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Joe Heaton's Webzone
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Online since 2011

Windows 10 Revamp

My notes on wiping Windows 10, which configuration options to watch out for and a list of useful programs. The whole process of wiping, installing and provisioning with a basic set of programs can be complete in an hour with a fast Solid-State Drive and modern hardware.

Prepare

Before wiping, move any Games or files off the C: drive.

  • Check for any Steam games installed on C: in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common

Make sure to back up any password managers, SSH keys, etc.

Go through C:\Users\Me\ and %APPDATA%.

Alternative Install Locations

C: drive should be your fastest drive, this helps to reduce the performance drain of running Windows. The problem is, by default all programs are installed to the same drive, this is not always necessary, especially for large but infrequently access programs. Manually specify these types of programs to install on an appropriately speedy drive.

Applications can limit how many devices can be attached, such as:

  • Dropbox

Install

Reinstall Windows using “Reset This PC” in Settings. I will select “Remove Everything” because most issues with Windows are related to your user profile and not Windows itself.

During installation be sure to create a local account and not an online Microsoft account, unless you use many Microsoft online services with the same account or are worried about someone stealing your physical device.

The installer will ask you to opt into a lot of features, all of the optional features should be refused during install as they can be enabled later if you want them, by disabling them early you avoid privacy issues.

To start installing programs on your fresh Windows 10, just right-click Edge and select open InPrivate window.

I like to install Malwarebytes first, by enabling the free trial you can feel safer that the software you’re installing is safe - Since you are installing a lot of software in one go it makes sense to take extra precautions.

Drivers

Programs

Comms

Games

Editors

Optional

Nerdy

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

Requires Windows 10 version 2004, build 19041 or higher.

Follow the official documentation, as these instructions are likely to change over time I won’t summarise them here.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/install-win10

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wsl/install-win10#update-to-wsl-2

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/wsl/compare-versions

Privacy Settings

  • Settings
    • Disable all in General
    • Diagnostics & feedback -> Feedback Frequency -> Never
    • Activity History -> Store my activity history on this device -> No

Customise

Right-click the taskbar and Hide Cortana.

Reclaim some space in the taskbar by Right-clicking the taskbar, go to Search and then Hidden.

Disable the notification centre spam by going to Bottom-right of the screen, right-click the square speech icon -> Focus assist -> Priority only.

Remove the default programs from taskbar, such as Microsoft Store and Edge browser.

Change defaults

  • Default install location: Settings -> System -> Storage -> Change where new content is saved
  • Default apps: Settings -> Apps -> Default apps

Disable web search in Taskbar search: https://www.howtogeek.com/224159/how-to-disable-bing-in-the-windows-10-start-menu/

Sync

Many apps synchronise with online services, remember to sign-in with your new apps, such as:

  • Web browser (Firefox, Brave)
  • File sync (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc..)

Settings!