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  • Is there a thread on how to intelligently install Windows 10 for the 1st time?

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Is there a thread on how to intelligently install Windows 10 for the 1st time?

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      • #141579 Reply

        Is there a thread/guide for beginner-to-intermediate folks, who have used Windows 7 up to now, on how to intelligently install Windows 10 for the 1st time?  This would be on a new laptop.

        I have looked at the Tools and Knowledge Base sub-forums and in the AskWoody Support/Windows/Windows 10 sub-forum, and kinda skimmed around in other spots of the forum, but I haven’t seen where there is a guide for a non-technical person to install Windows 10 for the first time, at this moment in time.

        I know that I can read through Woody’s blog posts and ComputerWorld articles (as well as other experts’ article series that haven’t been afraid to dig into the nitty-gritty) from the past couple of years to get up to speed on Windows 10, to learn how it has evolved and the problems that have arisen and then been solved or worked around, and I intend to do that as time permits,

        but I am wondering if there is a ready-made guide here on the site that I can use as my primary, but brief-ish, instruction manual,  which flags up the most important settings to get right in the beginning, what to do offline, what to do online, in what order, etc.

        Something that might take me 3 days of diligent work to follow from start to finish (rather than 3 weeks/3 months if I tried to get a handle on the twists and turns of the history of Windows 10)!

        Or would Woody’s Windows 10 Dummies book be the best resource for that kind of advice — and would it be current enough to cover the specific vagaries of whatever is the current “home” version of Windows 10 that would be installed on a new, inexpensive machine in November 2017?



      • #141593 Reply
        Da Boss

        First piece of advice: pay a little extra and get the Pro version of Win10. With the Home version, you have little control of the timing of the updates and upgrades. The Pro version is worth it if only for these controls. And the Pro version also has Group Policy available.

        New laptop: the best way to install an Operating System for the first time is a Clean Install. Are you starting with a bare bones HDD/SSD, or is there an OS already installed?

        After installation, Go through the Settings App and the old Control Panel and make the changes you want. It is a good idea to become familiar with this in Win10, particularly the privacy settings, getting rid of the bloatware Apps you don’t want, setting default programs, etc. because you will need to review the settings that are returned to MS defaults after each upgrade. (No, they don’t always respect your settings)

        The latest Woody book will help as well, even if it’s a version behind, because it will help you become familiar with the settings and options.

      • #141817 Reply


        Thank you for your advice.

        Does the Pro version still give more control over updates and upgrades?  I thought I’d seen something mentioned in one of Woody’s articles this year where the Pro version doesn’t provide as much customization as it used to (maybe it was in an article about the recent changes to the upgrade naming system and upgrade time-scheduling, including removing the “for business” path and so forth).

        I am unfamiliar with Group Policy and I probably wouldn’t venture to use it unless it were really useful and not too hard for a non-technical person (and since you recommended it to me, I expect that it is both of those things!)

        I would be starting with a lower-price, new laptop with a copy of Win10 already installed.  I know how to make an installation cd/dvd (at least, how to do so on Win 7) and re-install the OS right away, in order to start with a clean slate of “factory settings”.

        I want to do the first steps correctly so as to preserve as much autonomy and privacy as possible, because I have a fear that, as soon as I connect the new machine to the internet, MS will barrel in and install tricky/flawed updates and harden features that I don’t want.

        …This fear stems from their obnoxious GWX get-Win-10 antics (which didn’t harm me, because I followed Woody’s instructions on how to avoid it).

        However, I guess that when it’s a new system that doesn’t have many years of one’s files and software on it, it’s not such a loss if the OS has to be re-installed a time or two during the machine’s initial setup, if things go wrong — just a few hours of work to be scrapped.

        I plan to take notes and make screenshots of the changes I make and the settings arrays that I end up with, because otherwise I’d forget half of them by the time the next upgrade happened and would have to learn about them all over again.

        Today I found this free cheat sheet from Woody’s book on the Dummies site:

        Windows 10 All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

        “Make sure Windows is updated” says to download all the offered updates right away.  As an intermediate user who is aware of the WU malarkey of the past few years, is this what I should do, or should I read Woody’s ComputerWorld articles for the past year to see if there are any updates that I should try to put off, or to do in a different order than would be done automatically?

        His point of DON’T lose the battle for your privacy before it starts” is my main concern.  By entering the wrong data point about myself or pressing the wrong key, I don’t want to mistakenly cede them ground at the beginning that I can never get back.

        His “Figure out a Cloud and OneDrive data storage strategy” is key, but my longstanding strategy is to have NO cloud data storage and to keep it all local.  Is that even a possibility with Win10?  Or do they suck up your files no matter what?

        The most recent edition of his book was published 13 months ago, based on version 1607.  Using the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon, on page 5 of the book, it says for details on significant Win10 updates that were made after the book was published, to go to the site and “open the download tab on this book’s dedicated page”, but I don’t see a download tab there:,navId-322466,descCd-description.html.

        I wish that I could buy a book that covered the Win10 version that I am likely to get next month, but I understand that the new versions are coming so fast and furiously that it’s not possible to make a thousand-page book for each one.

        Looking at the 2 tables of contents via the “Look Inside” feature, there seems to be a lot of info that would help me, since I am brand new to Win 10.

        [And I’ve been needing a thick “telephone book” to stand on so I can reach a certain light fixture to change a bulb.

        😉  mainly joking]


        I looked at the rest of the list of Win10 guides on Amazon, and I see that Martin Brinkmann of Ghacks, whom I also respect, has a book out – The Complete Windows 10 Privacy Guide: Fall Creators Update.  Published October 11, 2017.   302 pages.

        Blurb on the back — “Brinkmann’s book is a watershed event in documenting Windows privacy settings, with in-depth information you won’t find anywhere else.” -Woody Leonhard

        The copyright page in the “Look Inside” feature for both the Kindle edition and the print edition states “copyright 2010”, which surely isn’t right?

        It’s incredible that a book on the privacy settings alone can take up 300 pages.  He says it was written out of necessity, and I believe it.

        With all this, though, I think I probably will need to study up on what experts like Woody, Martin, Bott, etc. have been saying in online articles/blog posts in the past year or two about Win10; there is probably no short cut to getting a decent overview of the OS, even if each version has undergone many changes (and sometimes fixed earlier problems).

        Aaugh, this is so time-consuming for someone who isn’t interested in this field for its own sake.  …It’s like having to learn the esoteric art of making and growing your own sourdough starter for many weeks, all the way through to baking a perfect yeast-less artisan loaf 2 months later, when all you want to do is put a square piece of standard supermarket bread in the toaster and eat it with a dollop of butter, now.

        But I do appreciate everyone’s help and advice, past, present, and future!  🙂



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        • #141823 Reply
          Da Boss

          Does the Pro version still give more control over updates and upgrades?

          Absolutely! You can delay updates and postpone “feature updates” (upgrades) in Pro and you don’t have those settings in Home.

          I am unfamiliar with Group Policy and I probably wouldn’t venture to use it unless it were really useful and not too hard for a non-technical person

          There are a few GP settings I use – not many. Don’t have t be super techy. One of them gives you “notify download/notify install – indispensable.

          want to do the first steps correctly so as to preserve as much autonomy and privacy as possible, because I have a fear that, as soon as I connect the new machine to the internet, MS will barrel in and install tricky/flawed updates and harden features that I don’t want.

          The first thing is to make a Local Account and NEVER use a Microsoft account. It’s kinda tricky – you have to say yu don’t have a MS account and on the page to create one, you say keep using your current account (which is local). They try to trick the User.
          You have to use the latter to use OndDrive and sync settings – which I never do b/c I don’t want a MS account.

          You don’t have any choice of what updates to install, only when to do so. They come in one big blob. You would do good with Woody’s or Martin Brinkman’s book as a guide. But you really need to become familiar with the settings, because you will have to recheck them after each upgrade. And MS dows change/add to/delete some along the way.
          Best to follow DEFCON with Win10 also.

      • #141885 Reply

        Thank you again.

        You have convinced me to try to get the Pro version.

        I looked on Amazon and it’s about $80 standalone, but I have no idea yet if it’s something that regularly is offered with inexpensive laptops – like a situation where the standard home version might be able to be upgraded to pro at the factory for $20 or something.  I’ll find that out easily, of course.

        If it works out that I would have to pay $80 for a retail copy of the Pro version, is it worth it?

        Regarding the updates, I didn’t express my thoughts correctly – I knew “in my mind: that the updates come in blobs – even Win 7 updates are in blobs post-Patchocalypse.  I was thinking more along the lines that it might be recommended to hold off on a specific day’s or the current month’s updates, or several months’ worth of updates (if that is possible).  E.g., I saw a warning recently about the latest Win 10 update s******* up certain Dell machines, or something like that – to watch out for that kind of thing, instead of just letting MS update everything it wants to during setup.

        I have seen on another thread a quote from a Woody ComputerWorld article which describes exactly why I wish his book were written for the present version of Win 10 —

        “It’s important to understand that all four of these versions of Win10 are completely separate, like Win7 and Win8 before them. You can’t mix and match. Microsoft gave them similar-sounding names, but they’re as different as dolphins and dodos.”


        And this comment in the same thread by Noel Carboni:

        “Microsoft undoes things with each new release, and discovering them all isn’t easy. For example, I choose not to run ANY Apps. Microsoft is busily making it harder and harder to remove them all.”

        And this comment in the same thread:

        “look at how Start menu, which is a BASIC functionality, has changed after AU. Same goes for Settings/Control Panel. Control Panel shortcut from right-click on Start is also to be removed with the new update (what I actually show is CUTTING on features, not adding them). It’s rather like putting your steering wheel in a different place each version. And looking at the direction it’s going – we’ll end with the steering wheel placed in the trunk.”

        I know that much of the material in his book will be useful for any version of Windows 10, but if there is no clear indication about which information/instructions are exactly the same for the latest version of Win 10, and which are now completely wrong, 1000 pages is a lot to read through and diligently follow to the letter (as a conscientious, intermediate user) when you don’t know how currently-accurate those instructions are.

        You describe fighting to have only a local account as walking over a minefield, and that is how I had imagined it!   It’s so ridiculous for them to design it this way.

        Similarly, I saw this post tonight about Office:

        “Office 2016 is such a pain to try to install without an online account when you buy OEM.
        Microsoft makes it very hard to do and it autoconnects you at some point. If you try to avoid it, you really need to know some things at some point because they don’t even provide an option for you to retrieve your real product key by following their instructions.”


        I’ll need a new Office package (my current one is Office 2007).  It’s that kind of how-to-survive-the-booby-traps installation guide that I’m looking for.

        I have stumbled across the spot where Woody mentioned that having the Pro edition might not work anymore to postpone new-version updates:

        “Here’s a screenshot of the latest beta version (build 16257) of the Advanced Options screen.  There’s no mention of moving to Current Branch for Business, no indication of how to set your machine to the “Install when Microsoft Recommends” branch. Perhaps we’re going to lose that option, even in the Pro edition.”

        That was in August – I don’t know what options he has seen on that screen since then.


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