Notes by Akhil Saji


How to create a clean Windows 10 installation

Microsoft bundles fresh installations of Windows 10 with a variety of junk software including free trials and small games that most people have no intention of using. Uninstalling this mess of software even on a /fresh/ installation can be challenging. Luckily, there are some tools that can help. Below are the steps to easily uninstall this software in the fewest steps possible.

Download the Windows 10 decrapifier script and save it to your desktop as decrapify.ps1

Open powershell in administrator mode and run Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Now run the powershell script & "C:\Users\user\Desktop\decrapify.ps1”

Once the script finishes running all of the unnecessary software should have been removed. Set your execution policy back to restricted to prevent unauthorized powershell scripts from running. Set-ExecutionPolicy restricted

How to Remove PDF Metadata

If you have ever wanted to completely strip identifying metadata from a pdf file for whatever reason, you would quickly find there is no easy way to do this. Luckily, if you have any form of linux access available to you, there is a free tool that can help. Below are the steps to strip an example pdf file of all identifying metadata.

Install the Tools

apt-get install exiftool

Viewing Existing Metadata

exiftool -all example.pdf

Running this command will show you the metadata already present in the pdf file you’re working on including timezone, time stamps, author and other potentially identifying variables.

Deleting Existing Metadata

exiftool -all:all= example.pdf

At this point, if you re-run exiftool -all example.pdf you’ll see that most of the original metadata is removed and you have a fresh pdf file stripped of metadata.

My Zotero Sync Setup

Zotero is a free cross-platform research (journal articles, web pages, etc.) management tool. Click here to learn more if you're unfamiliar with how it works.

Zotero comes with a built-in file sync function which enables users to sync their Zotero libraries across platforms (such as iOS, android, Windows, etc.). Unfortunately, their "free" tier of sync service has a limit of 300Mb which can quickly get filled up if you archive lots of papers like myself. Lucky for us, Zotero comes with WebDAV support which can be utilized in place of their storage service. Most people including myself don't have a personal webDAV server; however, has a free tier of service with 5Gb of space that includes WebDAV support. Below are my sample settings to show you how to set this up for yourself.

  1. First navigate to the preferences menu and select the sync tab.
  2. Under the "Zotero Sync Server" section, enter your Zotero sync service username and password. Check off "sync full-context"
  3. Under "File Syncing" ensure that you check off the box for "Sync attachment files in My Library using" then select WebDAV.
  4. In the same section, for url select https:// from the dropdown and enter in the adjacent textbox.
  5. Finally, in the same section enter your username and password.
  6. Click verify server to ensure the box sync is properly working. Assuming all goes well, you'll now be able to store 5Gb of content for free.