Installing Windows 7

So the time has come for a re-install of Windows 7.

Base install took over an hour on reasonable hardware (X2 240, 4GB).  I fail to understand why.  Then there were the 101 updates plus 49 optional updates.  Time for SP2? I think so..

20140119_WindowsUpdateUPDATE:  So it took nearly 5 hours to install all the updates.  After the obligatory 3 or 4 reboots, there were another 8 or so updates (and 2 reboots) before Windows was finally up-to-date.

Apart from normal configuration, the following are the software packages which I consider to be essential to make Windows 7 usable and safe:


  • Antivirus Software. The 2013 winner was Avast Antivirus, and one I’ve used a lot in the past. As a bonus Avast now includes Anti-spyware protection.
  • Firewall.  Windows Firewall is ok for incoming threats, but for preventing outgoing connections you need a third-party firewall.  Comodo is good.


  • X-Mouse.  There’s registry tweaks or this simple program.
  • Alt-Drag to drag and resize windows.
  • Multiple Desktops.  Dexpot is the best I’ve found recently.
  • Console Replacement. ConEmu is quite good.
  • Notepad Replacement. I like Notepad++.

Essential Software:

  • Archive Manager.  7zip is my choice.
  • SSH Client.  PuTTY is really the only option. A 64-bit version is here.
  • CCleaner is a quicker uninstaller and easily manages autostartup programs as well as various other system utilities.
  • PDF Reader.  I like Foxit as a lightweight alternative to Adobe Reader, although Nitro is quite good too.
  • I like to run the following Gadgets to keep an eye on system performance: