A Day in the Life of Windows 10

Sunday, November 5, 2023 3 minute read

I recently started having issues with Microsoft Outlook on all of my computers. I joined a company that uses 365, but my machines were all running Office 2019. I didn't think that would be a big deal but lord was it. Just wouldn't open at all, and going through the Windows control panel was futile. Uninstalling and deleting the AppData and Microsoft folders didn't help either; there were some configs still hidden. So, I decided to kill it with fire and do a fresh install. Boy did I forget how much work it takes to get Windows up and running again.

  • Rufus fortunately has some options to bypass the install process when creating your boot media. Thank god for that. After flashing hundreds of computers at my last job I never want to see the "We're getting things ready for you" screen again!
  • Since this is a Dell laptop I have to go to the downloads page, grab your magnifying glass to find the service tag number (note to all: save this in Bitwarden or something similar), then grab and install all the drivers. Meanwhile Windows is downloading gigabytes of updates in the background so the network runs nice and slow.
  • Reboot a hundred times.
  • Show all systray icons, get rid of search and news, get rid of everything pinned to the start menu.
  • Run my epatr-snippets script so Explorer isn't an absolute nightmare.
  • In Explorer, set it to launch to This PC, show extension types and hidden files, then go through every folder type (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc.) and change them all to be the same with the "Apply to Folders" button.
  • Change the power settings so it doesn't shut down if you walk away for 5 minutes.
  • Uninstall all the bloatware.
  • Remap network drives.
  • Install 7-zip.
  • Use Edge one time to go to getfirefox.com and install that. Log in to sync. Delete the Mozilla Firefox bookmark folder they always add by default.
  • Check Windows Update. Make damn sure you don't accidentally click that Windows 11 upgrade link.
  • Finally install Office and go through all the 2 factor steps for every account. Look I'm a Thunderbird guy by and large but for some jobs you just gotta have Office.
  • Install VS Code. Install Visual Studio and hang tight for a few hours while it downloads everything.
  • Install Git. Go through the global settings, and then figure out what on Earth GitHub is doing now for their authentication process.
  • Install NVM for Windows.
  • Install some nice utility applications like SumatraPDF, Bitwarden, MPC-BE, Everything, Paint.NET, WinSCP, PuTTY, ShareX, and Notepad++. Remember how to configure things in MPC like the window size and audio renderer. Try to remember how to add SSH keys to Putty and eventually give up. Windows Terminal is pretty nice.
  • Spend the next month installing programs you forgot you needed and upon launching them mrealize you spent years configuring them and have no idea how you did it.

So yeah it's been a blast. One thing that I and I'm sure most IT professionals do is toss in a second hard drive and keep all your documents on there, never ever touching the ones Windows ships with. I've also had a good time using Resilio Sync for my documents and a NAS for bigger things that don't necessarily need to be on every computer's hard drive.

Hopefully you aren't as foolish as I am and aren't trying to install Arch Linux on an old MacBook Pro on a church Sunday.