My private Windows 10 check-list

I won’t deny. I hate Windows 10 and I hate Microsoft for making Windows 10 the way they made it. And… I hate my company’s IT support for forcing me into using it. But since I was forced to and there was no way avoiding this madness, I made my personal list of things you have to disable, uninstall, tweak up or change in order to make this stupid operating system a little less stupid.

Uninstall garbage

  1. Remove all programs that you don’t need and that offers “Uninstall” option.
  2. Uninstall most of the built-in apps — there’s a separate article for this.
  3. Uninstall unnecessary features using “Turn Windows Features on or off” applet in Control Panel.

Install missing software

  1. Install Total Commander:
    • English only,
    • INI files in program path,
    • add private license key,
    • add private configuration files (main + FTP).
  2. Install Notepad++:
    • add private settings, themes and plugins, restart program,
    • if Plugin Manager is not available, install it manually,
    • if it is available, use it to update existing and add missing plugins.
    • verify, if Total Commander has correct path to Notepad++ and you can edit files within it.
  3. Install Microsoft Office:
    • remove unnecessary components during installation process, if necessary (on Windows 10 this is a bit tricky),
    • install language packs for your country, if anyone are missing (see below),
    • copy some private Office templates and check, if everything is OK,
    • customise Office settings.
  4. Other software to consider:
    • browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera maybe,
    • communicators: Rocket.Chat+ and Slack (no fu…in Skype at all!),
    • basic multimedia support: IrfanView and VideoLAN VLC plus Format Factory (three apps to rule all files!),
    • text-related stuff: Notepad++ and Foxit Reader (or SmallPDF’s tiny PDF reader),
    • for home computer some development tools and for office one — TortoiseSVN and maybe KeePass.
  5. Drivers:
    • for all printers that you often use,
    • for all scanners that may be used by use,
    • install and configure NAPS2 or configure Windows’ default scanning app.

Point 3. is a bit tricky, when it comes to language packs, because in most cases you have to install x86 version of language pack over x64 version of Office. This is due to some stupid idiot at Microsoft deciding to include some x86 component within x64 Office 2013 and/or making x64 version of language pack unable to ignore this little component.

Customise File Explorer

  1. Pin most popular folders to File Explorer’s context menu:
    • drag and drop each folder to taskbar, remember about correct order,
    • no more items corrections in Windows 10 in menu, but you can change order in File Explorer > Quick Access.
  2. Change options in Folder Options windows (File > Options or View > Options).
  3. Change File Explorer column’s settings:
    • display type: Details (Ctrl + Shift + 6),
    • order: Name, Size, Type, Date,
    • sizes: 300, 80, 120, 110,
    • order by: Type,
    • go to: File > Options > View and hit Apply to Folders > Yes,
    • repeat above steps for all folder types (right-click > Customise this folder),
    • repeat above steps few times / after few system restarts until stupid Windows 10 finally “get this”.
  4. Remove everything you don’t need for left side panel:
    • from Quick Access, Desktop, user folder, This PC and Libraries,
    • remove everything you can remove by using official methods,
    • use Ultimate Windows Tweaker to remove junk from This PC.

Customise Start Menu, taskbar, etc.

  1. Clean up (remove, add, reorder, move between folders) everything in Start Menu:
    • all user items: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs,
    • your items: %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs,
    • some apps does not appear in any of these folders (see below).
  2. Customise contents of Send to… menu:
    • open / execute shell:sendto,
    • remove unnecessary elements (i.e. Bluetooth),
    • add missing elements (i.e. Notepad++).
  3. Customise taskbar and notification area:
    • enable desktop peek,
    • disable buttons combining,
    • disable People,
    • clean-up icons that appear on the taskbar: power, network, volume, Rocket.Chat+ and Slack,
    • clean-up system icons that appear on the taskbar: clock, volume, network, power; optionally disable Action Center.
  4. Pin programs to Start Menu:
    • most popular: Total Commander, Calculator, IrfanView, Paint, Notepad++, Notepad, Word and Excel,
    • or all of them (see below).
  5. Pin mostly used apps to taskbar:
    • File Explorer, Total Commander, browsers starting from Chrome, Notepad++, Sublime Text, Word and Excel,
    • for office computer — the same list and order, only Sublime Text replaced by Outlook.
  6. Add shortcuts to most popular programs to desktop:
    • for home PC:
      • top-left corner: Computer / This PC and Trash,
      • top-right corner: some games or TeamViever,
      • bottom-left corner:
        • Network, PuTTY, EVOLVE and DESKTOP,
        • XAMMP, Pageant, Git Bash, Sublime Text, DB Browser and HeidiSQL,
        • NAPS2 and HP Scan.
      • bottom-right corner: FaFNC, GenName, WinAAMP, pnMP3, ID3Kill and WindowsSucks plus TCGR above.

Some items (point 1) are “special” and you can’t move them anywhere. There’s no way to do this — they does not appear in above folders and drag-and-drop does not work in Start Menu i Windows 10. Thus, consider pinning all of them to Start Menu (point 4), organising into groups and hiding “real” Start Menu at all (there’s an option for that).

Customise other system elements

  1. Change power settings:
    • change the time when your screen is turned off:
    • change what happens when you close your laptop lid or press “Power” button.
  2. Set default programs by: type (i.e. browser, video player), opened file type and optionally by protocol.
  3. Get rid of tips and nags on your lock-screen:
  4. Customize Windows Firewall:
    • go to: Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall > Allowed applications,
    • uncheck or remove everything that you really don’t need,
    • this is wasted (as everything in M$), so you won’t be able to remove or uncheck (or even read details) many items.

Security and privacy

Disable all security-related thing and leak most of holes through which your private data leaks to Microsoft.

There’s a separate article for that. Unfortunately it is available only in Polish and three years old. But not more than thirty seconds of searching in Google should provide you with up-to-date English article on this.

Customize 3rd party software

  1. If you have Synaptics’ touchpad driver and using Ctrl+Alt+l (or Right Alt+Shift+l on some national keyboards) key combination then you must disable annoying dialog message that appears each time you press this keyboard shortcut. You maybe forced to update touchpad’s driver before and to restart computer afterwards.

Final touches

Use Control Panel and Settings to change everything else that you want to change and that you can change:


Final tweaks

Use Ultimate Windows Tweaker (here and maybe here) to fix and tweak anything that you want to change, but you can’t due to Microsoft jerks’ policy:

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