Appx Cleanup for Windows 10/11 Performance
article #1561, updated 7 days ago

Appx’s are a method used for application install, first delivered in Windows 8.1. There are a lot of builtins which take live system resources in hidden fashion, usually not showing up in Task Manager very much or at all. And there have been a lot of changes in this over recent years. Here’s an overview of items for cleanup as of this writing. One can free a lot of resources on machines this way.

The first thing to know is that many appx’s are “provisioned”, they are embedded in the current (“online”) DISM image, and will be automatically activated whenever a new user profile is made. To get a list of these:

Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Sort-Object | ft DisplayName, PackageName

To get a list of all apps installed for all users, in nicely sorted form:

Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Sort-Object | ft

To remove several of these, that I like to have gone in business desktops, both from provisioning and from any user for which any of them may be installed:

#Begin Script

$RemovalItems =  @(
"Microsoft.Advertising.Xaml",
"Microsoft.BingWeather",
"Microsoft.BingFinance",
"Microsoft.BingNews",
"Microsoft.BingSports",
"Microsoft.SkypeApp",
"Microsoft.WindowsCommunicationsApps",
"Microsoft.XboxGameOverlay",
"Microsoft.XboxGamingOverlay",
"Microsoft.XboxGameCallableUI",
"Microsoft.Xbox.TCUI",
"Microsoft.XboxApp",
"Microsoft.XboxSpeechToTextOverlay",
"Microsoft.XboxIdentityProvider",
"Microsoft.YourPhone",
"Microsoft.ZuneVideo",
"Microsoft.ZuneMusic",
".DellDigitalDelivery",
".DellSupportAssistforPCs",
".DellUpdate",
".DiscoverHPTouchpointManager",
".HPDesktopSupportUtilities",
".HPJumpStart",
".HPPCHardwareDiagnosticsWindows",
".HPPowerManage",
".HPPrivacySettings",
".HPProgrammableKey",
".HPQuickDrop",
".myHP",
".HPSupportAssistant",
".HPSystemInformation",
".HPWorkWell",
".HPAccessoryCenter"
)

$ProvisionedItems = Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online
foreach ($ProvItem in $ProvisionedItems) {
	foreach ($RemItem in $RemovalItems) {
		If ($ProvItem.DisplayName -like "*$RemItem*") {
			Write-Host "Deprovisioning:" $ProvItem.DisplayName
			$error.clear()
			try {
				Remove-AppXProvisionedPackage -Online -PackageName $ProvItem.PackageName -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Out-Null
			}
			catch { "Failed: Microsoft does not allow, or other error." }
			if (!$error) { "Succeeded!" }
		}
	}
}

$InstalledItems = Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers
foreach ($InstItem in $InstalledItems) {
	foreach ($RemItem in $RemovalItems) {
		if ($InstItem.Name -like "*$RemItem*") {
			Write-Host "User-level removal operation:" $InstItem.Name
			$error.clear()
			try {
				Get-AppxPackage $InstItem.Name -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage -Allusers -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Out-Null
			}
			catch { "Failed: Microsoft does not allow, or other error." }
			if (!$error) { "Succeeded!" }
		}
	}
}

# End Script

The above first gets rid of the provisioned, then the user-level for all user profiles, for the whole list. There are some for which Microsoft prevents all removals; errors are thrown for these.

Categories:      

==============

Automatic update of Lenovo drivers, firmware, etc.
article #1585, updated 17 days ago

Here it is:

support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds012808-lenovo-system-update-for-windows-10-7-32-bit-64-bit-desktop-notebook-workstation

It’s also available via Winget: winget install "Lenovo System Update"

Categories:      

==============

New Windows package management: winget
article #1504, updated 17 days ago

It’s built into the latest builds of Windows 10 and 11 and Server, and can be installed into many.

To see if you have it, try winget from CMD or Powershell. If you don’t have it on a newer platform with the Microsoft store, here’s the link:

learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/package-manager/winget/

One good way to try it, is to install Microsoft .NET framework (SDK) 6, thus, from administrative Powershell:

winget install --id Microsoft.DotNet.Runtime.6 --silent --accept-source-agreements

I learned just now that if you add other seemingly valuable options to the one above, e.g., --scope machine, at least while running as SYSTEM, it will fail citing package not found. So you’ll want to test carefully.

Here’s one proven just now for 7zip (there’s a “search” option in winget to get the ID):

winget install --exact --id 7zip.7zip --accept-package-agreements --silent --scope machine

Here’s one for Google Chrome, needs a bit of extra:

winget.exe install --exact --id Google.Chrome --silent --accept-package-agreements --accept-source-agreements --scope machine

If you do want to use it from the SYSTEM account, in scripting, it gets interesting. You’ll want to first run this:

$ResolveWingetPath = Resolve-Path "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller_*_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe"
    if ($ResolveWingetPath){
           $WingetPath = $ResolveWingetPath[-1].Path
    }
$ENV:PATH += ";$WingetPath"

and then winget will run as expected.

Adding Winget on Windows 10/2019/2016 builds 1809 or lower is touch and go. This worked on a recent Server 2019/1809, with the addition to the path above:

# Install VCLibs
Add-AppxPackage 'https://aka.ms/Microsoft.VCLibs.x64.14.00.Desktop.appx'

# Install Microsoft.UI.Xaml.2.7.3 from NuGet
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://www.nuget.org/api/v2/package/Microsoft.UI.Xaml/2.7.3 -OutFile .\microsoft.ui.xaml.2.7.3.zip
Expand-Archive .\microsoft.ui.xaml.2.7.3.zip
Add-AppxPackage .\microsoft.ui.xaml.2.7.3\tools\AppX\x64\Release\Microsoft.UI.Xaml.2.7.appx

# Install the latest release of Microsoft.DesktopInstaller from GitHub
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://github.com/microsoft/winget-cli/releases/latest/download/Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller_8wekyb3d8bbwe.msixbundle -OutFile .\Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller_8wekyb3d8bbwe.msixbundle
Add-AppxPackage .\Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller_8wekyb3d8bbwe.msixbundle

# Fix permissions
TAKEOWN /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /R /A /D Y
ICACLS "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /grant Administrators:F /T

Categories:      

==============

Disable Windows Compatibility Telemetry
article #1370, updated 20 days ago

This can sometimes save a lot of CPU and/or disk cycles. In administrative CMD:

schtasks /Change /Disable /TN "Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser"
sc delete DiagTrack
sc delete dmwappushservice
echo “” > C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Diagnosis\ETLLogs\AutoLogger\AutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl
reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection /v AllowTelemetry /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Categories:      

==============

Automatic install of Dell drivers and firmware, and more
article #1584, updated 23 days ago

Lots of interesting recently-updated tools here:

www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/en-us/000126750/dell-client-command-suite

Categories:      

==============

Use DMARC to harden SPF and DKIM
article #1255, updated 30 days ago

As of Q4 2023, Google and Yahoo are requiring DMARC to be set on the sender side, for many emails to be delivered. Some Office 365 tenants have exhibited similar behavior.

The following TXT record contents:

v=DMARC1; p=reject; pct=100; adkim=s; aspf=s

indicate that both DKIM and SPF are checked, and any email not satisfying both entirely, will be rejected. There is a “relaxed” mode, =r, which allows subdomains. But if you have to allow for some email to be transmitted without DKIM, e.g. from a web site’s or application’s email generator, go with either this:

v=DMARC1; p=reject; pct=100; aspf=s

which does not look at DKIM; or if you must, this:

v=DMARC1; p=none

which is a kind of ‘null’ DMARC, it’s a placeholder such that DMARC exists, but doesn’t do anything. At least one cloud-application vendor is recommending this, but it’s far from clear how Google, Yahoo, and other machines will respond to it, either now or in the future.

To use the above, create a TXT record of name _dmarc with those contents.

Some more info is here:

www.dmarcanalyzer.com/how-to-create-a-dmarc-record/

Categories:      

==============

Automatically Resize Windows in Windows with AutoSizer
article #1583, updated 30 days ago

AutoSizer:

www.southbaypc.com/AutoSizer/

really works remarkably well. Rather helpful if you bring up ticket note windows or anything else over and over again which need resizing. It repositions and maximizes as desired too. By default it runs by window class (my own preference!) but can address windows by title as well. Sits in the Windows tray nice and quietly and does its job. Lovely!

Newly updated as of this writing, I’m running it on Windows 11.

Categories:      

==============

Fixing Windows / Azure / 365 User Connections with dsregcmd
article #1550, updated 34 days ago

Sometimes Windows’ relationship with 365, or a user’s profile, or just a user on a PC or terminal server, will not log into 365. This appears to be the result of corruption of cached credentials.

The most straightforward way is probably to nuke all User/Windows/Azure relationship and recreate. As written, this would probably be very bad on a terminal server, because it will nuke the relationship for all users and all profiles. So far, no per-user commands identified.:

Remove 365 accounts from “Access Work and School”, then run these:

dsregcmd /cleanupaccounts
dsregcmd /debug /leave

from administrative CMD, and also from SYSTEM (paexec or psexec can do this), then reboot, then remove from Access Work and School if still there, then set up user relationship(s) again.

But today we have a report that dsregcmd /status did something, unknown, which fixed one terminal server user. Not sure what. Next time I plan to run many tests with this info:

ss64.com/nt/dsregcmd.html

And if you see error CAA5021, do this:

Search for Manage user certificates in the search bar and open it from Best match. Then navigate to Current User\Personal\Certificates and make sure the MS-Organization-Access and MS-Organization-P2P-Access entries are deleted.

No reboot needed for that last.

Categories:      

==============

Download Microsoft Teams (newest)
article #1568, updated 35 days ago

Here’s the download page:

www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/download-app

This downloads an .MSIX, which one can usually double-click effectively. The link appears to be nicely static at this writing:

statics.teams.cdn.office.net/production-windows-x64/enterprise/webview2/lkg/MSTeams-x64.msix

And some Powershell to do the download and the install:

cd $env:TEMP
curl.exe -O "https://statics.teams.cdn.office.net/production-windows-x64/enterprise/webview2/lkg/MSTeams-x64.msix"
Add-AppxPackage -Path '.\MSTeams-x64.msix'
# placeholder for Enter

Categories:      

==============

Bypass Requirements for Windows 11
article #1582, updated 37 days ago

Very interesting:

www.tomshardware.com/how-to/bypass-windows-11-tpm-requirement

Categories: