Agee Software, Inc.

New PC Setup - XP

  1. Before booting, find the recovery CD or DVD. HP/Compaq sometimes have a 'recovery partition' and don't include the CD/DVD. If they don't, I use Ghost to clone the drive to a spare one before starting Windows.
  2. Use Partition Magic to resize the C: drive to about 65% of its original size. Use the empty space to create a Fat32 partition (drive d:). On Vista, use AdminTools, ComputerManagement, DriveManager to create a 32gb Fat32 partition instead.
  3. Copy Ghost, PQMagic, my Ghost batch files at to D:. and make a backup with gbak.
  4. Boot Windows. Set user to Owner. Name the PC something easy to remember. No spaces, 8 or less characters.
  5. Right-click Computer/MyComputer and select Properties, Hardware and DeviceManager. Resolve any ?'s on hardware with factory or downloaded drivers.
  6. In ControlPanel, set display & folder options. I usually set to Windows Classic appearance for the screen, start button & folder options. Show hidden, encrypted and system files. Sort files by name, show details, auto arrange. No custom folders for each user. Update all folders. Show admin tools & control panel, mapped drives & printers.
  7. Set networking protocols. Make sure you're behind a router. Disable Netbios over TCP/IP, copy drivers for Netbeui from CD and install Netbeui protocol. Enable Windows firewall and reset exceptions to default settings.
  8. Turn off system restore, set startup & recovery wait from 30 to 5 sec, turn off write debug file, add environmental variables dircmd=/ogen & path (add ;c:\util). Make sure there are no hardware driver problems.
  9. Set to automatically download Windows updates.
  10. In ControlPanel AddRemovePrograms, delete the demos and junk. AOL, MSN, Compuserve, Real, ITunes, Quicktime, InternetGames, Quicken, MSMoney, Works, Norton Antivirus (demo), Norton Firewall, Norton Internet Security, McAfee Antivirus or security (demo), Office demo, etc. Basically if I don't recognize it as a good app, I research it on the Google, try it out and delete anything that isn't useful or might open the door to spyware.
  11. Install AVG Antivirus from Make sure it downloads updates and scans each night.
  12. Install Spybot Search & Destroy from Set Mode to Advanced. Check to enable all Tools. On the Settings menu, select Settings and under Automation, ProgramStart, check FixAllProblems.. and Immunize.. under WebUpdate, check SearchTheWebForNewVersions.. and DownloadUpdatedIncludeFiles. On the Settings, Scheduler tab, click Add and check both boxes. Click Edit, Schedule, New, set a time, click Apply and OK.
  13. Defrag the drive and make sure Windows has downloaded all critical updates. Download all Windows hardware & optional updates.
  14. Set Internet Explorer options. Set all four security zones to default, block cookies and allow session cookies, check for newver version of stored page every visit to the page, delete cookies, temp files and Settings ViewObjects you don't recognize. On the Advanced tab, turn off anything that contains install, offline, friendly or check. Check EmptyTempInternetFiles when browser is closed.
  15. Install shareware Utils folder & Paint Shop Pro 4. Put Notepad and PaintShopPro in SendTo of each user's DocumentsAndSettings folder.
  16. Install Microsoft Office with custom setting to run all from hard drive. Make Office Assistant, FastFind, Office Toolbar, other language proofing tools, web tools, FrontPage, Outlook etc. not available.
  17. Download all office updates from Office Update link on Windows Updates page.
  18. Create Apps folder with Office shortcuts, MSDos Prompt, Admin tools (services, computer management, event log), defrag, Paint Shop Pro (not on Vista), Acrobat Reader 6, 7-Zip, CCleaner, etc.
  19. Install Roxio EasyCD Creator. Only DiskCopier & DiskCreatorClassic. Run twice and disable all the auto update reminders.
  20. Set up OutlookExpress. You'll need your email address, SMTP and POP3 servers, UserID and password. If you still have problems, verify settings against another PC where it is working or see support notes from the ISP.
  21. Set up dialup to your ISP as a backup in case broadband goes down.
  22. Set passwords for Administrator and Owner (Net User Owner pwd) Make sure Guest is disabled.
  23. Share and use folders and printers as required.
  24. Make a batch file c:\bk.bat to Xcopy /D /I /C /Y /S /H data files to another drive. ControlPanel, Schedue the task to run nightly.
  25. Log on normally, defrag and double check everything.
  26. Rename the BK folder on D: to BK_Orig. Use the boot floppy or CD to boot to DOS and run GBak again.
  27. Burn CD/DVDs of BK_Orig and BK folders with Roxio EasyCD.
  28. Store a copy of all receipts, activation codes, ISP directions, driver CDs, manuals and the backup CDs in a ziploc bag in a safe place. Remember to add new upgrades to the bag

New PC Setup - Windows 7

  1. Create a (Factory) Recovery DVD: Search Start, Programs for Recovery Tools, Recovery Disc or System Recovery. The help file or documentation that came with the computer often tells how to do this for your make of computer. These disks will let you reinstall everything back to factory settings.
  2. Set up a partition for backups on a single drive: Control Panel, System & Security, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management. Right click on C: and Shrink Volume to about 2/3 of the entire drive. Create and format an NTFS drive in the empty space. Note the drive letter for backups.
  3. Clean up apps: Computer (double click), Uninstall or Change Programs. This is where you can remove useless stuff. If you are unsure whether to remove it, Google the filename first. removes a lot of useless apps from a new PC.
  4. Install all Windows Updates until no more are offered when you Check for Updates. Start, All Programs, Windows Update.
  5. Defrag hard drive: Computer, right click C: drive, Properties, Tools, Defrag Now. It is also good to run Defrag Now every few months, after you do a lot of hard drive cleaning or if you notice things slowing down. Don't defrag SSD drives.
  6. Customize Themes to Windows Classic. Start, Control Panel, Appearance & Personalization, Change the Theme. (Scroll down). Set Sounds to No Sounds. Change Desktop Icons and check all boxes. Set Mouse Pointers to Windows System Extra Large. Change Account Picture.
  7. Turn off System Protection: Right click Computer, Properties, Advanced, System Settings, System Protection, Turn Off. You are using backup instead. Also verify that Windows is activated and note System Type, 32 or 64 bit.
  8. Optimize video performance: Right click Computer, Properties, Advanced, Settings, Best Performance. Also make sure the System is setting the size of the Swap file on Advanced tab.
  9. Tune up Internet Explorer: Tools (gear on right of screen), Internet Options. Check Delete Browsing History on Exit. Click Settings. Set Check for Newer Version of Stored Pages to Every Time I Visit the Web Page. Advanced, uncheck Show Friendly HTTP Error Messages.
  10. Add Command Prompt Shortcut: Right Click on Desktop, New, Shortcut, Cmd. Set Start In to c:\work. To give it more power, Right click, Properties, Advanced, Run As Administrator.
  11. Set Administrator Password: From Command Prompt: net user administratior secret where secret is the password.
  12. Install new software:
    • Install Office and latest service pack. Don't install components you won't use. Custom install to Run All from Hard Drive for components you use. Select Office Tools you need and exclude those like Office Assistant. Set Macro security to low or Enable Macros depending on the version.
    • Avast or AVG Antivirus, 7-Zip (opens Zip and other compressed files), Adobe Acrobat Reader (view PDFs), Primo PDF (print driver to create PDFs), CCleaner (deletes temporary and deleted files). I also recommend installing a second browser like Opera, Google Chrome or Firefox in case Internet Explorer is damaged by a virus. Firefox requires you export the bookmarks to an HTML file to move to another PC. In IE, ou copy from C:\Users\Owner\Favorites. UltraVNC lets you connect to other PCs remotely similar to Remote Desktop in Windows. Ghostery from blocks sites that track you in browsers other than Internet Explorer. Truecrypt from lets you create encrypted virtual drives to store sensitive data. Ammyy Admin from lets others you allow connect to your PC without changing the firewall settings. Always answer NO when asked if you want to let another user connect to your PC later. Ammyy has been used by hackers and may be flagged by your virus scanner.
    • Lets you connect to other computers through firewall. Tell someone your 9 digit ID and 4 digit password and they can connect to you. Your 4 digit password changes when you restart TeamViewer. In the wizard, Install Full Version instead of Run Once. You are using it for Personal Use. Accept the defaults to keep it from always listening for a connection. You only want to let people connect when you are there.
    • Belarc Advisor. This will inventory your installed apps, serial numbers, drivers and hardware. Print a copy of the serial numbers and hardware on the first couple pages and store with your system restore disks and receipts.
  13. Set up Backup: Computer, right click on C: drive, Properties, Tools, Backup Now. Follow the wizard and use the backup drive letter you created above. Make a System Restore CD to make recovery easier. Store it in a ziploc bag with your other driver CDs and DVDs. Some like to tape it to the side of the computer.
  14. Back up the drive to another drive. Microsoft Backup system image requires identical hardware when you restore. Use Ghost 2003 to copy the entire drive to another blank drive and use the Windows 7 install disk to repair the drive to bootable status. The Ghost boot CD or flash disk should recognize your main drive and the backup connnected on a USB cable. Use Ghost -ntd -ntchkdsk -fdsz -noide from the command prompt. Test the drive to verify you have a reliable backup.
  15. Other: Share folders, map drives, set up batch files to start Access, back up your data files daily and to copy your data drive weekly.