User:Misterhaan/Windows 7 Setup

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like most versions of windows, 7’s default setup isn’t the greatest. this guide lists the changes i make after i have windows 7 installed. it’s mostly so i remember what all i do, but may point out some tricks you haven’t come across before.

map network drives

go to [i]start → computer[/i] to get the computer window to come up (thankfully, they’ve dropped the “my” in front of it as of vista). click the [i]map network drive[/i] button on the toolbar.

in the map network drive window, choose an open drive letter and a network location. leave [i]reconnect at logon[/i] checked so that you won’t need to do this every time you boot.

disable unneeded services

black viper has a comprehensive guide to the [url=]services in windows 7[/url]. here’s what i changed on mine:

[bullets]base filtering engine → disabled certificate propagation → disabled diagnostic policy service → disabled diagnostic service host → disabled diagnostic system host → disabled distributed link tracking client → disabled fax → disabled ike and authip ipsec keying modules → disabled ip helper → disabled ipsec policy agent → disabled netlogon → disabled offline files → disabled parental controls → disabled problem reports and solutions control panel support → disabled remote registry → disabled security center → disabled smart card → disabled smart card removal policy → disabled tablet pc input service → disabled (except on galileo, which is a tablet) webclient → disabled windows defender → disabled windows error reporting service → disabled windows firewall → disabled windows media center receiver service → disabled windows media center scheduler service → disabled windows media player network sharing service → disabled windows remote management (ws-management) → disabled windows update → manual winhttp web proxy auto-discovery service → disabled wlan autoconfig → disabled (except on galileo, which has wlan)[/bullets]

note that windows update goes to manual, not disabled. if you disable it, you can’t install windows hotfixes or some software (for example, visual studio 2008).

enable automatic login

if you only have one user account or almost always login with the same account, you may want to have windows do this for you automatically. in the start menu search box, enter [i]netplwiz[/i]. it should give you one result, so use that. uncheck [i]users must enter a user name and password to use this computer[/i] and click [i]ok[/i]. the [i]automatically log on[/i] window pops up — fill in the user name and password fields.

customize start menu

right-click the start button and choose [i]properties[/i]. under the [i]start menu[/i] tab, click the [i]customize[/i] button. make the following changes:

[bullets]computer: don’t display this item connect to: uncheck control panel: display as a menu default programs: uncheck documents: don’t display this item games: don’t display this item help: uncheck highlight newly installed programs: uncheck music: don’t display this item network: uncheck personal folder: don’t display this item pictures: don’t display this item run command: check search other files and libraries: don’t search number of recent programs to display: 8, minus however many you intend to pin[/bullets]

change drive icons

it’s easier to tell my mapped drives apart if i give each one its own icon. this is done by creating registry keys. run regedit, then get down to [code]HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer[/code]. create a key called [code]DriveIcons[/code] (it sometimes already exists), then under that create a key that is called the drive letter, for example [code]X[/code]. under that, create a key called [code]DefaultIcon[/code] and set its default value to the icon file you want to use. you can use a file with multiple icons if you add a semicolon followed by a number telling it which icon to use. repeat as desired for additional drives. Similarly, a key called [code]DefaultLabel[/code] will change the text that displays for that drive when empty (in the case of cd/dvd/memory cards).

cusomize desktop

right-click the desktop and choose [i]personalize[/i]. use desktop background to choose an image for the desktop. use window color to change the color. click screen saver so you can jump to the power options from the screen saver dialog by clicking the link near the bottom. click the [i]change plan settings[/i] link under the active plan, then [i]change advanced power settings[/i] to get at all power options. some settings will be locked until you click the [i]change settings that are currently unavailable[/i] link. i make the following changes:

[bullets]balanced → require a password on wakeup: no (except on galileo since it’s a laptop and i might leave it unattended) sleep → sleep after: 0 (never) power buttons and lid → lid close action: do nothing power buttons and lid → power button action: shut down[/bullets]

back at the personalization window, click sounds. i customize the new mail sound and that’s it. that’s all the customization available on the right side, so next is [i]change desktop icons[/i] from the left. check the box for computer. i don’t use the recycle bin (except on my laptop where the delete key is dangerously close to an arrow key), so disable it by right-clicking the recycle bin (on the desktop) and choosing [i]properties[/i]. turn off the delete confirmation dialog and choose the [i]do not move files...[/i] option to disable the recycle bin. now you can uncheck it in the desktop icon settings to hide its icon. you also have the option of changing the icons for everything that shows in the box. i change computer.

that’s it for the personalization control panel. i rename [i]computer[/i] to my computer’s actual name — do this by selecting the icon on the desktop, hitting f2, and typing the new name. if you turned on the network icon and want to change that, it isn’t so easy — it requires a registry edit. browse to HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\MuiCache and find the value named “@C:\\Windows\\system32\\NetworkExplorer.dll,-1” — it will probably be set to “Network.” change this to whatever you want — i set it to the name of my workgroup.

speaking of workgroup, by default vista puts you in a workgroup named “workgroup,” which is pretty stupid. to change it, right-click on the computer icon and choose [i]properties[/i]. under the [i]computer name, domain, and workgroup settings[/i] section there’s a [i]change settings[/i] link. click the [i]change[/i] button in the window that pops up, and enter your workgroup name.

shorten vertical icon spacing

windows 8 seems to have removed access to the advanced display properties dialog, so to put gesktop icons closer together it’s necessary to edit the registry. go to HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics and find the value named IconVerticalSpacing. it's in some sort of secret code where -1125 means 43 (the default) and -825 means 23 (what i change it to).

disable thumbs.db files

there’s an option to have windows [i]not[/i] create thumbs.db files to cache thumbnails, but it’s hidden in the group policy editor. in places where windows can create thumbs.db files for me it doesn’t need to because there are only a few files to show thumbnails of, so i just get extra files cluttering things up. to turn it off, open the start screen and enter gpedit.msc. once the whole thing is entered it should show up, so launch it. in the left pane, expand [i]user configuration[/i], [i]administrative templates[/i], and [i]windows components[/i]. select [i]windows explorer[/i] and then find [i]turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files[/i]. open it up and set it to enabled (since it’s a turn-off setting, enabling the setting disables the feature).

enable and customize desktop gadgets

desktop gadgets are windows 7’s name for what was the windows sidebar in vista. i like to have weather, clock, calendar, and slide show (no slide show on my laptop though). right-click the desktop and choose gadgets. double-click the gadgets you want. you can move them anywhere you like on the desktop and toggle them between small (default) and large size. i like mine coming down from the upper left with weather on top, then all cpu meter (separate download), calendar, and slide show.

weather showed me new york by default, so if you don’t live in new york put the mouse over the weather to get the wrench icon to show up, then click it. choose your location and temperature unit. calendar has no wrench but if you double-click on the big orange day it will change to a month view, which i prefer. slideshow’s wrench lets you choose your photo directory, and some other fancy options. i set it to the photos directory on my server with subfolders, for 30 seconds, fade transitions, and shuffled.

trust local network

somehow even with vista, windows doesn’t realize that computers on the same subnet and in the same workgroup are part of the same lan. go to [i]control panel → internet options → security[/i] and select [i]local intranet[/i]. click the [i]sites[/i] button. uncheck [i]automatically detect intranet network[/i] (it doesn’t work). click advanced and enter the names of other computers on the lan as “websites” so that windows will see them as part of the local network.

customize favorite links

windows explorer now displays “favorites” in the left pane. i never go to any of the directories that are there by default (with the exception of desktop), so here’s how to delete them and put in your own. simply right-click on a link that’s not one of your favorites and choose [i]remove link[/i] to get rid of it. to add one of your own, simply drag and drop onto favorites to create a shortcut. you can also rename links from the right-click menu, or open the favorite links folder by right-clicking the empty space and choosing [i]open favorite links folder[/i]. drag and drop links to re-order them as you please.

folder options

you can get to folder options from the control panel, or by pressing alt in windows explorer and going to [i]tools → folder options[/i]. make the following changes on the view tab: [bullets]hidden files and folders: show hidden files and folders hide extensions for known file types: uncheck hide protected operating system files: uncheck launch folder windows in a separate process: check use sharing wizard: uncheck[/bullets]

program customization

some programs work better with some customization. this list reminds me what i should change after installing certain programs.


when borderlands starts up you get to see a bunch of logo videos, and it won’t let you skip them. i just want to play not watch the same videos repeatedly, so edit borderlands\WillowGame\Config\DefaultEngine.ini. find [FullScreenMovie] around line 400 and comment out (insert a semicolon at the beginning) each of the +StartupMovies and +SkippableMovies lines.

civilization v

the startup video continues playing until you told it to skip and it’s finished whatever startup actions the game needs. i prefer to not see anything until it’s at the main menu, which can be configured by editing a file. open C:\Users\YOU\My Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civiliation 5\UserSettings.ini and find the line that says SkipIntroVideo = 0, and change it to SkipIntroVideo = 1.


the bottom right of my monitor is sometimes obscured by my desk, and that’s where the steam overlay pops up messages. to put it in the top right corner instead, edit Steam\resource\styles\gameoverlay.styles, find the Notifications.PanelPosition and change BottomRight to TopRight or whatever suits you.

visual studio 2010

despite it asking and me saying i don’t want it, visual studio 2010 installs a bunch of extra stuff. here’s what i remove after installing visual studio 2010 and then service pack 1:

[bullets] Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Data-Tier Application Framework Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Data-Tier Application Project Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Objects Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Transact-SQL Language Service Microsoft SQL Server Compact Microsoft SQL Server Database Publishing Wizard Microsoft SQL Server System CLR Types Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime (says visual studio needs it) Microsoft Sync Framework SDK Microsoft Sync Framework Services (says visual studio needs it) Microsoft Sync Services for ADO.NET (says visual studio needs it) Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 Object Model Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime Visual Studio 2010 Tools for SQL Server Compact [/bullets]

world of goo

by default, world of goo runs at 800×600 resolution in fullscreen, but my monitor is 1920×1080. there’s no settings whatsoever available to change within the game, but there’s a file in the properties directory (for steam it’s [code]steamapps\common\world of goo\properties\[/code]) called [code]config.txt[/code] which is actually an xml file with some settings. change the 800 to your resolution width (for example, 1920) and the 600 to the height (1080). save the file and the game should run at the resolution you entered. works for me at 1920×1080.