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Anyone using Blackbird?

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Blackbird Dev:
Whoops! Spoke too soon. Blackbird is a bit like a blunderbus! I think I shall avoid it.
This is what it does (per readme.txt):
Spoiler
Blackbird V6 (version 0.9) Readme
http://getblackbird.net
[email protected]


==WHAT BLACKBIRD DOES==

> Disables OneDrive
> Disables Cortana
> Disables Bing-integration
> Disables Wi-Fi Sense
> Disables Windows/Office Telemetry on all Windows versions
> Disables Xbox Live services
> Disables web content evaluation / URL check-in ("SmartScreen")
> Disables Windows Media Online DRM
> Disables Windows P2P Update sharing
> Disables all application metric-data collection agents
> Disables all AutoLoggers
> Disables Start menu ads
> Disables Windows Error Reporting
> Disables Diagnostic Tracking / "Connected User Experiences and Telemetry" service
> Disables WAP-push Message Routing service
> Prevents all location/contacts/handwritting/password sharing
> Prevents cross-device synchronization
> Prevents device meta-data collection
> Patches various data-leaks (IE/EDGE/Defender/Explorer/MRT)
> Removes Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)
> Removes your unique Ad-ID tracking token and disables further Windows advertising profiling
> Removes GWX and all Windows 10 Upgrade triggers, icons, messages and other nagging
> Removes Windows 10 Upgrade setup files on Vista, 7, 8, 8.1
> Removes a bunch of Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 telemetry updates
> Blocks 130+ different tracking/telemetry/ad servers (supports IPv6/IPv4, Wifi/Eth)
> bonus (some) Youtube, Skype, Facebook ads blocked


==USING BLACKBIRD==

> Double-click blackbird.exe,
> Click Yes if prompted by UAC,
> Blackbird will perform a quick security scan (green means good - red means bad),
> Press any key to apply,
> Get some coffee (optional),
> Reboot the computer when it's finished. All done.


==SWITCHES==
You can also invoke Blackbird from CMD with the following command-line switches available:

blackbird -v   >  Verbose mode. Displays additional information on all changes as they're being made.
blackbird -s   >  Silent mode. No additional user interaction required, good for scripts
blackbird -r   >  Recovery mode. Restores all values changed by Blackbird to default Microsoft values.
blackbird -k   >  Kill Cortana completely (prevent searchUI.exe from loading) / can be unkilled using Blackbird Recovery mode.
blackbird -e   >  eMule LowID fix (experimental).
blackbird -f   >  Show frequently used programs in Start menu.
blackbird -x   >  Enable Xbox Live services.
blackbird -d   >  Disable Windows Defender.
blackbird -h   >  Disable Hibernation (deletes hiberfil.sys file from root).
blackbird -u   >  Disable automatic installation of updates / Sets to manual download and install only.
blackbird -m   >  Disable automatic installation of Malicious Removal Tool updates.
blackbird -?   >  Displays help information.

NOTE:
You can only run a single switch at one time.


==FAQ==

Q: Blackbird is stuck/hangs/crashes.
A: It takes a while (up to 1h on older CPUs) but if you're sure it's stuck, close blackbird, open cmd as admin, cd to the directory where you put the blackbird.exe file.
    Type "blackbird -v" (without the quotes). This should give you a more detailed view of what's going on.

Q: Blackbird shows errors like "access denied", "unable to read file", "system error"...
A: This is normal, especially under W10. Try closing and running Blackbird again, this somehow forces Windows to behave. Not sure why.

Q: My antivirus reports Blackbird as malware.
A: This mostly happens with the 32bit version but we assure you, it's a false-positive. Use the 64bit version if possible, AVs seem to like it better for some reason.
   We suspect this occurs because of the nature and relative obscurity of our software (registry editing,telemetry dismantling,..)
   Some files are extracted during usage but they are all deleted before you even exit the program.

Q: I don't like what Blackbird did to my computer. How do I change it back?
A: Start cmd as administrator, cd to the directory where you put the blackbird.exe file, type "blackbird -r" (without quotes) and press enter.
   This will run Blackbird in Recovery mode and will restore all changes made by Blackbird back to their default Microsoft values.
 


I killed the app. as it does all those things by default, and I don't want them all - e.g., I don't want OneDrive disabled.

Fortunately, you can use the command line to cause Blackbird to restore to windows default all those things it changes by default. I may have to run that now as I have no way of knowing whether I killed it in time before it had managed to make any changes. It doesn't seem to run a report or anything to tell you what it actually succeeded in doing.

Of course, restore to windows default is not necessarily the same thing as restore to what it had been before.

I'd recommend extreme caution as running this tool could arguably be a bit like sticking a screwdriver in amongst a bunch of live wires and trusting in the outcome. A black box approach.

...Use screwdrivers with insulated handles.
-IainB (April 27, 2016, 05:05 PM)
--- End quote ---

Hi IainB,
I'm gonna completely agree with you, Blackbird does mess around with A LOT of system-critical components (startup tasks,registry,services,system files,network config, to name a few..) and all the tweaks have to work in perfect unison to not disrupt normal usage.
Add in some false-positives and you've got yourself a highly suspicious exe. The irony being that Blackbird was written because we didn't trust the other tools.

We try to test each version extensively but things do slip by. A Windows update throws something off, a 3rd-party application gets in the way.. It's not easy and we have extremely limited resources.
To give you an idea, the Blackbird code has ballooned 5000% since the original version (v0.3) while our wallets have deflated by negative 20%.
Blackbird does offer a Verbose mode switch (blackbird -v) that shows all changes as they're being made. While not exactly a report, it shows exactly what's going on behind the progress bar in real-time.
The issue with Blackbird only restoring to Microsoft defaults is a problem we've been trying to figure out how to best implement a solution to but currently we can only safely offer the MS-defaults option. Working on it.

Not to get all emoticoni but we get nothing out of this. Our only motivation is trying to help because forced-anything is wrong in our opinion.
So since we've committed ourselves to this mess because apparently we're masochists deep-down, I'd like to invite all of you to tell us what needs improving.

We want to make Blackbird better for you.
If it turns out it causes more problems than it fixes we'll suspend the project and start from scratch. The last thing we want is to piss-off PC dudes.

Curt:
It's sad that I didn't notice the errors that I have today, when I first ran Blackbird, yesterday. But now I cannot access Explorer until it has given up on opening some program. (...)-Curt (April 28, 2016, 03:19 AM)
--- End quote ---
I'm sorry to hear about your experience. We've had thousands of users with no issues, this seems strange. (...).-Blackbird Dev (April 28, 2016, 08:28 AM)
--- End quote ---

- Thank You for answering, so I was reminded to tell:

The problem I had with Explorer this morning, has gone! I don't understand what caused the problem. Since it's gone, I must conclude it was not made by Blackbird! The only reason I can see right now is, that maybe Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro for a moment forgot what was good and what was bad, because of the big Windows update. That update really was huge.

But the point is, I didn't change anything, and everything is working fine - so Blackbird must be okay.   

Blackbird Dev:
It's sad that I didn't notice the errors that I have today, when I first ran Blackbird, yesterday. But now I cannot access Explorer until it has given up on opening some program. (...)-Curt (April 28, 2016, 03:19 AM)
--- End quote ---
I'm sorry to hear about your experience. We've had thousands of users with no issues, this seems strange. (...).-Blackbird Dev (April 28, 2016, 08:28 AM)
--- End quote ---

- Thank You for answering, so I was reminded to tell:

The problem I had with Explorer this morning, has gone! I don't understand what caused the problem. Since it's gone, I must conclude it was not made by Blackbird! The only reason I can see right now is, that maybe Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro for a moment forgot what was good and what was bad, because of the big Windows update. That update really was huge.

But the point is, I didn't change anything, and everything is working fine - so Blackbird must be okay.  :up:
-Curt (April 28, 2016, 03:54 PM)
--- End quote ---

That's great news! We'll sleep better tonight :) Have seen Windows 10 get stuck when updating before, seems to be a pretty common issue.

Curt:
The problem I had with Explorer this morning, has gone! I don't understand what caused the problem. Since it's gone, I must conclude it was not made by Blackbird! The only reason I can see right now is, that maybe Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro for a moment forgot what was good and what was bad, because of the big Windows update. That update really was huge. But the point is, I didn't change anything, and everything is working fine - so Blackbird must be okay.-Curt (April 28, 2016, 03:54 PM)
--- End quote ---

This morning the problem was back!!  :o 

Hmm... Windows was open, but Explorer kept freezing. Suddenly it occurred to me that the only thing changed from the day before, should be time; the clock, and it was still displaying Windows' default clock, not my third-party T-Clock 2010! When I finally could enter Explorer, I looked into Outpost Security Center and realized that T-Clock wasn't mentioned anywhere in Outpost. Of course it should be, so I navigated Outpost to the file and clicked "Allow". I cannot tell until tomorrow if this has cured the patient - but I expect it has. /(no, it wasn't cured at all)

MilesAhead:
The hazard with using any kind of tuner or performance enhancer that changes multiple settings is that every setting is a variable in the equation.  If something goes wrong it can take a long time to track it down.  It almost forces you to take a system snapshot and just back it off if something doesn't fix in a short time.  Like an hour or so.

For this reason I do not install updates to the OS unless I have a specific problem and find an update that fixes it.  The only exception I make is service packs.  At least there is some effort to test after installing the service pack to see that all the fixes play together nicely.  With weekly bundles of updates there's no time for testing.

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