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Do I need Windows WBEM?

August 20, 2017 at 19:25:44
Specs: several
Edited to change "WEBM" to "WBEM". Oops!

My goals are to prevent my Windows 10 laptop from ever
accessing the Internet or the hard drive except when I tell
it to. After having disabled all manner of things, such as
nearly all the services Black Viper says are safe to disable
-- plus a couple he doesn't say are safe -- Process Monitor
still shows that Windows components in the WBEM folder
are accessed by the hard drive quite a bit. A *LOT* of other
things, too, but at the moment I'm just asking about WBEM.
Do I need it, or can I turn it off? Pretty obviously you need
to know more about what I'm doing with the computer in
order to determine whether I require WBEM, but I don't know
what you need to know, so I'll just wait for you to ask.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root

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August 20, 2017 at 20:44:50
The video format? No, it's not required to run your system. Not sure why you have an entire folder dedicated to it.

Unless you're talking about WBEM, in which case, do you need WMI? *shrug* Group policy might fail if it's missing. Security Center is listed as a service dependency, but otherwise I don't think anything in Windows itself relies on it. Some programs use it; mostly when they're gathering info about your system. You really shouldn't delete it unless you know how to rebuild it. In your case, something's probably using it if there's that much activity.

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August 20, 2017 at 21:10:57
"My goals are to prevent my Windows 10 laptop from ever accessing the Internet or the hard drive except when I tell it to"

How about shutting down your computer or internet source (or both) when they're not being used?

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August 20, 2017 at 22:10:55

Oooops! Apparently I got "WBEM" correct in the thread title, but
after that....

I don't know. Do I need WMI? I don't appear to use or need group
policy. Nobody imposes group policies on me and I don't have
Group Policy Editor. Security Center depends on it, eh? I wonder
if all of Security Center depends on it, or just some parts. When I
look on the Settings page for Windows Defender (which I have
disabled), I find a line at the top of the screen in red which says
"Some settings are managed by your organization." So it sounds
like at least one Group Setting has been set by Windows itself.
(And then claims that somebody else did it.)

I don't see anything actually named "Security Center". Windows
Search suggests the "Security and Maintenance" control panel.

I expect to use Windows Firewall, although of course there is a
firewall in my modem/router. I don't know how to control that
one, though, while I do know how to modify Windows Firewall.
Do I need both? I want to block *EVERYTHING* in both directions
except for the web browser or FTP program I'm using. That does
seem to be possible in Windows Firewall. Or almost so.

I'm not sure how much activity WBEM has, or when it occurs.
It's just that I've noticed it each time I ran Process Monitor, and
from the descriptions of WBEM that I read, it wasn't at all clear
if anything it does is something I do or want to do. So its one
of the first things I'm asking about.


I almost always turn the computer off when I think I'm not going
to be using it for several hours. Last night may have been the
very first time I just closed the cover on the new HP laptop and
let it go to sleep. I'm not yet using that computer to access the
Internet, though. Right now I'm using an Android tablet. The
modem/router is a separate device. When I think I'm done using
it I not only unplug it, I pull out the battery to prevent it from telling
the home office that it is shutting down.

No, there's more. It gets worse. Right after I pull out the battery,
I shake the modem/router in my hand to try to mess up any signal
it might be trying to send with its last dying breath of stored charge.
No idea if there is any. I do it just in case.

There. That's the lot. I don't store it in a Farady cage or lock it in
a safe or change the password every time I use it. There are limits
to my madness.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root

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August 22, 2017 at 19:03:27
Yeah, you're not going to find out much about WBEM, at least not dealing with Windows, unless you're looking into WMI. You could always disable the Windows Management Instrumentation service, and see what happens.

Seriously though, Windows has always had heavy disk access. If you want absolute control over everything the OS does, pick up one of the BSDs or Linux distros out there.

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message edited by Razor2.3

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August 22, 2017 at 21:00:46
Jeff, that is quite paranoid enough, thank you.
Windows Firewall if managed will stop traffic through to the internet by programs but managing everything could be a real pain and get annoying real fast.
If you unplug the router momentarily, the router gets a new IP address from your ISP, this if done periodically will increase your security without having to keep it turned off most of the time. Your router also has a remote access from your computer's browser (internally only) which will allow you some increased firewall and other security settings if you like. Remember to reset the default log in and password for access as well as any Wifi network name and Wifi access key. Some routers actually have a manual Wifi off switch to increase security of your network when you feel you need it. Of course hard wired is more secure than Wifi.
Please note that the lowest CPU activity and hard drive access can be achieved if your Windows operating system is installed from scratch from non-branded media (not from Dell, HP, etc.) because there is much less junk installed from the beginning. Windows 7 Pro is probably better at this then Windows 10 is simply because MS was not yet planning on controlling your entire computing experience back then. The problem is that Windows 7 is less supported on the newest hardware then previous generations so you may have to go back a generation or so for some components or deal with issues. An example I had to deal with was a PCIe SSD drive as a bootable drive with Windows 7 and the Z97 chipset (explained elsewhere, if you are interested, see link).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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