Windows "Desktop"

Windows 10 Usability Tweaks

A subjective guide based on supposedly-objective data

This guide aims to collect a number of obvious and less-obvious tweaks on making Windows 10 a more usable interactive system. Any entry should be backed by direct, measurable data and external references: no placebo!

Shell performance


A common cause of bad interactive performance (and gaming microstutters!) due to Win32 message loop lock contention. Allegedly regressed around RS3. ETW tracing with context switches should provide enough information regarding this.

References: Bruce Dawson's blog series

Explorer side-panel view

Common contention originating from callbacks in Windows.Storage.dll due to change notifications if any drives (e.g. hot-pluggable SATA drives or external drives) are expanded in the side view and any change is made to a directory shown there. Worsens with many File Explorer windows.

  1. Disable shell side panel in toolbar. Might take some closing/reopening windows to get the preference to save.
  2. Ideally: hide removable drives from the side view so they do not auto-expand. Anything under 'This PC' already does not, only removable drives somehow have the tendency to do so. TODO: someone find this

Task Manager 'Details' tab

Icon refreshing seems to be extremely slow. Try to avoid refreshing the Details tab when running Task Manager in the background.

Global performance

Memory compression

Memory compression is regressive on high-memory systems (especially with SSD page file backing) as decompressing page-in still leads to unneeded blocking latency (as opposed to disk ops from failed disk cache generally being asynchronous). In addition to that, it confuses system-wide memory metrics as the commit usage for compressed memory is duplicated: once in the process that's compressed, then yet again as CM31 paged pool.

References: microsoft/WinDev#35


  1. Disable-MMAgent -mc in PowerShell.
  2. Reboot.

Svchost split

Improves reliability, but has been reported to also affect interactive performance. No references at this point.

STUC Valley

Stupid, Technically Useless, Confusing

Those are a few words that come to mind once you see what in the fresh hell happened to Velocity feature names once Sun Valley development picked up the pace

Here's a table of acronyms used in various feature names

Acronym Explanation
AL(L)B Animated Lock/Logon Background
AUXEMP Add Undocked Xaml Extensions Metadata Provider
CBR(S) Cloud Backup Restore Settings
CUIDFS Credential UI Desktop Fluent Styling
CUIPN Credential UI Provider Name
DGI Dashboard Gesture Integration
DI Drag Improvements
DLOOBE Desktop Lite Out Of Box Experience
DTC Deprecate Tile Control
Emrbspi Enable Monitor Removal Behavior Spi
Erpsrbspi Enable Restore Previous State Recalc Behavior Spi
FTVTM Frontload Timeline Visual Tree Modifications
MTCMCTSA Move Taskbar Context Menu Options(?) To Settings App
MW Minimize Windows
RW Restore Windows
SA Snap Assist
S(BT)G Snap Based Task Groups
SE Snap Education
SSWPU Shell Set Window Position Unrestricted
Swonms Shrink Window On Move Size
TD Taskbar Dll
TTP Taskbar Test Proxy
TUC Taskbar Undocked Controls
UDTHD Use Desktop Taskbar Handler Dll
UTTV Updated Taskview Timeline Visuals
UUS Undocked Update Stack
V(D)PM Virtual Desktops Per Monitor
VTRRCC Visual Tree Rounded Rectangle Cpu Clip
WTA Win32 Taskbar Access
WUIOD WinUI On Desktop
Acronym Guess
HFEFNM Hello First Enrollment Flags N M
GTG G Touch Gesture
VDS Virtual Desktop S
VDR Virtual Desktop Rename
VDW Virtual Desktop W
CUICOORD Credential UI C O O Rounded Dialog
STUC S Taskbar Undocked Controls
VT Visual Tree
DLNP Desktop Lite N Privacy
P Palette
DLOMETRIC Desktop Lite O M E T R I C