Remove Windows 10 Upgrade Notification

W10How to remove the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification

If your PC runs Windows 7, Microsoft may send you notifications to upgrade to Windows 10. In case you do not want to upgrade and want to get rid of the notifications, you can follow these steps:

  • Uninstall Update for Windows KB3035583
  • Delete the GWX Program
    the GWX process has to be stopped and the program removed. It’s located in C:\Windows\System32\GWX and C:\Windows\SysWOW64\GWX in 64 bit systems. Delete the entire GWX folder.

Tuning the Windows environment – Windows 7 Housekeeping

Windows Housekeeping

The foundation to make the housekeeping process easy and efficient is the partioning of my hard disk(s).

While the primary partition holds the operating system and programme files, the secondary is dedicated to the data files. This way, the operating system may be re-installed at any time without data loss. Disk cleanup and defragmentation will run faster and more efficient. Finally, also the system performance may be improved. The SSD partition(s) on my hybrid ultrabook is left untouched.

Removing unused and temporary information from your system allows Windows to run faster and more efficiently:

  • Perform a regular disk cleanup and defragmentation of the volumes
  • Clean the startup entries after software installation and upgrades
  • Perform a regular registry cleanup and defragmentation
  • Perform a regular complete virus scan of your disks
  • Perform a regular complete spyware scan of your system
  • Defrag the pagefile

Check my related posts:

Tuning the Windows environment – Windows 7 optimization‘,

Microsoft Windows support pages

disable services‘,

reclaim disk space‘,

and Best of Breed section for a selection of freeware tools to help you with these tasks.

Check out the Windows Sysinternals website for latest tool developments.

Tuning the Windows environment – Windows 7 optimization

Here is a list of items that I apply to optimize a Windows 7 system.

Safety first! Before you apply any of these changes it is recommended to make a windows restore point.

1) Review the System Properties – Adjust the Performance Options in the Advanced Systems Settings:

Visual Effects:

Adjust for best performance.
In case you want to keep the look and feel of Windows 7, then tag:
enable desktop composition, enable transparent glass, show thumbnails instead of icons, smooth edges of screen fonts, use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop, use visual styles on windows and buttons

Visual  Visuels

Virtual Memory (Advanced Tab):

Adjust the pagefile size used for Virtual Memory (a.k.a. swap file). The recommended size is equivalent to 1.5 times the amount of physical installed memory (RAM) on your system.
In case you have a (fast) secondary or subsequent physical internal drive installed in your system (not an external drive), you may opt to move the paging file to one of these drives.



2) Adjust Visuals and Sounds:

  • Disable slide show on your desktop and tidy up your Windows desktop
  • Disable (untag) transparency for windows borders in Window Colour and Appearance:


  • Use solid colours
  • Turn off system sounds

3) Adjust the Windows Update settings

disable Automatic Updates and select notification only

Windows Updates

4) Disable the User Account Control Settings (Never Notify):


5) Set the Power Options to High Performance


VISTA and Chrome with McAfee Bitdefender

VISTA and Chrome with McAfee Bitdefender

Chrome traffic may be blocked by Bitdefender. Check the McAfee Firewall settings in that case and reset the firewall rules.

To reset the firewall rules open BitDefender, switch it to Expert View from the Options button then go to the Firewall tab -> Programs and click on the ‘Reset Rules‘ button. Confirm when asked to reset the rules then restart the PC. The first time you run Chrome again, the Firewall should set a new rule and let the traffic flow.

Windows 7 – Change Default Location

Windows 7 – Change Default Location

Changing the default location of your personal files is handled very differently in Windows XP and Windows 7.

While in XP this is done through a built-in option, it requires manually actions to perform this in Windows 7.

You can the individual folders in the Properties, Location tab as explained by W7Forums or follow the steps below:

The steps to achieve this is well explained by SevenForums.

In summary:

after copying the user profile folders and files, change the registry entry

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
update the ProfileImagePath the attribute in each S-1-5 key

Audacity with RealTek Audio

Audacity with RealTek Audiomixer

Using Audacity with RealTek Audiomixer on Windows Vista may need some tweaking.

Check in the system tray, the Audiomixer settings:

right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select  volume control


right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select sound manager (you may also have access to these settings through the control panel)

check the recording settings and select the Stereo Mix as input device

Recording with Audacity

Recording with Audacity (version 1.2.6)

Retrieving the files:

Audacity is a freeware application that allows to record any audio played on your pc.

Download the application from the project site.

By default, the records can be saved in ‘wav’ format. To save the recording in ‘mp3‘ format, you must install the lame encoding (‘lame_enc.dll’).

Download the lame file, here from the bioss site or from the project site or from this codec site.

Configure for MP3 export:

Install the application (run the setup) and save the lame mp3 encoder file (‘lame_enc.dll‘) in a folder on your pc. Then start Audacity and select ‘Preferences‘ in the ‘Edit’ pull down menu. In the preferences menu, select ‘Find Library’ and locate the file in the folder where saved the lame mp3 encoder file (‘lame_enc.dll’):

Adjust the recording configuration:

Start Audacity and adjust the settings to your needs:

    • if you want to record from an audiostream, modify the input from microphone to ‘Stereo Mix
      in case you have issues with this, check  my post about RealTek

    • you may also want to adjust the playback and recording level

    • match the (mp3) recording quality to the streaming quality (eg 96kbit/s)
      note: the higher the quality to bigger the file, the lower the quality the smaller the file

      (below is an example of a radio station, where ‘Instellingen’ provides the streaming quality information)

Start Recording:

First start the recording in Audacity:

Then start the audiostream.

Warning: changing the audio level of your pc has a direct impact on the recording audio level – ‘what your hear, is what you get’ – if you turn off the PC speaker (mute), you will record silence.

Stop Recording:

Once the audiostream is finished, stop the recording in Audacity and Export As MP3:

Edit the Recording:

Before saving (exporting), you may want to edit the recorded file and cut the non-relevant parts at the beginning and the end.

You can jump to the beginning of the recording:

and cut the non-relevant parts: move the mouse pointer on the track line position from where you want to cut and with the left mouse-button you can select the length of the part:

Export the Recording:

To save the recording , select in the Audacity File menu, ‘Export As MP3’:

The application will ask to complete the MP3 tags before saving the file. It is not mandatory to complete all fields. My recommendation is to complete at least the Title Field:

The User Profile Service service failed to login.

How to fix the Windows Vista and Windows 7 error:

“The User Profile Service service failed to login.

User Profile cannot be loaded”

This is the only way I was able to fix this error. These steps were found on the Microsoft Windows Forum.

In my case, only one account was configured (obiously with admin rights) and the only way out was to press the F8 key while the system boots and start windows in ‘Safe Mode’. Then I proceeded with step 2 and beyond.

1. Log into an admin account (using safe mode if necessary)

2. Launch Regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

3. The relevant profile existed in two forms: one with a long number, the other with the same long number plus .bak

4. Rename the one without the .bak extension to have a .old extension (or anything else really)

5. Rename the one with the .bak extension to _not_ have the .bak extension

6. In the one without the .bak extension (as changed in step 5), change refcount to 0

7. In the same profile, change state to 0

8. Close regedit, reboot

This is an example of how the registry entry looks after the fix:

Tuning the Windows environment – Windows XP re-install

Windows XP re-install

Here is a guide to refurbish a Windows XP desktop system; in other words, re-installing Windows from scratch. In this case, the desktop was a Dell Dimension 4550 on which three user profiles were defined.

1)      Backup all data for each user profile.
Make sure you are logged on with administrator privileges. Change the folder options to include hidden files and system folders.
Search the system for data files. Not all files may reside under ‘My Documents’, in particular also scan the Shared folders on the system.
An easy way to perform the backup is to use the ‘Syncback’ tool.

2)      Backup user profile specific files.
Custom desktop wallpaper files are stored in c:\Documents and Settings\<user profile>\Local Settings\Microsoft\
Custom account picture files are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\

3)      Backup user mailboxes.
In case of Microsoft Outlook Express, it wise to follow my Microsoft Outlook Express housekeeping steps.

4)      Backup or get a copy of specific drivers for video, sound, modem and network support. In particular, keep a copy of the video drivers; download the most up to date copy from the manufacturer’s site (e.g. NVIDIA or ATI), if necessary. Check if any other specific files or settings have to be saved.

5)      Set the CD-ROM as first bootable drive in the BIOS and reboot the system with the Windows XP installation CD. Remove all external drives! If not, windows may install them as system drives.

6)      Before starting the windows installation process, check the available partitions. Ideally, you should create a partition to install windows on (with at least 30 Gb) and a partition for the user data files (any remaining space). If the drive is too small (50 Gb or less), just use one partition. More information about partitioning is available in my ‘dedicated data partition‘ post.

7)      Once Windows has been installed, proceed with the custom driver installation. The first to update is the video driver. Then check the Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager: for any device with a (yellow) question mark, you will need to install or update the driver. Use the files from step 4, install from the manufacturer CD (if available) or download from the internet. This step is only successful if no question marks occur in the Device Manager list. You may need to reboot the system after installation of some device drivers.

8)      Start the customization of your windows environment:
Regional and Language Options (in the Control Panel) are a minimum to verify, in particular the keyboard settings (in the Languages tab, Details) need to match the attached keyboard lay-out.
Name and Company Information can be changed in the Registry. Follow the Microsoft instructions.
Apply the items of my ‘Windows XP optimization‘ post.

9)      Set the Hard Drive as first bootable drive in the BIOS and reboot the system. Make sure the system is connected to the internet (wired connection, not Wi-Fi), to allow windows updates to occur. The system may need to be rebooted upon request.

10)   Install all applications (respect the copyrights) and printers. This may be a good opportunity to uprade the system with the latest version of the applications. Check on the software developer’s site if any new versions are available.

11)   Create a system ‘restore point’ (Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore).

12)   Create the user profiles and restore the data from step 1, 2 and 3. Check each user profile, in particular the user privileges and access rights of the restored data (try to copy a file to an external drive, to check the file access rights).
Visual Effects may need to be reviewed for each user profile.

13)   Perform the Five essential steps in XP Maintenance.

Tuning the Windows environment – Reclaim Disk Space

Reclaim Disk Space after an XP Hotfix Installation

To reclaim diskspace from Hotfix installations, you can use a freeware:


this utility removes Hotfix Backup files and the Add/Remove Programs Registry entries.

Reclaim Disk Space after Vista Service Pack Installation

For Vista SP1 you may use the File Removal Tool Vsp1cln.exe from the command line.

For Vista SP2 you may use the File Removal Tool compcln.exe from the command prompt.

Keep in mind that once you have run these tools, the Service Packs cannot be uninstalled.

You may also refer to the Microsoft article about the Windows Installer Cleanup (MSICUU2.exe) utility.

Reclaim Disk Space after Windows 7  Service Pack Installation

For Windows 7 SP1 you may use the Disk Cleanup Tool and use the Systems Files Cleanup option:

Alternatively, you may also run (as administrator) the command line:

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

To save even more disk space, you may also cleanup obsolete restore points in the Other Options menu: