Friendly Windows Thread Paste#
- Friendly Windows Thread Paste
- Microsoft Windows
- What edition / version should I get?
- Honorable mentions
- Changing Windows 10 editions post-install
- Non-Microsoft supported upgrade paths
- LTSC 2019 Guide
- Downloading Windows
- Installing Windows
- Activating Windows
- Installing drivers
- Debloating and debotnetting
- Microsoft Office
- Adobe products
- Other programs
- Microsoft Windows
What edition / version should I get?#
In the following sections various recommended Windows versions are described and explained why they are superior to other similar versions.
Windows Embedded POSReady 7# Windows 7 based system meant for Point-of-Service devices. Practically identical to Windows 7 Enterprise, has some extra features that you probably will never use. It also has support until 2021-10-12, unlike Windows 7 which reaches EOL on 2020-01-14, this being the main reason for using POSReady 7 over Windows 7. Installing features is a bit tricky though.
Windows 7 Enterprise#
While Windows 7 is generally not recommended anymore, if you want to get one, get Enterprise. Feature-wise same as Ultimate, however can be activated by KMS_VL_ALL, which doesn't require BIOS/Legacy install. To receive extended updates until 2023-01-10 install KURWICA (open source).
Windows Embedded 8.1 Enterprise#
Windows 8.1 based system meant for embedded systems. It's like if Windows 8.1 had an LTSB/LTSC edition, this being the reason for recommendation. Unlike LTSC for Windows 10 this version includes Windows Store, but similarly misses other UWP apps. Unlike the POSReady releases the EOL matches that of Windows 8.1.
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019#
Windows 10 1809 based system. Differences from normal Windows 10 Enterprise are the lack of bloat like ads and UWP apps including Windows Store (can be manually installed) and lack of feature updates (security updates are provided for 10 years).
These are considered inferior to the previously listed editions, however might be useful for specific needs.
Windows 10 Education#
The "cleanest" rolling version release of Windows 10. Only use if you for some reason want to be on the latest release. Also the highest tier edition that can be activated using Digital License (and thus HWIDgen) therefore might be appropriate for installing for others' computers. Education is the same as Enterprise except it is by default configured to not have ads in start menu, so you can go with either if you plan to use a debotnet tool.
Changing Windows 10 editions post-install#
Windows 10 supports changing SKUs on the fly, however there are some restrictions. First, there are limited upgrade paths, refer to this matrix for available paths. Second, to change edition Windows must be able to activate the target edition (at least Microsoft says so, sometimes it works without). For us this means you need to install KMS_VL_ALL before changing edition (you might need to set SkipKMS38 to 0 in Activate.cmd). After you're done with that, you just need to select and enter the key for the version you want from here.
Non-Microsoft supported upgrade paths#
Microsoft disallows certain upgrade paths that would otherwise work. You can bypass these restrictions by using an ISO and modifying UpgradeMatrix.xml. Remember that this is not supported or tested by Microsoft at all, prepare for the worst.
LTSC 2019 Guide#
If you only care about LTSC 2019, there is a full offline imaging and optimization / debloating guide by a kind anon available here.
What the fuck is an SVF file#
An SVF file is a SmartVersion difference patch, essentially the differences of a source and a destination file. Combining it with the source file required yields the destination file (ISOs in our case). These are often used for distributing Windows ISOs, because there is a huge overlap in terms of data between ISOs. Only having to distribute one ISO and 10 GB of SVFs for all edition and language combinations is much easier than 300+ GB of ISOs.
How do I extract an SVF file#
With this. (Doesn't work with newer SVF versions) With SmartVersion (freeware, signed, considered trusted). Download the zip for your architecture x86 (x64 reported to randomly break by some anons), put smv.exe next to the SVF and the source ISO, open up cmd / PowerShell in the folder (Shift + Right click), and use the following command:
.\smv x <SVF file name> -br .
- POSReady 7: EVAL ISO + SVF
- Windows 7 with SP1 (all editions): ISO and SVFs
- Embedded 8.1 Enterprise with Update 3: ISO (en-US only)
- 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 (1809 / 2019-03 refresh): ISO and SVFs or Magnet (en-US only)
- 10 Education / Enterprise (1909): ISO and SVFs or Magnet (en-US only)
How do I verify ISOs aren't fake / infected?#
Script for removing features from a Windows 10 ISO pre-installation. Available here (open source).
Preparing installation media#
The Windows installer likes to get stuck at partitioning step. If this happens to you, try the following:
- Make sure the installation media is not in an USB3 port - Windows dislikes this sometimes when it doesn't have proper chipset drives yet.
- Remove all storage devices but the installation media and target device - Windows might refuse to install when any disk driver is missing, even if it is not needed.
- Run DISKPART's CLEAN command on the target disk. This fixes corrupted or non-existent MBR or GPT. Note that this deletes all partitions.
There are various ways of activating activating Windows, some worse, some better.
KMS_VL_ALL (by abbodi1406)#
The recommended method for activating Windows. Uses no internet, networking, tasks, services, servers or drivers. Fully open source, link to source can be found in readme.html in the distribution. Works on all SKUs that can be activated with KMS. You can only activate Office with KMS, so if you plan on installing Office you should probably use this. Official thread (needs registration). Official and updated pastebin from thread is here.
Activator that generates permanent Windows 10 Digital License by faking an update from an older Windows version. Your hardware identifiers are sent to Microsoft, thus the license can survive reinstalls. It can also survive hardware changes if you tie it to a Microsoft account. Cannot activate older Windows, any Office and the following Windows 10 SKUs: Enterprise China Government, Enterprise LTSC 2019 (and IoT built on it) and all Server SKUs. Ideal for activating normies' computers, since they can't break the activation with AVs or reinstalls. Closed source, however you can do a reinstall after using if you're concerned, since the license will stay. Official thread with download
Not recommended activators#
Activator bundled with HWIDgen for Win10 SKUs that don't support HWIDgen. Activates until 2038. Using it causes repeated trying, timeouting, erroring in event log after renewal interval (not activation interval) passes. Also doesn't support Office. Use KMS_VL_ALL instead.
Activator for OEM activatable Windows 7 SKUs. Messes with bootloader to inject SLIC tables used for OEM activation, thus also doesn't work with UEFI. Use a KMS compatible edition and KMS_VL_ALL instead.
KMSpico, Microsoft Toolkit, etc..#
Outdated KMS activators using more bloated, performance heavy and inferior ways than KMS_VL_ALL.
Random exposed KMS servers on the internet#
May go down anytime, which makes all your software unactivated. Also they are usually hosted in nations where exportation is banned by US law like Iran. It is also slower than KMS_VL_ALL since it does actual networking, but this should be obvious.
Buying keys on eBay#
They are usually not for your region or breaking EULA in other ways, which makes it about as legal as using any of the other activators. You might also get an OEM key which is not transferable, or a key that stops working after some time because they often sell them multiple times. You're also paying scammers. With all this said, you might still want to do this for Office, since this is the cheapest possible alternative that requires no persistent software like KMS activators, making it suitable for getting Office for normies' computers. Different regions might need you to use phone activation.
As a first step update your Windows. Then, using the device manager click through the devices and click "Update driver". This will install the latest Microsoft-reviewed driver available, without any unnecessary bundled programs. If something doesn't work try downloading the driver from the device manufacturer's site. If it still doesn't work and your computer / laptop is built by an OEM try getting the driver from their site (this often occurs with touchpads of laptops).
Debloating and debotnetting#
You can use W10Privacy (freeware) or wpd.app (freeware) for debotnetting a live installation. Unfortunately there are no up-to-date open source tools, and running outdated tools can damage your install. Also be aware that using such tools on an offline optimized installation might be counter-productive due to wrongly detecting already applied changes.
The recommended tool for downloading Office 2016/2019/365 is WOTOK. Open source. Available on MDL after registration. Mirror for 2019-08-06 version. Includes one-checkbox disabling of telemetry. Automatically enables activation if KMS_VL_ALL is installed. Some anons reported trouble getting it to work, if it doesn't work for you try using OfficeRTool.
Original command line version of the previous tool. Open source. Official thread (available after registration). Mirror (2 for 2019-08-03 version. Use the convert to volume option to convert the installation to Volume licensing. After this reinstall (or install) KMS_VL_ALL, and you should be done.
Download and install#
Run the tool of your choice, read and select the options you need. Both lets you select what versions and products to download and install. Note that Office 365 doesn't support LTSC, only 2019 does.
All Adobe products downloader (from official Adobe servers) installer and auto-cracker (with AMTemu which removes DRM and botnet). Do not use 2019 products, since some upped the DRM and botnet, making AMTemu no longer work. Pastebin with hashes and mirror
See the infograph for an up-to-date list of recommended programs.
Hurr durr the infograph is shit#
Reply to the latest infograph posted in any thread, or reply to a /fwt/ thread, and your suggestion will be considered for next release (sometimes a few days, sometimes a few months). Software changes based on objective factors (eg. software discontinued, other breaking changes) will be considered just from a single suggestion, subjective changes are checked mainly for popularity on /g/ and /fwt/, but also somewhat for software quality, suitability for the infograph (so your CAD software probably won't get in here), etc..
Last content update: 2019-12-04