Configuring Windows 10 with better privacy, performance, control, and fewer annoyances

I’ve been using Windows 10 a lot this year, so I started compiling some notes to improve its configuration to benefit the end-user (e.g. you and me), which gradually turned into a complete guide. I recommend all Windows 10 users to follow this guide, including those unfamiliar with computers by asking a friend/relative.

Maybe I’ll write a guide for Mac some day, but I’m not looking forward to it because recent Mac versions are even worse than Windows, particularly in point #3.

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actually there’s pretty good tool for that…

Why should I trust that this proprietary software does nothing malicious when I can’t read its source code? If I could somehow prove it’s not malicious, its intent is to improve privacy, but what about my 5 other bullet points?

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I haven’t read everything yet as I am out working, will definitely look into this later.

@Vortico is it meant for fresh Windows install only?

I do recommend O&O Shutup10 for many other things that can be disabled. Eventhough it is closed software it is a reputable company.

No, you can apply these settings to any Windows 10 installation at any time. Start at the Configuration section.

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I’ll have to do all of this with the next new system I buy… had a computer that was running exceptionally well and then some sudden MS updates botched everything and I can’t for the life of me figure it out. I’ve learned way more than I ever wanted to know about how to care and feed a modern operating system.

The worst part is the temporal stability has gone out the window and I’m very sensitive to that so it just drives me bonkers. It’s impossible to have a rock-solid beat in Bitwig, VCV, even Reason, etc… something is happening in the background and it’s completely screwing with the system audio. Just watching youtube videos or playing back audio files with VLC every minute and a half or so the audio will glitch out and do a tiny stretch of voices as if it’s entering the matrix or something.

It’s got the fastest SSD’s, 32GB of ram, an SSL 2+ interface, etc… nothing can smooth it out. Makes this system basically unusable for me and of course it’s impossible to do any DJ’ing or live performances. I would never trust this system now and I’ve babied it every step of the way… all software is legit and carefully installed.

Never Dell again!

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I would be interested in reading that.

Ok, so I read and went through the steps of this guide. These are very valid and good measures to take indeed.

For anyone new to this, these steps alone are a good addition to a much larger under taking. It is highly advised to “tune” your computer system for use as DAW. There are several sites that have written excellent guides on how to do this over the years. I will edit this post later when I am free with links to those articles.

Thanks for writing up these steps Andrew.

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I’m definitely interested in adding generic performance improvements to my guide, such as removing unnecessary Windows services, so definitely post those articles. I’m not interested in adding audio-specific tuning to the guide because the target audience is general-purpose Windows users.

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Some links to resources that discuss/explain how to optimize your computer system for DAW usage. Take from it what is relevant for you and how you operate your computer.

Cantabile Glitchfree

Sweetwater

Steinberg

Bluecat Audio

Ableton

Focusrite

Most of these are for Windows, some have sections for Mac as well. For sure there are more, feel free to share.

Keep in mind that over time some of these tips are/have become non relevant, or are bypassed by new system updates.

For example some hard noxious way of Microsoft installing separate registry rules that force the window updater to do its thing even without your knowledge.

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You tried the tool, did you? :slight_smile: As this thread is not just about avoiding Windows altogether and moving to Linux, which one could tweak and tune in any possible way, turning off annoying ads with the aforementioned tool is possible, also delaying restarts, configuring the firewall, shutting down telemetry and a few things more. All this goes hand in hand with a concurrent performance boost because of saved resources. Downside, yes, it’s proprietory, but that is Windows as well :wink:

Until 2018 there was blackviper’s homepage, which was all about useful and useless windows services, it’s a shame it’s outdated and no longer maintained, I haven’t found something like this since.

Of course not, and I recommend that nobody else risk running it either. 100% of what this software claims to do can be done manually through the Windows Registry, Group Policy Editor, PowerShell, or the filesystem. A “mystery proprietary program” doesn’t help anyone because it doesn’t make Windows any less mysterious. A shell script would have sufficed. Why didn’t the author do that instead?

If you find any useful academic research, open-source software, or batch/PowerShell scripts to fix these Seven Deadly Sins of Modern Operating Systems, you’re welcome to post it here.

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I completely understand your valid points.

@ehdyn backup and clean install is the way forward. I bought a new Dell laptop last year, and it comes with a bucketload of bloatware - Dell SupportAssist, power management software, Intel Management components, none of which is necessary. Always format and perform a fresh install, fixes most problems. Also have a look at a program called LatencyMon, this will analyse your machine for realtime audio and may give you a few clues. I might start a new thread on optimising Windows for audio instead of hijacking Andrew’s thread, been looking into this a lot recently to try and prevent dropout/glitches/break up on my own system.

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