Please note this guide is a work in progress and is therefore not yet finished
Welcome to my guide for optimally setting up Windows 10 to suit you.
Please use the index below for easy navigation; click the section you wish to go to and use the purple ‘Back to top’ arrow in the bottom right of the page to return to the index.
This guide assumes you have at least a basic working knowledge of computers. I will try to be as concise as possible to minimise confusion (and to stop you from falling asleep).
Additionally, I will include instructions on how to create an ‘image’ of your Windows installation once you have perfected it, so that you may restore it in the future on any new computer or should anything malicious affect your installation.
If your device is portable such as a laptop, I would highly recommend setting it up with Prey: Laptop Tracking & Data Security. You can add your first device for free and it could save you a lot of stress in the event that you lose the device.
1.1 Windows 10 Initial Setup
Let’s start from the beginning. We will assume your computer is at the point where Windows 10 has been installed and requires you to set it up. You can purchase Windows 10 here if you need to.
To begin, get started with the setup process. I would recommend declining the offers for you to share your location or keystrokes with Microsoft but this is up to you.
At this stage, it will ask you if you want to use a Microsoft account, or choose to use a local account. The option you choose will depend on how you use Windows and whether or not you use Microsoft services or not. If you use OneDrive and Office, I would suggest signing in with your Microsoft account as this will then link everything nicely together for you.
If you are privacy-conscious and do not use Microsoft services, I would recommend using a local account.
Once you are all set up and sitting at your computer, it’s time to get to work.
1.2 Windows Updates
Open up the start menu and search for Windows Update and open it up:
Click Check for updates and wait for it to find, download and install the first batch of updates. Once it has finished, if it lets you, press Check for updates again. Regardless of whether it prompts you to restart or says you are up to date, restart your computer.
Repeat this process two or three more times until it says you are up to date the first time you press it upon restarting your computer. You should now be up to date with the latest version of Windows, providing you with increased protection against threats as well as a potential performance boost over a system that has not been upgraded.
1.3 Uninstall Bloatware
Each computer manufacturer (and Microsoft) bundles their own software and other programs with your Windows 10 installation. This includes numerous Microsoft Store Apps and programs that you may not use.
To begin cleaning up, download IObit Uninstaller Portable. Run the EXE file and proceed through the installer. Once it has installed, run the program.
Go through and tick programs that you are unlikely to use and then press Uninstall. It should start going through them one by one, sometimes requiring you to click finish. If it asks you to restart, click Restart Later.
Do the same for Windows Apps (found on the left menu) and then within IObit Uninstaller, uninstall IObit Uninstaller. You can restart at this point if you wish. Your system should now be clear of unnecessary apps and programs.
1.4 Disable Windows 10 Spyware (Optional)
Windows 10 is notorious for being rampant with telemetry and other services that transmit your sensitive and private data through Microsoft servers. If you wish to reduce as much of your data being transmitted as possible, use OOSU10.
Be aware that some Microsoft services such as Store may be affected. In my experience with the ‘Recommended’ options disabled, my OneDrive and Office installations are unaffected with no disruptions.
1.5 Install & Set Up Desired Programs
I recommend using Ninite to install multiple programs at once. It contains a variety of popular and stable software and utilities that are kept up to date, and allows you to skip the tedious installation process and install them all at once.
Now is also a good time to download and install any of your games, if that is something you are into. If you use Steam, it is worthwhile to queue up installing each of the games you regularly play so that they will download and install in the background whilst you continue to tweak your Windows install.
Once your programs have been installed, you should take a few minutes to set them up to your liking. For example, you may have certain settings you like to use on Steam, qBittorrent, Microsoft Word etc. Setting these up now will save you hassle later on, and will also be a huge time saver when it comes to creating a system image (see later).
1.6 System Tweaks
There are a few changes you can make to your system to either improve performance or overall usability. These are the ones I have come across over the years that will hopefully help you out in the long run.
Reduce Keyboard Delay
When you hold a key down, by default there is a slight delay before it will continue to repeat the keystroke. Removing this delay is one of the first tweaks I apply to a system as it can be frustrating when you hold backspace to delete text, only for there to be a delay when doing so.
- 1. Open the Run menu with Windows Key + R
- 2. Type ‘control keyboard’ without the quotation marks
- 3. Slide the ‘Repeat delay’ slider all the way to the right as per the screenshot below
Disable Animations & Transitions
Animations and transitions are an aesthetic choice that can hinder performance on lower spec machines. Disabling these will make your operating system feel more snappy and responsive.
- 1. Open the start menu and search for ‘Animation’
- 2. Click ‘Show animations in Windows’ as per the screenshot below
- 3. Halfway down the page, turn ‘Show animations in Windows’ to ‘Off’
Enable Dark Mode
If you spend time looking at your screen at night or with the lights off, you may find yourself squinting. It is a lot easier on your eyes with Dark Mode enabled and I would always recommend opting for Dark Mode wherever possible, if this is your preference (many websites offer this option).
Simple search the start menu (or Settings menu) for Dark Mode and turn the option on accordingly.
More coming soon – this guide is a work in progress