[TUTORIAL] Windows 10 Control

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Amanda Santini, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    Have you ever been bothered, while racing or doing anything else, by Windows Updates on Windows 10? Well fear no more, because today is when you regain control over this functionality, just like on all versions of Windows prior to Windows 10.

    In it's last Windows version, Microsoft took much of the users' control away from their hands. For example, regular users don't have easy tools to control the automatic updates or disable Windows Defender. It's either Microsoft's way, or the Highway. There is, however, the possibility to regain control, with the help of a few tools, some already built into Windows.

    In addition, I'll also guide you through the process of de-spying Windows 10.

    Regaining control

    After seeing this video, it's clear that forced automatic updates can ruin a day's worth of work on Windows 10. With this in mind, we'll gain control over this aspect.

    The first step to completely disable automatic updates is to note which version of Windows you're using. Windows PRO has a tool called Group Policy Editor, a tool that makes it easy to control a few aspects of Windows. If you have the Home version, don't panic, we're also going to use the Registry Editor and a program called "ShutUp 10" and I'll guide you through the process.

    I do remember some methods not working to prevent auto updates, i.e. Microsoft overrides them for some reason. In order to regain FULL control over Windows Update, we'll hit them in 3 different ways. The result is me being able to update Windows once every 2 weeks or even more; I'm in control, not Microsoft.

    Windows 10 Pro and Home editions

    NOTE: We'll begin with a more advanced process. If you're not confident about it, skip to the more user friendly process at the end of this thread.

    Open the start menu and Type "regedit", then right-click on the result and then click "Run as Administrator".

    This window should appear:

    [​IMG]

    Now navigate to the registry "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows".
    Note if there's a KEY (looks like a folder) called "Windows Update". If there isn't one, create it by right-clicking the KEY "Windows", then move the mouse to "New" and click on "Key".
    Now create a new Key called "AU". Inside this Key, you need to create two "DWORD 32bit". The first is called "AutoInstallMinorUpdates" with a value of 0 (zero); the second is called "NoAutoUpdate" with a value of 1.

    In the end, you Keys/Registries should look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Still on the Registry Editor, we'll finish this process with the most effective and most advanced way of disabling automatic Windows Updates: by telling Windows that our connection is ALWAYS "Metered", like a 3G/4G connection. Fortunately, Windows actually respects this. So, let's do it;

    We're still on the Registry Editor, so browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost". We need to alter the permissions of this Key, because even an Administrator Account is not able to change it's permissions.

    To do so, right-click on "Default Media Cost" and then on "Permissions". This window will open:

    [​IMG]

    Now click on "Advanced" and then "Change".

    [​IMG]

    This window will open:

    [​IMG]

    Write you username, click "Check Names", then OK.
    In my case, my username is "Admin".

    After clicking "OK", you'll be back to the previous window. Select "Administrators" and then check all the boxes as the next image shows:

    [​IMG]

    Now, finally, we can alter the values of our connections. I changed all values to "2", which marks all connections to "Metered" no matter if it's DLS, WIFI, etc.

    [​IMG]

    You may now close the Registry Editor.

    Continuing with the process, we'll now open the Task Scheduler
    First, open the start menu and type "Task Scheduler" and run it as Administrator.

    This window will open:

    [​IMG]

    Now browse to Task Scheduler Library - Microsoft - Windows - Windows Update". This should appear:

    [​IMG]

    We can see four options. The first one I strongly suggest not disabling because you'll likely find problems after adding a new user if you so desire in the future. I did disable it before creating my user, but then my new Start Menu was buggy and none of the icons were installed. I then had to enable this service (Automatic App Update), create a new user, copy the the start menu folder of this new user, and then run the command "sfc /scannow" in order to get a working start menu. So to me this stays enabled, and it doesn't download updates for us.

    The second Task also stays enabled because it defines our manual "triggers". This means the Windows Update service will be enabled, but will only trigger an update when we manually tell it to do so. Otherwise, if we disable the service, we won't be able to manually search for and install updates.

    The next two services, "sih" e "sihboot", are disabled. They are the ones important to disable and they're the ones who trigger automatic search/install of updates without the user's consent.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    There's one more option for Pro users, which is the Group Policy Editor.

    One more time, open the Start Menu and type "gpedit.msc". You need administrative permissions to run this program.

    This window will open:

    [​IMG]

    Browse to "Administrative Templates - Windows Components - Windows Updates".

    Now, edit the option "Configure Automatic Updates" and Disable it. It should look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Done!

    --------------------------------------------------------

    User Friendly Program

    If you've skipped all the registry work and is here for the easier method, here you are.

    One of the biggest problems in Windows 10 is PRIVACY. The system, by default, knows everything you do: every picture opened, every key pressed, every word said, every website you open. All this information goes to Microsoft and their partners, because now YOU are the product.

    If you, upon installing Windows 10, unchecked all privacy options (meaning you DID NOT click "Get Going Fast"), you're half way done. But it not, don't worry, we'll now reduce the amount of data sent to Microsoft.

    There's also options for automatic updates, so don't worry about that either :)

    We'll use 3 very well known programs which are completely safe: Spybot Anti-Beacon; ShutUp10; and Destroy Windows 10 Spying. This last one is very important because it creates Firewall rules for addresses you don't want your information going to. This is necessary because only creating a list in the Hosts file is not enough, Microsoft Edge is able to bypass such filters (it wasn't able to in past editions of Windows) and I assume the entire system can to.

    I always start with ShutUp10 (Link). As there are many options and this tutorial is already kind of big, I will show how I configure the program. Please read each option carefully before enabling it, or simply click "Apply recommended settings" and then edit the Windows Update settings.

    Observation: if you use Cortana (even though it sends everything you say to Microsoft); if you use Sync across accounts; or if you use OneDrive (even though Microsoft has permissions to read every file you own), ask here which options to keep enabled. Since I don't use any of these features, I disable them all, so don't follow my configuration by the book.

    My config (part 1):

    [​IMG]

    My config (part 2):

    [​IMG]

    After configuring, the program asks you to restart Windows. It goes by your criteria whether or not to restart. I only restart after using the 3 programs.

    The next program is called "Destroy Windows 10 Spying" (Link). Here's how I configure it:

    Unfortunately, due to the 10.000 character restriction, I can't comment on what each option does, so please ask if you have any questions.

    My config:

    [​IMG]

    PS: if you use COMODO's Firewall, you need to disable Windows Firewall and import this host list to COMODO. I can provide my config if you need this list.

    The next program is Spybot Anti-Beacon (Link). I use the INSTALLER because it immunizes the OS after each system restart, something which the portable version cannot do.

    In the first page, I simply click on "Immunize":

    [​IMG]

    In the next page, click "Show Details" and see what is disabled. Since I don't use Cortana, Bing, etc, I immunize against all threats:

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion

    After all this work, we have a Windows OS which respects our privacy and respect our decision to update when we want, a characteristic already present in previous editions of Windows. Unfortunately, I believe we still don't have control over which specific updates we install, we can only "Install all" or "install none".
    I hope programs such as "AutoPatcher" can work on Windows 10 to remedy this.

    Any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

    Cheers, Amarildo
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  2. Jon

    Jon Registered

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    Excellent post, thank you!

    I successfully ran the three programs and restarted. Fingers crossed it'll fix the stuttering once and for all :)
     
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  3. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    Haven't gone through your whole post yet but thank you so much for this thread.
    Just one question, I'm on the Home version but have so far refused the big update (Creators?) after hearing how it breaks things. Should I do this update first?
     
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  4. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    You're welcome.

    I'd do the update first, just to be on the safe side.
     
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  5. Ernie

    Ernie Registered

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    Great tutorial, Amarildo. Many thanks.
    I'm using ShutUp10 and also W10Privacy since the beginning of my own "Win10 journey". But i'll check now the other tools (Spybot Anti-Beacon and Destroy Windows 10 Spying) as well. Thanks for the hint.
    And really great tipps regarding disabling the AutoUpdate.
     
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  6. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    Sorry to be a pain, but I got as far as this but then thre is confusion. (you probably underestimated my lack of windows knowledge) I don't even know how to do a screenshot to show the dialogs I'm stuck with below.
    and
    I don't know if I have COMODO or even how to find out.

    I've downloaded the Spybot software but don't get anything that looks like your dialogs. I don't have anything called Spybot Antibeacon.
    I have a menu system Start Center (Spybot - Search and Destroy 2.6)

    and a dialog named Update (Spybot - Search and Destroy 2.6) with menu items Tasks Associated Tasks and Help. it also informs me there are updates available

    and have no idea now what I am doing so will do nothing at this point.

    Everything up to this point went as expected.
     
  7. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    No problem! :p

    If you don't know what COMODO is, then you probably don't have it installed.

    To see if you have it installed, check this tutorial: http://www.intowindows.com/view-recently-installed-programsapps-in-windows-10/

    I guess you downloaded the wrong program, or you already had Spybot Seach and Destroy installed. It's OK.

    Click >HERE< to download Spybot Anti-Beacon.

    Once you download it, install it. During installation, you'll see an option to "Refresh immunization after each system restart", as the screenshot bellows demonstrates. If you want to make sure Microsoft doesn't undo changes after each system reboot (such as after an update), mark that option.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers!
     
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  8. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    @Amarildo Junior thanks again man. Have now completed all of the above and about to reboot. One final question, you mentioned somewhere about a hosts list to prevent M$ from sending info to sites, but AFAICT I haven't set up anything like that. oh, and I didn't have COMODO installed. Otherwise, fantastic help thankyou for helping me avoid this abuse of my basic human rights.
    You should get the "No Bull Peace Prize"* for your efforts. ;)

    * to quote a, sadly, dead friend.
     
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  9. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    @not_him_59 First, my condolences in regards to your friend.

    About the HOSTS file: both DestroyWindowsSpying and Anti-Beacon edit the file and add known "Spying domains" to it. But since Edge is able to bypass that, DestroyWindowsSpying adds them to the Windows Firewall too, just to be on the safe side in case Microsoft decides to bypass the file with spying services.
     
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  10. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    @Amarildo Junior, sorry to be a pain, but still have a couple of hopefully final questions.
    I now get a a nag from Windows to turn on Anti-Virus. Have I installed anything that this might conflict with in the tools you suggested or be recognised as a 'windows' threat?
    I've just been reading about Windows Game Mode, sounds like another mess. Is that just one more feature that could cause me problems in the future? Note I haven't AFAICT activated this but who knows what M$ might be doing to my system. :(
    Can I safely update the Virus & threat protection feature of Windows Defender Security Centre?
    Is there anything I could do in ignorace to undo all this good work clearing out rubbish that could bring it all back again? Such as running a function within Windows Defender? or trying to run something that is still in the menu system that would cause it to reinstall itself. ( I guess you are getting the idea that I have absolutely no confidence in M$ or its intentions :rolleyes:) I have been so tarnished by Linux not doing any of this kind of thing.;)
     
  11. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    Do you have any other antivirus? If you don't, I suggest you re-enable Windows Defender as the processes above have probably disabled it. You can do that by the programs used.

    I haven't read much about it, and haven't used this feature myself as I got out of Windows 10 months before the Creators Update finally rolled out.

    Yes.

    You're confusing me :p

    Do you want Windows Defender back?
     
  12. FS7

    FS7 Registered

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    Very interesting tutorial, nice job!
    I had already disabled Windows 10 automatic updates several months ago, as well as a bunch of useless stuff like Cortana, OneDrive, etc. Unfortunately with every major W10 update MS resets everything, all privacy options, all preferences, etc, it's a huge pita having to reconfigure everything again after a major update.
    In addition to all of that one thing that really annoyed me and made me disable automatic updates was that stupid blue full screen notification that tab me out of full screen games and often caused games to crash.
     
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  13. SPASKIS

    SPASKIS Registered

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    I wish I could talk to the guy who programmed that.
     
  14. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    @Amarildo Junior , thanks for the reply.
    It never went away I guess because it is still being run and was asking me to update the Virus descriptions or whatever. Any way as I don't have any other AV type software I've let Windows Defender take care of it.

    My main concern was if I click on a menu link to something like Cortana, if it has been removed (hopefull) that it doesn't re-install. Likewise with stuff like the M$ pdf reader. On the windows menu all the Windows specific tools and software are still listed and I thought I had gotten rid of them. :confused:

    Likewise now I've had a look at the apps, things like Mail and Calendar are installed with no option to remove. is this possible?
    and I see also that Cortana is still there and functioning when I thought I'd gotten rid of it. Have I missed something here?
    sorry if these seem like stupid questions but that is how I am regarding Windows...
    edit: I've just re-read your OP and there is no mention of removing windows bloat so I guess that anwers my questions, but if you know different and it is possible to remove all the other stuff mentioned above, I sure would appreciate some pointers. Once again, thankyou for the help you've given me and others on this matter. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  15. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    If you ran the programs as per-tutorial, you don't have to worry about this.

    Yes, because they're not really spying on you, for what I know. I believe Microsoft is honest when they put a button to e.g. "Not allow apps to see calendar info".

    You can remove them completely from Windows using the Professional Mode in DestroyWindowsSpying, I think, but then you won't be able to restore them later. Not even a System Restore is able to do that.

    Can you provide a ScreenShot?

    I guess it depends on what you mean by "Bloat". The core methods shown here are to regain control of Windows Updates and Privacy, not to e.g. remove whatever other unnecessary programs each user may find "bloat". But if by "bloat" you mean "the windows store apps", then DWS can remove those permanently, it can even remove the Store itself IIRC.
     
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  16. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    I did run the sequence of items per your tutorial, except for the Windows Pro part as I have Windows Home, but that was the only difference except for the sequence of rebootings which I did for each step when requested to by the O/S. Did I mess up?

    I will take another look at DWS following your reply and see what I can remove. I use windows solely for gaming/simracing and downloading mods and drivers and replying to forums like here, otherwise I use my Linux machine where security and privacy is desired. If DWS really does remove without possibility of return, woohooo :D

    Tried to do this using the windows Snipping Tool, but as I have to activate the windows menu to show Cortana listed, the menu closes when I begin a new screen shot. Also if I click on Cortana I get a large box alongside the open menu "Start Typing to search for Apps, Files and Settings" and an entry widget at the bottom with "Search Windows" text in it as a prompt.

    There were also several items in the menu list that don't have the blue background of what looks like MS stuff, all removed with a RMB and selecting uninstall. I shall watch out for their return, just in case. :rolleyes:

    Something else I noticed today when using the windows menu, was a 'New' marker on several of the 'windows' groups, one of which was Internet Explorer :eek: I right clicked and uninstalled it and can't say when it got put there. There is also a new PowerShell (x86) and also a Wise Game Booster marked as 'New'. Should I be concerned? :confused:
     
  17. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    Probably not. I tend to do them all and then reboot because it takes quite a while to do 3 reboots, I'm not that patient ;)

    About Cortana: Do you see anything resembling the images bellow, specially the "Ask me Anything" part?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That's probably part of a new update.

    And remember, the steps of this tutorial won't prevent Windows from manually updating, which means Microsoft can and will update Internet Explorer or PowerShell as they see fit. Instead, it's only to give you control over when to update, and so that Windows doesn't send the huge amounts of data to Microsoft as you use the Operating System.

    Cheers.
     
  18. not_him_59

    not_him_59 Registered

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    Regarding those images above, no there was nothing resembling that at all.

    however

    It looks like I didn't run DWS correctly previously having had another look at its features. :oops: After making the appropriate selections on the Settings tab I then closed the window and it seems nothing has happened. Looking at it afresh, I guess I was supposed to open the Utilities tab and click on each of the boxes displaying there? :confused: So I just tried that with the 'metro apps' and that successfully completed as the xbox menu item has now gone.
    I don't understand what UAC is, there is an option to disable it, should I?
    As for the hosts file. I clicked "Open and edit HOSTS file" in notepad and simply saved what was there without doing anything. I noticed there were plenty of entries listed for Spybot. :)
    I clicked on Disable Windows Update, but not sure if that has done anything.
    Deleting One Drive was completed :cool: which just leaves Disable Office 2016 telemetry which has an exclamation yellow triangle against it. I now see that is a warning only, clicked ok and now I'm asked to specify the path to msosync.exe. I clicked ok to be shown a file manager type dialog but a search for this exe failed to find anything. I have not installed 'ms office' so I guess that is to be expected.
    Hope this helps others like me who 'haven't a clue'. :eek:

    Thanks agains for your 'hand-holding', I assure you it was absolutely necessary for me.
    p.s. I just noticed a text file DWS which confirms Windows Update disabled. :D
     
  19. Rui Santos

    Rui Santos Registered

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    With millions of gamers around the world on PC i never understood why Microsoft never created a "Gaming Edition" Windows, free of crap, with only basic updates and better hardware interaction for full performance. This way we could have two operating systems and start whatever we want for work/gaming...
     
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  20. Amanda Santini

    Amanda Santini Registered

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    After you select what options you want, you press "Destroy Windows Spying".

    Most people are annoyed by UAC. It is, however, a very nice security feature; if a program wants elevated privileges, UAC will stop that and ask you if the action should or should not occur. Combined with a standar user acount and an Admin account with password, UAC can really make a difference when stopping malware.

    There should be an entry for DWS as well, if you selected the option to add spy domains to HOSTS file and Windows Firewall.
     

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