How I fixed my PC after Win 10 Hijacked it

I was going to call this article “I reserved windows 10 and it killed my Windows 7 pc.” because after Microsoft offered me a free upgrade to Windows 10, my PC started using nearly 100 percent of my CPU. Memory use was super high, and Internet Surfing was almost impossible…everything was acting strangely.

I’m posting this article 10 days after I repaired my PC and I think I can say that my PC is free of the evil GWX.exe (aka Get Windows 10) software that hijacked my PC.

Next is a disclaimer for the following is a story about how I fixed my PC. It’s not a suggestion or a recommendation or a guideline. So if you continue, then USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I have the basic knowledge to navigate a pc, I used tools like “windows update” on my Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit laptop. I also use Task Manager, and Control Panel.

My PC might has a built in Recovery/Restore feature. It did not work for me. I tried several ways of fixing my PC. First I tried a partial restore. This preserved my after market software but replaced Windows to an earlier condition. I continued to have CPU problems and memory problems no matter how many times I turned off Services via my Task Manager.

Next I tried a Restore via the PC’s built in Recover Disk. Mistake again! My PC still ran weirdly.

So, I remembered I had my old recovery DVD’s saved in box from some 5 years ago, and this put my PC back to it’s original state, with old default software and no buggy “Get Windows Now” crapola on my PC.

Here’s what I did, pretty much step by step.

I saved all the files that I could trust. And I figured I might lose some software and end up reinstalling. In most cases I have replacement discs, but for my Video Editing software, I recall inputting an unlock or licence “key.” So contacted them and they later allowed me to reinstall via download to my clean PC.

For my pc, I wanted to be sure that no stinking little bit of Microsoft software was residing anywhere, and this for me includes:
Silverlight, Microsoft Office, and their partners in crime: Google, Google Browser extensions, Adobe and Adobe Flash, Shockwave, AIR, etc. These are all software’s that at one time or another might rely on having a Microsoft Service Pack. And SP’s may or may not have the evil Microsoft 10 “GWX.EXE” or other Get Windows 10 Nagware. I do not trust Service Pack 2 at all. And I do not trust the Internet Explorer upgrades either, because at an earlier fix-attempt I made the mistake of upgrading my IE from 8 to IE 11, and the dang PC went wonko once again.

Okay, back to what I did: I unlplugged External Flash and Hard drives. I left the mouse and fan.

I put my original recovery DVD’s (the discs that I had made when I first bought the PC) in the pc and I followed the prompts. During the recovery process, I didn’t turn on the WiFi option, but I did leave the Ethernic conection plugged in because I figured that eventually the PC will need to install drivers and stuff.

I have a driver disk, BUT I allowed the installation to use my NIC connection to update the latest drivers, and this worked for me but I have to admit it was a little risky.

Okay, my PC boots up to windows nice and clean and ready to use. So far it worked for me.

The first thing I did: I selected to turn off the Windows auto updates to “never check for windows updates.”

Next, I uninstalled stuff that would typically ask to be updated. Like Norton, Ebay, etc. I used the control panel whenever a software did not have it’s own uninstall feature.
I never touch anything that is a Microsoft .NET or KB, or my PC mfr’s Registration or Identity Card. Although I have to admit in previous fix attempts I did uninstall KB updates. Those attempts did not work, that’s why I’m going all the way back to my original PC status.
I left my “ACER UPDATE service” too because it’s never haunted me. Mostly, I just like getting rid of things that I can later add on if I really want to.

I removed McAffe. I hate this software, I find that it is slow and demanding. And it doesn’t want to entirely remove. So, after using Uninstall for it, like every uninstall — I did a restart. Then I found online a tool called MCPR. It’s McAffe’s own removal tool, called the McAffe ESD package. I used it. It seemed to work, but I have to say that I don’t go screwing around with the Registry, DLL’s and code deep inside my computer.  So I can’t really say if there’s a line of McAffe code laying dormant somewhere.

Then I went to uninstall Windows Office, on my PC it’s a 60 day trial. I got rid of the main software first, and it removed but gave me a funky message saying something about a registration error. (I never signed up in the first place.) Then I uninstalled the “sync” pack, “registration” and finally the “compatibility” portion.

I then uninstalled Silverlight.

And I removed the Google browser bar and adobe Flash / shockwave and a bunch of software by Sobe, ebay, games, and even the Acer “my win locker.” I removed anything like Norton online that sync’s online.

Now regarding Windows Essentials.

I clicked on it, and it offered a CHANGE rather than an Uninstall option. I guess that’s because it has several Software packages. I chose to uninstall the writer, and messenger — but I did not check the box next to photo/movie. I did not uninstall the PHOTO and MOVIE MAKER. To the best of my knowledge they have yet to ask to be updated on my ole’ PC. I uninstalled the sync, and upload.

Now, I want a new web Browser. I used my old IE 8 web browser to find a new one. I WILL NOT UPDATE IT! Did I tell ya, I’ve done this recovery thing several times now….I tried to update IE 8 to 11, and from experience I can tell ya, it seemed to destroy all the work that I performed. (I later unpinned IE from my task bar to avoid using it. I did not attempt to uninstall IE because I’m guessing it’s tied to the operating system.)
I did try to download Chrome and Opera but they needed Microsoft’s Service Pack II on my 64bit pc, and I will not update my PC with that Service Pack. So I downloaded Firefox. I did NOT install Flash this time.

A FIREFOX note: FLASH broke the latest Firefox on my Windows 7…Earlier, I tried it and it was constantly crashing, at one point I went into the “Add On” area, to the “plugins” where I found Flash Options.  I de-selected the funky box, and restarted Firefox. This was supposedly a fix, but it didn’t work. Firefox still crashed, ran slow etc. It really frak’d my Firefox the last time I tried to do this. So, I try to do without Flash on the new Firefox in my Windows 7 64 bit.

After I installed Firefox, I set the “use as a default” browser option, and resisted the temptation to sign up and sync. I also had to open up Firefox and it’s Options section, then Advanced and I deselected “enable health report” and “crash reporter.”

I did not go browsing outside of Google without Anti-Virus software. I’ve heard Windows Defender isn’t enough, so I searched for Windows Security Essentials. This is the free Microsoft Anti-Virus for my version of windows. I have no trouble with it. I leave mine to auto update Virus definitions. I recall the PC asking me to Turn ON Windows Firewall – I did this.

After the install it wanted to scan my pc. But I instead took the time to go back into Windows Update — I made sure that it is still checked to NEVER Install Updates. The mfr/microsoft doesn’t recommend this for security reasons.  But I plan to do this update manually in the future. Hopefully Microsoft will turn off their GWX marketing campaign.

I now have a basic PC. In Task manager I see about 1-30 percent CPU use, and almost no Memory use too. I hope to never have to see GWX.exe listed here ever again.

In the future, when I install new software I will uncheck prompts to put stuff on the Browser Bar, Give Feedback or Crash Reports, or Sync devices/files, or Auto Update. And of course I’m a safe browser. I stick to sites like WordPress!

Cheers,
Dean Lachiusa

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