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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:15 am 
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Hey there, I'm an IT Technician for a Secondary School. After installing Windows 10 and trying (and failing) to customize the Windows 10 start menu via the xml file, we instead chose to try Classic Shell. The main thing we want to ensure is that our students cannot access system settings, program files and Windows Apps as well as adding a bit of colour and theming to it. Basically, we want to lock down the start menu, something which seems far too difficult in an education edition of Windows 10...

So far we've done this successfully via group policy and we really like the sheer quantity of different policies/options you get, it's really great. However we keep getting a constant issue whereby Classic Shell seems to be crashing Windows Explorer. Rarely, Windows does actually realize it has crashed and therefore restarts the process, however most of the time, explorer just freezes and you have to manually restart it via Task Manager. We've tried many many different things including:

- Reinstalling Classic Shell many times
- Installing ONLY Classic Start Menu without Classic Explorer/IE/Update
- Changing the policy settings - Removing all policies, just adding some policies, adding all the policies etc
- Disabling OneDrive - we saw a forum post that said this was causing issues, it has now been disabled completely (to no avail)
- Installing Classic Shell on just a basic Windows Disc Installation - Currently we have an Image which we distribute to all computers with some pre-installed software, the group policies are then applied on top of that. We have tried it however with an image that has NO pre-installed software, the policies for Windows and Classic Shell were then applied to this.... and it froze explorer...

The issue is definitely related to Classic Shell, we cannot reproduce the issue when Classic Shell is removed. I can see mentions of capturing crash dumps on other posts but our freeze/crash never seems to occur at the exact same time. Sometimes it freezes straight on logon, sometimes it takes 5 or 10 minutes but it always seems to freeze eventually. This seems to be the exact same 800 thread issue as others are mentioning, I've looked in Resource Monitor and the threads for explorer.exe grow exponentially until they hit about 816... and then it freezes. Same issue here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5954

We're currently using Windows 10 Education Edition version 10.0.14393, fully updated. We're also using Classic Shell version 4.3.0.

We'd love to get Classic Shell working as the program is really great and there doesn't seem to be any other options. Classic Shell is by far the most powerful and most configurable program available and leagues ahead of the basic Windows 10 menu.

Thank you for your help!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:36 am 
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Does it work, as an Admin User OK, but as a pupil (with I presume GPO restrictions in place) it then hangs?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:26 am 
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PJABuilder wrote:
Does it work, as an Admin User OK, but as a pupil (with I presume GPO restrictions in place) it then hangs?


Nope, hangs as either user. I can literally watch the threads in Resource Monitor - it starts out fine (80-90 threads) and then at some arbitrary point within 5 minutes, it'll suddenly start to shoot up and up, eventually it hits about 810 or 820 and that's always the point at which explorer then freezes. It's like there's a memory leak or something.

If I don't install Classic Shell, it seems almost impossible to make the threads for explorer go above 150, even with 20 different windows of varying programs open.

I'll get a crash log today, it's a bit difficult as it's hard to predict exactly when it's going to happen


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:56 am 
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Does this happen only on Windows 10, and not earlier releases of Windows? If the reason of the freezing cannot be determined, you might consider moving back to an older release of Windows? Is there any particular feature why you moved to Windows 10? You could try Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell which offers many advantages of Windows 10 without reliability issues.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:36 am 
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Gaurav wrote:
Does this happen only on Windows 10, and not earlier releases of Windows? If the reason of the freezing cannot be determined, you might consider moving back to an older release of Windows? Is there any particular feature why you moved to Windows 10? You could try Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell which offers many advantages of Windows 10 without reliability issues.

While we could consider moving back a version of Windows 10 (to 1511 e.g.), the school wants to have the latest tech and software on all PC's and therefore Windows 8 is off the table. Sorry.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:30 am 
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I have now uploaded a crash dump to the MediaFire filedrop service. Should be entitled 'CosmicThing2 - Crash Dump Explorer' or something similar.

I took 30 dumps in total but there's 20 in the zip, all taken by the procdump tool. This shows the last 20 seconds leading up the freeze. Once frozen, explorer was then restarted manually which then ended the procdump tool.

We tried going down to version 4.2.7, this seemed to help a bit, it was a bit harder to cause the freeze, but it still happens in the same manner. We log on, straight away open Resource Monitor and watch explorer.exe which usually starts between 100 and 200 threads. We can increase this a little bit by opening more and more windows but it always seems at some arbitrary point within a few minutes, the threads start going very quickly upwards and even closing all windows won't make it go down again. Eventually it hits 820/830, at which point explorer dies. It can be remedied by manually restarting explorer but it will then happen again.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:34 pm 
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Yes, this is another case of the excessive thread count. Something is blocking the existing threads and Explorer is launching new ones until it dies.
Unfortunately I have not seen this myself and I have no clue what is the root cause.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:34 am 
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I suspect this may also be some poorly coded built-in Windows 10 process which is blocking the existing threads and launching new ones, which is why I suggested moving back to Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell. Windows 10 in my opinion is the most poorly coded release in the 30 year history of Windows.

It is the crappiest crap of all crap. I've seen such extreme bullshit in the OS in the last 2.5 years that I will stay away from it for the next 100 years at least. It's an epic failure of good software engineering. Parts of it are very poorly architected/designed and the UI is worse than Windows 95. The reliability, stability, quality, value it delivers, ease of use, features - everything about it is outrageously bad and completely worthless, lacking in substance.

For those who cannot judge its quality and cannot see its massive flaws, I saw tough luck. You have a weird obsession to stay on the "latest" OS no matter how bad it is, and nobody can fight that if you've made up your mind to ignore its deal-breaking flaws. The worst is yet to come. Windows 10 will only get worse from here on as it destroys everything that truly made the PC great. Microsoft will remove more features and value than what they are adding, and they will change it into a perpetual expensive subscription.

My point is: you can use the OS you prefer but my two-cents advice is that you'll experience MASSIVE troubles CONTINUOUSLY with Windows 10 - it goes against the fundamental principle of software which is that it should stable, trustworthy, reliable and productive in the long term.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:16 am 
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I completely agree with you, Gaurav.
Just to give another reason... Windows 10 0day exploit


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:35 pm 
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Gaurav wrote:
I suspect this may also be some poorly coded built-in Windows 10 process which is blocking the existing threads and launching new ones, which is why I suggested moving back to Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell. Windows 10 in my opinion is the most poorly coded release in the 30 year history of Windows.



I could mostly say the same about everything since Win7 tbh. 8 being a laughable disaster and 8.1 seemingly good, but only when compared to Win8 :)

However, its pointless to fight the tide. New system buyers won't have the option to regress to Win8.1 much less to Win7. Corporate users, and those on VL will have some breathing room, but only up until the end of support for their chosen platforms. In the case of Win7, extended support ends 2020, only 3 years away.

I've got to say though, MS has done a worthwhile job of shrinking the OS. Win8.1 and Win10 have a significantly smaller memory footprint than either Vista or 7 and, unbelievably to me at first, will run on almost anything. I've got sample machines in my lab dating back to 2003/4, running P4 Prescott's which will run Win10 x86 ...

But anyway, in the context of this forum, and of Classic Shell, the reality is that with a fair amount of registry tweaking, removal of pointless things (all modern 'apps' gone) and, most importantly, the introduction of CS, the Win10 experience for end users is like a speedier, more consistent version of Win7 - and they love it! By comparison Win7 feels heavy and sluggish, Win8 and 8.1 have UI inconsistencies and other weirds that, for the most part, have been corrected in Win10.

A lot of my customers have VL availability but I don't find myself installing Win8.1 as a downgrade option. Win10, with proper tweaking via an SOE script, is, imho, a better system.

OOB though, sure, its an aberration.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:15 pm 
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I am afraid I don't agree:


1. End of Microsoft support means nothing. Security patches ending won't cause your PC to get hacked unless you run unknown apps from untrusted sources. It's just a tactic that Microsoft uses to scare everyone. In fact I am willing to take that 1 in a billion chance that my PC will get hacked because of a security vulnerability. That is lesser of the two evils, the one option being extorted by Microsoft perpetually with ridiculous changes that you can't say no to. Microsoft will bleed you dry without offering any additional value, and while secretly eliminating what you paid for.

2. The driver model hasn't changed between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 so it will be possible to run Windows 8.1 for a very, very, very long time. Even NVMe SSDs have native drivers in Windows 8.1. USB 3.1 - yep. Bluetooth Low Energy. Yep 8.1 supports. Miracast? Yep. There hasn't been any hardware technology evolution or revolution big enough to require the dreadful abomination called Windows 10.

3. No amount of Registry tweaking, configuring and tuning can fix the awfulness of updates in Windows 10. Updates that should have been 10 MB in size are 1 GB and are constant. To hide from the user how awfully bloated they are, Microsoft no longer shows their size so the user remains cluelessly deceived. Updates reset your customized stuff and completely kill your productivity. Imagine if Classic Shell reset all its settings every single time you did a point upgrade. Windows 10 updates are 100 times worse. They also impact web bandwidth when downloading and PC performance while they slowly install. Whoever worked on the updating stack should never again be allowed to touch a computer, let alone code. They should be sent back to the college or university they came from to learn efficient coding from scratch again. Until then, all their degrees and qualifications should be taken away. I haven't seen anything worse in 30 years of computing than Windows 10 updates.

4. UI inconsistences have increased 100 times more in Windows 10 vs 8.1. Settings and notification area shit is all over the place. For example, there are 3 Defender UIs: (see this image) AND a tray icon and weekly Action Center notifications! Windows 8.1 with the addition of Classic Shell is largely like Windows 7. You don't even have to ever see or use the dreadful Metro UI in Windows 8 except for a few areas like the Network flyout/tray pane. Whereas in Windows 10, the extremely crappily designed UI has infected more core parts of the OS. Everywhere, silly dumb undecipherable icons are used instead of text and everything is hidden behind hamburger menus that require more clicks. More classic Win32 desktop apps are replaced by extremely dumbed down Metro crap.

5. Windows 8.1 is the fastest out of Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10 in my benchmarks. Also besides synthetic performance, Windows 10 has real-world UI sluggishness issues due to use of managed code in the UI/graphical shell. Plus, it is unstable and breaks on its own. It also has loads of unnecessary crap which cannot be uninstalled, fully disabled and continues to take loads of memory. It also comes back when you do updates.

Windows 10 has severely regressed in several core areas:
1. Updates (or the way the OS is serviced) which affects user productivity and long-term stability and desired configuration
2. User interface which has pathetic usability. The entire UWP/Metro UI control stack should be canceled and something better based on modified Win32 controls for touch should be built. Making the controls usable still won't fix their awful design of most apps though
3. Poor performance due to use of managed code in the OS unlike fast, low footprint native code (C++)

I think those who say Windows 10 is actually better than 8.1 or 7 don't have a complete understanding of operating systems and therefore cannot see just how bad it is. They have no idea of the crap they are accepting. What can I say - ignorance is bliss. :D

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:08 pm 
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Gaurav wrote:
1. End of Microsoft support means nothing. Security patches ending won't cause your PC to get hacked unless you run unknown apps from untrusted sources. It's just a tactic that Microsoft uses to scare everyone. In fact I am willing to take that 1 in a billion chance that my PC will get hacked because of a security vulnerability. That is lesser of the two evils, the one option being extorted by Microsoft perpetually with ridiculous changes that you can't say no to. Microsoft will bleed you dry without offering any additional value, and while secretly eliminating what you paid for.


I agree, and it feeds into point 3) actually. All the systems I manage have automatic updates turned off. Win10 does require that the IT admin really _manage_ the systems. Automatic, userland stuff just won't cut it. Once you do this though and patch regularly using either WSUS or a third party product like WSUS Offline, things are about as covered as they can reasonably be.

To be fair though, up until probably Win8 or the early 8.1 period we were allowed to be lazy (admins) because the quality of MS patches was, with a few exceptions, pretty high. Things changed however and now you can't rely upon the downloaded patches to not break your business. Its an admins worst nightmare actually. So, for mine, I no longer allow _any_ systems to automatically patch up.

Instead, I rely more upon perimeter defence and internal software controls to keep out zero day exploits ... zero day problems being things you can't guard against with patching in any event.

However, its a game you can't ultimately win to try and continue to run systems that are not manufacturer supported. For a while it all seems fine, but try and run Vista on a new system today ... its not always easy. The longer the older system remains unsupported the worse things get. Note, I understand that this is not an OS structural thing, but 'unsupported' triggers third party manufacturers to no longer test against or support the older systems. Third party support contracts against business applications often won't be entertained unless you are also running a 'supported' base OS.

Of course, in the home use realm, none of the above is important. You could quite happily run win7 for many many years.

Gaurav wrote:
2. The driver model hasn't changed between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 so it will be possible to run Windows 8.1 for a very, very, very long time. Even NVMe SSDs have native drivers in Windows 8.1. USB 3.1 - yep. Bluetooth Low Energy. Yep 8.1 supports. Miracast? Yep. There hasn't been any hardware technology evolution or revolution big enough to require the dreadful abomination called Windows 10.


Sure. Win10 is really Win8.2 with a heap of bolt ons.
Gaurav wrote:
3. No amount of Registry tweaking, configuring and tuning can fix the awfulness of updates in Windows 10.


It can, but its not trivial. Home users with moderate knowledge will never get there, so, your point is well taken. I can't have random driver and other changes, let alone entire OS upgrades under the guise of an 'update' happening willy nilly in my business fleet. Its just laughably dangerous.


Gaurav wrote:
4. UI inconsistences have increased 100 times more in Windows 10 vs 8.1. Settings and notification area shit is all over the place.


Sure. I concede that point. Its generally stuff that my end-users don't interact with, but sure, initially it all drove me nuts. Again, with significant tweaking, a lot of the silliness can be circumvented and Win8 or even Win7 functionality returned. I use, for example, the network flyout from Win8.1 on my Win10 systems. Its makes a lot more sense for VPN use than the rather foolish way Win10 wants to do it oob. Metro interaction is pretty limited, really only to the occasional forced use of the "PC Settings" thing. Mostly, the old Control Panel methods still work and can be presented either via CS or other ways.

Gaurav wrote:
5. Windows 8.1 is the fastest out of Vista, 7, 8.1 and 10 in my benchmarks. Also besides synthetic performance, Windows 10 has real-world UI sluggishness issues due to use of managed code in the UI/graphical shell. Plus, it is unstable and breaks on its own. It also has loads of unnecessary crap which cannot be uninstalled, fully disabled and continues to take loads of memory. It also comes back when you do updates.


I've not seen this. Benchmarks for me are coming out so close to each other that theres nothing in it. Also, memory usage between the two is really similar, falling in Win10's favour once the 'junk' is stripped out via an SOE script (removal of modern apps, pulling various levers via the registry). New patched desktops here are utilising about 0.7GB before Office/AV or other apps are installed.


Gaurav wrote:
Windows 10 has severely regressed in several core areas:
1. Updates (or the way the OS is serviced) which affects user productivity and long-term stability and desired configuration


Yep, sure. no argument from me. It can be mitigated, but thats beside the point - it shouldn't have been released (and continue to be maintained) in this fashion.

Gaurav wrote:
2. User interface which has pathetic usability. The entire UWP/Metro UI control stack should be canceled and something better based on modified Win32 controls for touch should be built. Making the controls usable still won't fix their awful design of most apps though


Again, my users, and myself, aren't subjected to the whole metro thing so to a large degree I can't comment. Metro apps are either uninstalled or hidden (thanks CS!) with only a few exceptions.

Gaurav wrote:
3. Poor performance due to use of managed code in the OS unlike fast, low footprint native code (C++)


No comment. I just don't know. With Metro essentially gone in our installations, its presenting visually very much like Win7 but with significant speed improvements and some of the 8.1 niggles taken care of.

Gaurav wrote:
I think those who say Windows 10 is actually better than 8.1 or 7 don't have a complete understanding of operating systems and therefore cannot see just how bad it is. They have no idea of the crap they are accepting. What can I say - ignorance is bliss. :D


I would have agreed back at release. In fact, we didn't roll out Win10 until a year later, and even then, there were enough problems to make us wary. However, in a managed environment with a proper SOE application, its presenting to our users in a way that they are more than happy with, and ultimately, its not about admins or programmers, its about end users. If it was a bear to use, they would complain, and they are not, they are happy - but its taken a significant amount of scripting and tweaking to get there.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:28 pm 
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OK may I suggest you another app that might help you taming Windows 10 even more - Winaero Tweaker: http://winaero.com/blog/the-list-of-win ... -features/ It's another free project to help out similar to Classic Shell. :P

Although personally, Windows 10 is unbearable for me so I never use it. I refuse to use such a junk piece of software, so it's 8.1 for me unless there is really something useful added in Windows 10 in the future. But Microsoft has run out of great ideas and innovation. They only add useless gimmicky fluff now that is of no value to me. Most of their "ideas" are copied from competitors, and since there is no long-term continuity or guarantee of any feature staying around, their software suddenly becomes completely worthless for me - because you paid for some commitment and now they're backing off that commitment - it's an epic breach of trust. Spending money on such crap would be the biggest mistake ever. Plus anything that requires the cloud or interacts so much with the cloud gets a big thumbs down from me. I will never use it because their grand plan is to hold everyone hostage as they pull off any kind of random meaningless changes FORCIBLY to make themselves rich while offering nothing new really that is of significant value or use to you. Again, it's a violation of trust and reduction in value in the "improved" version.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:03 am 
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Thank you for all your responses.

Whether Windows 10 is worse or better is not something I really have a say in, it's the latest operating system and therefore the school would like to use it on all our computers. I know it has its faults although I've been using it at home for a year or so now and it seems alright, I really liked 7 and wasn't fond of 8 at all. I know it was mediocre when it came out, but (aside from the start menu and force installed app rubbish) it seems okay now.

If there's any solutions to the 800 thread issue or if anyone has any ideas for things to try, please let me know

I'll look at Winaero Tweaker - Gaurav

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:58 am 
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Sorry for not responding for a while on this to my question.
I have never had a problem with is working as an administrator, but with a pupil/teacher with GPOs in place, it seems to crash.
I did slowly remove the GPOs to see if it was one of these, but to no avail. Even with no GPOs the standard user keeps crashing.
Are you using redirection on your 'Start Menus', this could be another area to look.
We want to use this and and this could be an area of failure. The Administrator does not use redirection in our case, but everyone else does, so maybe why we don't have the problem with him. I will investigate this a little more.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:51 am 
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PJABuilder wrote:
Sorry for not responding for a while on this to my question.
I have never had a problem with is working as an administrator, but with a pupil/teacher with GPOs in place, it seems to crash.
I did slowly remove the GPOs to see if it was one of these, but to no avail. Even with no GPOs the standard user keeps crashing.
Are you using redirection on your 'Start Menus', this could be another area to look.
We want to use this and and this could be an area of failure. The Administrator does not use redirection in our case, but everyone else does, so maybe why we don't have the problem with him. I will investigate this a little more.



We've tried with the admin account which doesn't have redirection and also with a student account which does, we've also disabled all Classic Shell GPOs for both users and doesn't seem to make any difference. I don't even know anymore, we're trying to make the default Win10 start menu work, we've managed to intentionally break the search bar so that students can't search for PC Settings/Network Settings so we're making progress. I don't like it but it might be the only option.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:33 pm 
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Did you have any success with this? I am in the same boat regarding the need to lock down the start menu and am experiencing the same freezing issue.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:59 am 
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BigDog wrote:
Did you have any success with this? I am in the same boat regarding the need to lock down the start menu and am experiencing the same freezing issue.

No sorry, I wish :?

We've just gone back to the basic Windows 10 start menu which we're still having issues with... We've finally figured a way to intentionally break Windows Search so the students can't just search for network settings etc, now we're trying to make all the icons and the pins menu work properly. The Windows way of doing it via the XML file is awful and regularly just 'half' applies (missing loads of icons or programs), doesn't apply at all or even just breaks the whole start menu entirely which requires a new install of Windows to fix it... Basic things like removing/changing/hiding the long A-Z list of all programs on the PC or preventing Windows Store Apps from showing up in the start menu seem virtually impossible even on an Education version of Windows, it's a joke. No Microsoft, we don't want our students calling up your support line or going on the xbox gaming app in the middle of class...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:05 pm 
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CosmicThing2 wrote:
BigDog wrote:
Did you have any success with this? I am in the same boat regarding the need to lock down the start menu and am experiencing the same freezing issue.

No sorry, I wish :?

We've just gone back to the basic Windows 10 start menu which we're still having issues with... We've finally figured a way to intentionally break Windows Search so the students can't just search for network settings etc, now we're trying to make all the icons and the pins menu work properly. The Windows way of doing it via the XML file is awful and regularly just 'half' applies (missing loads of icons or programs), doesn't apply at all or even just breaks the whole start menu entirely which requires a new install of Windows to fix it... Basic things like removing/changing/hiding the long A-Z list of all programs on the PC or preventing Windows Store Apps from showing up in the start menu seem virtually impossible even on an Education version of Windows, it's a joke. No Microsoft, we don't want our students calling up your support line or going on the xbox gaming app in the middle of class...



Damn not the answer I was looking for, am rolling this out to about 400 desktops and need it to be solid. Our start menu only shows "This PC" (which only shows 1 network drive) and "Devices & Printers", everything else is removed and locked down. Can't do that with the normal Windows 10 start menu.

Will have to keep chipping away at it and see if I can find a resolution, or hope that an update comes out that fixes it :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:04 am 
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Hello everyone,

has anybody tried the Windows Explorer setting "Launch folder windows in a separate process"

reg.exe add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v SeparateProcess /t reg_dword /d 0x1

as a solution for the freezing session problem?

Greetings
Jörg


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:32 am 
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I fully agree with @Gaurav I can add to the issues he mentioned the mixed icon theme of Win10, with some icons from Vista and some redesigned, also the fact that the taskbar remains textured/themed even when using Classic Theme. Moreover, when using Classic theme there is no text on the taskbar at all, neither on buttons, nor in the clock, also, the 7+ Taskbar Tweaker option to reduce space between tray icons does not work on Win10. Also, Metro apps do not work with Classic theme in Win10 (they work in Win8).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:35 am 
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Quote:
I use, for example, the network flyout from Win8.1 on my Win10 systems.


What is it?


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