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Philosophy on a tutorial for setting up Windows in a well organized KISS philosopy such that search is never needed & reinstall is trivial

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Old April 30th 20, 07:34 PM posted to alt.comp.freeware,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general,alt.windows7.general
Arlen Holder[_7_]
external usenet poster
Posts: 62
Default Philosophy on a tutorial for setting up Windows in a well organized KISS philosopy such that search is never needed & reinstall is trivial

In response to what Arlen Holder wrote :

Philosophy on an upcoming tutorial for setting up Windows in a well
organized KISS philosophy such that search is never needed & reinstall is

This KISS concept works for Windows 95, WinXP, Win7, Win10, & even Android,
and especially works beautifully for those who have well organized
functional hierarchies containing literally hundreds of freeware programs,
such as I maintain over the years on all platforms.

On Fri, 4 Oct 2019 08:47:17 -0600, Ken Springer wrote:

Are these simply the install files for various programs, or their data?
Just curious.

Hi Ken,

You may wish you had not answered that question, because, I, like Paul, am
purposefully helpful and, like Paul, well educated, such that I provide
details sufficient to comprehend the inherent simplicity of the genius of
KISS concepts.

Everyone organizes their kitchen utensils logically
o Why can't they organize a computer logically?

Here's a more complete answer to your question, since the purpose of Usenet
is to be a potluck where everyone shares value, even among lurkers.

Organization is a tree-like structure.

You have two kinds of "things" on a personal computer you care about.
1. Programs
2. Data

Notice you don't "care" about the "operating system", except what you care
about to interact with (e.g., the menus, or some of the special folders
like "Downloads" or "Screenshots", etc., which are "data" that you care

Given you only care about two things, you only need two top-level
directories, namely

Note: Anyone (not you) who stoops down enough to quibble about the name
misses the strategic point, since the actual name isn't of any importance
whatsoever, other than to be easy to type, so I use lower case, singular,
and 8 characters or fewer (due to the fact that even now, Windows doesn't
properly handle spaces sans extra work).

Having said that disclaimer, to more completely answer your question, there
are various "levels" of the answer to that question.

The simplest level requires understanding of 'how' people use "data",
where, oh, say, for an MP3 file, or a JPG file, or a MS Word document
(i.e., most "data" files), the user rarely executes the MP3 player first.

The simply doubleclick on the data file - and - at least in the Windows GUI
(as opposed to, oh, say, the Linux command line), the software knows
exactly which program to execute.

In _that_ case, notice most people "assume" you don't need to bother with
installing the software in any organized hierarchy - where I would "tend"
to agree if that were the only case that software is ever used - but it's

What you call the "install files" are a highly amorphous ill organized mass
of huge classes of tools, from "suites" such as Microsoft Office to
individual tools which obey basic rules (such as Audacity or Irfanview or
VLC), to entire set of (usually big-company) tools that follow no rules
whatsoever (such as anything from Google, for example, Chrome or Epic

All these tools spread themselves willy nilly all over your kitchen, when,
in fact, they all belong in the same pantry (e.g., c:\apps}, which is why
you'll see tutorials from me on corralling that mess such as:
o Tutorial: How to install the free Brave privacy-based tor-enabled web
browser where YOU want it to install (and how to save a full offline
installer in the process)

That tutorial brings up three good points, that aren't obvious to the hoi
polloi, which is that when you install something, you need to be cognizant
of the organization structure of three things (all of which, by the way,
are EXACTLY the same on an organized system but a royal mess elsewhere).
1. Where do you store the full offline installer
2. Where do you install the actual software
3. Where do you find the software in your cascade menu
(We'll skip the fourth item, the browser 'data', for a moment.)

For something such as that "brave" browser, the answer is simple on a well
organized system - but the answer is a horrible atrocious amazingly
disorganized mess on "most" people's systems.

On an organized system, the answer is obvious for _all_ the systems
where the answer is the same for decades.
1. c:\installers\browsers\brave\full_offline_brave_in staller.msi
2. c:\apps\browsers\brave\brave.exe
3. Start menu browsers brave brave.lnk
(We'll now get to the concept of the "browser data", for a moment.)

There is only one thing left, which we can refer to as:
a. Browser doo doo you care about, and,
b. Browser doo do you do not care about.

For me, I long ago gave up on browser doo doo overall, so there is zero
browser doo do that I care about - but many people use "bookmarks", for
example, and many people have "js files" that do their setup, and many
people have saved logins & passwords, for example.


I use a _different_ browser for each web page concept, so, for example, one
and only one browser does Google searches. One and only one browser logs
into social account 1. One and only one browser logs into social account 2,
etc., where panopticlick concepts are utilized as are browser hardening.

But for most people, they use the same browser for everything, so for the
browser doo do that they care about, they have two choices:
a. Leave the browser doo do they care about in the browser default location
b. Set the settings to put browser doo doo they care about in "data".

This concept of doo doo you care about versus doo doo you don't care about
applies to all applications, whether a browser or an image editor or a
Microsoft Office editor. They're all just apps. (works the same on mobile
devices too, but the last time I brought in mobile devices on this thread,
I ended up having to deal with the trolls - so let's ignore I said that).

Given all apps are the same, in that they have
a. doo doo you care about, and,
b. doo doo you don't care about...

For the app doo doo that I care about, I set the app to store them in the
"data" hierarchy (such as where I'd put MS word documents or browser
bookmarks, if I cared about them), and for the app doo doo that I don't
care about (e.g., Irfanview ini settings), I leave them wherever the app
wants to put them by default.

It's all really simple, in that an app has only four things:
1. It has a full offline installer (which I save for obvious reasons)
2. It gets put in an installation location (organized by functionality)
3. It has a cascade accordion-style WinXP style menu (same hierarchy)
4. And, it has doo doo you care about - which goes in the data hierarchy

Everyone organizes their kitchen utensils logically
o Why can't they organize a computer logically?

Personally, I would put them inside the \Users| folder, to protect them
from System Restore. True, you can modify what System Restore affects,
but now you are getting away from the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)
principle. The KISS principle is far more valuable to the non-expert.

I doubt there is a SIMPLER less complex less foolproof "system restore"
than what I use, although you could argue the finer points of how "my"
system restore is different from your system restore.

My system restore is so KISS that you'll actually guffaw when you hear how
simple it is ... because it doesn't get any simpler.

When I want to "back up" my system:
a. I back up my data hierarchy
b. That's it. There is no other doo doo that I care about.

When I want to "restore" my system:
b. I copy back the data hierarchy
c. And then I re-install all the apps

That's it.

I can re-image the system quickly, as I do all the time also on the mobile
devices, where it's so KISS simple that it's not funny.

Notice, I do "some" minor tweaks in the system registry (e.g., I make
extensive use of the Start Run menu using the "App Paths" key...
o What Windwos freeware adds powerful "phone Susan" & "vipw" commands?

But those are minor details, as running *.reg files to populate the
registry are just another concept of using "apps" (only these apps are
registry files).

Notice the philosophical concepts I use are KISS simple, in that there is
never a need to "restore" the registry (been there, done that).

Notice also that there is NEVER a need for what I consider an idiotic
"Macrium Reflect style" approach that lots of people (particularly on Apple
mobile products) try to use on smartphones - which is to restore everything
EXACTLY as it was, even down to the SMS/MMS doo doo that nobody cares

I restore app doo doo that matters (all of which is in the data hierarchy).
o Nothing else matters other than what is in C:\data.

Obviously that takes planning ahead to KNOW what app doo doo matters.
o All the app doo doo that I don't care about - can go anywhere it wants

For the software installation files I download, I do similar, but I
don't put them on C:| drive, mine are on a different physical drive,
when possible.

As I noted, it's a technical detail that is outside the strategy, of WHERE
exactly you put stuff - or what you name it.

I tend, for example, to use short names, such as 'pic' and 'doc', but when
I'm EXPLAINING it, I use longer more descriptive names, such as "pictures"
and "documents" (where I never use plural except in my descriptive
explanations, because the "s" adds no value).

It doesn't matter if the hierarchies are on the C or D or E or F (etc),
drive, where what matters is that you keep these two things separate:
a. App doo doo that you care about, versus
b. app doo doo that you don't care about.

BTW, on the PORTABILITY and KISS principles, I don't think I've ever heard
of a BETTER system than mine, since it's 100% portable (well, let's say 90%
given that the underlying OS is completely different) not only between
Win95 and WinXP and Win7 and Win10, but it's also portable across Android
devices and Linux devices to use the same concepts.

For example, you do the _same_ stuff on your smartphone that you do on the
desktop, where this screenshot of my smartphone shows I organize similarly.


In response to what Chris wrote :
A family friend wants to get herself a laptop to help get through
isolation. I can help with the choice of laptop, but what is a good,
effective and preferably cheap option for backups? She doesn't have
broadband (and is unlikely to get it anytime soon) so cloud options are
a non-starter. She will be using mobile data for her limited internet
needs (e.g. news and food shopping).

This person has never owned a computer before, is retired and used to
get her internet needs fulfilled by the local library. So it needs to be
as fire-and-forget as possible. I want her to get into good habits from
the start, but I'm not so familiar with range of options for Windows.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

For this question...
o Simple backup option non-techy person

I saw this last night and hesitated to answer because
(a) there is no easy solution for non-technical people
(b) everything depends on everything else anyway

Plus, "my" solution is only for the technically savvy, IMHO:
o *Philosophy on a tutorial for setting up Windows*
*in a well organized KISS philosophy such that*
*search is never needed & reinstall is trivial*

As noted by many, there are plenty of freeware solutions.
Yet... most non-technical people, essentially, want a HDD "dd" of sorts.

For me... on a single-user system...
a. I plan my backups a decade or more prior to the backup
b. Which means I break the backup into two components
1. Data I care about
2. Programs I care about
Nothing else matters.

From day one, I put all data I care about where it belongs.
From day one, I put all program installers where they belong.

When it comes time to back up, all I back up are two directories:
C:\data\{my hierarchy of data I care about}
C:\software\{my hierarchy of installers I care about}

Nothing else matters.
o Everything else can easily be replaced by a technical user.

Notice that some of the answers are essentially that if we count the
"Windows' built-in File History backup" that Frank Slootweg & mechanic
spoke about.

My only problem with any pre-defined folder in Windows (or in any operating
system) is they get polluted like you can't believe.

That's why, for example, I never use any pre-defined folder in Windows,
and, the ones that you can't avoid, I simply right click on them to move
them to where they belong if they will contain, usually momentarily,
something I care about.

a. For example, desktop, screenshots & downloads are moved into C:\data.
b. Yet 3D Objects, Music, and Saved Games, for example, are ignored.

When it comes time to re-install the operating system, as I did recently, I
simply re-install the software hierarchy, one by one.

And then I copy back the data hierarchy.
o I keep the "menu" in the data hierarchy, so it doesn't change in decades

I admit there are a few hundred tweaks, e.g., adding right-click context
menus to "open cmd window here" or setting the default for extensionless
files to open in vim, or disabling the window resizing upon hitting the
edges of the screen, or editing more than 15 files at once, etc..

Maybe a "system restore" might solve that but I have never really found
system restores to be of much value, where, lately, I don't even use an
add-on AV program - I don't know why I don't get viruses - maybe I do and I
don't know it - but I just don't. (famous last words, perhaps)

In short, only "some" of what I suggest can the lady use.

Probably the most prescient advice I can give her, and everyone, is to plan
your backup a decade before you buy the computer by having a plan to store
at least your data, if not your installers, in a place _outside_ the
(unfortunately polluted) Windows hierarch.

There's _more_ to my plan, but that's the summary.
a. Put data you care about where it belongs
b. Save all your program installers in a safe place
Together we have great solutions to offer for Usenet's public potluck.
Old May 18th 20, 04:11 AM posted to alt.comp.freeware,microsoft.public.windowsxp.general,alt.windows7.general
Arlen Holder[_9_]
external usenet poster
Posts: 19
Default Philosophy on a tutorial for setting up Windows in a well organized KISS philosopy such that search is never needed & reinstall is trivial

On 17 May 2020 18:59:25 GMT, Frank Slootweg wrote:

Ken Blake wrote:
On 5/17/2020 4:24 AM, sms wrote:

Classic Shell is not being updated. It seems to screw up after some of
the updates then starts working again.

My wife runs Classic Shell, and it has *never* screwed up. It's fine.

[N.B. AFAICT, we're actually talking about Classic Start Menu, not
Classic Shell, but let's not nitpick.]

Same here. Anyway, it's a non-issue because Classic Shell is replaced
by Open-Shell and that *is* still being maintained:

'Open-Shell / Open-Shell-Menu'
"Reborn of Classic Shell.
Originally Classic Shell by Ivo Beltchev"
[Last fix 3 months ago.]

The old Classic Shell page even points to the replacement, so it's
rather strange that this "not being updated" urban legend continues:

'passionate-coder / Classic-Start'
"Renamed to NeoClassic-UI then renamed to Open-Shell -

And even the links in the ('Settings' and 'Help' of the) 'obsolete'
Classic Shell software *itself* point to the relacement, because they
point to http://www.classicshell.net which is still running and which
in turn points to the 'Open-Shell / Open-Shell-Menu' website.

I wish all 'abandoned' software would fail so graciously!


*USB-C cables*

What irks me about unnecessary software (some people even _pay_ for such
things!), is how bamboozled some people seem to be about even simple
obvious things like the fact that WinXP style menus never left Windows...
o http://www.bild.me/bild.php?file=2796904winxp_menu_on_win10.jpg

Hence, I feel kind of sorry for those who use needless kludges such as the
Classic Start Menu, because they are apparently fooled into thinking that
Windows doesn't _already_ have the WinXP cascade accordion menu, native.
o http://www.bild.me/bild.php?file=2796904winxp_menu_on_win10.jpg

What those people don't "seem" to know is that if all you want is the WinXP
style accordion cascade menu, then that's _already_ native in Windows 10.

The WinXP style menu _never left_ Windows; it just became slightly hidden:
o WinXP: http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/5364242winxp_menu_example01.jpg
o Win10: http://www.bild.me/bild.php?file=2635699winxp_menus_on_win10.jpg

The sad thing is that these people only _thought_ it left Windows...
o It was always there... and still is.

I wish all 'abandoned' software would fail so graciously!

By way of similar example, TrueCrypt freeware failed in a way that
Veracrypt freeware simply took over where TrueCrypt left off, even down to
using most of the commands.

WinXP menus, IMHO, never left Windows & therefore are still there in Win10.

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