back to article Rufus and ExplorerPatcher: Tools to remove Windows 11 TPM pain and more

The latest beta of the popular Windows USB creation tool Rufus adds some handy features, such as removing Microsoft account requirements and turning off TPM chip detection – and there are others too. In olden times, PCs used to come with recovery disks so that if your hard disk died you could fit a new one and reinstall. Then …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Wow, this almost makes W11 worth a look.

    Almost...

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      So, after removing everything that makes Win11 different from Win10, you can begin to use Win11

      Progress!

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Almost ...

      Almost?

      No, not yet.

      It's not Friday yet ...

      ... it does seem that Windows 11 is gradually gaining market share.

      A lot been said about fools, their money, how there's one born evey minute, and so on.

      No need to dwell on that.

      Evidently it's true.

      O.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who the heck pays for Windows?!

        If you work in IT get your company to buy MSDN subscriptions and get Windows and apps for free! Haven't personally paid for an MS product in almost 15 years now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't think it's really a deliberate choice, think it goes more along the way Microsoft has been ramming their Teams down everyone's throat. In other words, anything you do may be deemed permission to update (especially at home) at which point MS can clain yet another install.

        Marketing would naturally annihilate any employee who would suggest an ability to tell a voluntary install from a test or an oh-my-God-what-have-I-just-done install (which is also possible by popping up a permissions box with focus and "go ahead" as default just after a user has entered UID and PWD in a logon box because "Enter" will the surely follow), because I think the former count would be low indeed.

        I had the opportunity to fully avoid Windows for almost a decade. Now having to use it for a (thankfully short) while has made it clear just how bad it has become. When you use something that wants a GB sized patches and updates frequently, is quite prepared to abuse staff time by delaying shutdown and/or startup, will pretend to have focus but has in reality not (any demand for admin rights) on top of a frankly horrific UI, that wants to toot and bleep and ping for absolutely anything and insists on stopping you from working by a complete sea of popus when you start an pplication by pretending it's trying "help" you (by absolutely avoiding an option that say "skip all the marketing, beginners stuff and other BS, I'm an adult and want to get some work done") when you have formerly used something before that truly just works, the gap is flat out horrific. If anyone made cars like that, the roof would fall off the moment they left the forecourt. Oh wait, Tesla's done that.

        I will be very glad when I can go back using Linux on servers and MacOS on the desktop. The loss of productivity using Microsoft has gotten so bad that I really feel it's no longer incompetence or accidental - this really MUST be deliberate.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So much MS BS spin. Privacy? or minute by minute monitoring of a Windows 11 system?

      "Every Microsoft customer should be able to use our products knowing we will protect their privacy and give them the information and tools needed to audit all usage of their private resources. The new App usage history features, which began rolling out to Insiders with Build 25140, gives users a 7-day history of resource access for Location, Camera, Microphone, Phone Calls, Messaging, Contacts, Pictures, Videos, Music library, Screenshots and apps through the Settings experience. You can find this new information under Settings > Privacy & security > App permissions (simply click on one of the app permissions categories such as microphone and look at “Recent activity”)."

      * from the release notes for W23H2 preview release.

      Look at it another way, this is information collected and recorded without your explicit permission that could be used against you, at some point.

      In other news, Linux Mint 21 Beta is due this week. You know where this is all going, and Mint does the drudge'.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: So much MS BS spin. Privacy? or minute by minute monitoring of a Windows 11 system?

        You're trying to justify not using the world's most popular personal computer OS because of privacy.

        To a mass of users who will happily post their lives to Facebook, and download the latest trendy smartphone app with more tracking built-in than Microsoft could only dream of.

        ...

        You're fighting a losing battle. [Our] technical background of raising concerns in today's world is an ant farting into a hurricane.

  2. TonyJ Silver badge

    Just goes to show..

    ...how false these "requirements" from MS actually are.

    (Which I know everyone here at El Reg already knew, but you would expect it of this audience).

    1. Dave Null

      Re: Just goes to show..

      Honestly, this is EXACTLY the sort of snidey, malinformed comment that infests the Reg's comments sections and makes me hate reading them

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Just goes to show..

        You say that like you've never been on Twitter.

        1. eionmac

          Re: Just goes to show..

          What is twitter? I have never used it, but see it referred to in a number of BBC reports of loss of data or announcements by folk.

      2. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Just goes to show..

        "...Honestly, this is EXACTLY the sort of snidey, malinformed comment that infests the Reg's comments sections and makes me hate reading them.."

        Well first off I've spent most of my career in and out, and around, what we'd now call EUC - so long in fact, from way before it was called such a thing.

        I've been involved in some massive rollouts and upgrades over the years and Microsoft have a habit of making things more difficult than they should be.

        Worked with MECM lately? The interface is a mess and has been for a long time. Deployment tools are increasingly cluttered and difficult to untangle. Co-management *should* help but tends to add a large overhead on with diminishing returns that mean group policies are still required. A support mix that can be hell to unravel.

        Why not just provide a mechanism to import group policies, convert them and apply them*?

        During lockdown I was involved in a refresh for a council that had begun some time before C19 so we had to move it to a remote deployment.

        It was painful for a number of reasons. But, as part of the programme, said council had bought around 4,000 new laptops (purchased mid-late 2019) to support Windows 10. The vast majority of them won't be supported by Windows 11 despite being core i5 and i7 devices with plenty of RAM, SSD's etc.

        Now, if Microsoft are truly stating that the TPM version is that important, a) there would be no mechanism to bypass it and b) they would put the requirement into Windows 10.

        Since they don't do either of these things, it makes it arbitrary and clear to any idiot that it is a strategy designed to keep the uptick of laptop sales we saw during lockdown going for their partners and actually, the end result is the exact opposite - places will milk out their investments into Windows 10 and the devices it runs on for as long as they possibly can, even if that's beyond their usual refresh windows. But then lets also not forget that Windows 10 was the last version you'd ever buy and it would be rolling updates.

        Likewise - what is the justification for not allowing me to have a local user account? Let's look at Intune for a second - I can create a deployment profile that creates a local user. I can even make that user non-administrative (yay!). If Microsoft believed that any kind of online account was a necessity then they would insist on an offline domain join and a domain user being used, but they do neither.

        Still think my comments are snidey and malinformed?

        *Something they've been promising for a long time though I will confess I haven't checked their progress on this recently, the last time I did it was still unavailable. You could do a kind of group policy import that would tell you if the settings could be done in Intune or not but not actually import them to use).

        1. DailyLlama

          Re: Just goes to show..

          "Why not just provide a mechanism to import group policies, convert them and apply them*?"

          This, a million times over. Then my users who don't/don't know how/cba connect to the VPN will have their policies updated, and settings set.

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: Just goes to show..

            Check out a machine based VPN rather than user based. Alwayson VPN offerings. They do help with scenarios like this.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just goes to show..

          OK, I'll call your MECM and show the horrific mess they made of the change of Quick Assist. We're still wading hrough the heaps of crap that that has landed our support guys in.

          At present there's a call to fully abandon it - after all, we also have LANdesk and that at least works. No, Teams share & control is not an option, that "protects" the use from support by not allowing entry in an admin level powershell window - I cabn see why, but it would f*cking good if our staff could control such a decision instead of an arbitrary imposed barrier which can change when Redmond feels it's bored and wants other things to fail.

          Personqlly I think this is Microsoft showing its shareholders that it can companies globally so by the nuts that nobody dares challenging them anymore. The jy of shareholder value, coming to any further actually useful application now.

        4. Sudosu

          Re: Just goes to show..

          Ah yes, the good old days when End User Computing was a support team and not Microsoft's vision statement.

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Just goes to show..

        The tone and the username are eerily familiar, but I thought the person in question was dead. Did you sue three ISPs, back in the day?

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Just goes to show..

          "...The tone and the username are eerily familiar, but I thought the person in question was dead. Did you sue three ISPs, back in the day?..."

          If that's being asked of me - no, not me.

          1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Just goes to show..

            Nope, asked of "Dave Null".

      4. Fifth Horseman

        Re: Just goes to show..

        Don't read them, and don't comment on them, then?

        Probably better for your blood pressure.

      5. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Just goes to show..

        Dave null:

        this is EXACTLY the sort of snidey, malinformed comment that

        Wow check out Dave's post history .

        He's a very angry man , but obviously superior to the rest of us as we're doing it all wrong apparently .

      6. John 104

        Re: Just goes to show..

        Honestly, this is EXACTLY the sort of uninformed, non-technical, USER type of comment that makes me wonder where the El Reg of years gone has disappeared to.

        As a long time Reg subscriber I've watched the site get diluted by viewers such as yourself to the point where an article such as this, about imaging software, mentions that it is intimidating for people to use PowerShell to configure their machine. Then, when someone points out the obvious, you post that you hate reading comments. Perhaps you could slow your roll and get some technical chops. Then the technical aspects of this site wouldn't be quite so intimidating to you.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Just goes to show..

      "If you like things clean and minimal, you might want to disable Windows 11's "widgets" and "chat" buttons. "

      Or install a Linux distro with decent looking desktop GUI. There's only several dozen to choose from.

  3. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    I wish it was retroactive.

    As in, drop a file on a preinstalled copy of Win10/11 & it does all the things mentioned, without having to nuke & pave the drive to install a fresh copy.

    I could buy a new computer with Win11 on it, run the program to scrub it of all the bits I refuse to accept, and then go about configuring it the rest of the way. Otherwise I have to do a full nuke & pave, which will almost always require various drivers downloaded from manufacturer sites, and make me have to jump through multiple hoops that aren't exactly screen reader friendly.

    I might, *might* be tempted to buy a new Windows computer at that point, but failing that I think my next computer will be coming from someone like System76.

    Dear Microsoft, you've pissed off a long time MS supporter that took pride in being able to assist family, friends, coworkers, & complete strangers to debug, maintain, secure, & speed up their Windows machines, into someone whom replies "Avoid Windows like the plague!" to anyone & everyone that asks me for computer advice. Why? Because you've gone from a company I could almost accept from an ethical standpoint to one I wouldn't touch with an extinguisher if you were on fire. And you have nobody to blame but yourselves. You've shot yourself *And Your Customers* in the feet so many times that we need wheelchairs. Shame on you & go stick your head in a pig. =-/

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wish it was retroactive.

      > pissed off a long time MS supporter [...] into someone whom replies "Avoid Windows like the plague!"

      Same here!...

      Unfortunately they don't care: It's not like this affects their bottom line any, and their various managers' ego trips are way more important to them than wasting time trying to please a captive audience.

      1. smot

        Re: I wish it was retroactive.

        And here. Only it was Vista that did it for me. Been with Ubuntu ever since, with Windows in a VM for any necessities.

        Only need to convince Mrs. Smot that her next lappie should be non-Windows...

    2. Khaptain

      Re: I wish it was retroactive.

      I did it using this way by doing the two regedit's that Rufus does for you....

      This link gives you both methods, I have tried both and can conform that they both work, Rufus obviously with a fresh install and also the Upgrade from W10..

      https://www.alphr.com/bypass-windows-11-requirements/

      There are quite a few sites listing the same method..

      However even after 6 months I am still trying to find the advantages of W11.. It's ok but dfinately nothing world changing.. It's not bad though and I find it very stable..

      1. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Re: I wish it was retroactive.

        I have not even bothered to try Win 11 in a VM machine yet, as I know its basically Windows 10 with a new shiny interface, and even 10s start menu is littered with ads for games on the 'professional' version of Windows.

        The fact 3rd party tools exist to put Windows 11 back to looking like the previous versions, shows MS don't care about their end users, as how hard would it be to give you the option of which start menu layout you prefer as part of the OS?

        1. Alumoi Silver badge

          Re: I wish it was retroactive.

          s I know its basically Windows 10 with a new shiny interface

          That's lipstick and wrong end of the pig.

          You're welcome.

      2. Plest Silver badge

        Re: I wish it was retroactive.

        My gaming experience is a bit more stable but other than that I'm failing to see why W11 is supposed to be so great. It's OK, I like the simpler, flatter icon style now we've dropped those hopelessly outdated shiny icon stylings we had back in the 1990's.

        The only annoyances are more of MS hiding the useful config panels under ever deeper layers of shiny guff to stop the riff-raff messing up their installs and clogging MS support lines.

        If you're getting W11 on new kit then fine keep it as it OK, but I certainly wouldn't bother recommending anyone go out of their way to upgrade as the benefits are minimal at best.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: I wish it was retroactive.

          > stop the riff-raff messing up their installs and clogging MS support lines

          Oh but you don't need to call MS support, they're calling you all the time...

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: I wish it was retroactive.

      [Author here]

      > As in, drop a file on a preinstalled copy of Win10/11 & it does all the things mentioned, without having to nuke & pave the drive to install a fresh copy.

      I don't understand what you're getting at here.

      An app that bypasses installation requirements for an OS is totally pointless once you have installed the OS, isn't it?

      Of the 4 different tools I mention in the story, the other 3 of them *can* be run on an installed copy and do what they say. You can reconfigure the Explorer, turn off telemetry, remove all the "metro" apps etc.

      The only thing I can see that you might want is to create a new local account after installation, unlinked to an MS online account.

      You can do that and MS tells you how:

      https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/how-to-create-a-local-account-in-windows-11/24c2e160-ac65-4748-a733-529e6507dfdf

      Then you could remove your 1st, online account.

      In other words, all the meaningful things you ask *are already possible.*

      1. joed

        Re: I wish it was retroactive.

        The problem with MS account setup is that the time you're done, you had to provide them with your phone number (because mfa is essential for a junk account). All these foolish games are just example of MS' fomo.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: I wish it was retroactive.

        "I don't understand what you're getting at here."

        What he was getting at is a script that switches off all the crap on an existing windows installation.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

          Re: I wish it was retroactive.

          > What he was getting at is a script that switches off all the crap on an existing windows installation.

          Yes. I know. But I had already listed two plus a web link on how to DIY. What more could I do?

    4. Sparkus

      Nuhi and NT Lite

      has been a godsend and a welcome reappearance for Windows10/11........

      Like Bruno, msft really doesn't like to talk about it much.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Windows Updates?

    Is it conceivable that a future Windows Update could reintroduce the nasties like TPM detection thus rendering your system unusable?

    1. thondwe

      Re: What about Windows Updates?

      Agreed just because it's not checking, doesn't stop W11 running code that needs TPM/CPU instructions present.

      The forced Windows Account install, I agree, is annoying, I prefer to install with a local admin account and add the MS login later, then I crank up UAC to require an admin login

      1. aerogems Bronze badge

        Re: What about Windows Updates?

        You can still create local accounts. It's a few extra steps, but it can be done. Then you just use the Microsoft account linked one as the emergency admin account or just abandon it entirely.

        https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/how-to-create-a-local-account-in-windows-11/24c2e160-ac65-4748-a733-529e6507dfdf

        I haven't personally verified, but I've been told by people who run some of the Insider builds that this should still be possible with the next update. If/When Microsoft eliminates local accounts entirely I will entertain people's complaints about it, but not before. Apple and Google already require accounts to make use of the majority of features on an iDevice or Android device, and plenty of people, even among those who complain, use their Apple/Google/Facebook account as a single sign on token. So, it's not like it's some kind of principled argument with these people. If they were even half as principled as they try to make themselves out to be, they would have switched to Linux years ago.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: What about Windows Updates?

          “Apple and Google already require accounts to make use of the majority of features on an iDevice or Android device “, eh? Interesting. I haven’t used an Android phone or tablet for anything in years, but when I did have Android, which was so dire that I switched to iOS and never went back (Honeycomb on a very low end phone from T-Mob. It was incredibly bad, locking up without warning, losing calls, generally being a total pain in the ass). Perhaps it’s changed. I do know that I can use the majority of the features on iOS without an Apple account as one of my phones has a couple of little red badges indicating that I haven’t completed setup, mostly that there ain’t no AppleID. Phone still does everything I need it to do. It’s a company phone.

          1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

            Re: What about Windows Updates?

            > Honeycomb on a very low end phone from T-Mob

            TTBOMK Honeycomb was a tablet-only release.

            So I doubt this.

  5. 43300

    If Windows 11 is gaining market share that's probably only because it's now the only option for new Windows machines in the consumer market. I'm not aware of any businesses going to it. Was recently talking to someone from an IT consultancy we use, and he confirmed that they are seeing the same - businesses are mostly avoiding it.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Obviously they are avoiding it: AFAIK it's just Win10 with more lipstick, so upgrading to it means spending a lot of money (in hardware, retraining) for absolutely no benefit whatsoever.

      Nobody in his right mind would upgrade any bigger company to Win11, only for the fun of having the latest and shiniest.

      1. aerogems Bronze badge

        And so it begins... again. There's a very predictable cycle with every Windows release.

        Stage 1: Everyone hates it.

        You see comments from people about how it's slow, or doesn't do Random Task X as well as the old version, or it doesn't offer any compelling new functionality, or Random Ghost Shift No-Name Cheap Chinese Hardware doesn't work, or Obscure Program Y doesn't work.

        Stage 2: Acceptance

        After a year or two of being out, and more people having either upgraded their computers and/or software/hardware makers having had time to update their products, and/or people having found various workarounds to issues, the complaints start to die down.

        Stage 3: Love

        This happens as soon as the new version is announced. Suddenly the previous, now current, version is the greatest release ever and people channel their inner Charlton Heston claiming Microsoft will have to pry it from their cold dead fingers. All previous transgressions are forgiven (or more likely forgotten) and the longer the previous version was around the more passionate the claims from people that they will never give it up as long as their current computer continues to function. A lot of times this is also accompanied by promises to switch to Linux as soon as their current computer finally bites it and they need to replace it. Spoiler alert: They never make good on those promises/threats.

        This is more of a periodic case study in the psychology of change than anything else. People demand change, but then when they get exactly what they asked for, they waste untold amounts of time and energy complaining about how things aren't exactly the same, but better somehow, instead of spending all that time and energy on learning the new system.

        1. 43300

          Those are the stages with the alternate releases which end up a success (XP, 7, 10). The ones in between (VIsta, 8, probably 11) don't progress beyond stage 1!

          1. Alumoi Silver badge

            10 a success? Do share what you're smoking. Pretty please!

        2. ChrisC Silver badge

          Nope. For me, the last time I reached stage 3 with Windows was with 7.

          Thanks to having now been required to use it for the last 4 or so years (I prefer not to have to recall the exact date at which the downgrade from 7 to 10 was inflicted on me) at work, I'm now somewhat begrudgingly at stage 2 with 10, but can't see myself ever reaching stage 3 (*)

          Meanwhile 11 still has me firmly pegged at stage 1 based on the past few months of experience with it on my new personal laptop, and unless they do a u-turn on their crazy UI designs and give us old fogeys a nice classic UI theme again, then it's unlikely I'll ever get beyond stage 2 with that either.

          (*) although if IT decide to foist 11 on us at some point, then I'll most certainly reach a pseudo-stage 3 for 10, insofar as, compared to 11, I bloody well will declare it to be the best thing since sliced bread etc. This shouldn't however be taken as a sign that, compared to any of the genuinely decent versions of Windows, I now think it's any good and have therefore reached a true stage 3 acceptance - merely that it's the lesser of two evils and I'd be lamenting its loss from my work PC every time I boot up into the 11 desktop instead...

        3. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

          Not everyone...

          I'm still using Win 7. I'm *considering* building a Win 10 system, but only because it'd be very hard to get a copy of Win 7 and I'm going to be forced to use at least Win 10 at some point, so a low usage machine to get used to it on will be of some benefit. Doesn't mean that I *want* Win 10, let alone Win 11.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    Thanks Rufus

    But, I'll pass on W11 forever and ever. I suffered through the ME cycle, and as Danny Glover said in Lethal Weapon... I'm too old for this shit!

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: Thanks Rufus

      [Author here]

      Windows 10 end of life is late 2025:

      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-10-home-and-pro

      You have 3 more years.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Thanks Rufus

        I was just starting to worry about the Windows 7 EOL, when Windows 10 came along. So I'll give Microsoft two years to change their mind before worrying. (And if we all do that, it might encourage them to change their mind and/or extend the Windows 10 deadline.)

        And, as much as I quite like Windows as a shell (heresy, I know), these days, the only things that bind me to it are testing for other Windows users, a CS6 licence for illustrator, and some old games. I've just about finished de-windozing everything else.

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Thanks Rufus

        So in three years the question will be for many: do I keep Windows or do I move to something else?

      3. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Thanks Rufus

        Some of us still have XP machines. Just because MS dropped support doesn’t mean that the machine stopped working.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Thanks Rufus

          Does it mean that the XP machine gets upset if a usb stick bigger than 8gb is used though?

      4. 43300

        Re: Thanks Rufus

        Given the almost complete lack of take-up in business IT, I reckon they are going to have to extend that deadline!

      5. chivo243 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Thanks Rufus

        [Long time reader, commenter, here]

        I supported Win10 from the week after Win7 EOL date, I was slow in deploying it! I supported it until I stopped with Win10 Desktop support 7 months and 5 days ago or was it 6 days? My Win10 laptop hasn't see the light of day in months, thanks for the expiration date ;-}. I'm sure it will get some flavor of Linux before that date. I'm not a Penguinista either, writing this from an old (late 2012 mac mini) handed down from the missus. I learned my lesson on the job, "You don't have to use Windows!"

        Rufus was a go to for supporting the one off models with out an optical drive. A lot of higher ups that I had to support always had one that I had configure from step one. Welcome to Windows... If see that logo and hear that music again... Niagara Falls... step by step...

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Thanks Rufus

      ME and its inbred cousin Vista were complete abominations that should have been strangled at birth. W11 is an OK operating system, I get far less crashes and apps seem little more stable, even with my horrendous coding efforts which used to upset W10 but if I'm honest I wouldn't bother upgrading unless there's something in W11 you actually need.

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    This is going to be an uphill battle for Rufus. Microsoft will make it harder and harder to patch fixes into their OS.

    It isn't just DRM that is needing to be patched any more either. I feel so very sorry for non-technical computer users who are stuck with this malware as their day to day OS. Microsoft is doing such a disservice to literally the entire world. An OS this prevalent should not be in a single companies hands. It is a mess.

  8. Gil Grissum

    NO...

    Upgraded from Windows 10/64/Home on my Gaming Notebook to Windows 11/64/Home to become familiar with it. Desktop runs Windows 10, is not compatible with 11 and I'm not buying a new desktop just to get 11 on it. Windows 10 Will Live on my Desktop.

    Microsoft is only interested in getting people to buy new Computers with Windows 11, to make money. Microsoft has a long history of not caring about user experience.The hardware requirements are high and in this economy, how many people who are not rich, are buying new Computers? How many Companies are rolling out new Computers with Windows 11? Ya. Libre Office works fine, as an Office Suite, for me...Filling Microsoft's bank account is not MY goal. Is it yours??

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: NO...

      Yes, MS Primary income stream for Windows is the pre-installed licencing fees charged to the manufactures and the corporate licencing. It's very much in MS interests for sales of new PC and laptops to grow.

  9. LenG

    Minor Correction to article

    Making some tweaks like these easier may help it win over some of the doubters.

    Should read

    Making some tweaks like these easier may help it con the stupid.

    1. JDPower666 Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Minor Correction to article

      So you think people are stupid to remove these features?

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Desktop on OneDrive by default?

    "The Microsoft account requirement recently popped up a new irritation on our test install: it automatically keeps the Desktop folder on OneDrive,"

    Seriously? I can see that very much cramping the style of anyone working from a laptop and a SIM card or tethering to a mobile phone and wondering why they reached their data cap so quickly.

    1. AlanSh

      Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

      There is a page of options as to where the default Documents, desktop etc. will go. If you ignore that page, then OneDrive is it. If you see it and understand what it says, you turn it off.

      Yes, I got caught by it on one of my upgrades. So, now I know!

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

        Funny how the suggested defaults always seem to favour Microsoft, isn’t it?

        Would you like us to spy on you? [X] Yes

        Allow apps to access your location? [X] Yes

        …etc, etc.

        And their pathetic clingy attempts to stop you switching away from Edge to a proper browser are infuriating, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

        1. FirstTangoInParis

          Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

          Can’t remember what I did exactly (might have been Windows Media Player and DLNA related) but the other day I clicked on some Windows 10 dialogue and Edge popped up, even though it was explicitly not the default browser, and got all the advertisements that went with it. Perhaps some mystery mime-type.

          1. Ragarath

            Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

            There are still a lot of internals in Windows that will send you to Edge regardless of the default setting.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

              They know what's best for you, and won't let your childish tantrums prevent them from keeping you to the straight and narrow.

              1. WolfFan Silver badge

                Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

                It’s not just MS, unfortunately. Epson’s support site has problems with Firefox but works with Edge. Haven’t tried Chrome, as that wasn’t installed on the machine I need to install some Epson drivers onto.

                1. 43300

                  Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

                  Seem to recall I had the same issue with the Canon site recently when trying to download some drivers for a new scanner.

        2. AJ MacLeod

          Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

          on the other hand it makes it easier as you know you don't want to enable any of it...

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Desktop on OneDrive by default?

      And guess what....MS will sell you more OneDrive space for fee! To be honest the prices MS charge aren't for space that bad in the grand scheme of things, just a shame they force OneDrive on everyone without any choice.

  11. cantankerous swineherd

    still on windows 7 and looking for a way of putting it on a new computer.

    1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Almost the same here apart from the fact that I'm not looking for a new computer yet. Since I don't play games my i7-4700MQ 16GB RAM 1x128GB SSD 1x1TB SSD is still plenty good enough for me.

      Unless someone can tell me why I need more speed / ram / storage

  12. AlanSh
    Happy

    Been doing this since it came out

    I put Open Shell and Explorer Patcher on. Added Winaero tweaker as an app. My system looks like Windows 7 (best desktop) but gets all the latest patches. I have Gadgets (remember those?), quick launch and a taskbar that is completely customisable.

  13. aerogems Bronze badge

    Interesting Tool

    Other people use their systems in different ways, I get that, but I'm telling you, after I trained myself to start using the search function for apps (and even settings) my world has been much better. It's not perfect, but as long as I can remember at least a few letters of whatever app I'm looking for, odds are I can find it, and I can go directly to some settings that are maybe 2-3 layers deep. No more having to spend time trying to come up with an organizational system and maintain it, no having to scroll through long lists. It's a pain to unlearn those years of muscle memory and develop new habits, but once you come out on the other side, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

    And I would expect TPM to become a hard requirement in the not too distant future. Microsoft has hinted that they want to encrypt the contents of RAM, which is good, it improves system security. Without AES-NI instructions on the CPU, this would likely be a pretty decent sized performance hit, however, which could well explain the seemingly odd list of supported CPUs. The TPM enclave then makes for the most logical place to store the private key to decrypt the RAM contents when needed.

    The thing I still wish Microsoft would do, and I've been wanting this for years now... Is to lock the UI developers in a room and not let them out until they've ripped out every last legacy dialog box and whatever else, some of which have seemingly been lingering since the NT 3.1-3.51 days, and replace them all with new WinUI 3 replacements. Once they have the entire UI running on the new API, they could add some kind of theme system like GTK+ so that people like me can ride out Microsoft's latest flat and monochrome phase with some theme that isn't so fugly.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting Tool

      There's three really big problems with using the search to find things in Start.

      1) The folders vanish completely.

      Which causes:

      2) You have to remember the exact name of the shortcut. This is often nothing to do with the actual application - abbreviated, or some meaningless TLA. Business application suites often have a folder for the overall application name, with TLA shortcuts.

      So I can't find them.

      2) Multiple versions. If I have multiple versions of an application suite, they all have the same name but sit in a folder for the version.

      So I've no idea which one is which.

      Some software is starting to work around this by adding that to the shortcut names, but often this only works for brand-new installs (not updates), and of course a lot don't bother.

      The bit that annoys me the most is that I added type-ahead find to our tree views back in XP days, and my implementation *kept the tree*

      1. aerogems Bronze badge

        Re: Interesting Tool

        I did state it's not perfect, just better. There's still plenty of room for improvement, like being able to search for substrings of an app name, but even with the current system I can offload a lot of mental load to the computer which is far better at scanning through a bunch of similarly named items.

        If/When the start menu is completely replaced with a search system and some of these issues haven't been addressed you're free to complain as much and loudly as you want.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Interesting Tool

          They already did kill the tree.

          There's just one level

    2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Re: Interesting Tool

      --Is to lock the UI developers in a room and not let them out until--

      I'd end that with "they give us back dialog boxes where you can tell where the dialog box ends and the rest of the screen begins"

    3. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Interesting Tool

      "as long as I can remember at least a few letters of whatever app I'm looking for"

      And therein lies the big problem with this start menu concept. It's great for quickly finding the stuff you use regularly enough to have committed their names (or more accurately, the strings which cause them to appear rapidly in the start menu search results) to memory. As a method of finding all the other stuff you use on a less frequent basis - the app you installed a year ago to recover a file from a SD card, and which you now vaguely recall having somewhere on your system having been prompted to think about it again due to an urgent need to recover another file fron a SD card, say - it's almost entirely useless.

      So you then fall back on the graphical rendition of the start menu contents, which in the old days would (for those of us with time to spare on keeping it tidy) be a fairly nicely arranged list of stuff like "Games", "Accessories", "System Tools" etc, with the occasional random company name thrown in there to remind you that you hadn't yet worked out where the best place was to store the shortcut to "Whizzbang Industries MetaWangler 2.0". These days however, thanks to the brains trusts in the MS UI division deciding that all of this user-generated organisation of the start menu is oh so old fashioned and no longer necessary, the start menu degenerates into a long alpha-sorted list of stuff with little or no organisation which is a complete pain to have to scroll through trying to find the thing you *know* is installed on your system, but which is now hidden, needle/haystack-style, in that big long list of crap without anything to make it stand out.

      The enhanced search functionality in the W10/11 start menu is one of the few things I genuinely do like about those OSs, and miss having whenever I'm working on my W7 boxes at home. Everything, and I do mean everything, else about those start menus OTOH, I regard as a distinct step backwards in useability compared with the classic user-focussed start menus of old. I know there are ways to tame the start menu, but none of them are particularly easy (in comparision to how older versions of Windows handled things), and some may not be feasible to use on systems where you aren't the owner (installing third-party OS-level hacks on my work PC, even when I've got local admin access, isn't something I'd want to be doing), so whilst articles like this are bloody useful as a way of highlighting ways to workaround the latest Seattle fuckwittery, sometimes there's no choice but to use what Windows offers by default.

      As for locking the UI team in a room... hands up how many of us would trust MS to introduce a theming system once they've consigned the last of the good old UI elements to history? Mmm, that's what I thought. So no, rather than letting them out only once they're done replacing those old elements, I'd keep them in there until they've then ALSO implemented the theming system AND created a bunch of native theme options that fully replicate the classic UIs. Oh, and then I'd just throw away the key anyway, as punishment for having inflicted so many utterly shit UI designs on us over the last few years.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Interesting Tool

        I guess the Start Menu is only supposed to contain MS Office, so there is no reason to allow the luser to customize/organize it.

        It seems MS never really abandoned the idea of turning your productivity computers into oversized smartphones. Thus the ads, silly games and terminal dumbing down of the UI. It should look hip, not be functional, because most people only use the same 2-3 programs apps and never visit the rest of the phone computer. Here be dragons.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Interesting Tool

          They tried to copy Apple's Launchpad.

          Does anyone actually use that? In my experience it doesn't even work...

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    Wow and to think I complained about Windows 10 being crap. It says something that it takes more effort to make Windows 11 usable that it takes to just install Linux Mint.

    1. Foxglove

      I agree, but some of us don't have a choice of OS on some of our machines.

  15. Sampler

    +1 ExplorerPatcher

    Love it, just installed it off the back of this article and it's all I've been missing on these pointlessly feature reduced taskbar, I love having a desktop shortcut and right-click taskmanager rather than ctrl+shift+escape seems to be my muscle memory (probably because it's right handed than left).

    Now if I could just get rid of that giant "Recommend" section on the new start menu, as, even when disabled, it still just sits there taking up the same amount of space = \

    1. Sampler

      Re: +1 ExplorerPatcher

      Oh, and some poking around in ExplorerPatcher finds a toggle to disable the recommended part in the start menu, liking this even more!

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: +1 ExplorerPatcher

        Right now I’m trying to find a working method of getting rid of the annoying “header banner” in Windows 10 Settings. You know, the one that tells you how you could be earning Microsoft points or whatever. Useless waste of space.

        There was a method that got rid of it, using a powershell command, but it seems that since a couple of recent Windows Updates, the header is back and there’s no way to remove it.

        That is very Microsoft. They want to shove a feature in front of you? Well by Jove they’ll keep doing so, and bypass any of your attempts to avoid it.

        Which is why I’m not wholly excited about the new version of Rufus the article mentions. Rufus is a fine tool, but once it gets into the sphere of modifying/bypassing Windows restrictions, it’s dancing on quicksand.

  16. Jamesit

    I just installed Win 11 on a computer that shipped with Vista, I didn't have any problems, I just wanted to see if it would work. The system had no TPM and no UEFI, it did have 6gigs of RAM . The MS requirements are bogus.

  17. Conundrum1885

    To be honest

    If I could just get my current machines to work with more than 4GB RAM that would help.

    W11 would certainly run, 10 does but a lot of important features like the hotkeys don't.

    Now if M$ really wanted to push WIndows 11, offer a BIOS/uEFI update that fixes memory caps.

    The physical chipset supports 16GB but it simply refuses to work.

    Have it detect the WiFi card during install and preload the appropriate, tested driver.

    Also the hotkeys, etc if needs be adding a manual test function during the install itself.

    1. andy gibson

      Re: To be honest

      I've found a fresh install of W11 uses less RAM at startup (2Gb) than 10 (3gb), and generally performs faster on my i5 desktop.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: To be honest

        I've found a fresh install of W11 uses less RAM at startup (2Gb) than 10 (3gb), and generally performs faster on my i5 desktop.

        Minor advantages (40 GB of memory) and those certainly don't outweigh the disadvantages.

  18. two00lbwaster

    I'm a big fan of explorerpatcher since I got a new 12th gen Intel laptop I had to be on Windows 11 (for Windows anyway) for the CPU support but the new taskbar was obnoxious. I actually have been reviving the quick launch bar manually through every version of Windows since 7 got rid of it as the default so this was quite important to me to restore some familiarity and usability to the OS.

    1. aerogems Bronze badge

      You don't HAVE to be on Win11, but you'd probably take a performance hit by going back to 10 on a 12th gen Core chip, and you'd lose the best feature of the 12th gen chips.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you implying the 12th gen is "Windows 11" only? I can't use its best features on Linux?

  19. DeKrow
    Linux

    So much effort to make it user-friendly...

    ... which isn't very user-friendly.

    The longer the time since I banned Windows from my desktop, the better a decision it becomes. The amount of effort to change my workflow from Windows to Linux feels about the same as the amount of effort required to make Windows 11 'worth trying'. Which makes it not worth trying at all.

  20. David Lawton

    After 12 Years....

    Like Apple / MacOS or not, why since about 2010 on a Mac can I just hold down CMD + R on boot and it will download MacOS from the Internet for recovery and install the OS version currently on the system. CMD+Option+R for the latest MacOS or SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+R for the MacOS the device originally shipped with.

    Yet 12 years on in the Windows PC space this is still not a thing? It is so much better not having to mess around with install discs or USB drives.

    1. aerogems Bronze badge

      Re: After 12 Years....

      There's a lot of things you can do when you are a vertical supplier who controls both the hardware and the software compared to just supplying software to a dozen or so different companies who may use one of a dozen different uEFI implementations, each with their own set of keyboard shortcuts for doing various things, and may allow the user to turn off networking functions at the firmware level for security reasons.

      But you can do a network install of Windows. I just did one on a laptop I was repurposing to Plex server duty after buying a replacement. It's a little more involved compared to Apple's setup, but you can do it.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: After 12 Years....

        There is still a lot of things Microsoft could do to improve Windows usability, instead they waste effort by constantly revising the UI and restricting the ways users can use Windows.

        It amuses me that the UI's of many major business applications are still clearly based on Windows 2000 and previous UI standards, even though they sit on top of W10/11. What is also obvious, is that these applications achieve both a very high level of readabililty and density of information - two things W8/10/11 fail at despite all the expertise MS have thrown at the UI/UX.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need to demote Ventoy for this

    Also Ventoy supports Win11 TPM/Secure Boot circumvention.

    Use VentoyPluson.exe (included in the installation folder) to edit the configuration of plugins in the ventoy.json file.

    Look for VTOY_WIN11_BYPASS_CHECK:

    "0": Do not bypass Win11 hardware check (default).

    "1": Bypass Win11 hardware check.

    When set to "1", Ventoy will use the following registry entries to bypass Win11 TPM/hardware checks when installing (only avaliable for standard Win11 ISO file):

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\LabConfig\BypassRAMCheck

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\LabConfig\BypassTPMCheck

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\LabConfig\BypassSecureBootCheck

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\LabConfig\BypassCPUCheck

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\LabConfig\BypassStorageCheck

    More info here:

    https://www.ventoy.net/en/plugin_control.html

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: No need to demote Ventoy for this

      Great info -- thank you for this!

  22. rndSheeple

    Overall new computer setup is still the same as 20 years ago

    Helped my dad set up a new hp laptop (win11 and all).

    Still loads of pointless crapware, including but not limited to 3 different monthly priced McAfee products....

    And overall win11 == win10, I am aware of no useful new features.

    So I do not believe that I will need to help him out any more, or less, with things like printers, wifi etc than with win10 (or earlier versions)

    I do believe more and more folks will opt for fresh install of some linux variant; as HW support is pretty much there these days.

    Setting up win11 as a consumer on a new laptop is very much same shit different day as win95, 98se, XP, 7, 10.

    Even McAfee was the same shit hard to get rid of, rest in peace though not the man's fault that his SW legacy craps on.

  23. Grunchy Bronze badge

    Just like that, I got another spam from Microsoft

    Hello,

    You’re receiving this email because we are updating the Microsoft Services Agreement, which applies to one or more Microsoft products or services you use. We’re making these updates to clarify our terms and ensure that they remain transparent for you, as well as to cover new Microsoft products, services and features.

    The Microsoft Services Agreement is an agreement between you and Microsoft (or one of its affiliates) that governs your use of Microsoft consumer online products and services.

    You can read the entire Microsoft Services Agreement here. You can also learn more about these updates on our FAQ page here, including a summary of the most notable changes. The updates to the Microsoft Services Agreement will take effect on Aug‍ust 1‍5, 20‍‍22. If you continue to use our products and services on or after Aug‍ust 1‍5, 20‍‍22, you are agreeing to the updated Microsoft Services Agreement.

    If you do not agree, you can choose to discontinue using the products and services, and close your Microsoft account before these terms become effective. If you are a parent or guardian, you are responsible for your child’s or teenager’s use of Microsoft products and services, including purchases.

    Thank you for using Microsoft products and services.

  24. ThatOne Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And now, putting everything into practice

    Well, this article and attached comments were just in time for me, who just had bought a new laptop. For the record, last version of Windows I've used was Win7, and while I will install Linux on that one too, I'll keep the original Windows for maintenance reasons (firmware flashing and all the stuff I won't be able to do in Linux).

    Anyway, the laptop came with Win11 already installed, so that part was taken care of. Surprisingly Win11 allowed me to create a local user right out of the box, despite being connected to the network (wouldn't proceed without that). After that I ran ShutUp10, and after that ExplorerPatcher, and after uninstalling a ton of cruft and "sponsored" programs, I got to the point where I had what seemed like a nice lean Windows. If it weren't for the confusing and confused Fisher-Price™ UI, it could even be quite nice. I especially love the availability of native (and even working!) drivers (Nvidia, staring at you).

    That been said, I still can't wait to partition it and install Linux, allowing me to find features where I expect them to be*, and most importantly not to constantly worry about clicking on something which might be misconstrued as a free hand to collect and "monetize" every last bit of me, my job and my life.

    Thanks for the article, it really hit the spot! And ExplorerPatcher is really excellent.

    .

    * Took me an hour to find where they had hidden the feature to join an existing MS "Workgroup" network and access network shares (Used to be in "Network", but this one now only covers connecting to Internet. Actually now you first have to find the hidden settings panel, you know, the one that doesn't exist - shush!). I haven't yet found the place you can turn system snapshots (whatever Windows calls them) on/off. Maybe there is yet another hidden settings panel, a third one? And the help pages in the MS "Knowledge Base" describe things which look completely different on my version of Windows! MS GUI developers must be extremely overactive: Apparently Windows' UI changes so fast even MS can't keep up, and doesn't always know where things moved to... *rolling eyes*

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