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Some Windows 10 post-installation customizations

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 too 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

Edit: it seems that it doesn’t work in Home or Pro versions, only in the Enterprise version :/
Edit 2: this page contains a bunch of alternative techniques, maybe you’ll have more luck with those

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

Edit: despite the “if disabled for too long” notice I mentioned above, it seems that Windows Defender will remain turned off permanently when you do this.

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.

How to remove the delay before typing your login password

The retarded default settings makes you wait a long time when exiting the lock screen before you’re finally able to type your password. To remove this delay, the only way is to remove the lock screen (don’t worry, when you lock it your session will still require a password to unlock). In the Local Group Policy Editor, go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization and Enable “Do not display the lock screen”. Source, with more details and alternative ways to do it.

How to disable Aero Shake

This one drove me nuts for ages. Somehow I never thought about trying to kill it off until now. Windows has a stupid feature that if you grab a window by the title bar and shake it the right way (I find it to be really quite random, sometimes all it takes is a gentle shake, sometimes even if I shake the window wildly I fail to do it), it will minimize ALL other windows. As I usually have at the very least a dozen windows opened, it’s a pain in the butt. It can be disabled by setting the registry value HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\DisallowShaking (DWORD 32 bits) to 1.

Miscellaneous other things

Update list (can be used to download update packages manually)
Update: Actually now I find this list more convenient

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?)
  • InstallAgentUserBroker.exe
  • slui.exe
  • SpeechModelDownload.exe

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.

How to disable Bing Search in the Start Menu

In regedit, go to key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search,create a DWORD 32 bits value named BingSearchEnabled, and set it to 0.

Posted in Windows 10.

3 Responses

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  1. Franck Dernoncourt says

    Why did you install Windows 10?

  2. patheticcockroach says

    A bit off-topic but kind of related in the sense that it relates to the same computer:
    Skylake 6600K / 6700K high uncore power at idle: apparently that’s an HWMonitor bug?

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