I Use This
Updated 2021-September-16

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News about this article

2020-November-30  Published this evolving⁠[1] article.

1. Devices and operating systems

In 2021, I mainly using Dell devices running Windows. I have a TracFone with exactly one non-default app installed: DuckDuckGo’s mobile browser.

2. Command-line shells🐚

3. Terminal emulators

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If you install Git For Windows, which includes Git Bash, before you install ConEmu, ConEmu will be automatically set up to launch Git Bash.

 

4. TUI apps

The acronym TUI can mean Terminal User Interface or Text-⁠based User Interface.

 

5. GUI apps

5.1. Miscellaneous GUI apps

 

5.3. IntelliJ IDEA

I use IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition with these plugins:

 

6. Programming languages

I am not a software developer, but I’ve installed the following development environments because I need them for apps that I use.

6.1. Ruby

I install Ruby because it is needed by Asciidoctor and Kramdoc. To learn how I install and update Ruby on Windows, see Example 5 in Infinite Ink’s Scoop: A Windows Package Manager (Featuring Hugo, Figlet, and Ruby+Asciidoctor Examples).

 

6.2. Python

I install Python because it is needed by pwdhash.py[4] and some qutebrowser userscripts. Note that you do not need to install Python to run qutebrowser on Windows.

💡

I like to install Python with the Windows Installer from python.org, rather than Anaconda, Miniconda, Scoop, etc., because the Windows Installer…

 

7. Windows system administration

7.2. Sign-in

 

7.2.1. Keeping an eye on the Startup folder⁠👁️

Everything that is in the Startup folder is launched when Windows starts up. I like to keep an eye on what’s in this folder so I put a shortcut to this folder…

  1. on my Windows desktop and

  2. in the Startup folder (since it is a shortcut, you don’t need to worry about an infinite loop).

The startup folder is usually located here:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

To create a shortcut to this folder, right-click on it in Windows File Explorer and choose Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).

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I also keep an eye on the list of installed programs (sorted by date), what’s going on with Task Scheduler, and more.

 

7.3. Windows Error Reporting Service

I use services.msc to turn off Windows Error Reporting Service, which sends errors and other (sometimes private⁠😒) information to Microsoft. To learn about this, see wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Error_Reporting.

 

7.4. God Mode

One of the first things I do on a new Windows device is create a folder on the desktop named

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

This makes it easy to access Windows Control Panel. To learn about this, see howtogeek.com’s What Is the “God Mode” Folder in Windows 10, and How Do I Enable It?

 

7.5. Environment variables

I set and use the following environment variables.

  • INFINITEINKROOT

  • YEARQUARTER

These environment variables make it easy to…

  • share configs and scripts on multiple devices

  • and update configs and scripts when it is a new quarter (for example 2021-Q3).

Examples of how I use the INFINITEINKROOT environment variable are in

An example of how I use the YEARQUARTER environment variable is in section 5. Variables in Infinite Ink’s qutebrowser Tips and Fragments.

 

7.6. Unicode and UTF-8

Whenever I have a choice about specifying a character set, I choose a character set that supports a lot of Unicode characters (e.g. a DejaVu font). And whenever I have a choice about specifying a character set encoding, I choose UTF-8. For example, I do the following on my Windows devices.

  1. God Mode⁠[5] > Region > Change date, time, or number formats

  2. Click Administrative tab

  3. Click Change system locale…

  4. Check the following box:

    • Beta: Use Unicode UTF-8 for worldwide language support

  5. Restart Windows

 

7.7. Shutdown

I include Hibernate (in addition to the default Sleep, Shut down, and Restart) in Windows Power options. One way to access this setting is to use God Mode⁠[5] > Power Options > Change what the power buttons do.

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You can do a hard shutdown by holding down the Shift key while clicking Restart, and then choose “Turn off your PC.”

 

8. Services

9. I use these but wish I didn’t

  • Batch files
    (Some of the batch files I wish I didn’t need to use are described in qutebrowser Userscripts on Windows.)

  • Windows File History
    (Reasons I wish I did not use File History: It silently does not backup any file whose path is longer than MAX_PATH (260) characters and it periodically stops working⁠🐞)

 

10. Someday maybe I will use these

 

Endnotes


1. Many Infinite Ink articles, including this one, are evergreen and regularly updated.
2. For Windows system administration (as opposed to software development), WSL 1 is better than WSL 2 — as far as I can tell.
3. It would probably make more sense if WSL were called LSW (Linux Subsystem for/of/on Windows), but it is not because, according to Rich Turner in this tweet, Microsoft “cannot name something leading with a trademark owned by someone else.” Rich’s tweet has inspired me to interpret the WSL acronym as meaning Windows Subsystem for Linux (notice the apostrophe ()).
4. To learn about PwdHash, see crypto.stanford.edu/PwdHash/.
5. God Mode is an easy way to access the Windows Control Panel. It is discussed in the God Mode section above.
6. On the Infinite Ink site, a link to DreamHost or FastMail is often a referral link. I use and like both of these hosting providers.

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