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Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:17 am
by Nash
I'm about to install Visual Studio 2013 Community on my fresh Windows 8.1 computer. I'm absolutely anal when it comes to clean installs and what I learnt in the past with Visual Studio Express is that it installs a fuckton of things, creates 10,000+ registry entries and is pretty much impossible to cleanly and completely uninstall once they're all on your computer. What can I use to perhaps see a list of what gets installed and what registry keys were created so that in case I need to do a pristine wipe, I can do it easily.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:49 am
by Reactor
Yuh, my thoughts exactly. Once you install an useful software, y'get a thousand more garbage to your computer, and if you're really unlucky, y'get neat spywares/rootkits as well.
I use Windows XP, so far, Uniblue RegistryBooster does the "fandango" when it comes to remove unnecessary, expired registry entries, but make sure y'create a backup before touching anything, so you won't accidentally screw-up yer machine.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:06 am
by leileilol
Comodo Internet Security IIRC has a sandbox mode for things like this but I never used it personally.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:07 am
by Blox
Sounds like what you're looking for is a program that looks for the difference before and after the installation.
Of course there's always a bit of risk associated with this shit, but this would be what you're looking for.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:54 pm
by Nash
Blox/leileilo - Okay thanks, I guess what I'm looking for is a sandbox. I'll do some further research later... but I need to divert the topic for a second.

----------------------------------------

So out of asdsdfbgdh-whatever I decided to format my computer (AGAIN) and do a clean re-install since I kinda messed up a few steps previously. I was careful to make sure I formatted the system disk first (via the Windows installer... I am booting up from a USB disk BTW) before proceeding with the install and carefully picking what I want instead of just clicking next-next-next.

One important note is that I TURNED OFF SKYDRIVE on my previous install. It was confirmed as off.

Now that I am on my new install... I was surprised to see that one of my old wallpapers from a few days before was set as the background, and it seems to have retained my IE browsing history?! This isn't the fresh state that I wanted. Where did all this data come from and how come it's restoring it even after a format???!!?

(and yes I did choose to not keep documents etc etc during the re-install... I wanted to do a full wipe)

This is kind of a big deal to me because I think it's sketchy as fuck that despite doing what I thought would be a full wipe, it somehow restored my wallpaper, browsing history (in IE, I see all the previously opened websites in the tab view), that one tweak I did to my system to make the computer auto-login so that I don't have to type my password all the time... and I don't know what else it kept!

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:56 am
by Marisa Kirisame
Do you use a Microsoft account? It could be due to that.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:57 am
by Graf Zahl
Welcome to the wonderful world of cloud storage where you just can't freshly install anything using an online user account. The magic will always outsmart you and bring back the old stuff (that is, unless you are smart enough not to store any personal data in the system defined 'Documents' folder...)

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:01 am
by Nash
Yeah I logged in with a Microsoft account (which I've had for a few years because one of the older installs of VS on my old rig required me to create one). I didn't input any personal or sensitive data in my Windows 8.1 install though. Anyway after some Googling, it seems that even though Skydrive is turned off, there's still a setting buried within the Skydrive submenus called "Sync PC Settings"... I turned those off completely, then went to the Microsoft website where it says I can Remove the settings from my cloud... it says it won't be removed instantly but I'm going to try to format my computer again tomorrow and see if the settings truly are gone.

EDIT: Success! Turning off Sync Settings in the Skydrive menu (this has to be done even if you disabled Skydrive when installing Win 8.1 BTW) then going to the Microsoft page to Remove the cloud settings did the trick. Didn't even have to wait a whole day, a few hours was all it took. My Windows 8.1 is now formatted to a totally clean state. Now of course since Windows 8.1 is back to a default state, it means that Sync Settings is immediately enabled by default so you'll have to disable it again and click Remove again to make sure nothing gets reuploaded to the cloud. Now to figure out those sandbox programs...

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:30 am
by Nash
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha after CLEARLY deselecting every Optional download in the VS2013 Community installer, the program proceeded to install them anyway. Microsoft Silverlight, Windows 8.1 Phone Emulator, etc ahahahahahahahahaha... fuck.

RIP free will

(Good thing I have that ZSoft Uninstaller thing. The VS2013 install generated a 126 MB (!!!) text log)

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:26 am
by Kostov
Nash wrote:126 MB (!!!) text log)

That's almost as big as Faster Than Light.

Amazing how far text has come.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:25 pm
by Nash
Ok so ummm... in my OCD for cleanliness, I did something really stupid. I used a third party program to forcibly remove and merge the hidden system partition (the one that says unallocated space and is 350 MB). I didn't know it was crucial to booting up Windows. -______- Now the OS won't start. Don't be a smart-ass, kids!

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:39 pm
by Nevander
Bit late here, but when I installed Visual Studio 2012 Express, I installed it inside a virtual machine running Windows 7. I needed it for class work but knew it came with loads of shit alongside it. Needed it, didn't want it on my PC, solution: virtual machine! Also used my VM to install Oracle 11g since now I need the client for my SQL class and we had to install it on our home computers. I said NOPE and proceeded to install it in a VM.

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:37 am
by Nash
What VMs would you recommend, and most importantly - free? :D

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:46 am
by leileilol
VirtualBox? Haven't checked recent versions of that if it got Oracle-crippled or added undo disk functionality yet. I do use Vbox for OA testing on a WXP installation (with opengl acceleration even).

VMWare's often suggested, but last time I checked that falls into the 'allegedly free after you give us your info' category.


RIP Virtual PC :(

Spoiler:

Re: Keeping track of what gets installed

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:53 am
by BFG
i'd use CCleaner really, you can see everything!