Sat. Sep 30th, 2023

An anonymous reader shares a column: You can still perform a clean install of Windows, and it’s arguably easier than ever, with official Microsoft-approved installation media readily accessible and Windows Update capable of grabbing most of the drivers most computers need for basic functionality . The problem is that a “clean install” doesn’t feel as clean as it used to, and unfortunately for us, it’s an inside job — it’s Microsoft, not third parties, that is primarily responsible for the pile of unwanted software and services you have to get rid of. each time you perform a new Windows installation, reject or clear it.

The “out-of-box experience” (OOBE, in Microsoft terminology) for Windows 7 walked users through the process of creating a local user account, naming their computer, entering a product key, creating a ” homegroup” (an since local file and media sharing mechanism), and determine how Windows Update worked. Once Windows booted into the desktop, you would find apps like Internet Explorer and the typical in-box Windows apps (Notepad, Paint, Calculator, Media Player, Wordpad, and a few other things) installed. With that baseline in mind, here’s everything that happens during the OOBE phase in a clean install of Windows 11 22H2 (Home or Pro) if you don’t have any active Microsoft 365/OneDrive/Game Pass subscriptions linked to your Microsoft account :

(Usually) required sign-in to a Microsoft account.

Setup screen prompting you about data collection and telemetry settings.

A screen (which can be skipped) asking you to ‘customize your experience’.

A prompt to pair your phone with your PC.

A trial offer for Microsoft 365.

A 100 GB OneDrive offer.

An introductory $1 PC Game Pass offer.

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This process is tedious enough the first time around, but at some point you’ll also be offered what Microsoft calls the “second chance out-of-box experience,” or SCOOBE (no joke), which will try to make sure you do all of these things again if you skipped something the first time. This also doesn’t account for the numerous one-time post-install notification messages you see on the desktop for OneDrive and Microsoft 365. (And it’s not just new installs; I’ve seen these notifications pop up on systems that have been running even when they’re not signed in with a Microsoft account, so no one is safe). And the Windows desktop, taskbar, and Start menu are no longer the pristine places they once were. Thanks to the Microsoft Store, you’ll find that several third-party apps take up tons of space in your Start menu by default, even if they don’t technically get downloaded and installed until you run them for the first time. Spotify, Disney+, Prime Video, Netflix and Facebook Messenger should all be uninstalled if you don’t want them (this list may vary slightly over time).

By Admin