KPTree - MSWindows Setup

I have Windows on my main desk top machine, it is dual boot with Debian/XFCE. I am using Debian almost exclusivly now. The BIOS based dual boot works well, I have it defaulting to Debian. I do not currently have a Windows VM setup on my main server. My 3 sons also have computers with Windows on them. Lastly, I am required to used company Windows machines at work. Hence I like to keep a list of my preferred Windows software reasonable up to date.

I have been using Microsoft products for quite some time, starting with MSDos then Windows 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98, XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and finally 10. (I managed to skip some of the duds, such as ME, 2000 and Vista, although I did occasionally use them on friends, family and work machines. Contrary to all the noise I never had any problems with version 8 & 8.1. I thought ME was bad and Vista too, but as noted basically managed to avoid them in the most part.)

tldr; Old build

So below is a list of Windows software often use.

I do not use Windows much at home anymore. I have highlighted the software I still use with a (!), and software I use on my Linux desktop L

  • First up to make easier to load up system
    • Nextcloud Windows client - Cloud server client (!L)
    • Keepass - Password and other secret info repository (!L)
    • I just use the built in Windows Defender for virus protection now
    • Xplorer2 - a multi-paned file explorer replacement - I do not use any more. See notes below.
    • Notepad++ - a good general text editor for Windows
  • Utilities
    • Notepad++ - a good general text editor for Windows. Seemed really good on Windows. I use VIM on Linux now.
    • 7Zip - a good general file compression program (!)
    • CCleaner - a Windows system maintenance program, clean junk files and registry and other - Do not use anymore, looks like spam now
    • FileZilla - and sFTP client program (!)
    • Ghostscript - a PDF manipulator (!L)
    • iTunes - Apple iOS update control software - See Separate Section below (!)
    • Setup printer / scanner - See separate notes below (!)
    • Vuescan - Is a paid scanner program. It is just for scanning and is simple and does the job very well. (!L)
    • I no longer use Rsync on the Linux systems to do the back-ups, I basically do not store and main archive or working data on the local windows machines anymore. I try to copy anything important into the Nextcloud sync directory or work of the server.
  • Multimedia
    • Firefox web browser (I do not like using Microsoft and Google browser) (!L)
    • Calibre - an electronic book database and reader (!L)
    • VLC - seems to do a better job than mPlayer / Media player classic (!L)
    • PolyView - a picture / photo view (sadly would seem no longer supported) It is no longer supported and does not operate that well with Windows 10. I no longer use this software as it does not work will with Windows 10. I use Faststone now
    • Windows Media Player Classic - a video player -I no longer use as prefer to use VLC now.
    • Faststone Image View - A simple photo viewer that seems fast - Freeware (!) I also use this at work.
    • SystemMechanic - a Windows system maintenance program - paid software -I am no longer using this, looks like spam now
    • AIMP - Music player (reminds me of the old lost classic Winamp) -I am no longer using this
    • Clementine - Music player, looks like a modern take on Winamp. I am using on Linux via Flatpak and also have installed on Windows 11 desktop. (!L)
    • Spotify (!L) (I have family license as my sons have demanded…..) I am now family subscribed to YouTube which automatically gives YouTube Music. I will probably move away from Spotify for this reason.
    • Youtube / Youtube Music, is web based on desktop and has apps for iOS (!L)
  • Remote Control / Cloud
    • Nextcloud Windows client - Cloud server client (!L)
    • Putty - a SSH terminal program for Windows (!)
    • TigerVNC - remove video terminal program (!L)
  • Security
    • Keepass - Password and other secret info repository (!L)
    • iSpy - an IP camera viewer program - I have not been playing with the Security cameras lately. I need to upgrade the system.
    • Tor - a more secure web browser (!L)
  • Productivity (Unless otherwise noted the software I use at work provided by work. I believe it to be appropriately licensed by work too.)
    • ACadLT2017 - CAD - got rid of this subscription, just too expensive for my occasional use.
    • ACAD 2022 - CAD software I use at work.
    • Navisworks - 3D productivity software, I started using the limited free, version at work, Freedom. I now have the full version at work, Manage.
    • Foxit Pro - a PDF reader and writer (!) I use my private license at work.
    • Qoppa PDF Studio - I got this for my Linux desktop. It is sadly the only full pdf suit I could find on Linux. I have not tried on Windows or for work. It looks pretty good though.(!L)
    • Bluebeam Revu - a PDF reader and writer I use at work now, definitely has the best PDF technician editing functions I have seen. I still find working on standard documents easier on Foxit or Qoppa.
    • LibreOffice - a office software suite -I have not been using lately, and just using MSOffice, but will probably try again (!L)
    • Microsoft Office 365 home subscription, allows use on 5 home computers and give 1TB One drive cloud access (!)

Notes on licensed software:

  • Xplorer2 :- I am going back to using plan Windows Explorer. The licensing requirements were a pain in the arse. I appreciate that the author fairly and reasonably wants to make money from the product he has worked on, however I was primarily use this product at home on a few machines and on on work machine. The author required that I have licenses on every machine. This couples with learning the interface that is not identical to vanilla Explorer made me give up on the software. Also at home I now primarily use Linux desktop for which Xplorer2 does not function. I believe I had 2 for life licenses. I suspect the author may have modified the “for life
  • Polyview :- Went the way of the Dodo….. I had a license. I do not regret purchasing this license once off. I got many year of use. It worked really well at the time. I remember sending a query to the author concerning font comparability, circa 2008. He said the program was ANSI font only not compatible with the expanded font set, I forget what it is called now.
  • Vuescan :- simply the best scanner program around, consistently an well supported. Multi platformed, Windows, Linux, perhaps Mac.
  • Youtube Premium Family. As much as I do not like supporting Google / Alphabeta I have been enjoying the use of Youtube Premium and they throw in Youtube Music too. The family like too.
  • Spotify - My son original wanted and I ended up going with family option. Will probably move to Youtube option as it included Youtube plus Music.

I am not overly pious about free versus purchased software. I appreciate people should be rewarded for their efforts. One has to have the upmost respect for those providing “free” software (true free, e.g. GNU free, NOT Facebook or Google free) . Sadly in general paid software providers merit less respect.

I suppose the problem is the middle man, usually representing wealthy entitled people that use wealth and power to further their power and wealth.

I have the following 2 personal examples that highlight why I do not like paid licensed software.

A very big problem with paid licenses is the common absurd software licenses that go with them. They are a disgrace. Generally they enormously limit the paying end users rights. They are also so long who would bother reading them anyway. Ultimately, if one has paid to use the software one should have the right to use, otherwise why pay.

Autodesk License

I had for many years a license for Autodesk AutoCAD Light. This was not cheap software costing on average a few hundred dollar per year for the right to use. My personal use was very limited, but I wanted access to this software. I did use this software at work too, I could guarantee I was the only person using this license at any one time. Autodesk charges different prices for their product in different countries, there are some valid reasons for this, but the main reason is to do with maximizing profit, in wealthier countries they can simply get away with charging more, in poor countries generally less. Also there are marketing reasons in populous countries they may charge lower pricing to increase market penetration and make more sales, hence overall more profit. Sadly I come from a relatively wealthy country with a relatively small population, read higher pricing! The argument from the seller is that is cost more to sell in my country, however being English speaking I would be quite happy to use the USA version of the software at the USA price! Basically many USA aspects are forced down our throat anyway, e.g. date format.
In any case I was assigned to work in China for about a year. About 3-4 months working in China I had a call from the company software department to ask if I was using AutoCAD Light software. I said yes, but with paid for license. Nevertheless they asked that I remove the software from the company computer, to which I immediately acquiesced. Upon reading the license for the produce I found I only had the right to use the software in another country for 90 days after which I was expected to purchase a local version there! Like I was expected to purchase a Chinese license of the software. This was totally unacceptable and really is an example of gross license conditions failure.
I still use Autodesk products at Work using the license provided from work. These are often corporate based network licenses that only work if connected to the network. There is a method to fix a license to a machine, if required.


xplorer2 is a nice Windows Explorer replacement with many extra features. I used for a number of years, but again the licensing requirement just became more than they were worth for me.
I purchased a copy for personal home use and another copy for work use. The license is tied to a particular computer on to which the software is installed and authorised for use. I have a number of computers at home, and generally only one at work. It was basically required that I have a license for every computer at home, I could not justify the expense and inconvenience associated with swapping active license on machines at home. I asked to install the license on more than one machine and the response was basically one license one machine!
Basically the built in version of Explorer in Windows meets 95+% of my daily needs.
An additional problem with using xplorer2 was that I got use to using it and when I went back to standard explorer it was uncomfortable to use. As this software is basically on every Windows machine this happened often. So I have simply stopped using xplorer2 at work and at home, it is simply not worth the trouble, particularly with the restrictive license requirements.
Ultimately the software owner has the right to limit their software to 1 machine per license, however I have the similar right to decided this means the software it too expensive and inconvenient for me to justify to use. For this type of software I want a license that gives me unfettered home use on at least 2 machines and perhaps all home personal use machines, with a separate license for work use.

Foxit Pro

Sadly there is no full featured GNU Licensed Linux PDF writer. Further to this most paid versions, including Foxit Pro do not work on Linux. Interestingly the Free version of Foxit does have a Linux version. Hence I purchase a copy of Qoppa Software's PDF Studio PRO that does run of Linux and Windows. I may end up buying another license of Qoppa for my work machine in the future if happy with it, instead of Foxit Pro.
I was quite happy with Foxit Pro on Windows, but if they can not provide a Linux version… Also Foxit originally allowed 2 installations per license and now seem to be going back to 1 machine one “Single-Use” license, which is a problem for me. Qoppa states”…can be used on 2 machines of any OS.“

Licensed software is often full of terms that are arguably bigoted, however this is usually simply a goal to maximize profit. Sadly some GNU software providers seem to provide limits on their software use based upon their biases.

iTunes is software I do not particularly like. First of all I do not use the Music feature having long ago rip my CD collection to MP3 and I simply do not like the way iTunes works. So the only real reason to use iTunes is for my iOS devices, backing up iOS devices etc. iTunes, in typical Apple fashion I find is not smart end user friendly as it has been designed for not smart users and attempts to hide the lower level file system. Further to this the configuration, backups and apps end up being very large amounts of files (multiple 1000s) and using huge amounts of disk space, in some cases well over 200GB!. So to help alleviate the excessive file system use on my primary Windows10 SSD I would like to move to my Linux NAS. The following are the steps to achieve this.

I really now only use this software to backup and restore Apple devices…. The app functionality has been removed by Apple, which is good as I was wasting too much of my time….. Otherwise iTune is and always has been crap ware…..particularly on MSWindows machine.

  1. Download from Apple and install the latest Windows 10 64bit version of iTunes.
  2. Run iTunes and check the location of the “iTunes Media folder location” found in the menu item: Edit, Preferences, Advanced tab. e.g. “C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media”
  3. Stop iTunes running
  4. If moving an exiting iTunes data directory first time, copy C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes to \\NASname\various_path\iTunes
  5. Rename C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes to C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes_old, or simply delete.
  6. Open Administrator Command Prompt(right click windows start and select so). Then run following command to create a simlink to NAS stored iTunes library: mklink /D 'C:\Users\doej\Music\iTunes' \\NASname\various_path\iTunes. The command should state symbolic link created as given in original command.
  7. The backup files are found at: C:\Users\baumk\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup.
  8. Often the backup will not work or be seen. The solution is to move to another directory and then add back to the official directory until the correct backup directory is found or until adding one stops iTunes from working. More shoddy Apple software……

iTunes is a pretty flakey program and Apple does play the propriety with the Lightning cable, so the problem could be any of the following:

  • Bad cable
  • Bad USB driver
  • Bad USB port
  • iTunes playing up

However one good trick is to simply run the install file “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers\usbaapl64.inf”. The easiest way being to right click the file in exploer and select the install option.

With the problems on the old printer noted below I decided to replace the printer scanner. After 4 year of use it looks like I made the correct decision to go with the lower priced larger A3 printer with disposable ink cartridges.

  • Key point is I do very little printing at home. If fact so little that some time I need to do a deep clean on the nozzles as they have blocked from infrequent use, usually after 1 - 2 months of non-use. I need to try to remember to print a basic test page every month at minimum.

I looked at 2 main options:


Printing photos at home is very expensive. The photo paper and original ink are just too expensive (rip off). It is cheaper to setup the photos and get their files printed at the likes of Kmart. These photo printing services even have on-line services or take a USB drive to the store terminal. The photos get mailed to you. Old printer stuff

In windows both the link and drive substitution commands have their own nuances….. The main problem with “subst” is that the reference is not canonical. The mklink seems to sometimes fall back to the full path.

There are two main reasons to use:

  1. To overcome the path/name length restriction of 260 characters
  2. To simply the path name of regularly used references.

In Linux symlinks seem to be more robust (mind you just about everything seems more robust…) Symlinks to files are used as a control mechanism. Hard links are frequently used as a backup technique to minimise real backup space used.

For some reason Windows 10 will not show my network drives in the Explorer Network directory. Even when it did work it was slow to show the network drives. I can simply type in the network drive into the path, e.g. “\\User1NetworkDrive”, but this is a bit clumsy and is not always an option in some file modal windows. A symlink is the best overall solution.

Open up a Command Prompt (Admin) - right click the windows icon or type “Win + X”. In Windows 10 you can also type in Command into the Cortina search area and right click on the Command Prompt item.

For files the command syntax is: “mklink Link Target”.

I am only really interested in a directory link the syntax is: “mklink /D Link Target”, example: “mklink /D C:\Users\User1\User1NetworkDrive \\User1NetworkDrive”.

This is the command syntax to associate a path with a drive letter:

SUBST [drive1: [drive2:]path]
SUBST drive1: /D
drive1: – Specify a virtual drive to which to assign a path.
[drive2:]path – Specify a physical drive and path to assign to a virtual drive.
/D – Delete a substituted (virtual) drive.
Using the SUBST command with no parameters will display a list of current virtual drives.

The GUI option in Windows is to right click the network icon in file explorer. Then select the option map network drive. A similar option to Disconnect network drive exists.

There is an “opposite” to the “subst” command called “join” that makes hardward devices appear as directories.

All too often the keyboard mapping seems to get set to the United Kingdom, which messes up a few of the Keys when using a US keyboard. I suspect this is a problem with selecting Australian as the primary English langage that seems to sometime also select the UK keyboard. In any case in Windows 10 the solution is as follows.

The simple solution is to remove the UK language setting and if necessary add the US one. The Australian can remain. Further to this the keyboard layout can be independantly set. The language can be adjusted in the ” region and language setting“, use Cortana if necessary to find. Click on the language and add the US QWERTY if necessary. Delete the UK QWERTY keyboard layout.

I have had problems with windows appearing off the screen partially or fully many times over the years, particularly when using multiple monitors.

I found an article on CNet, but will not link to it, as CNet is a real garbage filled site. In any case the simple solutions are listed below:

  • Cascading windows

Right-click on the taskbar and click Cascade windows. This will reset all open window positions and cascade them from the top left screen point. Unfortunately, many media players will not reposition in this manner, and it forces ALL of your windows to reposition – even the ones that were behaving themselves.

  • Manually moving

Right click on the task bar icon for the specific program and select move. Use the mouse or keyboard direction arrows to move the window selected.

  • Maximise the window

Right click on the task bar icon for the specific program and select Maximise. The window will maximise to the full screen area. When minimised its position will return to previous off screen.

For Windows 10 you need to move over the task bar program until the small program window appears, this also bring to foreground the main window too. Then right click on the small program window to get the move and maximise options.

MSExcel Tips

When pasting text from other applications on occassions Excel places all the columns into one column. To adjust into multiple columns the following feature can be used. Menu: Data : Text to Columns

The menu : Data : Get Data : From File : From Folder presents a dialogue to input a windows directory. Once the directory is shown the load button will place it into a new sheet

The cell function returns information about the cell contents.

This is performed in MSWindows Powershell using command: dir -Recurse -Directory | Select FullName | Export-Csv “list.csv”

After this I want to list the level of the directory, to do this I count the number of “\” in cell B3: =LEN(B3)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(B3,”\“,”“))

Frozen Program Safe Start

Sometime a program seems to get stuck when starting. This could be the add-in or other problems. A possible solution is to start the program in safe mode.

  • Open up run (Windows + R)
  • Type name of program with /safe, e.g. outlook.exe /safe, word.exe /safe or excel.exe /safe
  • Sometime this is enough to allow a normal restart
  • Check add-ins and stop start-up

Some other possible options to check:

  • Check task manager to see if a frozen process is the problem.
  • Restart the computer.


The Intel built in graphics accelerator seems to have problems with proper full screen resolution on 4K monitors. A solution to rectify this is to turn off the hardware acceleration within the AutoCAD product, see How to enable or disable hardware acceleration in AutoCAD. The hardware configuration option can be found using the following commpands: '' graphicsconfig, 3Dconfig, options.

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  • Last modified: 2023-10-05 Thu wk40 12:40
  • by baumkp