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First of all, this guy's biggest mistake was failing to format his drive and start with a clean Windows install. Installing windows requires far less effort than cleansing a vendor's install of crapware. Users should not have to do this. I must fully agree that MS needs to start restricting what Vendors like HP can install on the PC's they sell.

Second, I'm very curious to see how the Windows App store plays out. The #1 thing it needs to do to improve Windows as an OS is distribute free software. There is a lot of excellent free software available for windows like chrome, firefox, VLC, foobar2000, texmaker, Notepad++, uTorrent, etc.. Users have to go to different websites to download everything. This is such a pain that people have come up with installers, like ninite, that aggregate free software together into a single download. Ninite doesn't have everything I use, but it can easily shave hours off of setting up a new Windows box!

One major advantage of an App store is that software distributed through it can be policed for malware and viruses. If MS could get users to use their store as much as possible there is the potential to improve security of the OS. The only way MS can do this is to build their store up as a trusted and comprehensive distribution center that is all most users need. MS should view it as a failure on their part whenever users are forced to go elsewhere to get software, even software that competes with Microsoft products or which duplicates core functionality of the OS. That's where Apple's App store failed! In order to do this, MS needs to devote resources to lowering the barrier to publication in their store. Don't get me wrong, I am dead-set against Windows moving towards an entirely walled-garden iOS style ecosystem. The ability to install software from outside the store should be preserved, nor should it be limited in any way. However, I would welcome a central distribution point for Windows software like what Linux has.

Debian's APT package management system is brilliant. Even 10 years ago it would have made today's Apple App store look sad and pathetic. It is both comprehensive and incredibly smart in how it makes software modular with clear dependencies that are managed automatically for the user. This is the dream that all application stores should aspire towards. Redmond and Cupertino, for the love of your users, please start your copiers.

As I mentioned elsewhere, doing a clean Windows install is difficult if the only means of reinstallation you have is the bundled "recovery DVD" which puts all of the shit right back on there.

With regards an APT for Windows, I don't see how that wouldn't be possible to add to Windows as a third party thing. With a nice GUI and search and a default catalog of quality mainly OSS software with no toolbars or BS and have it also keep everything upto date.

That way you could just install it on all of your relatives who use Windows's computers and tell them just to download everything from either that or the MS app store.

Microsoft provides official (clean) ISO of W7 flavours -


So, basically, burn respective .iso to a USB key, boot from it, install, enter the key from the sticker on the bottom of the laptop - done. Caveats are (a) limited choice of languages (b) lack of some brand-specific drivers, but if you run English version on a common laptop, it's very straight forward.

These won't work with OEM keys supplied by the manufacturer. You would need to acquire your own key (enterprise, retail, etc.).

That is incorrect, at least for most retail OEM keys anyway.

I noticed that starting with Vista, the distinction between OEM vs Non-OEM key seems to have been reduced. This makes life easier when there is no recovery partition or the hard-drive is hosed. Whereas with XP, you did have to use an OEM version for the key to work.

I have not had any issue validating windows using the above versions of Win 7, as well as a few vista cds that I believe are retail, as long as there is an OEM sticker on the laptop. Every so often I have to call in and do the automated telephone activation, but they are valid CD Keys and I think that is probably tied to how often the key was activated.

Having said that, at least with Vista, the disc the manufacturer gives you is often locked to a specific laptop/bios/board.

>Every so often I have to call in and do the automated telephone activation

reason number 1001 why I hate windows

It takes exactly 30 seconds and it is fully automated. Punch in a string of numbers, hear back the activation code. No personal information, no humans involved. I too was dreading doing over the phone activation, but it was remarkably nice experience.

sure, they make it easy as possible, but it's not optional. And I like to change the hardware in my desktop, which makes it a pain.

>No personal information //

So, not your phone number, or the match of the given code with your computer's IP and usage when you go online?

They worked with three different OEM keys I had just fine, all from different manufacturers.

(b) is the big catch that will kick anyone. You want the hardware to work as designed, you have to start with the manufacturer install and work your way down.

Never had any problems with Lenovo, Sony, Acer or HP laptops. I'm sure there are some non-mainstream laptop manufacturers that don't maintain their support sites well, but that's be more of an exception than a rule.

You can easily download the drivers from the manufacturer's website but I understand that even doing that may be too complex for some users.

keep in mind that some (most) manufacturers don't seem to give any craps about the users either, and provide shoddy bloatware drivers that are difficult to hunt down, take forever to install, often don't work with older or newer OS/hardware, etc.

and then there might be a specific patch or workaround that's been applied by the oem that keeps the computer from exploding, but they sold it anyway because you can blow yourself up as much as you like AFTER voiding the warranty.

I haven't used it yet, but windows 8 has a 'reset windows' option that will basically reset everything to a fresh install of windows 8 without having to do a reinstall.

Nice, does it allow OEMs to decide what to "reset" to though?

"doing a clean Windows install is difficult if the only means of reinstallation you have is the bundled "recovery DVD" which puts all of the shit right back on there."

That's not a clean install.

A clean install is buying a retail version of Windows and blasting it down on your HD.

Recovery DVDs recover what the hardware vendor put there in the first place.

So you have to buy Windows twice?

Unfortunately yes. The version that comes with your computer is relatively cheap, but you can't do much with it. The retail version gives you full flexibility, and you can move it to a new computer.

Or you can buy a computer that doesn't come with Windows in the first place.

That is incorrect. See eps's comment above. You can use your OEM key with a Windows 7 ISO that you can get from MS.

I think you can't buy a retail version on Windows anymore. Plus, when it was available previously, you had to pay for that.

Actually, you can buy an update to Windows 7 right now for $39.99:


You can wipe a Windows 7 install and do a completely clean Windows 8 install.

A comment yesterday [1] led me to Chocolatey NuGet [2], a package manager for Windows built on PowerShell. The gallery [3] has almost everything I need to set up a dev environment.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4763895

[2] https://github.com/chocolatey/chocolatey/wiki

[3] http://chocolatey.org/packages

I was thinking more as a way for installing stuff for more casual users.

Now I think about it these just seems like such an obvious idea that I'm surprised nobody ever did it.

Ninite does a lot of what you are talking about.

It allows you to install some software.

First of all? Really? No. You should not have to for,at your hard drive when you buy a new computer. Nerds aren't the only ones buying computers and the experience the author describes isn't how you treat a customer and you should never have to tell a customer to do some inconvenient thing if they want to use their new computer without hassles.

Go tell your mom to format her hard drive and let me know what she says. I don't know about you but for most of us the answer would be "what?".

The guy's biggest mistake was buying an HP anything. HP is the new RIM. And they deserve the same outcome for the massive quantities of crapware they've forced consumers to endure. The worst.

I consider myself a power-user, one which has grown extremely tired of doing the same re-install routine.

ninite seems just like what the doctor ordered and I cannot believe I haven't heard of it until now.

I know what I'll be trying out when we get new dev-machines at work and need to go through yet another reinstall. Thanks a bunch :)

Pretty sure this is exactly what MS is going for. The RT versions of the OS only run on ARM and are more locked down, because a lot of Windows software isn't compiled for ARM and/or hasn't been adapted to the RT ("Metro") API set.

But for the standard "Pro" versions of Windows available at Best Buy for $65, you can run anything you want, including a lot of legacy apps all the way back to Windows XP.

I've been a fan of the clean install and it is generally a lot better, but you'll often need to install third party drivers which will then try to install crapware at the same time.

> was failing to format his drive and start with a clean Windows install


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