KPTree - MSWindows Setup


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I have been using Microsoft products for quite some time, starting with MSDos then Windows 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98, XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and finally 10. (I managed to skip some of the duds, such as ME, 2000 and Vista, although I did use them on friends, family and work machines. Contrary to all the noise I never had any problems with version 8 & 8.1. I thought ME was bad and Vista too, but as noted basically managed to avoid them in the most part.)

Recently my main home office machine failed. I build this computer myself. Basically originally an Intel i7 with the built-in graphics and a 2TB HD, 32GB RAM (16GB would have been enough) and of course a Seasonic 80plus gold power supply. I then quickly replaced with a 500GB SSD, by this time I had my Linux home server running and used this as a NAS for bulk storage and serving. When I set the machine up it was based upon Windows 7 (64bit of course). When Windows 8 came out I upgraded, then Windows 8.1 and finally Windows 10. A few years later I added a Nvidia 960 graphics card, to help breathe a bit of extra life into the machine (and play games better....) I have tried quite a large amount of software on this machine over the period and it was somewhat cluttered, albeit I did run the likes of CCleaner and SystemMechanic to help keep it usable. In any case I tried to load AutoCADLT 2017 on the machine (yes, a licensed version, my being a professional engineer) it worked on the first evening after loading, then the following day ACADLT stopped working. I tried to get it working to no avail and attempted a reinstall, also to no avail. The following day the machine would not run with the dreaded blue screen of death. Nothing I attempted would revive it. So I investigated a clean Windows 10 install. I downloaded a Windows 10 recovery / installation on to a USB. Turns out product code is no longer required, and my registration for this machine is tied to the hardware and my Microsoft account. After this reinstalling Windows 10 was a breeze. My original install was totally shot. Hopefully I did not have any important information left on the local documents directory. Unknown, unlikely, but possible. Helps to have the Linux NAS and Nextcloud working. It is also a reminder to do my NAS and Nextcloud backups. I got to keep on top of this, and need to try to do it every month.

My son got my old machine and I upgraded to a new Intel i9, with 1TB NVM SSD and 16GB RAM. Of course with a Seasonic 660W Titanium power supply. My first water cool CPU, which has been working a treat!. No graphics card yet, would like to get one in the next year or so.

So below is a list of the software I am installing.

MSWindows 10 - Software Install List

  • First up to make easier to load up system
    • Nextcloud Windows client - Cloud server client
    • Keepass - Password and other secret info repository
    • I just use the built in Windows Defender for virus protection now
    • Xplorer2 - a multi-paned file explorer replacement - I am going back to using plan Windows Explorer
    • Notepad++ - a good general text editor
  • Utilities
    • Notepad++ - a good general text editor
    • 7Zip - a good general file compression program
    • CCleaner - a Windows system maintenance program, clean junk files and registry and other
    • FileZilla - and sFTP client program
    • Ghostscript - a PDF manipulator
    • iTunes - Apple iOS update control software - See Separate Section below
    • Setup printer / scanner - See separate notes below
    • Vuescan - Is a paid scanner program. It is just for scanning and is simple and does the job well.
    • I have been using Rsync on the Linux systems to do the back-ups, I basically do not store and main archive or working data on the local windows machines anymore. I try to copy anything important into the Nextcloud sycn directory or work of the server.
  • Multimedia
    • Firefox web browser (Microsoft Edge still seems a bit clunky)
    • Calibre - an electronic book database and reader
    • VLC - seems to do a better job than mPlayer / Media player classic
    • PolyView - a picture / photo view (sadly would seem no longer supported) It is no longer supported and does not opperate that well with Windows 10
    • Windows Media Player Classic - a video player
    • Faststone Image View - A simple photo viewer that seems fast - Freeware
    • SystemMechanic - a Windows system maintenance program - paid software
    • AIMP - Music player (reminds me of the old lost classic Winamp)
  • Remote Control / Cloud
    • Nextcloud Windows client - Cloud server client
    • Putty - a SSH terminal program
    • TigerVNC - remove video terminal program
  • Security
    • Keepass - Password and other secret info repository
    • Avira - Anti virus software
    • iSpy - an IP camera viewer program
    • Tor - a more secure web browser
  • Productivity
    • ACadLT2017 - CAD - got rid of this subscription, just too expensive for my occasional use
    • Foxit Pro - a PDF reader and writer
    • LibreOffice - a office software suite
    • Microsoft Office 365 home subscription, allows use on 5 home computers and give 1TB One drive cloud access

iTunes - setup

iTunes is software I do not particularly like. First of all I do not use the Music feature having long ago rip my CD collection to MP3 and I simply do not like the way iTunes works. So the only real reason to use iTunes is for my iOS devices, backing up iOS devices etc. iTunes, in typical Apple fashion I find is not smart end user friendly as it has been designed for not smart users and attempts to hide the lower level file system. Further to this the configuration, backups and apps end up being very large amounts of files (multiple 1000s) and using huge amounts of disk space, in some cases well over 200GB!. So to help alleviate the excessive file system use on my primary Windows10 SSD I would like to move to my Linux NAS. The following are the steps to achieve this.

I really now only use this software to backup and restore Apple devices.... The app functionality has been removed by Apple, which is good as I was wasting too much of my time..... Otherwise iTune is and always has been crap ware.....particularly on MsWindows machine.

  1. Download from Apple and install the latest Windows 10 64bit version of iTunes.
  2. Run iTunes and check the location of the "iTunes Media folder location" found in the menu item: Edit, Preferences, Advanced tab. e.g. "C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media"
  3. Stop iTunes running
  4. If moving an exiting iTunes data directory first time, copy "C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes" to "\\NASname\various_path\iTunes
  5. Rename "C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes" to "C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes_old", or simply delete.
  6. Open Administrator Command Prompt(right click windows start and select so). Then run following command to create a simlink to NAS stored iTunes library: "mklink /D 'C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes" "\\NASname\various_path\iTunes"'. The command should state symbolic link created as given in original command.
  7. The backup files are found at: "C:\Users\baumk\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup".
  8. Often the backup will not work or be seen. The solution is to move to another directory and then add back to the official directory until the correct backup directory is found or until adding one stops iTunes from working. More shoddy Apple software......

iTunes - Not Recognising Devices

iTunes is a pretty flakey program and Apple does play the propriety with the Lightning cable, so the problem could be any of the following:

  • Bad cable
  • Bad USB driver
  • Bad USB port
  • iTunes playing up

However one good trick is to simply run the install file "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers\usbaapl64.inf". The easiest way being to right click the file in exploer and select the install option.

Printer Scanner Setup

With the problems on the old printer noted below I decided to replace the printer scanner

I looked at 2 main options

  • An A3 multi function from Epson the WF-7725, this is the option I went with.
    • The printer cost is about 2x the large ink cartiridge pack cost.
    • The printer and scanner are full A3, including the ADF!
    • So far so good, I just setup the printer and scanner. The ADF (Automatic document feeder) was nice to use, compared to the old manual single page scanner!
    • The A4 paper cassettes must be setup as portrait not landscape. But should not be problem for bubblejet printer. So a non-issue.
    • The machine is not exceptionally fast, but not a problem for a home office unit. More important is ease of use, long term reliability, and cost to run - read ink cost. Time will tell.......
    • The Epson print and scan software worked well on MSWindows10. The ADF scanner scaned a pdf straight to the local computer document directory using the scanner program supplied.
  • An A4 multifunction from Canon or Epson with large refillable ink tanks
    • I looked at the various product review and in general print quality and functionality were commented on as substandard. Looks like these unit still need more polish before they become mainstream. This was the main show stopper for me. In any case after 2-3 year I can always upgrade the printer again, if necessary.
    • A colleague at work mention that the functionality of the Epson Ecotank multifunction A4 he purchased was poorer that his previous generation HP printer.
    • The up front cost is higher, however usually include 2 years of ink, so is competative costwise in this consideration.
    • The A3 version of this printer was signficantly more expensive (x5 the WF-7725 cost)
Offsite Printing

Printing photos at home is very expensive. The photo paper and original ink are just too expensive (rip off). It is cheaper to setup the photos and get their files printed at the likes of Kmart. These photo printing services even have on-line services or take a USB drive to the store terminal. The photos get mailed to you.

Old printer stuff
  • I finally stopped using the printer after over 8 years ago, a Canon MP990 multifunction, and Canon seem to not be supplying an updated driver after Windows 8.1, that is, no Windows 10 drivers. I suspect there are 2 reasons for this; first, due to the age of the printer the vendor does not wish to spend the money to update the drivers, and second, the vendor hopes that users will simply purchase a new printer! Fortunately the default MSWindows 10 printer driver seems to work adequately with most required options. Unfortunately, the MSWindows scanner driver options are very limited. I attempted to load the OEM Windows 8.1 drivers, however they did not seem to recognise the printer. So I found a suitable free scanner driver that give the basic required scanner functionality, xxxNAPS2xxx Vuescan and now use this.
  • About the last 2 years of use I started to use cheaper compatible ink - this was a mistake. It is simply not cheaper! As the printer is less reliable as before just about each use needs to perform the deep nozzle clean. The deep nozzle clean uses so much ink that I run out of ink much faster so the cost saving is negligable. I suspect part of the problem is that I only use the printer every 1-2 months and the compatible ink has greater propensity to dry-up and plug nozzles more than original ink did.
  • I always felt the original Canon software was quite bloated.

Windows Symlink equivalent command - mklink

For some reason Windows 10 will not show my network drives in the Explorer Network directory. Even when it did work it was slow to show the network drives. I can simply type in the network drive into the path, e.g. "\\User1NetworkDrive", but this is a bit clumsy and is not always an option in some file modal windows. A symlink is the best overall solution.

Open up a Command Prompt (Admin) - right click the windows icon or type "Win + X". In Windows 10 you can also type in Command into the Cortina serch area and right click on the Command Prompt item.

For files the comand syntax is: "mklink Link Target".

I am only really interested in a directory link the syntax is: "mklink /D Link Target", example: "mklink /D C:\Users\User1\User1NetworkDrive \\User1NetworkDrive".

Windows Keyboard Mapping Problems

All too often the keyboard mapping seems to get set to the United Kingdom, which messes up a few of the Keys when using a US keyboard. I suspect this is a problem with selecting Australian as the primary English langage that seems to sometime also select the UK keyboard. In any case in Windows 10 the solution is as follows.

The simple solution is to remove the UK language setting and if necessary add the US one. The Australian can remain. Further to this the keyboard layout can be independantly set. The language can be adjusted in the " region and language setting", use Cortana if necessary to find. Click on the language and add the US QWERTY if necessary. Delete the UK QWERTY keyboard layout.

Windows Off Screen Problems

I have had problems with windows appearing off the screen partially or fully many times over the years, particularly when using multiple monitors.

I found an article on Cnet, but will not link to it, as Cnet is a real garbage filled site. In any case the simple solutions are listed below:

  1. Cascading windows
  2. Right-click on the taskbar and click Cascade windows. This will reset all open window positions and cascade them from the top left screen point. Unfortunately, many media players will not reposition in this manner, and it forces ALL of your windows to reposition -- even the ones that were behaving themselves.

  3. Manually moving
  4. Right click on the task bar icon for the specific program and select move. Use the mouse or keyboard direction arrows to move the window selected.

  5. Maximise the window
  6. Right click on the task bar icon for the specific program and select Maximise. The window will maxmise to the full sreen area. When minimised its position will return to previous off screen.

For Windows 10 you need to move over the task bar program until the small program window appears, this also bring to foreground the main window too. Then right click on the small program window to get the move and maximise options.

MSExcel Tips

Text to Column

When pasting text from other applications on occassions Excel places all the columns into one column. To adjust into multiple columns the following feature can be used. Menu: Data : Text to Columns

List Windows files and directories into MSExcel

The menu : Data : Get Data : From File : From Folder presents a dialogue to input a windows directory. Once the directory is shown the load button will place it into a new sheet