System Configuration

Destroy another computer?  Got a new one?  No matter.  Here's what you need. (Aside, things were simpler in 2006.)

Retrieve from old computer

Linux and macOS

  1. .localrc, .gitconfig.local
  2. .ssh directory for private keys
  3. export .gnupg data (passphrase is in secure).
    gpg -a --export >
    gpg -a --export-secret-keys >


  1. Filezilla settings export (Esp. for
  2. PuTTY registry export (sometimes at Documents\PuTTY.reg)
    regedit /e "%USERPROFILE%\Documents\PuTTY.reg" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham
  3. File C:\Program Files\PuTTY\key_for_rpi_roku.ppk because your Raspberry Pi does not allow password login (also mentioned at a Medium post).


Follow these dotfile installation instructions. Read the, install ctags and cscope early for better vim experience.

Desktop Apps

All OSes

1. Get Google Chrome.


1. FTP with FileZilla, and compress/extract with 7 Zip.

2. Get Paint.NET (Or visit pixlr.)
Don't forget the plugins you like:

Also consider the other plugins you mentioned. Here is a backup of the effects.

Porting Documents

1. Secrets: In Linux-alikes, get ~/.ssh, and import ~/.gnupg data.

gpg --import
gpg --import
gpg --edit-key
gpg> trust
Your decision? 5 (Ultimate trust)

2. The Usual Suspects: For every user account, including Public: "My Documents", "Downloads", "Music", "Pictures"

3. APPDATA: See what needs to be copied from %APPDATA%, for example Minecraft saves.

4. The Registry: PuTTY save files are at [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham]. Speaking of PuTTY, don't forget to copy your public keys. (You know where they are.)

5. The Root: See what needs to be copied from the root, for example:

6. Individual App Setting Exports: Filezilla has an export feaure. Sublime's are in %AppData%\Roaming\Sublime Text 3\Packages\User\Preferences.sublime-settings

7. Task Scheduler: Copy the scheduling of the encryption and backup tasks you've set for yourself.

8. Deauthorize the Old Computer: Steam, iTunes, stuff like that.

Development Environment

0. Get Developer Fonts
Install both DejaVuSansMono and RobotoMono. See font instructions for PuTTY below.

I like Roboto's 0 and  (LN) better than DejaVu's. But DejaVu's font is a little crisper in PuTTY 0.70, and seems to render much faster.

Cygwin64 won't let you choose it. Launch Cygwin64 with a ShortCut whose Target is:
C:\cygwin64\bin\mintty.exe -i /Cygwin-Terminal.ico -o Font="Roboto Mono for Powerline" -
See other notes in my .vimrc file

1. Get Python and a compatible pywin32 module and editor.
Consider one of these IDEs, depending on the target.

Some modules you may be interested in:

2. Install WSL 2

In order for it to work, you may have to go into your system's Bios and enable Virtualization. For me, it was Tweaker → SVM Mode.

3. Get Cygwin.

With WSL 2, Cygwin is really only needed because its rsync is much faster than WSL's would be. (WSL's file access to the native filesystem is slow.)

Module to consider installing:

  • Archive:
    • unzip
  • Net:
    • curl
    • rsync
    • libssh2-devel
    • libssh2_1
    • openssh
  • Editors:
    • vim
  • Devel:
    • ctags
    • cscope
    • gcc-core
    • gcc-g++
    • gcc4 (req. for compiling matplotlib)
    • git
    • mingw-gcc-core
    • mingw-gcc-g++
    • libgfortran3 (req. by numpy)
    • libjpeg8 (req. for PIL and maybe pillow)
    • liblapack0 (req. by numpy)
    • libquadmath0 (req. by numpy)
    • libncurses-devel
    • libncursesw-devel (not there for 64-bit version?)
    • make
    • mercurial
  • Libs:
    • librsync-devel (for Duplicityi)
    • librsync1 (for Duplicity)
    • libuuid-devel (for cygwin64 pip. binutils also needed.)
    • libX11-devel (for PIL and Pillow)
  • Math:
    • gnuplot
  • Net:
    • httpie
  • Python:
    • python
    • python3
    • python3-numpy
    • python3-pip
    • python3-requests
  • Text:
    • jq
  • Utils:
    • patch
  • Web:
    • wget

Right-click on the Cygwin window, select Looks→Cursor→Block.

To install boto and Pillow (if PIL is a problem because of X11/Xlib.h)...

$ curl >
$ python3
$ python3 -m pip install Pillow
$ python3 -m pip install boto

Use cygcheck to check dependencies.

Maybe get and run startxnosh.bat if you install the xinit module. Then running tools like xcalc from a PuTTY ssh connection with X11 forwarding checked will work. An alternative to that is Xming.

4. Optionally Manually Configure vim. (Here's a vim Cheat Sheet)

Ensure that vim supports the Python interpreter. (YouTube video.)

$ vim --version | grep +python

If it doesn't, then ensure you've got the required modules. (Mostly the same as listed above for PuTTY.) Then execute the following:

$ git clone --depth 1
$ cd vim/src
$ ./configure --enable-pythoninterp --with-features=huge --prefix=$HOME/opt/vim
$ make && make install
$ mkdir -p $HOME/bin
$ cd $HOME/bin
$ ln -s $HOME/opt/vim/bin/vim; ln -s $HOME/opt/vim/bin/vim vi
$ which vim
$ vim --version | grep +python

Note: If you choose to install the gvim binary onto a Microsoft Windows machine, the .vimrc file is named, _vimrc, and might reside in C:\Program Files\Vim. The colors, autoload and bundle directories reside within a vimfiles directory there.

Make the .vim_undo directory with one of the two following commands. The last one is for GVim on Windows, since Windows won't let you start a directory name with a dot. Run the command from cygwin.

$ mkdir $HOME/.vim_undo
$ mkdir `cygpath -u $USERPROFILE`/.vim_undo

Set the font by editing your .gvimrc (or _gvimrc) file like so: :e $MYGVIMRC

" set guifont=Consolas:h10
set guifont=Courier\ New:h10
.vimrc (Even more tips.)

Install or download your .vimrc file from the dotfiles git repo.

Use a color scheme you like, like desert, peaksea or tolerable.

$ mkdir -p ~/.vim/colors
$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/colors/desert.vim \
$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/colors/peaksea.vim \
$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/colors/tolerable.vim \

Manual steps to install some vim modules:

For example, install vim-airline.

$ cd ~/.vim/bundle
$ git clone --depth 1
$ cd ~/.vim/bundle/vim-airline/doc; vim -c ":helptags ."

taglist is indispensable. Check the link for further instructions regarding interaction with ctags if you don't already have it set up. (To do: See why Mir Nazim recommended tagbar instead. Also investigate Jedi.)

$ cd ~/.vim/bundle
$ curl >
$ unzip -d taglist
$ rm
$ cd ~/.vim/bundle/taglist/doc; vim -c ":helptags ."

Install :Bdelete from vim-bbye. vim-bbye installs an improved :Bclose script for deleting buffers without losing your window layout.

$ cd ~/.vim/bundle
$ curl -OL
$ unzip
$ rm
$ mv vim-bbye-master/ bbye

If you want the ability to open files with a line number as given by grep -n, use file-line. And if you want to use * and # in visual mode, use visual-star-search.

$ mkdir ~/.vim/plugin
$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/plugin/file-line.vim \
$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/plugin/visual-star-search.vim \

command-t was recommended by Steve Losh. But it requires vim to have been compiled with Ruby support.

$ vim --version | grep +ruby

Most filetypes should have correct syntax coloring, but just in case, you could add it yourself. For example, for yaml, you'd get yaml.vim. You'll need to create a new filetype in your .vimrc file, and add an entry to read your syntax file, too.

  autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.yaml set filetype=yaml
  autocmd! Syntax yaml source $VIM/yaml.vim

And install the syntax file...

$ curl -LSso ~/.vim/yaml.vim \

5. Configure Sublime Text.

  1. Register it with your key. (See your email or wiki page.)
  2. Install Package Control.
  3. Install CTags support.
  4. Install Open-Include.
  5. Consider GutterColor for CSS files.
    "color_scheme": "Packages/Color Scheme - Default/Slush & Poppies.tmTheme",
    "draw_white_space": "none",
    "draw_indent_guides": false,
    "line_numbers": false,
    "default_line_ending": "unix",
    "word_wrap": false,
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true
Default.sublime-keymap - User
    { "keys": ["ctrl+l"],
      "command": "toggle_setting",
      "args": { "setting": "line_numbers" }

    "tag_file" : "tags",
            "path": "src",
            "folder_exclude_patterns": ["obj"],
            "file_exclude_patterns": ["tags"]
            "name": "Custom Make",
            "shell_cmd": "make all -j8",
            "working_dir": "$project_path",
            "file_regex": "^(...*?):([0-9]*):?([0-9]*)",
            "windows": {
                "shell_cmd": "C:/cygwin64/bin/bash --login $project_base_name/build"

6. Get WinMerge.

7. Get SVN for home for everything that predates your git repo.

8. Get Fiddler2 for a web debugging proxy outside Firefox.

Discretionary (Some obsolete)

1. Backup to and other remotes: Schedule backup tasks.

2. Get Mozilla Firefox.
Your favorite themes were Winestripe or StrataStripe, but things are different in Firefox 4.  Get the Add-ons you love:

Consider some of these good ideas. Consider setting the following about:config parameters:
browser.tabs.tabMinWidth 75
browser.tabs.closeButtons 3
browser.urlbar.hideGoButton true

3. Inkscape for vector graphics. (I need to test this out.)

4. PDF creation: PDF Creator and reading: Foxit.

5. Fraps for recording desktop video.

6. Sync Outlook to Google Calendar with gSyncit. ( Calendar Sync by pppindia is an alternative.)

7. Microsoft Security Essentials, as mentioned in a 2011-11-24 email exchange with Alan Henry.

8. Enable Remote Desktop.

9. Prey. (If your new computer is a laptop, that is.) Remember to leave a Guest Account available for the thief to use, so that Prey has a chance to checkin.

10. VLC Media Player.

© 2006-2022, David Blume