How to install gadgets
I was quite surprised to see Microsoft removed gadgets after making such a fuss about them in Windows 7. Although I didn’t like many of them, CPU meter turned out to be a must have and I really missed it. Gladly, a third-party software, 8GadgetPack, will let you install most gadgets. And it even bundles quite many of them, including the CPU meter one.
How to disable Windows Update
Sounds to good to be true, so time will tell how well it works, but apparently all you need to do is to go to Services and disable the Windows Updates service. Source.
Also, you can set “Configure Automatic Updates” to disabled in group policies in Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Windows Update
How to disable Telemetry
First, there are a bunch of options that pop up during the initial set up. Then you should also have a look in the system settings (apparently that’s not called control panel anymore?). All in all, you should already have seen a bunch of options to drastically reduce the amount of collected data.
And finally, the last touches:
– using the registry editor ([windows key] + R, then “regedit”), go to key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection, create a 32-bit DWORD value named
AllowTelemetry and set it to 0
– go to Services and disable the Connected User Experiences and Telemetry service (NB: it used to be named Diagnostics Tracking Service before the 1511 update) and the dmwappushsvc service
There might be more, as I believe I remember from previous readings that there are quite many things to edit for a complete removal… I’ll edit this post when I find more.
How to disable Windows Defender
That annoying thing can only be disabled temporarily. The settings reads “if it’s disabled for too long, it will re-enable automatically”, but it turns out that “too long” barely means “until the next restart” :s
– run ([windows key] + R) gpedit.msc
– select Computer Configuration
– go to Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Windows Defender
– double click the Turn off Windows Defender policy and enable it
You should immediately notice that the Windows Defender icon in the task bar shows and alert indicating it’s disabled, and that you can’t open Windows Defender anymore.
Source: Microsoft Community – How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 10
How to disable Cortana
Not only that piece of **** has a questionable privacy behavior, it can also make your start menu lag like hell. Two ways to disable it:
1) via regedit: create dword value
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\AllowCortana and set it to 0.
2) via group policies (Win 10 Pro or Enterprise only): run
gpedit.msc, then go to Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Search, and disable the Allow Cortana setting
How to disable Search on the web
By default, when you search for something in the start menu, it also fires a web search (hurray for privacy again). This behavior can be disabled via group policies: go to Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Windows Components → Search, and enable Don’t search the web or display web results in Search
How to disable fast startup
Fast startup allows to start up the computer a bit faster. But this isn’t that noticeable on a fast SSD, and it comes at a cost: the computer writes an image of its current running state when you shut it down, so it wears out the SSD (and shutdown is a bit longer). Not worth it IMO (more reasons to hate it there). You can disable it via the power options (see there for a detailed guide), or simply via regedit:
go to key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power, create a DWORD value named
HiberbootEnabled, and set it to 0.
How to add stuff to the Start menu
Similarly to Windows 7, you can copy/paste shortcuts into
%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu (for the current user, it’s the short name for
C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu) or
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu (for all users).
However, unlike in Windows 7, you’ll probably run into permission issues if you try to right-click-and-drop and executable in order to directly create a shortcut to it in the Start menu. To bypass this, just create the shortcut somewhere else first, then cut/paste it into the Start Menu folder.
Once you placed your shortcut there, you can right-click it in the Start Menu to Pin it, etc. Cf here for many ways to customize the Windows 10 Start Menu: those tiles are pretty handy IMO, and I find they make a decent replacement to the long-gone Quick Launch that I used to miss so much in Win 7. That is, once you’ve removed all the default junk that’s there.
Miscellaneous other things
Update list (can be used to download update packages manually)
Various safe-to-block crap
Those Windows components will try at some point to access Internet and I found the simplest way to deal with them is just to block them at the firewall level:
- BackgroundTransferHost.exe (might be related to Windows Update, or just App Updates in general?)
You can also disable those services:
How to disable Quick access
In File Explorer, go to File → Change folder and search options. Then in the General tab, choose “open file explorer to: this PC”. You can also disable showing recently used files and folders at the bottom of this tab.