Must-install applications and settings for new Windows machines


Given my role as a technology consultant, my time is evenly split between my work with clients and long hours on my computer.

I’ve put together my list of apps and settings that I could not live without.

If you have a new computer, try setting it up like this. Even without a new computer, it is well worth testing how the following apps and settings could fit into your workflow.

Setup Input Devices

  1. Input devices / drivers
    1. Wireless / bluetooth mouse
    2. Add printers that you may need access to
    3. Configure the Internet connection
  2. Apply physical settings
    1. Physically cover the camera on the device
    2. Disable speaker (not approp. in corporate setting)
    3. Test projector

Install Software

  1. Download customised Ninite intall file to acceelrate initial software install work
  2. Install applications
    1. Apps that should be part of Windows anyway
      1. Launchy
      2. 7-Zip
      3. Notepad++
      4. TeraCopy
      5. Dropbox
    2. Productivity
      1. Microsoft Office Suite – For general document creation
      2. Foxit PDF Reader
      3. Slack – For better team communication
      4. Evernote – For storing random thoughts and musings
    3. Next-level productivity / idea visualisation
      1.  Carot – For distractionless writing
      2. yEd Graph Editor – For visualising information networks
      3. XMind – For mindmapping
      4. Phrase Express – For auto-replacing shortcodes with templated slabs of text
      5. BB FlashBack Pro – For professional screen recordingmos
      6. DuckLink Screen Capture – For superior screenshots and srreamlined annotation
    4. Website creation / maintenance
      1. FileZilla
      2. XAMPP
      3. Koala
    5. Image creation
      1. GIMP
      2. Inkscape
    6. Audio creation
      1. Audacity
      2. Internet
      3. Firefox
      4. Chrome
    7. Install add-ins
      1. Text to Rows
      2. ASAP Utilities
      3. TaskCracker

Apply Preferences

  1. Open every installed application at least once to click through first-run settings
  2. Set default applications for launch specific file types
  3. Apply preferences
    1. Windows
      1. Change Wallpaper to low poly art
      2. Turn off display auto-adjust to outside brightness
      3. Add all newly installed program icons to the Taskbar
      4. Hide any corporate-installed Desktop icons in a hidden Desktop folder
      5. Turn off Cortana / taskbar search
    2. Slack
      1. Log into Slack account to enable sync
    3. Evernote
      1. Log into Evernote account to enable sync
    4. Excel
      1. Turn on **Trust Files from Internet** option
    5. GIMP
      1. Change GIMP to **Single Window Mode**
    6. Dropbox
      1. Disable Desktop notifications
    7. PhraseExpress
      1. Import library of PhraseExpress phrases from previous device
    8. Outlook
      1. Workflow improvement settings
        1. Set up Outlook mail folders to optimise workflow
        2. Enable start up in Folder to be the new “Requests” folder that you created
        3. Change default search scope to All Folders
        4. Enable auto-remove deleted files on exit
        5. Enable setting when replying to a message that is not in the Inbox save the reply in the same folder (instead of sent)
        6. Change default “File As” to First Last name, so search makes sense by first name
        7. Filter all meeting responses and updates into a folder away from the Inbox
      2. Standard settings
        1. Configure default email signature
        2. Pre-fill generic holiday response message