Tag Archive: Windows 10


On Windows 10, you have the option to choose Windows Spotlight, a collection of images that will display on the lock screen. However, there’s a flaw with this feature. After selecting the Windows Spotlight option under the Personalization > Lock Screen section of the Settings app, the lock screen from that point on will always display a Windows Spotlight picture upon booting into Windows, that is, should you decide to switch back and use your own picture. When you login to Windows and lock the computer, your selected picture will be displayed like it should. Selecting a different picture will not remove the Windows Spotlight picture upon boot.

There is a way to remove the Windows Spotlight lock screen picture upon boot, but it isn’t as simple as changing a setting. It requires deleting a non-accessible system folder as well as the Windows Spotlight files. There are a few other sites that explain how to do this, but they are for removing a picture that came pre-loaded with Windows 10. Similar to the Spotlight but a slightly different procedure.

WARNING: Use the following at your own risk. I will not be reasonable if this procedure damages your Windows installation.

First, make sure you have your own picture selected for the lock screen, and that the Windows Spotlight option is not selected under Personalization > Lock Screen section of the Settings app.

Next, you need to download a registry file from this site in order to continue. This will add a “Take Ownership” option to the File Explorer’s context menu. This is required as the files and folders that you need to get to are protected and you will be denied access, even if you are logged in as an administrator. (There is also a registry file on that same site that will uninstall the “Take Ownership” option, so you can remove it from the context menu when you’re done).

After you have initialized the registry file, open File Explorer, click on the view tab and make sure the hidden items option is selected. Then navigate to the following folder:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows

Right-click on the SystemData folder and select Take Ownership from the context menu. Select yes when the User Account Control appears. Open the SystemData folder, then open the folder S-1-5-21-<string of numbers> and then the ReadOnly folder. You should now see some folders labeled LockScreen_ with a letter at the end. Open and view each folder until you find the folder with the current Spotlight picture that appears when Windows boots up. (Mine was in LockScreen_O). Move that folder with the Spotlight picture onto your desktop. (Deleting it will not move it to the Recycle Bin, it will be deleted permanently).

With that folder removed, the next step is to delete the contents of the folder used to download and store the Windows Spotlight pictures. If the contents of that folder are not deleted, the LockScreen_ folder containing the Spotlight picture that you just removed will be re-created when you logoff/shutdown the computer and the Spotlight picture will return. To get to the Windows Spotlight files, navigate to the following folder:

C:\Users\<Your Name>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Asset

Delete all the files in the Asset folder. These files should be re-created if you decide to re-enable Windows Spotlight.

Restart the computer. The lock screen should now display your selected picture and not a Windows Spotlight picture. Once you’ve logged in, you can remove the “Take Ownership” option from the context menu if you don’t need it anymore. You can also delete the LockScreen_<letter> folder off your desktop.

Microsoft needs to fix this issue in a future version of Windows.

 

References
Fixing the Windows 10 Pre-Login Background Screen – the mergy notes
How to Find Windows Spotlight Lock Screen Images – TekRevue

As most any Windows 7 or 8.1 user already knows, Microsoft has a program that allows you to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. The program, Get Windows 10 (or GWX) is downloaded and installed on qualifying systems via Windows Update. Once installed, the user has the option to use the Get Windows 10 program to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. The free upgrade, as of the date of this post, is only valid until July 31, 2016.

While many users have taken advantage of the upgrade, I prefer NOT to upgrade my Windows 7 systems. I am currently happy with Windows 7, but Microsoft keeps insisting that I should upgrade to Windows 10.

To make it clear, I have used Windows 10. While it is an improvement over Windows 8, it still can’t top Windows 7. I don’t like the new Start Menu, even though I can use a 3rd party tool like Classic Shell to reinstall a Windows Vista/7 style Start Menu. Windows 10 gives you less features and forces you to use basic featureless app versions of certain programs that originally came with older versions of Windows, some of which are ad supported. Then you have the infamous telemetry in Windows 10 that allows Microsoft to collect app usage and crash data, which can contain your personal information and unsaved document data.

There is probably some other stuff about Windows 10 that I’ve missed, but this post isn’t about what I like or dislike about Windows 10. This post is about the Get Windows 10 app …err, program (I call the full screen programs apps).

Other sites have mentioned that the GWX program acts like a malicious program. I totally agree with them. Once installed, the GWX program is similar to adware. It will display slides and pop-ups about Windows 10 and try to convince you to upgrade, basically a big advertisement about Windows 10. The other malicious thing about GWX is that it will download the Windows 10 setup files and even install Windows 10 without notifying the user. This is a huge “no-no” as the whole point of the User Access Control is to prevent programs from running/installing/doing anything without the user’s permission. Also, a big complaint a few months ago was that the Windows 10 setup files were downloading over metered connections, causing people to exceed their data usage.

Now, with everything I mentioned above, I recently bought two computers with Windows 7 pre-installed so I could avoid Windows 10 for the next 4 years. On both computers, I hid the GWX update (KB3035583) so I wouldn’t have to worry about any surprise installations of Windows 10. To my surprise, Microsoft has apparently patched Windows 7 to unhide that update and install it on a monthly basis, WITHOUT ANY NOTIFICATION! I have uninstalled it 3 times already. My other hidden updates remain on the “hidden” list.

Microsoft does NOT take NO for an answer. They are determined to install Windows 10 on every Windows 7 machine. This forcing of Windows 10 is completely unacceptable and needs to stop. If anyone from Microsoft is reading this, I hope I make myself clear…

PLEASE STOP FORCING WINDOWS 10 ON MY COMPUTER!!! I DON’T WANT IT, EVEN IF IT’S FREE!!!

Update: I eventually gave in decided to upgrade my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10 via the free Get Windows 10 offer. The plan was to take advantage of the Windows 10 Pro upgrade (being that I had Windows 7 Professional), then revert back to 7 once activation took place. I wanted to do this in case I wanted or needed to upgrade to Windows 10 in the future. In other words, allowing me to upgrade to Windows 10 (again) for free long after the offer ended. What happened was my overall experience of Windows 10 drastically changed after the upgrade, with programs running faster and 3rd party tools like Classic Shell making it easier to use Windows 10. In fact, the biggest reason for not reverting back to Windows 7 was that a particular issue with my WiFi adapter disappeared after the upgrade, probably due to the Windows 10 driver being newer than the Windows 7 driver, which apparently was no longer being updated by the manufacturer. I’ll hold on to Windows 10 for now, that is, until Microsoft changes or adds something that will tick me off. I still disagree with Microsoft nagging you to upgrade or forcefully upgrading to Windows 10 without the user’s consent. That should have been up to the user, not Microsoft.