At the time of publication, Windows 10 was Microsoft's leanest and meanest operating system. It felt even faster than its predecessor, Windows 7, and was compact enough to work with IoT devices. But that was then. Today Windows 10 has accumulated enough "features" to get bogged down.
We use quotation marks because these "features" are practically useless to many users. If you too find that Windows 10 has been slowing down lately and you don't care about letting Microsoft know what you think of it (AKA: Use Telemetry Features), it may be time to unwrap your operating system.
The pros and cons of clearing out Windows 10
Before we go any further, we should make it clear that the scripts we see are manipulating the default configuration of Windows 10. Such modifications are not "hacking" your operating system or illegal in any way. However, they also deviate from Microsoft's expected default values.
Therefore, we cannot guarantee its successful outcome or its stability on your PC and we recommend that you create a full backup before trying it out.
Since the methods we see manipulate Windows settings and files, they can break things. For example, it is difficult to reinstall the Marketplace after removing it. In addition, your changes can be undone by a future upgrade.
However, it's worth noting that, thanks to this or similar solutions, many people have been using Windows 10 for years without the unnecessary fluff. It is next to impossible to break things without trying to manually remove the core functionality of the operating system.
Choice between Windows 10 Decrapifier and Debloater
The two most popular solutions for "removing the fluff" from your Windows 10 installation are Windows 10 Decrapifier and Windows 10 Debloater.
Both are advanced PowerShell scripts that (in their current form) would not be possible with the older command prompt. If you'd like to learn more about it, we've already covered PowerShell and how such scripts make it possible.
Decrapifier works primarily as an automated cleanup script. In contrast, Debloater has evolved to work like classic Windows optimizers. So you can use it either as a simple semi-automatic script or as a full-fledged optimization tool via the GUI and customize its actions to your liking.
This is why we decided to include both in this article, with Decrapifier being the easy way to remove the fluff from your Windows 10 installation and Debloater giving more control over the process.
The fast approach with Decrapifier
Windows Decrapifier is the easiest way to remove any unwanted items from your Windows 10 installation. However, it does if you're okay with the default settings – check them out on the Github page before using them.
If you want more control over these tweaks, you can edit the script yourself. In this case, however, it would probably be easier to use Windows Debloater instead.
To get your Windows 10 free of all useless fluff almost automatically, first download the Windows Decrapifier script from its Github page.
Press Profit + X to access the Windows 10 administration tools quick menu and run Windows PowerShell with elevated user rights (Admin).
Use the CD Command (which stands for "Change Directory") to change to the folder where you downloaded the Windows Decrapifier script. The command should look like this:
Run the Windows Decrapifier script with:
Give the script some time to apply any pre-built optimizations and remove Windows features that you might not even know existed. For example, most people probably won't notice that Microsoft Wallet and Mixed Reality Portal are gone.
When the script finishes, restart your computer for any changes to take effect.
Windows 10 Debloater's detailed approach
Is More Complex Than If you just want to quickly and easily remove unused features from your operating system, the Windows Decrapifier route above is for you. However, if you are in control of every little element or are interested in customizing it, Windows 10 Debloater lets you control everything through a simple GUI.
First, download Windows 10 Debloater from its official page at FreeTimeTech.
Windows 10 Debloater comes as a package with multiple files, so you will need to extract the downloaded ZIP archive in order to use it. We extracted it to the default download folder of our user account, but you can choose any location you want.
Visit the folder where you extracted the contents of the archive with a file manager and you will see that Windows 10 Debloater is packaged as an executable file for ease of use. So all you have to do is double click on it to use it.
Don't worry if a dozen tabs and nearly two dozen buttons look scary on Windows 10 Debloater's user interface. As we'll see in a moment, it's actually pretty simple.
To use the script's relatively safe default settings, you can ignore anything in the UI except for the Major optimizations Button. Click that and you'll see a PowerShell script with a series of tweaks on the right side of the window.
It's easy to understand the script's actions by using the Write output "…" Note. If you're happy with the suggested actions, click the Run Script button in the lower right to run them. As with Windows Decrapifier, some of them don't take effect until you restart your computer.
Here's how to control things with the Windows 10 Debloater
Windows 10 Debloater contains a lot more scripts than the ones hidden behind the Essential Tweaks button. You can find them all by checking the rest of the tabs. Then only activate those you want to create your personal Franken-Script, which is tailored to your own needs and requirements.
It may seem daunting, but it gets easy when you find that each tab is a logical or thematic grouping of the options within it.
Third party providers allows you to install popular third party tools that many consider essential such as Java's Runtime, 7Zip, VLC, and popular web browsers.
Windows apps contains entries for all of the additional software that comes with Windows 10. Some use Skype, keep their contacts in people, or spend a minute (or ten) doing solitaire. Others consider them useless. From here you can remove these and more. Goodbye, Candy Crush.
Under privacy, you will find evidence that Microsoft actually exaggerated telemetry a bit in Windows 10. There are nearly twenty separate telemetry-related features that you can turn off. Learn more about (most of) in our guide to privacy and Windows 10, where we talk about the telemetry capabilities of the operating system, among other things.
Keep in mind that disabling some of them will also remove features like Cortana, activity history, and app suggestions.
Briefly visit the safety Tab, then leave it as it is. Yes, there are also helpful settings here, such as the option to deactivate the potentially insecure Samba server (SMB). Unfortunately, however, these tweaks can also destroy things that you need without realizing it. "Things" like support for network shares.
Similar, Services presents a list of services and tasks that are constantly running in the background. However, we believe that it is not worth turning off services for general-use PCs. Most are not resource hungry and rest until they are needed. At the same time, they form the backbone for functions such as file indexing, remote desktop and automatic defragmentation. We therefore recommend that you skip this section as well.
However, if you want to minimize resource usage and customize your operating system the way you want, there are some services that you can turn off. We have a guide that explains exactly which Windows 10 services can be safely disabled that can help with this.
the user interface Tab contains options that allow you to tweak elements of the Windows 10 graphical environment, their appearance, and some visually accessible features.
From here you can, for example, hide the search box in the operating system's system tray or hide the network and shutdown options from the lock screen.
Almost all of the options in the user interface affect the aesthetics of the operating system and the way you interact with it, rather than affecting resource usage or performance.
You can access both Windows Explorer and the This PC folder (which relies on it) using the options in the Researcher Tab. These options allow you to change the look and feel of Windows 10 File Manager and some of its features.
Among other things, you can disable the Explorer's support for thumbnails for image and video files. Or hide the Documents, Downloads, Music, and Pictures folders, which serve as the default libraries for these types of files.
In the use Tab you will find even more functions and apps that you can remove from Windows 10. However, this section feels like it contains options that the developers of Debloater couldn't fit anywhere else.
That's because some of those "apps" would probably fit better on the Windows apps tab. Below that you'll find OneDrive, Windows Media Player, the Linux subsystem, Hyper-V, and even the Windows Store. We recommend that you do not remove these as other software may rely on them. In addition, most are considered essential parts of the operating system.
Well, with the possible exception of Adobe Flash. Feel free to deactivate it.
It would be better to skip those too server, Detachment, miscellaneous, and Other 2 Tabs. Most of the options there either have no impact on resources or just perform visual tweaks. You can even lock some of them out of your computer.
After going through the tabs and checking any options you noticed, move on to the last one. output.
Click on the first button at the bottom left, Output PowerShell, and you'll see a combined version of the scripts you've activated in the central part of the Windows 10 Debloater window.
Check it out and make sure you are happy with any changes it contains. Then click Run PowerShell in the lower right to run the script and run the optimizations.
You can also use the Save on computer and Save as Buttons to save the script to a file for later use or to share it with others. Finally, restart your computer for any changes to take effect. After the next boot, your Windows 10 installation should feel a lot faster than before.
A clean, quick experience
Windows 10 is crawling under the weight of years of updates, upgrades, and additions. However, both of the scripts we've seen can help remove the useless fluff and make your computer usable again.
Still, we recommend that you have a full backup handy before trying it out. The scripts can rarely fail, but not impossible. When that happens, we believe it is much easier (and faster) to restore everything from a backup than trying to understand what the scripts did to undo the damage.
In the end, you have a lighter, faster operating system that justifies the names of the two scripts to a point. Your Windows 10 installation will be "crap" and "bloat" free.
If after all that you're still in the mood for tinkering, maybe delete unnecessary files and uninstall old apps. This way, your Windows 10 will be light, fast and "clean". How it should be.
The Best Way to Clean Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide
Not sure how to clean Windows 10? Here's a clear, step-by-step guide on how to get your Windows PC clean and tidy again.
About the author
(6 articles published)
OK's real life started at 10 when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. He has since melted keycaps by typing around the clock and trying to get the word of tech out to anyone interested enough to listen . Or rather read.
From Odysseas Kourafalos
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