Windows 10 Tips

Overview:

Windows 10 builds on the Windows 8 major changes, a user interface and apps tailored for touch screen use (Metro apps). This is actually a cool feature, since the apps do not lose space to windows borders, effectively giving you more resolution. Many of these apps are quite nice, touch based.

Compactly put, Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been, just like Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, and XP is what Windows 2000 should have been. If you are still running 8 you are foolish not to upgrade. In fact, in light that you can upgrade for free from 7 to 10, you should upgrade that.

Yes, there will be those of you that have software that only works on XP, 7, etc. You should really fix that. Yeah yeah, you have an old version and cannot afford it. I get it. All I can say I have been able to migrate all my old apps or find new ones, and I'll bet I have been using a PC longer than you (since the day the PC XT came out, 1981). It can be done if you want. You can tell I have little patience with people who say it's impossible. I get that you don't WANT to change software, or learn a new one. But that is your choice, not impossible.

Windows 10 has a lot of great features, and the troubleshooters and self-repairing abilities are much better. It also runs faster on the same hardware than 7 or 8.

On the down side, Internet Explorer has been supplanted by a new browser, called Edge (original name is Spartan). Other than the benefits of a full screen implementation, I think it's crap. There are no plugins available, and it has TERRIBLE HTML 5 compatibility. Thankfully you can still get to IE 11, from the Edge menu, or work a bit and add the icon to your start menu. I recommend you do this. Update 2018, Microsoft is going to completely change Edge, using the Chromium (Google Chrome) engine. Microsloth finally wakes up.

A big negative of Windows 10 is the huge amount of effort that Microsoft goes to track you and what you do. See Privacy below. Jeeze.

By the way, Windows "9" was short-lived, it appears that 10 sounded better, so like the 1983 Corvette, it really never existed.

Should I upgrade from windows "X"?

In most cases, yes. If you have Windows 8/8.1 most definitely, you will get back more of the original start menu, and the windowing of Metro apps alone is worth it.

If you have windows 7, if you stay on the traditional desktop, and not use the Metro apps, most people could not tell the difference between 7 and 8 or 10. So far most stuff that ran on Windows 7 works on 8 and 10. Some programs had to be updated in my case.

If you have Vista, well, there must be something wrong with you ha ha! That is the worst O/S version ever released by Microsoft.

If you have XP, you have to realize that clinging to it, is like tring to ride a 10 foot diameter iceberg to Hawaii, it won't be possible for very long. There's too many hacks to XP out there that put you in danger. If you have an XP machine because you have old software that only runs on XP, and you insist on not finding an alternative, then make sure you do an complete image backup of your hard drive so you can bring it back the way it was, and don't connect this computer to the Internet. Rebuilding an XP machine from scratch is very difficult.

If you have anything earlier, Fred Flintstone, then either you are using an old printer or CNC system, or you are a person that would not read my website anyway. God help you.

Remember also that you can revert back for about a month, the upgrade keeps all your old windows files and you can "go back" easily.

Before updating from older Windows:

Do ALL the updates on your existing computer, optional or not. Get something like Driver Booster and get the drivers updated. Clean the computer registry (CCleaner).

I have a lot of "computer friends", those that heeded this advice had nary a problem, those who did not, had all kinds of issues.

Do a chkdsk c: /f .... if you don't know what that means, you need to read my first computer page.

Do a full backup, an "image" of the system. Don't trust Microsoft.

First things to do after updating / installing:

Boot the computer a few more times, at least 3. Some of the drivers depend on other drivers and things will settle down after the reboots.

Do a backup! (I use an image backup program, the free version of Macrium Reflect)

Next I pull out the junk, notifications, etc. (see the section following)

Then I do my clean up procedures (see my weekly maintenance page one level up)

Next I do driver updates, I use Driver Booster, but you need to be careful.

Then I do any additional Windows updates. I use this order to make sure Windows does not substitute poor drivers because it has a newer one.

Privacy:

Sigh: This is the worst thing about Windows 10, but I believe it was just a matter of time when Windows became invasive like Farcebook.

Go to SETTINGS...PRIVACY and turn most stuff off.... my opinion Note: there are TWENTY FIVE categories!!!

Realize that Cortana wants to know your location, and a bunch of other stuff, so if you don't use it, turn it off. Very lame excuse that Cortana MUST know your location to help you, I already know where I am! I'm sure over time this can be refined. When Cortana actually helps me do work, and is not just a verbal frontend to Bing, I might use it. Still has not happened.

Turn off as many of the microsoft ads you can, go here:  https://choice.microsoft.com/en-gb/opt-out

Notifications:

SYSYTEM >> NOTIFICATIONS & ACTIONS

There's a lot to turn off here, they are pretty self-explanatory.

 

Disable telemetry:

Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool is another helpful option for privacy-concerned users to disable the native tracking within Windows 10.

Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool uses the following methods:

Telemetry Set the "AllowTelemetry" string in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection" to 0

 

DiagTrack LogWindows 10 Tracking Disable Tool

Clears and disables writing to the log located in "C:ProgramDataMicrosoftDiagnosisETLLogsAutoLogger"

 

ServicesWindows 10 Tracking Disable Tool

Delete: Remove both services

Disable: Set the "Start" registry key for both services to 4 (Disabled) Located at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServices"

 

HOSTS

Append known tracking domains to the HOSTS file located in C:WindowsSystem32driversetc

 

IP Blocking

Blocks known tracking IPs with the Windows Firewall. The rules are named TrackingIPX, replacing X with the IP numbers.

 

Windows Defender

Disables the following:

-Automatic Sample Submission

-Delivery Optimization Download Mode

 

WifiSense

Disables the following:

-Credential Share

-Open-ness

 

OneDrive

Runs C:WindowsSysWOW64OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall (64 bit) or C:WindowsSystem32OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall (32 bit)

Also disables registry entries that keep the OneDrive Icon pinned to your Windows Explorer list.

 

Limitations:

When using Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool you must be logged in as an administrator or none of the changes/tweaks made will be applied.

 

Read more at: https://tr.im/24Bui

 

Microsoft edge junk

I noticed that when running CCleaner, it would ask me if it could close Edge, even though I never opened it. Well, there is a default "prelaunch" that fires that piece of junk when your system boots. Kill it. There a way to do it with gpedit and with the registry.

gpedit is easier:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Edge

look for the line that says "allow microsoft edge to prelaunch..."

enable this setting, and then go to the options dropdown below and disable prelaunch (who thinks this stuff up???)

There's another one a bit further down about microsoft edge start and load tabs.... nuke that one in a similar manner.

 

Disable Cortana:

I think Cortana belongs on a phone or for disabled persons, it does not work well, and it's definitely biased towards searching the web or trying to manage your life. I can use Google very well by myself thank you, and I don't need a computer to tell me how to live my life.

On a system running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise edition, you can use Group Policy to apply this setting across multiple machines in an enterprise network; on a single PC, use the local Group Policy Editor, gpedit.msc, to open the policy Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search > Allow Cortana and set it to disabled.

On a system running Windows 10 Home, you need to make a manual edit to the registry. Find the key HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search (you might need to create this key if it doesn't exist), and then create the DWORD value AllowCortana and set it to 0.


New (factory) installations:

I pull out the extra programs from the manufacturer, expecially the antivirus I don't want.

Disable or Uninstall OneDrive:

If you have a current version of Windows 10, you should be able to uninstall OneDrive. If you have an older version (WHY??) in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use Group Policy to make this change. Open Local Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc) and go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive. Double-click the policy Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage and set it to Enabled.

On devices running Windows 10 Home, where Group Policy isn't available, you have to edit the registry manually. Using Registry Editor, navigate to HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive. (If that key doesn't exist, you need to create it). Add a new DWORD value, DisableFileSyncNGSC, and set it to 1. Restart the PC to make the policy setting effective.

Disable or limit Windows search / indexing:

Sigh, another good idea that does not work. Not only does indexing you files eat up processor, but since Windows 7, many people have reported that searching for files with Windows Explorer does NOT always find files. So the search/indexing is even more worthless than it was in XP and Vista. Hint, use a better explorer like FreeCommander.

You can limit the folders it works on, like leaving it to your documents, that helps a lot. Otherwise it seems to be constantly grinding. Find "indexing options" in the (real) control panel by searching or just run  "control.exe srchadmin.dll" and you get into it. You have to look carefully at the check boxes, and if there is a ">" next to an empty search box, you need to expand it, there is something checked down the tree.

If you are like me, I turned the service off completely in services, it's normally called "Windows Search", disable that sucker! Be warned that this will make it so you cannot hit the windows key to type in an app name. Most people should not do this.

How to remove OneDrive from File Explorer

Use regedit, to get to the following key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}, you may have to use "find".

  1. This particular entry can be repeated multiple times in the database, as such make sure to click the Find Next button several times until the Status Bar at the bottom of the Registry reads: Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}.

  2. Select the {018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6} key, and on the right side, double-click the System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree DWORD.

  3. Change the DWORD value from 1 to 0.

Turning off / removing Microsoft "bloatware" and other junk:

Note: this section is pretty advanced, and requires an advanced knowledge of Windows utilities. If you need step by step with pictures, please google and find those resources... I don't want to be responsible for you killing your computer. Whenever doing any of this stuff, it's not a bad idea to at least do a windows restore point (and if you don't know what that is, you need to stop reading and get help elsewhere!!!), or an image backup. You have been warned.

Check your drivers: on the original Windows 10 release, Microsoft decided to replace Nvidia video drivers with a Microsoft one, wiping out certain resolutions and extended monitor support. I use driver tools like Driver Booster or Raxco PerfectUpdater. Read up on using these tools, always make a restore point or use a software that does for fundamental stuff like this.

Clean up the install mess with CCleaner, but NOTE WELL: do not check the "remove old windows installs" unless you are sure you won't go back. I believe you can revert to your previous operating system install for a month.

 Controlling Windows automatic updates:

clear out old restore points, disk cleanup from the drive properties, do the system files too.

So far, the word is that the system will automatically do updates whenever it wants and you have no control. There's a pretty big stink going on, and there is a "patch" which is really a program that can somewhat mitigate your loss of control over updates.

This program, from Microsoft, called "wushowhide.diagcab" can be run and it gives you 2 options, to show hidden updates, or to hide updates.

showorhide

If an update is "hidden", just like previous versions of Windows, it will not be installed.

So, the "show hidden updates" option will display the updates you have hidden, and you can return them to the "available" updates.

The "hide updates" option shows updates not applied, so you can hide them.

The thing that is strange is that I show an update here, but on the windows update screen, there are not updates.

All I can figure right now is that what I see are what were called "optional updates" and I can hide (stop) them from installing, but I cannot seem to make them install. Also it seems that I still have no control over critical updates, they install no matter what.

I'm sure this will change as people scream at Microsoft. This is bad.

Another thing to change, this "shared update" stuff... you probably did not know that by default, your computer will share update downloads with other computers not only in your house but outside your house! Turn it off!

 

win10 shared updates

 

another thing you might not be aware of the the default setting for Wi-Fi Sense, which may connect you to hotspots you might not be aware of. Besides security issues, read a bit more, having this on allows your location to be shared, and if you read carefully, your contact information. Turn it off!

wifi sense

 

Problems installing Office when 365 already installed

error 0x80131049

I pulled my hair out for about 12 hours before I resorted to using procmon to see what the heck was causing the issue.  I tracked it down to a registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\AppModel

Right before the install fails, it checks this key, which my other machine didn't have at all.  It seems to be something related to apps installed through the store (this had 365 which was uninstalled previously).  I simply renamed the key and the install worked fine.

Things that didn't work:

1. sfc /scannow

2. DISM repair

3. .net repair tool (didn't really do much and found no errors)

4. Office removal tool (said it wasn't installed)

5. Rebooting

6. cleaning temp folders

Enabling fingerprint reader / biometrics on a domain

You will find these options greyed out  in your domain attached computer.

The simple enabling does not work, you will see messages about this being controlled by your system administrator..

The solution is to NOT enable or disable the setting you would expect in gpedit, but leave them unconfigured and add a registry entry.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System] 
"AllowDomainPINLogon"=dword:00000001


make sure that

Success!  What I did to get this to work is ensure that NONE of the following policies are enabled via local or domain GPO:

Computer>Administrative Templates>System>Logon>Turn on convenience PIN sign-in

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Biometrics

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Windows Hello for Business

THEN, add the reg key mentioned above manually:

This unlocked the option for me on my Surface Book. 

convenience pin sign on in local, nondomain account

Computer>Administrative Templates>System>Logon>Turn on convenience PIN sign-in

enabled in GPO (local or domain)

Computer>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Windows Hello for Business>Use Windows Hello for Business

Not defined in GPO (local and domain)

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System] "AllowDomainPINLogon"=dword:00000001

is the same as GPO in 1st point.

Removing windows apps:

see this page: http://www.askvg.com/guide-how-to-remove-all-built-in-apps-in-windows-10/

 

Remote desktop problems

Having trouble with some workstations? The RDP program tries to use TCP and/or UDP, and in 2018, it has been reported problems with connections can be solved by disabling the UDP protocol just for the RDP. It fixed problems for me with one particular computer.

registry key:  Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services\Client

dword is "fClientDisableUDP"  and set to 1

Fix dead metro apps

I was getting Remote Procedure Call fails on some metro apps, and no one could fix it.

 I could tell something was missing, and I found this:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48231

This is the Media Feature Pack for the N and KN versions of Windows 10. These versions do not have Windows Media Player, but this MFP also has a bunch of the "glue" that many Metro apps need. I had the READER app fail, but many people reported other Metro apps failing, and all of them had the same error message about the RPC failure

Changing a network from public to private:

Often people select the wrong network type when first making a connection. This affects firewall settings, etc.

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles\

Category:

0 = Public

1 = Private

Strange upgrade issues:

I'm running the preview on a Dell 745 computer. I had it lying around and said what the heck, see if it installs.

Well, it installed very smoothly, and ran right from the start. Then I clicked on one of the desktop shortcuts, something about learning more about Windows 10, and I got an error message about needing 1 Gig of free ram to run the program.

Oh boy I say to myself, now the problems start... I checked the task manager and was dumbfounded, I thought the computer had 2 gigs of ram, but it only had 1 gig!

Now if you have ever installed Windows 7 or 8, they are PIGS at 1 gig ram, Windows 7 will use over 1 gig just idle.

Here is windows 10 running just fine and snappy in 1 gig ram. Wow. Very impressive. I took the machine to 4 gigs, but it's clear that Microsoft did some major work to allow it to run in less ram, and that clearly has translated to better performance. It runs faster in the same computer than 7 or 8.

I've had some problems with the windows preview updates, and I'm not alone. Sometimes you cannot do the update, but need a fresh install. Since this is a test machine it is fine. Recently I was getting an Error 0x80004005, and it is recommended to run the DISM tool. I don't know anything about it (will research). But try these 2 commands from a command prompt:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth 

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image

 Ahh, Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool, DISM ...

also try sfc / scannow  (System File Checker)

Converting from Windows 10 Home to Pro

One way is to buy an "upgrade key" for $100. You change the activation key and then it's done.

For those of you who have legitimate Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 or 10 "pro" keys, you can do this:

  1. enter the generic Windows 10 Pro key: VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T , this will change from Home to Pro, but it will not activate.
  2. Enter a legitimate Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 Pro key
  3. Now this normally looks OK, but so far every time I have done this there has been something "missing" in the upgrade, mostly issues with user snap-in in the console or joining domains.
  4. Next go to the microsoft update site and do an "update" to Windows 10. This will do an in-place upgrade, and since the computer believes it is Windows 10 Pro, it will do an upgrade, and basically re-install the operating system preserving your programs and files.

How the heck do I boot from a CD? F12 does not work anymore

Ahh, you must have an EFI bios, which has something called "secure boot", basically it disables you being able to access the CMOS setup screen, or boot from a different device (most times hitting F12)

You need to get where you would restart the computer, but hold down shift before you click on restart.

Then you need to click on advanced options. What a pain in the butt.

Windows search / Windows Explorer does not find files

Hoo boy, did this ever piss me off. I noticed that windows media player and the leftover cancer from having iTunes on my computer left a bunch of files I did not want... so I tried searching my directory by, *.jpg .... was deleting old album art.

Windows kept saying nothing there, but select a directory and there were the jpg files. WTF?

Went on Microsoft support site, yep, TONS of people with same problem, and typical Microsoft response, "you are an idiot", you don't know how to type, etc. Over and over the same responses. Rebuild your index, check the right folders are in your index path, go in and manually make sure the extension of the file is in the index list. etc. etc.

Now, as an aside: MICROSOFT INDEXING SUCKS... period, has been slow since Windows NT 3.51 ... and WHY DO I NEED INDEXING TO FIND A FILE IN A DIRECTORY.... Microsoft warns you that finding files will be slower if you don't use indexing.

Well, in this area, Microsoft, please go suck an egg! Your stupid, inefficient indexing runs all the time sapping the cpu cycles from my computer for what, a flawed system that works poorly?

Anyway, turn off the damn indexing, remove the folders it indexes, since it insists on existing and having an index.

In the control panel under folder options, you can sort of tell the system to not use the search, you cannot stop it any more like in windows 7 (I'm on 8.1 and 10).

But after all the machinations, I could still not fiind files. Then I found an post stating that all the folders needed to have access by SYSTEM... well they were ok, but going into advanced permissions, setting all folders AND FILES and subdirectories to access by SYSTEM (where you get the warning that individual file permissions will be replaced by inherited permissions), well, finally SUCCESS!.... It turns out one thing I was trying to do is find and get rid of the album art jpgs that that infernal Windows Media player downloads, and it looks to me that Windows sets permissions that screws up the search function... so my search finally works and I have castrated the indexing function. Whoopee!

Read on for the related item about WMP downloading album art files.

Can't switch to "Insider" updates

There's all kinds of threads on this, even on the Microsoft forums and most are closed with no real solution, as per usual Microsoft MO, they are more interested in closing trouble items than solving them.

Normally you go to seetings >> update >> windows insider, and follow the prompts. If you can't there's a few things you can do.

In Diagnostics and feedback, the diagnostic data needs to be set to "full", if you cannot do it here, then use regedit:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\DataCollection

AllowTelemetry DWORD

0 = Security (Enterprise and Education editions only)
1 = Basic
2 = Enhanced
3 = Full (Recommended)

 

Also a similar key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection

AllowTelemetry DWORD

(delete) = Default. Allows you to use Option Two and Option Three above.
0 = Security (Enterprise and Education editions only)
1 = Basic
2 = Enhanced
3 = Full

If that does not work, use gpedit, and go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Data Collection and Preview Builds

 

Windows Media Player eternally downloads album art files

I swear that Lucifer himself must have helped write WMP code! It's cute to show the album art on WMP while playing music, but I noticed I had a significant amount of storage devoted to album art files. Well, I deleted them to save space.

Hmm.. next time I was playing music, I noticed I had album art... WTF? The files were all back. OK, go to Microsoft support, and sure enough, like virtually every problem, you get the "you are an idiot" response.... After going through all the stupid Q&A and telling the moderator to re-read your original post where you already did everything he has told you to do during his "you are an idiot" responses... I did find the spot where you can tell WMP to not download album art... great!

Not so fast Sucker! It re-appeared... ok, there's another part in the WMP options that says "don't connect to the internet" and it specifically overrides everything else... HAH! Gotcha...

NOPE! Still gets downloaded... more theories about Windows sharing service.... delete the Media Library, etc. etc.

Finally, a registry hack, basically a couple of entries that look like they make the attempt to download the album art fail, by requiring a size that the system cannot achieve. This WORKS:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences]
"LargeAlbumArtSize"=dword:ffffffff
"SmallAlbumArtSize"=dword:ffffffff

HAH! Up yours Microsoft! Fixed!

How do I defragment "C:\$Extend\$RmMetadata\$TxfLog\$Tops:$T:$DATA"?

This is a special NTFS system file used by the Windows Transactional Resource Manager. MyDefrag cannot move or defragment this file. It can be cleaned with the fsutil command, see below. Do not try to delete this file by hand.

  • Use the following commandline to see information about the TOPS files:
    fsutil resource info c:\
  • The following commandline will instruct Windows to clean (not delete) the TOPS file at the next reboot:
    fsutil resource setautoreset true c:\

 

Finding results in the windows logs

run event viewer:  eventvwr

Checkdsk results are in the application log, filter by ID 1001, Wininit

 

Adding the control panel back to right click on the start button

 

IF you

 

https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/control-panel-right-click-windows-10/

 

Windows update problems

http://www.thewindowsclub.com/manually-reset-windows-update-components

 

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

 

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