Having performed a ‘clean install’ of Windows hundreds of times over the years, here is the list of top 5 things I do in my Windows post-install.
Note:The following guide/tips are valid for a PC in any form factor(Desktop/Laptop/Touch enabled hybrid) running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.
1.) Install Drivers (duh!):
Throw out the drivers DVD which came with your PC, if you haven’t already. Its always better to get latest drivers from the manufacture’s website. Download them all and install in the following recommended order:
Pro tip: If for some reason you are clueless about the system configuration, and don’t know what drivers to get or from where, use Ma-Config.com to automatically detect your configuration and make a list of drivers you require along with download links.
Ninite is a small tool with a set of batch scripts which silent install your most commonly used applications. Now that your Windows and your devices are up and running, its time to install media players, browsers, PDF viewers, common runtimes(.NET, Java). This used to be painfully time consuming, till such time I discovered ninite.com.
Simply head over to ninite.com and you will be presented with a menu of most commonly used applications sorted in categories by type. Select what all you want and ninite will batch download and install them for you. The following is the list of applications available and I have checked the ones I download.
3.) Calibrate your screen:
While ninite is installing your applications, its a good idea to calibrate the colour reproduction of your screen. It almost always makes a difference for the better, regardless of what form factor machine you are on. Go through the wizard and in the end you can compare the results before and after the calibration and then decide to keep or revert the changes.
Pro tip: In case of a multi monitor setup, simply drag and drop the calibration wizard to the monitor you wish to calibrate.
Networx is an incredible tool which lets you keep tabs on your network upload/download speeds in real time. So if you are like me and spend an unnatural amount of time on YouTube or always have a bit torrent client downloading in the background or run a dedicated server of some sort, networx keeps you informed of what’s going on in terms of network usage. Its excellent for keeping tabs on your internet caps as well if you are on a connection which isn’t truly ‘unlimited’.
5.) Add all your drives to Search Index:
Adding all your files into the search index will make searching for files and folders of your interest significantly faster. By default, the Search Indexer in Windows 7, Windows 8 indexes the most common locations where your files would be stored, i.e. all libraries, everything in your User folder, and e-mail. If this is not enough, you can add or remove index location really easily. I usually add all the partitions of available internal drives.
In Windows 7, simply go to the start menu, type ‘index’ and press return. For Windows 8, see the screenshot.