Recently I had to set up fresh installations of Windows 7 on two computers. Here are some tips to make that process go a bit smoother...
1. Windows Update #1 -- Microsoft has released hundreds of recommended and important updates for Windows 7 since it was introduced. All that data is a burden for Windows Update, and the update process can bog down on slower computers. To remedy this, you'll want to download the update associated with KB3102810 first before you even check for updates. Adjusting your computer's Power Options so it stays awake during the long update process may also help.
2. Windows Update #2 -- I wrote about this before. Unless you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you'll want to hide the update KB3035583, or uninstall it if it already got onto your system.
3. Gadgets -- Third party gadgets are no longer supported due to "serious vulnerabilities" in the Windows Sidebar. You'll still be able to add the default Microsoft ones, such as "Clock," "Calendar," "Slide Show" and "CPU Usage" (my favorites). But I also liked the third party "Network Meter," which I'd use often to verify download rates. Since Network Meter is no longer available, I figured out that I can use ResMon to do something similar. To have ResMon (almost) mimic Network Meter I minimize the various components in the left pane of ResMon and resize the window so that only the network graphs show up. And I add a shortcut to ResMon.exe in my StartUp folder.
Do you have any tips for setting up Windows 7? Please share them!