what to do after formatting and installing the system from scratch

Since Windows 10 is among us, it is customary to expect a new major update every six months. This means that possibly at some point you had to start from scratch, you had to format for whatever reason, or you're just doing a fresh install on a new or old computer (yours or someone else's).

Personally, I do several clean installations a year, either to try something, because I broke something trying other things, because there is a new computer, or because someone asks me for help with their PC. In my case I have a well established Windows 10 post-install routine and sharing it may help some to have a better experience with the system.

1. I look for updates

Search for updates

It is the most basic, once the installation of the system is finished the first thing I do is press the Windows key + I to select Update and security and click on that cute button to Search for updates. It is almost 100% certain that there is going to be something there, so better do it sooner than later.

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2. Choose folders to sync on OneDrive

As someone who formats a lot and uses more than one PC, I backup most of my important files to the cloud. Windows 10 is perfectly integrated with OneDrive, and by default you have 5 GB free to store some things. For fidelity and other reasons I have 15 GB, and I use it mainly to back up documents and some images.


To make those folders automatically synchronize with OneDrive and also show the files in the Explorer, just go to the Settings of the app by clicking on the cloud-shaped icon in the Notification Area, select "More" and then open Setting.

Onedrive folders

In the next window select the tab Account and then click Choose folders. The folders you select there will be available in the "OneDrive" folder in Explorer, and it is very useful if you had documents in one installation and you want them to be exactly in the same place in another installation of Windows 10 perfectly synchronized.

3. Remove apps that I don't use from the start menu and Windows

Out Candy Crush

Out with Satan ... I mean, Candy Crush

The next thing is to get rid of the garbage. Although there are some other tools to remove pre-installed apps from Windows 10, this is a process that I usually do manually.

Simply open the Start Menu and right click on each app tile that I want to remove from there because it is a "suggestion" or uninstall because I do not use and will never use. Most of the ones that annoy me tend to appear right there.

4. Install the apps that I do use quickly


Winget from Windows Terminal

This is the slowest and most tedious process if you choose to go to the website for each program you use to download and install. In general also I usually avoid installing the versions that appear in the Microsoft Store for a very personal reason: Then I can't change the icon pinned to the bar.

Now, in my case the new Windows 10 package manager has already become my favorite way to install apps, especially in a new installation. With Winget you just need to open a terminal and type "winget install steam" or "winget install microsoft edge" and in a few seconds everything is ready.


The wonderful Winstall website

Better yet, take advantage of Winstall to find all the apps you need, and then create and copy a script to install everything in batch with Winget automatically. It is too comfortable if you also wanted a graphical interface.

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5. Configure my PowerToys

Powertoys Run Shortcuts

PowerToys Configuration Page

For me new PowerToys are a must, and it is that you lose too much in Windows 10 if you do not take advantage of them. Already installed with Winget, I will configure them. Essential for me are mainly two:

Fancy Zones

Creating custom grids with Fancy Zones

With FancyZones you create custom grids to better organize your windows, it's like Windows Snap but on steroids. What I do here is choose my own custom layout to take full advantage of my monitor's length.

Powertoy Run

Launching things with PowerToys Run

With PowerToys Run I get an ultra-powerful launcher that lets you not only run apps or search for documents, but is significantly faster than Windows 10 search or the start menu, not to mention the results. The first thing I do is go to the PowerToys configuration and change its keyboard shortcut to ALT - Spacebar.

6. Configure my Android with 'Your phone'

Your telephone

The Your phone app showing the photos of my Android mobile

If you do not take advantage of all the integration of Windows 10 with Android you you are losing a world. On my mobile I use the Microsoft launcher just to squeeze it more, so as soon as I start an installation of Windows 10 for the first time, I immediately install and configure the Your phone app.

This leaves me see all mobile photos in Windows 10 instantly, make or receive calls, manage SMS, view Android notifications in Windows, continue working with a file on your mobile on your PC, synchronize sticky notes, lists and tasks, control the music that is played on your mobile from your PC, and send files or links from one device to the other.

7. Activate Clipboard History


This is one of the absolute improvements that have been added to Windows 10 since it exists. It is something simple but deadly. Clipboard History is activated from Setting > System > Clipboard, or the first time you press the shortcut Windows key + V.

This what it does is store a history of everything you copy (including screenshots on the clipboard), and gives you a list to choose what to paste when you press WIN + V instead of CTRL + V.

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8. Customize the appearance


This is not something that everyone cares about, but for me it is a must. Although customization in Windows 10 goes a long way, and is a long and drawn out topic, after installing the first thing I do is "just" change colors, mouse pointer, desktop background and lock screen, and extra remove the effects of transparency.

Mouse Pointer

We blind people appreciate these colored pointers

You can do all this by going to Setting > Personalization and choosing your favorite options. If you go through the options Accessibility and you go to Cursor and pointer You can also change the size and color of the mouse pointer and cursor.

9. Check applications at startup


After I've installed and configured most of my apps, it's a good time to review which apps and services decided to start with Windows 10 without asking me first.

You just have to open the Task Manager by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC, click on More details and then go to tab Start. From there you can see all the apps that start with the system and disable everything, or everything that you are 100% sure that you do not need. It is the easiest way to speed up Windows startup.

10. Miscellaneous

There are several other more specific things that I usually do to optimize workflow. I recommend them, although they are obviously not for everyone. The first is that I always enable the Concentration assistant So the notifications don't drown me You do this by clicking on the notifications icon and looking for the quick setting:

Concentration Assistant

The other is configure the Print Screen key (PrtSc) to work with Microsoft Snipping Tool and automatically capture screen. You do that by going to the Setting > Accessibility > Keyboard and checking the corresponding box:

Print Screen

Finally, I dedicate myself to hide notification area icons that I don't want to see there permanently, and that countless applications add. For this I do right click on the task bar and I select Taskbar Settings.

Taskbar Icons

In the configuration window I navigate until I find the option Select the icons that will appear on the taskbar and there I uncheck everything I don't want to see. You can also enable or disable system icons.

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