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Everything posted by BYTE-ME

  1. The best tool I've found is MSMG Toolkit, although even after it removes telemetry and other components, Windows 11 will still phone home and install updates that put you back to square one, especially if you use Edge Browser or update the OS. For that reason don't go online until you've installed a good firewall, if you do use MSMG Toolkit or any of the other alternatives suggested in this thread.
  2. You can also use the <!--Skip Trusted Platform Module / Secure Boot Check--> entry in the autounattend.xml file example that I posted earlier in this thread. This is ideal for those users who already have a working ISO/USB setup and use an autounattend.xml file to auto-install Windows 11.
  3. Multiboot Creation Guide I use to keep a bunch of USB sticks to manage my PC: one to install Windows, another to install a Linux distro and another for disk utilities like drive imaging and partitioning, etc. In addition to multiple USB sticks, I also had to wrestle with the Compatibility Support Module, or CSM, in my PC's BIOS, when booting with several different USB sticks since some OSs, like Linux and Windows, had graduated to the newer GUID Partition Table, or GPT, for booting, while my rescue disk utilities still used old BIOS-based Master Boot Record for boot instructions. But lots has changed in the last couple of years. There's no need for YUMI, Rufus, EasyBoot and other utilities that create bootable drives. Today, with two free and small, portable apps, totalling less that 2MB in size, you can easily create a USB stick to install multiple versions of Windows and Linux and other .ISOs regardless of booting architecture. In addition you can inspect, troubleshoot or modify your multi-boot USB stick without having to close down Windows and reboot to see if your USB modifications work. To get started, all you need to know how to do is drag and drop .ISO files. So here's how to do it. 1. Download Ventoy to prepare your USB stick. 2. Download MobaLiveCD, an emulator which will allow you to see your USB menu in action without having to reboot your PC. 3. Organize your installation .ISOs in a folder on your PC, i.e. C:\ISOimages\Windows11.iso, C:\ISOimages\Ubuntu.iso, C:\ISOimages\Windows_PE.iso, etc., note that you cannot have spaces between names and must use an underscore (e.g. Windows_PE.iso) as Ventoy doesn't allow spacing between Menu names (more on getting around this limitation, later). Also, ISO are automatically ordered alphabetically on the menu. So you need to play with the names to rearrange the menu, like I did by putting a period in front of OS_Recover.iso to make it the first entry. 4. Insert your USB key into your computer (I recommend at 32GB to 64GB if you are adding more than two OS install ISOs. 5. Extract the Ventoy archive to a folder on your PC and launch the portable application, Ventoy2Disk.exe. Then, use the Ventoy drop down menu to select the drive where your USB card or stick is located and let Ventoy format it and prepare it for multiboot operation. 6. Open your USB drive location, then just drag and drop the .ISOs you want onto the root of the USB drive. The USB boot menu is created automatically and you can then launch MobaLiveCD_v2.1.exe to see the new boot menu. If you are satisfied, you can reboot your PC and test it out. I recommend you view this video before you undertake your first multiboot USB with Ventoy and MobileLiveCD. Customizing You will quickly want to customize your Ventoy USB as the default theme is pretty basic. I recommend you view this video for instructions of installing themes and changing menu spacing and orientation. For more complicated adjustments, like installing custom fonts, eliminating the need for underscores in names, and bypassing the Windows 11 hardware check, you can use the Ventoy plug in system. Just launch VentoyPlugson.exe from the Vendoy download archive. Then, select the drive where your USB stick is located. Click the START button to start the plug-in service, then press "Link." This will bring up a local webserver page with a list of different plug-ins you can install automatically: The first three plug-ins listed on the left hand side are the most useful, in my opinion: (1) Global Control Plug-in, which has nearly 20 configuration options including setting your menu language, bypassing the Windows 11 hardware check, controlling menu time out, etc. (2) The theme plug-in, although it may already be installed if you followed the instructions in the above mentioned video and, finally, (3) the Menu Alias Plug-in which allows you to elminate the underscores in the USB boot menu. Most of the downloadable themes are of the dark, "Goth/Reaper" variety the Millennial geeks are so fond of. But you can swap out your own background.jpg, like I did, for the background.jpg contained in each theme folder. You can also create custom icons and substitue fonts, which I also did. My final USB has consolidated four .ISOs/CDs that I used to need three seperate USB sticks to deploy: (1) Parted Magic (Boot Utilities), (2) Linux Mint 20.3, (3) a custom WindowsRE iso made with Image for Windows, and (4) Windows Workstation. Not only are multilboot USB disks now easier to make, they are also simpl;e to update and modify. Just drag and drop a new .ISO to the root of your Ventoy USB drive, update the menu, if needed, and your're done.
  4. @i430VX. I agree that phone app provisioning is all about ease of use and I'm normally alll for ease of use. But it's also discriminatory against people who don't have or c an't afford smart phones. In reacent years in the tech world, ease-of-use has become a trojan horse for privacy invation and proprietary schemes that prevent end users from using/improving/modifying or hacking a product in the way the consumer wants, in many cases. So when you hear: "Let us save you the trouble of understanding this process...." run the other way!
  5. MSFN members do a lot of complaining about Windows telemetry, but I recently discoverd, while shopping to upgrade my old Wifi router, that those devices, especially mesh Wifi routers, almost universally, require users to give cloud access to the manufacturer and let them sniff your LAN traffic in order to onboard the device to your local network. No more logging into a Wifi router's IP address to set it up. No, they want you to use a smart phone app so they know exactly who you are. Aside from the security risk, I find this kind of instrusiveness outrageous. The only non-telemetry mesh wifi access point I could find was GL.iNet GL-B1300. How did Wifi makers get consumers to swallow this BS?
  6. I recommend you remove my comments before testing. Sometimes Windows gets sensitive about Autounattend.xml file size. Good luck.
  7. Using a custom autounattend.xml file is another fairly simple way to to install Windows 11 on "unsupported" hardware. Placing the answer file, below, in the Root of your Windows 11 install medium will bypass the checks for Trusted Platform Module or TPM, Secure Boot and memory and storage requirements. The answer file will also create a "Main" user whose name and password you are encouraged to change. You must also search for the KMS key for your windows version and substitute it for every instance of "XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-3V66T" in this file. Other modification you may or may not wish to use are annotated in the file script comments, e.g. <!-- COMMENT-->. NOTE: You still must do disk partitioning and formatting prior to installing Windows. But if you create PID.txt and ei.cfg files and place them in the Windows "sources" folder on your install medium, Windows 11 setup should otherwise not require user input. <!--************************************************* REV: 04/24/2022 LOCATION: MILKY WAY USER: XXXXXX NOTES: Admin Windows 11 Answer File RETAIL KMS: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-3V66T OVER VERSION'S KMS: https://winaero.com/windows-11-generic-keys-for-all-editions Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/customize/desktop/unattend https://www.elevenforum.com/t/sharing-some-helpful-answer-files-to-bypass-win-11-setup-requirements-and-more.3300 http://www.windowsafg.com **************************************************--> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend"> <settings pass="windowsPE"> <!--Language--> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core-WinPE" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <SetupUILanguage> <UILanguage>en-US</UILanguage> </SetupUILanguage> <InputLocale>0409:00000409</InputLocale> <SystemLocale>en-US</SystemLocale> <UILanguage>en-US</UILanguage> <UILanguageFallback>en-US</UILanguageFallback> <UserLocale>en-US</UserLocale> </component> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <!--Skip Trusted Platform Module / Secure Boot Check--> <RunSynchronous> <RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>1</Order> <Path>reg add HKLM\System\Setup\LabConfig /v BypassTPMCheck /t reg_dword /d 0x00000001 /f</Path> </RunSynchronousCommand> <RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>2</Order> <Path>reg add HKLM\System\Setup\LabConfig /v BypassSecureBootCheck /t reg_dword /d 0x00000001 /f</Path> </RunSynchronousCommand> <RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>3</Order> <Path>reg add HKLM\System\Setup\LabConfig /v BypassRAMCheck /t reg_dword /d 0x00000001 /f</Path> </RunSynchronousCommand> <RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>5</Order> <Path>reg add HKLM\System\Setup\LabConfig /v BypassCPUCheck /t reg_dword /d 0x00000001 /f</Path> </RunSynchronousCommand> <RunSynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>4</Order> <Path>reg add HKLM\System\Setup\LabConfig /v BypassStorageCheck /t reg_dword /d 0x00000001 /f</Path> </RunSynchronousCommand> </RunSynchronous> <UserData> <AcceptEula>true</AcceptEula> <FullName>MainUser</FullName> <Organization>Default</Organization> <!-- OEM Installer Product ID Key. Do not change/uncomment--> <ProductKey> <Key>XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-3V66T</Key> </ProductKey> </UserData> </component> </settings> <!-- Skip EULA OEM Installer--> <settings pass="offlineServicing"> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-LUA-Settings" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <EnableLUA>false</EnableLUA> </component> </settings> <settings pass="specialize"> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-International-Core" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <InputLocale>0409:00000409</InputLocale> <SystemLocale>en-US</SystemLocale> <UILanguage>en-US</UILanguage> <UILanguageFallback>en-US</UILanguageFallback> <UserLocale>en-US</UserLocale> </component> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <SkipAutoActivation>true</SkipAutoActivation> </component> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-SQMApi" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <!-- CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: MS collects information about your hardware, software and services to identify usage patterns. 0=Disabled 1=Enabled --> <CEIPEnabled>0</CEIPEnabled> </component> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <ComputerName>PC-NAME</ComputerName> <ProductKey>XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-3V66T</ProductKey> </component> </settings> <settings pass="oobeSystem"> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <!--Auto Logon--> <AutoLogon> <Password> <Value>ADD-MY-PASSWOR-HERE</Value> <PlainText>true</PlainText> </Password> <Enabled>true</Enabled> <LogonCount>4</LogonCount> <Username>MainUser</Username> </AutoLogon> <!--Auto Logon--> <OOBE> <!--Customize Windows Out of Box Experience--> <HideEULAPage>true</HideEULAPage> <HideOEMRegistrationScreen>true</HideOEMRegistrationScreen> <HideOnlineAccountScreens>true</HideOnlineAccountScreens> <HideWirelessSetupInOOBE>true</HideWirelessSetupInOOBE> <NetworkLocation>Work</NetworkLocation> <SkipUserOOBE>true</SkipUserOOBE> <SkipMachineOOBE>true</SkipMachineOOBE> <UnattendEnableRetailDemo>false</UnattendEnableRetailDemo> <!-- PROTECT YOUR PC 1 = Recommended level of protection for your computer. 2 = Only updates are installed. 3 = Disable automatic protection. --> <ProtectYourPC>3</ProtectYourPC> </OOBE> <UserAccounts> <!--User Accounts--> <LocalAccounts> <LocalAccount wcm:action="add"> <Name>MainUser</Name> <Group>Administrators</Group> <Password> <Value>ADD-MY-PASSWORD-HERE</Value> <PlainText>true</PlainText> </Password> <DisplayName>Main User Name</DisplayName> <Description>MAIN USER</Description> </LocalAccount> </UserAccounts> <RegisteredOrganization>Default</RegisteredOrganization> <RegisteredOwner>Default</RegisteredOwner> <DisableAutoDaylightTimeSet>false</DisableAutoDaylightTimeSet> <FirstLogonCommands> <SynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Description>Control Panel View</Description> <Order>1</Order> <CommandLine>reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ControlPanel" /v StartupPage /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f</CommandLine> <RequiresUserInput>true</RequiresUserInput> </SynchronousCommand> <!-- Set Control Panel icons small--> <SynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>2</Order> <Description>Control Panel Icon Size</Description> <RequiresUserInput>false</RequiresUserInput> <CommandLine>reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ControlPanel" /v AllItemsIconView /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f</CommandLine> </SynchronousCommand> <!-- Set User Password Never Expires--> <SynchronousCommand wcm:action="add"> <Order>3</Order> <RequiresUserInput>false</RequiresUserInput> <CommandLine>cmd /C wmic useraccount where name="MainUser" set PasswordExpires=false</CommandLine> <Description>Password Never Expires</Description> </SynchronousCommand> </FirstLogonCommands> <!-- Set Time Zone--> <TimeZone>FLE Standard Time</TimeZone> </component> </settings> </unattend>
  8. @GD 2W10. For me, performing a clean Windows 11 install was pretty much like the procedure I posted here for Windows 10. I think Rufus adds the benefit of automating the deletion of the "appraisesres.dll" that's used to block unsupported hardware installs. But it could be more involved than that. In any event, it worked for me.
  9. Am I missing something? Isn't it easier to create a Windows 11 iso or USB stick using Rufus Version 3.17 (Build 1846) and the directions here rather than the numerous steps outlined above. Or is there some advantage to the longer procedures? I tried Rufus for my first Windows 11 clean install on a non-compliant PC and it worked like a charm. The Windows 11 ISO l created even played nice with the Windows 10 answer file I used to define, passwords, users and other settings for the clean install.
  10. @Tripredacus. I just did a deep dive into your remote code links. Wow, what a mess. I found that stopping unnecessary services and blocking executables from communicating with the Internet with my firewall has almost shutdown all that automated garbage, at least according to Wireshark and Process Hacker. I'm modifying my router logs to make them spot more grandular activity and will watch those to make sure I'm making headway. But, like I said, it's an endless arms race trying to stay ahead of malware. Keeping my fingers crossed.
  11. One of the most problematic pieces of tech advice, which is given in knee-jerk fashion by nearly all technology columnists, is to "update your software." However, hackers are constantly innovating faster than tech companies can create solutions to stop them, including this month's Log4j flaw. In addition, software updates have been fingered as the culprit in a number of hacks including the famous Solar Winds attack that hit more than 100 supposedly sophisticated business and tech companies Software updates also often create new compatibility issues such as this Windows 10 update that created printing errors that Microsoft took weeks to fix. I've finally ditched all of that madness and disabled all updates as well as Windows defender, not only to avoid the problems I've mentioned but also to lessen telemetry and the data traffic MS wants to extract from my PC. Now I simply make backups of my clean, working OS, and put those backups on my NAS and in the cloud. That way if I'm hacked I can restore a working operating system, and wait until updates have been fully tested and vetted by MS users and then download those directly from MS's servers. It's not an ideal solution but I just have had it with software vendors having remote access to modify my PC. Just my two cents.
  12. I liked Windows 7 and 8.1. The only reason I upgraded was lack of hardware support for NVMe 4.0 drives and my 10GBe network cards.
  13. @aviv00. I don't doubt your screen shot. But I would suggest you check your router's logs as well and/or install Wireshark to track actual bytes going in and out of your network. This 2016 article suggests Windows 10 sends data every 15 minutes to transmit the contents of %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Diagnosis folder but that may have changed since the article was published. . . .PS, apparently the %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Diagnosis folder can be deleted! So I've written an Autoit script to do that and crearted a scheduled task that executes every 15 minutes! No harmful effects, so far. Wow, I'm sure MS is going to close that hole. But victory for now...
  14. I don't pretend to know how Microsoft implements telemetry (and I'm not sure what @aviv00 meant by saying he "added only dns dhcp and firefox". I just know Microsoft has publicly stated that Windows has a keylogger and other telemetry tools. My suspicion is that this is not a constant network exchange between a user's PC and MS but, rather, takes place, periodically, during OS updates or other network communications such as the Cortana, Edge browser, WMP and other Microsoft software that require network access. I have uninstalled those culprits but still, even before, I log on, I can sometimes see activity over my NIC that I am not initiating and that my LAN is not triggering. Like I said, when I see a connection I don't want, I try to shut it down. I've got my PC much quieter than right after my clean install but there's still work to be done. As I said in my earlier post the files svchost.exe, winint.exe, dashost.exe and ntoskrnl.exe maintain near constant network connections, although for the most part, now, it's mostly with other LAN deivices such as printer's etc. @NotHereToPlayGames, attached are my 49 deactivated services, your mileage may vary. Services_Deactivated.txt
  15. Windows 11 does have an embedded keylogger and other allegedly diagnostics collection tools that periodically send user activity to Microsoft. They cannot be fully disabled. But my point was that is no different than Windows 10. However, you can cut down a lot of the chatter by disabling Windows update, by hacking DNSAPI.dll and by locking down other Windows services and files that request network access.
  16. If you are talking about svchost, wininit and system, yes, and those had access with Windows 10 as well. You'd have to go back to Windows 8 or 7 to avoid that, no? Also, I should have said I disable the default public, private settings on the Windows firewall, so that, with the exception of those baked into the OS system and kernel, the firewall rules are the one's I set with W10FC and on my router.
  17. @vinifera. I'm still experimenting with that. I disabled the OEM firewall and am using Windows 10 Firewall Control to throttle most of the OS telemetry. Also using WAU Manager to install updates, only after I test and evaluate them.
  18. I find Windows 11 no better or worse than Windows 10. I migrated to 11 only because none of Microsoft's Windows 10 patches fixed the OS glitch that kept old network print jobs in my print queue without clearing them and because my experience with sleep and hibernation was better with Windows 11. After applying the 3rd party fixes listed by @UCyborg, my Windows 11 experience is pretty much identical with Windows 10. I clean installed Windows 11 and bypassed TPM using Rufus so I can't speak to any hardware related snafus.
  19. @ UCyborg. So it sounds like many of the taskbar, startmenu and interface issues can be fixed with 3rd party tools? Also, I've used OldNewExplorer but not ExplorerPatcher. Yet on the ExplorerPatcher website, isn't that the old style drive grouping shown or am I missing something?
  20. Not sure. I had not tested the procedure on Windows 7, so to be on the safe side I limited my advice to Windows 8.1. and 10 since 7,8 and 10 have different versions of DISM. Also, I see there are some spelling glitches in my gif's I need to fix when I get a chance
  21. Ten step unattended Windows 10 Guide v. 06.005.2022 What you will need: An internet connection, if you don't have a genuine Windows 10 ISO, and the Microsoft media creation tool. A working Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 installation on a PC, with at least 10GB of free disk space that you will use to create the unattended Windows 10 setup. A USB 3.0 drive with at least 16GB of storage capacity. NTLite, Win Toolkit or DISM++ all of which provide a GUI for Windows's DISM utility to tweak Windows 10 by removing or adding components and integrating Windows updates, drivers etc. before creating the unattended install. An archive utility like 7-zip or WinRar and the bootdisk creation utility, Rufus . A strategy for your unattended install. Working backwards from the last bullet point, you need a strategy if you don't want to waste a lot of time experimenting with Windows' setups. There are at least three ways to go: (1) a basic setup that installs stock Windows 10 but may not be ready to use when setup is completed because it lacks some critical NIC or video driver; (2) basic install with a few additional components like legacy DotNet, XPS Document viewer (to print and manipulate so-called "secure" .pdf forms) unneeded Windows components removed for your specific work or play environment and integrated drivers for any hardware missed by a stock setup and (3) a de-bloated and fully customized Windows 10 install that's tweaked and ready to use as soon as you log on to your desktop. In most cases, especially if you are installing Windows on multiple PCs with similar hardware at home or in a small office, I recommend you use strategy No. 2. Afterwards, you can tweak Windows 10 to your specifications, then make an image of the install to clone to the additional computers. Generally speaking, imaging is much faster at installing Windows than unattended installs. Unattended installs are best saved for new, unfamiliar PC upgrades that you need to customize. Therefore, you want to create the most universal setup you can so there won't be any hiccups. Use the Windows media creation tool to make a Windows 10 *.iso on your PC; or, better yet, use HeiDoc.net to download your preferred version of Windows 10. I have found version 1709 to be the fastest and most reliable. (Make a backup after your fresh install and do not update unmless you need a critical security update; if the OS gets hosed or infected with a virus, replace the corruped OS with your pristine working install. After the *.iso is created, use a file compression utility like 7-zip or WinRar to extract the ISO to a folder on your PC. In most cases, you simply right-click on the Windows.iso file, choose your archive manager from the context menu and let WinRar or 7-zip extract the ISO to a folder on your PC with the largest amount of free disk space, e.g. D:\Folder1. Use Double Driver to identify and export your device drivers and save them to a folder. Now convert the encrypted install.esd file inside the Windows "sources" folder you just extracted to a file called install.wim. This will enable you to modify your Windows 10 setup. There are lots of ways to do this. Here are instructions using the freeware DISM++ : Launch DISM++ | choose "Toolkit" from the left hand column | choose "ESD to WIM Conversion" (the text may be truncated) from the panel on the right hand side | enter the path to the install.esd file inside the Windows sources folder you just extracted, e.g. D:\Folder1\sources\install.esd | in the second field, put the path for the converted file, e.g. D:\Folder1\sources\install.wim. After the conversion is finished, delete the original install.esd file or move it to another folder outside of D:\Folder1. Now, create an additional folder, call it "D:\Mount" (Wiin Toolkit may automatically create a mount folder on your system drive). After creating the folder launch NTLite, Win Toolkit or DISM++ and follow their instructions to mount the install.wim file to the "D:\Mount" folder and, then, follow their instructions for adding or removing drivers, third party software and other components, etc.. For those of you using Nvidia graphics cards, I highly recommend you use NVslimmer to make a custom Nvidia video driver without telemetry and other unwanted addons. After you finish, save and unmount your Windows 10 image (Win Toolkit does this automatically, DISM++ needs manual attention). Now it's time to automate the install. Now, create three special text files to automate the Windows install: Autounattend.xml, the Windows answer file that contains setup instructions, pid.txt that contains the generic product ID that authorizes the installation to proceed and the ei.cfg, which tells setup which of the nearly one dozen versions of Windows 10 (i.e. Enterprise, retail, etc.) you are installing. Go here for details on how to create the pid.txt and ei.cfg files. For Autounattend.xml you can create one online or use the annotated one in the archive in the last paragraph of this post. Finally, place the Autounattend.xml file at the root of your USB as shown in the picture below. Then place the pid.txt and ei.cfg files inside the sources folder. Finally, you can optionally create a batch file to register windows and auto-setup networking information once Windows is setup. Although you can now copy the modified Wndows image to a cleanly formatted USB drive, I like to use DISM++ or Win Toolkit to compress the Windows files in D:\Folder1 and create a new modified Windows.iso. Then, insert your USB drive, fire up the boot drive creation tool, Rufus, select your newly created Windows.iso, chose GPT install and NTFS formatting and let Rufus copy the iso files to the USB disk. And you are done. Download pre-configured autounattend files here: AutoFiles_2.7z Following these instructions will create an automatic Windows setup that will only require user intervention to partition the hard drive and register Windows after setup is completed. Because I dual boot with Linux, I have wasted countless hours trying to completely automate Windows setup so that I could boot the setup USB and go have coffee. But I've found it is better to invest that time in customizing and then imaging a Windows installation so that you can clone it to another computer. So that's it; any corrections, oversights or other forum input is welcome.
  22. @vinifera. Yeah, I hate to sound like one of those "Hey, get off my lawn" geezers but seriously when is MS going to act like a grownup? I guess it's too easy to chase the low hanging fruit and just change OS eye candy just to induce upgrades. "Windows 19, anyone? We've redesigned the taskbar and have brand new icons, this time in grayscale!!!"
  23. Oh well. Windows will remain king of operating systems for the foreseeable future no matter how crappy it is, since it is so embedded into the enterprise. I know the company doesn't give 2¢ about what most consumers think, but I think four things would improve the OS and widen its appeal: (1) better integration with cellphones now that mobile has become as ubiquitous as Windows, i.e. make phone/PC file transfers and syncing contacts, calendars, texts and emails easier and more seamless over Bluetooth or USB cable, something like MyPhone Explorer does; (2) Re-introduce and improve the Resilient File System (it was deprecated in Windows 10) to add integrity checks, protection against data degradation, handling of long paths, storage virtualization, and built-in hard drive redundancy and disk failure protection, especially now that Microsoft is requiring higher PC hardware requirements to install Windows 11. (3) Add an Android-like cast feature to display content on televisions and other devices and, finally, (4) dumb-down networking so that opening Windows' network connections for the first time displays a wizard to enter, lookup and save IP/DNS addresses and passwords for your LAN and for your ISP provider like many email clients do wizard setups for setting up email.
  24. @ Tripredacus. Thanks for the explanation of the WAN Miniports. I finally broke down and wrote an Autoit script that shuts off my network adaptors before my PC reboots or goes to sleep. Lot of chit chat with Microsoft going on before and after login .
  25. So....I finally threw in the towel on Windows 8.1 and upgraded to Windows 10 this month after I bought a Z590 motherboard and discovered I could not install my Qlogic PCI-e network card or even the motherboard's onboard NIC without installing Windows 10. I found it odd that I could get network access with a USB network adaptor on Windows 10 and that my PCI-e video card worked but that the Qlogic NIC that worked fine in Windows 8.1 on my previous motherboard, was now nothing more than a doorstop without Window 10. The second surprise came after installing Windows 10 and I found eight different WAN Miniports listed in Device Manager and eight entries for my dual port Qlogic card. My suspicion is that this is all designed for telemetry connectivity and to keep Windows 10 connected to the IOT. So I thought to myself, I can stop this: just don't install network drivers until Windows 10 is fully cleanly installed. But that wasn't easily accomplished, at least on my motherboard, because you can't turn Wifi off in the BIOS!!! So then I shut off the WiFi access point at my location which, fortunately, is remote enough that there are no other accessible WiFi networks nearby. Finally, I was able to cleanly install and register Windows 10. I then quickly installed my network firewall and WAU Manager and was able to patch Windows 10 in a controlled way (no 200MB worth of logitech mouse driver addons or 750MB worth of Nvidia telemetry apps, not to mention that I can wait until the dust clears on the Microsoft patches that have introduced new bugs) while I tried to hunt down and close off Windows 10 telemetry hidden in service settings, scheduled tasks and other startup routines. So far, I'm not as pessimistic as NoelC about accomplishing this successfully. But, then again, I'm not using Windows store apps like Weather, email etc., I also uninstalled Windows Explorer and Edge and I am not letting the OS update at will, thanks to WAU. My other gripe is that Windows 10 has a 33% bigger footprint than Windows 8.1, making imaging the OS take one-third longer. Yes, Windows 10 is a hot mess.

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