Get a new Windows computer under control
I just bought a new Windows laptop for myself, and I thought it could be useful to document the steps necessary to get it under control and make it “my own”. Of course, first you have to run through the standard steps proscribed by the manufacturer. But as soon as Windows reports itself to be ready for service, the fun begins.
Use a local account, not a Windows account
My computer did that all by itself during the initial installation; it gave me hints that I could use an “online account” instead but created a local one by default. If yours doesn't, there's probably a lot of help on the net on how to get a local account.
Be careful when you log into any Microsoft app later. They try to trick you into converting your user into the Microsoft account. Look out for a tiny little link instead of the big button!
Register more fingers
During initial installation, it only registered one finger. I usually register several, like the index and middle fingers on both hands.
Give the thing a name and integrate it into your home network
In my case, that entails putting into my hosts database and re-generate the DNS and DHCP files and restart the servers. Obviously, there is a script for that.
Clean out the start menu
Right-click every single tile and remove it from Start. It's tedious, but you only have to do it once.
Uninstall any bloatware
I leave everything on that seems hardware-related. But any “trial versions” of anything can go. Especially any virus scanners. Or Microsoft Office.
If your computer came with an updater for the system software from the manufacturer, use that until it is happy. Then use the Microsoft updater until it finds nothing more to update. If available, also update to the latest version of Windows 10. (When I wrote this article originally, 1903 was the latest, but the new computer came with 1809 installed on it.)
Get a place where you can drop random executables
Installing stuff manually under
can be a royal pain. I create another folder in the root, such as
, and put that into the
. If you are going to use CVS, you may as well add
while you are in there.
Get your stuff available
I use CVS to synchronize all kinds of files between machines, so I need that more or less first. Get it here: http://ftp.gnu.org/non-gnu/cvs/binary/stable/x86-woe/ . It's ancient, but it should work. Dump the binary into the folder for other stuff you created earlier. Then you can sync your stuff over.
As I am migrating to GIT (slowly), I need that too. It's here: https://git-scm.com/downloads .
Install a usable browser
Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox . Or both. Preferably both. Log into your Google account if you have one (obviously). Activate Firefox Sync if you use it (obviously). Make one of them your standard browser. I use Firefox.
Install other stuff
Here's a probably incomplete list of stuff I think a Windows computer should probably have.
From download pages:
- BitWarden (My password safe. They have a free plan, which is pretty usable, but I use the paid-for premium plan.)
- The Hack font (I use this wherever I can as a fixed-width font, for terminal windows and editors for example.)
- [Microsoft Code](https://code.visualstudio.com/download>
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- I use the 64-bit version.
- I need at least the following additional plug-ins: Compare, JSTool, XML-Tools.
(if the machine is beefy enough for it)
- Install the Extension Pack too.
From the Microsoft Store:
- Skype (probably pre-installed)
- You have to activate the Windows Subsystem for Linux; it doesn't do that for you. You can do that after installing.
- Treat this as you would any Ubuntu installation; keep it up-to-date.
- VPN Unlimited (the only thing on the list that costs money to use; I bought a lifetime subscription once at a bargain)
Previously, I would have included PuTTy in this list, but lately I just find myself using the Ubuntu shell and the
command (which you have to install using
). Alternatively, or additionally, you can use the native ssh client that comes with Windows 10 from the regular Windows command line. If it is not enabled, you can enable it in a PowerShell session running as administrator with the command
Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name OpenSSH-Client
Configure your printer(s)
Because you will want to print something at some point.