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  1. Since @Mr. Fox showed an interest in these customization in a different thread and mentioned how others might also like to know, figured i'd write a little guide. Also figured this could be a combo thread for those who would like to show off their Windows specific themes/customizations and overlays etc. A few years back Glass8+ was the goto solution to get somewhat of a aero effect on windows 10, however support for that stopped once v1909 came out and hasnt been updated since. It was only a few days ago i found out that Windowsblinds 10 from Stardock actually still gives the aero effect providing the right theme is used, despite the website stating it works on 20H2 or below. However im using LTSC 2021 which is based on 21H2, but your mileage may vary depending on which edition you use (not sure if home or pro 21H2 have any under the hood differences that might break compatibility). Heres the link for windowsblinds 10, its paid software but its rather cheap and offers a 30-day trial so you can test drive it to see how it works out for you: https://www.stardock.com/products/windowblinds/ Before installing that though id suggest installing Open Shell first and get that all set up, I tried installing windows blinds first and then open shell but it decided to freak out explorer requiring a restart. Heres the Open Shell github: GitHub - Open-Shell/Open-Shell-Menu: Classic Shell Reborn. Below is both the windowsblinds theme file and the corresponding start menu skin, along with the settings for both. Win7Like RevE Open Shell skin: http://www.classicshell.net/forum/download/file.php?id=5713&sid=d549c3cbde9b9aa4d2db7c1ed24f4f4e Windowsblinds BetterAero7X skin: https://www.deviantart.com/fytuf/art/Better-Aero7X-875022700 installing the wba file is as simple as right clicking and hitting install theme, for the open shell skin you have to put that into the C:\Program Files\Open-Shell\Skins folder. Heres the settings i used to achieve the glass effect, along with the windowsblind settings: Once all is said and done you should end up with something like this: You can leave it as this, however i wanted to go the extra mile and add some Vista specific features that i personally rather miss. So if that also interests you please read on. I loved the ultimate extras that came with Vista, the games and dreamscene video wallpapers. Also the original windows games and even movie maker to some extent, old but gold i say. Heres both the link to the original microsoft games along with the Vista specific ulitmate games: https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/windows_7_games_for_windows_10.html https://archive.org/details/windowsvistaultimateextras And if you wish to install Movie Maker, heres the offline installer for it: https://archive.org/details/wlsetup-all_201704 As for dreamscene, you will need Lively Wallpaper. (I personally went with the microsoft store variant for convenience sake) Lively: https://rocksdanister.github.io/lively/ Collection of Dreamscene videos: https://archive.org/details/windowsdreamscene.7z The last modification i did to my OS was to disable the lockscreen to give that win7/vista logon feel, however normally this results in a blurred logon background which looks awful but luckily that can be disabled while also keeping transparency enabled within the system itself. Doing this and setting the lockscreen background to a vista wallpaper gives quite a nice result i think, see for yourself: Turn off lockscreen blur: https://www.howtogeek.com/426554/how-to-disable-the-login-screens-background-blur-on-windows-10/ Heres the links to all the Windows Vista wallpapers in HD res: Finally i did a short video showing what mine looks like and running a couple of the microsoft/vista games, am i the only one who missed Microsoft Tinker? I hope this guide was helpful, and hopefully a good opener for others to show off their tweaks and customizations they might have done 😄 Update: For those who want a more complete vista look (like myself) heres the Vista theme along with the custom start button needed. Ive also included a link to get the sidebar and to reactivate the quick launch toolbar. Vista Start menu skin: http://www.classicshell.net/forum/download/file.php?id=3210 Set taskbar opacity to 25 to have it match up with the start menu skin. Vista Theme: https://www.deviantart.com/fytuf/art/BetterAeroVistaX-Version-1-0-875258248 Start Buttons: https://www.deviantart.com/xreunion160/art/Vista-Orbs-for-Windows-7-333330130 I used 6801.bmp for that authentic vista feel. 8GadgetPack sidebar: https://8gadgetpack.net/ How to re-add the Quick Launch toolbar: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4624-add-remove-quick-launch-toolbar-windows-10-a.html Finally set the taskbar option of Combine Taskbar Buttons to Never to achieve the classic unstacked windows and use small taskbar buttons to add the finishing touch. Heres how mine looks: Final Update: Thanks to a chance conversation with one of the guys who made the themes (Fytuf, who tweaked and modded them from the originals) I found out that there was two settings that i hadnt configured, which you may want to enable. Both require a reboot to work correctly. the vista screenshot above has been updated to reflect the new non acrylic blur appearance.
  2. not sure when this issue arose since i dont often venture into nvidia control panel, but it refuses to open on LTSC 2021. Tried the standard non DCH drivers but that just causes the right click context on the desktop to hang indefinately and not open at all. gaming works fine it seems, however id like for the control panel to be functional if i ever need to change anything lol
  3. I've mentioned this in other topics, but I am writing up an article so that I have something to point back to. The audience for this would specifically be laptop users who are concerned about fan noise or surface temperatures in their system. Intel continues to push the turbo power limits higher and higher, which means more heat and noise when the CPU enters high turbo boost states. The CPU does adjust its speed dynamically based on load, but it is (IMO) a bit too eager to hop to high turbo boost speeds when the workload does not call for it. Web browsing / office workloads do not really need turbo boost speeds, and there may be times when you would be willing to sacrifice speed for quiet. You can save yourself some power/heat/noise by having the CPU run at the base clock speed. So, here are a few tricks that you can use to enable and disable turbo boost on the fly. I personally run my laptops with turbo boost disabled, using one of these methods, and I flip turbo boost on only if I need additional CPU power (maybe gaming, intense database work, or some other kind of number crunching). I have a few different methods for this, and I will lay them out sort of from least complex to most complex (...and, they build on each other to some degree). For most people, I think that the first method will work fine. Using the power slider (Windows 10) Use the balanced power profile. Under advanced power settings, set the maximum processor state to 99%. Side note: If you do not see these power options, then you most likely are running Windows 10 on a system that supports modern standby. This page has a PowerShell script that you can run as administrator to restore these options. You can just copy/paste it into a PowerShell window running elevated. Thanks to @heikkuri for pointing me to this. I'm also including the script here in case something happens to that page... Now, set the power slider that appears when you click the taskbar battery icon to the setting that is second from the right ("better performance"). Note that Windows remembers the power slider setting separately for if you are on AC power or battery power, so you might want to check both. With this setup, turbo boost is disabled. You can confirm by checking the Task Manager "performance" tab. The CPU speed should stay below the CPU's base frequency (probably mid-2 GHz range, depending on the CPU model), no matter what load you throw at it. If you need more CPU power, just move the power slider to the right. Turbo boost speeds will be enabled immediately. (The "Maximum processor state" setting is ignored while the "Best performance" profile is active.) ...You can set the maximum processor state value to something lower than 99% if you find that simply disabling turbo boost is not effective in achieving your desired power/heat/noise limit. Lower values will further reduce the maximum CPU speed. Moving the power slider to the right will also still remove any limits on the CPU speed. (This also works with Windows 11, but it is much less convenient... Microsoft removed the power slider and replaced it with a drop-down in Settings under Power Management, so you would have to go digging in there to switch between "Better performance" and "Best performance".) Alternatives to the power slider (for Windows 11?) You can use the method above, paired with this third-party app BatteryMode. This app runs as a tray application and allows access to the same settings that the Windows 10 slider gives... albeit they are presented as radio buttons and not a slider. Set "Balanced" to disable turbo boost and "Best performance" to enable it. (See the section above, the maximum processor state must also be set to 99%.) Here, I disabled the "classic" power profiles in BatteryMode settings for a simpler view. Also, I have produced a command line tool which can adjust the power slider value that works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, if you would like to work on your own automation. This post on StackOverflow has answers that describe how to manipulate the slider value from C#/.NET, Python, or PowerShell. Switch between "Balanced" and "High Performance" power profiles We don't have to use the Windows 10 power slider. You could instead switch between the "Balanced" and "High Performance" Windows power profiles and use that to control the turbo boost state. Set the maximum processor state to 99% on the "Balanced" profile (as described above), but leave it at 100% on the "High Performance" profile. Now, turbo boost is disabled if you are in the "Balanced" profile but enabled if you are in the "High Performance" profile. You can switch between the two on the fly. To quickly switch between profiles, you could use BatteryMode (also described above), with "Classic power schemes" activated... or, just some terminal commands. Balanced profile: powercfg -s 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e High performance profile: powercfg -s 8c5e7fda-e8bf-4a96-9a85-a6e23a8c635c (Maybe put them in batch files and pin shortcuts to the Taskbar or Start Menu. I've used this paired with another command that switches the Dell thermal mode between "quiet" and "performance".) Use "Processor performance boost mode" instead of "Maximum processor state" The methods above rely on setting the "Maximum processor state" to 99% to disable turbo boost. There's a different option for this which is a little bit better, but it is hidden by default. The downside to 99% maximum processor state is it actually locks your CPU slightly below the base frequency. A full CPU load will have the CPU reporting 96-99% use in Task Manager and not 100% and it will always stay just shy of your CPU base frequency. The proper option to use is "Processor performance boost mode". To enable this setting, go to regedit and navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\PowerSettings\54533251-82be-4824-96c1-47b60b740d00\be337238-0d82-4146-a960-4f3749d470c7 Find or create the value "Attributes" (DWORD) and set the data to "2". Now, there is a new setting on advanced power settings: "Processor performance boost mode". Set it to "Disabled" on the Balanced profile and leave it at the default on the High Performance profile. (Set "Maximum processor state" back to 100% on the Balanced profile as well.) ...There are a number of other settings for this one and I do not know what they all do. Now, switching between the Balanced and High Performance profiles will disable or enable turbo boost as described in the previous section. However, using the power slider to dynamically enable or disable turbo boost does not work with this method. If you want to use the power slider then you must set "Maximum processor state" to 99%. I learned about this from this article which is talking about the same thing. Automatically switch power profiles when certain applications run Instead of having to "remember" to adjust the power slider or switch power profiles when you are running an application that needs more CPU power, you could have a tool do that for you. Process Lasso has the option to select a specific power profile when a certain process runs. Set it to use "Balanced" by default and "High performance" when you launch a game or something CPU-intensive. Somewhat unrelated but I figured that I would note: With an Intel 12th gen or later CPU (with separate P cores and E cores), there can also be a reduction in heat/noise by locking CPU-consuming background processes to the E cores only. You can also handle this in Process Lasso with process affinity rules.
  4. (Quick support status snapshot) LTSC 2021: Released 2021-11-16 • Supported until 2027-01-12 • IoT supported until 2032-01-13 LTSC 2019: Released 2018-11-13 • Supported until 2029-01-09 LTSB 2016: Released 2016-08-02 • Supported until 2026-10-13 LTSB 2015: Released 2015-07-29 • Supported until 2025-10-14 After the disappointment that is Windows 11, I migrated my systems over to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC. I appreciate the long-term feature stability and general lack of monetization "features" that have been plaguing later versions of Windows 10/11. I think that this is the way to go for many of us tech type folks, especially for business systems, so I wanted to write up some information about it. (I have much to say specifically about my problems with Windows 11... over here.) What is Windows LTSC The Windows long-term service channel is a version of Windows that is updated much less often than the general consumer version of Windows. The idea is to maintain feature stability for fixed-function devices. It was previously known as LTSB (long-term service branch). Windows 10 was given a major "feature upgrade" once every six months. Starting with Windows 11, Microsoft is settling into a once-per-year pattern with feature upgrades. Windows LTSC is refreshed only once every three years. Since 2016, the schedule has been roughly aligned with Windows Server releases, and Windows LTSC often shares the same base as the corresponding version of Windows Server (same binaries, updates, etc.). Windows LTSC omits features that are likely to change over the course of its lifecycle. There is no Microsoft Store. There are no bundled "modern apps". (Even the calculator app is replaced with a Win32 version, instead of the UWP version that ships with ordinary Windows 10/11.) Cortana is not included. Microsoft Edge was omitted until the 2021 release. Monthly updates do not contain new features — for example, the "News and Interests" feature that dropped in Windows 10 in the middle of 2021 did not make it into Windows 10 LTSC. Otherwise, it is a fully functional version of Windows. Some omitted features can be added back if you like (see below). In the end, this comes off as a version of Windows that is a lot like what Windows used to be like, before Windows 10 — basically, unchanging except for bug fixes, until you went out of your way to upgrade to a new version. Windows LTSC versions There have been four LTSC releases to date: Mid 2015: Windows 10 LTSB 2015, released alongside the original RTM release of Windows 10 (retroactively named "Windows 10, version 1507") Mid 2016: Windows 10 LTSB 2016, released alongside Windows 10 "Anniversary Update" (Windows 10, version 1607) and Windows Server 2016 Late 2018: Windows 10 LTSC 2019, released alongside Windows 10, version 1809 and Windows Server 2019 Late 2021: Windows 10 LTSC 2021, released alongside Windows 10, version 21H2 (Windows Server 2022 was released around the same time as LTSC 2021, but Server 2022 and LTSC 2021 do not share the same binaries.) Microsoft is settling into a three-year cycle for LTSC releases, so the next release is due in late 2024, and will probably be based on Windows 11. (Note that even though LTSC 2019 and LTSC 2021 are "named" two years apart, they were released three years apart.) Windows LTSC editions Windows LTSC is currently available in two editions: "Enterprise" and "IoT Enterprise". The two editions are functionally equivalent, and in fact you can switch between the two just by changing the product key. They differ in terms of how you obtain a license for them, and in how long they are supported. Windows LTSC support lifecycle Ordinary Windows 10 releases were only supported for 18 months (or 30 months for Enterprise/Education editions, for fall releases). Windows 11 releases are supported for 24 months (36 months for Enterprise/Education editions). This means you are expected to be moving forward to the newer versions regularly. Windows LTSC releases are supported for five years (Enterprise, 2021 and later) or ten years (IoT Enterprise, and Enterprise releases prior to 2021). You can see the current status for each version on this page (just scroll down). https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-health/release-information Windows LTSC licensing Unlike ordinary Windows 10/11, Windows LTSC licenses are good only for a particular version of Windows LTSC. To upgrade to a newer version, you will need to obtain a new license for that version. On the possible positive side, you will never be pressured by Windows alerts to upgrade to a newer version. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC can be obtained via a Microsoft volume licensing agreement. If your business has a software licensing agreement with Microsoft, then you can probably get a license through there. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC is licensed to OEMs that sell fixed-function devices (POS terminals, ATMs, etc.). Both types of licenses can be found through resellers. Licenses can be purchased from resellers like CDW, Provantage, or Connection. "Upgrade" licenses available from resellers like this can be installed on systems that shipped with an OEM version of Windows 10 — you are "upgrading" from base Windows 10 to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC. (You may still do a clean install rather than an actual in-place upgrade if you so choose; the "upgrade" is to the license for your system, not the actual Windows install.) IoT licenses are generally cheaper. Here is a Reddit thread that I found, where the OP describes the process of purchasing a license from Provantage. Purchasing volume license licenses through a Microsoft "partner", you may have to buy five licenses of "something" because that is the minimum to qualify as a volume license customer. You could purchase one Windows 10 LTSC license and then four cheap "Microsoft Identity Manager" licenses. You can also find license keys on eBay. Product keys for either edition are available through a Visual Studio subscription (yearly, not monthly). Also, Microsoft Action Pack includes licenses to run Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC on up to ten PCs. These are licenses for a specific use; Visual Studio keys are supposed to be used for application development and testing purposes only, and this page describes how Microsoft Action Pack works. A 90-day evaluation version is available if you just want to try it out. (There are probably other places to get licenses; let me know and I will include them here.) Upgrading from "ordinary" Windows to Windows LTSC Users of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 can upgrade in-place to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015. From there, they can upgrade in-place to any later Windows 10 LTSC release. (A license is not technically needed for LTSC 2015 if you are just using it as a stepping stone, but you will need the install media.) To upgrade from Windows 10 (Home/Pro/Enterprise/Education) to Windows 10 LTSC, all you need to do is: Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion Find the value "EditionID" and change the data to "EnterpriseS" Run setup.exe from Windows 10 LTSC install media and perform an in-place upgrade (If you upgrade in-place from non-LTSC to LTSC, Microsoft Store and the built-in "modern apps" will be carried over, even though they are not included in a LTSC base install.) Note that you can upgrade to the same version of Windows 10 that you are currently on (ex: Windows 10, version 21H2 to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021), or to a later version (ex: Windows 10, version 1909 to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021), but you cannot upgrade to an "earlier" version (ex: Windows 10, version 1909 to Windows 10 Enterprise 2019). See the list of Windows LTSC versions above to see which LTSC version matches up with which Windows 10 version. In-place upgrades from Windows 11 to Windows LTSC are not possible at present. So, to spell it out, the upgrade matrix looks like: Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 may upgrade to Windows 10 LTSB 2015 (and then to a later version). Windows 10, version 1507 may upgrade to Windows 10 LTSB 2015 or later. Windows 10, versions 1511 and 1607 may upgrade to Windows 10 LTSB 2016 or later. Windows 10, versions 1703, 1709, 1803, and 1809 may upgrade to Windows 10 LTSC 2019 or later. Windows 10, versions 1903, 1909, 2004, 20H2, 21H1, and 21H2 may upgrade to Windows 10 LTSC 2021 only. There is no in-place upgrade option for Windows 11. Also, you can upgrade in-place from LTSC to non-LTSC. (To switch to an edition other than Enterprise or Education, you'll have to adjust the "EditionId" value to match the target edition before kicking off the upgrade.) Similar rules — you can't upgrade to an older version but you can go to an equivalent or newer version. Installing Microsoft Store on Windows LTSC Just open command prompt or PowerShell as admin and run: wsreset -i ...And then wait a bit; the install can take a few minutes and there is no visual feedback. Once the Microsoft Store is installed, you can install "modern apps" (UWP, etc.) without issue. Windows LTSC downsides What I can think of is basically: If a new feature lands in "ordinary" Windows, you will have to wait for a new version of Windows LTSC to make use of it, and that could be up to three years depending on the timing. Some software may require a certain version of Windows in order to run and could present issues in the later part of a 3-year LTSC cycle. Games in particular can be an issue here. Forza Horizon 5, for example, requires Windows 10, version 1909 or better, so LTSC users could not play it until LTSC 2021 was released. (Some games and apps advertise a requirement for a certain version of Windows but will still work on older versions. It's a case-by-case investigation.) ...Obtaining a license can be tricky and you have to pay up to upgrade every three years, if you want to stay on the latest version. ...That's it for now. I'll probably update this post with more information as I think of it.
  5. Per the topic: System = OP-LP2 laptop, i7-8750H CPU, (6C/12T), 32 GB DDR4-2666, nVidia GTX-1060 6GB GPU, Samsung Evo 970 Pro 500GB NVMe SSD (PCIe 3.0 x 4) 144 Hz IPS 15" Panel. Over the past few months I noticed my laptop's gaming performance was really dragging (especially in Second Life, 1920x1080), 16 to 32 fps, max. Did some random research, found out that the Samsung Evo 970 Pro NVMe SSD really loves to have the Windows Device Write Cache policy to be enabled. I discovered that it wasn't. So I enabled it, rebooted, and I'm now getting a 20 to 25 FPS increase in virtually all of my game titles. Some of the games actually have a "shimmer" and a sparkle to them, almost like watching 60 fps video (wasn't like that before). Not only gaming, but all around system performance, web browsing, scrolling, smooth as silk (was pretty choppy before). YouTube vid buffering GONE. I can scroll forward and back many minutes in videos, and it just jumps right to it (very slow and choppy before). I. Don't. Get. It., but I'll take it. I also run Romexsoftware's excellent Primocache 4.1, 2GB R/W cache. Please note: I am not a shill for Romexsoftware, but I've been using it for many years now. WHY would enabling Windows Disk Device Write cache policy cause such a massive jump in all-around system performance, especially gaming / video? Again, I don't get it. Anyone have an explanation, I would be most appreciative. - Trev
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