Windows 11

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I think I've mentioned this site before, but they've massively updated it and how it works.
Ameliorated.io is a set of scripts that strips BS out of a Windows 10 or Windows 11 install to suit your specific needs. These scripts are called Playbooks and each of them removes a subset of components that might not serve the needs of a particular audience. This usually means telemetry nonsense and network features end users are unlikely to need. The goal is to make a stripped down and less intrusive OS, especially for gamers or people using low-spec PCs.

I tried it on a system with a Celeron N CPU, 4GB RAM and an EMMC drive and while I wouldn't call that a fast computer, Windows 11 installs and runs better than the Windows 8.1 that was on it before.

In other news, Microsoft stopped activating Windows 7 and 8 keys for Windows 11 licenses. Completely fuckin' bogus.
 

Chewy509

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sedrosken

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Since when does Microsoft care about negative press that doesn't come in the form of a lawyer serving them court documents? They've been a technological punching bag for over thirty years now. They don't care as long as people keep buying the product, which, they will, because of inertia and fear of learning new things.
 

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My impression overall is that Microsoft doesn't REALLY want to make OSes any longer. It wants to make a framework for online services and get people to pay for it to host everything. On Prem Windows Server is disappearing and I think there's a constant sales pitch for more and more things to be added to Microsoft 365. If Windows became part of that, how shocked would any of us really be?
 

LunarMist

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So where does that leave Intel and AMD, just making servers?
 

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Both Google and Microsoft have an OS that's essentially just a front-end for web services (ChromeOS and Windows S-Mode).
Some people will always want local processing but we haven't had any major change from Windows since Windows Vista was released. The new features in Windows are generally tied to Microsoft services now. I think most people are just evolving back to using terminals again.
 

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If you're not doing much local processing, an ARM CPU is definitely fine. New Intel 14th gen CPUs are actually exceeding the thermal loads of the brand-new Zen 4 Threadrippers, which is so far beyond ridiculous that those things don't even merit attention as a mainstream product IMO. Intel is in the process of disqualifying itself on the desktop.
 

LunarMist

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I read it was somewhat ridiculous, a push by marketing instead of just waiting until the next generation of technology was ready.
Probably there will be some improvements with the 2024 CPUs.
I'd never use anything but local programs personally. I believe that the MACs still have strong CPUs for local processing.
 

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Once again, MAC is an acronym for media access control. 😋

Everyone has plenty-strong CPUs for local processing if you need it, but basically the only people who care are doing engineering and content creation workloads. Even gamers don't particularly get bottlenecked by their processor unless they have a really weird setup.
The daily needs of most home users line up well enough with "web terminal" which is why things like ChromeOS work well in the first place. And they DO work well for a lot of individual needs, even if they're more or less an 80% solution.

Don't think MacOS is particularly a good solution; over time, MacOS has borrowed a lot more from iOS than iOS has gotten from MacOS. I think, to the extent that Apple wants the OSes to converge, that it's to be even more of the walled garden.
 

LunarMist

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I have little to no control of my media access. ;) I'm not a normal home user. :LOL:
I'm mostly bottlenecked by mental selection or by storage paradigm.
I just hope that MS still makes an OS I can use for a few more years after the 2025 Deadline. Does Windows v11 have an expiry date yet?
 

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Windows S mode is a reduced functionality mode of operation where only Apps installed from the Microsoft Store or already included in the system image can be used. It is most often found on less expensive notebooks or on managed systems belonging to a school or similar institution.

The normal way to deal with it is just to Sign in to the PC with your Microsoft Account, go to System Properties and click the button under Product Key and Activation to turn it off, but this is not always feasible.

S Mode is technically a flag set in firmware and it's possible to remove it by turning off Secure Boot, but for obvious reasons, this is not a good idea.

How to kill Windows S Mode without using a Microsoft Account

Boot to Command Prompt Only or use Windows To Go or similar portable Windows install (Linux probably won't work since these drives are often encrypted). Make sure you're looking at the registry on the primary internal drive if you're using Windows to Go (Load Hive > c:\windows\system32\config\System).

Open your registry editor, open
HKLM\Offline\Controlset001\Control\CL\SkuPolicyRequired

Set the value of that key to 0

Save changes if the editor you're using asks to do that.
 

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Problem Steps Recorder and Wordpad are deprecated and supposedly will be removed in future Windows 11 updates. I use Problem Steps recorder a lot and really want it on computers I use. Further, deprecated tools don't stop working just because Microsoft stops including them. Windows Easy Transfer from Windows 7 still works perfectly well on Windows 11. Hell, I even copy 3dpipes.scr from an old XP install on systems I set up. It's trivial and I like it, so it stays.

One of the things I do when I package a Windows installation is set up a custom folder (I use c:\bin, which shows up on my install media as \sources\$OEM$\$1\bin) with whatever tools I find myself wanting. I add this folder to the system path environment variable. There are lots of ways to handle this, but in my case this happy little trick puts things I want to be on a computer back even if some asshole from Microsoft takes them away.
 

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Here's a pretty nice Wordpad Alternative, RectifyPad. It seems to follow current MS Office theming conventions but it does not open .docx files, which some past versions of Wordpad can.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Is there some reason not to use Word itself?

Word makes giant stupid files, even after compression is applied. Sometimes, you just want to be able to put an image in what could otherwise be a plaintext document.

And also you need Word or Google Docs or something to open .docx files, and accessing either of those might be out of bounds for some of the systems I manage. Especially the ones that are servers.
 

LunarMist

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Nope. It's more like FO for commercial nowadays. MS trying to be more military?
 

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Copilot is the AI dingus that's supposed to replace Cortana, I guess. I don't know what people do with it. I've gotten Google's thing (used to be Bard but now it's Gemini) to summarize long youtube videos. It does a decent job of that. I suppose all the AI things can handle that though.
 

LunarMist

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I just assumed the whole point was for MS to make money off of the users. I cannot think of any MS software that is fundamentally better than it was ~15 years ago.
 

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SQL Server is better. Visual Studio is better. I like Windows 10 and Server 2019 better than Windows 7 and Server 2012r2.
 

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Anybody still stuck on MS SQL in the year of our lord 2024 deserves pity, IMO. I won't argue that Visual Studio is better and Win10 supports some things out of the box that are a pain in the ass on 7 at best, but that's more a case of things just not being common/available when 7 came out vs when 10 did.

Server 2019 is indeed several trillion billion times better than 2012R2, having used both, but in an interesting twist, I'd take either over Server 2016 as 2016 still has a bug where updates will take hundreds of years because TrustedInstaller sits and takes up an entire core forever. They fixed it for 2019 but won't fix it for my clients' systems still running 2016 presumably because they would very much like some money please. I've had to wait for our RMM software to come up and kill TrustedInstaller to get a login screen some hours after I'd told it to update.

We're trying to transition them away from needing an on-premises server of any kind, so we're limping 2016 along until we're finished with that. Their 365 Premium licenses come with Azure, and they should have plenty of space in OneDrive/SharePoint for anything they need. They're not using self-hosted dispatch software anymore and Quickbooks, I could just move onto a little NUC type thing out of the way that doesn't cost thousands of dollars to replace. They'd previously been iffy about it because they had really spotty internet and didn't want to rely on anything that could put them out of commission for hours at a time, but their cable provider has gotten much better over the last few years and they have LTE failover now anyway.
 

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Anybody still stuck on MS SQL in the year of our lord 2024 deserves pity, IMO

MSSQL is far and away the most common back end for line of business applications developed for Windows. It's not my favorite thing either, but my biggest problem is that very often there's no actual DBAs helping to build that software, just poor choices by clueless developers using baked in tools, which leads to nonsense like terabyte-sized databases full of BLOBs for no reason.

I guess I should just be grateful I almost never see anything built on Access any more.

I think I have a grand total of two Server 2016 hosts, mostly because of where it hit in the upgrade cycle.
 
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jtr1962

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I didn't have any vested interest in Windows 11 until now. I just bought a new laptop. Open box excellent condition (which looks brand new to me) for $662.99. However, I just got a new credit card which gives a $200 cash back bonus plus 1% on purchases if you spend over $500 in the first 3 months. Bottom line-my net cost with the sales tax came to only $514.61. BTW, BestBuy was charging regular price (not the current $699.99 sales price) when I bought mine, so the open box version saved me $337.

The 2.8K OLED screen was one of the major selling points for me. I saw some other laptops at the local MicroCenter with the same screen. Much better than any LCD screen, even the retina displays. It also has an aluminum chassis, not cheap plastic. Now this is my new fastest computer. In fact, last time I upgraded my desktop was over 5 years ago.

Only thing I didn't like as I was setting it up was the fact I needed to use my Microsoft account, plus they had trials of stuff that ultimately would have been subscriptions. No thanks to that. I'm old school. I like to buy software once and use it forever.

Anyway, is there anything I should do as a new user of Windows 11 to get rid of crapware?
 
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sedrosken

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Use Rufus to make fresh install media that's set up to give you a local account instead, if you're not already too entrenched. It makes sure you only have the crapware Microsoft themselves approved of, and makes for a much more manageable base system than the factory image.

If you are already too entrenched, start by going into apps and removing junk that you know you won't ever need or use, and pay special attention to remove stuff like Avast, McAfee and Norton. All of them are near unto malware themselves. Windows Defender alone is plenty good enough for about 95.99997% of users, don't feel like you need to pay for an antivirus. I have a distinct feeling you already know this bit, though.

I use ShutUp10++ to curtail the worst of Windows/Office/Edge's tendency to phone home. I do not and will not ever use OneDrive on anything I use for personal purposes, so I also disable that from running at startup in Task Manager. I don't know which version of Windows was your last -- last I knew Santilli was still running 7, so it's conceivable that you could have been, too -- Startup items by and large moved there when Windows 10 released. Open Shell is the continuation of the old Classic Shell project, if you prefer the 7-era start menu. I know I do. Lastly, here's a small guide on how to re-enable the legacy right-click menu if you prefer it.
 

jtr1962

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Yeah, I don't use AV programs beyond Windows Defender and Malwarebytes. They all drastically slow the system down, especially when doing file operations.

Still using 7 on my desktop. No compelling reason for me to upgrade. It works, plus I'm way too entrenched to start over.

Only thing I installed so far on my new laptop was Open Rails and MS Train Simulator. I guess I could start fresh without too much trouble. ShutUp10++ sounds like the better option. I save the bother of a new install but it sounds like it gets rid of most spyware/crapware.

Not a fan of OneDrive either. Frankly, anyone who only backs up to the cloud is playing with fire. It's always a good idea to have local backups.
 

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disable that from running at startup in Task Manager.

OneDrive is definitely an uninvited and unappreciated guest. If you uninstall it without doing anything else, it'll be back after a the semi-annual major Windows release, so there's a couple other things to be done (in Registry Edit form since jtr probably doesn't have Windows Pro)

reg delete "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}" /f

This is a one shot that disables OneDrive on your Windows installation.

If you REALLY want to nuke it, you can also use the uncompressed ISO to run

Dism /Mount-wim /WimFile:<install.wim location> /index:1 /MountDir:<mountdir>
del <mountdir>\windows\system32\onedrivesetup.exe or del <mountdir>\windows\syswow64\onedrivesetup.exe
reg load HKLM\test <mountdir>\Users\default\ntuser.dat
reg delete "HKLM\test\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\OneDriveSetup" /f
reg unload HKLM\test
dism /UnMount-wim /MountDir:<mountdir> /commit

And then you can use 7zip or whatever to package the result back in to a onedrive-free ISO.

My biggest problem with OneDrive is actually that it messes with default save locations, but only until it runs out of space. End users are then left not really knowing what's on Onedrive and what's not. Combine this people the lack of communication over what a Microsoft account is, how a password is different from a PIN and the fact that most Windows 11 installations will (bitlocker) encrypt the C: drive by default and it can become really easy to wind up with unrecoverable data.

The bitlocker encryption does not happen if the first account on the machine is a local rather than Microsoft account. Which is a really good reason to make your installer with Rufus.
 

LunarMist

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Doesn't Bitlocker still require Win 11 Pro? It's not clear if that machine has Home or Pro.
My biggest problem with OneDrive is actually that it messes with default save locations, but only until it runs out of space. End users are then left not really knowing what's on Onedrive and what's not. Combine this people the lack of communication over what a Microsoft account is, how a password is different from a PIN and the fact that most Windows 11 installations will (bitlocker) encrypt the C: drive by default and it can become really easy to wind up with unrecoverable data.

The bitlocker encryption does not happen if the first account on the machine is a local rather than Microsoft account. Which is a really good reason to make your installer with Rufus.
 

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No. Bitlocker is a regular feature on Windows 11 Home as well. Maybe S-mode, too, although it doesn't start encrypting your drive until you sign in with a Microsoft account.
 

LunarMist

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So you cannot use the BL without a MS account, even on Win 11 Pro? What if the BL volume was created with Win 10 Pro on a removable drive. I've been doing that for the backup drives in the luggage so that a random person does not get access. They are just personal files, not containing classified information so there is no concern of LE access.
 

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You absolutely can if so choose. Microsoft makes the choice for you if you choose to create or initially sign in to a Microsoft account on Windows 11 though.

Users can go and turn it on or off either way. Nothing stops them from doing that. 95% of Windows 11 users don't know the encryption even happened, though. The encryption key gets stored and is visible from their Microsoft account at login.live.com. On a Domain, the key is given to a designated Key Recovery agent (usually the Domain Admin). If you're using a stand-alone PC with no Microsoft account, you need to keep a copy of your encryption key yourself. You can write it down or take a photo of it or copy it to a flash drive or hope your TPM chip doesn't get erased for any reason. Whichever.
 

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Anybody still stuck on MS SQL in the year of our lord 2024 deserves pity, IMO..
SQL Server is the only Microsoft product I like. (Except maybe some keyboard or mouse back in the days)
Advice: If you want to earn big bucks, stand by a product that is as expensive (like $7500/core for Enterprise Edition) as possible and become really good at it. (Of course, in Sweden we work for nickel and dimes compared to USA.)
For every 1 person who knows how to work SQL Server there are 1000 who mess shit up, so there is an endless supply of work.
And things can get extremely expensive when someone messes up in the cloud.

As one consultant said, when people call and have performance problems caused by Entity Framework, that's when he starts looking at private jets.
 

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I'm not that deep into SQL Server, but it's miles better documented and easier to deal with than Exchange and Sharepoint. It's well behaved and stable and these are things we like to see.
 
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LunarMist

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You absolutely can if so choose. Microsoft makes the choice for you if you choose to create or initially sign in to a Microsoft account on Windows 11 though.

Users can go and turn it on or off either way. Nothing stops them from doing that. 95% of Windows 11 users don't know the encryption even happened, though. The encryption key gets stored and is visible from their Microsoft account at login.live.com. On a Domain, the key is given to a designated Key Recovery agent (usually the Domain Admin). If you're using a stand-alone PC with no Microsoft account, you need to keep a copy of your encryption key yourself. You can write it down or take a photo of it or copy it to a flash drive or hope your TPM chip doesn't get erased for any reason. Whichever.
Users will notice when connecting the drive to a different computer and files are locked. :) I'm not interested in encrypting the C: partition as it contains no data. I'm also not interested in storing a secret encryption key somewhere. I just want to use a password that I can create for the partuituions and external drives that I choose manually.
I'm finding that the MS is more and more obnoxious.
 

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I believe the standard behavior is to only apply drive encryption to the drive where Windows is installed. I'm not sure what happens if you distribute your personal data elsewhere, but it does not seem to encrypt removable drives unless you tell it to.
 

sedrosken

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Yeah, no, I've dealt with the default behavior of Bitlocker. It's not encrypting thumb drives that's for sure. And normal users definitely aren't pulling their OS drive and trying it in another computer. That said, you'd be surprised what your C: partition contains just in your temp folders. With AES-NI in basically all modern CPUs, it's a very cheap operation. Why not do it if the data you work with is in any way sensitive?
 

LunarMist

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I only have use for non-C: drives and mostly for the FedRex, UPS, or luggages. If somebody steals I suppose they could use my programs or lift the license codes. I've not thought about it much, assuming that was more of a hassle than it is worth if I decided to apply the BitLockers on C: several times a week. I'm pretty sure there would be nothing in temp files other than software settings.
 

LunarMist

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I didn't have any vested interest in Windows 11 until now. I just bought a new laptop. Open box excellent condition (which looks brand new to me) for $662.99. However, I just got a new credit card which gives a $200 cash back bonus plus 1% on purchases if you spend over $500 in the first 3 months. Bottom line-my net cost with the sales tax came to only $514.61. BTW, BestBuy was charging regular price (not the current $699.99 sales price) when I bought mine, so the open box version saved me $337.

The 2.8K OLED screen was one of the major selling points for me. I saw some other laptops at the local MicroCenter with the same screen. Much better than any LCD screen, even the retina displays. It also has an aluminum chassis, not cheap plastic. Now this is my new fastest computer. In fact, last time I upgraded my desktop was over 5 years ago.

Only thing I didn't like as I was setting it up was the fact I needed to use my Microsoft account, plus they had trials of stuff that ultimately would have been subscriptions. No thanks to that. I'm old school. I like to buy software once and use it forever.

Anyway, is there anything I should do as a new user of Windows 11 to get rid of crapware?
There are some tools in the https://www.storageforum.net/forum/forums/toolbox-reference-section.14/ to clean up. I generally make a clean image of the SSD onto a flash drive before booting into Windows and then uninstall all obnoxious Windows programs and apps. Especially remove any anti-virus. If the computer was previously used you could run a recovery utility to return it to unused condition. Maybe I'm paranoid but it could have been used for a nefarious purpose.

Maybe you can upgrade the SSD at some point if it is not a good one. (Which one does it have?) I doubt the RAM is upgradable but 16GB is fine if you close programs fairly often and don't run too many memory hoggers at a time. The only thing you really will miss is a real graphics card. I have an ultralight laptop with a 1360P, similar CPU to what you have but with fewer P cores and lower power. The integrated Xe GPU in the Raptor Lake is not good for any intensive video use or AI enabled stuff. :(
 
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