which Windows 10 behavior is changing these days. A Group Policy rule that works one day will be ignored the next.

So, I just spend a week or so resenting the fact my time has to be wasted because Microsoft has a veritable runtime monopoly in the form of DirectX, and it uses that to shove its anti-consumer, anti-power user, anti-customization singular vision down my throat.

Once that week is up, I've by then made all the usual registry hacks to Explorer, disabled all the invasive privacy crap, and otherwise made it a reasonably habitable experience.


On Windows 10, I didn't use Mixed Reality or 3D printing or Xbox stuff or … So, I really wanted an image with non-essential items removed. I also don't like unnecessary items in my Start menu.

Summary of steps are:

A) Create Windows image with stuff I don't want removed

B) Create Windows settings and clean up script

C) Clean install using step A but do it with a local account [1]

D) Clean up Windows using script from step B

E) Rename PC

F) Connect to Microsoft account - this will bring over settings from your other Windows PC(s)

F) Install software using Chocolatey

Over time, as I make further changes to my setup, I usually apply them manually and then incorporate them into either step A or step B.

Steps for A:

  A1) Download ISO from Microsoft. For an example on how to do this, see instructions at: https://pureinfotech.com/download-windows-10-iso-without-media-creation-tool/

  A2) Create script for removing unnecessary items and then apply them to the Windows ISO image from step A1. I use: https://github.com/DrEmpiricism/Optimize-Offline to modify the Windows ISO image.

  A3) Use Rufus or similar tool to create bootable USB drive from image from step A2.

  A4) Clean install Windows.

  A5) When creating the image in step A2, you can add scripts that end up in c:\windows\setup\scripts. Run these scripts
  
Steps for B:

  B1) Use script from https://github.com/Disassembler0/Win10-Initial-Setup-Script and customize it to your liking
[1]: If you install with a Microsoft account, your user directory is the first five letters/numbers of your Microsoft account. When installing using a local account, the local account name, in its entirety is used.

edit1: fixed formatting.


    iwr https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1 | iex
    cinst -y totalcommander copyq neovim vscode firefox everything sysinternals nirlauncher smplayer vlc git tortoisegit conemu 7zip paint.net dngrep dbeaver 
    Update-SessionEnvironment

    git clone https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10
    ls Debloat-Windows-10/scripts/*.ps1 | % { . $_ } # YMVV

    git clone https://github.com/majkinetor/powershell_profile.d
    gc powershell_profile.d/setup -raw | iex

    code --install-extension ms-vscode.PowerShell ...

    Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate    
    # repeat this as long as needs restart
    Install-WindowsUpdate -AcceptAll 
    Restart-Computer
    
Then I go ad-hoc from there... That is for my daily machine. For specialized machines such as media center etc, the list is different...


Running all of those Debloat scripts:

- Permanently disables Windows Defender (requires registry changes to re-enable).

- Breaks the browser choice window. Skype. Time sync.

- Disables services seemingly arbitrarily.

- Disables SmartScreen.

- Disables both automatic updates and the notification for manual updates.

- Sets mouse speed/sensitivity/smoothing/pointer settings(???).

- Disables accessibility features.

- Reverts the volume slider.

My point is, it isn't "debloat" it is a fully opinionated default state for Windows 10, completely arbitrary, likely inconvenient, and potentially dangerous (SmartScreen, Windows Update, etc). Windows may also fail to update after this due to ACL permissions set on some files/registry keys/directories to keep certain features broken.

I do not recommend anyone runs this.


I don't run exactly all, but like I said, YMMV. That said, bunch of people I know run this all the time, me included, and besides some trivial stuff Windows runs at least x2 faster and feels snappier. Those scripts are meant to be inspected and applied.

Besides, what kind of engineers are we if we can't fix something done with the script ? You don't recommend experimentation, I can live with that if we don't do work together... Otherwise, perhaps you should try running what looks to you like arbitrary setup and see what path it takes you.


You suggested people run:

> ls Debloat-Windows-10/scripts/*.ps1 | % { . $_ }

So kinda are suggesting people run them all. Plus "run them all then fix all the stuff it breaks otherwise you aren't a true engineer" isn't a particularly strong argument for this.

People that know what they're doing don't need these kind of scripts (and would know better than half of what these scripts do anyway). So these kind of scripts pray on those likely not to know enough to fix the issues they cause.

But regardless, just don't start posting about how Windows Update never works correctly because you manually set HOST file and ACL privileges that are specifically designed to stop Windows from working in a normal way. You play silly games you win silly prizes.


I suggested:

> ls Debloat-Windows-10/scripts/*.ps1 | % { . $_ } # YMMV

Notice YMMV comment :)

So now you made the entire thing about it ... :)


ive noticed my checklist has been slowly shrinking as microsoft sees fit to takeover alot of the typical first-run duties from the user

some months ago i realized i no longer have to go grab my gpu drivers from a website or 'fresh install essentials' backup usb

my current windows box is about a week old, and it occurred to me the other day that i didn't even have to go in and do little things like enabling the viewing of hidden files, or displaying file extensions 100% of the time etc - alot of these settings are attached to your microsoft account, if you choose to use one.

haven't tried to debloat it yet, as someone else mentioned the script you used last time might not work this time, but a decent way to make it somewhat tolerable is using classic shell to make the start menu far, far more appealing

i recently fully switched over from using ninite to using chocolatey. so far i have yet to find an application i need or want that choco doesn't have

also - and i really must beg forgiveness here - that new windows terminal... it ain't half bad... but mintty/wsltty are still the goto's for interacting with WSL

my choco install -g essentials:

firefox

speedfan

steam

vscodium / atom

ffmpeg / vlc

autohotkey

etcher

simplenote

irfanview

winamp / foobar / picard


Stare at it and wonder how this spying device became okay. If it's my system, find a new hard drive and instructions on how to install linux for this hardware. remove hard drive.

If it's someone else's system, explain to them that perhaps every single keystroke is saved and sent to microsoft, along with other data. Explain that data could be used by advertisers to influence your decisions, but also by attorneys, gov agencies and more. Suggest they try linux. Walk them through the setup process and point out so many default settings that are privacy averse. Again suggest linux. Research how to make the hardware dual-boot. Explain that others windows systems may have already been setup to include these privacy stealing defaults and other data stealing parts of the Microsoft ecosystem could also be hoovering up data. Suggest putting a sticker on the keyboard and screen and box warning other people who may use it, that all information sent or received from said device is being recorded and shared by multiple different groups of people and can later be used against you by any number of various agencies.

Show them linux running, demand that they use it unless they need the windows partition for gaming. If laptop, find schematic to cut the microphone hardware.


I boot up Ubuntu from USB... /s


The first thing I do is update the BIOS, download the newest drivers and a copy of Firefox, and create install media. I would then perform a clean install. I liked doing this to make sure I was clear of any junkware (as a don't trust uninstallers) and to make sure my installation media worked.

After reinstalling I would create a new, regular, user account for normal use.


When I bought my Windows 10 MSI gaming laptop, it ran horribly and stopped booting up after a week.

For some reason I just exchanged it for the same model. This time I reinstalled the windows image that came with the computer with no add-ons or extra software.

I’ve had this laptop for 2 years and game on it regularly.

So my advice is: make sure you have a clean version from the start.


I usually install Linux, and then disable all of the privacy violating stuff that I can in Windows, like Cortana and Telemetry, and uninstall as much bloat as I can. I then install Firefox, Tor browser, and WSL.

Once that's done, I can move on to whatever I need for regular usage of the machine, like Git, compilers, Steam, etc.


Step 1: Disable sticky keys (especially if it is for gaming)

Step 2: install https://github.com/lukesampson/scoop via a powershell script I wrote which will then spend the next while installing all I need for my development environment

and then it is mostly steam, browsers and drivers that are left to do


Enable as many options as I can with PowerShell. (so I don't have to do any more point-n-click than I absolutely need to)

Set up WSL. (by running an Ansible playbook I wrote)

Install chocolatey.

Get my standard set of packages from the chocolatey mirrors.

Install Synology Drive client, sign in and let things sync.

(I recently switched off of most public cloud services onto my own on-prem cloud setup)



- clean up the taskbar by removing the default icon shortcuts and the giant search bar

- disable all desktop notifications

- install Chrome

- install Git Bash


Install Chocolatey, Simplewall.

Also search GitHub scripts to disable unnecessary components.


I still wonder how Chocolately works in comparison to "classic" software installations - I take it you're satisfied?


Yep, always go there if possible. Occasionally nee versions might be slightly late.


1: Windows Firewall Control

2: Chrome/Firefox

3: Git/Webstorm

4: Putty

5: Spotify


I will very firstly remove the pre-installed apps that comes with the Windows 10. These apps are not only useless bur also eat up hard drive space and as a result the system start working slow.

Check it out - http://www.pcerror-fix.com/trick-to-uninstall-or-remove-pre-...




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