Disabling Windows 10 Automatic Update until you are ready to update

Wow.  It’s been a year since my last post.  I really suck at this blogging thing, huh?Anyways.

I’ve seen many, many people tweeting about their frustrations with Windows 10 and its “Recommended” update process.  I found a way to circumvent the process, so I decided to make a post to share.  There may be a much better way to do this.  If there is, I’d love to hear about it – I don’t really like disabling the update process, but this is the only way I’ve found to prevent unwanted update sessions that greatly interfere with my day-to-day.

Disclaimer:  This will prevent Windows Update from working AT ALL.  The onus will be on you to reverse the process if you want to update, even though it is rather easy.  Going without updates for any extended length of time is a BAD idea.  Make sure you continue to update periodically.

Also, if at a business, check with your IT department before implementing this.  Speaking as someone in IT, it would make me extremely unhappy if one of my users did this.

Note that there is another update mechanism by which Windows updates its app store / built-in type apps – OneNote, Sticky Notes, MSN Money/News/Sports, etc.  These updates will still occur, but should not reboot your machine.

Prerequisites:  Windows 10 Professional or Ultimate.  This will not work on Windows 10 Home.  You will also need to make sure you have the required level of access to edit local Group Policy (generally you need to be an administrator) and that other Group Policy is not being applied to your machine by your IT department (which could overwrite these settings).

Overview: Windows has a built in mechanism to enable IT departments to control what updates are deployed to their client systems, called WSUS – Windows Server Update Services.  Ironically, a key feature of this functionality is to enable admins to dictate exactly when and how their clients should update.  Why Microsoft decided it was a good idea to go the complete opposite direction for end user OS updates and literally force you to update with only minor configurability, I’ll never understand.  To prevent Windows Update from functioning, we essentially tell your computer that it needs to report to a WSUS server, and then point it at a hostname that doesn’t exist.

To do this, we need to edit local group policy:

  1. From Windows start menu (or wherever), run gpedit.msc
  2. Browse to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update
  3. Open “Configure Automatic Updates”
    1. Set it to Enabled
    2. Change the “Configure automatic updating” drop down menu to “2 – Notify for download and notify for install”
    3. Leave “Install during automatic maintenance” disabled  – probably doesn’t matter, but I have it disabled.
    4. Scheduled install day/time don’t really matter, because there won’t be anything to install!
    5. Leave”Install updates for other Microsoft products” disabled – probably doesn’t matter, but I have it disabled.
    6. Accept the changes
  4. Open “Specify intranet Microsoft update service location”
    1. Set it to Enabled
    2. Fill both boxes in with a URL that does not exist.  I used “http://gobbledygook” for both of mine.
    3. Accept the changes
  5. Reboot your computer
  6. Launch “Check for Updates”
    1. It should error out and say “We couldn’t connect to the update service.”

To reverse the changes, just go back into the two policies and set them to “Not Configured” and then reboot.

Speculation – Obesity & the personal computer revolution

So this is kind of interesting (and very speculative).

I randomly wondered to myself, I wonder why obesity seems to be a more recent (relatively speaking) thing.  And then I thought about where the majority of people spend their time these days.

The same year American obesity started to trend upwards substantially, Apple Computer was formed:





Since Apple at that time was one of the driving forces (if not the driving force) behind the personal computer, I wonder if there is a correlation between personal computer ownership and this upward obesity trend.

Isn’t speculation fun?

MS Visual Studio Customization – Colors & UI

So I’m using Visual Studio 2012 as my weapon of choice because it still seems to be the best selection for a C++ IDE on Windows.

But I’m not a huge fan of the interface.  I know they’ve worked on it, and it’s definitely come a long way.  But it’s so… BUSY.  When you’re writing code you want as few distractions as possible.  For a person with ADHD like myself, more shiny icons = more distractions.

Here’s what I’ve done to make the interface a little more minimalist:

  • Removed all toolbars
  • Removed all “View Menu” items shown and made sure only Toolbox, Solution Explorer, Properties, Command Window, Output are shown on the far right side of the screen and are set to auto-hide.
  • Installed VSVim – A plugin for MSVS that offers a VIM-like functionality and UI
  • Installed TextSharp to enable control of font aliasing & ClearType options
  • Installed Visual Studio Color Theme Editor so I could modify the color scheme, which is a bit bright for my tastes.  Switched to the “Dark” color theme
  • Installed Source Code Pro font, using Medium thickness

And here’s what we ended up with:

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Reading – Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice 3rd Ed.

So I’m apparently not so great at this frequent post thing.  We’ll work on that.

I’ve been reading (amongst various fiction books) Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice 3rd Ed. by Hughes, Van Dam, McGuire, Sklar, Foley, Feiner and Akeley (http://amzn.to/1KtPLgt).  I’m really enjoying this book.

What I like about the book thus far:

– Teaches you from the ground up.  Just a bit of working knowledge of C# / markup languages has been needed thus far (aside from WPF mentioned below).  Some physics knowledge is useful also, but not critical.

– Explained very succinctly.  Example:  the authors differentiate between the definition of “specular” in different places, showing you how they can mean different things in graphics.

– The breadth of the book is fantastic.  They go into a decent amount of detail not just about “how to draw pictures on screen” but also about things to take into account when designing UX/UI.

What I didn’t like thus far:

– It feels like I’ve spent a good amount of time (possibly almost as much time as I’ve spent reading) getting acquainted with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).  Many of the book’s examples are done using this framework.  It’s essentially (at a very base level) a rapid prototyping tool for user interfaces that has 2d and 3d drawing capabilities.  Not too keen on this, because I know I won’t be using WPF outside this book.

– The examples / labs external to the book are hard to tie to the book.  For example, the very first time they talk about WPF is in chapter 2.  And it’s not “OK, now we are going to set up the framework for our WPF application” or “Please go download this lab and follow these instructions” it’s “..for our first simple XAML example, let’s just create a standalone canvas” and then you see the code snippet and it’s kind of like… What?  Where do I put this?

Anyways… onward!

Paleo recipes

I’m a student at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus and an IT Analyst at Avanti Press in Detroit, but I’m off for the summer — so I’m using the extra time to get my ducks in a row before I head back (Can’t wait to start Computer Science II and Discrete Structures I!)

Among other things, that means going back to fully home cooked meals as they are *vastly* more economically efficient than eating out.  I’m going to update this post intermittently with successful recipes that meet this criteria:

  • Quick to prepare (no more than 1 prep time per week).  Note this means I will be using REAL-WORLD prep time (the time it takes me), not “I have been a chef for 10 years” prep time you so often find on recipes.
  • Limited ingredients (No more than 15)
  • Inexpensive ingredients (No more than $20 for the most expensive ingredient)
  • Paleo-esque ingredients (Not *strict* paleo, but no breads, no excessive sugar, minimally processed ingredients, that sort of thing.  I realize this is a bit nebulous.  I don’t have a way to quantify this, sadly.)
  • And of course, good-tasting!  (In other words, good enough that I would definitely cook it again.)

The recipes:

So here we are….

First post on m’blog.  This blog will be all about my adventures as I work my way through school (University of Michigan – Dearborn), struggle through learning computer science and computer graphics, and fumble my way through figuring what the heck to type so that my blog posts aren’t all 30 characters long.

In the immortal words of competitive e-sports players everywhere, glhf.

(good luck have fun)