Tag Archives: Windows 10

Taming Windows 10: Turn Off Background Apps

A reprint from the PC410 Security Newsletter:

Windows 10 is designed for mobile devices. All apps are background apps, by default. If that’s useful for anyone, great, but I have yet to meet that person. That’s like the early days of Windows, when most services were turned on, by default. It was a security and performance disaster, and subsequent versions of Windows have used more reasonable defaults, until now.

Mostly, Windows 10 is running on desktops and notebooks, and there is a long list of apps pre-installed by Microsoft. Some may be added by the hardware manufacturer, and they run in the background, be default. Maybe that’s a good idea if the app is working for you, providing emergency weather alerts, calendar alarms, stock alerts, anything. But all of them? Just say no.

Background apps settings in Windows 10

If you don’t allow these apps to run in the background, they will still run when you start them in the usual way. To turn off these apps, click Start, Settings, type ‘run’ in the Search box, and choose the result ‘Choose which apps can run in the background’. I’ve seen from 16 to over 30 apps listed, all turned on, and none of them are needed to run Windows 10. Turn off most of them–leave them on only if you want them to do something, like gathering alerts.

Taming Windows 10: Shrink that Massive Start Menu

A reprint from the PC410 Security Newsletter:

As in most versions of Windows, the Windows 10 Start menu is ignored by most users. It’s usable if it isn’t enormous, but by default, it’s showing far too many apps and advertisements to be useful, and they’re in no order, and include advertising for apps with “in-game purchases”, like CandyCrush. You can drag the icon blocks to any position or order you like, and they’ll dock. But first, delete the blocks you won’t use, by right-clicking on each, and choosing “Unpin from Start”. If you remove enough blocks, the scrollbar will disappear. You can also turn off internet content on items like News, Finance, or Twitter: Right-click any of these blocks, and choose “More >” and then “Turn live tile off”. For any tiles you keep, you can change the size, choose “Resize >” and select an option.

Windows 10 Start Menu
Reminder: Removing these icon blocks does not uninstall the matching apps. To do that, click the start icon, go to the Settings app (the gear), System, Apps & features. This includes both desktop software and so-called ‘modern’ apps. The usual caution applies: There are hardware drivers in that list–lookup anything you don’t recognize before removing it.

Windows 10 Start menu Options

There are also settings to keep Windows from adding more tiles and ads to the Start menu. Go to Settings, Personalization, Start. Turn off “Occasionally show suggestions in Start”. You might also want to turn off “Show recently added apps”. These settings are not available in every version of Windows 10.

Taming Windows 10: Choose Which Folders Appear on Start

A reprint from the PC410 Security Newsletter:

Windows 10: Choose which folders appear on start

Windows 10 removes the Documents and Pictures shortcuts from the Start menu. You can have them back, or choose to show Music, Videos, or the Network. Go to Settings, Personalization, Start, click on “Choose which folders appear on Start”. Turn on (or off) any of the folders in the list. If you turn a folder off, you can still get to it from File Explorer (the yellow file folder icon in the taskbar), or by pressing Start and typing in the folder name to search for it.