8 Feb 2019

And Then, A Tad More Geekery...

Okay, a little computer fixing stuff courtesy  of the good Ripper. Also some tips on getting Windows 10 to fire-up a tad faster. I must also thank him for correcting my spelling of ‘data’; I typed dater? Guess I just typed the sound that was in my head at the time... However, ‘terrabytes’ Ripper?  How about ‘terabytes’. Hah!! Go byte on that one buddy!!

Anyhoo, below is wot could prove good information to store away for one of they just in case moments when you click something in haste and instantly think, ’Damn!’ Spookily, an imminent hard drive failure is one pop-up warning Microsoft don’t seem to deem all that important. Store the info away but not, I would suggest, on your hard drive...

   I've been having computer difficulties of my own. My hard drive died and I lost a few terabytes of data, not to mention all my logins for various sites which were in the care of Firefox.
   All is not lost though, I bought a new drive and installed Win10 on it, and apart from a few corrupt files I am able to read the sick drive, so am in the process of transferring stuff across. Firefox uses 2 folders in AppData (not AppDater):
Both folders will have the same name, though the name is made up of random characters followed by '.default'.
   Neat trick this - install Firefox then copy those two folders over, overwriting the freshly installed ones. Restart Firefox and bingo - everything is back. logins, bookmarks and settings, just as though nothing had happened. There is also a folder containing all currently installed Firefox extensions:
   The same can be done with that. In fact it may be easier to just copy over the two complete Mozilla folders. I now have them zipped up and stored on another drive as a backup.
   Also, using PowerShell, I have removed all Windows 'apps', even those (apart from a couple which are required for Windows to run at all) that 'can't be removed'. Also added registry keys to prevent them from coming back with a Windows update. The result I've found is that the clean, fresh install of Win 10 originally booted in 42 seconds. Without all these apps (34 of them) running in the background the boot time is reduced to under 10 seconds.

In other news, I note storm Erik is set to sweep in. Storm Erik? Who picks these names? Wreckless Eric I can relate to, but storm Erik? A tune from when? 1977 you say? Damn!!

Quote;  Jeremy S. Anderson.

“There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don’t believe this to be a coincidence.”


Ripper said...

Well you got me on that one Mac! Don't like correcting people but I envisaged your readers trying to find the Appdater folder.

Quote; Homer Simpson - "Press any key to continue. Hmmm... where's the any key?"

I would be happy to post the Powershell commands for detection and removal of the Windows apps if you want.

Mac said...

As long as we can laugh at ourselves eh?
Sounds like a good idea to me so if you have the time, go for it. I'm sure that info would be more than welcome to a lot of Win 10 users.

Ripper said...

Okay Mac, will do, but it is likely to take several long(ish) posts. I will break it up into finding installed apps, removing said apps, then finally the registry keys to prevent them from coming back.

The method I will be describing doesn't actually delete the apps, merely removes them from the user's account. There is an option to remove them from all user's accounts but since mine is the only account on this machine the simple option works. Deleting the apps would be overkill, since they take up very little hard drive space, and removing them from the user account prevents them from running in the background, which is the real intention.

Incidentally, this is a separate thing than running Spybot Anti-Beacon, I'm doing that too, as an extra security layer. Since the latest incarnation of Spybot is heading toward paid software, I have found an alternative which I will post details of later.

Mac said...

All understood; take it easy and just put your output in the comments to the current posting.
Thanks in advance for your interest and effort.
Security; You tried Keyscrambler? https://www.qfxsoftware.com/

Ripper said...

This is the first part of a tutorial on removing the bloatware apps that are pre-installed on a Windows 10 installation. This does not delete the apps, but merely removes them from a user's Windows account. This has the advantages of much faster booting and lower usage of resources and bandwidth since the apps are no longer running in the background and therefore sending none of YOUR data to Microsoft.

At this point, a disclaimer - This is what has worked for me after some research. I cannot support you should anything go wrong and you do this at your own risk.

To begin, you need to find out which apps are installed and the FULL name of the app packages, since there are some differences between build versions of Windows (I am on 1709). Everything is done in PowerShell as administrator. To load PowerShell as admin, right-click on the Windows 10 logo (Start button) in the left of the task bar and choose 'Windows PowerShell (Admin)' from the menu. Click 'Yes' on the 'Are you sure?' dialogue and the PS window will open. You are now ready to go.

To get the list of apps and the full name of the app packages to remove you have a choice from 2 PS commands. Just to list them in the PS window type the following command (then hit Return):

Get-AppxPackage | Select Name, PackageFullName

You can redirect the output of this command to a text file on your desktop, that you can then edit into a list of full package names for removal. For this, extend the above command to:

Get-AppxPackage | Select Name, PackageFullName >"$env:userprofile\Desktop\Apps_List.txt"

There are a lot of packages in the list, some of them you definitely do NOT want to remove, for example anything to do with the Microsoft.NET Native Framework. .NET used to be, many moons ago, Visual Basic, and some 3rd party software will still use these runtime libraries to work, an examle of this is Paint.NET. A couple of packages in the list will not allow you to remove them (I'm currently working on disabling those) and there are a couple which will screw up Windows if you do remove them (Cortana). So if you are unsure about any packages, do not remove them. In the next part I will publish a list of packages that I have removed and show you how to format the Apps_List.txt file for cut/paste into PowerShell.