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xper

Windows 10 - Deeper Impressions

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Have you updated your e-Books on 7 and 8 with all the new knowledge you've acquired in the last, say, 6 months? Are you keeping them up-to-date?

 

There's not been THAT much more to add...  I could probably put some more info in about managing updates and avoiding GWX though, given the changing environment.  Thanks for the reminder; I'll do some editing on them.

 

Most of my recent accomplishments have been in implementing a deny-by-default firewall, setting up a local DNS server in my local network, and creating a process that generates a managed blacklist from multiple managed sources online, which enhances security.  A page in the books that recommends the Sphinx firewall would be good, but the version I'm running hasn't actually been released yet.

 

Jaclaz makes out like my Windows 7 and 8.1 setups are somehow extraordinarily special - something only I could do - but they're really just configured very carefully with a lot of small tweaks and with some key (and mostly free) augmenting software added.  They still pass SFC checks, do successful updates (if I let them), and run things compatibly and reliably.  Nothing someone else can't do.  Back in April 2015 I set up my new small business server with Win 7 Ultimate and I had it all configured and running well in just a few hours.

 

Some of the things I picked up right here on this forum.  I have (in no particular order) set up on Win 8.1:

  • An aero glass desktop facilitated by Big Muscle's product (donationware)
  • A freely downloadable Aero 7 theme that makes the controls easier to perceive and use.
  • The Classic Shell Start Menu (free).
  • The Sphinx Windows Firewall Control product (commercial product).
  • Several other downloadable desktop enhancement tools (free).

 

Beyond those things...

  • Apps are removed.  I have no use for Metro until some kickass Apps are invented (if ever).
  • I've done some trimming to disable or remove things I don't want or need running.
  • Settings tweaked to keep it private.
  • Windows Update and Windows Firewall are disabled, except if I choose to get updates.

 

I've done nothing that can't be done by anyone else, and it doesn't take that long to get everything set up just so...  Less than a day, following a guide.  And it's even less a big deal since much of it only ever needed to be done once (I'm running the same Windows installs that went in initially - e.g., Win 8.1 installed in late 2013, Win 7 installed on my new server this past April).  

 

That touches on one of the major problems with Win 10 - it requires a full OS setup and tweak/tune every 4 months.  That's why I'm developing a Re-Tweaker, to minimize the downtime right after an in-place upgrade.  So far, it's a script, which may grow up to be a full application.  This is what I've got working:

  • Re-removal of all Apps, including Cortana, OneDrive, OneSync, the Store, etc.
  • Re-disabling of various unneeded services (work in progress).
  • Re-disabling of various unneeded scheduled tasks (work in progress).
  • Re-tweaking of settings to improve privacy (work in progress).
  • Re-tweaking the appearance of things and disablement of thumbs.db creation in File Explorer.

 

Ideally, once this script is grown up, it will not only facilitate turning a freshly installed Win 10 system into a workhorse, but will help manage the returning of the system to the same configuration after future updates.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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Thanks for all the above insight into your tweaks NoelC, I do a very similar setup myself on Windows 7 and 8 - 10 takes a lot more tweaking so I will be very happy to beta test your script - I do about 6 PC builds a month usually. I was not advocating Win8 over anything else I was interested if you guys thought it was the least worst option currently and was a little surprised  Win8.1 was even in the mix. Most of my customers are a generation or two older than me except for a few gamers I build boxes for (there are a few who don't care how or why it works they just want WOW on the latest CPU and Graphics NOW!). The older folk like the average small business like stability and they absolutley hate the metro / apps stuff so I guess I am thinking of them when I advocate using Windows 7 with Classic Start. its familiar and I don't spend half my life trying to run support on my moby from wherever I am. I want Windows 10 to deliver, I really do, I like it just fine and I think with fairly small tweaks to the set up we will all get what we want including Microsoft.

 

First need is installation options - just 2 - Desktop Classic or  Modern / tablet Version

Then similar Modern or Classic options to handle windows updates

 

Job done in my opinion.

 

Oh yeah according to Paul Thurrot on Windows Weekly he reckons they will make Windows 10 free after July as it makes no sense to charge for it when the goal isn to get everybody on Windows 10 asap. I think he is right I always doubted it made sense to give it away then charge for it if users don't bite because 90% of people will get 10 when they upgrade the actual PC itself and the people who won't upgrade will not care if it is free or not - more than that they will pay to stay on legacy systems to avoid it for years to come.

 

Jonah

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I found this for the lifecycle support of the Microsoft website about all versions of Windows 10 (including Enterprise and LTSB versions), I thought it was intresting though maybe it won't be intresting as maybe people already know this?.

 

• Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to install the latest update to remain supported. 
• Updates may include new features, fixes (security and/or non-security), or a combination of both. Not all features in an update will work on all devices.
• A device may not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (“OEM”) support period. 
• Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space).

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Jaclaz makes out like my Windows 7 and 8.1 setups are somehow extraordinarily special - something only I could do - but they're really just configured very carefully with a lot of small tweaks and with some key (and mostly free) augmenting software added.  They still pass SFC checks, do successful updates (if I let them), and run things compatibly and reliably.  Nothing someone else can't do.  Back in April 2015 I set up my new small business server with Win 7 Ultimate and I had it all configured and running well in just a few hours.

Sure :), anyone (including - hopefully and eventually - a program) can re-do something that has already been done in a fraction of the time it took you to find and test everything you did.

 

If you had kept notes (roughly) of the time you spent since the delivery/deployment of the first copy of a given OS tweaking it until you were satisfied and "labeled" it "good enough" (i.e. excluding the small, little tweaks that came over time), I am pretty sure that it would graph into an exponential curve.

 

In my completely twisted measuring method I introduce a factor to take into account the "relevance" of the tweak from a philosophical point of view, i.e. to take into account how "alien" would a system appear to a "normal, average user" [1] of the untouched same OS.

Examples:

  • replacing the built-in zip file reading provision with 7-zip (simply installing it) is 0.01 points by a relevance factor of 1x=0.01
  • replacing almost the whole UI (Classic Shell+Aeroglass) is 2x1.5 points by a relevance factor of 3x=9

 

jaclaz

 

[1] Imagine a kid, let's say born in the late 2000's that might happen to only see Windows 10 (and some Android and/or IOS devices [2]) that actually uses a Windows 10 device on a daily basis, how different will he perceive your tweaked install from his own?

[2] To be fair the hypothetical kid might also  have seen once a Windows Phone in the hands of a distant cousin from the country ;).

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@bigmuscle's Aero Glass makes it onto a major tech website:

 

How to change the look of Windows 10's desktop with native settings or Aero Glass

 

When it comes to visual aesthetics, Windows 10 is reasonably configurable—but not as configurable as I’d like. For instance, I can’t find a way to replicate Windows 7’s rounded window corners. (If you found one, please add it to the comments section below.) But you can still do a lot to make Windows 10 look better.

 

Miss the transparent Aero look? You can get part of it back by turning on the Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent.

 

That option won’t give you the transparent window outlines you got in Windows 7. For that, I recommend Aero Glass and transparency for Windows 8.1—and yes, it works for Windows 10 (just make sure you get the 8.1 version, and not the version for plain old Windows 8). The program is free.

 

--JorgeA

 

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I found this for the lifecycle support of the Microsoft website about all versions of Windows 10 (including Enterprise and LTSB versions), I thought it was intresting though maybe it won't be intresting as maybe people already know this?.

 

• Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to install the latest update to remain supported. 

 

That's how they will keep users on the upgrade treadmill. Wonder how long before enough users get sick and tired of it to persuade Microsoft to back off and leave it alone already.

 

--JorgeA

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I took another look at Terry Myerson's attempt to reassure Windows 10 users that the OS doesn't spy on them.

 

Check out the following paragraph:

 

3. Advertising Data We Don’t Collect
Unlike some other platforms, no matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you.

[emphasis added]

 

The lawyer in me says that the inclusion of the clause I've highlighted in the above sentence, leaves the window (so to speak) wide open for Microsoft software to scan the content of your e-mail or other communications or files, for any other purpose so long as it's not related to delivering targeted advertising.

 

Speaking of lawyers, you can bet your bottom euro that Myerson's statement was thoroughly reviewed by the company's legal department, and so is crafted very carefully.

 

--JorgeA

 

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[1] Imagine a kid, let's say born in the late 2000's that might happen to only see Windows 10 (and some Android and/or IOS devices [2]) that actually uses a Windows 10 device on a daily basis, how different will he perceive your tweaked install from his own?

[2] To be fair the hypothetical kid might also  have seen once a Windows Phone in the hands of a distant cousin from the country ;).

 

 

I would suggest that the "kid" in question might have less an idea how to actually be productive with a computer and would be more likely just to look to technology to feed his boredom.  Of all the things I've done and seen, I've chosen to optimize and accentuate the parts that are good in a timeless way.

 

In a sense, I've spent my entire life figuring out ways to make computer systems more productive, more efficient, and just better.  Only today I found out how to live with one less running process with no downside.  Does the extra 0.02% of available CPU time benefit me in a noticeable way?  Probably not, but over time it adds up.

 

With every new major Windows release I've found things of merit.  It was more difficult with Windows 8.1, but it DID bring a slightly more efficient File Explorer layout, doesn't seem to "load up" quite as quickly under heavy usage as Win 7, and I actually DO use the ability to mount ISO files.  Windows 7 brought its share of things, such as better efficiency than Vista, Vista before that, and so on. 

 

Unfortunately so far, as well-tweaked as I can make Windows 10 - with that seasoned eye toward things being better - I can't identify ONE THING that's improved.  Even the policies of Microsoft (In-place upgrades on 4 month intervals?  Seriously?) have turned for the worse.

 

It used to be that just keeping current brought some intangible value, but even that has evaporated as Microsoft has turned to doing nothing more than hanging Apps all over its OS.  Who wants Windows Updates any more?  Remember when people thought of Windows Update as a Good ThingNow it brings a sense of dread.

 

If the App realm were to bring something good that would be interesting - but it just hasn't.  Seriously, who's talking about any "must have" Apps?  Microsoft's idea is good - facilitate development of good software and let the world make Windows great.  The problem is they've lost even the ability to facilitate.  The Universal App environment is a flop.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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... and I actually DO use the ability to mount ISO files.  

Well, with all due respect for the good MS guys, (and to you) it is something we had since YEARS and that even they made available a loong time ago. (currently I am using IMDISK that can mount a lot of other kind of images but the basic CD-Rom image mounting capabilities was here since day one or so).

 

It is interesting :whistle: how this page:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38780

states that the thingy is:

 

Version:

2.0.1.1

File Name:

winxpvirtualcdcontrolpanel_21.exe

Date Published:

4/23/2013

 

but the actual file (a self-extracting zip) contains these files:

Directory di C:\temp\test116/02/2016 09.35 <DIR> .16/02/2016 09.35 <DIR> ..02/01/2003 18.04 1.152 readme.txt19/12/2001 11.45 23.552 VCdControlTool.exe19/12/2001 11.45 8.576 VCdRom.sys3 File 33.280 byte

Maybe the function has been better integrated and all, but it is not like it is anything "new".

 

jaclaz

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Updategate: Windows 10 is resetting default apps back to Microsoft stock:

 

This is the big disadvantage of Windows as a service as Noel has pointed out so many times. I simply have no interest in wasting my time on Windows 10. It's become too hostile - almost forced/deceptive "upgrades" from Win7/8, forced system updates, forced drivers, forced app reinstalls, forced reset of many settings, forced app default resets, forced GUI changes, forced acceptance of removed features, even forced hardware changes (as such most touchpads not coming any more with two physical/clicky buttons).

 

I mean the fact that it just keeps not only changing now but RESETTING your personalized setup every few months is a major deal-breaker!

Edited by xpclient

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this is probably a stupid question, but oh well lol how are the updates being done for regular user as opposed to users of the insider/preview builds. Is Microsoft taking such an aggressive update road on them too? aw man if I was an IT guy and I just got all the machines tweaked and setup to my/company's likeing and had to reconfigure all my machine I would be ticked!

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this is probably a stupid question, but oh well lol how are the updates being done for regular user as opposed to users of the insider/preview builds. Is Microsoft taking such an aggressive update road on them too? aw man if I was an IT guy and I just got all the machines tweaked and setup to my/company's likeing and had to reconfigure all my machine I would be ticked!

 

Yes it is happening with TH/Threshold users as well. There are many posts on technet about complaints about this or that, including the file association one. The responses from the MS employees there are that x is by design and if it is a problem, to use the feedback tool. That's fine for your regular bugs but this file association thing is different. You've been able to do an in-place upgrade with past OS versions and not have this happen. I saw this was widely reported when built 1511 came down and that was installed with an in-place upgrade rather than a regular update install. So someone changed this behaviour out of the blue.

 

Then again, they did remove repair installs after XP, just to bring them back with 8. And they changed that where it will uninstall all your programs including drivers. I haven't seen any complaints about that. At least it tells you what will be removed before doing so I guess. :\

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Updategate: Windows 10 is resetting default apps back to Microsoft stock:

 

This is the big disadvantage of Windows as a service as Noel has pointed out so many times. I simply have no interest in wasting my time on Windows 10. It's become too hostile - almost forced/deceptive "upgrades" from Win7/8, forced system updates, forced drivers, forced app reinstalls, forced reset of many settings, forced app default resets, forced GUI changes, forced acceptance of removed features, even forced hardware changes (as such most touchpads not coming any more with two physical/clicky buttons).

 

I mean the fact that it just keeps not only changing now but RESETTING your personalized setup every few months is a major deal-breaker!

 

Speaking of Windows 10 apps, even Paul Thurrott acknowledges their poor quality:

 

For the past several versions of Windows, I’ve recommended Windows Essentials as an obvious way to “complete” the Windows experience with several important utilities. It’s still available, but this package of desktop apps hasn’t been updated in years. And the universal apps that Microsoft bundles with Windows 10 simply aren’t up to the task.

 

To answer my own semi-rhetorical question/headline, my understanding is that Windows Essentials has in fact been end-of-life’d, and that Microsoft has no intention of upgrading or updating it. And that’s … that’s not good.

 

[...]

 

The problem is that these apps—at least the ones that relate directly to the Windows Essentials apps—are pretty horrible. Photos is perhaps the worst one of all, and it’s photo acquisition capabilities (via the Import toolbar button) are notably bad: You can’t rename the items as they’re imported, for example, or organize them based on date, event, or other criteria.

 

Windows 10 doesn’t include a video editor, though Microsoft provides a freebie called Movie Moments that is notably limited (and nothing like Movie Maker). The horrible Skype apps in Windows 10—Phone, Skype Video, and Messaging—are best replaced by the Skype desktop application.

 

So, not only are users getting set back forcibly to Universal apps, but the apps that they're getting set back to are vastly inferior to what they've been using.

 

Hey 'Softies, this is not exactly a way to build enthusiasm for your new OS.

 

Having to tediously reset all your defaults by hand to the way you want them three times a year will get really old really fast. The fact that the apps you're getting defaulted to basically s*ck, adds insult to injury.

 

--JorgeA

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this is probably a stupid question, but oh well lol how are the updates being done for regular user as opposed to users of the insider/preview builds. Is Microsoft taking such an aggressive update road on them too? aw man if I was an IT guy and I just got all the machines tweaked and setup to my/company's likeing and had to reconfigure all my machine I would be ticked!

 

Yes, that's the point!  I've been off the insider track for a long time.  I had 10240 tweaked and tuned then BAM!  10586 re-installed applications, reverted privacy and other settings, claimed an application was incompatible (though reinstalling the same version worked just fine)...  It took me a full day to get the system back to usable and almost a week to find and re-tweak everything.

 

Now I have been developing a "Re-Tweaker" type of script to ease the process for the next in-place upgrade, which is ALL too near.

 

-Noel

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Having to tediously reset all your defaults by hand to the way you want them three times a year will get really old really fast. The fact that the apps you're getting defaulted to basically s*ck, adds insult to injury.

 

Slight correction, if I may :): three or more times a year... remember this is a continuous update model ... :whistle:

 

jaclaz

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