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:
  5. Ensure the Location is United States and English (United States) is the preferred language.
  6. Enable automatic Windows updates.
  7. Change the desktop background to a solid color.
  8. Enable these desktop icons:
    • Computer
    • Network
    • Recycle Bin
  9. Disable the screen saver and Turn off the display power option
  10. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
  11. Turn these Windows features on:
    • Internet Information Services (leave IIS 6 Management Compatibility off)
    • Telnet Client
  12. Install these applications:
  13. Google Chrome
    • On first run, choose the Relaunch Chrome on the desktop menu item to get it as a window on the desktop
  14. Dropbox
  15. 1Password
  16. Sublime Text 3
  17. Vim
  18. PuTTY
  19. Git
  20. Sourcetree
  21. Beyond Compare
  22. Python 2.x and NumPy
    • Note: Unless you have a good reason, get the 32-bit version, not the 64-bit version. (It can be difficult to get 64-bit versions of third-party modules.)
  23. Node
  24. Start Powershell
  25. Pin Powershell to the taskbar
  26. Type this command to create the profile directory and file:
    new-item -path $profile -type file -force
  27. Type this command to copy my profile to this computer:
    cp ~/Dropbox/windows/powershell_profile.ps1 $profile
  28. Run Powershell as Administrator and run this command:
    set-executionpolicy -executionpolicy remotesigned
  29. Restart Powershell (with the new profile)
  30. ... (to be continued) ...
© 2003-2023 Kristopher Johnson