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Top 6 Windows 10 Annoyances (and How to Fix Them)

By Tim Warner

Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest desktop operating system. In many ways Windows 10 marks a concession to users who grew attached to the Start menu and more traditional (read: non-touch sensitive) desktop experience.

Each new Windows version removes, modifies and adds new features, and there is always a population of users frustrated and thinking either "How can I uninstall this thing?!" or "How can I restore my desired preferences here?!"

Let's cover six of the most common Windows 10 annoyances and how to fix them.

Use a Local Account instead of a Microsoft Account

Because Windows 10 is a "cloud first," operating system, you're strongly encouraged to link your PC to a Microsoft account during setup. To convert your Microsoft account back to a local identity, open Settings > Accounts. Click "Sign in with a local account instead" and follow the instructions.

Suppress Windows Update automatic system restarts

By default, Windows 10 fetches and applies updates automatically. If an update requires a system restart, Windows takes it upon itself to do so — automatically. Yikes. To control this behavior, open Settings > Update & Security. Under Update settings, you have a couple customization options:

Change active hours. Tell Windows when you use your computer; Windows will perform automatic restarts outside that time frame

Restart options. Specify a discrete time window for automated system restarts

To disable automatic restart entirely in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise Editions, open the local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) as an administrator, go to the path Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update, and enable the No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations policy. Make sure to restart the system to put the new policy into effect.

Use Group Policy to disable automatic restarts.

Disable Windows Update peer updates

If Windows 10 was installed on your system with all default settings, then your computer will fetch Windows Update files from other systems on your local area network (LAN), or even your neighbors in a broadband-connected neighborhood.

To disable this feature, navigate to Settings > Update & Security and click Advanced Options. In the Advanced options pane, click Choose how updates are delivered.

You can either limit peer updates to your local network, or disable the functionality entirely.

Disable peer updates

Prevent Windows from sending telemetry data to Microsoft.

The out-of-box default in Windows 10 is that Windows quietly collects computer usage data and sends it to Microsoft periodically so they can use it in product development. Open Settings > Privacy, and select Feedback & diagnostics from the sidebar.

You can set the Diagnostics and usage data property to one of the following options:

Basic. Low-level system statistics

Enhanced. Includes which apps you use and for how long

Full. Includes memory snapshots and document fragments

To disable telemetry altogether, open Registry Editor (regedit.exe) as an administrator, navigate to the path

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsDataCollection, and create a new value with the following properties:

Type: 32-bit DWORD

Name: AllowTelemetry

Value: 0

Disable telemetry in Windows 10.

Turn off Cortana

Not everyone enjoys the Cortana virtual assistant. To disable Cortana in Windows 10, begin by opening Settings > Privacy, navigating to Speech, inking, & typing, and clicking Stop getting to know me.

Next, remove Cortana from the Task bar. Right-click the Taskbar and select Cortana > Hidden.

Remove all traces of Cortana

Remove BitLocker Recovery Keys from the Cloud

If you use a Microsoft account with Windows 10, then BitLocker Drive Encryption stores your recovery key(s) to your OneDrive account by default. If this makes you uncomfortable, point your browser to

Managing cloud-based BitLocker recovery keys.

The keys are displayed in plain text. Copy them to a local (protected) location and then click Delete to remove the cloud-based copies

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Anton Watman