Windows 10 Configuration

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Windows 10 Configuration

I remember being told a while ago that if you're seeing advertising on the lock screen in Windows 10 it's because you've enabled it yourself so you've got no cause for complaint. By the way, this is a gigantic lie; it seems to be enabled on both blank installs and for anyone who uses a prebuilt system, which are most of our small business customers. I also remember the rejoinder "I thought I was buying an operating system, not a vertically integrated marketing platform".

The advertising does begin to wear thick after a while though, let's do a quick summary...

  • Advertising on the lock screen
  • Popups advertising Microsoft Office on the desktop
  • Microsoft OneDrive popups on the desktop asking if you want to log in "now" or "later"
  • Advertising Microsoft Edge when you try to change your default browser
  • Recommended apps being "suggested" on the start menu

This makes the telemetry and automatic updates even worse, because you know that more advertising can be added at any time, and with forced and automatic updates there's nothing you can do to stop them. This means that for anyone who is required to configure and support (or just use) Windows 10 desktops one of the more useful tools is going to be O&O Software's Shutup 10.

With it you can control most aspects of the Windows 10 telemetry experience, including the updates and Windows Defender. There are multiple provided levels of aggression, depending on how tolerant you are of Microsoft.

 

The first mode only mimics what settings users would usually configure by themselves, assuming they remembered where everything was and could be bothered to wade through each menu for each of their machines. A slightly more aggressive setting that also disables some of the features that are only accessible through registry entries but which is still completely safe and a third mode that disables even those things that require policy editing, such as Windows Defender and Windows Update.

Though if you want to insure that your machine runs at full speed and never reboots unless you upgrade directly, the third mode is the one you want to use. Especially if you use your system for work and can't risk an update making it unusable.

One word of caution. The highest mode also disables showing usernames on the lock-screen. This means that if you are running this on a machine that has a "strange" username, you'll want to insure that it's written down or else you may be stuck working backwards to figure it out; or booting the machine up with a linux livecd to pull the username off the windows drive. I recommend Fedora Linux Workstation Live for this operation. Mostly because it's the only distribution I've found that is both signed for secure boot and adept at handling different hardware out of the box.