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

win32kbase!*Crit

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.

Tweaks
  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

Tweaks

  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
MSZ ?
CUICOORD Credential UI C O O Rounded Dialog
OP
XHSWUI
SCM
STUC S Taskbar Undocked Controls
NP
NM
VT Visual Tree
SR
DLNP Desktop Lite N Privacy
Tr
AT
P Palette
IA
V
WS
CAC
OSetup
63
DA
LC
SB
LA
SN
DE
HVCZM
DLOMETRIC Desktop Lite O M E T R I C
HVCHM

Installing Windows 11 (from ISO) on real hardware (without SB and/or TPM 2.0 support)

Created: June 20, 2021 Last Update: June 20, 2021
Authors: Gustave Monce, Daniel Kornev
Status: Draft
Supported Windows 11 Version: 21996.1

WIP

Overview

Here's some quick notes on installing Windows 11 on real hardware from ISO in case when hardware doesn't support TPM and/or SB (Secure Boot). For this example, we're assuming a system with no other critical disks installed, and a helpful host system being around to set up the initial image.

This guide has been created for the 21996.1 version of Windows 11.

Prerequisites

Host

Target

Common: Files & Tools

  1. Download Windows 11 ISO
  2. Download Windows USB/DVD Tool
  3. Install it

Prepare USB Drive for Flashing

  1. Get an empty USB Flash drive (with size at least 8GB)
  2. Use Windows USB/DVD Tool
  3. Follow its instructions to flash your Windows 11 ISO onto the USB Flash drive

Apply Your Image

Clean Disk & Lay Out Partitions

  1. Boot from USB Flash drive
  2. Open diskpart
  3. Type this:
list disk

Take a note of the name of your device's main disk drive, e.g., disk 0 4. Type this (where disk 0 is your device's main disk drive):

select disk 0
clean
  1. Follow the instructions for UEFI-based PCs from docs.microsoft.com to properly lay out your device's main disk for Windows 11 installation:
rem == CreatePartitions-UEFI.txt ==
rem == These commands are used with DiskPart to
rem    create four partitions
rem    for a UEFI/GPT-based PC.
rem    Adjust the partition sizes to fill the drive
rem    as necessary. ==
select disk 0
clean
convert gpt
rem == 1. System partition =========================
create partition efi size=100
rem    ** NOTE: For Advanced Format 4Kn drives,
rem               change this value to size = 260 ** 
format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
assign letter="S"
rem == 2. Microsoft Reserved (MSR) partition =======
create partition msr size=16
rem == 3. Windows partition ========================
rem ==    a. Create the Windows partition ==========
create partition primary 
rem ==    b. Create space for the recovery tools ===
rem       ** Update this size to match the size of
rem          the recovery tools (winre.wim)
rem          plus some free space.
shrink minimum=500
rem ==    c. Prepare the Windows partition ========= 
format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows"
assign letter="W"
rem === 4. Recovery partition ======================
create partition primary
format quick fs=ntfs label="Recovery"
assign letter="R"
set id="de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac"
gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001
list volume
  1. Mark your Windows partition as active in diskpart:
list partition
note the name of your Windows partition (e.g., "partition 3")
select partition 3
active
  1. Type exit to leave diskpart

Apply Image

  1. Check which OS SKU you want to install:
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:D:\Sources\install.wim <— here D:\ is the drive name of your USB drive
  1. Remember its index and use it to apply its image to your Windows partition (e.g., "W"):
dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\Sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:W:\
  1. Create boot records:
W:\Windows\System32\bcdboot G:\Windows

If you'll see "Failure when attempting to copy boot files" error message then use this command instead:

W:\Windows\System32\bcdboot c:\windows /s s: /f ALL
  1. Type exit in the Command Prompt window

Load Windows 11

At this time, your Windows 11 will boot. If everything is correct you should see the OOBE.