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PostPosted: 28 Nov 2015, 01:48 
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Joined: 14 Sep 2015, 13:11
Posts: 383
**Note: this is only for Windows 8 / 8.1, and not meant for Windows 10**

Since I am forced to use Windows for some critical software I have no hope of ever running on anything else, I decided to write a guide on how to fix Windows 8 and 'cure' it from the various issues it has. Such as getting rid of metro and tweaking it for best performance. Or, even carrying over some Windows 10 features-- Windows 10 does have a lot of very nice improvements.... when it works. And of course removing any of the controversial bits.

N.B. When first installing windows 8, ensure 'customize' is select when choosing the options to set up your computer, so the irritating stuff can be opted out

--Removing the "charms" menu and elements--
I don't care for the charms menu (and hate how the charms programs run in the ether and not in the GUI by default). The best solution would be StarDock's "Start8" in my opinion:
http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

As per the product's many features as outlined:

  • Add the Windows 8 menu to the Start menu.
  • Windows 7-styled Start menu enhanced for Windows 8
  • Pin Modern applications to the Windows 8 Start menu
  • Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
Basically this nifty program allows you to BYPASS and DISABLE the charms menu (which I find irritating and I hate how it runs things always in the background). I've never used the charms menu, just the search function to starting programs. There are other programs that do a similar function but don't recreate the start menu as well, and also look fairly sketchy for disabling the charms menu.

It is compatible with Windows 8.0 and 8.1. For $5 I would definitely recommend it for anyone running Windows 8. Stardock has great products and have been developing software since the OS/2 days. After IBM axed OS/2, they started developing software to fix problems with Microsoft's GUI.

N.B. it is possible to accomplish very much the same thing without Start8 by editing the registry, but StarDock's product is very well polished and makes everything changeable in one place. The less manual dinkering with the registry the better. Also it's WAY better than the free "classic start" bar. $5 isn't a lot and you'd be supporting a fantastic company.

--Removing Internal "Apps"--
Next up would be removing the internal Windows 8 "Apps" that I am sure nobody uses on a production PC. Run the following commands in powershell:
Code:
Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online


Note: some 'apps' can't be removed, but here's a thing someone is working on under Windows 10 (should apply to Windows 8 as well I'd imagine):
https://github.com/10se1ucgo/DisableWinTracking/issues/48

--Removing 'OneDrive' from Explorer.exe--
I don't want OneDrive / SkyDrive being merged into my operating system--the very least Microsoft could give us the option whether we want it or not at the setup. But no.
*Go into regedit.exe (as admin of course)
*Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Skydrive
*right click Windows and create New > Key > Skydrive
*Right click Skydrive and create New > DWORD (32-bit) Value > DisableFileSync
*Set DisableFileSync's Value data from 0 to 1

And here are some notes for disabling the 'lock screen' on Pro editions of Windows (if you're not running Pro, you won't be able to do it through GPEDIT):
Quote:
Search for "Run" or press Windows + R on your keyboard to open the Run command. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization in the Local Group Policy Editor's left-hand menu pane. Click the Do Not Display the Lock Screen option that appears in the main pane, select the Enabled option in the new window, and click OK to save your changes and never see the silly lock screen again.


--Virtual Desktops--
If you want multiple virtual desktops like in Linux, you can download Desktops v2.0:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/sys ... 17881.aspx
N.B. it also works in Windows 7

--Single Taskbar--
Go to taskbar properties and uncheck "show taskbar on all displays".

--Disabling *all* Telemetry and all 'snooping'--
*go to services.msc, disable "Diagnostics Tracking Service"
*you can create yourself a script to uninstall all of the telemetry services (not all are listed here, maybe some time I will create a comprehensive list). Then you can create a powershell script and run them in that-- powershell is more powerful than CMD:
Code:
wusa /uninstall /KB:3068708 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:2976978 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:2977759 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:2990214 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3021917 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3044374 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /norestart /quiet
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /norestart /quiet
pause

*Here's a link to download Spybot Anti-Beacon, it disables *many* services of telemetry, there's a lot more to it than what Ed Bott and Woody Leonhard talk about in which they're articles seem to come up first in search engines and it's sort of pissing me off (Ed Bott and Woody Leonhard are journalists and are not qualified to talk on the subject, even more so since they're spreading misinformation-- I have the right to say that as I work in the I.T. industry and have qualifications).
https://forums.spybot.info/downloads.php?id=55 (download to Spybot Anti-Beacon)
*Also go into add/remove features and uncheck "Windows Location Provider

--Disabling 'Get Windows 10' and associated data--
http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/G ... lSetup.exe
Ultimate Outsider's tool is also a great convenient package to remove any cached Win10 download data, enabling the option to never upgrade automatically and removing associated KBs.

--Disabling 'recently accessed items'--
I dislike when my computer keeps a history record, it may be a convenience for some-- but I have no desire for my computer to write history of my behaviours or wasting storage to keep said records.
Right click on the taskbar (or type in 'Taskbar and Naviagation properties'. Go to the 'Jump Lists' tab. Uncheck:
  • Store recently opened programs
  • Store and display recently opened items in Jump Lists

--Disabling 'You have a new App to open this application'--
Go into regedit and navigate to the following:
HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
(Create the directory if not present)
Right click on the explorer folder, right click and create a new key named NoNewAppAlert. Set the value to 1.

**more to come soon


Last edited by hupostasis on 20 Mar 2016, 07:35, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 01 Dec 2015, 00:07 
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Joined: 14 Sep 2015, 13:11
Posts: 383
I've been using Windows 8.1 more at work again, getting a list of more things to add, these are the ones pending:
*turn off new apps notification
http://www.ghacks.net/2014/05/02/disabl ... windows-8/
(Martin has an article here explaining what needs to be done in the registry)
*turn off 'fast startup'
*windows 8 lite mode

I may make a registry key that adds all of the necessary entries in bulk, that way nobody has to edit anything. Because there's a lot of little annoyances.


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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2016, 09:11 
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Joined: 14 Sep 2015, 13:11
Posts: 383
Another new problem I've discovered after using Windows 8.1, the 'Store' service will sometimes randomly start itself and send communication out to Microsoft for no good reason. And I do NOT use the 'Store App' (why the HELL would I, I'm using this as a high-end workstation not a tablet).

So to DISABLE the 'Store App' you need to edit the following registry values and set them to 4 (I tried disabling the services through CMD as elevated admin, but Microsoft decided to hard code these services with special attributes so you cannot disable them like all of the other services: thus nullifying the whole point of CMD, going back to 'false interfaces' like what Mozzila, Google and Foxit do).

Quote:
Open Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\WSService. Select the Start value in the right-hand pane and set its value to 4.

In Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\TimeBroker. Select the Start value in the right-hand pane and set its value to 4.

In Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\SystemEventsBroker. Select the Start value in the right-hand pane and set its value to 4.


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PostPosted: 20 Mar 2016, 07:23 
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Joined: 14 Sep 2015, 13:11
Posts: 383
So I had to do another fresh install of Windows 8.1. I attempted to stop the Diagnostics Tracking Service after setting it to disabled (which has been renamed to the Connected User Experiences and Telemetry Service in Windows 10). But guess what, the service didn't feel like turning itself off and instead got hung. Not a problem. Get the PID and terminate the service. So I launch CMD as administrator, run sc queryex. A lot of services showed up, including WdiServiceHost (the diagnostic service host which is not related). BUT GUESS WHAT, MICROSOFT HAS HID THE DIAGNOSTICS TRACKING SERVICE FROM SC QUERYEX. You can't see it, and as a result can't get it's PID, and can't terminate it as a result.

It won't be running when I next turn on my computer, but the fact that Microsoft is crippling CMD due to their selfishness so you can't do anything, is ridiculous. I haven't tried a 3rd party commandline tool.


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