Installing win10

Something happened to my win7 system. I couldn’t install or update certain programs. Not much disk space left either. I had to delete stuff just to satisfy my pixls habit. I ignored the problem for a year or so but now have to do my taxes, etc. Anyway, I ended up begrudgingly buying a new ssd and installing win10 on it. Don’t ask me why (not FOSS). Trying to set it up is a nightmare. I have already spent hours figuring out what to disable and turn off, and how to do it. Navigating it is like traversing a cyberpunk Hong Kong.

This is where you come in. I prefer a no-nonsense and minimalist setup. If you have any wise words, please share them. Thanks.

Are you asking us to recommend Linux? :wink:

I’d probably start with something like Ubuntu Mate or Xubuntu.


No, I am asking for advice regarding win10. I will probably make a vm or two now that I have more disk space.

I’d let it do its thing in regards to default install. There’s not a ton you can do anyway (barring getting deeper into crap).

A few things that have helped my win experience.

  1. Windows key will bring up the launcher thingie - you can just start typing immediately to call up something, like a program.
  2. Windows key + arrows will automatically tile windows left, right, up, or down for you (and annoyingly let you pick another window to occupy the other portion of the screen).
  3. Cygwin! - might as well have a real posix environment with familiar tools and an actual bash shell.
  4. I’d disable Cortana (the voice assistant) personally.

More as I find some time and think of things…


Actually, googling for

minimalistic windows 10 setup

will bring up a few interesting ideas.

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

Used it a long time ago. Has it changed much? Might install. Unsure which is better: cygwin or a vm.

“She” surprised me at setup. I quickly muted the volume!

Currently, I am figuring out how to prevent a windows preview from showing up when hovering over an app icon in the taskbar. The more cruft I disable the less my fan will turn on, I hope.

@Claes I don’t need win10 to use Google search :stuck_out_tongue:. Web searches generally yield shallow or deep dives. E.g., how to set your User folder to another partition or disk drive tried my patience. Not difficult but I would rather use that effort to install Cygwin instead.

I’m on Windows 8.1. I’ve never used Windows 10, but I understand it needs telling not to copy everything you say or type to a big server in Seatttle.

I like Cygwin. It provides bash and all the usual *nix tools like sed, tr etc etc, and the tools are usable under bash and Windows cmd and Windows BAT.

I have a page about installing and using Cygwin: IM with Cygwin. It is aimed at ImageMagick users, but most of it applies to any application.

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Yes, this is true. Everything that can be recorded and monetized is, down to the mic, cam, gaze, keyboard and touchpad strokes. Not paranoid; MS said so. There exists apps that disable these elements but I am not confident that they aren’t malware or cryptominers themselves.

As others have hinted, for almost everything privacy-related, choose the opposite setting to the Redmond default, and brutally massacre Cortana.

I like to turn off the “snap” option (Settings>System>Multitasking). I find it makes windows unnecessarily difficult to move around as I choose.

if it’s not a desktop in a private place, you might want to turn off all the status display stuff on the lock screen (Settings>Personalization>Lock screen).

You said you didn’t like the window previews when your mouse goes over the taskbar. Go to Settings>Personalization>Taskbar and turn off “Peek”.

An important thing to remember: whenever there is a major Win 10 update, some of your settings will get changed on you, and any new settings added will be Redmond-friendly. So re-check all your settings immediately after every update.

Good hint. I do that for my (Android) mobile too.

Oddly, the preview is still there, even when I change the advanced setting to “best performance”, which is supposed to disable everything.

Definitely different from win7. I have read complaints from people with User folders on another partition or disk drive that win10 actually moves their folder back to its default location during an update. That is insane and potentially dangerous!

Oh, and if your Win 10 edition is less than Pro, you lose a lot of control over when it decides to reboot to install updates. I’ve literally gone to the bathroom and come back to find my machine rebooting. I have one last machine to get over to Linux and then I can just forget about the gong show.

It has happened to me before and I lost a lot of progress because I had everything open but didn’t save anything for a week :cry:. I know there is a way to prevent that, at least in win7. I will have to remember to revisit this.

I agree with Patdavid (leave the defaults and let Windows handle things). I upgraded my own Win8.1 to WIn10 without any issues; helped two of my friends update there own Win7 machines to Win10 (free at that time) without any issues either. Win10’s been pretty stable after their first equivalent to service pack release. Of course, I jumped in from day one and, well, had some issues that since have been addressed. Once you upgrade, you’ll like it too. You can then disable Cortana and location if you feel like you have to. :slight_smile:

I looked into the reboot issue. There is something called “active hours”, period when auto-reboots (supposedly) aren’t allowed to happen. However, I cannot set it to 24 hrs, only 18. (Sometimes, I use the laptop at odd hours.) There is also an option to super-nag, like what win7 did. I turned that on so that at the very least I get ample warning — as long as I don’t

Conservative configuration:

@Jacal Looks like you customized the start menu and the file explorer, and I don’t see the taskbar.

My start menu

I only use the start menu for quick searches (by typing when active) and for the Power button. My desktop is hidden; I place the shortcuts on the taskbar instead.

The start menu is tweaked with a third party tool. The taskbar is on the left, hidden currently by the start menu. The file explorer is Q-Dir, there are many other available.

The taskbar:

The taskbar is at the bottom. I only see the icons. What I have so far in my new install:


I don’t truncate my task tray icons because I don’t want them changing on me. I like them in a certain order and remove those I don’t need.

Originally the “active hours” setting allowed a maximum of 12 hours, which was ridiculous. I didn’t notice the change to 18 hours until you pointed it out. Thanks! :+1:

Agree with @lylejk the current versions are stable and, except for the privacy issues, it’s my favorite version.
Also, if you have a network of Win 10 machines, beware the big updates, because they will simply grab all you’re network bandwidth. At work, first time, all users lost internet connection because of this. Lessons learned, we implemented some group policies to throttle updates bandwidth usage and now everything is fine.
I don’t use windows at home.