1. The difference between Win + D and Win + M commands

Passwords for keeps – Microsoft removes password expiration Windows 10 security baseline

Password expiration is a common practice in enterprise environments – requiring users to regularly change their passwords.

This practice was sold as a security measure – however changing a password which is not compromised does not add any security – if anything it encourages to write down their for ever changing passwords. Continue reading “Passwords for keeps – Microsoft removes password expiration Windows 10 security baseline”

How to decrud a fresh install of Windows 10

A fresh install of Windows 10 is bloated with bells and whistles.

In previous versions of Windows only a small number of changes were required to make the user experience pleasant and useful – but with Windows 10 there’s a large number of “features” that are rarely, if ever, useful.

Here are the steps I take after installing Windows 10 to make it more pleasant to use.

I am deliberately keeping away from installing third-party software as it is depends on what the users needs are – however, installing another browser like Google Chrome wouldn’t hurt.

Note: if you’ve got a pre-installed version of Windows 10 that came with your computer it most likely has a large number of miscellaneous software – trail versions of Office and McAfee, management tools etc. If this is you I highly suggest you start with a FRESH install – reinstall Windows 10 again – this is the only sure way to know no software remains lurking in the background.

Privacy

Before you even get into Windows 10 you need to specify your privacy settings – less is best here. You will never have complete privacy from Microsoft using Windows 10 – but this will reduce (or at least they say it does) the amount of information they collect about you and your use.

Cortana

Mostly for privacy reasons – you’re going to want to say NO to using Cortana – the “Suri” of Windows. Like Suri – what you ask is cataloged and shared with Microsoft.

Remove tile clutter

Pre-installed with Windows 10 are a number of tiles. It makes the start menu look more full – but they’re mostly advertisements.

Uninstall or unpin the ones that are not useful for you.

Turn off suggested apps

In the start menu you’ll notice a “suggested” app – right-click and choose ‘Turn off all suggestions’. The settings window will open – turn ‘Occasionally show suggestions in Start’ off.

Uninstall pre-installed apps

Work your way through the start menu and for any app that you do not want – right-click and choose ‘Uninstall’.

Note that Windows doesn’t let you uninstall some of these apps, like the Xbox app.

Remove taskbar icons

Remove the Windows Store and Mail icons from the taskbar by right-clicking on them and choosing ‘Unpin from taskbar’.

Microsoft have remove the option to remove Cortana completely – but you can still disable it by manually setting a “policy” setting.

See: Windows 10 – How to disable Cortana search with Anniversary Update

Restore File Explorer toolbar

By default Windows 10 hides the toolbar in File Explore (otherwise known as “computer”).

To restore it, open up the File Explorer and double click on ‘File’.

Anything else?

Is there something I’ve missed? What steps do you take to restore some grace to Windows 10?

Let me know in the comments below. (no third-party software)

Windows 10 gets pushy with Edge

Microsoft are a long time players in the browser wars with the Internet Explorer browser – but it has a problem, a branding problem – no matter how much they improve Internet Explorer it will always be remembered for it’s poor performance and inability to stick to web standards – making it equally frustrating for users and developers.

Enter Microsoft Edge – Microsoft’s new and improved browser that was first introduced with Windows 10. 

But even with the free upgrades to Windows 10 they’ve failed to make any real impact against Google Chrome.

What’s interesting is the ways Microsoft tries to encourage you to stick to use Edge, the default browser, in Windows 10.

Searching for other browsers. What’s the best use of Internet Explorer? – Searching for another browser. Microsoft have taken note of this and now when you use Bing, their search website, to search for another browser you get a little video advertisement promoting the benefits of Edge.

Windows 10 makes it harder to change browsers. In previous versions of Windows you would see a prompt and click to set the new browser as the default – but with Windows 10 you now need to click, wait for the ‘choose default apps’ window to open, navigate it and click and choose the new default browser. Making things harder to do is a strong tool to control what people do, and it’s clear what their objective is here.

Are you sure? Even after clicking through to change the browser you get Edge pushed at you with a message that reads:

Before you switch
Try Microsoft Edge - it's new, it's fast, and it's built for Windows 10.

Prompts when first loading another browser. Windows 10 knows all – and this includes when you first load another browser – you soon see a prompt that reads:

The recommended browser
Microsoft Edge was built for Windows 10.

Prompts when launching Edge. Even after all of this, if you go back to Edge you see another prompt which reads:

Do more with Microsoft Edge - the fast, new browser built for Windows 10.

This is a normal technique done by all browsers – but it is unique in that by this time you’ve already gone out of your way to change browser and dismissed several other prompts to change to back to Edge. 

 

Despite all these measures, since it’s release in 2015 Edge has only slowly increased in usage – but Google Chrome remains the biggest share in browser usage. 

Overall currently Internet Explorer and Edge have a 8% market share with Google Chrome having 58%

Reference: https://www.w3counter.com/trends 

Does this signal the end of Microsoft being in the browser war? Even when they have 75% of the operating system market they’re failing massively to convert users to their browser. Chrome appears destined to become the new term to describe an internet browser – much like Googling has for searching.