How to Setup a new Windows Vista PC

I have to do this every now and then. This web page reminds me what to do. Feel free to email me with suggestions and improvements.

I like running my PCs behind a hardware firewall. That way, my PCs don't have to run a software firewall and can easily share files and printers amongst themselves, behind the hardware firewall. I have my cable modem connected to a Linksys firewall/router and my PCs connect to that. Therefore I don't need or want the Windows Defender firewall running. Note that a firewall program is not the same as an anti-virus program, which is still needed.  And if you use your Vista machine on a public Wi-Fi net, you will need to turn the firewall back on before connecting, to be safe.

There always seems to be more to it than written here, but it's a start.

  1. On another computer, prepare a disc or flash drive containing: Startup Cop, the PC Decrapifier, code to Disable the CAPS LOCK key
  2. If your old computer is still running, export your emails using your email program's export function.  From your browser, export your old favorites/bookmarks and cookies.  Put all this on a flash drive or a disc.


  1. Change your new computer name to something useful.  I like to include the year I got it - time flies!
  2. Set the screen resolution to the maximum.
  3. Create the accounts you want, all as administrators.  A non-administrator account is pretty much useless, even for children.  For example, a simple game program from the 1990s won't work because it tries to save the game in a file on C:, not in "Documents."  And there are all those automatic updates that pop up, which only an administrator can do.
  4. Enable the Guest account.  Enable file and printer sharing. You'll be running behind a firewall and this lets other computers on your network have access.
  5. Use Startup Cop to keep programs you don't want (such as crapware) from starting when you boot your computer.  Some crapware doesn't install itself right away (would take too much time) but instead sets the install program to run the next time you boot.  Crapware is software that the manufacturer has preinstalled on your computer, but it's not real software, rather a crippled version that serves as an advertisement to buy the commercial software.  You can avoid crapware by buying your computer from a local computer maker, instead of the national brands.
  6. Turn off User Account Control (UAC), using MSCONFIG. Go to Accessories/Run and enter MSCONFIG.  Then choose Disable UAC from the last tab. This gets rid of all the annoying dialog boxes that pop up every time you do something and ask you if you really, really meant to. You have to reboot before the change takes effect.
  7. Turn off the Windows firewall, using its options.  See above for justification.  You do this from the Control Panel/Security under the Advanced Tab.
  8. Remove more crapware with the PC Decrapifier. It is best to download this, on another computer, to a disc and install it from that, as some crapware installs itself the first time you run Internet Explorer. 
  9. Use the Control Panel to uninstall any remaining crapware.
  10. Disable the CAPS LOCK key.  Why on earth we still have this key, I do not know.  It's nothing but a menace.
  11. Disable the Vista Sidebar and those annoying resource-eating gadgets.
  12. If you've got time, create a Vista recovery disc.  This is handy if your system ever gets trashed.  You only need one disc - it will work on all your Vista PCs.


  1. Update Internet Explorer to the latest version.
  2. Install Firefox.
  3. Install Google Chrome.
  4. Restore the old bookmarks/favorites and cookies for your favorite browser.  Then import them into the other browsers.
  5. Install Java.
  6. Install latest Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player from  Then delete their icons from your desktop.
  7. If you're a Comcast user, you can download McAfee anti-virus for free from
  8. Installing Office: Make sure you've got the right version first.  Install it from DVD then check online for updates.
  9. If installing Office 2007, set the Word save option to default to saving files in Word 2003 format.  This so you can send files more easily to those who haven't upgraded.  Also, I don't know of any feature exclusive to the new .docx format so what's the point?  Ditto for Excel and .xls files.


  1. Copy Eudora: just copying the c:\eudora directory does the trick.  I had trouble with "esoteric" file which for some reason could not be copied.  It doesn't seem to have hurt things.
  2. Copy Sidekick 97: reinstall from the original CD (thankfully not a floppy disc).  Then copy over the userdata subfolder, replacing the installed stuff.
  3. Copy BrothersKeeper (ancient version): copy the BK directory.  I had to change BK5.BAT to default to /no which keeps it from trying to open full screen,which Vista apparently no longer allows.
  4. Copy my bin directory of old dos programs.  I still have to figure out how to make these on the path to be picked up from any command line.
  5. Copy Creative Memories Memory Manager 3.0: email and ask them how to copy to new computer.  They will send a link and instructions telling you how to get MM3 on the new computer.  Then use the old computer to make a "shadow memory vault."  Make this on a network visible place.  On the new computer, map a drive letter to this place.  Then use the recover shadow memory vault function on the new computer.

Copyright 2009 by Richard Gillmann Last modified
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