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Defrag: So You Just Got a New PC

49 minutes, 30 seconds


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This being our first show post-holidays, we've decided to talk about the steps that each of us take when getting a new PC. What's the first thing you do? What software do you install? How do you prepare for digital disaster? Let us know in the comments what steps you take.

Microsoft tech troubleshooter extraordinaire Gov Maharaj and I help walk you through troubleshooting solutions to your tech support problems. If you have a problem you want to send us, you can use the Problem Step Recorder in Windows 7 (see this for details on how) and send us the zip file to DefragShow@microsoft.com. We will also be checking comments for problems, but the email address will let us contact you if needed.

[01:00] - Getting started
[03:30] - Start as-is or flatten?
[12:00] - Software Gov installs [Security essentials, WL essentials]
[13:20] - Cleaning up root and Start Menu
[21:30] - Software Larry installs [Above + VLC, Video Inspector, Virtual Clone Drive, Fences, The Brain] [VLC AMA]
[31:02] - Gov's backup system.
[34:35] - Larry's backup system.
[38:00] - Pick of the Week 1 - Soluto [link] [link] (to get an account, use the invite code "DefragShowSentMe")
[43:30] - Pick of the Week 2 - Ninite [link]


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  • A very interesting episode! You answered some peculiar questions I had.
    Nice picks of the week!

    Thank you. Happy 2012!

  • Nice one Smiley

  • Microsoft needs to solve the crapware issue. I understand the OEM's "need" to sell "space" to other vendors in order to make a profit here, and I'm not suggesting that there need to be a policy that disallows this practice. Rather, what needs fixing is the problem with REMOVING this crapware. You can't expect most users to be able to do what's talked about in this video. Even those of us that can, we shouldn't have to. It's way too much work. A solution to this problem that Microsoft could enforce:

    1. OEMs can only install software that's been certified.

    2. Certified software has to provide a clean uninstall process through add/remove programs.

    3. Reinstallation images must exactly match the installation originally found on the system (can't tell you the number of times I've seen different crapware and even drivers between the image on the system and the image on the disc/restore partition).

    In other words, the OEM can include the crapware, but removing it should be as simple as running add/remove programs.

    On another topic, The Brain looks great, but OneNote REALLY should include this type of functionality. Outlining and linking are great, but mind mapping is a technique used by most creative folks and OneNote suffers from not being able to do this.

  • While I'm still watching the video I just have to say: Ninite!!!

  • Larry LarsenLarryLarsen "Lightbulb"

    @wkempf: If you want a machine like that, just buy one at a Microsoft Store. They use "Microsoft Signature" machines in the stores. (i.e. no "crapware")  [thanks Andrew Richards for the link]

    To your statement about how you shouldn't have to uninstall apps; my full ascent. I absolutely agree, but the economics of OEM margins and the freedom allowed OEM's means they can do it if they like. Best practice is to speak with your wallet.


  • dan_tdtower Surface Fan

    Wow, great episode.  Defrag has just passed up Ping on my fav C9 show list.  Congrats! Smiley

    Larry, can you explain a bit about how you accidentally ruined your drive that time?  I didn't understand quite what you meant and want to make sure I don't do the same.


  • MagicAndre1981Magic​Andre1981 xperf addicted

    before Christmas I bought a laptop for my dad and I bought one without preinstalled OS and any tool and installed a clean Windows without all those hassle Big Smile

    [12:00] - Software Gov installs [Security essentials, WL essentials]

    *lol* You first uninstall crap to next install the next crap tools.

    MSE slows down the PC a lot. MSe is one of the slowest AV tools you can get. MSE service hogs the CPU all the time. Tze same for Windows 8 where Defedner includes the MSE engine, the same occurs. I completely uinstall the Defender package with DISm ad Windows 8 flies. Defender/MSE is really crap. I always get 1 year NOD32 license for 2€ when buying a PC magazine which includes it. That's cheap, works fine and doesn't slow down the PC.

    And WL Essentials 2011 fills the appdata folder which crap.

    The advices are so bad ...

    [13:20] - Cleaning up root and Start Menu

    with the Vista style startmenu type 2-3 letters and select the one you want to start. I don't care how many links I have in the startmenu.

    [38:00] - Pick of the Week 1 - Soluto

    use xperf to see what's wrong with Performance, not such an useless tool. I wanted to test it and setup even failed. Not a trustworthy tool. Xperf runs with xcopy on all systems without installing it.

  • KevinKevin

    The first thing I do when I buy a new windows machine is format and re-install windows to get rid of all the crapware. This is ridiculous!

    OEM crapware is destroying, nay, already destroyed Microsoft's name in the consumer market. These machines are crippled right out of the box, come on Microsoft don't you see this!? It frustrates me to no end to see what should be a perfectly good windows machine turned to sh*t because of OEM bloatware.

    Does a Mac have this problem right out of the box? Absolutely not.

    Even worse is when the free trials come to an end 6 months or a year later. All the user sees from the notification task bar is message after message about virus this and virus that. Most consumers don't understand what's going on, all they see is VIRUS VIRUS VIRUS. And what a surprise, consumers associate windows machines with viruses!

    Every time a friend or family member asks me to look at their computer because they have a virus, 9 times out of 10 it's just their bloatware informing them their virus trial has ended and they are unprotected.

    A new computer should run perfect out of the box. A user shouldn't have to spend a day or 2 trying to figure out why their machine is so slow when it's brand new! They shouldn't have to re-install from scratch, they shouldn't feel frustrated after dropping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new system.

    I am a huge fan of Microsoft products and I make a living developing software on their platforms. I want to see Microsoft succeed, when they succeed it makes it easier for me to. Microsoft, please wake up and stop allowing OEM's to do this to your OS, don't you see it's killing you in the consumer market?

    Almost everyone I know that is not a techie person has switched or is switching to Mac. Is their OS superior to MS, not in my opinion. But Mac users are delighted right out of the box, windows users are disappointed and frustrated right out of the box.

    Sorry, this really drives me insane..

  • Larry LarsenLarryLarsen "Lightbulb"

    @dtower: HA! Sure. So it was a typical home PC that I had built myself. I had the case open and one of the drives was in the wrong spot so I I wanted to move it to the bay below where it was. I *knew* I should have turned the PC off, but I didn't. I unscrewed the drive, pulled it out, as I moved it to the spot below it, I saw the tiniest spark gap between the hard drive and the frame of the PC. It was fried and I was never able to recover anything from it again. I lost original files for logos, invoices, scans, all kinds of really critical data. It was such a loss of data that it really hit me hard.

    I'm happy to say almost 15 years later I've not lost a single bit of data, knock on silicon.

  • Larry LarsenLarryLarsen "Lightbulb"

    @Kevin: You're probably preaching to the choir here. We agree. As for your comment about 'come on Microsoft, don't you see this?" Sure, we are PC users too. That's why all the machines sold at a Microsoft Store come without third party installs. But we don't build PC's - OEM's do. I'm glad we allow them some liberties in their own sandbox. Sometimes the software they include on a machine is very helpful, look at the custom images that Newtek uses for their Tricaster. They couldn't do that if we didn't allow them to put together a custom image.

  • KevinKevin

    Then something has to be done like wkemfp suggested. It has to be certified by microsoft before it can go on an OEM system and it has to be easily removed. For you and me it's easy to remove, but for the vast majority of consumers, they haven't a clue.

    Consumers are leaving Microsoft's platform in droves because of this very reason. It's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to bring them back. I don't know anyone that has switched to Mac that will come back. They are too satisfied with the experience.

    I have extremely high hopes and expectations for windows 8. But if this bloatware is on windows 8 systems as well, it's going to be the same old sh!t.

  • dan_tdtower Surface Fan

    @Kevin it may seem like people are running to Apple in droves but that's not what the data shows. Market share for the Mac is still around 10% where it has been for a very long time. Lots of people where I work have nice new powerbooks but most of them run Win7 on them.

    This doesn't mean I don't think crapware is an issue because I do. I just think it's been an issue for a long time and people accept/expect it. I did not know the systems shipped through the MS store came clean though. I'm going to remember that when I buy my next laptop.


  • @LarryLarsen: I think you misunderstood me. I didn't say you shouldn't have to uninstall apps. I understand the need for OEMs to install this crapware. However, I shouldn't have to be an expert and spend significant effort to uninstall the apps. Add/remove programs should "just work". Microsoft shouldn't provide the Windows logo for machines that install crapware that can't be easily removed this way.

    The signature stuff is fine, but not everyone has access to a Microsoft store, and more importantly any machine that has a Windows logo should be held to a higher standard than it is today. It doesn't give Microsoft a good image when machines come with software that causes performance isues and/or the average user can't remove. If Microsoft doesn't solve this, eventually people will speak with their wallet... they'll by non-Windows machines.

  • , wkempf wrote

    @LarryLarsen: I think you misunderstood me. I didn't say you shouldn't have to uninstall apps. I understand the need for OEMs to install this crapware. However, I shouldn't have to be an expert and spend significant effort to uninstall the apps. Add/remove programs should "just work". Microsoft shouldn't provide the Windows logo for machines that install crapware that can't be easily removed this way.

    I agree with this completely.  I was thinking during the broadcast that there sure are important ways that Microsoft could improve Windows. The tip that people reboot after each app is removed could be negated if Windows could better deactivate running applications.


  • The annoying thing is that WE know that OEM "shovelware" is one of the worst things that damages the reputation of MS and the employees know this but NOBODY seems to do anything about it. This makes it look like another big company full of competent smart people being run by clueless incompetent people.

    I hope Win8 has much stricter rules about this kind of stuff.

    Oh... MS Security Essentials in the nicest most efficient FREE AV program around. I haven't seen any of what  MagicAndre 1981 mentioned.

  • felix9felix9 the cat that walked by itself

    I wanted to disable the 'hide system protected files' option too, but then some annoying desktop.ini files will be everywhere, especially on the desktop, so I have to keep them hidden, huh.

    but, I can see files in Windows and System32 etc with no problems, so it doesnt matter, right ?

    of course I selected the 'show hidden files/folders/drives' option, I guess the different is about the +S / +H file attribute, right ?

  • JustmoiJustmoi

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    High Quality WMV

    At 400-800 KB/s is not good. Too slow from a network like C9!!!

  • MagicAndre1981Magic​Andre1981 xperf addicted

    Oh... MS Security Essentials in the nicest most efficient FREE AV program around. I haven't seen any of what  MagicAndre 1981 mentioned.

    open ProcExp at the time and look how much CPU time is used by it. removing the 5 Windows-Defender ~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.2.8102.0 Packages with pkmgr and Win8 runs so much faster without it. No explorer scroll issue, nothing.

    MSE is the worst crap I ever used. Look at this, to see that in a lot of scenearions, MSe is slowing down the PC dramatically:


    But without having the public debug files for MSE I can't start investigating the cause (xperf, ProcMon) of the slowness.

  • well.it's cool

  • Doctor WhoDoctor Who Picture is of Tom Baker, who played the Doctor, from 1974 to 1980.

    I started watching this episode today (haven't finished it yet), and am really loving it!  I think I'm going to archive it, for future reference, because I'm learning a lot!

    One of the new things I learned came very early in the episode when Gov mentioned that when he's uninstalling the crapware, he always uninstalls 1 app, then reboots, then uninstalls the next 1, then reboots, etc.  I know I haven't done that for lots of machines I've worked on.  Makes me wonder how many machines I've messed up, by not rebooting after uninstalling each application.  I know that in some cases those machines always behave oddly, during their whole lifetime.

    I've got a question, though, for Gov.  If uninstalling a crapware app and then rebooting after each uninstall should be the SOP, then should you always doing that, whether you're first setting up a machine or uninstalling something from a 2 year old machine?

  • Doctor WhoDoctor Who Picture is of Tom Baker, who played the Doctor, from 1974 to 1980.

    I've gotten Soluto, which was one of the Picks of the Week, on this episode.  I was hoping that I could use this at work, to help diagnose problems users are having, but after having it on my PC for over a week I am really surprised at how often Soluto requires updates, which invokes the UAC.  I know my users would hate that.  Is there any way of having it not invoke the UAC, but only this application?

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