back to article New Windows 10 privacy controls: Just a little snooping – or the max

Microsoft has built an online dashboard of privacy controls in an attempt to soothe lingering anger over Windows 10 and its ability to phone home people's private information. The new web portal lists some of the personal data that is collected from PCs and devices and sent back to Redmond, and allows people to somewhat limit …

  1. Carl D

    Or... no snooping at all

    To repeat what I've posted in another topic earlier (slightly modified):

    The privacy (and forced update) problems are easily solved - install W10, make sure it is activated and has all the drivers installed... then disconnect it from the Internet (Network Adapter disabled in Control Panel) before it installs any other updates and install Linux Mint in a dual boot with all Internet activity restricted to Mint only. Just like I've done with Windows 7 on my other solid state drive.

    I also ran O&O's ShutUp10 to disable all the annoying Windows 10 stuff - even if it can't access the Internet I'm sure it'll still keep bugging you about wanting to go online all the time.

    The result? A nice, easy to manage Windows 10 installation which doesn't annoy you and can't phone home to MS.

    I might do the same thing when the 'Creator's Update' is released in April.

    Windows (any version) is just too much of a hassle to use online these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or... no snooping at all

      The issue is that Linux /desktop/ still doesn't have much in the way of support from commercial software providers. Personally I think that's a shame, but it's the way it is.

      I'm rather annoyed with Apple for hiking its prices that much, but I suspect that will be rolled back at some point when the sales show that not to be one of the best moves ever, because macOS seems to be the only viable alternative to Windows (unless you count earlier versions of Windows, of course).

      Unless, of course, Apple has realised it would not be able to address the demand unless it slows it down with high pricing - maybe it is creating the price margin to absorb the costs of onshoring manufacturing to play Trump's game.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        What a shame it is that (Cr)Apple, are seen to be just iPhoning it in with the latest renditions of the MacBook Pro. It's almost like they just want to only build iThingy's.

      2. TVU Silver badge

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        "The issue is that Linux /desktop/ still doesn't have much in the way of support from commercial software providers. Personally I think that's a shame, but it's the way it is."

        That aspect is getting better for two reasons. Firstly, there has been an increase in software companies starting to make provisions for Linux in a number of areas including office suites, photo processing, desktop publishing, etc. such as Softmaker Office, Polarr, Pixeluvo, VivaDesigner and so on.

        Secondly, there has also been a more general move to online apps, like Pixlr, and software as a service, such as Quickbooks. That means that there's now quite a reasonable range of free and paid-for programmes and services that are the available for the Linux platform.

    2. BobChip
      Happy

      Re: Or... no snooping at all

      The better option is to install (say) Linux Mint, then (say) VirtualBox, and finally Windows (your preferred version) inside the virtual machine. Then disable all Windows internet connectivity. Absolutely and finally.

      You now have a fast, stable, fully functional PC with an equally fast, stable version of Windows inside it which is available at the touch of a button. Both OSs running simultaneously on the same machine. If Windows ever needs to talk to the internet - why would you ever want it to? - it can do so safely through the host system.

      Simples.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        Thats more the way I was thinking of doing it, not being able to connect to the web on a work pc is to crippling for what I do so the non connected Windows option doesn't work. I'm just finding it a bugger to get Linux working properly first.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        The better option is to install (say) Linux Mint, then (say) VirtualBox, and finally Windows (your preferred version) inside the virtual machine. Then disable all Windows internet connectivity. Absolutely and finally.

        Although I like the idea (also because it brings some much needed stability to Windows), I suspect this will be a swine to manage in a production environment. That said, you do have a point in that it may be worth blocking Win10 from talking to its masters but that approach has a problem in both VM and "naked" version: you still need it to patch, and that is pretty much an open gateway.

        You don't know what it transmits during patch time - that might as well be a condensed archive from all the data it has managed to grab so far but had to buffer because it was blocked until then.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Or... no snooping at all

          When I've needed to use Photoshop or play old Windows games, I've ran a VM with Windows 7 inside it. Gave it enough RAM and CPU, and it's ran like a charm. I also introduced this to my team (consisting of me and 2 others) and it ran fine. Windows never needed to access the internet, so we didn't give it internet access. So the fact it was cut off and only accessed a shared folder on our hard drives (so we could swap files from Linux to Windows, handy for keeping your collection of ISO's off of the VM) it wasn't a security risk really.

          I approve of this method, basically.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Or... no snooping at all

          "it may be worth blocking Win10 from talking to its masters but ... in both VM and "naked" version: you still need it to patch"

          Why?

          You don't need to protect against the big bad internet it doesn't see.

          If it's working as you need it to work you don't need to change it (especially if, as in some cases, the patch makes it stop working as you want).

          If it's not working as you want you should have installed something else that did in the first place.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Or... no snooping at all

            To be honest, keeping a VM and a full Windows install to run a few programs feels like keeping a full blown Linde hydraulic drive forklift truck around because you occasionally need to move one pallet around - enough of a costly overkill to suggest a search for a better alternative.

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: Or... no snooping at all

              "enough of a costly overkill to suggest a search for a better alternative."

              Well if you can go speak to Adobe and get them to release a Linux version of Photoshop, and if you could also speak to Eidos to get them to re-release Championship Manager 99/00 for Linux I'd appreciate it.

              You go first though, we're right behind you.

              1. Michael Habel Silver badge

                Re: Or... no snooping at all

                Not sure about the eidos stuff besides would a Software Package from '99 & 2000 even work on Win X? As for Adobe... I was under some impression that they had moved to this place called the HTML5 Cloud. So why wouldn't it not work on *nix?

                1. Orv Silver badge

                  Re: Or... no snooping at all

                  Pretty sure the Adobe "cloud" stuff still requires a significant amount of native code. The "cloud" part is more about licensing and data storage.

    3. John Lilburne

      Re: Or... no snooping at all

      Meh! I just had a look and there were about a dozen web searchs recorded in the last year. Nothing else under browsing, location, or cortana.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        "Meh! I just had a look and there were about a dozen web searchs recorded in the last year. Nothing else under browsing, location, or cortana."

        Perhaps NSA had already dropped in and picked up its stuff?

    4. mswin10

      Re: Or... no snooping at all

      I'm a bit puzzled I moved over to Windows 10 from apple just as a change and because I found it far easier to get different pieces of hardware to work and communicate and also to interact with what I do at work. Apple always cost an arm and a leg and would only communicate with other Apple devices unlike windows which seem to work well and without needing a degree in computing infrastructure.

      I have had several people come to me recently and said about this telemetry stuff and I would be better using Linux its 10 times better than Windows.

      Now here is the puzzling bit they went on to explain how to set it up similar to what as been described here and other posts.

      I ask the same question here as I asked them, if Linux is so good why would I still need to use Windows10 there answer was, its because some of the things I do on Windows10 would not work with Linux which was also one of the other reasons I moved over from Apple.

      Don't get me wrong Windows 10 is not perfect and it did take a while to get used to but it does everything I want and its quick, as for telemetry I realised the first day I used a computer and had an email and signed up to a couple of things on the internet my privacy had gone. And I would challenge anyone even on this forum to say there privacy is intact.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        "as for telemetry I realised the first day I used a computer and had an email and signed up to a couple of things on the internet my privacy had gone. And I would challenge anyone even on this forum to say there [sic] privacy is intact."

        So you equate, for example, being in a telephone book, with having microphones installed in your home for monitoring you?

        Personally I see a vast difference.

      2. Jim in Hayward

        Re: Or... no snooping at all

        Please list the specific applications that will only work on Windows that required you move from Apple. Names & publishers please.

        1. Nattrash
          Windows

          Re: Or... no snooping at all

          Maybe it's just me, but these questions just keep coming back to me...

          Why do I have to pay for a OS that I don't own and/ or doesn't do exactly what I want it to do?

          Why should I get W10 and use it (as suggested here) in a blacked out VM set up, if I can also do this with W7, or even, God forbid, with the excellent XP copy I have in the cupboard here?

          (I also have WfW on 5.25 here if you want, but won't hassle you with those...)

          Now, I realise I probably will trigger educated remarks about "up-to-date" software, and "do the things you couldn't do before". But FFS, how many users do you know that use the full 100% of their machines/ OS/ software? And how much different is typing an email or letter in Office 97 compared to Word Online or Office 365? To use some marketing dribble you probably heard before: The only limitation to your achievements is your own imagination!

        2. joeaverage

          Re: Or... no snooping at all

          I agree. I'm a happy Mint Linux KDE user. i have versions 17.3 and 18 in use on various computers at home and work.

          The only thing I need Windows for at this point is Solidworks CAD.

          These days Mint Linux installs itself on any computer I test it out on. Not saying that there aren't problem computers out there but I'm not finding them.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
    FAIL

    not got much spam in it

    "Spam eggs sausage and Spam - that's not got much Spam in it!"

    "I don't want ANY Spam!"

    and I don't want ANY spying.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: not got much spam in it

      That's one of my biggest gripes with Win10... ads in the OS. That should be just "no. not now. not ever"... If malvertising gets through.. you're screwed. But at more basic level... I buy the OS, so ad should not even be an option or available. Sadly, MS is so greedy, they don't care.

      Maybe some of us will do a startup for something like AdBlock for the OS?

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Too little, too late the damage to trust is already done and they already have most of the data from the Win10 user base.

    I can't see the embedded remote control capabilities and listening in on voice being compatible with basic confidentiality, security and regulatory requirements as it's not possible to guarantee who has access to the data processed on client pc's

    1. Planty Bronze badge

      Indeed, our test system has reset it's privacy settings 3 times now, we turn off all the privacy spew, a few months later, it's all back on. We remove farmville and candy crush, 2 days later, it's all back.

      The damage is done, the free version of Windows 10 was always an advertisement and privacy leaking promotion. You tell us everything, and install what we get kickbacks on, and we will let you have it for free..

    2. CompUser

      Absolutely agree, the damage has been severely done. What Microsoft has ADMITTED to is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Everyone running Windows 10 has a computer system open to who knows. A user's browsing history may contain embarrassments which could be used against them at a later date. Of course, 'clearing' the collected data means that the data is probably hidden and not deleted.

      The NSA must be very grateful for the browser history - I can understand the NSA needing to collect data but it shouldn't be done at the expense of everyone's privacy.

    3. joed

      Trojan horse

      It's not just too little too late. It requires user to sign in to their web portal (presumably with MS account) and - effectively - embrace assault on privacy that MS started with Windows 8. You may as well chose express settings during Windows setup. You can't win with Windows 10. You can only be assimilated

      1. tr1ck5t3r

        Re: Trojan horse

        Trojan horse is very relevant title considering in the bigger context how the US tech giants collude with US Uni's, US Military & US Govt, despite the charade of creating laws in order to attempt to hold the moral high ground, whilst secretly screwing the rest of world in a variety of ways.

        To be honest the backlash against the US and its various entities will be like a mega tsunami of anger built up over decades as the collective though processes of people around the world finally catch up and understand just what exactly these entities have been doing, testing the theory that empires crumble slowly considering how viral news moves today, in todays technological world.

  4. LDS Silver badge

    It's not just government snooping, I trust big companies even less.

    They will attempt to "monetize" the data in any way they could. And the same data can be stolen, one day. The fact they can give them to governments is just one of the issues.

    The main one is they are breaking fundamental human rights behind the "improvements" finger - but it's all about easy money. Great software requires great people and big efforts. Stealing user data, any Zuckerberg, Schmidt or Nadella could do.

    1. Libertarian Voice

      Re: It's not just government snooping, I trust big companies even less.

      The good thing about big companies though is that they haven't got the biggest gang in town (The police) to enforce their monetization of your data using fine and forfeiture.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me guess...

    For friends / family / colleagues who buy a laptop / PC bundled with WIn10 this year, what's the default setting for privacy?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Let me guess...

      What do you think?

      Yes, it's full.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me guess...

      For friends / family / colleagues who buy a laptop / PC bundled with WIn10 this year, what's the default setting for privacy?

      Disabling any networking would be the right setting.

      :)

    3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Let me guess...

      what's the default setting for privacy?

      "None"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me guess...

      Windows 10 1607AU 'Express Settings' install option currently means no Privacy, pretty much everything defaults to 'ON', slurp.

      Change that? Microsoft? Nope, it's even less Privacy, if you have to log in with an MS Account to change Privacy Settings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me guess...

        ...and, if by some miracle, the default was 'OFF', would all the MS supporters who keep telling us that telemetry is not a problem, would they really turn it 'ON' for themselves?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Microsoft

    Windows 10 was the tipping point that stopped me buying PC / Laptop gear. Its even stopped me from wanting to go into tech shops. That's a first!... IoT smart fridge hype, Android, Facebook, Google search, Gmail I could largely avoid... But not this as you've made it personal... So now I belong to the church of FOSS and there's no going back!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Thank you Microsoft

      It's easy to fix the issues with Windows 10 - wipe the disk and install Windows XP - sure, it's got a few issues with the Internet but if you are behind a decent firewall (pfSense etc) and don't use the Internet then it's great and leaks zero information.

      OK - so to a degree this is a dumb idea but what's the alternative? It makes little difference what you do on the internet, you are only one Malvert or email away from being owned.

      1. joeaverage

        Re: Thank you Microsoft

        If you are taking the computer off the network then at least run Win7. If you are looking for a happy middle ground and need the internet AND Windows - then Win7 is still viable.

        Win8 and Win10 are a mess.

        NO WAY would I work on any sensitive projects with a computer dumping intel to the government or Microsoft servers. Might as well be using a tablet or smart phone with no real control over the firewall or privacy settings.

    2. CompUser

      Re: Thank you Microsoft

      Same here. For the first time in over 10 years, no new hardware because of Windows 10, nothing worthwhile to upgrade to. Just keeping the current systems going, upgrading RAM and drives where possible and looking for compatible second hand gear. I've got 14 systems, zero new hardware for the last year.

      Any hardware manufacturer which supports Microsoft's controlling tactics will be written off as a bad joke and placed in the same category of 'avoid at all costs'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thank you Microsoft

        Any hardware manufacturer which supports Microsoft's controlling tactics will be written off as a bad joke and placed in the same category of 'avoid at all costs'.

        Like Intel and AMD? If you avoid those, not sure what you're running x86 software on...

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Thank you Microsoft

          "Like Intel and AMD? If you avoid those, not sure what you're running x86 software on..."

          While I'm not the person to whom that question was directed, I'll answer as if I was...

          Yes, exactly like what's being offered by Intel and AMD.

          What you can run your software on is older Intel and AMD hardware that isn't any longer being offered, but which will always be available anyway due to the massive numbers in which it was produced in its day.

          It's not at all like it was in the 90s, when a CPU a few years out of production meant the system was just too old to run any modern software anymore. We're into the seventh generation of the i3/i5/i7 line from Intel, and I still don't have any compelling reason to consider upgrading from my second-generation i5. Even my Core 2 Duo laptop holds its own and runs Windows 7 quite well and does everything I ask of it; I have no plans to retire it any time soon either.

  7. spaceyjase
    Trollface

    Fix it

    https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fix it

      Thanks for the tip. It seems as essential as Classic Shell.

      Unfortunately, there's no guarantee it will continue to work after a forced Windows update or the next [insert fancy name] Service Pack in 2018.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Fix it

        After every main update to Win 10, I go grab the latest version from O&O and run it again, just in case!

        I have noticed items that were previously disabled, have occasionally switched themselves back on after a patch!

        Plus O&O do update the app, in sync with the Windows changes, so something turned off (or on) previously, they might now have changed their recommendation.

        I also like that the O&O method, gets rid of Cortana, and Internet searches from the task bar, but still leaves you with a standard functional search box (for local apps/documents etc. Some other tools I've used, just got rid of the search bar completely, which i didn't want.

        (It's very rare I ever launch the Start menu in Win 10, most everything I need is either Right click on Start, on my desktop, or a few characters typed into the search bar).

  8. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Microsoft account mandatory?

    How do I check the snooping if I don't have a Microsoft account associated with my laptop login?

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft account mandatory?

      Yes, I did think that purge data option was yet another way to force you to get a Microsoft account

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

      Isn't the irony just overflowing ? You have to go and declare yourself, handing over precious personal information in the process, in order to temporarily(*) put a stop to the information that Microsoft is already extracting greedily.

      In short : you can't win.

      That is what happens when companies confuse the ability to do something and the right to do it.

      * : temporarily, because we all know that those choices will be reset every now and then, ala Facebook

      1. David Pollard

        Re: Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

        You have to go and declare yourself.

        You have to go and declare someone. To get started, Tesco's mobile costs £1 for a SIM plus £10 to load it if you need a burn phone. Local shops and pubs will have a postcode that is plausible when compared with ISP data and local searches for weather etc. that might otherwise betray the real user.

        1. joed

          Re: Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

          You still end up with crappStore more ready that before to serve you. What flies on iOS and Android has no place on a real PC.

      2. salamamba too

        Re: Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

        The same approach employed by Google. I have a permanent "urgent account action required" message from google on my phone as I refuse to agree to their data slurp, and the same message appears every time I get re-directed to You-tube.

        Google wants you to either agree to their monitoring your browsing, or downloading a program that will identify that you do not want to be monitored. wtf?

        Win10 is mostly dealt with by Spybot... for the time being, along with Thunderbird for mail, firefox for web, open office, etc. In essence, do not use any MS programs if you can help it.

        1. moiety

          Re: Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

          Was going to mention that Google have been doing this for quite some time. "You can control your privacy if you cough up your phone number to the biggest advertising agency on Earth"

          I think not.

        2. joeaverage

          Re: Now that is what I call a bait-and-switch

          If you are using those programs, you could probably switch to free Mint Linux (KDE for the most Windows like experience) and not notice that much difference in how you interact with your computer - except that nobody is looking over your shoulder. No adware, no viruses, etc.

    3. joed

      Re: Microsoft account mandatory?

      I'm late with very much the same comment - unfortunately web at work goes through proxy now and I'm not wiling to have my posts recorded/attributed to real name (Windows 10 not helping here, though minor telemetry tweaks have been applied, no default setting accepted either;)

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    It's getting a bit warm in this water

    So Basic is the old Enhanced, Enhanced is gone, and control of privacy settings is taken out of the OS and put into MS's cloud which appears to have access to everything but if you flip a few switches will promise it won't look.

    It's good that those who updated last year knew what they were getting in to. I'm sure it's buried somewhere in the 45 page privacy policy.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: It's getting a bit warm in this water

      It's all a bit crap. You can either have all your location information sent or not be able to use any location enabled applications?

      Typical MS - they fix all the bad UI stuff from Windows 8, but then add all this.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: It's getting a bit warm in this water

        "Typical MS - they fix all the bad UI stuff from Windows 8, but then add all this."

        Except they didn't fix any of the bad UI stuff from Windows 8.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's getting a bit warm in this water

      "I'm sure it's buried somewhere in the 45 page privacy policy."

      The trick of the privacy policy is that there's nothing buried in it. It goes to all that length to avoid saying how they'll limit themselves. They say they'll keep details of accounts, transactions etc. That sounds sensible - of course they need details of any accounts and transactions they have with you. But if you understand what you're reading you'll realise that they don't limit themselves to that, they don't limit themselves at all.

  10. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Big Brother

    If you have to login with your Microsoft account first...

    Then the three-letter agencies are allready collecting all your data...

  11. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    It does make you wonder what the point of having a "Professional" edition as opposed to just Home and Enterprise. Seems just like cash cow milking gone mad in associaiton with marketing drones.

  12. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Hmm

    "Engineers, with permission from Microsoft’s privacy governance team, can obtain users' documents that trigger crashes in applications, so they can work out what's going wrong, from people's machines running in "full" mode."

    So what exactly is in place to stop an engineer from putting in a forged request to access a users files, and stealing important stuff? Microsoft’s privacy governance team? How do they set about checking the files are really necessary? How do they ensure the data are discarded after the problem has been sorted?

    Why not ask the user for a file that triggered a crash of a program? Is that not actually far less work than going through some internal privacy governance team? It would also look MUCH more customer friendly. And of course the user has the chance to say that the data is confidential and they can go suck a neutron star.

    Somehow I think "full" mode is out of the question for many, if not most professional users.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Hmm

      Why not just a "Do you want to report this to MS for improving the service, click Y / N?" after a crash?

      1. moiety

        Re: Hmm

        Even if they did that, why the fuck would you believe a word they say and that they would limit themselves to that?

    2. Trixr Bronze badge

      Re: Hmm

      And has anyone requesting home support actually heard from a real engineer? Without paying loads of cashmoney up front?

      My one and only consumer interaction with MS (the one-a-year freebie support) consisted of some purported "MVP" telling me the reason I had a niggly issue with Start Menu searches (in Win 7) was because of a virus. He didn't even attempt to ask me to rebuild the search cache, check the search location configuration, etc etc. No, it was a virus. Even when I told him I had done all the above steps, it was *still* a virus. My computers have not had a virus since circa 1990.

      And no, he didn't want me to prove that wasn't the case by supplying a report from any AV he proposed. He "resolved" the case with the "solution provided". Even if it had been a virus, he actually hadn't provided a solution either. The thing that particularly grates my cheese is that there was no mechanism of providing feedback on the "support" I received from that moron.

      My experience with Premier Support has been consistently great, so that was a rude shock.

  13. Chairo

    Telemetry, really ?

    Let's have a look in the dictionary:

    Telemetry:

    "the process of using special equipment to take measurements of something (such as pressure, speed, or temperature) and send them by radio to another place"

    Spying:

    "to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes"

    Hmm, I think the second definition fits better to what they are doing.

  14. Def Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Information we collect

    Information you give us.

    For example, many of our services require you to sign up for an account. When you do, we’ll ask for personal information, like your name, email address, telephone number or credit card to store with your account. If you want to take full advantage of the sharing features we offer, we might also ask you to create a publicly visible profile, which may include your name and photo.

    Information we get from your use of our services.

    We collect information about the services that you use and how you use them, like when you watch a video, visit a website that uses our advertising services, or view and interact with our ads and content. This information includes:

    Device information

    We collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number). We may associate your device identifiers or phone number with your account.

    Log information

    When you use our services or view content provided by us, we automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This includes:

    Details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.

    Telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.

    Internet protocol address.

    Device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.

    Cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your account.

    Location information

    When you use our services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide us with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.

    Unique application numbers

    Certain services include a unique application number. This number and information about your installation (for example, the operating system type and application version number) may be sent to us when you install or uninstall that service or when that service periodically contacts our servers, such as for automatic updates.

    Local storage

    We may collect and store information (including personal information) locally on your device using mechanisms such as browser web storage (including HTML 5) and application data caches.

    Cookies and similar technologies

    We and our partners use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a one of our services, and this may include using cookies or similar technologies to identify your browser or device. We also use these technologies to collect and store information when you interact with services we offer to our partners, such as advertising services or features that may appear on other sites. Our analytics product helps businesses and site owners analyze the traffic to their websites and apps. When used in conjunction with our advertising services, this analytics information is linked, by the analytics customer or by us, with information about visits to multiple sites.

    Full statement here.

    1. Jim in Hayward

      Re: Information we collect

      So what if you have NO Microsoft account and never login. My Windows 10 is setup that way. I also use Group Policy editor to prevent automatic updates. How does any of this apply to me? I simply won't install the update.

      1. CompUser

        Re: Information we collect

        Microsoft will know everything about you from your email usage. They don't need a Microsoft account for identification or to run the telemetry/spyware.

        Microsoft can read everything on your computer system and send it anywhere it likes. The Microsoft account just makes it EASIER to identify you.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rule Number 1 if you're using Windows 10...

    Use a local account, not a Microsoft account.

    Do not partake of Outlook (formerly Hotmail), Skype and Onedrive.

    And if you have a webcam, remember to cover up the lens when it is not in use.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Rule number 0

      Just don't use Windows 10 on-line.

      As already said, you can dual-boot with Windows configured for no network, since for web & email Linux is just fine, or you can run Windows in a VM that has no Internet connections if you meed Windows software in parallel with internet access.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Rule number 0

        Hows that work in the real world though? Does this not mean you have to reboot into Linux everytime you want to check email, or grab something needed from the net, how do you look up infomration on something you are doing in windows?

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: @ Triggerfish

          You seem to have missed this bit:

          "or you can run Windows in a VM that has no Internet connections if you meed Windows software in parallel with internet access."

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: @ Paul Crawford

            You are correct I did.

            Thats actually what I am trying to do at the moment, but Linux is not playing nicely with some of the things I need.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Rule number 0

          "Hows that work in the real world though? Does this not mean you have to reboot into Linux everytime you want to check email"

          No. It means you boot into Linux or BSD in the first place.

          If you need something that's Windows only and doesn't run under Wine you either reboot into a Windows partition or, preferably, Windows on a VM. And you'd be surprised to find out for how many people that evaluates to never.

          1. Carl D

            Re: Rule number 0

            "Hows that work in the real world though? Does this not mean you have to reboot into Linux everytime you want to check email"

            "No. It means you boot into Linux or BSD in the first place.

            If you need something that's Windows only and doesn't run under Wine you either reboot into a Windows partition or, preferably, Windows on a VM. And you'd be surprised to find out for how many people that evaluates to never."

            __________________________________

            Exactly.

            I find that I spend most of my time using Linux Mint these days.

            I only boot into Windows occasionally to run a Windows only program or game. In the case of Windows 10, it's just to 'play around with things' and to get to know the operating system in case I get any "how do I do this in W10?" questions from family and friends.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Rule number 0

              to get to know the operating system in case I get any "how do I do this in W10?" questions from family and friends.

              I think for many of us the standard answer to that is "Sorry, can't help you there".

        3. CompUser

          Re: Rule number 0

          Using Windows 7 in Virtualbox on LInux Mint Cinnamon. Great system. Just like using a remote desktop.

      2. David Pollard

        Re: Rule number 0

        The initial version of Raspbian for USB stick seems to work quite well; and will presumably be well supported; albeit that it's a bit slow with USB 2.0. This could be a useful dual-boot option for users who aren't technically minded and would only need to know how to disable the Windows internet connection.

        Indeed it might be this or something similar that is a turning point for widespread uptake of Linux.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Rule number 0

        since for web & email Linux is just fine

        So you've found a Linux killer app that fully replaces MS Office Outlook? suggest you share...

        "...you can dual-boot with Windows configured for no network, ... or you can run Windows in a VM that has no Internet connections"

        I think what is missing is the Linux version of "Blue Pill":

        "The idea behind Blue Pill is simple: your operating system swallows the Blue Pill and it awakes inside the Matrix controlled by the ultra thin Blue Pill hypervisor. " [Joanna Rutkowska]

        This would enable your typical user to buy a PC with Windows pre-installed.

        Insert "Blue Pill" Linux install 'disk'.

        "Blue Pill" proceeds to wrap Windows installation into a VM and installs Linux underneath...

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Rule number 0

          "So you've found a Linux killer app that fully replaces MS Office Outlook? suggest you share..."

          Someone explain what is so fantastic about MS's offerings?

          Apart from being used by many, of course.

          I always thought they were rather shitty. Especially if one had to pay for them as well.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: Rule number 0

            "Someone explain what is so fantastic about MS's offerings?

            Apart from being used by many, of course."

            For most people, what's fantastic about Outlook is it works with the systems provided by the people who pay them a salary. It's really MS's calendaring system that's the sticking point. You can talk to Exchange just fine with IMAP and do email; you'll even get calendar invitations. But you won't be able to share calendars or see free/busy information for other users, and a lot of companies use that heavily for scheduling.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Rule number 0

              "For most people, what's fantastic about Outlook is it works with the systems provided by the people who pay them a salary."

              Perhaps the people who pay the salary should stop lining MS's pockets?

              Especially now when we know that MS is evil, and intend to stay evil.

              Just a thought.

            2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

              Re: @Orv

              For most people, what's fantastic about Outlook is it works with the systems provided by the people who pay them a salary.

              So use MS Windows & Office at work only, and your employer pays to have their privacy violated. What is the big deal?

              If you are doing your own PC then its up to you what you are willing to trade in terms of privacy versus compatibility with office work. Very few home users will be accessing Exchange, and as for calendering then you can get it free (with similar privacy violations) from Google - shared calendars and an email every morning outlining the day ahead, etc.

            3. Sven Coenye

              Re: Rule number 0

              For that, there's OWA. And ActiveSync got dumped off my personal phone as soon as Exchange insisted on being able to nuke it.

          2. joeaverage

            Re: Rule number 0

            Mozilla Thunderbird

            KDE Kmail

            Gnome Evolution

            Just three of many email programs to choose from in Linux. Personally I can't imagine what is so great about Outlook. I've used it, have it on my laptop at work - and still choose a Linux option instead.

            I know where this is going. You probably MUST have all the popular proprietary Windows programs or you just can't get anything done.

            I boot into Windows for one thing - 3D CAD. I used to do this via a Virtualbox/Win7 installation. It works great for small assemblies but not large assemblies. Not on my older computer.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Rule number 0

          ""Blue Pill" proceeds to wrap Windows installation into a VM and installs Linux underneath..."

          That would be nice. But there are technical limitations that makes this quite hard to make as seamless as you would like it. And with "quite hard", I mean hard enough that no-one has tried yet. (I tried to run an actual installed-to-the-metal Windows in a VM, but it was difficult. Windows fights this I think.)

          Then there are the legal challenges when MS goes after you for running Windows on an unauthorised platform -probably not enforcable, but do you have the millions to fight off MS?

          As a underground hobby project it would be quite nice though. But getting rid of Windows altogether would be much nicer, and solve many more problems.

          1. Gis Bun

            Re: Rule number 0

            Oh I don't think Microsoft goes after individuals as much as the people who pirate their software en masse.

            "But getting rid of Windows altogether would be much nicer...." Buy yourself a Mac! Ha. Ha. Ha.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Rule Number 1 if you're using Windows 10...

      The only winning move is not to play.

  16. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Terry Myerson is the Endpoint Antichrist

    Microsoft's pick to run Windows and related concerns is one of the most tone deaf and customer hostile executives in our industry. He could be replaced by a grade school collage of a middle finger and a shrug emoji and the entire world would never notice the difference. Now that's "fuck you" money.

    Must be nice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Terry Myerson is the Endpoint Antichrist

      If you think he is bad, just imagine Julie Larson-Green.

      She was the one who invented(?) and promoted the Metro tiles UI in Windows 8, and Sinofsky went along with it.

      Fast forward a few years, the abomination is still a default feature on the Windows 10 Start menu.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Terry Myerson is the Endpoint Antichrist

      "Microsoft's pick to run Windows and related concerns is one of the most tone deaf and customer hostile executives in our industry."

      He does seem exceptionally full of it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Terry Myerson is the Endpoint Antichrist

        "He does seem exceptionally full of it."

        But is he exceptional inside Microsoft or just normal?

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Terry Myerson is the Endpoint Antichrist

          ""He does seem exceptionally full of it."

          But is he exceptional inside Microsoft or just normal?"

          Is that a rethorical question?

          I think "management" is a key word here...

  17. Danny 5
    Thumb Down

    bah

    I want to buy a new PC this summer, because there are some games I would like to play that are exclusive to PC, but stuff like this makes me quite apprehensive. Why isn't there an "off" button?

    I used to be quite the windows fan, but have made an about face in recent years. I wish there was another, more trustworthy platform to work on, but alas. I'm sure Microsoft does indeed work hard to protect their users from malware and hackers, but who protect us against Microsoft?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: bah

      "I'm sure Microsoft does indeed work hard to protect their users from malware and hackers, but who protect us against Microsoft?"

      Or

      "With friends like these, who needs enemies"

    2. Boothy

      Re: bah

      It's an unfortunate situation for PC gamers I think.

      I'm a keen PC gamer, (strategy games, and FPS games using Keyboard and mouse mostly) and likely 95%+ of the games released are Windows only. Often new games won't play under Wine or a VM (at least not in a playable state).

      Quite a few indie titles tend to be cross-platform these days, often supporting Linux natively (and more rarely Mac OSX), and I thank the Devs for this.

      But for the A+ titles from larger studios and publishers, it's still very very rare to have any none Windows version (other than consoles). Which is a real shame. :-/

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: bah

        Yeah, and even if there is a non-Windows release, it's often a second-class citizen.

        Case in point: My wife and I both play Elite: Dangerous. She has a Mac, and used the Mac version for a long time. But the frame rate was worse, and none of the later expansions were done for the Mac, so now she dual-boots Windows to play.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bah

        I can't wait for ReactOS to become mature.

        100% backward compatibility with all legacy and current win32 apps and games, driver compatibility with legacy hardware, able to dual/multi boot or live boot from a CD or USB drive.

        And for old times' sake, a sprinkling of old Windows sounds, icons, themes (e.g. Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95), classic boot screens, wallpapers.

        And Classic Solitaire and Minesweeper, and other bundled Windows games. None of the app store DLC crap.

        In other words, ReactOS is to Windows what DOSBox is to DOS. An emulator, running programs natively or near-native, without messing around with virtualisation.

        1. joeaverage

          Re: bah

          As soon as ReactOS gets close enough to be useful Microsoft will go after the project and shut it down. Same thing they did with "Lindows" and a few other promising FOSS projects.

      3. joeaverage

        Re: bah

        So you do your games in Windows and your sensistive stuff in Linux.

        That is exactly what we do at home. We play games in Linux too but nothing of importance happens in the Windows side. Microsoft could look over our shoulders while the kids are playing games but they won't get anything interesting.

        Also - I prefer that my kids don't use the internet via Windows - adware, spyware, viruses, etc.

        I've stopped with Win7. I won't ever upgrade to Win10 b/c Win10 offers me NO value. if at some point we have to upgrade b/c software just won't work with Win7 anymore then I would get very serious about firewalls and router rules blocking access to Microsoft.

    3. Gis Bun

      Re: bah

      "...but who protect us against Microsoft?" - The federal government. France is still trying to get them to reduce the amount of data grabbed.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: bah

        But governments are also part of the problem space! They are also threat actors against which we, the people, need defending!

  18. Carl D

    So, will these new privacy options actually work? Or, will they just pretend to work like some of them seem to do at the moment?

    Example - during the installation of Windows 10 Anniversary Update there are a list of ON/OFF options under the Custom Installation settings.

    One of them is "Share Windows Updates with other computers" (or words to that effect). If you choose the OFF option you'll find that when you check the setting under Windows Update later on after you've finished installing Windows 10, that setting is turned ON again.

    I get the feeling the same applies to other Privacy settings as well, even after they seem to be turned off.

    1. Boothy

      Some options that have been turned off, seem to turn themselves back on again at a later date without any notification!

      I now run the O&O Shutup 10 tool every week or two, just in case!

  19. Whitter
    Trollface

    "Vital"

    You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Just don't use Windows 10 on-line."

    ~ Give us a break from this kind of preaching... Sure just dual boot Linux. Tell that to owners of Lenovo gear! Anyway, it isn't an answer... Why?

    ~ We all have WAGS / Friends / Colleagues that just aren't in a position to do the above or their kids won't listen or certain apps won't work etc.

    ~ The thing you're missing is, we shouldn't have to do this at all. Remember we're all paying for Windows 10 now, and this is our best option! C'mon!

    ~ Win10 slurping is a pretty persuasive argument for unbundling Windows from new PCs / Laptops. WTF are consumer agencies doing to help...???

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: "Just don't use Windows 10 on-line."

      No problem AC just you go and ask MS to respect your privacy. Or maybe take them to court? Really you and anyone for whom you provide help have only a few workable choices:

      1) Use windows and bend over for whatever MS decide to do.

      2) Use an alternative arrangement and accept its more trouble for certain things.

      3) ? Underpants & profit ?

      If you actually have a better, more workable, suggestion than mine (Linux host, windows in restricted VM) please let all us commentards know.

    2. Graham Cobb

      Re: "Just don't use Windows 10 on-line."

      WTF are consumer agencies doing to help...???

      Good question. Obviously any info Microsoft collects will be available to the US authorities on request (probably even if "deleted" using the dashboard). Note that recent US laws allow (require?) Microsoft to lie about whether that is a true statement or not!

      Surely this must prevent Microsoft being able to send the data to the US under EU law? How do we get the process started to have Microsoft prosecuted in the EU?

    3. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "Just don't use Windows 10 on-line."

      "Tell that to owners of Lenovo gear!"

      Typing this on a Lenovo B590, dual booting Win8 and Ubuntu 16.04. Everything is working with no problems.

    4. Palpy
      Pint

      Re: "...Users of Lenovo gear...."

      I have a Lenovo desktop and a Lenovo Thinkpad, one running Qubes and Ubuntu dual-boot, and the other running Qubes and Mint. None of the installations was problematic.

      But I get that some kit doesn't play well with some Linux distros, just as some kit didn't accept the Win 10 update. YMMV.

      The main thing, though -- using Linux doesn't have to be a big deal. Put something like Q4OS on a second-hand laptop. Should run as fast as Windows on more modern kit. Or use Porteus or Puppy on a thumb drive, that's even cheaper. Set your PC to boot from the thumb. Then just mess around -- it'll have Firefox and probably either Chromium or Chrome, so web surfing is a no-brainer.

      I can drive a stick shift car or automatic, electric or gas, and have played with baby backhoes and tractors, and in a pinch there's my trusty bicycle. Flexibility is great, options are good.

      But don't expect MS or Apple or Google to stop sucking your data. It's what corporations do now. There is too much power and profit in it for them to ever quit. Heck, even Canonical -- the poster child for unprofitable corporations -- dabbles with data slurping.

      There was a post up-thread about wanting a Blue Pill: That's similar to Qubes. I haven't installed Windows in a VM in my Qubes installations because I have no need to run Windows at home, but there is a toolset for doing exactly that. Windows runs in a VM inside Qubes, with network access controlled by the Qubes firewall and networking VMs.

      But Linux-angst isn't necessary, IMHO. My reccy is to just play with it, so if and when you want it you have basic familiarity.

      Have a beer, AC.

    5. joeaverage

      Re: "Just don't use Windows 10 on-line."

      I have Linux running on several newish Lenovo laptops and desktops. It is not impossible!

      I also have people ranging from 8 years old to people in their 80s running Linux. My one elderly friend reports that she loves Linux b/c all the crap is gone (adware, viruses).

  21. ShaolinTurbo

    I welcome the privacy dashboard where you can see the data they hold on you. I notice though that there is no option to say don't collect any more data. You can clear it but then it starts clocking up again. So pointless really, they are just trying to appease.

    They need this data collection as its Nadella's business model to make money from it. So it will never stop. Windows is now a cloud service and never coming back.

    1. CompUser

      And 'clearing' the data probably means hiding and definitely not deleting the data.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "And 'clearing' the data probably means hiding and definitely not deleting the data."

        It makes no difference either way. Even if they are deleting it only the most brainwashed will think they are. In the future this has to be Microsoft's biggest problem: once you lose people's trust it's very, very difficult to get back.

  22. SVV Silver badge

    I never realised the snooping was THIS bad

    "you can go to account.microsoft.com/privacy to review and clear data such as browsing history, search history, location activity, and Cortana’s Notebook – all in one place."

    And you can go ?@*& yourself if you think I would ever even consider parting with my own money for a product that collects this information about me.

    "We are continuing this commitment to make it as easy as possible for you to make informed choices about your privacy with Windows 10"

    I guess this is true though. Now I'm fully informed and know that I won't have any, I won't be buying it. Going through some convoluted process to defeat this by installing it in a VM on Linux? No thanks, it cant't be THAT much worth the effort.

    Windows 10 has been reported on quite regularly on this site, and I've followed the articles with mild curiosity every now and then during its slow journey to being actually usable. Quite rigthtly they focused on how finished it then was and what the new features and interface were. However the privacy aspects are so mind numbingly outrageous that it could be the most usable and reliable OS ever and I'd still not touch it with a bargepole.

    1. CompUser

      Re: I never realised the snooping was THIS bad

      Same here. Windows 10 is a DUD OS.

      1. Captain Badmouth

        Re: I never realised the snooping was THIS bad

        "Windows 10 is a DUD OS"

        DODO OS?

  23. a_mu

    Dont you HAVE to have a microsoft account to use this

    So you have to 'login'

    So do Microsoft then know even more about you ?

  24. Joerg

    What about automatic updates, automatic drivers updates ?

    What about automatic updates, automatic drivers updates ?

    They don't give any official option to turn that nightmare off.

    So more and more PCs with Windows 10 Home will go BSOD thanks to Microsoft and lose data rebooting at the will of Microsoft managers that only deserve to be put in jail.

    Microsoft must go bakrupt and disappear. They are the worst.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: What about automatic updates, automatic drivers updates ?

      So more and more PCs with Windows 10 Home will go BSOD thanks to Microsoft and lose data rebooting at the will of Microsoft managers that only deserve to be put in jail.

      The problem is with all versions of Win 10 that don't have a volume licence, thus we can expect many small businesses to have some rather unpleasant surprises...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What about automatic updates, automatic drivers updates ?

      "So more and more PCs with Windows 10 Home will go BSOD thanks to Microsoft"

      In future they'll go GSOD. Green is good. Or did I mishear?

      1. Boothy

        Re: What about automatic updates, automatic drivers updates ?

        Quote: "In future they'll go GSOD. Green is good. Or did I mishear?"

        That's only if using the pre-released development version, the 'live' releases are still the good old BSOD.

  25. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Online portal?

    WTF?

    I never visit any "online portal".. Why would I?

    Guess doing it that way allows MS to "accidentally" change the settings easier. And if the actual filtering happens there (if that's how it's implemented) it would be easier for NSA to access the non-filtered data.

    1. Boothy

      Reminds me of settings for 'Flash', which were actually managed on a web page, rather than in a local control panel or application!

  26. Shaha Alam

    "We are continuing this commitment to make it as easy as possible for you to make informed choices about your privacy with Windows 10..."

    it's not so much the "informed" that was missing, but the absence of actual "choice" that was problem.

    as in, "no sharing of data" wasnt an option anywhere and still wont be.

    whilst its nice to be informed about which tool i can choose to be shafted with, i'd much prefer not to be shafted in the first place.

  27. adam payne Silver badge

    "We are continuing this commitment to make it as easy as possible for you to make informed choices about your privacy with Windows 10," writes Terry Myerson, executive veep of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group. "With that in mind, in the Creators Update, we are making some changes by simplifying the privacy settings themselves and improving the way we present the privacy settings to you."

    Where is the turn everything off button?

    "The dashboard, which went live on Tuesday, reveals how Microsoft logs people's whereabouts as well as their search requests, Cortana chats, and browser histories pulled from their Windows 10 computers and gadgets. This data can be deleted on request via the portal. According to Microsoft:

    When you are signed in with your Microsoft account, you can go to account.microsoft.com/privacy to review and clear data such as browsing history, search history, location activity, and Cortana’s Notebook – all in one place. This is our first step in expanding the tools that give you visibility and control over your data spanning Microsoft products and services, and we will continue to add more functionality and categories of data over time."

    Why do you need any of these things? It has nothing to do with you.

    Once the data leaves your PC you have no control over it. How do we know you have deleted it? just because you say so on a flashy web page doesn't make it so.

    "This "full" mode will also give Microsoft your "inking and typing data." Engineers, with permission from Microsoft’s privacy governance team, can obtain users' documents that trigger crashes in applications, so they can work out what's going wrong, from people's machines running in "full" mode. The techies can also run diagnostic tools remotely on the computers, again with permission from their overseers."

    Seriously, obtaining users documents and you don't think that this is a massive privacy issue. What about confidential documents with personal details in them, account numbers, passwords etc.

  28. Gnosis_Carmot

    "the Feds, who are about to be under the control of a remorseless bully who loves to hold a grudge."

    What the reporter, who was desperate to insert his own political views, misses is that statement is just as true of Clinton. The US lost no matter which was elected.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      The US lost either way. By electing Trump, however, the fuckers ensured the whole world loses too.

      1. Jim in Hayward

        Poor little Hilliary losers

        You would have lost a lot more than a job under Hilliary. World War III is averted under Trump. Be grateful, not spiteful.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Poor little Hilliary losers

          I see you've had your be-more-crazy pills today. I hope that thought keeps you happy when the world comes to a swift end under the dickless wonder.

  29. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Trust must be earned, not dispensed from a mealymouthed blog post."

    Or

    "If you want to get there I wouldn't start from here."

  30. Sleep deprived

    Relevant ads?

    Why is it now the business of the OS to determine whether you want relevant ads? To fling ads at you while you're not even browsing a website?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Relevant ads?

      No such thing.

  31. CompUser

    Re: bah

    "I'm sure Microsoft does indeed work hard to protect their users from malware and hackers, but who protect us against Microsoft?"

    Yourself.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    "who are about to be under the control of a remorseless bully who loves to hold a grudge."

    TOTALLY irrelevant to this story. Keep your fucking political opinions to yourself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This:

      "Keep your fucking political opinions to yourself."

      Take your pills and be happy now that you have "won".

      And follow your own advice.

      Good luck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This:

        Says an anonymous coward.

        What exactley did i "win"?

        Cock womble. When you have the cojones to come out of hiding, i'll engage you in socio-political intercourse.

        Until then, piss off.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: This:

          Not the AC in question cornz, but, enjoy the con man now that the sales pitch is over.

          Much like Microsoft.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This:

          Have to pity anyone named "cornz 1" by his/her parents!

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: This:

      WRONG. Totally relevant. Everyone knows.

  33. cd

    There's a Mac app called Little Snitch and a competitor. They ask about every connection attempt and you can make rules that stick. I block some Apple stuff because it's way out of date now, but I know I can because if I set a temporary rule with a certain port, it will try again with another port.

    There's got to be something like this for Windows. Copy over a ruleset and the end-user doesn't even have to figure things out.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "There's a Mac app called Little Snitch and a competitor."

      MS has the Big Snitch. It's called "10".

  34. Binraider666

    What part of NO data leaving my PC without my specific instruction do they not understand. Windows stops at 7 for me. Maybe I should have stopped at 3.1?

  35. Gis Bun

    Face it. You will have those that will whine that even turning all this stuff off will still mean too much data for Microsoft.

    One poster [elsewhere] claimed that Microsoft makes millions a year by selling your data - which would be illegal to do and the poster had nothing to back up the claim except his/her conspiracy theories.

    A reminder that Windows 7 has telemetry features. I'm sure some didn't know that....

    So instead of whining, grab some of the tools out there from Spybot and O&O and disable what you can and use a local account.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 7 Telemetry was avoidable. But not for much longer.

      Windows 7 only has Telemetry features if you have installed the Telemetry KB's though.

      Windows 7 Telemetry is avoidable, if you choose which updates to install. MS haven't yet back fed these telemetry updates in the now monthly Cumulative Win7 Updates, but are due to, any month now.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Windows 7 Telemetry was avoidable. But not for much longer.

        They put the telemetry update in the rollups back in November:

        November 8, 2016—KB3197868 (Monthly Rollup): "Improved support to specify proxy and enable upload of telemetry and download of settings in an authenticated proxy environment."

        That installs the same diagtrack service and ancillary code as the spyware update(s) you mentioned. If you installed any of the rollups from the October preview of the November rollup forward, check services.msc to see if the diagtrack service is in there.

        From November forward, I am only doing the security updates. I'm sure MS will try to sabotage that by "accidentally" introducing bugs with a security update, then fixing those bugs only in the full rollup... but MS is really, really determined to shaft all of their loyal customers, so it is what it is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 7 Telemetry was avoidable. But not for much longer.

          Spent months micro managing manual updates to avoiding this stuff during Win10 rollout (did so successfully, we had none of the nags) only to find it installed by the second November cumulative update. We knew this was coming, just couldn't find that info regarding November Update.

          If you set the 4 diagnostic services to manual does that disable this? Seems to boot OK without them starting. We can roll back (Can check for sure then), but fair amount of work.

          I've completely had enough of Microsoft.

          The UK's ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) is a complete waste of space, where is the complicit agreement to this?

    2. CompUser

      Microsoft makes numerous millions from telemetry by improving their software products and then selling them for an increased value (no one would buy a buggy software product) - so how much more would a non-buggy software product be worth.

      Microsoft has also closed its testing division which would probably be adding hundreds of millions of dollars to Microsoft's profits. This would have been impossible without the use of the telemetry.

      The fact that Microsoft does use telemetry to make money has been lost because of the focus on selling the telemetry directly for money which at present doesn't happen.

      The Windows 7 telemetry/spyware features were installed only if you let them be installed which many users did not.

      Using a local account does nothing, absolutely nothing for stopping the telemetry/spyware operating on your computer. They know exactly who and where you are and don't need you to log on to a Microsoft account. They can read everything from your computer. The only way to stop this is not to allow your computer to communicate with the internet.

      According to Microsoft management, there is no way to stop the 'telemetry' from leaving your computer. If this is true, this means there is a back door in the OS which no third party software can touch. It would be interesting to monitor all network traffic from a computer running these software products (it has to be monitored using another computer which has the traffic routed through it - and preferably not a Windows machine).

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        "Microsoft has also closed its testing division which would probably be adding hundreds of millions of dollars to Microsoft's profits. This would have been impossible without the use of the telemetry."

        In other words, users of Windows 10 (except for enterprise and educational users, who can turn telemetry off, and are the only customers that MS actually cares about) ARE the new testing division, only now they pay MS for the privilege rather than the other way round. The telemetry is important in a beta version, as it will report any malfunctions encountered during the testing-- particularly when the beta testers are novices that would not be able to write a sufficiently detailed bug report or to know what to do to obtain the information to put in the report.

        Yes, you using your PC is "testing" now, Windows 10 users. When your PC crashes or loses your data, at least you will have the comfort of knowing that you've done a little bit to improve the product for the corporate customers that MS actually considers important.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      I can kill Win 7's telemetry features using a hosts file. Windows 10 has all its shit hardcoded in so that I need to control the local network's firewall to prevent it from sending my data to the MS/the spooks/Trump's muslim-list concentration camp "solution". (Windows firewall or third-party firewalls installed on the Windows 10 system can't block MS's spyware.)

      Big fucking difference.

      That, and MS keeps turning all shit back on. So they can't be trusted, and they keep proving it over and over. What's more, the government they must answer to can't be trusted either. Doubly so now that Trump is in charge.

      $deity help you if you're a political dissident in the US with the wrong skin colour and you use Windows 10...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Have Microsoft quietly been subpoenaed after the Irish Data Case?

        I'm getting the feel this has all been quietly subpoenaed on Microsoft from higher powers that be, with gag orders. I realise Microsoft has stupid people working for it, aswell as smart ones, but this doesn't make sense, even if MS are looking to monetise the data. There are easier ways to get users to opt in to generate the data they need, without producing a marketing train crash.

        This justs get sneekier and sneekier. It feels far too clever for MS. This feels like its been forced on them.

        It feels like a complete obsessive who won't stop until he has dotted every i and crossed every t, so that every Windows machine out there is 'on radar' and its activities monitorable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hold your cynicism of Trump for a while...

        Trump is highly disdainful of those big corporations (including tech companies) which donated immensely to Hillary Clinton.

        If he implements some antitrust laws and gets rids of lobbyists, our Windows 10 snooping problem will be partially solved. We shall see.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Hold your cynicism of Trump for a while...

          HAH. You're funny. Everything he touches with his tiny hands will turn to shit. He is probably the only person currently in any position of real power who could try to launch an anti-trust investigation against monopolists and have that end up being worse for the customer. If you're counting on him to solve literally anything, I have several river traversal mechanisms I think you may be interested in...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is Chris Capossela?

    Where is Chris Capolssela CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Microsoft. I think he'll be sweating again, given even more shit hitting the fan. He obviously didn't feel he fcuked up enough with the "Red X" Install Get Windows 10.

    Windows 10 had just got to a point it was OK. Yes, the Privacy options were all over the place, but at least they were there, locally with a local account. We all know 'Delete' in the cloud, doesn't mean delete because of the all the regulatory shit in terms of retaining data /backups.

    Assuming this is a genuine fcuk up, who in their right in Marketing thought it would be OK to get someone to log into a MS portal/MS account to alter their Privacy Settings, taking those options away from the local machine?

    What do they take us for? This is even more data grabbing not less.

    Trying to say otherwise, it just shows MS upto its old tricks. This is just more smoke screening by Microsoft/Terry Myerson. You just can't trust MS anymore (if you ever did).

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Where is Chris Capossela?

      What do they take us for?

      Idiots who will trade our privacy and identity for a new shiny. More often than not, they're right.

      who in their right in Marketing thought it would be OK to get someone to log into a MS portal/MS account to alter their Privacy Settings

      Setting aside the concept of a marketing person in his or her right mind...M$ is just copying Google Dashboard. This is the same thing that the Goog does with Android and Chrome. There are some settings on the device, which I'm sure are scrupulously honored, but you have to log in to the mother ship to view or "manage" their stored history on you.

      Speaking of which, I certainly hope no one is naive enough to think that data you delete via a web portal has, in fact, been deleted. They still have all of it, and can produce it on demand; "delete" in this context just means that they don't show it to you anymore.

  37. earl grey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I don't want their ads

    And i don't want anything going back to them except dumps; and then only with my express permission. ODFO MS

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't want their ads

      "And i don't want anything going back to them except dumps; and then only with my express permission. ODFO MS"

      Dumps as in excrement, I presume.

  38. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Faster bug fixes

    So a random user (let's call him "Trump") has a Win10 crash. The system helpfully sends all the files that he had open at the time to Microsoft, which automatically allocates the most relevant development team to look into it - in this case Microsoft's outsourced team in China is the one that gets sent the files.

    Trump doesn't know it, but the minor bug that caused a system crash when he opened the document "Nuclear_Launch_Codes.doc" is about to get fixed ...

  39. Frenchie Lad

    remorseless bully

    I really love your unbiased even handed reporting. Surely Meryl Streep does not deserve being called a bully or have I got it reversed?

    Whilst I share your legitimate concerns over data privacy surely you as professionals should be able to restrain your language and free it from these emotional tones.

  40. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Suggestion for El Reg style guide

    To accurately represent industry practices with regard to privacy, surveillance and data exfiltration, nouns and adjectives referring to telemetry, user data, or user control of said data should be enclosed in quotation marks or double inverted commas. Words which should be formatted in this way include (but are not limited to): privacy, private, control, protect, protection, telemetry.

    In situations where the additional quotation marks are unsightly or add confusion, an acceptable alternative is to prepend such terms with a diminutive such as "so-called" or "supposedly." In egregious cases, these presentations may be combined.

    INCORRECT: Windows 10 has settings to control how much of your private data is sent to Microsoft.

    CORRECT: Windows 10 has settings to "control" how much of your supposedly "private" data is sent to Microsoft.

    INCORRECT: Facechat.com values your privacy, and uses industry best practices to secure your personal data.

    CORRECT: Facechat.com values your so-called privacy, and uses industry best practices to "secure" your so-called "personal" data.

  41. Novex

    Still not going with Win 10. What parts of 'no telemetry' and 'no forced updates' does MS not understand?

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      What parts of 'no telemetry' and 'no forced updates' does MS not understand?

      Oh, they understand both perfectly. They just don't care what you think.

      M$ also knows very well that this is a tempest in an I-T-pot. The vast majority of users blindly accept the "recommended" settings during WinX first-run setup, with no idea of what they've just agreed to.

  42. Updraft102 Silver badge

    "When you are signed in with your Microsoft account, you can go to account.microsoft.com/privacy to review and clear data such as browsing history, search history, location activity, and Cortana’s Notebook – all in one place."

    Wow, it's worse than I thought. They're collecting all of that? Wow. And all I have to do to "fix" that is to create a Microsoft account and associate all of that data with email address (a persistent identity) for them?

    Yeah, okay, that sounds like a great plan.

    So we still won't have an "OFF" switch for telemetry. The best they will let us do is "basic" snooping: "Data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft."

    Wow again. That's the "I don't want to be spied on at all" setting? I don't want ANY of that, and no, that's NOT data "vital to the operation of Windows." Windows operates just fine without phoning home about any of that stuff! What you mean is that it's "vital to the data-mining operations of Microsoft."

    If anything, the spying is worse than I'd thought it was, and by Microsoft's own admission! All of those Microsoft syncophants who are probably all paid astroturfers said that Win 10 detractors like me are just being dramatic with our accusations of 10 being spyware... but it clearly is.

    What does it say about Microsoft that they think telling us all of this will (in Shaun's words) "soothe lingering anger over Windows 10 and its ability to phone home people's private information"? If this is what MS thinks is harmless and uncontroversial...

  43. CrosscutSaw

    Can you just run Server?

    Server OS, as your desktop? Like a 2012R2, or 2016.

    I installed 2016 and it looks just like Win10 (gag).

  44. Herby Silver badge

    Just a few years early in the prediction...

    Yes, Scott McNealy was right. The all seeing eye is here, just the prediction was a few (33) years early.

    (*SIGH*)

  45. zen1

    grrr.

    this is absolutely ridiculous. Microsoft should have be taken to task for assuming that people wouldn't have a problem with what they're doing. Secondly, that website is an absolute joke. It's nothing more than a front end to their services and email. MS: I don't want any of my personal data going to you. Period. I shouldn't have to resort to dual boots, alternate OS's, vm's or god knows what else. I just want an OS that runs my fucking computer and will operate with the applications I've paid through the nose for.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fact or Fiction

    #1. When MS say they slurp Search History, does this also apply to Mozilla / Chrome browsing?

    #2. Are local File-Name level Searches also shipped off to Redmond as part of 'search history'?

    #3. How do the MS engineers actually get access to user files.... After a crash user files are bundled along with the crash report, or a tech may remote connect to a user machine?

    Anyone know?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just Saying...

    Running Windows 10 N LTSB with all the GPO telemetry options turned down to 0

    I accept that I only have MS's word for it, however, the privacy links return only

    We don't have any data associated with this Microsoft account at the moment

    or

    There's nothing to see here yet. To add some interests in this category, open Cortana's Notebook on your device.

    Probably helps using Palemoon and a local DNS with a fairly aggressive blackhole list

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Just Saying...

      "I accept that I only have MS's word for it"

      That's not worth a lot, it it? As in Zero, Zilch, Nill, Noll, Nada, Nought, Null, 0.

      If all things that are potentially monitored are sent to the mothership, but only stuff that you asked them to track actually is shown to you, where do you think the supposedly non-retained data ends up? We know data must be retained, by law, in various places, and we know companies, such as MS, are required by law to lie to their customers about any security related issues.

      Even if not all is retained today, it's a certainty that it is being mined for "terrorist" related information. Of course, having the snooping agent in the actual OS itself is much better than trying to look at encrypted data just passing by. The OS is then both a snooper, and a controllable component that can be remotely reconfigured on demand for further investigation. NSA must be having their wettest dream yet.

      No, I'm not a terrorist. Honest. But control-freak states seem to have a tendency of getting out of hand. "1984".

      And the above was only about the state-sponsored potential snooping. Then we have all the annoying ad related selling out of your information crap, with related potential security issues. Not to mention sucking your battery dry with unwanted CPU activity, both from spying and from then delivering the animated sh*t to your screen.

      Brave new world!

  48. Jim in Hayward

    Poor little Hilliary losers

    Complaining even on software threads about how Hilliary was able to lose 3 times to the " remorseless bully who loves to hold a grudge ". It certainly LOOKS like Hilliary worshipers are the ones with a grudge. Be thankful that lying, corrupt, political whore didn't win. There is no place for Microsoft point and clickers in a post World War III world. At least Trump saves your jobs. For 2 years.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Poor little Hilliary losers

      For God's sake, give it a rest. This story has exactly NOTHING to do with Trump, Clinton, or US politics.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope

    See title

  50. Jonjonz

    Google and MS bug me all the time now

    I keep a one smartphone and have never given out it's number in any registrations etc for several years now, and I would never, ever get telemarketing calls.

    One year into Win 10 on my new laptop and having given Google my smartphones number (in case I ever forget my Google password...) my smartphone gets daily telemarketing calls.

    Thanks big Korps for selling me out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google and MS bug me all the time now

      Would be an interesting test by regulators to assign a block of mobile numbers with gaps in between, so that most appear as unused/unobtainable. Then to register for different products, see where this information is still sold even when you specifically have stated otherwise.

      I suggest we test this on AA Breakdown Services. Unbelievable how many times I've tried to get myself removed from the phone/mailing list without success.

      What happened to explicit consent?

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Google and MS bug me all the time now

      ...my smartphone gets daily telemarketing calls...Thanks big Korps for selling me out.

      Correlation doesn't equal causality.

      It's more likely that phone spammers found your digits by war-dialing blocks of phone numbers. They don't even care who owns the numbers anymore. It's cheaper to call everyone than to vet numbers.

      Obviously, there are Priority Sucker Lists of people who actually respond to spam calls, which is a special circle of hell. But the point is, tthere's no way to keep a working phone number secret for any length of time anymore. All it takes is one hit (e.g., your voice mail outgoing message) to validate the number and it's blown forever.

  51. Rasslin ' in the mud
    Coffee/keyboard

    Is this a technical site or a hack political fake news site?

    [quote]On the other hand, Microsoft – like other American tech companies – can be compelled to hand over this sort of customer information to the Feds, who are about to be under the control of a remorseless bully who loves to hold a grudge.[/quote]

    Give it a rest!

    1. CompUser

      Re: Is this a technical site or a hack political fake news site?

      The quote is correct. All this information can be accessed by the NSA at any time.

      The Patriot Act gives the NSA the right to bulk data collection without any legal process. The NSA has direct links to the tech companies so it can access this information at any time. This the law in the USA. It is not opinion.

  52. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Help us fix things"

    Turn off the snooping.

    That is all.

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