Overall windows tips

 Security

Passwords / personal info

Do NOT use the same password for everything. Try coming up with a system that will help you remember the passwords. Don't keep a list of your passwords on your computer (you heard me!)

Don't store credit card info on any site that you can stop it. Elmininate any information in any accounts you are not using. IMPORTANT: I advise AGAINST trying to delete accounts. It is too easy to create an account in your name by someone else, since the first time you create it, it has no idea of your email address... changing an account almost always notifies the original email address, so for all things you pay on, like utilities, car loans, house lones, make an online account immediately and protect yourself.

I do not believe in ANY social media sites, if you MUST have one, the just use one, point all your friends there, lock it down, don't put anything on when you are going on vacation, you home address, birthday, etc.

At least make information private so only your "friends" can see it. Don't use Linkedin as Facebook, you CANNOT limit your "network", i.e. your "friends" can add more friends for you.

If you are FORCED to enter personal information, then put in false email addresses, phone numbers or birthday. On the birthday, make a "false" birthday that you remember (because you might have to use it to access some site)... if you see that birthdate pop up somewhere else, you know it's been compromised.

If you are on a web site and you don't want to be there, contact the webmaster, normally they will eventually cooperate.

Get off mailing lists, or at least make a "garbage email address" to put them somewhere.

The 'right to be forgotten' ruling  recently enforced in Europe  means that search engines can be made to remove links to publicly available news items from their search results. While Google has appealed the ruling, many links have been removed -- although this has resulted in the creation of lists to de-indexed pages in its stead -- due to the belief that irrelevant and inaccurate information gives a data subject the right to request removal from a search engine data controller.

Software

Basically, don't install anything you don't need. Don't install toolbars, and uninstall things that you tried and do not use.

Turn off all the notifications you can.

Social.

Google yourself and track down where the information is and get it off the internet, or at least get it corrected.

 

consider using private browsing in your internet browser all the time, some web sites will not tolerate it.

block adware with something like Ghostery

Email

DON'T use web mail, why are you leaving all your personal mail stored on a server to be hacked or given up to the government on a whim, or some nosey person working there?

Use an email "client" program, like Microsoft Outlook (the best), Thunderbird (free), and keep your emails on your computer.

I recommend against using email from Yahoo, Google, etc. EVEN IF you download them to your email client. This is because Yahoo and Google will still "see" your emails. Find a nice ISP to host your email, and tell them you don't want it backed up (which they probably are not doing anyway). I've used a small ISP, Khoza Technology for years, very happy.

Note, if you try using outlook with Google Gmail, you have to enable a setting in your account security settings, called "Access for less secure apps", hah! the nerve of Google saying that keeping your emails off their server is LESS SECURE! Leaving ANYTHING on Google is insecure.

Keep it clean

Use a file and registry cleaner and other regular maintenance as on my weekly tips

When you uninstall programs, often they leave directories and crap behind, and also you should periodically look for large files left behind, exe or zip files used for installation, etc. One nasty issue with windows, and it's been there since Windows 7, is that often the windows file explorer will NOT find certain files, even if you have the show all files options set. I recommend getting a third party file explorer, because you CANNOT TRUST Microsoft file explorer. I have used Free Commander XE and it is WAY faster than windows file explorer, and it works, and has more features. As another benefit, you can turn indexing/windows search off to save cpu and disk access. It's really a pity that Microsoft cannot keep a program so BASIC working reliabily. You can google this topic and see for yourself. Shame on you Microsoft.

Another related tool is TeraCopy, the windows copy/paste/drag is pitiful with large files. I was copying a bunch of files across a VPN connection and it was telling me 7 hours, TeraCopy uses variable buffers, and also tells you more info in a better UI when there are same named files.

 

Locking down windows

 

AVG context menu, stopping it.

For 32-bit :

 regsvr32 /u  "C:\Program Files\AVG\AVG2014\avgse.dll"

For 64-bit:

 regsvr32 /u  "C:\Program Files (x86)\AVG\AVG2014\avgse.dll"

 

Stopping programs for automatically running

This part is USE AT YOUR OWN RISK, and may not be applicable for all versions of windows.

Use the schtasks program to create a file showind the scheduled tasks and you can disable them.

From a command line use the help to see what to do.

I created a csv and looked at it with excel, so I could sort it according to enabled and disabled.

schtasks /Query /fo csv /v > tasks.csv   - execute this to create a csv file you can look at.

Now check out the status, and next run time, etc.

To disable a task you need:  schtasks /Change /TN (then the task name in quotes)  /Disable

I have found lists of tasks to stop, here's one, no validation on my part yet...

schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\AppID\SmartScreenSpecific" /Disable
schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Customer Experience Improvement Program\Consolidator" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Customer Experience Improvement Program\KernelCeipTask" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Customer Experience Improvement Program\UsbCeip" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Customer Experience Improvement Program\Uploader" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\DiskDiagnostic\Microsoft-Windows-DiskDiagnosticDataCollector" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\NetTrace\GatherNetworkInfo" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\QueueReporting" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Shell\FamilySafetyMonitor" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Shell\FamilySafetyRefresh" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Shell\FamilySafetyUpload" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\AitAgent" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\ProgramDataUpdater" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Autochk\Proxy" /Disable schtasks /change /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Customer Experience Improvement Program\Consolidator" /Disable schtasks /change /TN "Microsoft\Office\OfficeTelemetry\AgentFallBack2016" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Office\OfficeTelemetry\OfficeTelemetryAgentLogOn2016" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Office\OfficeTelemetryAgentLogOn" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Office\OfficeTelemetryAgentFallBack" /Disable schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\Office\Office 15 Subscription Heartbeat" /Disable


 

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