Updated: May 7, 2021
Several weeks ago, I wrote an article about my Windows 10 update adventures. In that article, I outlined my experience. The process, overall, went okay. Of course, there was some low-IQ nonsense, in the best tradition of modern operating systems, but in the end, my blood pressure only spiked by about 300%. And then, I redid the exercise on a production system, and the results were ... well.
Have you see the movie Commando - probably one of the finest pieces of cinema in the history of the universe? Remember the scene where John Matrix holds Sully over a cliff, and says: "I lied." Well, I hath spoken too early. This second round of upgrade adventures didn't go quite as planned, and now, we must share.
Commence to upgrade
We're talking about a serious-usage machine, configured for peaceful, calm, no-nonsense stuff, without any online account, Store usage, or other pointless stuff that makes no value on a Windows desktop. Anyway, I started a manual update process, and the following happened:
The upgrade + any monthly updates and such took about 45 minutes - 40 minutes online and just 5 minutes offline (blue screen with those percentages ticking and such), with a single reboot in between. This is quite all right. I was able to use the system for most of the upgrade process, and I suffered only a tiny downtime. This is very neat.
But then, but then, but then, after the upgrade, some of my settings were changed. Of course! Because we can't have intelligent users using their computers without getting annoyed, can we? It's been five years since I made that lovely Risitas video, and the situation still remains utterly pointless and silly.
What changed on me box
It's very simple. If I tweak something, then I expect the system NOT to change it back during updates. I don't care about the masses and their mass-usage stupidity. I'm using the PROFESSIONAL edition of Windows 10, and therefore, my changes are deliberate and intelligent. Here are my findings:
- Privacy settings visible via Settings were not altered. Good.
- OneDrive was not reinstalled. Good.
- BING location search registry tweak was removed, and I had to re-add it. Bad.
- Windows nags and annoys with "get more" nonsense just upon login. I'll show you how to neuter this, plus a bunch of other stuff in a separate tutorial. Pointless.
- Windows Explorer had the 3D, Documents, Pictures and the other stupid folders re-added in the sidebar. I had to purge them via registry tweaks. Stupid.
- The Diagnostics & Telemetry service was turned on, even though I had it disabled. I turned it off again. Useless.
- The Defender AV service was also turned on and real-time protection activated. No. Don't want. My IQ breaches above the three-digit level, like a majestic whale, and I don't need stupid software eating my software cycles for no good reason. But it gets better. I mean awful.
- Even though I disabled real-time protections via Settings - on reboot, they were back. So I decided to go Armageddon on this thing. I disabled Defender via Group Policy, I disabled the two Microsoft Defender anti-virus services via the Services applet, and I also used Sysinternals Autoruns to uncheck the services. I had to use ExecTI to be able to achieve the desired. Now, to make things worse, Microsoft has split the Defender related components into two parts - Microsoft Defender and Windows Defender, because why make things simple, when you can make them confusing!
- The signatures for the AV services are invalid - Autoruns says not verified. They are verified, just expired. In my case, a manual check says they expired on April 9, whereas I did the upgrade on April 21. So much QA, my timbers are shivering. Fail.
- Not only that, Windows can't respect its own notifications. Even though I explicitly told it not to notify me about the anti-virus stuff (before the complete and proper neutering), it still kept pestering. Repeat after me: Professional edition of Windows. Pro-fess-ion-al ed-ition.
- Microsoft Edge, based on Chromium, was installed, even though I have the registry tweak in place not to upgrade the browser. So much for upgrade policies, right. Pointless.
- My IFEO setting for Internet Explorer was removed. I re-added it, and for good measure, also added the registry keys for the new Edge. When you're naughty, you get punished. Even though the new Edge is a decent browser, as I've shown you in my review, because of this low-IQ nonsense, I am now blocking it on purpose on all my Windows machines. I may use it as my secondary browser on my Linux boxes, but not here. Disrespect my choices, and I push back. Simple. IE, old Edge, new Edge, cannot run now at all.
- Windows started nudging me about file association - again. Relax. Stop it. This smells of desperation. My browser of choice is Firefox, and this is how it stays, and no amount of stupid ad-like messages in the header of Settings are going to change that.
- Windows 10 also decided to change my power plan, because. So I now decided to pin the desired power plan through a Group Policy, where you can hard-set the plan with the UUID. How wonderful.
- Stupid messages in the header bar of Settings. This is so annoying that there are online threads discussing this low-IQ crappola left and right. People are making third-party tools just to get rid of this adbar. This is so sad.
- My Office had to be reactivated! Now, this is the worst part of all. The Feature upgrade did whatever it did, causing Office to have to be reactivated. Again, turns out I'm not alone in this modern-day dystopia. You just have your normal program installed, and then an update comes and messes up your finely tuned setup. Wonderful, isn't it, this whole move fast and break things. So good. So empowering. Such tremendous user experience. Or is this another stupid way to "convince" people to use the cloud subscription service? Don't want.
- The Explorer process (explorer.exe) crashed once. How stable, lovely lovely QA.
- The CPU spike introduced earlier this year is still there. Let your screen go to sleep, and/or let the screensaver kick in, move the mouse, and the CPU will jump to about 100% very briefly, and then you can resume your normal work. Not sure what's the cause of this, but it ain't fun.
This useless and pointless experience has led me to a number of decisions. One, when I build my next Windows setup, I am most likely going to do it this way: a machine dedicated to gaming, a virtual machine for stuff that requires Office use, and everything else on a separate host, possibly, hopefully with Linux (sigh). Then, I can do everyday browsing and whatnot on systems that update regularly, and then Windows stuff on machines that are fully locked down and don't get any updates, ever. Two, I most likely won't install the next Feature update either, be as it may. Updates are overrated anyway. Three, I'm not going to cave in to nonsense. And even if I may have an okayish predisposition to some online/subscription stuff Microsoft-wise, I will now purposefully, on principle, not do them.
I had no problem with Windows Phone or Microsoft account, quite the opposite. It was a superb experience, and better than what you get on Android, even today. I have no problem with lots of stuff. But only when that stuff is presented in a human way, ergo no forced sales/marketing buzzwords vomit. For example, Windows security. So much noise about anti-virus but ZERO mention of the amazing Exploit protection. Why peddle useless stuff instead of smart, intelligent tools? Imagine being a software developer, and then some droid tells you "MoaR ADs in thE HeaDeR baR!" Amazing, isn't it? Such a joyful, fulfilling experience! The Silicon Paradise!
My biggest problem is that I can't just chuck this thing away. I still need Windows for games and work with book publishers, who only accept DOCX. That's the reality. A hostage of technology, that's me. And then I get really bitter, because it's been 20 years of Linux desktop, and we still can't get decent fonts or a distro that doesn't randomly break every 63 days.
I'm not asking for much. All I want is my Professional edition of Windows 10 to be left alone. Updates without changes, without regressions. There are enough idiots out there to profit from, please leave the few people who have more than a rotten potato in their heads in peace. We're outliers anyway, we're not interesting, we don't click ads, we don't get convinced by marketing. Just let us be and do our nerdy stuff. Please. Thank you.