Steve K.

This is my brain on LiveJournal.

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My Windows 10 (Preview) Experience
I installed the Windows 10 Preview on my old desktop a while ago, but finally started playing around with it a bit.  My initial experience over the last few days hasn't been as pleasant as my Windows 7 experience.  I get that I have to "get used to" the new tile and boxy look and the "charm" idiot controls, but it's not even that.  Microsoft is pushing cloud so much that you can't get rid of it, and I'm trying to kill the cloud--I want my blue sky.  So here is an agrigate of my tips and tricks that I've figured out so far.
[Hopefully this doesn't get goofed up. I'm experiencing inadvertant typing cursor movement while just touching my typing keys.]

Microsoft Account Log-On
Microsoft is trying to make your life easier by unifying your Microsoft online account with your computer's account.  That's great if you're using your Microsoft Account. I stopped using my old Hotmail address years ago, and only keep it around because Microsoft requires you have an account with them if you're doing anything technical.  I'm a software developer, so can't help it.  This news is not so great when you're a little keen on your privacy and segregated systems.  I don't want a corporation to have its fingers in everything I do whether they think themselves trustworthy or not.  Linux is great for avoiding this trap, but I unfortunately have to use Windows.

So my problem here is that the integration of the Microsoft Account is so entagled that it will nag you to convert your local account and almost make you do it by accident.  I don't like accidents, so I found out how to turn off the nag.  I found this post from about disabling account linking that tells you how to do this in a corporate-type environment where you install GPMC and all that.  You don't need GPMC.  You can do this on Windows 10 with your administrator account (the only account you'll ever have, really).

Caution: If you do this before unlinking your account, you may not be able to log into your computer later.  So make sure your account is a local account, and not a Microsoft account.

First, you need to open the local group policy manager.  Run (Start+R) the "mmc" command.  Go to the File menu and select "Add/Remove Snap-in...".  Double-click the "Group Policy Object Editor" on the left.  Select the "Local Computer" (default) and click the Finish button.  Then click "OK".  You now have the local computer policy listed in the console root.

Expand to the path: Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

Click on the "Security Options" path, if you didn't already.  Near the top of the policy list you will find "Accounts: Block Microsoft accounts".  By default, this is shows "Not Defined" or "This policy is disabled".  Double click the policy.

There's an explain tab if you want to know what this does, but you can just set this to "Users can't add or log on with Microsoft accounts".  To be a little safer, you can try the other option, "Users can't add Microsoft accounts".  So, pick the option and apply or click OK.  Close the console and you should no longer be nagged to convert your local account to a Microsoft account.

Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is something I'm not fond of seeing integrated into Windows 10.  I get that it's part of the Microsoft ecosphere, but a good company should provide a general experience that offers non-ecoshere user the option of using one thing without the other.  This is why Internet Explorer had all that legal trouble back in the day, and I don't know why it doesn't have that same legal trouble right now. (Come on EU!! You're slacking.)

Because of how much of an issue this is, I've moved the solution for this to a separate entry just for OneDrive haters to enjoy.

Hope over here for the full solution:

Web Search Merged with Desktop Search
This one here really irks me as well, much like OneDrive.  I don't want to see the world news when I'm looking for a program on my computer.  Bing can live in its own ecosphere in the web browser. Get it off my desktop.  So here's how.

Just like before, open up your local computer policy again in "mmc".

Browse to the following location: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search

Find the setting labeled "Don't search the web or display web results in Search".  Double click that, and select "Enabled"; double-negative, so enable the "Don't".  Okay that and now it won't perform or display search results in your search bar.  It will still allow you to go to a web search if you really want to (seems like a nice idea to me).  If you don't want that either, then enable the setting "Do not allow web search".

OR SO I THOUGHT.... I just tried all this, and Cortana seems to violate group policy at this time.  Lovely, Microsoft...

Windows 10 Niceties
There is a lot to appreciate with Windows 10 over 7, if you hunt for it.  So I'm going to list what I love about the new edition, in no particular order.

  • Quick access to system management tools; just right-click on the start button.  You can even shut down the computer here.

  • Awesome Task Manager features: I can finally see what programs are killing my hard drive performance without using the resource monitor program; The ethernet performance monitoring actually shows true transfer rates rather than using bogus percentage values.

  • Charm bar isn't obnoxious as it was in 8/8.1.

  • It boots to the desktop, and the start menu isn't too bad.


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