Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Operating Systems Software

How Long Does it Take You to Tweak a New Box? 463

Posted by Cliff
from the a-never-ending-process dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "When you get a new computer, how long does it take to make it 'home'? On a Windows system, there seem to be a huge number of preferences I have to choose before it is really comfortable (doing things like: installing software; changing the wallpaper and color schemes; start menu layout; and so forth). How long do you have to fiddle with computer until you have it set up the way you like? Do you use any shortcuts to speed up the process?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Long Does it Take You to Tweak a New Box?

Comments Filter:
  • On linux... (Score:5, Funny)

    by peterpi (585134) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:22PM (#18624069)
    Nobody's found out how long it takes on linux, they're still working at it! ;P
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivanmarsh (634711)
      Ha farking ha... 1h 45m from install to having a working, up to date and configured system running http, https, php, java, tomcat, mysql, mail server, ftp server, remote X access, and the desktop set up the way I want it... fully firewalled and secure.

      Windows: 6 hours from install to just having the current updates.

      Any more funny jokes?

      • by peterpi (585134)
        Who said anything about Windows?

        OK, so you're happy with the absolute defaults that come from an apt-get (or equivalent). Good for you.

        But if that really is the case, then surely that makes you unusual, no? Isn't the whole point of this fun little project called linux that we've all jumped on board is that you can spend a lifetime tweaking this bit and that to make it just right?

        As for me, I'd definitely need my .vimrc. What else... Probably a copy my firefox bookmarks from another machine, and thunderb
        • Re:On linux... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:04PM (#18624751) Homepage Journal
          Why arent you just keeping your /home partition backed up? When I installed Kubuntu I let it run overnight with a huge batch of things to download and install. That took about 10 minutes to set up. Then another 15 minutes to copy /home from my old machine. So, call it 25 minutes of work for a fully customized and tweaked installation?
          • by peterpi (585134)
            Because I'm stupid. Also, because the last time this happened to me, the new computer isn't a straight replacement for the old one. /home on machine a had no business on machine b.
            • by Sparr0 (451780)
              Say what? You can move /home from cygwin to linux to bsd and suffer virtually no ill effects. .vimrc and .bashrc and .profile and yada yada are the same everywhere.
              • by peterpi (585134)
                What I mean by is, the gig of accumulated bits and pieces on my home machine's /home/peter has no business on my work's freshly installed server.
              • Re:On linux... (Score:5, Informative)

                by aputerguy (692233) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:41PM (#18625367)
                Agreed. I set up up, customized, and played with FC6 running cygwin on my underpowered XP laptop.
                Once that was setup, all I had to do was copy it over to my Linux server and turn on/off a couple of services that I needed on my server but not on my laptop. I mean *literally* just copied the root partition.
                It then ran perfectly with all my user and /etc configurations intact.

                When I wanted to set up another machine, I used the same root image and only had to edit a small handfull of files to change the machine name/IP address and to change a couple of passswords.

                When I upgrade to another machine, all I will need to do is copy (or even just physically move) my hard-disks.

                With Windoze, because of the dang registry, you can't just copy or move disks without corrupting everything. Also, since customization is done through menus and stored in obscure parts of the registry, you can't just copy over and/or edit individual config files. Instead, you need to reinstall each application individually and then individually run the program and customize the options by going through endless menus.
          • If you have many real system tweaks you'll want to keep a backup of /etc as well.

            I can install potato on blank media and upgrade to sid in about three or four hours depending on network transfer rates. Over the years I've managed to whittle the time it takes to restore all of my preferred system configurations from the next two or three days to the next two or three hours. Most of that process is comprised of installing and test using the applications which remind me of the greatest number of things which
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by misleb (129952)

            Why arent you just keeping your /home partition backed up? When I installed Kubuntu I let it run overnight with a huge batch of things to download and install. That took about 10 minutes to set up. Then another 15 minutes to copy /home from my old machine. So, call it 25 minutes of work for a fully customized and tweaked installation?

            Kinda like how OS X will do import of your settings/home directory from another comptuer over firewire. Just boot your old computer with 'T' held down and Setup will copy all

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by delire (809063)
              Living with OS X is closer to a living in a well furnished hotel than a home - pushing a general grand unified field theory of what consititutes 'useability' over user customisation. You can't grow into OS X - in the sense of making yourself at home - so much become good at using it as it is found.

              So yes, of course it does have the ""shortest "initial setup time"".

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by naChoZ (61273)

          Definitely gotta have my .vimrc too. It's followed me for a long time.

          What I do is keep sort of a manifest-slash-backup-script of my important stuff. I never want to backup my entire home dir because directories like ~/.kde can produce some very undesirable results when restoring it. So I just keep a script like:

          rsync -av --no-g ~/Documents/ ${DESTROOT}/Documents
          rsync -av --no-g ~/.beryl* ${DESTROOT}
          rsync -av --no-g ~/.claws-mail ${DESTROOT}
          rsync -av --no-g ~/.gaim ${DESTROOT}
          rsync -av --no-g ~/

      • by paeanblack (191171) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:00PM (#18624689)
        1h 45m from install to having a working, up to date and configured system running http, https, php, java, tomcat, mysql, mail server, ftp server, remote X access

        Connect a fresh Windows ME box to the net and you can get all that in 1 minute and 45 seconds.
        • by Tatarize (682683)
          I once installed windows ME on a system. I setup the hardware, ran the install while fiddling with stuff. I boot it up to find a virus already on it. I was like WTF... then I remembered I hooked the ethernet from the modem straight into the machine for two seconds. I released the IP, noted it was external, unplugged it and hooked up the right wire. That was long enough.

          Apparently you can do that on Windows Me in 1.45 seconds.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Cervantes (612861)
        Yeah, a great deal of that is because you can download a linux ISO that is already mostly up-to-date with patches. With Windows, you're stuck with whatever you have pressed on the CD.
        And if it takes you 6 hours to do updates, WTF are you using, RC1 on a P120? I install XP frequently (I do a lot of side work), and I use a stock XP SP2 disk, figure on an hour, maybe 1.5 at the outside, for downloads, I tweak it while those are running... I can have a fully set up and updated XP box inside of 3 hours... 1.5 if
        • Re:On linux... (Score:5, Informative)

          by cdrudge (68377) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @04:16PM (#18625995) Homepage

          Yeah, a great deal of that is because you can download a linux ISO that is already mostly up-to-date with patches. With Windows, you're stuck with whatever you have pressed on the CD.
          Perhaps you should look up slipstreaming updates into a Windows installation before you speak incorrectly on the topic. Just about all updates and service packs, including hot fixes, can be slipstreamed onto a new install disc much like the current Linux distro's daily/weekly/monthly offerings.
          • Re:On linux... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Cervantes (612861) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @05:12PM (#18627079) Journal

            Perhaps you should look up slipstreaming updates into a Windows installation before you speak incorrectly on the topic. Just about all updates and service packs, including hot fixes, can be slipstreamed onto a new install disc much like the current Linux distro's daily/weekly/monthly offerings.
            *cough*
            *point to 3rd line*
            I can have a fully set up and updated XP box inside of 3 hours... 1.5 if I use a slipstream disk.

            I know none of us RTFA, but can we at least RTFC? :)

            In all seriousness, I was relating to the most standard method of XP installs, which is "put the disc in, install, then do a few hundred megs of updates". When I'm looking for speed in my installs, yeah, I can use a slipstream disk, hell, I'll make a HD image if I'm doing a multi-station rollout.

            The parent poster, however, was comparing a freshly-downloaded Linux ISO, which is already patched, with an XP install that required updates to be downloaded, and then complaining about the difference in speed. Yes, it's entirely possible to make an XP install zip right along... slipstream in updates, even program installs and configs, and you can be done in a comparable timeframe to a linux distro. I'm all for fair comparisons. The parent poster, however, wasn't making a fair comparison, and I was pointing out that flaw in his argument.
      • by BecomingLumberg (949374) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:22PM (#18625027)
        1. Wait for someone to make a joke at Linux's expense 2. Blast 'em! 3. Completely ignore your sense of humor's pleading, from inside the locked closet, that it is a joke. 4. ... 5. Karma!
    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:54PM (#18624593) Journal
      Windows - Tweaks for about 4-6 hours and spending about $400 on extra applications
      OS X - Tweaks for about 1-2 hours and spending about $600 on extra applications
      Linux - Change desktop background. Done.
      • Re:On linux... (Score:5, Informative)

        by shmlco (594907) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @04:41PM (#18626481) Homepage
        Actually, the last time I moved from a Powerbook to a MacBook Pro I used Tiger's Migration Assistant. After the copy finished (about 2 hours) almost everything (applications, preferences, backgrounds, altered command keys, control panel changes, accounts, folder layouts, etc.) was there. I had to reinstall Dreamweaver and Photoshop since their registration mechanisms detected the new hardware and "broke", but other than that I was impressed to no end.

        Contrast that to the last new Windows machine (XP) I bought, when I had to move everything by hand, reset everything by hand, and spent about a week reinstalling each and every application I used... by hand.
      • "Windows - Tweaks for about 4-6 hours"

        Is that with or without the trial of Norton Antivirus on the disk...?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Technician (215283)
      Nobody's found out how long it takes on linux, they're still working at it! ;P

      I keep finding things to continue tweaking it. Earlier this year Flash 9 is out. For my kids, just last month the MTP lib came out so they can sync their Zen player. I just found a decent replacement for my stage light console program and I'm just now getting it compiled and installed (Q-Light).

      Not bad as a nubie since I first installed Ubuntu when Dapper came out.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:36PM (#18625275)
      depending on how much money I spend on her.
    • by YGingras (605709)
      On a personal workstation I rsync /home and apt-get stuff when I need it. On a server I pre-install all the stuff the former server had (dpkg --[gs]et-selections) and hand-tweak /etc (diff -r is your friend). But if this is just yet another box for the lab I simply clone it with udpcast. If all the non-distro stuff is installed in the right place you can just rsync /opt and restore a few symlinks in /usr/local/bin. It might be a good idea to build the new box by restoring your backups, that way you know
    • Mounted Home (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bent Mind (853241) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:54PM (#18625589)
      I cheat. /home is auto-mounted from a NFS server. Short of telling the box to grab the automount map from LDAP, I don't need to set up any personalization. It's already there. A new box is just new hardware. I do have different application sets depending on the hardware capabilities. However, that doesn't have anything to do with personalizing the system. Rather, it has to do with why the box was built.
  • Personally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:24PM (#18624111) Homepage
    Not very long. After years of working with computers (over 20), I've found keeping it simple is best. I change the background, arrange icons how I like and that's about it these days, whether it's windows or OSX or Ubuntu. If the OS can't accommodate this simple style I don't use it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alta (1263)
      Ah the icons... First I tell XP not to display anything but a garbage can(trash). It goes on bottom right (thanks apple) Then files that I'm working on get saved to desktop. Files i'm done with go in My Docs (also not displayed) and things that I was working on, and never finished go in a 'drop box' shortcut...

      All together, there are only 2 icons that get to call my desktop home, Recycled and dropbox. I'm thinking about remove recycled.

      Then I go find a desktop background that's not a corporate endorseme
      • by geek (5680)
        Sounds like we have very similar work styles. I usually have a scenic background from interfacelift.com or some other place. I have a really big 23 inch flat screen and it looks nice in the apartment with a "pretty" background. My gf appreciates it a lot more than an ugly solid or something.
      • by operagost (62405) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @04:56PM (#18626805) Homepage Journal

        All together, there are only 2 icons that get to call my desktop home, Recycled and dropbox. I'm thinking about remove recycled.

        I tried a pic of the kids once, but it was too hard to find the icons against the background.
        All two of them? I would think muscle memory would be enough in that case.
  • Weeks. (Score:4, Informative)

    by strredwolf (532) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:26PM (#18624133) Homepage Journal
    It'll take me a week or two, depending on the distribution, to tweak it to my liking. Some items like KDE I'll just copy over a known good install directory. If it's a system I'm transitioning to, I'll just copy $HOME over and make sure everything's nicely compiled right.
  • It's never over with (Score:5, Informative)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <{slashdot} {at} {danielthompson.net}> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:26PM (#18624149) Homepage
    The time I spend tweaking the settings asymptotically approaches something like 5-10% of the time I spend on the PC.
  • by ProppaT (557551) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:27PM (#18624155) Homepage
    The only real shortcut is to setup your system how you like it the first time and make a system image so you can restore it if you ever have to nuke your system. The first time is always gonna be time consuming. The only other thing I could see that would shorten the process would be to use MS's system settings transfer option to move settings from your existing box.

    Also, how the heck did this one make it through the filters? Who the heck cares how long it takes people to set up their system? Although I will brag that I can assemble a new box in under 10 minutes without troubleshooting.
  • Norton Ghost? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CmdrChillupa (166635)
    Just tweak it until your happy and then ghost it to a backup drive. When it gets filled with cruft wipe and restore.
    • Re:Norton Ghost? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:47PM (#18624515) Journal
      That'd be great if nothing every got updated. I actually tried this once and by the time I was ready to start over from scratch I realized it was almost easier to do an actual clean install with current-version apps than try and upgrade everything from 0.4-2.0 versions ago. Now I just keep a directory around with all the commonly installed apps, and when I get an update, I try to remember to put the new install version in the appropriate folder. I've almost given up that for a simple list of apps, and a directory with critical drivers. Things change too fast to have a "stable" image that's good for more than 6 months or so, and with XP running stably for longer than that (my current install is 2.5 years old), the image is just useless.
  • Let it evolve (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jermz (6352) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#18624185)
    When I do the whole burn-down-rebuild on a system, I let it evolve to my tastes. I like a change of scenery now and then, and a new OS install is the right time for me to get that. I try new apps, new desktops, new ideas all around. I might do KDE next time, I might stick with Gnome. I get new icon sets, experiment with new color schemes and wallpapers. It keeps me entertained and I always end up with a usable desktop in the end.
  • 20 minutes (Score:4, Informative)

    by iusty (104688) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#18624189) Homepage
    Let's see:
      - copy old /home/username dir
      - "debconf-get-selections" on old computer and pipe to "debconf-set-selections" on new one
      - "dpkg -l |grep ^ii" on old computer and replicate the package list
      - go drink some tea while the apt-get proceeds
      - done!

    I carried my home dir with its settings across about three or four new computers in the last eight years or so, and I didn't have to tweak things very much. Only upgrading major components require some maintenance, but other than that, it's simple.
    • Re:20 minutes (Score:5, Informative)

      by umeboshi (196301) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:45PM (#18624481)
      For replicating the package list, try this:
        dpkg --get-selections > packages.txt on old machine,
      then do:
        dpkg --set-selections packages.txt on new machine,
      then do:
        apt-get dselect-upgrade on new machine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by josephdrivein (924831)
      My biggest concern are not the packages, which can be quickly enough downloaded and installed as you described (though I use dpkg --get-selections/--set-selections) but changing the default configs.

      That's particularly annoying when the program depends on the particular hw (eg xorg.conf) because I can't copy a config from another box.

      Another thing that makes me lose time is downloading the latest stable kernel sources from kernel.org, changing the default config, compiling, installing and troubleshooting the
  • Home (Score:5, Informative)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:29PM (#18624209)
    That's the clincher. About a week, simply because I don't do it that often (once every 3-4 years) that I don't have a list

    Classic-ize windows display settings
    Give the system an enema (remove all the windows default crap, any ads or OEM-given crap)
    Install the necessities (ad-aware, avg, firefox, powertools, other windows registry hax)
    Install a few benchmark things and test (diablo 2, doom, zsnes, media player classic + fddshow)

    Dump data from old backup. (Over my last 3 installs this was via diskettes, then CDrs, then DVDrs). Then over the next week I'll just install new stuff as needed. Winamp, AIM, mud client -- I save all these executables but by the time you do a reinstall they're outdated anyway.
  • At my work I need to periodically add a new process server, it takes roughly 3 hours to get it to a "home" feeling. Most of that time is waiting for yum to run an upgrade, and 95% of it is completely hands off. Aren't scripts wonderful?

    On windows, I can never get that "home" feeling. Mostly because of the select-to-copy/middle-click-to-paste idea hasn't been "innovated" yet on windows.

  • About a week ago.

    I spent about a week or so writing some simple programs(bmp to transparent gif converter, hex editor) and adding a few registry hacks to make them context menu accessible. I'd imagine my case is a bit different from the normal person's, but for me it's about where I want it in a week.
  • I used to spend hours building up my computers, and then I spent $20 on a site listed on Froogle for a copy of Norton Ghost 2003. After several hours of building it up the way I wanted, I just popped in a DVD and now, when the system needs to be rebuilt, I can rebuild it in less than 1/3 of the time, all of which is automated once I get it started. Every sane person should buy imaging software for their PC so that if they have any failure, or want to play around, they can easily restore their system.
  • Run the updator.

    Install X11

    Download and install development tools

    Download and install subversion

    Download and install firefox & opera

    Find the Office disks, install and update office.
  • I've worked with computers for quite a lot of years. The installation usually goes this way:

    Put "Favorite Distro of the year" into CD tray and do a default install with my partitioning scheme (1-2 hours).
    Do the security patch routine (30 minutes)
    Change mouse behaviour to "Focus follows mouse" (2 minutes)
    Change panel behaviour in KDE to 'auto hide' (30 sek) .. and then now and then when I see that I miss an application - install it with apt-get or yast or whatever the tool of the day is. .. and I'll probabl
    • by linvir (970218) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:51PM (#18625521)

      Change mouse behaviour to "Focus follows mouse"

      So you're the degenerate pervert using this. Damn you! Damn you to hell!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bluesman (104513)
        Focus follows mouse (without auto-raise) is the only way to read one window while typing in another, without the window you're typing in raising to the foreground and obscuring the window you're reading from.

        For laptops or any non-multi screen system it's the only way to go.

        When I'm using windows it's the biggest thing I miss. There's a power tool that allows you to set it up, but many windows apps behave badly without the click to focus behavior.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:35PM (#18624309) Journal
    ask your mom, she'd know better than me

    badump ching
    • by MS-06FZ (832329)
      They said a new box - so if anything it'd be a sister, or a daughter. :)

      Parent post is too funny to be "troll" IMO. :P'
  • 3 days (Score:5, Funny)

    by fistfullast33l (819270) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:35PM (#18624311) Homepage Journal
    I use gentoo, and because I'm sadistic I love the install process. The acutal gentoo install is about two hours I think now that they've eliminated stage 1 and 2. But I like to compile everything from sources after that so it takes me another day (not straight through, I usually do it while I'm at work) to compile open office, firefox, x.org, and the like. Then it takes me another day or so to make sure my laptop can handle things like ACPI (I always forget to compile it for some reason), 3D acceleration (stupid ATI drivers), suspend-resume, framebuffer, E17, gensplash, and whatever else takes a bit of time. I don't mind it because I like the feeling of starting fresh without all those packages that you use once and never again being installed.
    • Re:3 days (Score:4, Informative)

      by tygt (792974) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @04:15PM (#18625993)

      I use gentoo, and because I'm sadistic I love the install process
      Not having used Gentoo, I may be wrong here, but I think that the word you're looking for is masochistic.

      Of course, unless you're inflicting pain on the penguin, but given my own installation experience I think you're the one getting the pain... and apparently enjoying it.

  • OS X Plus Firewire (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:38PM (#18624369)

    You boot the old computer in Firewire mode by holding down a key. You plug in a firewire cable to the new computer. You click the install from old computer button. You go get some coffee and a bagel.

    So basically, it takes me about 60 seconds and it takes the computer an hour or so. That includes pulling over my Windows and Linux desktop installs within a VM. Seriously, this is one of the main reasons OS X is my base workstation OS instead of Linux. Who wants to waste a bunch of time manually copying things over, only to find not all of it works anyway and you still have to reinstall a few things and tweak a few more?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jimbo (1370)
      Yes!!

      This is on of the reasons I changed to Macs after 8 years on SuSE Linux. It being a BSD of sorts also helped my decision :-)

      When I replaced the iMacG5 with a MacBook Pro I did as you mentioned and everything was exactly the same, down to the position of the files on my desktop and all settings, installed apps, etc. etc. It was pure paradise.

      Only difference was that I made a latte with a splosh of whiskey and some brown sugar instead of coffee+bagel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The only thing it didn't grab on mine was the NFS settings in NetInfo. Everything else just quietly wandered from the G5 to the x86 without my involvement, and the only difference I noticed was that I'd bought a larger external monitor, rather than a 17" iMac. It even caught my OpenDirectory setup.

      You can go one better; just clone your one standard machine, and save the disk image. That way if you have two machines (laptop and desktop, for instance, or loaner while one's in the shop), you can just put
  • by Ant P. (974313)
    30 minutes of config, 1.9 days of `emerge -e world`.

    Hey, it's still quicker than Windows took.
  • Two years . . . (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nixman99 (518480)
    . . . and counting.
  • I used to tweak the UI until I was completely satisfied with the way it worked, but I find that nowadays I don't bother so much with it anymore. If I can find my files easily I am satisfied. So I make sure I make shortcuts to easily find and/or mount network drives, make the 'right' subdirectories in my home directory, and I make sure that I know what gets backed up. I hate the way Windows has a My Documents folder that you can move to another drive, but the settings keep getting written in obscure dirs eve
  • About 5 minutes of work from me and another 30 minutes waiting for the transfer. (The first time).

    I have a high turn-over rate within my set of machines in common use. In the past 7 years I've owned about 9 distinct machines.

    Some time ago I began exploring my options for rapid deployment of, as you put it, "home". First off I began minimizing the number of packages I have installed, and of those I do actually use I can rapidly recall and install with ease via aptitude. Anything I forget is either unimportan
  • I have 5 boxes I use everyday. Whenever I have a fresh, clean install of anything, I will just compare the new box with an existing box to make sure I have all the essentials and that everything is working good. Then I have a master directory I keep of installers and different archives so I know where and what I have installed. I reference that folder whenever I set up a new box and it goes really quick. After that only have a few windows settings to adjust and I am good to go.
  • In Windows or FreeBSD, I typically do changes as needed. I do a lot of stuff with my computer, and it's rare for me to go a month without installing a new app, as such I'll need to give it a proper home on a well organized start/k menu, and I'll want to configure it's UI settings, if it has any...

    In Linux, I usually get sick of trying to figure out how to get a program to work/run properly, and give up.
  • Windows Update (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hijacked Public (999535) * on Thursday April 05, 2007 @02:44PM (#18624465)
    It has probably been mentioned and I just skipped it, but just the process of securing a Windows reinstall can take days, unless you have the time to babysit the whole thing.

    I have reinstalled XP a few times, from an SP1 disc. Visit Windows Update. It can't Update until I install some ActiveX stuff so I can use the latest version of the site. That done, it recommends maybe 50 or 60 updates. Reboot. Go back to the site, spend a half hour downloading SP2 and another 2 installing it. Reboot. Go back to the site. More updates, maybe only a dozen this time. Reboot. IE7. Reboot. Patch for IE7. Possibly a couple of driver updates. Reboot.

    And if you leave to go to the store without accepting the EULA for the patch....more wasted time. And this whole process is just to secure the machine, no app install of setup or tweaking.

    Vista seems slightly better in this regard as it can download updates during the install process, but it still isn't up to the level that most Linux distros are.

    I don't even know what the OSX install process looks like, or if there even is one. And I own more Macs than anything else.
    • Why wouldn't you slipstream SP-2 onto your install image before you start?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ewhac (5844)

      I have reinstalled XP a few times, from an SP1 disc. Visit Windows Update. It can't Update until I install some ActiveX stuff so I can use the latest version of the site. That done, it recommends maybe 50 or 60 updates. Reboot. Go back to the site, spend a half hour downloading SP2 and another 2 installing it.

      No no. Download the SP2 update on another machine and burn it on to a CD.

      Yank the network cable. Install XP from your install media (SP1). Insert SP2 disc and run the update from there. You are

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I don't even know what the OSX install process looks like, or if there even is one. And I own more Macs than anything else.

      Well, one thing they do to avoid being complete pricks is roll all the security updates and bug fixes into the latest point upgrade so you only download that instead of every single update since 2001. If you connect Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.0 to Software Update, you're going to get a Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.9 update, probably an AirPort and Quicktime update, an iTunes update, and updates for wh

  • 15 minutes of activity, followed by 3 hours of waiting. Which is how long it takes for Migration Assistant to copy over all my apps & data & configuration from my old mac.
  • For work, for lab Linux boxes, I wrote a perl script that customizes the box almost immediately.

    It copies some skeleton and data files from a NFS share, and uses these to edit a bunch of config files if needed (it also detects if it's needed, and leaves things alone if not. And backups are kept of the files in case it makes a mistake.)

    Things updated include: /etc/hosts /etc/passwd /etc/shadow /etc/group /etc/syslog.conf /etc/inittab /etc/mail/submit.cf /etc/mail/sendmail.cf /etc/auto.master /etc/e

  • all of windows update
    install the 3 or 4 system heavy utilities I'm using now
    (wow, studio, ms publisher/office currently)
    and stick my old box under the desk and connect to it via MSTSC (remote desktop)
    then I share it's hard drives completely open.
    New PC is used only for trusted, normal, I can type the domain by memory websites.
    some blogs, slashdot, news sites, and google summary/cache searches only.

    anything I want to 'download and try' I do it to the old pc.. under remote desktop...without drives connected
  • Simply copy across your home directory. Bingo, all your favourite settings...

     
  • I would toil endlessly with utilities and settings for days on end. Now I just disable font smoothing on the PC(technical reasons, I'd leave it on if I could) and pick my favorite wallpaper. On my Mac's I shrink and disable scaling on the dock. I really really hate the dock, if someone knows of an application that basically makes the dock a menu and utterly eliminates it I'd like to know. Display extensions/invisible files on all platforms. Total time about a minute. Add another minute for all the miscellan
  • I simply tweak /etc/fstab, /etc/passwd and /etc/groups to use my NFS and NIS exports of users and home dirs. That means, I add 2 lines to the first (to handle email too) and one to each of the other files...

    When the server dies (already happened) I simple exchange the hardware, and keep the disks (sometimes I have to insert a new module into the kernel, but it is rare). When a disk die I'll have to restore backpus. That takes time.

  • I run slackware, and it's the way I want it straight out of the box.
  • Well, the xbox 360 really only takes a couple minutes. Get your HD video settings, clock, and Xbox live setup and you hit the ground running.

    Windows, on the other hand, takes at least a couple weeks. Even after creating a unattended install disc. Just too many little settings to change here and there.

    Linux (Fedora), took me about 6 months, but I am somewhat a Linux novice, and I spend less time on my linux box. For a basic web or file server, it doesn't take long, but for an everyday PC, it does tak

  • It took me about six hours a few weeks ago. I bought a new Dell Optiplex 320n to replace an old homebrew P3 box. Most of the time was trying to get in initial install on the box. After that, I just dumped/restored my old environment onto the new hardware.
    1. Try booting with a USB drive for a network install. Doesn't work because the b44 driver isn't available.
    2. Pull optical drive from old computer and try CD install.
    3. Restart install with pci=nomsi option so SATA works.
    4. Restart install to use LILO because
  • For OS X, it takes about 10-15 minutes: long enough to set a homepage, turn on the middle and right buttons of the mighty mouse, and install Quicksilver.

    For Windows, it takes about half an hour to get to the point that I no longer feel unclean for using the machine. This includes turning off pretty much all the eye-candy, stripping the system of the most common bloatware, and disabling as many MS apps as possible. But the process never truly ends. Months later, I will try to find a file and end up seeing th
  • ... about 1 hour, about 55 minutes of which are spent for adding 17 additional package sources (packman, guru, kde base from buildtree, etc etc) and installing massive amounts of software from there.
    the actual configuration after a clean install is done in about 15 seconds, thanks to dhcp/nis/automounter... the _only_ setting i have to tweak is to make the dhcp client send a release packet before quitting on shutdown.
  • On Windows (Score:5, Informative)

    by ewhac (5844) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:32PM (#18625205) Homepage Journal
    I've done this a couple of times recently -- once for my new machine, and once for a friend of mine whose machine got pwn3d. My checklist works roughly like this:
    • Perform an inventory of the hardware in the machine. Note especially the vendor and model number of the major components. You'll need this later.
    • Establish partitions on the boot drive (only if I'm dual-booting Linux or BeOS or something).
    • Yank network cable.
    • Install Windows from installation media. This takes a ridiculous amount of time, considering that most of the work is (should be) simply copying files. Reboot.
    • Install Service Pack 2, which I conveniently have on a separate CD I burned. Reboot.
    • Crank up Windows firewall to highest setting, or moral equivalent thereof (I'm behind a NAT router, so that works).
    • Visit Windows Update, and download all security and bug fixes. Duration depends on connection speed, but it can easily consume an hour. Reboot.
    • Using the hardware inventory you prepared earlier: for $item in $inventory ; do
      • Visit hardware vendor's site.
      • Locate, download, and install latest device driver(s) for $item.
      • Reboot.
    • done

    At this point, you have a usable machine. If it's my machine (and even if it isn't my machine), I usually install the following software:

    Schwab

  • Still... (Score:3, Funny)

    by AJWM (19027) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @03:33PM (#18625219) Homepage
    I'm still tweaking my Commodore 64. I'll get back to you...
  • Debian. (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'm using the same debian installation for 5+ years now. It survived multiple computers, harddrives etc.

    I'm still customizing it. There are a lot of tweaks that make my pc more productive, lots of scripts I've written over the years.
  • About 15 seconds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ark (7744)
    svn checkout http://my.dotfiles.home/dotfiles [dotfiles.home] dotfiles
    cd dotfiles
    make
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @04:06PM (#18625827) Journal
    There are people who stop setting up their systems? Really? That's cool. I never even get the case put back on mine, much less stop adjusting and installing and tweaking.
    (That's a big benefit of a laptop: it's not always sitting around with the sides off and wires streaming out to nearby electronics, coz I can't *do* that with a laptop. I'm definitely the computer equivalent of the guy in high school who never had the hood on his car. He had the coolest car... but he was also the only person who *needed* the fire extinguisher under the passenger's seat.)
  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @05:09PM (#18627027) Homepage
    Home Servers: a little longer because I have so much damned 1-off stuff on them. I guess the same goes for the enterprise ones.

    Desktops: not much more than 'cd /home && tar -zxvf username.tgz' after doing the install. A couple of other minor tweaks in the init scripts (I've yet to find a distro that does everything exactly the way I like) is usually in order too.

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. -- Jerome Klapka Jerome

Working...