7

So, I got an Intel-powered laptop and installed the various drivers. They add many services and background processes, and they add a lot of entries to the PATH:

System Path:

  • C:\Program Files\Intel\iCLS Client\
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\iCLS Client\
  • C:\Program Files\Intel\WiFi\bin\
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intel\WirelessCommon\
  • C:\Program Files\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\DAL
  • C:\Program Files\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\IPT
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\DAL
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Intel(R) Management Engine Components\IPT

User Path:

  • C:\Program Files\Intel\WiFi\bin\
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Intel\WirelessCommon\

I'd like to remove as many of these as possible. I'm not using any of the Intel utilities such as "Intel PROSet/Wireless Software".

What are your experiences about this? May I just remove all entries and call it a day? Does anyone already did it?

  • For the record, I have removed all that crap from my Path, and haven't encountered any issue so far. – Gras Double Oct 3 '17 at 15:23
2

What can I delete?

That depends on the requirements of your system's configuration, which makes it difficult for others to prescribe a one-size-fits-all answer.

However, what you can do is document all of the potentially-unwanted paths, then remove them one at a time, observing the behavior of your system for a time between removing entries from the path variable. If you don't have any problems, it's safe to assume the entry isn't needed.

It's best to remove entries one at a time and perhaps let a day or two of active system use lapse between changes. That way you leave enough time to notice unwanted results, and are certain which entry needs to be added back to the path. If you're feeling brave you could remove multiple entries at a time, but that makes it more challenging to figure out which is responsible for problems should any arise.

1

While I agree with @Twistys comment below this answer, to definitely first try "to use the advanced startup option Last Known Good Configuration", I still think the gold standard is to ensure you have an Image Backup, in case that fails. In the past I've seen the "last known" somehow get lost and not work on occasion. I think the reason it fails at times, is that it depends on resetting what changed. Obviously, it only resets a small subset of your system, and if Windows can "put back the broken piece", it works. Malware is just one classic exception.

While you are doing your experiments, I'd make sure you could get back to where you started, with an IMAGE BACKUP as well. It's pretty easy to brick your system if you remove the wrong driver.

Fixable? Yes, but you'll waste a lot of time trying to fix an unbootable system for no good reason. I'd strongly recommend an Image Backup, and NOT any of the other "recovery or Windows reset utilities". If you use the Windows Image backup feature that comes with Windows 10, it is relatively fast, somewhat foolproof, free, "industry Standard", with lots of other tools and companies that can work with these Images. Since this Image format is also used to mount Windows virtual volumes, you can also mount that Drive Image and access it as another hard drive volume. (Careful though, research this, since mounting an image as a virtual drive in the same system as your drive C: would confuse Windows, and so Windows will change the volume ID before it mounts it.)

To use Windows Image Backup, you can simply search for "Image Backup". There are a few problems with the implementation that comes with Windows, however. First, unless you are going to do the research, there are many options available using the commandline version of Windows Image Backup, unavailable in the simple "no-option" UI. For instance, if you use the standard Windows UI, it will do ONE backup, and then you will overwrite that one copy, the next time you do a backup. The commandline allows you to back up the factory partition, for instance, (with difficulty), perform a bootable image backup or not, exclude or exclude certain files and folders. (For instance, Windows EXCLUDES your DRM folder!)

Although you can overcome the "only one backup allowed" problem, if you start messing around with the ACLs in any folders or files inside the WindowsImageBackup folder, you can easily render some, or all of your Image backups inaccessible to restore that image. (Windows Recovery Console from where you restore your image is running as SYSTEM, and not as a user). Don't forget to build some media to boot from, such as a USB, DVD, etc., so you can get to Windows Recovery Console!

Overall, we like standardized formats, since there is a lot of expertise to fix something if the Image breaks. There are other companies also using the Windows Image Backup format for a variety of uses and implementations, as well as my company. As a result of the need to overcome these Windows implementation issues, we built automation around Windows Image Backup, to fix, workaround, and make sure that you have multiple and regular past and recent Image Backup copies available when you need them. (For instance, we remind you when to plug in your external drive on a daily or weekly basis.) Check out our Protect My PC since it is free and also because it does nothing "strange" or proprietary--it IS a standard Windows Image Backup.

No matter what though, DO an image backup with SOMEONE'S product so you can do a bare metal recovery. (I'm also the CEO of the publisher, CDP.com, so as you see features you'd like, let me know.) In today's PCs, most image backups using a USB-3 external drives can be backed up in less than 30 minutes and could contain 10-30 Image Backups from different times, and still leave room for anything else you'd like to keep there, (such as Windows File History). If you do this manually, set up some type or reminder system to do the backup. If not, I can assure you that most of us, or someone else you support, will seldom if ever plug that external drive in, let alone take the time to do that backup.

  • Backups are always a good idea. However, if one disables a driver required to start Windows, it's much easier to use the advanced startup option Last Known Good Configuration to put things back the way they were than to restore from backup. – I say Reinstate Monica Aug 19 '17 at 18:47
  • Yes, I agree I'd try that first. However, I have several systems this did not work for, thus the Image Backup. Also, on a brand new W-10 Dell Alienware only used for less than an hour, under support's direction they (tried) to direct me to "restore factory Image". Instead, they took me from WITHIN Windows, to "Reset my Windows", (instead of recovery console to do an Image restore to FACTORY NEW). Hours later of not booting, luckily it got messed up bad enough, Windows took me to recovery console, and I restored the factory image and booted, in 5 minutes! Also great for DRIVE MIGRATION. – DaaBoss Aug 20 '17 at 14:47
  • Windows has been having significant confirmed problems "fixing" Windows, with or without your "files and settings". Since they are really trying to restore the correct set of system files and settings, and the W-10 service pack changes have been quite extensive, this has become incredibly complex, and so fails quite often, restoring the wrong files. I believe this is why my Alienware "reset" failed. Although Images have had their own sets of problems over the +30 years we've been publishing various versions and tools, such as live snapshots, they are still your best chance or full restore. – DaaBoss Aug 20 '17 at 14:55
  • The boot with Last known good configuration is different (very) from the reset Windows option. Booting with LKGC uses the last copy of the registry in effect the last time an account successfully got past the logon screen. It's perfect for dealing with disabling critical drivers, which is nothing more than a registry change that needs to be backed out. You're always right to have a backup though in case other fixes don't work. – I say Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '17 at 15:26

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