Basic Windows 7 Configuration

[2012-Mar-03: Updated.]

Here is how I configure my Windows 7 UI:

  • Set desktop background to solid color
    • I find pictures as desktop background distracting.
    • Selecting a solid color background may cause Windows Logon to take 30 seconds!
      Hotfix solution: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/977346/en-us
      May have been resolved by a Windows update or SP1.
    • Remove Icon label shadows:
      Under Computer, Properties, Advanced System Settings, Performance
      disable “Use drop shadows for icon labels”
  • Desktop
    • Adjust Desktop Icon Size:
      Select any icon on desktop, press CTRL-Key and use mouse wheel to resize.
    • My Computer, Show on Desktop
  • Set folder options:
    • Under Control Panel, Folder Options, General
      Select “Single-Click”
    • Under Control Panel, Folder Options, View
      Deselect “Hide extensions for known types”.
      In contrast to configuring XP do not(!) select show hidden files or deselect hide protected files (doing so results in confusing folders displays in Windows Explorer).
  • Indexing Options
    • Under Control Panel, Indexing Options
      Select all disks to be completely indexed.
      I do not understand why MS does not allow some folders like ProgramData to be indexed.
  • Web Browser Settings (see Why I Dislike IE 9)
    • English as first Language Preference
    • Homepage to blank site
    • Add SearchDotNot to search providers
  • Windows Update configuration
    • On Notebooks: Check… but let me choose whether to download
    • On Workstations: Install updates automatically

Some tools I always install:

  • MS Security Essentials
  • 7-zip
  • Deamon tools light
    To mount ISOs.
  • Foxit PDF Reader
    Adobe Reader X often has hiccups.
    Be careful not to install the toolbars etc. it defaults to install!
  • ZoomIt
    For presentations.
    Zoom, paint and write on screen.
  • RichCopy
    For bulk copying files.
  • Notepad++
    Notepad replacement.
    LRU files in tabs, …
  • Skype
  • Internet Download Manager
  • Ninite Updater
    To keep application up to date.
  • VWWare player (or Workstation)
    The current player version supports creating new VMs.
    To convert VMs from other formats and to create VMs from physical machines:

  • VLC Player
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About Peter Meinl

IT Consultant
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