A Smooth Laptop Setup

A little over a week ago, I got a new laptop. This was late on a Sunday afternoon, and I went home to spend time with me wife. After dinner, we relaxed with a little TV time. While trying to decide what to watch, I opened the laptop and started the Windows setup process. This post talked about how smoother and simple things were for me, though certainly not seemless as I’ve had on OSX machines. Still, it went well.


The first part of getting a new Windows machine going is usually the account. I have a Microsoft account I use for a few things. It’s actually an old Hotmail account, but it’s worked well for me.I entered this, and it linked to a few things I already had set up, including my OneDrive. This bootstrapped quite a bit of the process.

I then checked Windows Update (nothing to apply) and upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Once this was done, I opened the Windows Store and applied a few updates from there. While this was running, I did two things.


I prefer Chrome as a browser, and I keep some settings linked to this browser, like bookmarks, some throwaway user/pwds, and settings. I usually start by opening Edge on a new install and going to Chrome and installing it. I could to this separately, but it’s usually my first step.


This is my go-to install system. It’s yum or apt-get for Windows and I’ve used it for close to a decade now. I go to the website, and grab the script. Since I usually don’t have DropBox yet, and that’s where I have lots of stuff, I start here. Run this in an admin command prompt that’s got PowerShell running:

Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned or Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))

Those two things get the package manager running. Once this is done, I usually start grabbing stuff I know I need. I used to have a long list of things to install, but since my needs change over time, I usually go with this:

choco install dropbox -y
choco install evernote -y
choco install greenshot –y
choco install spotify –y

These are the main things I want, and really need. While these are running, I usually go get the o365 portal from work and start that install, because it’s long.

With every laptop, I somewhat change the things I install. I posted I was doing this and Aaron Nelson dropped me a link to his gist of database pro software: https://gist.github.com/SQLvariant/d29ffd1e9905992318b4585c83399328.

This is a great list, and I immediately added some of these items. I don’t use all of these, but I use many.

  • SSMS
  • ADS
  • Git
  • VSCode
  • PowerBi
  • VS
  • Python
  • Sublime Text
  • Slack
  • Teams
  • Docker Desktop

I do need SQL Server, but I held off since I wasn’t sure if I want to install it or just run containers. I’m debating this as I write this. I’m really tempted to skip an install and set up folders for holding db/log files at specific versions.

Once these tools were installed, I added the Redgate Toolbelt, missing that in Aaron’s list. I saw Kendra tried this and it worked, but I was half paying attention and just running choco commands while watching a movie.

Just in glancing at the machine on a dresser a few times and typing a few commands had most of the machine set up in the space of a 2 hour movie. It was Holiday in the Wild, if you’re wondering. An enjoyable movie.

More to do, but really typing a few commands, I had most software installed that I need.

Now I just need to decide what to do about SQL Server.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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3 Responses to A Smooth Laptop Setup

  1. Chris Lumnah says:

    Go all container based for SQL Server. I would be really interested in reading how you set that up.


  2. paschott says:

    Can’t speak on the container side. There are still some things that are a bit harder to do – at least w/ Windows containers – but they have their uses. I set up a Chocolately script to install my apps and it’s been great to keep them up to date and install other apps as needed. I have also been able to take that and use it to install apps on jump boxes quickly with just a couple of comments to remove apps I don’t want.


  3. Tom says:

    Probably wasn’t “seamless” either.


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