I've set up many Windows installations before, so I figured I'd share what I typically use to set up Windows in 2023.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but what I'd consider my "minimum viable Windows setup." Hope you find it useful!
Use the "I don't have internet" method to pick the username of your choice that will be your User folder name.
Opt-out of all data collection.
Enable Dark Theme.
Open Edge, visit Ninite.
Install the following programs from ninite.com:
Firefox - primary browser.
qBittorrent - bit-torrent software.
7-Zip - archive software.
Discord - communication software.
VLC - media player.
WinMerge - quickly compare files and folders.
Malwarebytes - anti-malware software.
WinDirStat - quickly see what folders/files are taking up the most space on your PC.
Install additional software:
Sign in with a Microsoft Account. Now you have a custom-set User Folder name, and also the benefit of using the Windows Store/account sync etc.
Sign in to Firefox, and confirm the following extensions are installed:
Firefox Multi-Account Containers - manage multiple instances/accounts on one browser session.
uBlock Origin - block ads.
SponsorBlock - blocks out annoying segments in YouTube videos.
Return YouTube Dislike - brings back the dislike button on YouTube.
FireShot - capture an entire page in a screenshot.
Bitwarden - password manager.
Dark Reader - toggleable forced dark theme on any website.
Settings > Text & Images > Disable Sticker Suggestions.
Malwarebytes: Enable Dark Theme + Disable Premium Free Trial.
Click the settings cog icon.
Select "Dark" under Theme.
Click "More info" and then "Run anyway" when the "Windows protected your PC" window pops up.
Once installed, visit "Ads and Unwanted Apps" from the Behavior folder and check "Disable ads in Windows."
Select "Disable Online & Video Tips in Settings."
Select "Disable Cortana."
Select "Disable Windows Ink Workspace."
Select "Enable Classic Paint."
Select "Disable Telemetry and Data Collection."
Select "Disable Action Center."
Disable all Taskbar Items and Item Corner Overflow.
Set Communications Activity behavior to "Do nothing" in Windows.
Settings > System > Sound > More sound settings
Obviously, everyone will have their own workflows and desired software/setup. I figured I'd share mine nonetheless in case it helps someone out.
Did you find this article valuable?
Support David V. Kimball by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!