Recommendations for how-to set up a (new/fresh) Windows system (installation).
The scope of this article could be limited to what to install or it could also encompass configuration (settings) for that software, as well.
Windows tips Edit
SysOp configuration administration
- (for Windows (N.T.-based) systems, in-general; There is Windows 8-specific stuff below)
new installation Edit
The end-users probably want the following apps installed:
- Also, keep this list of things to watch out for updates
- anti-malware protection (known, popularly as "Anti-virus")
- some web browser other than Internet Explorer (Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, probably)
- Multimedia player (that can do more than Windows Media Player that comes bundled with every Windows OS)
- PDF reader
- Java capability ? (needed for running Citrix software like GoToMeeting GoToWebinar ? and GoToMyPC ?)
Such software are common presences in any end-user consumer Windows system.
In more detail ...
- Adobe Flash (web-browser plugins)
- no need for A.I.R. any longer, right?
- Java (JRE) (do you really need it? It can be a security issue / vector for vulnerability, particularly when running within the web browser as a plugin (especially the NPAPI version). official from Oracle (this is often updated for security reasons Be aware ! )
--> in the Browser
- some "Anti-Virus" (AV) software. Avast, Comodo, ---> see: 
- Avast's newest software suite has a nice Software Updater feature (which checks if these apps are up-to-date and if not, enables easy updates) (not to be confused with the mechanism for updaating the Avast software itself (broken further down into: Virus definitions, and the Avast software , itself)
- However, in my experience, Avast's Software Update feature did not detect that the Microsoft Silverlight plugin (FF browser plugin) was out-of-date -- I used Firefox's own about:plugins Mozilla Plugin Check webpage.
- a media player (see VLC, below) (I do NOT recommend Apple's QuickTime (for Windows) unless you need iTunes because you have an iPod that you want to sync with your Windows PC (host device).
To read PDFs (the readers built into the Google Chrome (not Chromium, though) browser, and Mozilla's Firefox may do.
However, it is possibly that only Adobe's official Reader supports every feature of the PDF format (which is Adobe's own, btw).
to simply obtain it, visit either:
- http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions allows a choice of which platform and version of the OS to download the package/installer for
for Win7 and NOT Vista, Generation 11:
the latest point release of the previous generation, 10 is available for Vista as well as 7 (and 8 too?)
http://get.adobe.com/reader/download/?installer=Reader_10.1.4_English_for_Windows&os=Windows%207&browser_type=Gecko for web browsers that use the Netscape Plugin Architecture A.P.I. (NAPI NPAPI) plugins, as used in Mozilla Firefox as well as web-browsers Chromium(-based)).
There is sorta an A.P.I. to Adobe's Download website, or at least notice patterns relationships between the URLs. Adding "
standalone=1" to the URL (as a part of the query string) will enable the full installer (all binary executable code, necessary to run/install when offline) to be downloaded (as a single .exe file), as opposed to the smaller installer .exe which requires a working internet connection (connectivity) to run.
Flash plugin Edit
Adobe's Flash Player(/plugin)
One place to start is by visiting (using your (graphical) web browser) any of the following URLs:
There is an "optional offer" to "install the free McAfee Security Scan Plus utility to check the status of my PC security. It will not modify existing antivirus program or PC settings." Pay attention to that checkbox.
From there, there is a yellow | Download | button that will launch an automatically-selected installer. That re-directs to one of the following URLs :
The following URLs provide smaller .exe ((binary )executable) which will serve as a download manager/helper (and installer), which will (when run), in turn, download all of the necessary installable installation executable binary content (packages/files)
To Download for I.E. (Microsoft Internet Explorer, ActiveX component/plugin) :
small installer: https://get3.adobe.com/flashplayer/download/?installer=FP_16_for_Firefox_-_NPAPI&os=Windows%207&browser_type=MSIE&browser_dist=OEM&d=McAfee_Security_Scan_Plus_IE_Browser&p=chr,gtb&dualoffer=false&type=au&browser_vers=10
AND full, self-contained installer (package .exe): http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/download/?installer=FP_16_for_Internet_Explorer_-_ActiveX&os=Windows%207&browser_type=Gecko&browser_dist=Firefox&a=McAfee_Security_Scan_Plus_FireFox_Browser&dualoffer=false 17.58 MBs.
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/download/?installer=FP_16_for_Internet_Explorer_-_ActiveX&os=Windows%207&browser_type=Gecko&browser_dist=Firefox&d=McAfee_Security_Scan_Plus_FireFox_Browser&dualoffer=false 16.7 MB
To download for Firefox (NPAPI, Mozilla-based / Gecko-based web browsers):
which leads to (specifically/particularly) :
which is 1.0 MegaBytes in size. It's an installer helper. It does not contain all of the binary installer. When running (launching) it, it will contact Adobe's servers and download the installer package(s) (binary installer).
AND full, self-contained: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/download/?installer=FP_16_for_Firefox_-_NPAPI&os=Windows%207&browser_type=Gecko&browser_dist=Firefox&a=McAfee_Security_Scan_Plus_FireFox_Browser&dualoffer=false 17.2 MBs.
To download (and install) for Pepper-Plugin architecture -based (PPAPI) web browsers (Opera and Chrome) :
http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/download/?installer=FP_16_for_Opera_and_Chromium_-_PPAPI&os=Windows%207&browser_type=Gecko&browser_dist=Firefox&d=McAfee_Security_Scan_Plus_FireFox_Browser&dualoffer=false 17.18 MBs. That is the same destination target (URL for) of the "| Download |" yellow button, for both Windows 8, as well as 7, Vista, and XP.
The current release of the Adobe Flash web browser plugin (for Windows, and most platforms) is: "Version 126.96.36.199" - as of 14 December 2014
for Ops Edit
"Are you an IT manager or OEM?" will lead to instructions for downloading and installing tools that can, in turn, be used to provide your own repository and distribution of the Adobe binary/(binaries) for use within an organization / internal intranet. (This is more efficient than every individual end-user/workstation going through the normal consumer process that is described above. ( It also serves the purpose / provides the advantage of reducing the load on Adobe's own servers. The IT manager (SysAdmin, SysOp) of an organization (WAN or LAN) can download (obtain) the installer (binaries) from Adobe once and, then, in turn, more efficiently (for whom? / to whose advantage ... Adobe's?) deploy it to the intended end-users within the internal organization / WAN/LAN. )
what to watch out for
with the newly-installed Windows OS on your system (computer),
Look out for these default configuration settings:
Sleep (computer goes to sleep after a while).
I realised that my computer had been put to Sleep (by (the running) Windows (system))
only to find, when I woke the computer back up (in order to continue my work that I was doing before it went into slumber) that it didn't finish downloading (and/or) installing hotfixes/patches (updates) (through the native Windows Update client).
- I've had Windows (Vista and 7) systems go to sleep when in the midset of a Robocopy job! It seemed, each time, to be able to pick up seamlessly upon waking up (<--- or so I tell, as best as I can verify such a thing).
Apparently Windows doesn't prevent the interruption (and possible corruption) of important update (hotfix) (patch) and robocopy jobs (let them over-ride or be given precedeance over general power management settings).
write-protect USB Edit
USB mass storage devices (USB flash drives) (removable external storage) will, by default, be mounted without any write-caching/buffer (known, equivalent in Linux as "sync" mount option). In other words, the filesystem volume on the block storage device will be mounted by the OS in a way that any changes (data writes) that are performed (events) will be done ASAP, rather than using a buffer/caching (first in RAM) before physically writing to the device (blocks).
- Windows XP by default updates last-accessed timestamps (atime). Vista (Windows 6, and above ("7" and "8")) , by default, are set up with that registry key that disables last-accessed timestamp updating.
within the Windows Registry (regedit): see key
- within that, Value: "
That is equivalent to, in the GNU/*nix mount command as the
How to make USB mass storage devices (any block/storage device, like a USB flash drive or HDD connected using USB)
read-only (not-writable) (nothing will change on the disk/disc) (make them write-protected) (r.o.)
This will require you to edit the Windows registry, as follows (be careful!):
(under the HKey Local Machine hive) ...
(add a new key under "Control" called "
Next, within that new key ("StorageDevicePolicies"),
create a new REG_DWORD ("DWORD") entry within that key called "
By default its (binary/boolean) value is '0' which means off/not/no/false. This has no effect. It is, effectively, equivalent to not having this new key at all in the system's registry!
To actually give it an effect (for it to come into play) ,
Set/assign (a value) of '1' (binary true/yes) (hexadecimal, NOT decimal)
- which means on/true/yes
Doing this effectively sets Windows so that USB mass storage devices (once their storage volumes are mounted by the OS), are done so read-only (write-protect).
This setting can be changed at any time. It requires no re-boot(ting of the OS). It will go into effect, once set, the next time any filesystem volume is mounted by Windows (OS). It will not have any effect on any currently-mounted filesystem storage volumes.
There is also a piece of software (app/program) called: "Directory Lister Pro" (for making listings of filesystems file/folder/directory trees).
Popular and very powerful open-source media player:
official changelog ("News")
2.1.3 "Highlights", including improvements in decoders for new video compression algorithms/schemes/formats "HEVC and VP9"
Media Player Classic Edit
A recommended alternative to VLC (or, it could co-exist with VLC within the same Windows installation/system) is Media Player Classic.
MPC is open-source freeware for Windows that
basically is a graphical front-end for/to/of Mplayer that looks like the good ol' U.I. of Windows Media Player 6.2 (1999 era).
MPC-HC.1.7.7.x86.7z (portable version of the software, for 32-bit Windows (Win32), packed/archived/packaged in the 7-zip container archive file format).
Also, MediaInfo is used in Media Player Classic to provide information about the media file that it plays. This is similar to what is provided by VLC's "Codec Information" (Under the "" Menu), but it provides much more information.
Apple has long provided a Windows version of their QuickTime multimedia framework/platform (collection of technologies). The Quicktime web browser plugin used to be the predominant way of enabling the playback of video within a web browser since 1996 , until recently (with the rise in popularity of Adobe Flash video, and more recently, HTML5 video).
The latest release of QuickTime for Windows is version number 7.7.6:
official changelog now up to 5.20
copy utility for Windows Edit
Windows tools (tips)
A handy wonderful little piece of software (native win32 Windows app application software program) is
The free version is nice, and there is for-pay "Pro version" as well ; I haven't tried that (yet).
TeraCopy preserves 3 timestamps: birth/creation, last-accessed (as well as the customary last-written a.k.a. "modified"). However, the CHANGED timestamp is NOT preserved. The changed timestamp is not visible in the Windows userland/userspace, anyway -- it is not exposed to the end-user. However, GNU/*nix utilities do, and map it to "ctime" property/field. See  article on this wiki for more explanation about this.. In other words, the resulting copies that it makes (destination/target) bear (mirror) the same timestamps as the corresponding (both) files and folders/directories. Teracopy offers no option/configuration/setting to change this behavior.
Teracopy can copy individual files as well as directory trees. It nicely integrates with the Windows Explorer file manager in several ways. It verifies each file by computing a CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) (unfortunately no digest/hash/checksum like md5 or
sha1 (let alone sha256 or above) ; maybe the pro version offers that?).
I haven't yet tested it with complex large directory/folder trees for resiliency. Also, I haven't tested it with a source tree (selection of files/folders) that have permissions security ACLs.
TeraCopy offers the additional option/feature of setting the computer (the Windows system) to ShutDown (PowerOff) after the completion of a copy job.
Think of Teracopy as a GUI, lighter-weight version of robocopy.
screenshots and changelog. That page says that the latest revision, 2.3, was released 7 December 2013.
obtain it (for free) from:
Alternate download locations/sources:
FileHorse 8 Dec 2013
http://help.codesector.com/TeraCopyConfiguration <-- the configuration settings (Preferences/options) are stored in a plain-text .ini file.
Windows 8 Edit
Bring back the Start Menu Edit