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Engineer's Guide To Windows: Start Fresh

Rami Massoud
Cloud Native Staff Engineer @ Blue Apron, powerlifter, big eater, steak aficionado 🥩
Originally published at ramimassoud.com on ・5 min read

After constant disappointments with Apple’s Macbook Paperweights, I decided to switch back to Windows machines, especially once I learned about the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

This is the first of a series of posts covering all of the things I do to prep a machine for my dev and gaming needs.

Managing Vendor Cruft

garbage pile

DecentSecurity has a great guide for the very initial setup of a new machine. Unless you’ve built your own system, you’re going to have a bunch of vendor cruft installed on your new machine, and the guide has you do a fresh Windows install first thing to clear all of that out.

Once you have a clean Windows install, you need to clean up the Microsoft cruft. 😒

Managing Microsoft Cruft

BSOD

Inspired by Win10-Initial-Setup-Script, I run the following commands in an admin PowerShell, which can be reached by right-clicking on the start button and clicking. Windows PowerShell (Admin)

Disable Cortana

If (!(Test-Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Personalization\Settings")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Personalization\Settings" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Personalization\Settings" -Name "AcceptedPrivacyPolicy" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization" -Name "RestrictImplicitTextCollection" -Type DWord -Value 1
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization" -Name "RestrictImplicitInkCollection" -Type DWord -Value 1
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore" -Name "HarvestContacts" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" -Name "ShowCortanaButton" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\default\Experience\AllowCortana" -Name "Value" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" -Name "AllowCortana" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\InputPersonalization")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\InputPersonalization" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\InputPersonalization" -Name "AllowInputPersonalization" -Type DWord -Value 0
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.549981C3F5F10" | Remove-AppxPackage
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Disable Web Search in Start Menu

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search" -Name "BingSearchEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search" -Name "CortanaConsent" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search" -Name "DisableWebSearch" -Type DWord -Value 1
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Disable Application Suggestions & Automatic Installation

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "ContentDeliveryAllowed" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "OemPreInstalledAppsEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "PreInstalledAppsEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "PreInstalledAppsEverEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SilentInstalledAppsEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-310093Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-314559Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-338387Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-338388Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-338389Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-338393Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-353694Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-353696Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SubscribedContent-353698Enabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ContentDeliveryManager" -Name "SystemPaneSuggestionsEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UserProfileEngagement")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UserProfileEngagement" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UserProfileEngagement" -Name "ScoobeSystemSettingEnabled" -Type DWord -Value 0
If (!(Test-Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsInkWorkspace")) {
    New-Item -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsInkWorkspace" -Force | Out-Null
}
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsInkWorkspace" -Name "AllowSuggestedAppsInWindowsInkWorkspace" -Type DWord -Value 0
# Empty placeholder tile collection in registry cache and restart Start Menu process to reload the cache
If ([System.Environment]::OSVersion.Version.Build -ge 17134) {
    $key = Get-ItemProperty -Path "HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore\Store\Cache\DefaultAccount\*windows.data.placeholdertilecollection\Current"
    Set-ItemProperty -Path $key.PSPath -Name "Data" -Type Binary -Value $key.Data[0..15]
    Stop-Process -Name "ShellExperienceHost" -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
}
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Uninstall OneDrive

Stop-Process -Name "OneDrive" -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Start-Sleep -s 2
$onedrive = "$env:SYSTEMROOT\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe"
If (!(Test-Path $onedrive)) {
    $onedrive = "$env:SYSTEMROOT\System32\OneDriveSetup.exe"
}
Start-Process $onedrive "/uninstall" -NoNewWindow -Wait
Start-Sleep -s 2
Stop-Process -Name "explorer" -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Start-Sleep -s 2
If ((Get-ChildItem -Path "$env:USERPROFILE\OneDrive" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Measure-Object).Count -eq 0) {
    Remove-Item -Path "$env:USERPROFILE\OneDrive" -Force -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
}
Remove-Item -Path "$env:LOCALAPPDATA\Microsoft\OneDrive" -Force -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Remove-Item -Path "$env:PROGRAMDATA\Microsoft OneDrive" -Force -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Remove-Item -Path "$env:SYSTEMDRIVE\OneDriveTemp" -Force -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
If (!(Test-Path "HKCR:")) {
    New-PSDrive -Name "HKCR" -PSProvider "Registry" -Root "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT" | Out-Null
}
Remove-Item -Path "HKCR:\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}" -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Remove-Item -Path "HKCR:\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}" -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
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Uninstall Default Microsoft Applications

Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.3DBuilder" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingFinance" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingFoodAndDrink" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingHealthAndFitness" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingMaps" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingNews" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingSports" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingTranslator" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingTravel" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.BingWeather" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.ConnectivityStore" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.FreshPaint" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.GetHelp" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Getstarted" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.HelpAndTips" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient.2" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Messaging" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Microsoft3DViewer" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.MicrosoftOfficeHub" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.MicrosoftPowerBIForWindows" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.MinecraftUWP" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.MixedReality.Portal" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.NetworkSpeedTest" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.OfficeLens" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Office.OneNote" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Office.Sway" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.OneConnect" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.People" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Print3D" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.RemoteDesktop" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.SkypeApp" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Todos" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Wallet" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.WebMediaExtensions" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.WindowsFeedbackHub" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.WindowsMaps" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.WinJS.1.0" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.WinJS.2.0" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.YourPhone" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.ZuneMusic" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.ZuneVideo" | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage "Microsoft.Advertising.Xaml" | Remove-AppxPackage
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Take a Breath

relaxing-beach

Now you have a clean and fresh foundation to work from. Next time I’ll break down how I set up Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)! For now, why not kick back and relax for a bit?

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