Thursday, January 30, 2014

Setting up a new PC

Setting up a new windows PC is exciting and daunting task. I like to setup my PC in certain ways. I have my own quirks.
  1. Get a SSD.
    • Why SSD? There are many people wrote about this. You won’t regret it. Go get one already.
    • Get at least 256 GB, I bought one with 128 GB and I was running out of space after a week. Windows itself takes 20-25 GB.
  2. Get Administrator privileges. If you are a developer & your company won’t trust you with “Admin” rights for your own freaking box, just QUIT. Find a better place to work.
  3. Split hard drive into 2 Partitions
    • Usually I make two partitions, one for system and other one for me. This helps me to easily isolate what is important to me and what should be backed up.
    • I have mixed feeling about moving “User” folder to my drive. Many apps put many things I don’t care in “User” folder. So I end up not backing it up.
  4. Install Chocolatey
    • In one line command you can install many popular software including Visual Studio trail versions. It pulls the software from web, runs the installer for you. All with one line command.
  5. May want to install Boxstarter
    1. If you have to install 100s of software/tools, you have to run 100s of commands, if you have to run 100s of software/tools in 100s of boxes, that is where Boxstarter comes into play.
  6. Setup a shortcut folder.
    • I have some folders I open quite a few times in a day and run some programs very frequently. I have a project folder where I have all my projects stored. I simple type “pro” in the “Run Dialog” it opens the Project folder. For Visual Studio I type “VS”, Who wants to remember “devenv”?
    • To do this, I usually create a folder named “Shortcut” in my drive and add it’s path to %PATH% and add “.LNK” to %PATHEXT% so that you don’t have to type “.lnk” for every shortcut in that folder. 
      • Go to System Properties >> Environment Variables >> System Variables  >>
      • Add Shortcut folder’s path to “Path” variable
      • Add “.LNK” to “PathExt” variable.
  7. When I start Windows, I like certain programs auto start and be ready. I usually run my “AutoHotKey” for text expansion and some other hotkeys and “Ditto” for multi level copy and paste. I want these things run with “Admin” privilege, so they can interact with certain Apps that are in “Admin” mode. To start them in “Admin” mode you can’t simply place them in “Startup” folder. I use “Schedule Task” to run these tools in “Admin” mode when I login.