Reinstalling Windows (again)

In November last year I upgraded my main workstation to Windows 11. I didn’t like it much. Lots of unnecessary window dressing - rounded corners, changes to the Start menu, context menu, stuff that wasn’t a problem but didn’t really improve anything. I found Windows 11 slower than Windows 10. Booting my PC in the morning took nearly 3 minutes, most of which it was just sat there with a blank screen, doing something – I have no idea what? – before it finally brought up the login screen.

But the thing that clinched it was that something in Windows 11 couldn’t handle certain kinds of image data on the clipboard; copying images to the clipboard would cause parts of the UI to flicker, crash, redraw, and basically make Windows unusable. Most noticeably anything in Adobe Photoshop - there’s a support thread here all about it, but it’s not a Photoshop problem; various other applications caused the same behaviour, up to and including right-clicking the icon in the Google Chrome Help > About page.

So bye-bye Windows 11.

When it comes to reinstalling Windows, this is not my first rodeo. I keep everything important on a separate drive, with all my work either pushed to GitHub or backed up in Dropbox, so my D: drive just comes along for the ride completely intact, meaning it’s not that big a deal to reformat C: and put a fresh Windows install on it. So I took a backup copy of my C: drive – just in case – and then grabbed the latest Windows 10 Pro ISO, used Rufus to burn it to an 8Gb USB stick, and off we go.

Windows 10 install took about 15 minutes. Here’s what goes on afterwards:

Configure Windows

  • Explorer, View, Folder Options
    • Check “Display the full path in the title bar”
    • Uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”
  • Set desktop wallpaper to something suitably atmospheric from kvacm (and if you like Michal’s stuff, support him on Patreon!)

The Essentials

I use Ninite to install Chrome, Firefox, Evernote, Steam, Zoom, Discord, Dropbox, Python x64 3, WinSCP, PuTTY, Visual Studio Code, Winamp, Audacity, Spotify, K-Lite Codecs, WinDirStat, and 7-Zip.

For the last few months I’ve been using Vivaldi as my default browser, but this time around I’m gonna stick with Edge for a while and see how it goes.

Sign in to Chrome, that syncs my bookmarks and browser extensions, including LastPass, which has credentials for pretty much everything I do online.

It always surprises me how usable the system is at this point. So much stuff is web/cloud based now that a connection, a browser and LastPass is enough to get into Google Drive, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub

The Big Bag O’ Fonts

I have a lot of fonts. They’re all backed up in Dropbox. Ctrl-A, right-click, “Install for All Users…”


I like fonts.

The Command Line Stuff

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux

    • installed by opening an Administrator command prompt and running wsl --install
  • Powershell

    • Not to be confused with Windows Powershell, which ships as part of Windows 10
  • Windows Terminal

    • not to be confused with Windows Terminal Preview, which is the same, but different.


  • oh-my-posh

    • …the necessary nerd fonts are already installed at this point ‘cos they’re part of the Big Bag O’ Fonts I installed earlier.
  • Cygwin64

    • Default selection, plus curl, wget, and openssh
    • Everything goes into C:\Windows\Cygwin\bin, and I add this to the system path. This becomes my default location for any utilities I want to be available from the command line, like ffmpeg – like /usr/local/bin on a *nix system.


  • git for windows

  • OpenSSL for Windows

  • ffmpeg

Languages and SDKs

  • .NET Core SDK 3.1
  • .NET Core SDK 5
  • .NET Core SDK 6
  • nodeJS 16.x
    • and select the option to install build tools for building native C/C++ modules.
  • Ruby for Windows

GUI Apps

Then it’s a big long list of apps I use on a daily basis, which I’m listing here as much for my benefit as yours:

  • Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Discord…
    • yes, every single one of these platforms is the communication tool of choice for at least one friend, collaborator or online community that I’m connected to. And that’s not counting the ones who use Twitter DMS, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Skype… or even good old fashioned email.
  • OBS Studio
    • great for streaming, great for screen recording, great for doing cool stuff with overhead cameras and pens and paper during Zoom training sessions.
    • Scenes and profiles are all copied over from the old system; they’re stored at C:\Users\dylan\AppData\Roaming\obs-studio\
  • SnagIt and Camtasia
    • I set up SnagIt with Shift+Ctrl+\ as a quick capture hotkey.
  • Microsoft Office
    • Powerpoint, Word, and Excel, I use on a daily basis. Access, maybe once in a blue moon. Teams when I have no choice. Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher, I don’t think I’ve ever opened except by mistake, but hey, they’re part of the installer now, and it looks like the screen in the Office installer where you choose the bits you actually want has been banished to the great recycle bin in the sky, so I guess I’ve got them too. Meh. Storage is cheap.
  • Microsoft Visio
    • Visio rocks. For architecture diagrams, floor plans, presentation slides that are just a bit too complicated for PowerPoint, I find it indispensable.
  • Visual Studio 2019
    • including .NET Framework 4.6.2, 4.7 and 4.8, for running training with clients using .NET Framework 4.x
  • Visual Studio 2022

After installing Visual Studio and Resharper, to into Tools > Options > Source Control > Plugin Selection and set it to None. Otherwise you’ll get an error message “Files still read-only” when trying to do various refactoring and renaming things with Resharper.

And there you go - fresh install to a usable system in less than a day. Sure, I’ll be finding odd bits that aren’t set up quite right for a week or two, and there will invariably be some app I reach for one day a few months from now and discover I forgot to install it, but WIndows 10 just feels so much snappier than 11 ever did – and best of all, I can use the clipboard in Photoshop again. 😊