Windows 11 is a nightmare…

Moving to a new computer is never an easy task but when it involves an effective downgrade of operating systems Microsoft is calling Windows 11, it becomes downright painful. Hopefully my years of experience and recent notes on this move will help a few others out there.

Needed tools:

First and foremost, absolutely necessary to get core windows functionality back and make the rest of the migration and all future normal use of your computer easier you need to downloads and install Explorer Patcher https://github.com/valinet/ExplorerPatcher/ Ungrouping taskbar and at least getting back windows 10 start menu (I still long for the control of windows XP) are the top 2 features but there are a number of other worthwhile options to explore as well. even with this work around in place, don’t forget to add your feedback to Microsoft as they have completely ignored this massive productivity loss since the launch of windows 11.

Office Scrub tool https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/uninstall-office-from-a-pc-9dd49b83-264a-477a-8fcc-2fdf5dbf61d8?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us Office has gone downhill for years, and is now as much of an advertising platform as productivity suite. MS designed this tool to fix their installer/uninstaller bugs but it works great to clean most of the install (hijack) on demand shortcuts embedded throughout new systems. Sadly windows 11 seems to have plenty of hardcoded advertisement blocks that will keep pushing it but daily use will keep you clear of them. I recommend replacing MS Office with OpenOffice for a desktop suite.

Since Microsoft is killing off SyncToy I found a potential replacement FreeFileSynchttps://freefilesync.org/download.php. Promising and capable so far, I just haven’t gotten an automated behind the scenes syncing working as seamless as I want quite yet.


Powershell tweaks

There seems to be some progress form Microsoft on the ability to remove some of the bloatware but the following PowerShell commands will clean up a few aps that don’t allow normal uninstall options.

Photos – honestly I never opened it and can’t tell you anything about it’s capabilities other than it prevents any other application form setting file associations with photo file types so it has to go.

Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

I don’t understand the forceful Xbox integrations. from my understanding gamers are either PC or Console and for the vast majority of the rest of us, all this is doing is occupying system resources, and maybe collecting personal data. either of which means it doesn’t belong on most computers…

Get-AppxPackage -allusers XboxApp | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage -allusers Microsoft.XboxGamingOverlay | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-appxprovisionedpackage –online | where-object {$_.packagename –like “*xboxapp*”} | remove-appxprovisionedpackage –online 

Widgets

winget uninstall "windows web experience pack"

“Your Phone”

Get-AppxPackage -allusers “*YourPhone*” | Remove-AppxPackage

Cortana

Get-appxpackage -allusers *Microsoft.549981C3F5F10* | Remove-AppxPackage

Bing weather – about as trustworthy as the original weatherbug.

Get-AppxPackage -allusers *BingWeather* | Remove-AppxPackage

More shortcomings

Default settings are set very wide open, no easy way around but you should expect to spend some quality time going through all the windows (and browser) settings. It’s slow and panful, I think the UI designers spent extra care trying to dissuade us but there are some pretty intrusive defaults.

Sitting Idle with nothing going on, Windows 11 is occupying 7GB of RAM so that factory default of 16 is going to need an upgrade for most users. Check prices before giving out your card number, I added 32GB (giving me a total of 48GB) for barely over half of what the manufacturer wanted to charge for upgrading to 32GB as a base.

RDP or Remote Desktop Connection has been completely removed form Windows 11 Home edition for both connecting to and connecting from. I’m sure Microsoft sees this as a professional use only thing and completely overlooks how many IOT professionals end up supporting friends and family members . Then again maybe they’re counting on the ability to cut into that free tech support market since their support reps can’t do anything without being granted access to your machine and get downright hostile when you (rightfully) refuse. Letting unvetted overseas contractor full access to your machine is never a good idea even if I wasn’t directly aware of numerous security breaches of them stealing and publishing confidential information form people trying to get support.


Useful applications you’ll want to add

These are worthwhile on any machine, I think most even still offer a 32bit installer if you’re still holding on Windows XP

Irfanview has been around forever and is a great lightweight photo viewer. Free download at https://www.irfanview.com/

Not every password should be saved in your browser! PassWordSafe is a great option I’ve used for years. https://www.pwsafe.org/
– – If you need access form more than one machine I simply save my .psafe3 file in my box sync folder.

We all need to be able to read PDF documents and avoiding having any Adobe code on my new machine I found Foxit which is proving better than acrobat anyway. https://www.foxit.com/downloads/#Foxit-Reader/ They offer a free reader to everyone as well as paid options for creation.

Core Temphttps://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/ Overheating shouldn’t be an issue with factory built machines but as corner cutting gets more and more common it’s never a bad idea to monitor system component health. This also helps give warning when it’s time to vacuum out the internal fans and heatsinks.

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