The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them

dale dietrich's bridge

The Daleisphere Command Center 🙂

In mid-February 2009, I made the unfortunate mistake or using a registry cleaner in hopes of tweaking even more performance out of my Windows 7 Beta (“Win7B”) setup. The net result – my ship was sunk!

All my data was backed up, of course, but it took me two months to gradually re-install and tweak ‘most’ of the dozens of apps I use to run my law practice, develop my websites, blog and otherwise run my world.

On the advice of my nephew Michael Kalistchuk, an IT consultant, I painstakingly documented the details of the applications I use and how I configure them. This post grew out of those notes.

It’s unlikely I’ll need these notes for recovery purposes because I have since used Windows 7’s built in image backup system to create a recovery image.

More likely, when the final version of Windows 7 is released, I’ll do a clean install (rather than install over my current install) requiring me to do all of this over again. These notes should dramatically decrease the time it will take to get my command center up and operational again.

General Notes:


  • Order: The items below are generally listed in the order that I installed and tweaked them – though the network and general system setup steps were more intermixed.  I group them together below for ease of reference.
  • Redactions: I have removed the various software keys, userids and passwords for obvious reasons.
  • Google Docs: I compiled this list using Google Docs. I am often called upon by friends and family members to assist with their systems. By keeping this info in Google Docs I can access the information from any computer in the world.
  • Bullet Points: Please excuse the ‘bullet point’ presentation. I have not attempted to write this up like a typical post.
  • 64 Bit Version of Win7B: Some of the outstanding issues listed below stem from my use of the 64 bit version of Win7B.
  • Your Comments: I’d appreciate any comments you might have to solve my outstanding problems or to offer alternative setup suggestions.


Outstanding Issues:


While I have resolved a great many problems, there are still several outstanding issues I have using Windows 7 Beta. They are outlined below:





Basic Windows 7 Setup:

Windows 7 x64 product key: [snipped]

Download Drivers from Dell: XPS Tag:   [snipped tag]

Do a ‘Windows Update’

Get rid of ‘Send Feedback’ text in every Window:

Screen Saver
– Start -> ‘Screen Saver’ -> Aurora; 60 minutes

Power Options

Firewall – Turn off

Add Take Ownership Utility:

Recover Desktop Files from Backup:

[backup directory]Users\Dale\Desktop

Change System-wide ‘My Documents’ Default Location to be Included in Second Copy Backup Directory:

– How to do this is described here:

– Change Default from
     c:\users\Dale\My Documents
      c:\files\My Documents

  1. Right click on c:\users\Dale\My Documents
  2. Select Properties in the context menu.
  3. Click Location tab.
  4. In the Target box type the path to the folder location that you want My Documents to be, c:\files\Documents
  5. click OK button.

Restore Quick Launch Bar:

  • Right-click the taskbar,
    • Uncheck the “lock  the taskbar”
    • Choose Toolbars / New Toolbar
  • In the folder selection dialog, enter the following string and hit OK:
    %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  • The Quick Launch Bar will be added to the right side of the task bar beside the system tray
  • Right-click on the ‘Quick Launch Bar" divider.
    • Uncheck the “Show text” and “Show title” buttons
    • Select view and choose “small icons" or large icons as per your preference
  • Use the dividers to rearrange the toolbar ordering to choice, and then lock the taskbar again.


Download and install Realtek AC97 Audio Drivers:

– run setup.exe from the resulting zip file.

Recover Gadgets: 
Gadgets are stored in this directory:

– C:\Users\Dale\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets

WB7 MP3 Update:

– See MP3 Corruption Issue: in this post
– may already be installed in W7B updates – need to be sure in order to safe-guard MP3s.
– Direct Links to x64 update: –

Mouse & Windows Defaults:

Start –> mouse -> Pointer Options tab
    – Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box
    – Display pointer trails  

Control Panel –> Ease of Access Center –> Make the Mouse Easier to Use
  – change default mouse pointer to ‘Extra Large White
  – Check both boxes under ‘Make it easier to Manage windows’ See blog posts:  

Printer Setup:

– Copy ML-1710 driver executable from N: network drive to desktop (W7B will suggest an updated driver after it is installed)
– Run in Vista compatibility mode (won’t otherwise run)
– delete from desktop after install
– test from laptop and iMac



Major XP Networking Connection Issue Discussed here:

– On XP Systems, change Windows Firewall settings
  – got Advanced tab
  – make sure ‘Local Area Network Connection’ NOT checked

Connect Drobo:
– Start – right click Computer – map drobo network drive to N:\   —>> \\webserver\drobo
– Windows Explorer – Right click favorites to add directories to favorites (wp, files, media, c, d etc.)

– Dot: Rename drive letters in Windows Explorer to DOT (ie: ‘.’) to get rid of long names
– Firefox Downloads: change Firefox Downloads Default to drobo


WorkGroup: Start –> workgroup –> [snipped]
HomeGroup: Start –> homegroup –> password: [snipped]

Advanced Sharing Settings:

Start –> network and sharing center –> change advanced sharing settings

Public Folder Sharing:

turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files

Password Protected Sharing: – turn off password protected sharing

Windows HomeGroup Connections: – Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers

Share c:\Files: with ‘Dale’ and ‘HomeGroup’ UAC – Turn Down – type UAC in Start Menu to access

Firewall – Turn off

Windows Explorer:

Turn on Menu Bar: Organize -> Layout -> Menu Bar

Turn on Status Bar: View -> Status bar

Options: — > Tools -> Folder Options

General Tab:
– single click to open
– Navigation Pane: check each of the boxes in

View Tab:
– Display full path
– show hidden files
– don’t hide ANYTHING
– use check boxes to select items

Search Tab:
– always search file names and contents

Drag Most Commonly used Folders into Favorites (also ‘pin’ to IE icon in task bar):
– C, D, I, N, W
– backups
– Clients
– Downloads
– files
– iTunes
– law
– media
– My Pictures
– ph
– precedents
– uploads
– WP

Windows Defender: – set scan time

Start Menu Properties – Go Nuts with usual settings

Windows Indexing:

Start -> Indexing Options
Add directories – no network directory indexing in Windows x64 – Grrr!
  (NOTE: Doesn’t work in x 64 systems)
  Windows Desktop Search: Add-in for Files on Networks does work with x32 systems:


Applications Install and Setup:

One Note: Where I keep all my system notes (hopefully change to Evernote one day)

– Key: [snipped]
– Pin to Start menu
– remove OneNote icon from sys tray (right click option)
– Change Default dir to: C:\files\OneNote 
– Tools -> Options -> Open & Save -> My Notebook 
– change backup to c:\AutoRecover 
– restart

Internet Explorer:

– Add Back Menu Bar:

    Tools -> Toolbars –> Menu

– Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) for IE


Download and install:


Foxmarks: Username: Dajad – Password – Usual 

Toolbars: Right click toolbar –> Customize – New Tab – New Window – Print

Start Page: mail, calendar, finance

Downloads -> Tools -> Options… -> Main  Tab -> Check ‘Always ask me where to save files’


Blog Post on Topic:

– Download 64 bit version of iTunes
install but do not run
– copy backed up iTunes structure to/from : C:\Users\Dale\Music\iTunes  to recover apps, playlists, album art, music, videos etc.
– It should JUST WORK if the C:\Users\Dale\Music\iTunes directory was properly backed up.
– when syncing iPhone, got ‘Info’ tab, sync contacts and calendars from Outlook – I CHOSE ‘REPLACE’ & NOT ‘MERGE’

Foxit Reader:

– 2.3 version better than 3 (want web .pdf’s to open in reader NOT web page)
– Edit -> Preferences –> Internet –> Uncheck ‘Display PDF in Browser’

Microsoft Office 2007:

Key [snipped]

Outlook 2007:

[Note: As an alternative to recovering Imap folders as described below, try restoring Folders.pst first, then add imap account, then add in imap.pst]

Imap Files

– FIRST set up an iMap/Gmail ‘account’ as instructed here:
– You don’t have to complete it, just start and save.
– EXIT Outlook
– Rename the recovered iMap .pst file in this directory
– delete the .pst file that was created when the ‘account’ was set up

General PST File

  – Add in the following folder from c:\outlook (or as backed up on Drobo)
  – Folders.pst for Calendar and contacts:

Configure IMAP:

See following blog posts:

Install Outlook Personal Folders Backup App:

– Outlook Personal Folders Backup:

– Tweaks needed to get it to work:!C1013F1F9A99E3D8!114.entry

Customize Quick Access Bar: Create New Email –> Outlook Button –> Customize
Add in:

– Format Painter
– Insert Hyperlink
– Quick Print

Columns/Fields in Inbox: Set as follows

– Right Click on column headings
– Select "Customize Current View"
– Select / remove desired ‘Fields"

PDF Previewer

– Install Foxit PDF Previewer <– Note: As of March 3, 2009 – still some problems with Windows 7 beta

Change Email Default Font: (both original and replies)

– Tools –> Options –> Mail Format tab –>  Stationary and Fonts… button
– click ‘Font’ button under each of ‘New mail messages’ and ‘Replying or forwarding messages’ button
– Font:
  – Verdana
  – 11 Pt
  – Color: ‘Dark Blue, Text 2, Lighter 40%
– Plain text response: Arial – 11 pt

Outlook Email Signature File:

– Recover from backup here: C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
– Compose new email
– On ‘Insert’ tab, click ‘Signature’ then ‘Signatures…"
– click on Desired signature
– Click on ‘New Message’ pull down on right and pick the desired default signature – will be default thereafter
– Do not include signature on replies/forwards
– See also:

Bcc in Outlook:

– Start to compose new email
– click ‘Options’ tab
– Click ‘Show Bcc’
– Thereafter Bcc stays on by default

How to Get Rid of Annoying Warning message when Opening Attachments

Word 2007:

Change Default File Type to .doc: (most clients still using Word 2003 or earlier)

Word Button –> Word Options –> Save –> Choose ‘Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc) in pulldown menu

Change Default Language to English (Canada): (for all other things I prefer English U.S., but for Word documents with Canadian clients I use English Canada)

– Word Button –> Word Options –> Popular –> Language Settings box
– Chose English (Canada) as the ‘Primary Editing Language)’ <– must do this before you can do next step
– Remove ‘English (US)’ from the ‘Enabled editing languages list.
– Must restart Word for change to take affect.

Restore normal.dotm:

– no need to recover so long as I point my templates directory to c:\files\templates (see below)

Restore Custom.dic:  (restore my customized dictionary built up over many years)
– Recover from backup in this hierarchy: C:\Users\Dale\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\Custom.dic
Note: Also accessible/viewable through: Word Button –> Word Options –> Proofing –>  ‘Custom Dictionaries…’ button

View Ruler:

– click on little ‘view ruler’ icon on top of vertical scroll bar (top right); or
– on ‘View’ tab, check the ‘Ruler’ checkbox

Enable Macros:
– Word Button –> Word Options –> Trust Center –> click ‘Trust Center Settings…" button –> Macro settings:
– select ‘Enable all macros (not recommended… yada yada)

Add Save as PDF Add-on for all Microsoft Office Apps:

– Download:

– Install

Customize Quick Access Bar: Word Button –> Word Options –> Customize
  Add in:
– Open
– Save As
– Format Painter
– Print
– Quick Print
– Track Changes
– Save, Undo, Redo (I use keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl-S, Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-Y for these)

Adjust Track Changes Options:

On Review Tab –> Click down arrow under ‘Track Changes Icon’ –> select ‘Change Tracking Options’
– Insertions: Double Underline
– Insertion Color: Blue
– Deletions Colour: Red
– Changed Lines: none
– uncheck ‘Track moves’ box
– uncheck ‘ Track formatting’ box
– select ‘Never’ in ‘Use Balloons (Print and Web Layout)
– click OK


Word Button –> Word Options –>
– Display –> check ‘Update fields before printing box‘ (ie: for auto cross references and page references)
– Proofing –> uncheck ‘Mark Grammar errors as you type’ & ‘Check Grammar with Spelling” (annoying in legal docs)
– Advanced –> Check ‘Match Destination Formatting‘ in all ‘cut, copy and paste’ boxes
– Advanced –> Select ‘Square’ for ‘Insert/paste pictures as‘ option
– Advanced –> Show document content –> select ‘Always’ in Field shading option (to highlight auto-generated cross-references/page numbers)
– Advanced –> Display –> choose maximum (50) on ‘show this number of recent documents
– Advanced –> Display –> choose inches – on ‘show measurements in units of: option
– Advanced –> Display –> choose 1 inch – on ‘style area pain …’
– Advanced –> General –> Click ‘File Locations…’ button and modify: 

User Templates’ to c:\files\l\templates
   ‘Startup’ in lieu of deleting this – make sure NOTHING is contained in the indicated directory:
– Advanced –> click + sign beside Layout options and select:
   – Add space for underlines
   – Draw underline on trailing spaces (needed for signature lines)
– Word Button –> Word Options –> Trust Center –> click ‘Trust Center Settings…" button
  – check ‘Search Microsoft Office Online for Help…’ box
Bullet point:
– Word Button –> Word Options –> Proofing –>  Auto Correct Options button
– Replace ‘bl‘ with preferred round placement holder bullet from any document that it contains (preview – eg: Precedents\@Clauses\Indemnity Exclusion.doc
– Note: This must be done AFTER changing the default templates directory to :c:\files\l\templates because this info is stored there.

LifeCam Codec: (webcam)

– Install BEFORE Skype, Google Talk Voice & Video and Windows Live Messenger
– Install: LifeCam2.9.exe (older pre-Vista version works with W7B)

– See also Windows 7 Forums:

Windows Live Writer:

– Windows Live Essentials:
– Carefully parse out Microsoft’s attempts to install crap and change browser defaults as you install
– Options –> Preferences – uncheck useless ‘view post after publishing’

Windows Live Messenger:

– set to run in Vista compatibility mode in order to minimize to system tray
  – right click on the app in the ‘All Programs’ menu;
  – select ‘Properties’;
  – select the ‘Compatibility’ tab (see picture below);
  – put a check in the ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for:’ box;
  – select the “Windows Vista’ option in the pull-down menu (see picture); and
  – click ‘Apply’.

.net Framework (needed for and other things)

Changing Defaults:

– Under the Tool: item on the left side of the second tool bar there is a ‘choose defaults…" option
Default Tool: Rectangle select
Brush Width: 4
Text: Verdana, 9pt, right justified


– Run/Install Win7codecs_v101.exe –> From Shark007’s Win 7 Codecs Page

LifeChat Codec: (headset)

– Install: LifeChat 1_3.exe

Skype –

– Tools/Preferences – Advanced Settings
– Uncheck ‘Use Skype to callto: links on web’ (otherwise covers up phone numbers on Firefox)

Google Talk Voice an Video Chat

Adobe Flash 10 – Needed for online image editing (can edit images from desktop without uploading first)

Adobe Air – Needed for Twhirl and other cloud-based apps

Twitter Desktop Apps:

blu: blu.application (from



Java (must install before installing Woopra)

– Watch Out for Yahoo! toolbar add-on option – must uncheck


Download & Install

Google Calendar Sync: (backup Outlook before running – just in case)

– Note: Didn’t work at first but worked later (possibly needs system restart to take effect)

Team Viewer:

Download & Install

Dreamweaver 8 Install:

– Map webserver websites root (htdocs) folder to W:
– Install Dreamweaver8-en.exe
Before running restore backup Directory: C\Users\Dale\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Dreamweaver 8\Configuration

Serial Number: DWD800-03111-57237-16637

– Install 8.02 Update: dw8_802_update_en.exe
  (check to see if any subsequent updates here:

– Manage Sites (top right)
  – edit locally, then upload to remote testing server
     – C:\files\Webs\\
  – How do you connect to testing server: Local/Network:
     – W:\
  – http://localhost/


– uncheck ‘show start page’
File Types / Editors
– .htaccess -> Dreamweaver
– . .gif ->
– . .jpg. jpg. jpg ->
– . .png ->
Preview in Browser – Firefox 3.0
Site –> Check (Prompt on put/check) to uncheck box)
– Do a ‘put’
– Say ‘no’ See —>
ADVANCED TAB (re: on Site Manage):
Remote Info – check ‘automatically upload files to server on save’ box
To show hidden files:

(log onto remote view –> click top right pull-down menu –> View –> Hidden Files)

Filezilla Client: (ftp client to work with media temple web server)

Download:  (Note: Do NOT download or install SERVER – doh!)
– Enable hidden Files View:
    Server > Force showing hidden files

TiVo Desktop:

NOTE: Make sure you run BOTH the installer and the executable in Vista Compatibility mode in order for TiVo Plus License Key to take

Download & Install

Media Access Key S2 & S3: [snipped]

TiVo Desktop Plus License Key: [snipped]

Second Copy 7 (backup tool)

– get download here:
– Second Copy  Serial Number: [snipped]
– recover profiles.dat file from: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Centered Systems\Second Copy\Profiles.dat
– check the box "Start at log in" from the Edit | Options | Startup tab.
– [Doesn’t run on boot in Windows 7 as of April 15, 2009]

Sharing Directories to iMac & Vice Versa:

– Share C:\files with ‘Everyone’ on my network
– Changing Security Settings
   – Windows Button
   – search for ‘security configuration management’
        – Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options -> Network security: Lan Manager authentication level
            – set to ‘Send LM & NTLM Responses’
        – Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options -> Network security: Minimum Session (there are two of these – client & server)
            – set each to ‘no minimum’

KatMouse (Steve Gibson’s recommended terrific auto scroll-wheel utility)

Download & Install

Sticky Notes:

Recover from backup: C:\Users\Dale\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Sticky Notes\StikeyNotes.snt

Windows Live Mesh: (reinstall)


Safari 4 Beta:

Bookmark Import:

====  POST SYSTEM IMAGE BACKUP (April 20, 2009) =======

Utilities Folder

Return the ‘Utilities’ Folder from the Desktop backup to return the following small utilities:

  • WinDirStat <—Hard drive exploration utility

  • Space Monger <—hard drive exploration utility 
  • SIW.exe <—system exploration utility
  • gspot <—codec exploration utility

Install Woopra 1.3 RC

Install Presto’s Clock Gadget

Install Hotspot Shield  (download from:
  Vista 64 Instruction Demo:


  • EverNote
  • WinMySQL
  • Figure out where Windows Live Writer dictionary is for recovery purposes



38 Replies to “The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them”

  1. Too much to read here. How about a post on how you use One Note and why you might migrate to Evernote. And then a post on Windows Mesh. Followed by a post of the browser plugins you use. 🙂

  2. PS I prefer system state images for the reasons you discovered, with remote backup of critical data. Not sure what's going to happen to Windows7 beta tester – will MS give you all a license key or will you be forced to purchase, if so with a discount? And will it indeed require a reinstall (or recommended)?

  3. Ya, the post wasn’t really meant to be something you read casually. On the one hand, since I spent months writing it, I thought I’d toss it up there. The most practical use I think it will yield is for people doing google searches on specific application problems where my notes provide configuration solutions. A lot of the stuff above took me quite some time to figure out. So, I hope it will be useful for others that way. If not, c’est la vie.rnrnA Windows Live Mesh post IS in the works – if I can ever get the damn thing to work! I think the way I set it up is NOT the way its intended to be used. I have high hopes for it, but so far NOT so good.rnrnI use OneNote to track hundreds/thousands of odds and sods of information that I need to get access to from time to time (ie: userids, passwords, license keys, router setups, network share names, computer specs, TiVo tricks and on and on. It’s a rather clunky program outside of a Tablet. I loved OneNote when I used it a couple years ago. But they shifted to a pay model that I never got into. I’m intrigued that it has iPhone integration and want to look into that in depth some time to see if its worth me spending money on. I’m also afraid it may be suffering from feature creep. A once simple and very useful application (especially on a Tablet) looks like it may have become bloat-ware. But I won’t know until I test it.rnrnI already have a post with the browser plugins I use. I’m gathering your smiley face means you know that.rnrn

  4. Indeed, Microsoft WILL be charging to go from Win7B to the final manufactured product. Whether or not a discount is in the offing or not is unknown. I’m hoping for a home license – ie: purchase for up to, say, 5 PCs/laptops in a home. I can’t use more than one of my PCs at once. It angers me that I have to pay SO much (hundreds) to upgrade my OS’s just so I can use the same OS on my many different PCs. And the new HomeGroup function (which is terrific) won’t be useful unless all home PCs are using Windows 7. But I’m certainly not going to upgrade all my PCs unless there is some kind of a home licesnse I can get for a reasonable fee.rnrnAs for whether you can do an in-place upgrade to the final version (and indeed, the next release candidate due out May 5) the answer is YES! See Paul Thurott’s post on that topic here:rnrn post makes me angry though. He lives in his pristine tower. Yes, I understand that doing a clean install each time is the optimal choice, but when it will take me WEEKs to tweak my system and an enormous amount of time after a fresh install, the in-place upgrade seems mighty tempting. I plan to do the in-place upgrade for the release candidate on May 5. But I probably will do a ref0rmat and fresh install for the final RTM version due out probably some time this summer.

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