Setting Up A Windows 10 Workstation in 2018

2018.10.24 EDIT: Added a few new applications when setting up my Surface Pro 4.

I recently built a new PC for myself to use for work and wanted to document the process of getting it set up for use. Each year, I go through and reinstall any system I have as a means to make sure I have this process down, alongside doing an audit to see what I’m actually using, to make sure I keep things clean.

Here’s the process I use when setting up a Windows 10 workstation:

Installation

First, I go to the Microsoft website and create a bootable thumb drive containing Windows 10.

I restart my computer and boot to the thumb drive I created earlier. Once Windows setup loads, I end up selecting the option to Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).

For my PC, I have two drives running in it:

  • An SSD that’s responsible for storing the Windows 10 OS.
  • An HDD that’s responsible for holding all My Documents data, as well as everything for Dropbox.

I’ll select to install to OS on the SSD and kick off the installation process. After some time, the installation will finish and the computer will restart.

Display Configuration

Once I have the Windows desktop running, I like to set up my display before I do anything else. I currently run 3 4K monitors with a GeForce 1080 Ti, so I will set up scaling and make sure the monitors are configured as desired.

Once that’s done, I set up Windows to display everything as desired, including:

  • Shifting the Taskbar over to the right side, and only showing one taskbar.
  • Turn off Cortana, Tasks, and People
  • Changing to use Dark Mode for default apps

Essentials: Mail

Once I have the display set up correctly, the next step for setting up a Windows 10 workstation is to set up some of the essential software on the system. I like to use the Windows 10 Mail app for both my mail and calendar. I’ll access that and add all relevant accounts, and then make the following configurations:

  • Creating a linked inbox
  • Turn off email notifications
  • Set Swipe Right to Delete
  • Create a signature for all accounts
  • Set the calendar to start on Monday

Software Installation

Next up is downloading a host of software to use for the PC. I use Chocolatey for as much as I can, so after setting it up through Powershell (as administrator), I install the following applications using Chocolatey:

  • googlechrome (sign in to account, configure extensions)
  • divvy (register application, start Divvy at login, hide from tray, set Ctrl-Shift-Z as shortcut)
  • 7zip
  • ccleaner (set up to check automatically)
  • dropbox (log in and download all files, point to HDD)
  • filezilla
  • git
  • nodejs
  • libreoffice-fresh
  • vscode
  • rescuetime (log in)
  • bitnami-xampp (LAMP server instructions, including setting up a full local WordPress installation)
  • mysql.workbench
  • postman
  • qbittorrent
  • steam
  • sql-server-management-studio
  • teamviewer
  • visualstudio2017community
  • azure-cli

You can do this with one command, like so:

In addition, there are a few applications I use that aren’t in the Chocolatey package manager:

  • Franz – web application allowing me to combine Hangouts, Messenger and Slack into one application.
  • Manta – open source application I use for invoicing (looking for a replacement for this, one that can store data in the cloud).

After everything is installed, I make sure to go through each of the applications if they need configuring (the notes are above for applications that need to be configured).

Visual Studio Code Setup

Once all of my software is set up, I take a look at Visual Studio Code and set it up, since that’s where most of my development occurs.

I install the following plugins:

  • TSLint
  • Angular Language Service
  • EditorConfig for VS Code
  • Path Intellisense
  • Prettier – Code formatter
  • Terraform
  • PowerShell

Once this is done, I install Fira Code as the font to be used.

In terms of configuration, I copy and paste the current settings I like to use:

Configuring PowerShell

Once Visual Studio Code is set up, the next step is to configure Windows Powershell correctly. There are a few things to do here, build a profile, and then set up Azure CLI.

I run the following commands in administrator PowerShell:

Once that’s done, I should have a profile file created. I add the following to it:

Once that’s done, I’ll restart PowerShell to confirm that when it starts up, it’ll move to the D:.

Final Touches

Once I’m all set with most things, there are a few more things I like to do:

  • Hide all desktop apps
  • Unpin everything from the Taskbar

All Set And Ready To Go

Once all of that is done, we’re all set with setting up a Windows 10 workstation. I’ll take a look at this again in 2019 to see what changes in a year. Perhaps I’ll switch over to using Linux?

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