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Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 25 Jun 2016, 20:39
by hupostasis
I've cloned my Windows 7 install to another SSD (using Marcium Free) and upgraded it to Windows 10 so I'll have a free copy available when (if*) Microsoft decides to stop offering Windows 10 upgrades for free.

*Due to the fact Ed Bott spontaneously reversed his statement that Windows 10 upgrades won't be free indefinitely, I'm inclined to believe the opposite... in that Microsoft paid him to reverse his article so that more people will hurry and upgrade when there's no reason to. I could be wrong, but if I'm not then that's proof Ed Bott is just a Microsoft paperboy.
EDIT: Ed Bott was wrong as the Windows 10 free upgrades are still operational (brig surprise)

First and foremost, do not use Windows 10 Home, it's crippled in horrible ways (it lacks gpedit, you cannot defer updates, etc). In fact, the best edition of Windows 10 to use is 'Enterprise', but since I don't have Enterprise--and most people won't I imagine--we'll deal with Professional.
EDIT: Windows 10 Professional now has a crippled group policy editor meaning the only edition of Windows 10 you'll want to run is enterprise.

#1
First thing you'll want to do is fire up powershell as administrator and run the following to remove all of the useless Microsoft 'apps':

Code: Select all

Get-AppxPackage *windowscommunicationsapps* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *windowscamera* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *windowsmaps* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *zunevideo* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *people* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *windowsstore* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *soundrecorder* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *bingweather* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *phone* | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage *onenote* | Remove-AppxPackage

Note: if you use any of those feel free to keep them, but I've deemed all of that useless.

#2
Now we'll want to get rid of One Drive. Open up run and launch gpedit.msc. Rifle through the following:
Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive
(double click on OneDrive and select disabled).
Of course you can just remove it outright which is what I did in CMD:

Code: Select all

taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe
%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall


#3
Next up Cortana. It is possible to remove Cortana outright, but doing so will break the search functionality which I am certain everyone uses. Windows 10 search is actually quite awful in contrast to Windows 7 since it *does not* actually find everything on your local computer half of the time. So, gpedit.msc is the best option either way so you're not breaking critical Windows services. Open up gpedit.msc like last time and go to the following:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search
And put the following to disabled:
Allow Cortana | State: Disabled
Allow search and Cortana to use location | State: Disabled

#4
Load up the Windows 'settings' window (it uses the new Windows 10 Metro interface)
Go to: Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options

Change 'Automatic (recommended)' to 'Notify schedule to restart'
Check off 'Defer upgrades'

This way your computer won't automatically restart and update to interrupt your work, and you won't have potentially system breaking updates rolled out to your system.
Note: if there's a major package that's updated to your computer, Windows 10 can and will remove certain software it deems incompatible. So always make sure you have backups before scheduling a major update.

#5
While still in settings, go to Privacy > General
Ensure basically everything is set to 'Off' unless you have a reason otherwise
Under location do the same (you'll notice Cortana will show 'Disabled by company policy' after we configured it to be disabled in Group Policy). And all of the rest too.

I noticed 'Let apps use my camera' was enabled for some reason... good thing I don't have a camera on this system. Let apps use my account info was enabled by default... and basically everything else (despite me turning all of those 'off' in the initial setup).

#6
You should install spybot anti-beacon for easily disabling the rest of the diagnostic and telemetry services and allow it to re-immunize each time Windows 10 starts. It also takes care of the issue with 'feedback & diagnostics', under normal circumstances you cannot turn this off from Basic unless you're running Enterprise, but it is still possible via the registry, or as mentioned just letting spyot anti-beacon do it for you.

And that's about the main stuff. For customizing the UI, I would advise enabling 'show color on star, taskbar, action center, and title bar' under personalization so you get colour separation on the already flat interface.

There's a few other things (I) do such as removing IE and setting everything off under advanced system settings > performance-- except show shadows under windows / mouse point and show contents while dragging.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 03 Aug 2016, 23:42
by hupostasis
hupostasis wrote:*Due to the fact Ed Bott spontaneously reversed his statement that Windows 10 upgrades won't be free indefinitely, I'm inclined to believe the opposite... in that Microsoft paid him to reverse his article so that more people will hurry and upgrade when there's no reason to. I could be wrong, but if I'm not then that's proof Ed Bott is just a Microsoft paperboy.


Well I was right, it's still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, even past the cut off period. Ed Bott lies again.

Microsoft gets the majority of their revenue from enterprise clients, so it's only but beneficial to get the consumers on Windows 10 (for free). Especially with the Windows 10 torrenting feature where you can send updates to other computers at your own expense instead of Microsoft's.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 17 Aug 2016, 11:02
by brainout
So even in August, it's still free? Not sure I want to use it, but that info would be important to the forum.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 24 Aug 2016, 22:01
by hupostasis
brainout wrote:So even in August, it's still free? Not sure I want to use it, but that info would be important to the forum.

Correct, I've verified the 'media creation tool' can still upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free (I've done it multiple times over):
https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/softwar ... /windows10
(you download it and run the option to update to windows 10).

I mean, maybe the automatic windows 7 nag tool may not work anymore (?), but it was never needed once the media creation tool was released, and never usually worked right in the first place... in fact the only way to upgrade to Windows 10 is by the media creation tool on new OEM systems to my knowledge.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 25 Aug 2016, 04:14
by brainout
Can you update 'clean' to another new partition, or must you actually do an in-place upgrade? For the latter is almost always a fracaso.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 25 Aug 2016, 19:52
by hupostasis
brainout wrote:Can you update 'clean' to another new partition, or must you actually do an in-place upgrade? For the latter is almost always a fracaso.


You can choose to "keep your files"* or just have everything deleted (in which case it actually just makes a single windows 10 partition).

*what this option does is actually not what you may think. It dumps the windows 7 installer into a 'windows.old' folder, and then attempts to copy over your programs and profile settings from said installation. So it does 'start from scratch' to a degree, it's the attempt of trying to migrate everything that causes weirdness and problems.

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 26 Aug 2016, 16:37
by brainout
So you can't install it to a new partition, and keep your Win7, right?

Re: Configuring Windows 10 - removing the stupid junk

Posted: 26 Aug 2016, 20:45
by hupostasis
brainout wrote:So you can't install it to a new partition, and keep your Win7, right?


That's correct there are no separate partitions (it does keep the Windows installation under windows.old / but who knows how good it will work on reverting it, I've never tried the "roll back" option and heard nothing positive about it).

My best suggestion is to clone the windows 7 drive you want to 'upgrade', and run the upgrade tool on the newly cloned disk. That way you get to keep your windows 7 install.

Now... if you want to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 10, after you've upgraded your Windows 7 product key (which then becomes usable for future reinstalls), you can install Windows 10 and Windows 7 side-by-side. It should be possible to dual boot with an existing Windows 7 install too: that will require the partitions to be modified of course. All of the options are available.

You could also configure Windows 10 as a hypervisor and virtualize Windows 7 / Windows XP / Windows 98.