Windows 7: Get Your New Install Humming

Everytime you reinstall Windows there are always lots of fun configuration tasks that need to be taken care of, and this applies just the same to upgrading to a new version of Windows. I’ve tried to put together a list of some of the key things you’ll need to remember when migrating to Windows 7 and please add your own ideas to the discussion. Soon all our computers will be humming along with hardly any need for intervention.


Setting Up Windows

  • Configure Automatic Defrags – Looks like W7 doesn’t have that much flexibility, as all the drives have to run on the same schedule for defragging
  • Consider a Backup Plan and Schedule – I usually do at least a back up of a nice, clean setup with drivers and core applications installed 
  • Setup Auto-login – I password protect the system for the admin account, but on a hard reboot I want to make sure the machine can auto login and continue recording
  • Configure file sharing – I’m sure there are a few other computers around the house that might access the media on your HTPC
  • Choose a Background or Use None At All – This time around I’m going to see how a plain black desktop feels, one with no icons, taskbar, or anything.
  • Set up / disable the screen saver – I don’t use one, but maybe you do
  • Configure Power/Sleep Settings – Don’t you hate when the screen shuts off because you don’t move the mouse enough
  • Remote Desktop – Hit up the Guide to Concurrent Sessions, a great way to use Remote Desktop to administer your PC while the family still gets to use it

HTPC Configuration

  • Configure Audio & Video Drivers – Make sure these are both tweaked for great sound and picture
  • Calibrate Audio Levels – Use a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) Meter to first configure your Pre/Pro or AV Receiver. Then go through your audio control panel and various applications to set everything to consistent volume. This way when you switch between apps you won’t blow your eardrums.
  • Install all your favorite apps & tools

Some of My Favorite Apps & Tools

  • AVG Free Anti-Virus – Unobtrusive, seems to do the job
  • AnyDVD HD – Archive your BD discs
  • DVD Profiler 3 – My choice of DVD cataloging software
  • Total Media Theatre 3 – Plays BD folders (PowerDVD does not)
  • DVDShrink – Archive your DVD discs makes isolating main feature and audio tracks easy
  • EventGhost – Automate whatever
  • Exact Audio Copy (EAC) Archive CD; All mine are stored as both FLAC and MP3
  • Hulu Desktop – Watch Hulu without a web browser
  • ImgBurn – For burning the occassional disc
  • Firefox – A web browser
  • Total Game Control – Let’s my gamepad do all sorts of cool things
  • SageTV – A PVR and so much more!

What do you guys consider critical for a new build?