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Windows 11: These nine settings should be changed first

Here are some default settings for Windows 11 that you should change right now. These will have an impact on your privacy and improve the overall experience with Microsoft Windows 11.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is introducing its new operating system, which offers a variety of setting options in addition to a modern design. But a lot is hidden. These instructions will show you which settings are best made immediately.

View and turn off telemetry tracking

Security and data protection were already a big concern with Windows 10, the company was heavily criticized and had to react quickly at the time. Since the Creators Update (from spring 2017), the most important data protection settings have already been displayed during installation so that you can see them or not overlook them.

In the case of Windows 11, Microsoft hasn’t made a big deal about data protection and telemetry or has barely commented on it. It therefore does not hurt to take a detailed look at the individual points and check what is set.

Little hint: The following tips are largely based on the experience of Windows 10, which is why it is quite possible that one or the other small detail has changed here – but this is not likely due to the close relationship to Windows 10.

The most controversial point has always been the acquisition of telemetry. This data includes the anonymous analysis of the user PC. Microsoft wants to use this to collect information that is used to improve the operating system. In the early days of Windows 10, turning off the telemetry collection was still quite tedious, because you had to use either the group policies or the registry.

But in Windows 11, that’s no longer necessary because the Settings app has everything you need. And that’s a good thing because you can deactivate the telemetry very quickly and easily. However, you can still go the route via the registry, because then the recording of the telemetry can be controlled more precisely.

Via the Windows settings

To do this, you have to find the “Diagnostics and Feedback” item in the “Privacy & Security” section of the Windows settings (the seventh from the top), then there is the “Find optional diagnostic data” item. If it is off,

Microsoft doesn’t notice anything, if you want to help the company to improve the operating system, activate the point.

If you want to know exactly what data the operating system is currently collecting, you have to activate the diagnostic data display and use a separate application called Diagnostic Data Viewer. Although this ensures transparency, it is boring and complicated for the mere mortal.

If you do not want the diagnostic data to be recorded, you can prevent it with a simple slider and/or remove information that has been collected so far.

Delete diagnostic data

Here, too, the path first leads to the start menu, either via the Windows symbol in the lower-left corner or the Windows key.

There you then type in regedit , right-click on the associated program icon and start it as administrator:

Start Registry EditorLook for the following path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Policies -> Microsoft -> Windows -> DataCollection

Search for DataCollection in the registry

Right-click on DataCollection, select “New” and create the entry AllowTelemetry via “New DWORD value (32 bit)”:

Create a new DWORD (32-bit) value for AllowTelemetryDouble-click AllowTelemetry.

Double-click AllowTelemetry, A total of four values ​​can be entered for AllowTelemetry, more precisely the digits 0-3. They are used for the operating system and the pre-installed apps, not for downloaded ones.

Enter a value between 0 and 3They mean: Value 0: Minimal data is transferred, including Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) and Windows Defender if set in the respective applications. Value 0 is only possible for Enterprise and Education systems.

  • Value 1: In addition to the settings of value 0, a small amount of diagnostic data such as device and compatibility information is transmitted.
  • Value 2: Additional usage and performance data from Windows, Windows Server, System Center and apps is sent here.
  • Value 3: The full telemetry transmission includes extended diagnostic data, which is also used to solve any problems.

Create a system restore point

After a system has been reinstalled, everyday computing begins. New software or drivers have to be installed again and again. Something can always go wrong and for this purpose, it is advisable to have a plan B. In the case of an operating system, this means the existence of a system restore point.

With the help of this point, you can reset the operating system to this point at any time without having to perform a new installation. We recommend creating such a backup very soon after a new installation.

Enable system protection

  • To do this, first open the start menu, which is either via the Windows symbol in the middle of the taskbar or the Windows key, and the search also leads to the goal.
  • Then type in “restore point” (tip: you don’t have to spell the word out, just look for the suggestions) and click “Create a restore point.” A system properties window opens with an overview of all available drives.
  • The system drive is to be selected here, which is usually the local data medium marked with “(C:)” and “(System)”. Then click on “Configure…”, which is located under the area with the drives:

configure restore point windows 11

  • There you should click on “Activate computer protection” and select the maximum possible storage space allocation. About two or three percent is recommended here, which is usually the default setting. Then you confirm with OK.

Turn on System protection windows 11

Create restore point

  • Immediately afterward you should create your first restore point, you can do this with “Create”. A small window opens, the name has to be entered there and the process is carried out with “Create”. After successful execution, you will be informed about it.

Create restore point windows 11

  • A meaningful name is of course also recommended.
  • If a system restore is actually necessary, then click on the item of the same name in the System Protection tab of the system properties and follow the steps there.
  • If the computer does not start at all, you can press F8 or Shift+F8 during the startup process to get into safe mode and start the recovery from there.

Show filename extensions and hidden items

Extensions like .exe, .docx or .dll have not been shown by default for a while now, Microsoft believes that this simplifies the file system. The same applies to hidden files, these mostly affect the system, here Microsoft wants to prevent you from accidentally deleting something important.

But in these two cases, as is so often the case, the opposite of good is well-intentioned. Accordingly, most want to activate both views.

Explorers

The easiest way to do this is via File Explorer, but Microsoft is doing everything a little differently here with Windows 11. In the ribbon menu, you will now find the “Show” item, at the bottom of the selection you can then select the “Show” item. In addition to other display options, the two items “File name extensions” and “Hidden elements” are also placed here.

show hidden items windows 11

The settings can be found under ‘View’ in the Explorer ribbon menu to the right of this is a button for options that takes you (via “View”) to the advanced settings that you used to have to look for in the control panel. Various refinements can be made there, such as “Hide drive letters” or “Start folder windows in a separate process”.

Customize User Account Control

User Account Control (UAC) is an important control tool. Since Windows Vista, however, it has also been a much-discussed topic, because since then Microsoft has overdone it with the installation confirmations.

And even with Windows 11, there are some who do not want to confirm each installation individually. Fortunately, Microsoft allows four levels of user account control customization.

And first of all: We advise against the lowest level because here you turn off any hints. This is to be “recommended” at the very most for absolute professionals who have their system under control one hundred percent – and never make a single wrong click.

To the settings of the user account control easiest way to get there is to search Windows for the term in the start menu.

There are four setting options here:

  • The highest level notifies users of virtually every change relevant to the system. This also includes important changes, but also trivial ones such as customizing the screen saver.
  • Then comes the standard set of Windows 11, which is certainly a good compromise between the need for security and trust in the user or their own abilities. Because here you will only be notified if apps want to make changes to the computer.
  • The level below is basically a cosmetic one. Because it does not differ from the standard setting as far as the basic notifications are concerned. Here, the desktop is only not dimmed when there is a notification. This means that if you get a warning, you can still click on all other programs and windows.
  • The last level is the “most dangerous”, here you will not be informed about any activity, neither about system changes nor about the installation of apps. Applications can operate unnoticed in the background, which is why we and Microsoft itself strongly advise against it.

Change the default browser

If you set up a new system, you will only find one browser anyway, namely Microsoft Edge. And if you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you will find that the default browser has also been changed to Microsoft Edge in many places. If you reinstall a browser like Chrome or Firefox, you have to do a lot more on Windows 11 than before to change the default application. And that, although there is usually a request to do so from the respective program. Those are the steps that need to be taken.

Who changes the default browser manually or wants to (because he has decided to use another installed browser after all), he has to make the appropriate change in the settings. This is (now) much more difficult, even if you find the point where you expect it to be, namely in the area for standard apps.

  • Specifically, you first click on the gear icon (Settings) in the start menu and then go to “Apps”. On the left you will find “Standard apps” as the second item from the top:
  • An overview with various standard applications now opens in the main window. The pre-installed browsers such as Chrome or Firefox can be found here in alphabetical order:
  • Click on the browser icon and select the file types you want to open with it. In this case, the formats “.htm” and “.html” stand for Internet pages.

Change default browser windows11

That’s it, the set browser is opened automatically when you click anywhere on a website link. Similarly, one can also define the browser to open PDFs, SVG or WEBP formats and other files.

Delete Windows.old

A folder called Windows.old can often be found on the system drive (eg C:\). This is used to restore a previous version of the operating system if necessary. On the one hand, this can be a “big” OS version, i.e. Windows 10, on the other hand, it can also be a feature update.

In both cases, all necessary data ends up in the Windows.old folder. However, this can only be deleted in the rarest of cases via Explorer. How to do it:

settings

  • For Windows 11 users, the first port of call should therefore be the settings. As always, these are best accessed via the gear wheel within the new start menu
  • In the overview, click on System and look for Storage in the right-hand menu column, this is the sixth from the top
  • There you get an overview of the drives and partitions as well as the files they contain. Below that you will find “Temporary files” that can be selected with one click.
  • The item “Previous Windows installation(s)” is displayed here, which can be selected along with other temporary files with a tick and deleted with “Remove files”.

Delete windowsold windows 11

control panel

  • It can happen that the Windows.old folder is more persistent than hoped and cannot be deleted. One way to be able to delete it is to use the disk cleanup in the old control panel.
  • You can find this out with some effort via the Control Panel, but it is much easier to search for “Disk Cleanup” in the Start menu, because the desired result comes after just a few letters.
  • The best way to run Disk Cleanup is as an administrator, by right-clicking:
  • Now select the drive that contains the Windows.old folder, which should normally be C:.
  • The application will now perform a quick calculation of how much disk space can be freed
  • After that, the full disk cleanup of the respective drive will open
  • After clicking on “Clean up system files” and a further selection of the drive (see above), the search for “Previous Windows installation(s)” appears, which can be deleted by ticking and confirming with “OK”.

If you cannot find such a folder on your computer or if it is empty, do not be surprised, because it is usually automatically deleted after 10 to 30 days.

Shut down faster

If you come from an older Windows version, you will have noticed a major improvement in Windows 10: Windows 10 starts surprisingly quickly compared to its predecessors. There’s no noticeable improvement in Windows 11, but that’s already whining at a high level.

Shutting down or restarting, on the other hand, can still sometimes take what feels like an eternity.

This has to do with the fact that Windows 11 is preset to have a fairly long time before an application is automatically or forced terminated. This means that programs that are still open and that you forgot to close slow down the shutdown for longer than necessary. Of course, you can change that.

  • First, start the registry editor as an administrator, as usual, best by typing ” regedit ” in the start menu and pressing the right mouse button when opening the program.
  • Now navigate to the following path via the menu in the left column:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control
  • In the right part of the window, double-click on ” WaitToKillServiceTimeout “:
  • An editing window opens. In the value field, it is best to enter 2000 instead of 5000. That’s milliseconds – that’s two seconds. It is not recommended to go below 2000 as you should give the system enough time to properly exit applications.

wait to kill service timeout

  • Now look for the following path:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Desktop
  • Right-click on “Desktop”, select “New” and “String” (you will do this three times in the next few steps).
  • This new value is called ” WaitToKillAppTimeOut ” and enter 2000 here as well:
  • The second newly created string is called ” HungAppTimeout ” and also sets the value to 2000:
  • The third entry is called ” AutoEndTasks ” and should be set to a value of 1:

Tip on the side: If you are not quite sure about changes in the registry, you should make a backup copy of the respective folder before all interventions by right-clicking and “Export”.

Optimize performance

Small changes with a potentially big impact: This is how you can rewrite the settings that you can make in the Windows 11 system properties in relation to visual effectsmemory usage, etc. There are also various tools available online for this purpose, but ultimately they do nothing other than make the changes described in this tip and “repackage” them in their own interface. It’s not really a big science either, we’ll show you how it’s done.

  • To do this, first type in sysdm.cpl in the start menu and execute it:
  • In the System Properties window, go to the Advanced tab (middle) and select the Settings at the top entry for Performance.
  • In the first (left) tab, the visual effects can be adjusted, here you can let the system make an automatic selection, set optimal performance or display or even choose which effects you want to see.
  • Now go to the middle tab “Advanced”, where you can choose two main settings.

Adjust for best performance windows 11

  • Background services: Anyone who frequently sends print jobs, runs backups or has other background activities running should select this setting.
  • Programs: This is the default option, processor resources are preferably assigned to the foreground applications.

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