back to article Why Microsoft yanked its latest Windows 10 update download: It hijacked privacy settings

Microsoft withdrew downloads for its latest official edition of Windows 10, version 1511, after it meddled with people's privacy settings. Earlier we reported how Redmond disappeared the update, which could be fetched via the official media creation tool (MCT). The download became available in mid-November after Microsoft …

  1. Tom Chiverton 1

    "we will restore those settings"

    How? Creepy....

    1. King Jack

      "we will restore those settings"

      Which means they have already slurped them. Why people install this I will never know. It will take a major security breach to wake people up.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones
        Facepalm

        Re: "we will restore those settings"

        Correct, if you requested anonymity and installed the update, you have lost it.

        Anonymity is like Virginity. You don't get it back once you've lost it.

        1. dan1980

          Re: "we will restore those settings"

          @ Dr Stephen Jones

          "Anonymity is like Virginity. You don't get it back once you've lost it."

          Team Reg - are you out there? Post of the week, please.

          1. DrBobMatthews

            Re: "we will restore those settings"

            Mentioning Microsoft an virginity in the same breath is almost a technical oxymoron. Better to mention prostitution and Microsoft would be a more honest opinion. Technical excellence and Microsoft parted company some time ago when the rabid marketeers with a shared braincell decided they were masters of the universe.

      2. Steven Roper

        Re: "we will restore those settings"

        " It will take a major security breach to wake people up."

        No it won't. J. Q. Public isn't concerned about security other than protecting their credit card numbers.

        What WILL wake people up is Microsoft's Ransom-as-a-Service rentism business model. When people suddenly become aware that it's costing them a bomb to run their comuters each month and wonder where all the money's going, that's when they'll wake up and realise they've been diddled.

        I don't think an exodus to Linux will happen straight away. But I think it will gradually gather momentum once the rentism kicks in and people start looking for ways to cut costs and get their files back without having to pay the monthly ransom to continue working with them.

      3. DrBobMatthews

        Re: "we will restore those settings"

        King Jack too true, now the NSA have got copies!

    2. Mark Allen

      Surely a simple answer

      That old thing called System Restore. Or whatever they call it now. The same method that lets you uninstall an update would allow them to find out your previous settings and put them back in place. No data would need transmitting to MS for that.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Facepalm

        @Mark Allen - Re: Surely a simple answer

        > That old thing called System Restore.

        And, of course, they say, in big letters, "This program wants to access your System Restore data to return to your old settings. Please click here to approve this"...

        1. dogged

          Re: @Mark Allen - Surely a simple answer

          > And, of course, they say, in big letters, "This program wants to access your System Restore data to return to your old settings. Please click here to approve this"...

          In your world, I suppose they should say "this operating system needs to access your computer's memory. Please click to approve this" about 8 billion times per microsecond.

          Seriously? You object to the system using System Restore to restore your system? Or you're just being a bloody idiot? Which is it?

          1. Graham Marsden

            @dogged - Re: @Mark Allen - Surely a simple answer

            > Seriously? You object to the system using System Restore to restore your system? Or you're just being a bloody idiot? Which is it?

            Oops, nice False Dilemma. You fail to realise there's a third option, so let me explain it:

            System Restore is there for ME to restore MY system to a configuration that worked after something has gone wrong.

            It is NOT there for SOMEONE ELSE to run a piece of software, browse through my previous settings and change them WITHOUT MY PERMISSION!

            Does that make it clear now?

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: @dogged - @Mark Allen - Surely a simple answer

              https://bookofbadarguments.com/

              The print edition would make a good xmas present for junior minds, it's basically a cut-down version of the Wikipedia List of Fallacies. But with cute drawings!

              1. The Boojum
                Thumb Up

                Re: @dogged - @Mark Allen - Surely a simple answer

                Brilliant. Thanks. Bought the book for my kids (and for me, if the truth be told).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surely a simple answer

        > That old thing called System Restore. Or whatever they call it now. The

        > same method that lets you uninstall an update would allow them to find out

        > your previous settings and put them back in place. No data would need

        > transmitting to MS for that.

        Except your passwords have already been uploaded to Microsoft, replicated across a bunch of disks in multiple data centres, found their way onto backup tapes, and probably downloaded by your friends:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/30/windows_10_wi_fi_sense/

        The only way to undo this is going to be to change your passwords absolutely everywhere.

        1. dogged
          Stop

          Re: Surely a simple answer

          Yeah, no. That's not how wifi sense works at all.

          You're reaching now.

    3. frymaster

      The update saves a backup of various things (c:\users and c:\program data to name two) in c:\windows.old in case people want to back out of the update. I imagine it'll get them from there

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    "Oopsie"

    Fuck me, it didn't take the bastards long to start their games.

    I was expecting a month or two after termination of W7 at the earliest.

    Perhaps this really was a premature ejaculation.

  3. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    Well-

    They would say that, wouldn't they...

  4. Joe Werner Silver badge

    They spotted it, pulled it, and now communicate their d'oh moment. To me that is ok. No, it should not have happened, yes, it nevertheless did. But "oopsie" indeed...

    (usually run some flavour of Linux, and we too had strange things happening, gotta admit this, folks! And as an admin I was close to some really stoopid blunders as well - don't ask...)

    1. Known Hero

      Im asking :)

      and there is a place for that, Lets get honest people !!

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/04/09/Drewc_FAIL_the_most_incompetent_IT_pros/#c_2706315

      1. Joe Werner Silver badge

        yeah, but posting on forums (and reading... ok, mostly the reading) will eat up even more time... ;)

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      I think not...

      "They spotted it, pulled it, and now communicate their d'oh moment. To me that is ok. No, it should not have happened, yes, it nevertheless did."

      So, you catch sight of the bloke in the stripy jumper, wearing an eye mask and carrying a bag labelled "swag" outside of your house. He points to himself and says, "Look at me, what am I like?" and disappears into the bushes.

      And that's OK.

      I think not.

      1. pewpie

        Re: I think not...

        I think MS have hired Dom Joly.

    3. Arctic fox
      Windows

      @Joe Werner "They spotted it, pulled it, and now communicate their d'oh moment"

      The whole situation is rather strange. I updated two Pro 3s and our home office heavy-lifter and in all cases all the privacy defaults I had turned off during custom install were still turned off. This update appears to have had random effects which does suggest that on this occasion it was a F**kup rather than deliberate action.

    4. captain veg

      really stoopid blunders

      Today I inadvertently upgraded my work desktop to the experimental branch of my favoured distribution, promptly losing networking. This has not aided my productivity.

      -A.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    ""when the November update was installed, a few settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained for advertising ID, Background apps, SmartScreen Filter, and Sync with devices.""

    ""when the November update was installed, a few privacy settings preferences had purposefully been turned back off for advertising ID, Background apps, SmartScreen Filter, and Sync with devices."

    TFTFY

    1. Just Enough
      WTF?

      Re: This:

      So, according to your tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, Microsoft's master plan here was to do it on purpose and then embarrassingly tell everyone they did it by mistake, and then revert it all back?

      What exactly would be the point of that, other than deliberately making themselves look stupid?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: This:

        > What exactly would be the point of that, other than deliberately making themselves look stupid?

        In fairness, they've done stranger things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This: @Just enough

        Nothing tinfoil hatter about it...

        MS's record over the past 3 months has shown us exactley what they are after and will do almost anything to acomplish their goal of assimilating every user and acruing every bit of data about them. If you thinks that's tin foil hattery, you crack on with your farce book and twatter accounts. At least I know i'm doing something to protect my last shreds of privacy...

      3. oldcoder

        Re: This:

        First they got caught...

        You missed the "cover up" from the lawyers...

        Then the misdirection that it was "inadvertent"...

        What may have been inadvertent was the actual release - as the users hadn't YET been conditions to accept everything MS poops out - and the information that they can rummage through your restore to get things they shouldn't have.

      4. DrBobMatthews

        Re: This:

        What exactly would be the point of that, other than deliberately making themselves look stupid?

        They don't have to deliberately make themselves look stupid, thy are past masters at stupidity and arrogance, Internet Explore bears witness to both corporate stupidity and arrogance.

  6. J__M__M

    So did this happen before or after the update turned all notification settings along with firewall back on?

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    The Shape of things to come

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shape_of_Things_to_Come (1933)

    H.G. Wells was not far off the mark with his pronouncement of a 'Benevolent Dictatorship'.

    Nanny Microsoft knows best chaps. Keep in step now there's a good fellow and let Satnad rule your IT.

    1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: The Shape of things to come

      Lovely. But what's that got to do with the article?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: The Shape of things to come

        along with a number of commentards, I think that this was deliberate. They (MS) put all this crap in thei OS and we go and disable it. so why wouldn't they want to enable it again?

        This is nothing more than

        The Shape of things to come.

        or

        seconds out, round 2.

        This is not over yet, not by a long chalk.

        1. dogged

          Re: The Shape of things to come

          > along with a number of commentards, I think that this was deliberate.

          Of course you do. This surprises absolutely nobody.

          Should anyone be surprised that you specifically are dumb or obsessed enough to think a company (any company at all) would deliberately set out to alter settings so that at some point in the future they might possibly be able to steal data from an apparently completely random and quite small subset of upgraders, then withdraw the update that could (in a handful of cases) cause the settings changes (that might or might not allow data to be stolen depending on applications used, presence of firewalls, whether the machine was even used or not), admit that they did it (claiming incompetence) and turn all the settings back again?

          Given your posting history, I think not.

          Seriously, you need to get out more. You're making David Icke look rational.

          1. shovelDriver

            Re: The Shape of things to come

            "so that at some point in the future they would be able to" capture the passwords, preferences, and viewing habits of the hundreds of millions of users who failed to realize the settings had been changed.

            As everyone should know by now, data is money. Money is power. Information is power. Q.E.F.D., the more info you have, the more power you can grab.

            How could anyone not understand this?

            1. Seajay#

              Re: The Shape of things to come

              Of course but if that is your evil plan, you do it secretly. You don't do it, revert it, and then tell people that you did it.

              Microsoft may be evil but this incident is not an example of their evilness, this is an example of incompetence.

              1. oldcoder

                Re: The Shape of things to come

                The only reason this became an "incident" is because they GOT CAUGHT.

                1. dogged

                  Re: The Shape of things to come

                  > The only reason this became an "incident" is because they GOT CAUGHT.

                  Except that they didn't. They pulled the patch themselves when there were no reports of it doing anything weird and when asked why, told people why.

                  If they'd "GOT CAUGHT" then the usual Win10 Hate Brigade would have been trumpeting this for the last week. They weren't.

                  You're wrong.

  8. Chemist

    people's unique advertising ID numbers

    As someone with no interest otherwise in MS software my interest was still raised by the above ID business.

    What is it ?

    1. frank ly

      Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

      It's a product ID number. The user is the product.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        So just like the id that gets passed to Google Analytics by pretty much every website you go to then.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          > So just like the id that gets passed to Google Analytics by pretty much every website you go to then.

          Technically it is not the website that passes stuff to Google Analytics, it is done directly from your machine by Javascript that is loaded from the web site. That JS does not run on _my_ machine because it gets blocked by NoScript and Ghostery.

        2. F0rdPrefect

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          You mean you don't block Google Analytics?

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

      It's an ID number unique to you, the user, out of all Windows 10 users. It allows apps to track, identify and analyze you based on your behavior online and on your desktop.

      Do. Not. Want.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        I think Chemist was asking how NSAFT's tracking numbers are derived. What are they?

        If he wasn't I am...

        Anyone?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          So what's the format of this unique ID, and how much effort would be to develop a small background program that randomly changes it every 20 minutes?

      2. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        You think that you're never tracked on the net? mmmm, interesting.

        1. Chika

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          You think that you're never tracked on the net? mmmm, interesting.

          Everyone has been tracked in some way, but why make it easy to do?

      3. Known Hero
        Thumb Down

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        @Diodesign

        You dont have to HAVE it.....

        *Source=Your Link

        Note If the advertising ID feature is turned off by the user during the new device customization process, the feature will be turned off by default for any user account added to the device later. If they want to use the advertising ID, those users will have to explicitly turn the feature on through PC Settings.

        It is optional !!!!

        1. fung0

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          If everyone could be expected to turn it off, would Microsoft have bothered building it in? (Instead of, say, using those development resources to create features that people might actually want...)

          1. AMBxx Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

            You can reset your unique ID, but doubt anyone who's not turned it off would know it existed.

            It exists so that they can only server you relevant advertising rather than flooding you with ads that don't interest you (Ha, ha, ha, I nearly believed that for a minute)!

            1. BlartVersenwaldIII
              Angel

              Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

              > It exists so that they can only server you relevant advertising rather than flooding you with ads that don't interest you (Ha, ha, ha, I nearly believed that for a minute)!

              Indeed, I love this mantra. The only relevant advertising I want to see is no advertising. However all of the profiling algorithms I've seen coming from advertisers come to the incorrect conclusion and think I either want some advertising, lots of advertising or (most commonly) an utter deluge of shite advertising. Hence I'm obliged to use a range of software to correct the erroneous data coming from various advertising companies.

            2. jonathanb Silver badge

              Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

              Where "relevant advertising" = "products I looked at recently", and either bought them or decided not to buy them; and either way, unlikely to buy in response to an advert.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          Note If the advertising ID feature is turned off by the user during the new device customization process, the feature will be turned off by default for any user account added to the device later. If they want to use the advertising ID, those users will have to explicitly turn the feature on through PC Settings.

          So it's "opt out" instead of "opt in" then. This doesn't bode well for privacy and not being slammed with ads does it?

        3. Someone Else Silver badge
          Facepalm

          @known Hero -- Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          Note If the advertising ID feature is turned off by the user during the new device customization process, the feature will be turned off by default for any user account added to the device later. If they want to use the advertising ID, those users will have to explicitly turn the feature on through PC Settings.

          It is optional !!!!

          Except, of course, when an ill-formed (or not) update explicitly turns it back on again....but of course, we all know that Microsoft, the Corporation of the Gods, would never do that, now don't we?

          Oh...wait....

        4. DrBobMatthews

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          It's optional until as you discover microsoft update turns it on again.

      4. Just Enough

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        There you go then;

        https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1124507-windows-10-privacy-settings-and-updates-script

        Run this script. Run it on every boot if you wish.

      5. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        You make the advertising ID sound like a bad thing were as Microsoft say it helps improve my experience of advertising. I think I will go with Microsoft on this since they are the authority here.

        1. GregC

          @Wayland

          Not sure if you're being serious or not. I'd like to think there is irony there, but just in case I'll quote BlartVersenwaldIII's post a few above yours:

          The only relevant advertising I want to see is no advertising

          The only way to 'improve my experience of advertising' is to get rid of it.

        2. AMBxx Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          Assuming you're not serious, you should use the joke icon to avoid the downvotes.

          If you are serious, you deserve them all

        3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          LOL!

          Good one!

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

      As someone with no interest otherwise in MS software my interest was still raised by the above ID business.

      If you're an app developer and want to serve adverts in your application or game, you need some way to uniquely identify the user or player (or at least the device your software is running on). This is something all ad-pushers (for want of a better term) require. Most platforms provide such an identifier as part of their API.

      For example, iOS provides ASIdentifierManager.advertisingIdentifier, Windows provides Windows::System::UserProfile::AdvertisingManager::AdvertisingId, and I think it's fairly safe to assume Android, and even Blackberry, have something similar (I can't be bothered to look them up right now).

      1. Chemist

        Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

        "and want to serve adverts in your application or game, you need some way to uniquely identify the user or player"

        Luckily not in my world !

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: people's unique advertising ID numbers

          It does seem that Windows 10 is in desperate need of tools that can block/obfuscate/randomise these unique identifiers.

          I wonder when we'll see the relevant update in the Adblockers or security software, because without them the use of 'random' IPv6 addresses services little practical purpose.

  9. sabroni Silver badge

    It's good but...

    ...tbh the fact they've come clean about this has left the sneering commentards looking a bit flat. If only you'd found out about this before they admitted what they'd done then maybe your paranoia would look a bit less mental.

    Don't get me wrong, Windows 10 is making me seriously consider getting a linux for the home pc, but this story is not the place to rant about MS being total bastards because it just shows them as incompetent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's good but...

      Well they have demonstrated that the infrastructure for "accidentally" resetting all those privacy settings is in place and functional. A taste of what's in store? Could well be. I'd hardly call that paranoia.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: It's good but...

        They could have revealed a method for turning making all the privacy settings private but done it wrong. The fact that they spotted it, recalled it and were honest makes your paranoia a little more daft.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: It's good but...

      It's not that they messed up and had to reset the Advertising ID setting to what it was before, it's the fact that such an identifier is assigned to W10 users in the first place. Google Anal-ytics has the "decency" to work via a separate domain, which can be blocked. Making it part of the OS turns it into a different kettle of fish.

      Whoever thought that up should be fed, genitalia first, into a meat grinder.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: It's good but...

        A kettle of fish that a user doesn't have to block because the user can just switch it off.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: It's good but...

          Okay, you can reset it. But just like MSFT can apparently 'accidentally' disable the privacy setting on the AdID, I don't think it's beyond them to 'accidentally' re-enable a 'reset' AdID, or generate a new one that then just happens to become correlated with your old ID.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's good but...

          >A kettle of fish that a user doesn't have to block because the user can just switch it off.

          Except when the bastards "accidentally" turn it back on again.

          An "apology" at those who read the technical news will make good all sins, though?

          Compulsory updates. Mmmmmm...

          On what schedule will you be checking your "please don't pwn me" settings are as you left them?

      2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

        Re: It's good but...

        That's a bit harsh. There are folk out there who, if they're going to be shown adverts, would rather they're geared to something they may actually be interested in.

        There's no such thing as free, and if the cost I'm paying is seeing ads (yes, adblocks exist, but they're for the morally vacant) then I'd rather see one that may inform on additional options for a current purchasing decision than a, for example, loft lagger in lossiemouth.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: It's good but...

          adblocks exist, but they're for the morally vacant signalling that this is not the way in which I'm inclined to support your website

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: It's good but...

      Windows 10 is making me seriously consider getting a linux for the home pc

      A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

      not the place to rant about MS being total bastards because it just shows them as incompetent.

      So it's OK because they're occasionally merely incompetent bastards, and full-blown proficient bastards at other times?

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

        A bit of an arrogant prick, eh? I've tried linux's before, they've never worked well enough for me to want them driving my home pc. It's my choice.

        Now MS have started to go all Google I may be tempted to move, but the linux users on here regularly put me off with their in-fighting and pomposity.

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

          "the linux users on here regularly put me off with their in-fighting and pomposity."

          You're gonna get a lot of downvotes for pointing out the simple truth.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

          So you let other people's attitudes dissuade you from decreasing the area through which you are snooped upon?

          <sarcasm>My heart bleeds for you.</>

          1. Hellcat

            Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

            So you let other people's attitudes dissuade you from decreasing the area through which you are snooped upon?

            What, you think running linux means you can't be snooped upon?

            If I was in a 3/4 letter acronym organisation that minority running linux flavours would be exactly the ones I'd concentrate my efforts on.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

              What, you think running linux means you can't be snooped upon?

              The word 'decrease', does that mean 'totally prevent' in your dictionary?

              For sale: bridge, as new, low mileage, first owner.

            2. oldcoder

              Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

              Except that the criminals keep walking into Windows systems...

              Linux is good at blocking entry unauthorized by the owner...

              Windows just seems to have an open door with toy locks.

        3. Pompous Git Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: @Stoneshop re: A bit slow on the uptake, eh?

          Now MS have started to go all Google I may be tempted to move, but the linux users on here regularly put me off with their in-fighting and pomposity.

          I was pompous when I was a Windows user and now I'm a pompous Linux user. Can't be bothered in-fighting; just want to own my computer...

    4. you are idiots
      Big Brother

      Re: It's good but...

      so you agree they are totally incompetent bastards!

    5. Captain DaFt

      Re: It's good but...

      "this story is not the place to rant about MS being total bastards because it just shows them as incompetent."

      MS: "We did it! But we're going to get caught!"

      MS: "I know, act like it was an accident, Brillant!

  10. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Sonit was yanked because the Privacy Settings could be corrupted... Huh?

    In whos favor? Us or them? It almost sounded like a worthy update otherwise.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    How kind of Microsoft to let us know, communicated of course in perfect doublespeak.

    Forced updates with fuck-ups abound.

  12. BobChip
    FAIL

    Privacy settings - again!

    About two months ago I posted a comment here noting that Win 10 updates reset my privacy settings to default. This was passed off at the time as "an oversight" by MS. Clearly it has happened again. How many "oversights" must we be exposed to before it dawns on people that MS do not intend to let you have any privacy at all? Data slurping IS the name of the business, and nothing must be allowed to hinder it. I have zero trust in Microsoft.

    I tried Win 10 out of idle curiosity. I will certainly not be using it in the real world. The test machine no longer exists, and I am posting this from my primary Linux desktop.

    1. Sir Alien

      Re: Privacy settings - again!

      Tried Windows 10, won't be keeping it. So far each attempt to make something past Windows 7 has ended in disaster for Microsoft. Fair enough each successive Windows performance has slightly improved but this for me is not enough to justify moving from Windows 7.

      Windows 7 is supported till 2020 so I will continue to use it till then. If the software (and some games) that I use eventually work on other platforms like Mac or Linux then I see no reason to keep the Windows machine.

      All I need to do now is filter extensively through Windows update to make sure they don't keep trying to sneak in the Windows 10 auto-upgrader. Once it is on it's a bitch to remove.

      - S.A

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "... we will restore their settings over the coming days and we apologize for the inconvenience."

    Okaay.

    What happened to the rest if it - ..we will of course delete all of the data that we exfiltrated against the express wishes of the customer?

    The thing is, this behaviour has been in Windows 10 throughout much of its development, so why are we supposed to think that it was a mere blunder? Such 'blunders' give them an obvious opportunity for a quick snapshot of whatever they're interested in and I think it would be foolish to believe that (a) it was accidental and (b) it won't happen again.

    Where's the "Pull the other one" icon?

  15. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Mushroom

    “We apologise for the inconvenience.”

    I would so like to see this message written in fire in letters thirty feet high on the far side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet of Preliumtarn, which orbits the star Zarss, which is located in the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine.

    And made out of correctly stacked MSFT executives doused in petrol.

    1. Mint Sauce
      Angel

      Re: “We apologise for the inconvenience.”

      And made out of correctly stacked MSFT executives doused in petrol.

      I think... I feel good about it.

    2. oldcoder

      Re: “We apologise for the inconvenience.”

      You forgot the match...

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Sprung

    Sprung bad

  17. Haku
    FAIL

    Forced OS updates. What could possibly go wrong?

    Stuff like this apparently.

  18. Blank-Reg
    Linux

    Incompetence? Perhaps. Deliberate test? Maybe. "Oops, we're sorry" statement? Meaningless corporate PR.

    Whatever the reason, the fact that the Snoopware exists at all is galling. It shouldn't even exist in the first place to be enabled and for that Microsoft should be continually clobbered in the only way they understand - the wallet.

    And, before anyone responds with the ridiculous "But so-and-so tracks you via x" or a variation of, they're scum as well and that statement shouldn't distract from the bile and clobbering that MS rightly gets for this.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      And, before anyone responds with the ridiculous "But so-and-so tracks you via x" or a variation of, they're scum as well and that statement shouldn't distract from the bile and clobbering that MS rightly gets for this.

      I think most of us are "equal opportunity" bashers. We bash Google, advertisers, TLA's and FLA's and anyone else who slurps our PC's.

  19. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Coat

    But in a good way

    So when the November MCT download vanished over the weekend, it was a pain in the ASCII for people...

    ... so Microsoft binned it.

    I'm just looking through the pockets for my (license) keys. ->

  20. Avatar of They
    Mushroom

    Evidence if it were needed.

    "When the November update was installed, a few settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained for advertising ID, Background apps, SmartScreen Filter, and Sync with devices"

    The reason I am gone from windows. My OS now has an advertising ID.

  21. MrDamage

    Extend, embrace, extinguish

    Now applies to your privacy.

    I'd trust a politician with all of my worldy wealth more than I'd trust Microsoft with my privacy.

  22. Mint Sauce
    Big Brother

    Background Apps

    When I installed Win10 I went through and disabled/turned off every privacy related setting, app & feature etc. Even disabling the diagnostic services (they were never any bl**dy help anyway).

    I have noticed that seemingly random 'background apps' keep getting re-enabled on a regular basis. My best guess is that it is updates that are doing this (it's been happening since I installed just after release). I did wonder initially if using an app made it happen, but this does not seem to be the case (and I never use 'xbox' for example which was the last one to magically re-enable).

    Grrsigh.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Headmaster

      @ Mint Sauce -- Re: Background Apps

      Well, you were warned....

  23. Ooops wrong login.
    Facepalm

    This applies to windows update users as well.

    Not jsut MCT users/

    See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3120677

  24. Haku

    Could this be the only time in history when 'nefarious' coders are actively trying to make software to block forced OS updates rather than fake validation of the OS to allow updates?

  25. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Removing

    There are several reports that Slurp was removing some apps during the upgrade process without permission. I would suspect this is the real reason not the lies currently coming out of them.

  26. zero2dash

    Lots of "accidentals" for such a large company

    That Windows 10 upgrade? It "accidentally" downloads to your computer even if you didn't reserve a copy.

    Installing that Windows 10 upgrade? It "accidentally" was checked off to install that update this time.

    [a week later]

    Next year, that Windows 10 upgrade will not "accidentally" be checked off to install that update.

    Your default apps? Those were "accidentally" changed to Microsoft's apps in Windows 10 when you updated the OS.

    Your privacy settings? Those were "accidentally" forgotten and reset when you updated the OS.

    There's a whole lot of "accidental" mistakes being made by a company that isn't "accidentally" large who doesn't "accidentally" have millions of Insiders doing their beta testing for them.

  27. Gis Bun

    Read elsewhere that it was pulled because Bitlocker wouldn't start up on a fresh install.

    Any way to know the difference in version if looking at the install files? Dating?

  28. Mikel

    Again,

    There are some who would defend a Windows update causing the PC to spontaneously combust. Where the motivation to do so comes from is debatable (money? devotion?) but is certainly not motivated by an enlightened and compassionate concern for your best interests.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BITLOCKER ISSUE

    But they didn't corrct the BitLocker issue with Self Encrypting SSDs, right?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: BITLOCKER ISSUE

      Nope - chasing MSFT about that, but it's Thanksgiving this week so few people around.

      C.

  30. 1313Mockingbird

    It Was Not an Accident

    It is quite obvious to me that there are two factions at Microsoft that are fighting with one another. One faction is wanting to clamp down and control everything right away (users be damned). The other faction, while not necessarily opposed to total control, would at least like to see it done in a more gradual, phased way.

    I do not for one minute believe that the reset of Privacy Settings was accidental. As we may recall, not too long ago Microsoft upgraded many Windows 7 and 8 computers to Windows 10 without user consent. They later claimed that this was "accidental". It does not seemed far-fetched to believe that someone at Microsoft simply jumped the gun, so to speak and pushed out the mandatory update to Windows 10. Perhaps this was just to see what kind of reaction there would be. Faced with overwhelming criticism and condemnation, even from journalists with a otherwise pro-Microsoft bent, they relented, and said this was just an "accident", much like they are doing now in claiming that the privacy settings change was also an accident.

    I am confident that they will have a lot more "accidents" like this in the future. What unnerves me most is that they have the demonstrated ability to change privacy settings or to force users of prior versions of Windows to upgrade to 10 in the first place.

    (body)

  31. Camilla Smythe

    ODFO

    Fair play to Microsoft for shedding light on the blunder

    Some MSVCS[?] found them out and was prepared to blab.

  32. rtb61

    We Told You So

    Basically right from the beginning once Windows anal probe 10 was demonstrated to contain those Trojans, it was said, no matter what you do, what setting you try, M$ will undo them and go full anal probe mode.

    It will be one whoops after another, not accidental but purposeful. The only reason they came clean once they were exposed because, yeah bit embarrassing, they were basically caught right behind you with their zipper open, probe out and ready to bend you over your keyboard.

    Proof of concept, no matter your privacy setting they can and will undo them. Either you can uninstall those components completely and block their installation or basically you are an idiot if you install windows anal probe 10.

  33. kitekrazy

    Old News

    Every Windows f'update changes network and share settings. Advance share settings do not work in W10.

  34. WereWoof
    Holmes

    "Recently we learned of an issue that could have impacted an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update," a spokesperson told The Register on Tuesday. = Oh Bugger, they noticed.

  35. Sanlorenzo

    If integrity is everything, then what price software developers?

    When will MS begin behaving as though they actually care about their customers? An O/S has one task; to support the applications built upon it in the most secure, efficient and reliable way possible. By now MS should be purveyors of the fastest most reliable O/S in the world, thereby also making it the most cost effective choice. Instead they chose to constantly add more and more annoying useless, fascile and fatuous bling to Windows, killing its performance and efficiency and thereby increasing cost of ownership, reducing user productivity and destroying the reputation that the MS, the O/S provider - is trying to build. How naive can these people be? Is the average age of employees at MS just 12? By all means make and sell applications, the Office suite is good, (it would be great if it too weren't also bloated with the same kind of bling that began with W8). For years we have resisted Linux and Apple because of the applications MS sell; for us that principally means Office but also Visio and many others. However W8/10 is the straw that will push us into Linux once W7 has lost all reasonable levels of support. Apple is no option as it is clearly headed down the MS path too. So wake up MS before you finally commit commercial suicide, suffocating at the hands of all the garbage you've been choking your O/S with. I'd end by saying "rant over", but I mean it.

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