December 2013

Setting Up Windows, My Way

This is a companion piece to my Setting Up a New Mac, My Way entry. Thankfully, I haven't had to use Windows much in the past couple of years, but when I do have to set up a Windows machine for some task that requires it, I want to have a list of things to do to minimize the pain.

(This is a work in progress. It will evolve every time I go through the setup process, and every time I have to work around some annoying Windows limitation.)

  1. Install/reinstall Windows. (The remaining steps assume the version is Windows 8.1 Pro x64, and it is running in VMWare on a Mac.)
  2. In the Windows 8 start screen, remove everything except Desktop.
  3. In Desktop, right-click the taskbar, choose Properties, select the Navigation tab, and check the When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start box and the Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start button.
  4. In Settings (or Control Panel or wherever Microsoft puts these things this year) make these changes:
    • Ensure the Location is United States and English (United States) is the preferred language.
    • Enable automatic Windows updates.
    • Change the desktop background to a solid color.
    • Enable these desktop icons:
      • Computer
      • Network
      • Recycle Bin
    • Disable the screen saver and Turn off the display power option
    • Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
    • Turn these Windows features on:
      • Internet Information Services (leave IIS 6 Management Compatibility off)
      • Telnet Client
  5. Install these applications:
  6. Start Powershell
    • Pin Powershell to the taskbar
    • Type this command to create the profile directory and file:
      new-item -path $profile -type file -force
    • Type this command to copy my profile to this computer:
      cp ~/Dropbox/windows/powershell_profile.ps1 $profile
    • Run Powershell as Administrator and run this command:
      set-executionpolicy -executionpolicy remotesigned
    • Restart Powershell (with the new profile)
  7. ... (to be continued) ...