Windows 8.1 Post-Install Tasks

Mark Berry November 28, 2014

I made these notes almost a year ago after upgrading a Windows XP Home machine to Windows 8.1. Some still apply today. Note that this is about a non-domain install and assumes you want to run a daily image backup, and to get the UI back to a point where a computer novice who knows XP can still be fairly comfortable.

  1. Turn off fast user switching so that logging off will actually close programs (allows cleanly backing up Juno, which stores emails in a DB). This now requires modifying local policy (Windows 8.1 Pro/Enterprise only): http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/how-to-enabledisable-fast-user-switching-in-windows-8/. If you need to disable fast user switching on Windows 8.1 Standard, the registry edit instructions for Vista should still work:  http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/how-to-enable-disable-fast-user-switching-in-windows-xp-and-windows-vista/.
  2. Under File History, turned on hourly file backups to the external drive. This is a new Win8 feature.
  3. Set up scheduled daily image backups using Windows Backup. This is no longer possible through the UI; you have to set up a scheduled task that calls wbadmin. Here are PowerShell commands to set up the schedule:  http://pureinfotech.com/2013/10/24/schedule-windows-81-system-image-backup/. After that, modify the task so it runs even if no one is logged on.
  4. Kill off as much of Metro as possible:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2055381/how-to-eradicate-metro-from-your-windows-8-1-pc.html.
  5. If you’ve also installed an SSD, switch from legacy SATA back to AHCI to hopefully speed up the SSD. Many articles list a registry hack but the older key wasn’t in Windows 8. This method using Safe Mode worked:  http://superuser.com/a/513746/171670.
  6. Update Windows Time to run whenever the network is available (see this post):
    sc triggerinfo w32time start/networkon stop/networkoff
    Then set up Windows Time following this article:  Basic Windows Time Service Setup.

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