User:Misterhaan/Windows 8.1 Setup

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like most versions of windows, 8.1’s default setup isn’t the greatest. this guide lists the changes i make after i have windows 8.1 installed. it’s mostly so i remember what all i do, but may point out some tricks you haven’t come across before.

cisco anyconnect vpn client

cisco’s software has plenty of problems, so if you need it for work it’s a good idea to make sure it installs first before doing anything else. in particular, it can fail to install in a way that can only be solved by starting over with windows itself.

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 diagnostic policy service → disabled diagnostic service host → disabled diagnostic system host → disabled distributed link tracking client → disabled homegroup listener → disabled homegroup provider → disabled ike and authip ipsec keying modules → disabled ipsec policy agent → disabled problem reports and solutions control panel support → disabled security center → disabled touch keyboard and handwriting panel service → disabled (except on galileo since it’s a tablet) webclient → disabled windows error reporting service → disabled windows firewall → disabled windows media player network sharing service → disabled windows remote management (ws-management) → disabled winhttp web proxy auto-discovery service → disabled wlan autoconfig → disabled (except on galileo, which has wlan)[/bullets]

disabling the security center service is still going to leave the flag icon in the system tray. to turn it off, right click the taskbar and choose properties, then click the customize button for notification area. at the bottom of the new window, click the turn system icons on or off link, and set the action center icon to off.

the windows defender service can no longer be stopped or disabled. instead, run windows defender from the start screen and go to the settings tab and the administrator section and uncheck “turn on this app.”

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.

map network drives

click the file explorer icon (looks like a folder) on the taskbar, then click computer in the left pane. click the [i]map network drive[/i] button in the computer section of the ribbon.

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.

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). for mapped drives you can actually find them in computer and rename them like any other file.

cusomize desktop

right-click the desktop and choose [i]personalize[/i]. use desktop background to choose an image for the desktop. it will automatically set the window color based on the background image, but if you don’t like that you can go to color to change it. 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 for 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 to power options, go to [i]choose what the power button does[/i] from the left. if you are dual-booting with linux and want to be able to mount your windows partition in read-write mode, make sure [i]turn on fast startup[/i] is unchecked. otherwise windows actually does a partial hibernate which prevents anything else from writing to the disk.

next is [i]change desktop icons[/i] from the left of the personalization window. 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.

by default windows puts you in a workgroup named “workgroup,” but i prefer the name of my network. 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 desktop 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). This will take effect after your next login.

remove folder links from this pc

there are 6 folders that show up in file explorer along with all the drives. i don’t even use 5 of the 6 and the other isn’t useful to have right there, so remove them all. run regedit and get to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace. there are problably 6 subkeys that are uuids, and those are what you want to delete. in case you actually want to keep one or two of them, here’s the list:

[bullets]{1CF1260C-4DD0-4ebb-811F-33C572699FDE} - Music {374DE290-123F-4565-9164-39C4925E467B} - Downloads {3ADD1653-EB32-4cb0-BBD7-DFA0ABB5ACCA} - Pictures {A0953C92-50DC-43bf-BE83-3742FED03C9C} - Videos {A8CDFF1C-4878-43be-B5FD-F8091C1C60D0} - Documents {B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641} - Desktop[/bullets]

For 64-bit Windows, delete the same keys from under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace to also remove them from 32-bit application dialogs.

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]file 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

windows 8 removed gadgets, possibly in favor of the live tiles on the start screen. to get them back i used the windows 8 release preview gadget support, which was packaged into a sort of convenient install script in the forums at [url=][/url]. follow the instructions there to get gadgets back.

i run three gadgets: [url=]weathercenter[/url], slide show (not on my laptop though), and [url=]all cpu meter[/url]. weathercenter and all cpu meter need to be downloaded, and can be easily installed by double-clicking the .gadget file. to enable slide show, right-click the desktop and choose gadgets, then double-click slide show. 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 weathercenter on top, then all cpu meter, and lastly, slide show.

configure gadgets by pointing at them and then clicking the wrench icon that shows up. weathercenter supports many different weather sources, and i set mine to wunderground. then i fill in my location, switch to skin 2, and update the units to imperial since i don't understand metric all that well. i also change the parameters to wind, visibility, humidity, and sunset. for all cpu meter i turn off processor name and current domain/username. i set slideshow to the photos directory on my server with subfolders, for 30 seconds, fade transitions, and shuffled.

folder options

you can get to folder options from the control panel, or from file explorer (formerly called windows explorer) by going to [i]view → 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]

turn off keyboard switch shortcut

even though i tell windows to use the dvorak keyboard at install time, it still also installs the qwerty keyboard. to make matters worse, it also uses a common key combination as a hotkey to switch keyboard layouts. if i ever actually want to switch, i use the mouse on the language bar in the taskbar. it's sort of hard to find the shortcut to turn it off, so here's how:

click the language bar to pop up the keyboard layout menu. click the language preferences link at the bottom of the list. click the advanced settings link from the left side. click the change language bar hot keys link under the switching input methods heading. click the change key sequence button and then set both options to not assigned.

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.

protector suite 2012

the (free) limited edition gives me fingerprint login, but also puts icons for fingerprint-encrypted files on the desktop and with the drives in computer. it isn’t available unless you pay for the full version, but they didn’t include an option to remove the icons if you don’t even want that feature. thankfully, the way they show up there is via registry keys, and you can just delete them. get to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace and delete the {055EF591-5C38-49a0-9BDA-51B1D69D0BF4} key to remove it from the desktop, and delete the same-named key from HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace to remove it from the computer.


the ticking sound from redpower2 timers is really annoying, so edit a config file to turn it off. get to redpower.cfg in your user’s AppData\Roaming\.techniclauncher\tekkit\redpower\ directory. find logic.enableSounds in the file and change it from 1 to 0.

visual studio 2012

while visual studio 2012 has [i]some[/i] optional components, other things that should be optional get installed anyway. here’s what i remove after installing visual studio 2012:

[bullets]Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Data-Tier App Framework Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Objects Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Objects (x64) Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Transact-SQL ScriptDom Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Language Service Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 SP1 Microsoft SQL Server System CLR Types Microsoft SQL Server System CLR Types (x64) Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2012 Microsoft System CLR Types for SQL Server 2012 (x64) Microsoft Web Deploy dbSqlPackage Provider - enu[/bullets]

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.