How to Configure Your PC to Academic Support Standards



Manual Changes Applied




If not ADS



Changes Applied Remotely by joining ADS

Final Customizations

Final Cleanup

Create a Backup

Appendix A: Regional Changes

Appendix B: Hardware and Device Drivers


March 2005

Microsoft’s Windows XP, as it’s configured on most computers from a vendor, has very few, if any, customizations applied. IST spent many months working together with Academic Support departments at UW to customize the operating system and departmental applications in a way preferred by most of our clients. We believe these changes not only improve aesthetics but also make the user more productive.


When we do this we install Windows XP Professional on a computer and customize it to our specifications. Then we install the required primary applications from previously IST-built executables that have also been customized accordingly. Lastly we make a few more minor changes and cut an image of the whole hard disk. This image was then put on most desktop PC’s in Academic Support. (Please note that this gives us a quick and easy way to replace broken hardware and software.) Then the computer is joined to the ADS domain where more changes are automatically applied (by domain policies). The combination of these two sets of changes gives our Academic Support clients what they see on their computers today.


On a notebook, or specialized desktop, there may be reasons an image is not preferred (as discussed in “Setting_up_a_Notebook_versus_a_Desktop.htm”). It is for this reason that this document has been created. First to help you decide if you could accept our image on your PC, and if not, so you can apply as many of the desired changes yourself.


The first section covers the manual changes discussed above. It is divided into several subsections including highly recommended Security and Usability changes. The next section covers changes applied via policy that can be applied by joining the ADS domain. The rest of the sections cover final customizations, cleanup and a few notes on backup.


Please note that most of the changes documented here require you to be an administrator. Apply them first and then create a “limited user” account that you should use from now on, whenever possible.


Less Detailed Reference

All of the links in this document reference very detailed instructions as to the steps required to customize an ADS workstation. A more general, less detailed reference is available at:


Printable Copy of Entire Paper (Note: 49 pages!)

Created by: Manfred Grisebach, Based on notes by: Peter Schepers     Last Updated: March 30th 2005