Windows 10 Privacy: Debotnet 0.5 update brings massive improvements - gHacks Tech News

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Windows 10 Privacy: Debotnet 0.5 update brings massive improvements

Debotnet 0.5.2 is the latest version of the Windows 10 privacy tool. We reviewed the initial version of Debotnet here on Ghacks in December 2019 and concluded that it was a promising program that helped Windows administrators significantly when it came to taming the operating system's data collection activities.

The program was released as beta back then and we decided not to rate it or add it to the list of privacy tools that we maintain here on Ghacks; this changes with the release of the new version.

Debotnet is no longer beta and Mirinsoft, the company that develops the program, added significant improvements and changes to the application.

Windows administrators may run the program from any location as it does not need to be installed. I scanned the program at Virustotal and it came back clean, another improvement compared to previous versions.

The first change becomes visible right way: the interface has changed for the better.

debotnet 0.5

The left sidebar lists various categories such as bloatware, third-party, or privacy now that improve accessibility significantly. The previous version displayed a long list of tweaks without any categorization.

Equally beneficial is the new logic when it comes to running the tweaks. It is still possible to select multiple tweaks and run all of these at once, but the confusing run options of the previous version have been removed. Now, all it takes is to execute the run, test script, or undo script options.

Probably the biggest improvement of the new version is the number of tweaks and options that have been added to the application. If you check the list of categories in the sidebar, you may notice that some are not related to native Windows 10 apps or functionality.

The third-party category lists options to block the Chrome Software Reporter Tool, CCleaner monitoring, or Adobe's Acrobat Reader online service while Ninite Apps options to download and install popular applications using Ninite.

debotnet

Here is a quick overview of the provided categories:

  • Start -- Options to handle some of the worst native privacy offenders, e.g. Telemetry, web search, Diagnostics Tracking Service, Location Tracking, or the automatic installation of apps.
  • Bloatware -- displays a long list of Windows 10 apps that admins may remove. Includes the games that Windows 10 ships with but also apps like 3D Viewer, Game Bar, Microsoft News, or Xbox.
  • Cortana -- Quick and easy options to disable or remove Cortana.
  • Deprecated Apps -- Options to restore Classic Calculator, Paint, or Sticky Notes.
  • Edge -- Options to neutralize Edge and prevent the installation of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser.
  • Gaming -- Option to disable Game Bar features.
  • Miscellaneous -- Option to download the tweaking tool Wim Tweak, and a link to our privacy tools listing (appreciated!).
  • Ninite Apps -- Download more than 70 popular apps for Windows using Ninite.
  • Privacy -- Option to open the Windows 10 privacy settings.
  • Security -- Tweaks to disable the password reveal button and Windows Media DRM Internet Access.
  • Slim -- Disable system features that tend to take up storage (Reserved Storage, System Restore, Uninstall Software, the last downloads GeekUninstaller Portable to speed up the process).
  • Third-party -- Block the Chrome Software Reporter Tool, disable CCleaner Monitoring and Acrobat Reader online service. Also, download Winapp2.ini to enhance CCleaner.
  • Update -- Options to delay, block, or enforce downloads of updates and other update related tweaks.
  • Windows Defender -- Option to disable or remove Windows Defender.

It is rather easy to use the program. We recommend that you create a system backup before you do. While you get options to undo tweaks, it is always better to have an independent backup.

Just check the tweaks and options that you want to change and hit the run button afterward. We suggest you use the "test script" and "run script" options first to make a dry run before you use run to apply the changes to the system.

Note that you need to hit run for each category individually.

Closing Words

Debotnet is a well designed privacy tool for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system that has made leaps since the release of the first beta version. The tweaks worked well during tests and I did not notice any issues caused by the program.

I'd like to see an option to search for tweaks and that selected tweaks would remain selected even when switching between categories. A global run option or maybe a full listing (all) would improve the program further.

Now You: do you use tweak software?

Summary
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Author Rating
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2.5 based on 25 votes
Software Name
Debotnet
Operating System
Windows
Software Category
Privacy
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Comments

  1. John Corliss said on February 1, 2020 at 11:40 am
    Reply

    The only problem with this is that Microsoft has designed Windows 10 to send them telemetry via hardened IP addresses that you can’t see or block. This is because the connections to their servers are done at a sub-kernel level. Not only that, but there are hundreds of such IP addresses and they shift around all the time. Any program like “Debotnet” is only really good for giving you a warm feeling. Nothing can stop Micro$oft’s spyware from gathering data on you non-transparently.

    1. Anonymous said on February 1, 2020 at 1:17 pm
      Reply

      “…on a sub-kernel level”? What are you on about? :-P

      1. Uwe said on February 1, 2020 at 3:51 pm
        Reply

        Don’t know either :)

      2. Peterc said on February 2, 2020 at 3:24 am
        Reply

        Let’s see. How to explain this to a lay audience? Okay, so you know how when you make popcorn, some of the kernels don’t pop? The “grannies”? Well, those unpopped kernels settle to the bottom of the bucket, and when a teenage couple goes to the movies, *that’s* where the “dangerous” stuff happens — at the sub-kernel level. It’s pretty much the same thing with computers. ;-)

      3. @Peterc said on February 2, 2020 at 9:19 am
        Reply

        I was a sub colonel in the CCCP navy and I can confirm that much of our dangerous stuff happened at the bottom.

      4. Emil said on February 2, 2020 at 10:39 pm
        Reply

        Stop it kids, play peacefully.

    2. sdkhjdsfhjg said on February 2, 2020 at 3:49 am
      Reply

      Do you have any reliable source to back such a claim?

  2. rgb said on February 1, 2020 at 12:12 pm
    Reply

    I already found it on deksmodder. It is really a great tool. The company behind is called “Mirinsoft” and not “Mirosoft” ;)

    Maybe you should correct the landing page to official link of dev @https://www.mirinsoft.com/ms-apps/debotnet
    as GitHub (searching for the download link) is not easy to handle for everyone

  3. Connie said on February 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm
    Reply

    The problem I sort of have with all of these apps is you get reviews like this telling you how many options it has yet none test that they actually work when it comes to stopping MS’s spying, if it fails to block any, blocks some or blocks all. They just take the dev’s word for it. I know it’s not as simple as reviewing a normal app but without that it doesn’t mean much.

    I think basically you have to be offline to stop it, these apps help somewhat but somewhat isn’t enough.

    1. tmats said on June 17, 2020 at 2:17 am
      Reply

      At least with debotnet, you can look at the scripts and potentially rewrite them yourself (regedits etc). Most “tweakers” I’ve seen, even ones with ‘big names’ that ‘everybody uses’, we really don’t know how they work and what all they might be leaving around. More than one has messed people’s systems up (and worse). People can lose functionality they might not have expected with debotnet if they’re not somewhat vaguely familiar with how Win10 works (and I even question who at MS knows how Win10 works), but these debotnet scripts can pretty much be reversed.

      (I’m on the last “official debotnet”, btw, not that new one they released with different branding. And my brand new machines for some reason didn’t make the 2004 cut so, I’m pretty satisfied except would like a crack at wsl2.)

    2. tmats said on June 17, 2020 at 2:29 am
      Reply

      We used to be able to edit? Sorry: I meant to agree with your general idea of not much addressing MS spyware. I’m a bit vigilant about security so I know what you mean. Cortana is hardly the worst offender, and not even the ads (spotlight? Whatever). Win10 is just awful. Crowdinspect and wireless network watcher (and process hacker etc) show after you run debotnet hardcore (break Win 10 lol), the “OS” is still sending data packets. Got horror stories. Even if you disconnect, watch what the “OS” is doing, you see it saving all sorts of data that is sure as **** intends to send if you re-connect. I tried opening/deleting even as trusted installer, lol.

      Obfuscation helps. You can set things up to send MS (and others including Google) what they think you ‘should’ be sending (fly under the radar).

      Sorry for messed up reply. I like Debotnet better than other “privacy enhancers”, but Windows has (imo) always been intended to be …”windows” into your private stuff. Had nothing to do with the GUI; gates & co weren’t that smart.

  4. Dana said on February 1, 2020 at 1:06 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the info,great little program.

    1. Uwe said on February 1, 2020 at 3:50 pm
      Reply

      I filly agree. :)

  5. Anonymous said on February 1, 2020 at 1:24 pm
    Reply

    Looks like the program just saves the state of the tweak inside an INI-file, without checking whether the tweak is ACTUALLY applied on the current system. That may cause quite some confusion, especially since Windows is prone to reset these kinds of tweaks after updates.

    1. George said on February 2, 2020 at 11:47 am
      Reply

      If this is true, then it’s mostly useless. I prefer tools like WPD and O&O ShutUp10 that actually verify whether a setting is enabled or not, and will indicate or warn about any future changes.

  6. Marmor said on February 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm
    Reply

    Very nice tool. Actions can be viewed in plain Text, really interesting.

  7. Anonymous said on February 1, 2020 at 1:37 pm
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    That’s simply inaccurate. It’s called a firewall. I sugest pfSense. pfBlockerNG blocks all outbound M$ telemetry packets with ease. As does Snort and Suricata with the appropriate rulesets enabled.

    Programs like Debotnet can be very helpful in disabling modules in the OS that would otherwise collect data on your actions and relay it to M$. When the code written to spy on a certain activity fails to execute, that data fails to be collected; the means of delivering that data to M$ is no longer a factor. They just wind up with empty JSON streams for those failed collection attempts.

    1. ULBoom said on February 1, 2020 at 2:55 pm
      Reply

      Part of it is a firewall; it’s simply inaccurate to call the program a firewall since only part of it is a firewall.

  8. ULBoom said on February 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    Not sure if this has good explanations for the effects of each change but just clicking all of the settings, “Removing Scheduled Tasks,” for example could easily cause large chunks of the OS to malfunction.

  9. Marmor said on February 1, 2020 at 2:58 pm
    Reply

    The Company behind is called Mirinsoft NOT Mirosoft :D

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 1, 2020 at 3:25 pm
      Reply

      Right, thank you ;)

  10. Anonymous said on February 1, 2020 at 3:20 pm
    Reply

    ‘Mirosoft’ caused heavy WTF when read as Microsoft on first Run. Thought nice trolling, but its actually ‘Mirinsoft’ ;)

  11. Mick said on February 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm
    Reply

    Since when there is an anti adblock message on the side? And it’s quite nasty too, couldn’t block it with ublock origin that Martin seems to like so much ;)…so had to disable java script

    1. Anonymous said on February 1, 2020 at 8:00 pm
      Reply

      Purge all cache and update. Its been included in uB this week.

    2. seeprime said on February 1, 2020 at 11:11 pm
      Reply

      Mick: Avast is slowing eating the greatness from Martin’s site, since they bought it. It’s sad to see this happening.

      1. Anonymous said on February 2, 2020 at 4:21 pm
        Reply

        Not Avast but Softonic, same style of ethically challenged company.

        Yes, the anti-adblock banner has a randomized element name, probably to make cosmetic filtering more difficult. Luckily ublock origin with updated filters can take care of it automatically.

        This made me think that maybe I’m still letting too many scripts run on this site, maybe time to let live only the ones that are necessary to comment.

  12. jan said on February 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm
    Reply

    does it work for W7 too?

    1. rgb said on February 2, 2020 at 9:57 am
      Reply
  13. Dave said on February 1, 2020 at 5:29 pm
    Reply

    I’d be interested to see if the settings survived through a “feature” update and/or interfered with it.

    I use WinAeroTweaker and habitually disable all tweaks before such an update and then import them back after because I’ve had problems in the past caused by registry tweaks.

  14. VioletMoon said on February 1, 2020 at 7:33 pm
    Reply

    The program comes from Mirinsoft which also develops and maintains CleanMgr+.

    One can find more information by visiting the link mentioned in Martin’s weekly article at BetaNews.

    I suppose both programs are great–there seems to be a fine line developing on this site as to which programs are considered “optimizers” and those that clean out massive amounts of garbage and block telemetry and other settings necessary for MS Windows 10 to run natively–telemetry and all.

    As mentioned with the duplicate file finder, many users explore and use such programs without any backup or notes as to when they cleaned out the “duplicate” files or “garbage” only to discover with an update that their systems are “broken.”

  15. RossN said on February 1, 2020 at 8:02 pm
    Reply

    Still using W10Privacy here.

  16. Paul(us) said on February 1, 2020 at 9:46 pm
    Reply

    Thanks, Ghacks.net/Martin Brinkman,
    For updating the info on this I think potentially really great program.
    I am a great fan of all the products from https://www.oo-software.com/en/ products and there free and also easy to use Windows 10 anti-spy software I personly think it does a great job and therefore I use it. https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10.

    But I am going to give this program a really good look over and for now the first reaction is that I considering installing it.

  17. 5fgfgfgrt5 said on February 2, 2020 at 2:18 am
    Reply

    Switch to Mac or Linux

  18. Dorothy said on February 2, 2020 at 3:42 am
    Reply

    False sense of security. Microsoft designed Windows 10 to be impossible to reign in. And, guess what the company will do if any of these bandaids manage to accomplish something? They’ll patch the OS.

    Closed source code means it can be doing anything it wants to. There are a billion ways to get your data without you knowing about it. macOS is riddled with spyware, too. I bet Linux is also quite compromised. Using a computer today on the Internet means being spied upon and having one’s data taken. Fact of life.

  19. RAC2010 said on February 2, 2020 at 1:26 pm
    Reply

    I tried out DebotNet. It looks very good, but because I use WPD and WUB, I dont need it. But if I werent using WPD, I would use DebotNet. There is one problem with ALL these products: they all keep a record of what is turned off and turned on in each’s configuration file. So when I open DebotNet, all options are UNCHECKED, even though they are all actually turned off with other apps. Much better in my opinion (and more complex to write, of course) is to not use the config files, but rather to check the status of each option.

    1. Deяn said on February 3, 2020 at 12:37 pm
      Reply

      Absolutely agree with RAC2010 comment!
      As I also tried the program, what I need and miss is reading of current W10 settings status i.e. what is already turned off or on!
      Can you someone share which other program show the status too?

  20. Tester said on February 2, 2020 at 3:27 pm
    Reply

    Is the script for disabling DRM Internet Access correct? Looks strange to me.

  21. HJB said on February 3, 2020 at 1:07 am
    Reply

    What do you have to say about WinAero Tweaker? I have used it and it seems very good but I would like to hear opinions from more experienced people.

  22. Anonymous said on February 3, 2020 at 8:18 am
    Reply

    Really impressive work :O

  23. Ramos72 said on February 3, 2020 at 10:12 am
    Reply

    Used shutp10 before, but this makes it look like app for kiddies. Thanks for letting us now Martin, really appreciated.

    1. Daer5 said on February 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm
      Reply

      Without reading beyond what is said here, are these tools free and open source? .. we know what we are installing on the pc that modifies our secure system? ..

      The idea of ​​a tool whose payload allows us with one click to stop Windows services is very beautiful, but how safe or advisable to do it?

      Tear off the head of Avast that you are wearing, free things usually come with retroactive effect!

  24. Grdkffg said on February 3, 2020 at 1:16 pm
    Reply

    Mobile site Unreadable with all the ads

    1. Marmor said on February 3, 2020 at 1:57 pm
      Reply

      you could use this http://www.imirin.com
      they are redericting the stuff and working on redesign

  25. John G. said on February 3, 2020 at 4:12 pm
    Reply

    @Martin thank you very much for this useful article! 😊

  26. Paul said on February 4, 2020 at 11:21 pm
    Reply

    Great app, thanks for the update and review Martin.

    Also the self-appointed experts here provide great entertainment.

  27. Anonymous said on March 14, 2020 at 3:52 pm
    Reply

    Can be now extended with packages

    https://www.mirinsoft.com/debotnet-packs

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