With the newer versions of Windows 10, a lot more bloat has been added into the OS.
One can argue about the point of having store games in the Pro version for the first time but for a quick install with a possible slow internet connection, it is more than hindering to have the store trying to download dozens of apps in the background while also downloading multiple updates at once.
To get rid of that behavior there are many ways, but most of them involve registry edits to disable certain functions of Windows 10.
One thing that bugs us is Cortana. She might be the best companion for the master Chief, but not for us. Always being in the background, listening and reading all our searches is not only a security concern but also an intrusion to personal life. Getting rid of her is not that easy and – because she now is an integral part of the Windows system – without digging deep and without third party programs she can not be removed from your computer. However, there are some ways you can make her less obnoxious.
The first thing I do after an install is the “Disable Cortana” patch provided by howtogeek.com in a simple one-click registry patch. Before attempting something in the registry you should either back up the registry or create a system restore point. See our other articles for information on creating restore points.
This will get Cortana out of your search bar and away from active service, but not off of your computer.
Preventing her from getting a connection to Microsoft can be achieved via the Firewall, which is a Windows-internal option. For a more rough attempt most antivirus programs provide an option to block certain files or programs from accessing certain parts of your computer or the internet. Kaspersky Internet Security has a simple way of blocking. Though it is an extra cost for a yearly license and also comes with a performance penalty for weaker computers.
An external solution can also be a Pi zero with Pi-hole installed. An installation guide can be found in a written form in one of our other articles that will be linked here, once it’s available or in a video by LinusTechTipps.
After disabling Cortana, Windows 10 is still determined to download and install Microsoft Store Apps, especially games and a few other not so useful apps. To get rid of them also required a little edit in the registry and a simple change of the setting “Update apps automatically”, turn that off and never be bothered by an unwanted app update again. But this setting only prevents updates, not the initial install of the apps, for that we have to get back into the registry. A step by step guide is posted on the Microsoft Answers forum. The solution was provided by Ԓԃښԓ.
- Type regedit then hit Enter.
- Go to the following Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\
- Create a new key inside the Windows key. Right-click the Windows key and choose New > Hit Key. Name the new key CloudContent.
- Create a new value inside that new key. Right-click the CloudContent key and select New > Select DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new valueDisableWindowsConsumerFeatures.
- Double-click the new DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures value to open its properties window. Change the value from 0 to 1 in the Value databox and then click OK.
- Restart your computer.
Again, before performing these steps, perform a registry back-up and or make a system restore point. This will remove Windows 10s ability to download and install unwanted apps from the Microsoft Store such as Facebook or Candy Crush.
Many people also have a standard arrangement of programs they put on every new computer. having to install them all can be very time consuming and nerve-wracking since many free apps now come with a default option to install another program like a toolbar or a security app, posing a security thread or cluttering the computer. To prevent hassle and stress, a service called ninite.com can be used.
Above a screenshot of the service can be found. Simply tick the apps you want to install and download a single installer, that will then simply download and install the most recent version of the selected apps. Without having to configure something or having to uncheck the annoying adware options.
If you wish to configure your apps you will have to install every app one by one, ninite.com will not allow the customization during installation.
After you set up every app and program you need or want you can start using your machine to its full potential. After setting up Windows itself, the setup of a web browser should be your next step. But that will be the topic of another article, which will be linked here as soon as it’s there.