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Noob setting up Windows for first time

Hello, all.  I have been a mac user for quite a while - ever since we gave up on our Commodore-64 (83?  84?  ... not sure.)  I am done with mac though.  I have ordered an MSI Summit 16, and will be striking off into windows land for myself for the first time ever.  I am posting here in hopes of getting some windows setup tips.  I don't know what they would be, but if someone was going the other way, I would advise of them of things like  "Use Time Machine for backup" "Default Folder is a big improvement on the Save/Open dialog" & "SnapNDrag Pro is a great screen-grabber utilty." 

 

So what should I know about initial setup of a Windows machine?  What are the things seasoned windows users do or install right away when you get a new computer?

 

(Related - I will have a 2 TB drive.  Better to leave as one partition or split it up?  If I want to install Linux down the road, can I partition after the fact?)

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1 minute ago, AdHaPr said:

Related - I will have a 2 TB drive.  Better to leave as one partition or split it up?  If I want to install Linux down the road, can I partition after the fact?)

It doesn't matter. Having Windows on a separate partition can sometimes be helpful, just in case you ever need to reinstall Windows, as you can wipe just that one partition, but it's not make or break either way.

 

Windows now has WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) so you can access a full Linux CLI anytime, even choose between different distros. With WSLg, you can even run full Linux GUI apps at near native performance. In short, unless you're going to fully switchover to LInux, there's very little need actually install Linux on a separate partition to dual boot.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X · Cooler: Artic Liquid Freezer II 280 · Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 Unify · RAM: G.skill Ripjaws V 2x16GB 3600MHz CL16 (2Rx8) · Graphics Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Ti TUF Gaming · Boot Drive: 500GB WD Black SN750 M.2 NVMe SSD · Game Drive: 2TB Crucial MX500 SATA SSD · PSU: Corsair White RM850x 850W 80+ Gold · Case: Corsair 4000D Airflow · Monitor: MSI Optix MAG342CQR 34” UWQHD 3440x1440 144Hz · Keyboard: Corsair K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (OPX Switch) · Mouse: Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless Gaming Mouse

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A lot of this will depend on exactly which of Windows you're talking about. I'm mainly gonna talk about Windows 10 since it's what I know, but if you're getting Windows 11 this might not necessarily apply.

 

1.) Run the Windows10Debloater script off Github. It disables a lot of the Microsoft telemetry the eats up system resources and all of the unnecessary bloat associated with Windows 10. 

2.) Ninite.com is awesome. It's a one click download utility that lets you install a bunch of useful programs like Chrome, GIMP, Audacity, Handbrake, Java, etc. in one go. Since Windows does lack a proper package manager (winget does exist, but it goes through the Microsoft store and IIRC only works with UWP apps, two things I personally avoid at all costs), it's your best option for getting a bunch of really useful utilities installed quickly and easily.

3.) Know how to make a local account for Windows. The easiest way is to just say "I don't have an internet connection" when setting up Windows. There are some advantages to having a Microsoft account for your PC, but personally they're outweighed by the privacy concerns. 

 

As for some things similar to the types of things you were talking about:

1.) There is no real good way to backup your PC outside of paid backup software. Time Machine is awesome with Macs, and I wish Windows would Implement something like that, but currently you're limited to only being able to backup certain folders to an external location and not be able to restore with all of your programs, at least without 3rd party software that to my knowledge is almost universally paid (at least for the convenient ones to use).

2.) Snipping tool/Sketch and snip is built into windows and is awesome. The default shortcut for Sketch and Snip is Win+Shift+S, and it's a pretty good default screenshot program. 

 

Just a word of advice, no one actually likes Windows. It's only really used because it either comes preinstalled and you don't care enough to install and learn Linux, you don't want to buy a Mac, or because Linux doesn't support what you want to do. There's a lot of quirks about it that you will notice at first, but grow to ignore overtime. It's the same way that Mac OS is. There will be things you'll immediately like, the window management on Windows for example is miles better than the one on Mac OS. 

 

23 minutes ago, AdHaPr said:

(Related - I will have a 2 TB drive.  Better to leave as one partition or split it up?  If I want to install Linux down the road, can I partition after the fact?)

I'd leave it as one partition for simplicity sake. If you want to dual boot with Linux down the road, you can repartition the drive without much issue. 

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Hello! Welcome btw, glad you're here 😄

 

First things first, DON'T create a microsoft account if you don't want it connected to Microsoft. Super easy way to do that is during initial setup, just don't connect it to Wifi. 

If it's preinstalled with windows 11, you'll need this nifty skip: https://bigtechquestion.com/2021/12/04/software/windows/how-can-i-setup-windows-11-to-use-a-local-account-3-ways-to-bypass-a-microsoft-login/


Here are the base tips I have for Windows, moving from mac: 

Basic stuff:

Exe's & MSIs are the new dmgs. Installing stuff from the web is usually fine as long as you trust the source.  

ShareX is the replacement for screenshooting in windows. Way better then snipping tool.

"Alt + Tab" (or Win+ Tab) gives you a menu similar to CMD + Tab in MacOS
"Win + D" is similar to the fullscreen app setup in macOS, but not quite the same as they separate taskbars as well. 

"Win + L" locks your computer, similar to Ctrl + Cmd + Q
"Win + Arrow key" will Snap the selected window to different segments of your screen, or move it across screens if you have multiple. (Win = Up will make it full screen, Win + Left will make it a half width window on the left and prompt with all other windows to fill the gap on the right)

"Alt + F" opens the file menu, Pressing "S" after this will safe. 

 

Things like backups are a lot harder in windows then mac. 

The only way to get a Time Machine-esque backup is to set up a program like Veeam's windows agent with a Hybrid Image backup of your boot disk. Yes windows built in backup exists, it's not great, but it will back up individual files to a different disk if that's what you're looking for. 

 

Last tip, you can install all of your base programs using https://ninite.com/ 

It's a multi-program packaged downloader that is always my first stop for setting new computers up. 

My usual list of programs is as follows: 

Chrome

Firefox

Discord
Notepad++
PuTTY
VLC
Spotify

HandBrake

WinAmp

ImgBurn
Gimp
ShareX
7Zip
Steam
Everything (yes it's a program called Everything)
 

That's all I can think of before bed. Feel free to quote my message and ask me questions as I had a 2010 Mac Mini, 2012 MBP 13", 2015 MBPr 15", then switched to windows. 

 

I also work in IT so I deal with a lot of the annoying things that windows does for you "to help" that is absolutely useless. 

 

Also about the 2TB drive, you can shrink the windows volume at any time in Disk Management to add a second partition, so don't worry about the second partition right away. 

😄

Fine you want the PSU tier list? Have the PSU tier list: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1116640-psu-tier-list-40-rev-103/

 

Stille (Desktop)

Ryzen 9 3900XT@4.5Ghz - Cryorig H7 Ultimate - 16GB Vengeance LPX 3000Mhz- MSI RTX 3080 Ti Ventus 3x OC - SanDisk Plus 480GB - Crucial MX500 500GB - Intel 660P 1TB SSD - (2x) WD Red 2TB - EVGA G3 650w - Corsair 760T

Evoo Gaming 15"
i7-9750H - 16GB DDR4 - GTX 1660Ti - 480GB SSD M.2 - 1TB 2.5" BX500 SSD 

VM + NAS Server (ProxMox 6.3)

1x Xeon E5-2690 v2  - 92GB ECC DDR3 - Quadro 4000 - Dell H310 HBA (Flashed with IT firmware) -500GB Crucial MX500 (Proxmox Host) Kingston 128GB SSD (FreeNAS dev/ID passthrough) - 8x4TB Toshiba N300 HDD

Toys: Ender 3 Pro, Oculus Rift CV1, Oculus Quest 2, about half a dozen raspberry Pis (2b to 4), Arduino Uno, Arduino Mega, Arduino nano (x3), Arduino nano pro, Atomic Pi. 

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6 minutes ago, RONOTHAN## said:

A lot of this will depend on exactly which of Windows you're talking about. I'm mainly gonna talk about Windows 10 since it's what I know, but if you're getting Windows 11 this might not necessarily apply.

 

1.) Run the Windows10Debloater script off Github. It disables a lot of the Microsoft telemetry the eats up system resources and all of the unnecessary bloat associated with Windows 10. 

2.) Ninite.com is awesome. It's a one click download utility that lets you install a bunch of useful programs like Chrome, GIMP, Audacity, Handbrake, Java, etc. in one go. Since Windows does lack a proper package manager (winget does exist, but it goes through the Microsoft store and IIRC only works with UWP apps, two things I personally avoid at all costs), it's your best option for getting a bunch of really useful utilities installed quickly and easily.

3.) Know how to make a local account for Windows. The easiest way is to just say "I don't have an internet connection" when setting up Windows. There are some advantages to having a Microsoft account for your PC, but personally they're outweighed by the privacy concerns. 

 

As for some things similar to the types of things you were talking about:

1.) There is no real good way to backup your PC outside of paid backup software. Time Machine is awesome with Macs, and I wish Windows would Implement something like that, but currently you're limited to only being able to backup certain folders to an external location and not be able to restore with all of your programs, at least without 3rd party software that to my knowledge is almost universally paid (at least for the convenient ones to use).

2.) Snipping tool/Sketch and snip is built into windows and is awesome. The default shortcut for Sketch and Snip is Win+Shift+S, and it's a pretty good default screenshot program. 

 

Just a word of advice, no one actually likes Windows. It's only really used because it either comes preinstalled and you don't care enough to install and learn Linux, you don't want to buy a Mac, or because Linux doesn't support what you want to do. There's a lot of quirks about it that you will notice at first, but grow to ignore overtime. It's the same way that Mac OS is. There will be things you'll immediately like, the window management on Windows for example is miles better than the one on Mac OS. 

 

I'd leave it as one partition for simplicity sake. If you want to dual boot with Linux down the road, you can repartition the drive without much issue. 

+1 , except:
Debloating scripts have gotten better over time, but still can cause issues, and if the user has no prior knowledge about the OS he/she might waste a lot of time troubleshooting. Just take a look at the 1st page of open issues: https://github.com/Sycnex/Windows10Debloater/issues 😆

Spoiler

image.thumb.png.a5fe2ce21dbcc262e080b0b718bdc8e9.png

- Instead I recommend declining pretty much everything during the setup process. Far from perfect, but near zero chance of borking something.

VGhlIHF1aWV0ZXIgeW91IGJlY29tZSwgdGhlIG1vcmUgeW91IGFyZSBhYmxlIHRvIGhlYXIu

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2 minutes ago, Biohazard777 said:

+1 , except:
Debloating scripts have gotten better over time, but still can cause issues, and if the user has no prior knowledge about the OS he/she might waste a lot of time troubleshooting. Just take a look at the 1st page of open issues: https://github.com/Sycnex/Windows10Debloater/issues 😆

  Reveal hidden contents

image.thumb.png.a5fe2ce21dbcc262e080b0b718bdc8e9.png

- Instead I recommend declining pretty much everything during the setup process. Far from perfect, but near zero chance of borking something.

To be fair, I've run them on every one of my PCs since I found out about it, and have yet to see a single issue with it. It might not be perfect, and it might be a good idea to avoid them if you're a complete noob, though I don't really think it's as big a deal as you might make it out to be.

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Thanks for all the feedback, folks.  My takeaways:

1.  Ninite looks great - and also provides a nice list of "starter apps" for me to learn more about.  I will definitely use this resource!

2. I need to do some reading on the benefits/costs of using a microsoft account vs a local only account.

3.  No need to worry about what I may do with Linux down the road - I can modify drives later if need be.

4. Debloating:  I think I am going to skip running the script, but I read the list of things that Sycnex does, and there are a number of items I will take on on my own.  (Candy crush is sometimes preinstalled?  Seriously?)

 

 

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On 1/28/2022 at 4:45 PM, AdHaPr said:

Thanks for all the feedback, folks.  My takeaways:

(Candy crush is sometimes preinstalled?  Seriously?)

On Windows 10 home, yes. If your computer comes with Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise (or you upgrade to one of them) a lot of the "adware" or bloatware gets removed. 

Fine you want the PSU tier list? Have the PSU tier list: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1116640-psu-tier-list-40-rev-103/

 

Stille (Desktop)

Ryzen 9 3900XT@4.5Ghz - Cryorig H7 Ultimate - 16GB Vengeance LPX 3000Mhz- MSI RTX 3080 Ti Ventus 3x OC - SanDisk Plus 480GB - Crucial MX500 500GB - Intel 660P 1TB SSD - (2x) WD Red 2TB - EVGA G3 650w - Corsair 760T

Evoo Gaming 15"
i7-9750H - 16GB DDR4 - GTX 1660Ti - 480GB SSD M.2 - 1TB 2.5" BX500 SSD 

VM + NAS Server (ProxMox 6.3)

1x Xeon E5-2690 v2  - 92GB ECC DDR3 - Quadro 4000 - Dell H310 HBA (Flashed with IT firmware) -500GB Crucial MX500 (Proxmox Host) Kingston 128GB SSD (FreeNAS dev/ID passthrough) - 8x4TB Toshiba N300 HDD

Toys: Ender 3 Pro, Oculus Rift CV1, Oculus Quest 2, about half a dozen raspberry Pis (2b to 4), Arduino Uno, Arduino Mega, Arduino nano (x3), Arduino nano pro, Atomic Pi. 

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