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Is fighting (Windows 10) automatic updates worth the time and effort?


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#26 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

i did load a1ive, it took me anywhere I wished, but no booting anything but a filedisk (vhd.vhd) up until a BSOD came up saying inaccessible boot device. so it did not complete the booting. as i was saying, other vhds would not boot at all - a1ive just hangs and u move nowhere - only the famous 3-finger salute gets u outta there.



#27 AnonVendetta

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Looks like the topic got hijacked to discuss RAMdisk booting. I don't mind, since I have an interest in that.

@Camiel: I agree, LTSC is the best and least bloated of the W10 versions. It doesn't get updates that often, but only because it is designed for organizations, not individuals. It doesn't get feature updates, I do believe it only gets updates for cumulative/security. And for preinstalled things like Defender. As well as updates for any Microsoft stuff that is manually installed (Office etc).

Every time I try to change the update service status to disabled, it eventually reenables. There is a WU Medic service (new in LTSC, it wasn't there in LTSB 2016). And there are also some update related entries in the Task Scheduler that are triggers too. And some Registry entries.

LTSC is already debloated enough by default, in the future I may not bother modding it with MSMG Toolkit or NTLite. And just leave the update service turned on. I'm starting to not care, as long as it doesn't mess with my drivers (which I prefer to do manually).

But getting back to RAMdisks, I think debloating and update disabling will be mandatory if I wish to try RAMbooting. Right now I'm about to begin the process of updating my laptop's RAM from 16GB, to 64GB dual channel Corsair Vengeance.

As for drives, I just recently installed a Samsung 2TB NVMe SSD. NVMe wins over SATA SSDs in the sequential read/writes, so I think it will be optimal for RAMdisks, since you are loading large solid files into RAM (which I believe qualifies as sequential reads). But it is not much faster than a SATA SSD for everyday use.

My laptop's current internal drive setup:
Samsung 2TB PCIe NVMe (most recently added)
Samsung 1TB m.2 SATA SSD
Samsung 500GB m.2 SATA SSD
Samsung 4TB SATA SSD
Seagate Firecuda 2TB hybrid HDD

This may seem like overkill where space is concerned, but I actually do use most of it. And I can still fit another drive or 2 in there. With this setup, and upgraded RAM, I do believe a RAMdisk is within reach for everyday use.

#28 Camiel

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Posted 2 weeks ago

It's strange. I get zero updates, neither any services settings revert back.

But be careful with nvme and ram loading, antonino61 has all sorts of problems with it, as g4d seems not to be able to load the vhds.  



#29 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

g4d does load vhds, it is a1live that does not. at least here.



#30 AnonVendetta

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Posted 2 weeks ago

@Camiel: So, you installed from a stock unmodded LTSC ISO? Did you ever allow it to update, even once? Have you manually installed any updates, features, etc?

My procedure is:
1. Install LTSC (unmodded or original, makes no difference, in my tests), do not allow it to connect to the Internet at any point
2. Disable WU service
3. Disable WU Medic service (with PowerRun, it seems that not even an admin can modify this service's state, you must run services.msc as TrustedInstaller)
4. Configure Automatic Updates in Group Policy, as well as configuring the option to not allow WU to install device drivers/manufacturer apps)
5. Disable (but not delete) all update related tasks in Task Scheduler
Create C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder if it doesn't exist, set it to read only, then set the owner to Administrators group, but deny permission of all user groups to access it (including admins)

After that I connect to internet, for awhile (days or several weeks), it doesn't update, but then suddenly I find that updates are being installed, and SoftwareDistrubution is populated

The only things I haven't tried, is setting up a software firewall, with all rules set to denied by default, but manually allowing the programs that need access.

Another option I may try, is configuring the update intranet (not internet) in Group Policy, as well as the GP that forces the update service to update via WSUS only. I know that some indivuals/orgs use WSUS to finely control the updates they receive, but I'm thinking that maybe it can be subverted by configuring updates to WSUS only, configuring the WSUS server address as localhost/127.0.0.1/0.0.0.0,set up a WSUS server in a VM, but don't download any updates to feed to the client PC. But I think that W10 may just fall back to updating from Microsoft servers, if it can't get updates from the WSUS server.

What else are you doing that I haven't mentioned?

#31 wimb

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Posted 2 weeks ago

g4d does load vhds, it is a1live that does not. at least here.

 

a1ive Grub2 FileManager has support for booting VHD as FILEDISK using Microsoft vhdmp.sys driver.

This can be used in BIOS (MBR) mode and in UEFI mode booting from USB

 

a1ive Grub2 FileManager does NOT have direct support for booting VHD from RAMDISK using SVBUS driver.

In BIOS mode Grub4dos Menu is needed in that case to load VHD into RAMDISK and then boot from RAMDISK.

 

In BIOS mode a1ive Grub2 FileManager is launched from Grub4dos Menu.

Inside a1ive Grub2 FileManager you can select grub.exe to return to Grub4dos Menu.

For booting VHD from RAMDISK it makes no sense to boot first a1ive Grub2 FileManager from Grub4dos Menu and then Return to Grub4dos Menu.

It is easier to use Grub4dos directly to select VHD for booting from RAMDISK.


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#32 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

sorry to butt in, as I was sayin earlier, the best would be to move all those culprit folders to a ramdisk and junction them thru symbolic links to their original locations. the same must be done with all folders containing *.etl files. and u r good to go without engineering any permissions.



#33 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

@wimb

and don't u think this is what I am at pains trying to get into Camiel's head? exactly as u said. I had taken ur point, I am finest with ur wimboot (spick&span), but Camiel insisted on my trying a1live out on the grounds that "it loads everything".

 

btw, the only "glitch" (regret) I have is not being able to combine g4d4.6's with g4d4.5's features, namely dynamic vhd support with booting from nvme. the only way I can have the best of both worlds is by alternating g4d loaders and *.mbr's (of course keeping the appropriate vhd copies on 2 different drives, one obviously being nvme), but it is not the best of comfort, is it? 



#34 AnonVendetta

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Posted 2 weeks ago

To be clear, I am only interested in using this thread to figure out and test methods for stopping WU in its' tracks. All comments should be related to this. If you wish to discuss RAMbooting, G4D, al1ve, etc, then start your own damn thread! A RAMdisk is something I would like to try later, but that is a different matter.

#35 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

@vendetta

it might be the same matter, though, if u cared to see the connection to ur aims and objectives. The only thing that is not clear to me is ur wanting to "stop WU in its tracks", while I am probably suggesting u stop WU in YOUR tracks. I actually do not see what kinda practical difference it would make. the only detail I see that is different is that my suggestion would have u stop WU later instead of earlier, but u would not even notice the difference, timewise.

the only "hustle and bustle" would be checking the presence of *.etl files on ur boot&system vhd weekly or now and then - as soon as I find one, I promptly move it to the ramdisk and junction it back to wherever it arrived or created itself (btw, softwaredistribution is not the only location, FYI). Result: the *.etl file is logically still there, but physically someplace else and eventually nowhere. to do all this I use a very handy program called hardlinkshellextension.



#36 AnonVendetta

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Like I said, START YOUR OWN THREAD. PERIOD!

#37 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

i did, far too many a time and far too many a one.



#38 AnonVendetta

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Then keep the RAMdisk discussion there. This thread is about ideas to prevent W10 from updating (outside of a RAMdisk boot scenario, but could apply there too). This is the last time I will be civil about this.

#39 Camiel

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Posted 2 weeks ago

I never use any iso unless is been through winreducer first, even if is just for removing the basics, like the many languages and keyboards.

So, that might have something to do.

Willing to bet that turning clearing the WinSxS option on, prevents updates from the get go, even if one wants to, isn't be able to. 

Other than that, I don't remember the last time I used a windows os apart from ram-boot, already gone through most of your settings in that list plus the fact the os doesn't get the chance to be corrupted or changed since it runs from ram, must do the trick for me regarding the updates.



#40 antonino61

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Posted 2 weeks ago

...to be said in a civil manner. Plus, we must not forget free space: if it is too much, it is an invitation for updates to come, whereas if it is kept to a minimum (before used space gets red in the explorer, to make it simple), it "discourages" the updates, the reason being, there is not enough room or no room at all. But I am afraid Mr. Vendetta wants to stop the updates at the outset, not at the outcome.






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