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Recommended Setup and Software for Windows Installs

03/29/2024

I’ve set up many Windows installs before, so I figured I’d share what I typically use to setup Windows 11 in the current year.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but what I’d consider my “minimum viable Windows 11 setup.” Hope you find it useful!

  1. Clean install Windows 11.
  2. Use the “I don’t have internet” method to pick the username of your choice that will be your User folder name.
    1. (You can use Rufus to skip the hardware check requirements and create a local user by default).
  3. Opt-out of all data collection.
  4. Enable Dark Theme.
  5. Open Edge, visit Ninite.
  6. Install the following programs from ninite.com:
    1. Firefox - primary browser.
    2. 7-Zip - archive software.
    3. Discord - communication software.
    4. VLC - media player.
    5. WinMerge - quickly compare files and folders.
    6. Malwarebytes - anti-malware software.
    7. WinDirStat - quickly see what folders/files are taking up the most space on your PC.
  7. Install additional software:
    1. WinAeroTweaker - make adjustments to Windows.
    2. FreeFileSync - backup your files in a straightforward way.
  8. Sign in with Microsoft Account. Now you have a custom-set User Folder name, and also the benefit of using the Windows Store / account sync etc.
  9. Sign into Firefox, confirm the following extensions are installed:
    1. Firefox Multi-Account Containers - manage multiple instances/accounts on one browser session.
    2. uBlock Origin - block ads.
    3. SponsorBlock - blocks out annoying segments in YouTube videos.
    4. Return YouTube Dislike - brings back the dislike button on YouTube.
    5. FireShot - capture an entire page in a screenshot.
    6. Bitwarden - password manager.
    7. Dark Reader - toggleable forced dark theme on any website.
  10. Malwarebytes: Enable Dark Theme + Disable Premium Free Trial + Turn off All Notifications.
    1. Open Malwarebytes.
    2. Click settings cog icon.
    3. Click Display.
    4. Select “Dark” under Theme.
    5. Click account.
    6. Click “Deactivate.”
    7. Click “Notifications” tab, uncheck every option.
  11. Setup WinAeroTweaker
    1. Click “More info” and then “Run anyway” when the Windows protected your PC window pops up.
    2. Once installed, visit “Ads and Unwanted Apps” from the Behavior folder and check “Disable ads in Windows.”
    3. Select “Disable Online & Video Tips in Settings.”
    4. Select “Disable Cortana.”
    5. Select “Disable Windows Ink Workspace.”
    6. Select “Enable Classic Paint.”
    7. Select “Disable Telemetry and Data Collection.”
    8. Select “Disable Action Center.”
  12. Disable Widgets.
  13. Enable Clipboard history (WinKey + V).
  14. Disable all Taskbar Items and Item Corner Overflow.
  15. Left-align Taskbar.
  16. Set Communications Activity behavior to “Do nothing” in Windows.
    1. Settings > System > Sound > More sound settings
  17. Turn on Network Discovery.
  18. Enable Ultimate Performance Power Plan.
  19. Disable most applications on startup.
  20. Pin Recycle Bin to Start, then remove it from the desktop.

Obviously everyone will have their own workflows and desired software/setup. I figured I’d share mine nonetheless in case it helps someone out!

Recommended Setup and Software for Windows Installs
Author
David V. Kimball
Published at
03/29/2024