Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Windows 10 Updates Nag Screen Hijack

Windows has always loved to hijack your computer because Gates wants to micromanage your life. Previous versions would automatically update your computer, whatever you were doing, no matter how important it was (such as being in the middle of a class lecture, thus interrupting all 60 students for a 30-minute update, thus forcing you to cancel your lecture). However, you used to be able to change some well-hidden settings and turn off automatic updates, so that you could update your computer when it was convenient. Not so with Windows 10. There is no way to actually just completely turn them off. I have googled many times, and tried all the tricks to get this turned off, and while my automatic updates are *mostly* turned off, I still occasionally get an overlay screen that covers my desktop that won't let me do anything else until I click my acknowledgement that I must restart my computer. I'm not forced to restart my computer right then, but the overlay lockout keeps happening until I do. This is unacceptable.

The only thing I've found that works is to disable the permissions on the files with variations of the name "MusNotification." Here is a screenshot of a computer search (using Locate) to find all instances of these files. Every couple of months I have to redo this, since Microsoft seems to realize the original files have been disabled, so finds someplace new to put them, and it starts over.

The procedure I used to do this was to right click each file to open "Properties" then "Security" then "Advanced." First, I took ownership away from "TrustedInstaller" and gave ownership to "Users." Sometimes that still doesn't allow me access to change permissions, because the file is inheriting the permission from elsewhere, requiring me to click "disable inheritance." Once that is done, I have to go into each of the Permission entries, and "Deny" full control to all of them: TrustedInstaller, System, All Application Packages & All Restricted Application Packages. I also changed Administrator and Users to "Read only" (not Read & Execute). This is tedious, since you have to do this for all of the MUS Notification & MusNotificationUX instances, and the list grows every couple of months.

Other things I've tried, some of which partially help, are the following

  1. Go into "Services" and "Windows Update"--I can "disable" this option, but then I can't manually update the computer--I have to go back in and re-enable this service for me to update my computer. This is not acceptable.
  2. Metered connection--there is a procedure to change the wireless properties, to change how my computer monitors my wireless connection, seeing it as a "metered connection," and thus doesn't automatically download updates. However, this ended up messing with My Outlook e-mail, so couldn't use this.
  3. Going into Group Policy (some versions of Windows 10 don't have this), and upating ConfigAutoUpdate but this didn't seem to work for me--others had better luck.

Some more information about this is at

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