This article is written for those that have just installed the latest version of Windows 10 LTSC. If you are not familiar with LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel), LTSC is a lightweight, distilled version of Windows 10: no Microsoft App Store, no Cortana, no Candy Crush, no Ads, and no Microsoft Edge. Updates for Windows 10 LTSC are never to add new features, but only to fix bugs and security issues. It's fast, reliable, and designed for businesses. Unfortunately, installation of Windows 10 LTSC is difficult and wrought with licensing issues, as Microsoft only provides this OS to businesses. I can't go into too much detail, but in order to install Windows 10 LTSC, you will require the following ISO file:
64-bit ISO: SW_DVD5_WIN_ENT_LTSC_2019_64-bit_English_MLF_X21-96425.ISO SHA-1: D5B2F95E3DD658517FE7C14DF4F36DE633CA4845
And if you're having difficulty finding a KMS server, all I can say is that Python is very good at emulating an internal KMS server 😉.
As one would expect from a Microsoft operating system, there are a bunch of tweaks needed to make Windows 10 LTSC respect your privacy and perform optimally after installation. However as a disclaimer, the following tweaks depend on the use case, so please decide for yourself.
Step 1: Disable the following services:
- Program Compatibility Service
- Analyzes your running programs to detect if any compatibility issues occur, but isn't required with newer software
- Connected User Experiences and Telemetry
- More telemetry from Microsoft
- SysMain / Superfetch
- Will predict programs that will be used and loads them into memory for faster loading. However, with SSDs, this is a non-issue.
- Will also load programs into memory, but is unnecessary with SSDs.
- Windows Search
- Indexes your files in the background for quick searching, but with an SSD, searching remains extremely quick
- Optimize Drives (Caution!)
- This will perform the TRIM command on your SSDs. However, I don't mind the slight degradation of read/write speeds.
Step 2: Change the following Group Policies:
The following tweaks reduce the amount of telemetry Windows 10 sends to Microsoft.
Open "Group Policy Editor", navigate to the following policy, and set it to
0 - Security:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Data Collection And Preview Builds > Allow Telemetry
Next, navigate to the following policy and set it to
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > All Settings > Turn off KMS Client Online AVS Validation
Step 3: Run O&O ShutUp10:
O&O ShutUp10 is a tool that helps deactivate certain functions of Windows 10 that are unnecessary or overly invasive. On my installation, I disabled almost every feature, including services such as Windows Defender. However, please note that the configuration for ShutUp10 depends heavily on the use case of the computer.
These are the settings I applied (click to enlarge):
Step 4: Apply Personal Tweaks:
- Enable Developer Mode in Settings
- Navigate to Control Panel -> System & Security -> Power Options, and select "Ultimate Performance"
- You can then re-enable automatic computer sleep in the Power & sleep settings
- Navigate to Control Panel -> System & Security -> System -> Advanced system settings -> Performance settings. Disable all visual effects, except for: "Smooth edges of screen fonts", "Show window contents", "Show thumbnails", "Show translucent selection rectangle", and "Show shadows under mouse pointer"
- Navigate to Settings -> Personalization -> Colors, and then disable transparency effects
- Search for "UAC" in the task bar, and click "Change User Account Control settings". Lower the notification level so that UAC no longer dims the desktop.
- Remove "Quick Access" from the navigation pane: Link
- Remove "3D Objects" folder from This PC: Link
- Disable mouse acceleration (optional): Link
- Disable automatic reboots from Windows Update: Link