back to article Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Next week Microsoft will begin the slowish rollout of its big update to Windows 10, the Creators Update. Right now, it's doing a little damage control, and preempting complaints about privacy, by listing the types of information its operating system will automatically and silently leak from PCs, slabs, and laptops back to …

  1. BongoJoe Silver badge

    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.

    Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?

    1. Jeroen Braamhaar

      Paying beta tester/advertising target market/gullible mark/other

      Any or all of the above combined.

    2. Alumoi
      Trollface

      Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?

      He's the one submitting the document, duh!

      1. boltar Silver badge

        "He's the one submitting the document, duh!"

        You might want to re-read the article more carefully.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Boltar,

          Considering the propensities of Win 10, if you install it you *are* submitting any document you create to the possibility of being hoovered up by MS. (for security purposes .... Honest Guv!!!.)

          In MS speak you have pre-submitted your documents to MS when you create them :) :)

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: BongoJoe

      "Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?"

      Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode.

      C.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: BongoJoe

        "Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?"

        Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into your computer.

        FTFY

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          WTF?

          "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into your computer."

          Indeed.

          Did not ask. Do not want.

          IBM systems had a bit of a rep for calling home and letting the HO know what was going on.

          But that was in Mainframe and mini land.

          Now home users can also enjoy these "benefits"

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode"

        You meant "Make sure you don't *leave* Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode."

        I still wonder if Full Telemetry doesn't break many EU privacy laws - especially gathering user data and files may lead to gathering "sensitive data" which have specific rules.

        For example, the Italian privacy law explicitly says that "sensitive data" gathering and management need a written approval, and approval by the privacy authority. Even more so if data are transferred outside the EU.

        It's not up to a "Microsoft Privact Team" to decide what could be accessed and what not - especially since I wonder how could they decide without actually looking at the data (probably in several foreign languages) - and the act of looking at the data itself is accessing and managing them.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode"

          It certainly dovetails admirably with the NSA's requirements to record and store everything.

          Probably just coincidence.

        2. HelpfulJohn

          Re: "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode"

          You signed the EULA, did you not? After reading it, of course?

          That constitutes fully informed approval and consent.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode"

            "That constitutes fully informed approval and consent."

            It doesn't constitute anything illegal and even less outside of the US, where EULAs area basically meaningless and legislation defines what you can do and what you can't do, not corporations.

            MS is breaking so many laws with this spying tool that it's not even funny, even in US where privacy is almost non-existent.

      3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: BongoJoe

        I'm sure that I'm not alone here in thinking that MS will (by design or error as the case may be...) slip a reset of the diagnostic mode to FULL into an update?

        Septic? Yes I am at the moment. Picked up a Veruca that turned nasty at the local pool.

        Sceptic towards Windows 10? You betcha.

        I can't see why anyone would actually want this snooping POS running on their Hardware?

        1. Patrician

          Re: BongoJoe

          ..."I can't see why anyone would actually want this snooping POS running on their Hardware?" ..

          Because they do stuff other than web, email and office on their PC and have no choice; want to game, on your PC it's got to be Windows, there is no other option.

          1. badger31

            Re: BongoJoe

            @Patrician

            No other option?

            From Steam hardware survey:

            Windows 10 64 bit -> 52.22%

            Windows 7 64 bit -> 31.20%

            I presume you are talking about DX12. DX12 is an improvement over DX11, I agree, but it's not a requirement.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: BongoJoe

              "I presume you are talking about DX12. DX12 is an improvement over DX11, I agree, but it's not a requirement."

              It's hard to think of any group with more OCD than hardcore gamers. They will HAVE to have DX12. They can't possibly watch their life waste away whilst stuck on DX11, and all their "friends" have moved on.

            2. Patrician

              Re: BongoJoe

              @ Badger31

              It's not a "requirement" to have DX12 admittedly, but paying £30 to £50 per game and not getting the full features because my OS doesn't support them is a bit of a deal breaker for me.

              I've said this before on these forums many time now, I'd love Linux to be a true alternative to Windows, I really would, but although some distro's have made great strides in usability and Valve has made valiant attempts to increase Linux support from game developers, it still isn't there yet I'm afraid.

              Unfortunately Windows is still just "easier"....

            3. Reg Sim

              Re: BongoJoe

              DX12 Will be a requirement soon, unless you like not being able to use new hardware with your new applications/games. O'yes and newer versions of hardware are designed to be incompatible with older versions of windows (yes designed).

              What Microsoft is saying, if you want control of your OS you need to buy an Enterprise version, otherwise you'll just sux it up, or you can go else were.

              Its beyond comprehension that they have screwed over Pro users.... you know the business one by screwing them with the same data mining crap and removing controls.

              I hope Vulkan's API does well, as I might manage the move away from Windows OS's at home atleast.

              -P

          2. Triggerfish

            Re: BongoJoe

            I can't see why anyone would actually want this snooping POS running on their Hardware?

            Well if you buy a new laptop it's pretty much forced upon you, and before you ask win 7 doesn't play nicely with some new hardware. I have really struggled to get it to even install on my new laptop because of this, I am at the point of thining it may not install.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: BongoJoe

              "win 7 doesn't play nicely with some new hardware."

              This is by design. They've actually disabled updates for Win7 machines running on CPUs introduced after it stopped being sold.

          3. WylieCoyoteUK
            Mushroom

            Re: BongoJoe

            Aren't gamers already used to being spied on by games companies anyway?

            Glad I don't game. I don't use windows either.

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: BongoJoe

          Plenty of reasons to want Windows 10. If you want an up to date version of Windows then you want this. If you want to run DirectX 12 then you want this.

          The snooping spoils anything good about Windows 10.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BongoJoe

        Make sure you don't put Windows 10 into Full telemetry mode.

        Ah, but I see another issue:

        This Microsoft TechNet document, last updated this week, claims all desktop and mobile builds of Windows 10 can choose between four different snooping levels: just security-related collection; basic mode; enhanced mode; and full mode.

        I believe the ICO ought to advice Microsoft that it has forgotten an option: entirely NO collection of any data, whatever the excuse reason. As far as I'm aware, this otherwise amounts to extracting data under coercion, which is an explicit no no under Data Protection laws (at least the current ones, not sure what May & friends is going to do once they're free of the clutches of the ECJ).

        1. King Jack Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: not sure what May & friends is going to do once they're free of the clutches of the ECJ

          They will embrace it and probably pass a law to make it compulsory to use Windows 10. They will demand access to all the data M$hit collects. Governments of the 21st century want this.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: not sure what May & friends is going to do once they're free of the clutches of the ECJ

            >They will demand access to all the data M$hit collects.

            I thought the relevant US and UK government agencies were already in on the deal and were only keeping quiet as MS takes the flack...

            I think it can also be argued that MS with Windows and it's bundled communications tools, is a Communications Service Provider, as defined by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016...

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: BongoJoe

          But then the NSA and the CIA would be cross with them. And experience shows that isn't good for your business. (Or your health).

    4. Ole Juul Silver badge

      owner

      "Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?"

      Owner? You mean Microsoft?

    5. ShaolinTurbo

      T

      he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy..

      1. Triggerfish

        @ ShaolinTurbo

        Policies written by companies do not trump national laws, see Apple and Apple care in Europe.

        1. Hargrove

          Re: @ ShaolinTurbo

          Policies written by companies do not trump national laws, see Apple and Apple care in Europe.

          The problem is that lawyers are, all too often, unprincipled, sociopathic bastards, and, at least in the US in some cases the legislators and judges who craft and interpret the law.

          We here in the US are up to our proverbials with service and sales agreements whose terms and conditions require the customer to waive all manner of basic rights. Where information is concerned the T&C of the agreement generally incorporate the privacy policy by reference.

          The Agreement is a legal document, whose sanctity is protected by the best laws money can buy. (See first paragraph.). Whether or not it is a legally-binding document is a complex question.

          I am not a lawyer (although I've been accused of being fully qualified--Again, see para 1.). But in my checkered career I did get a fair amount of formal training in contracting. According to what I was taught, a valid legal contract must meet three essential requirements: A balanced quid-pro-quo (both parties receive comparable value), a meeting of the minds (that is a common understanding of the terms and conditions of the contract, and an uncoerced agreement (that is the stronger party cannot compel the weaker party to accept unfavorable T&Cs against their will.)

          I am personally skeptical that anything like a valid contract can exist between an individual or small business and a large corporation or a government, particularly when it comes to something as complicated as Software as a Service. Fortunately, at least in the US we have very clear de facto rules as to when such agreements are considered legally enforceable.

          1. Are you the IT provider? If yes, the Agreement is a contract and any and all rights claimed or asserted are protected by the full power of government.

          2. If no, are the customer? If yes, you can seek justice in the court, which will confirm that you are in a legal state of WTTF (Well and truly f---ed) that is to say, powerless, bankrupt, homeless, and with a rich lawyer who will refuse to return your calls

          The IT sector is not alone. This problem is pervasive in virtually all aspects of American life. The frustration of being powerless drove the election of President Trump, with the unspoken hope of breaking the government so badly that it would have to be fixed. So far, so good.

          1. Toni the terrible
            Happy

            Re: @ ShaolinTurbo

            That is the only reason I have heard which justifies Trump, as an agent of Chaos/Anarchy, who knows it just might work

      2. Jeroen Braamhaar

        I always understood that a privacy policy was something that assured your privacy was kept, not taken away.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "I always understood that a privacy policy was something that assured your privacy was kept, not taken away."

          You thought wrong. A privacy policy is a vendor's self-justification for however much of your privacy they take away

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            A privacy policy is a vendor's self-justification for however much of your privacy they take away

            A modest rewriting and we have Syntax' law.

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          Unfortunately that turns out to be a misunderstanding, not an understanding.

      3. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

        In a lot of cases, the owner didn't even agree to install Win10...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

          I was at the dentist the other day and noticed their system was running on Win10.

          What assurances do I have that my medical records are not currently being shown on some screen in Redmond, and how is it that this *ISN'T TOTALLY ILLEGAL !!*??

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

            "What assurances do I have that my medical records are not currently being shown on some screen in Redmond?"

            Well, you do have an assurance that your medical records are currently being stored on some server in Redmond... and on a few others belonging to the NSA. (Just in case they ever want to look you up, indict you, frame you, blackmail you...)

            "... and how is it that this *ISN'T TOTALLY ILLEGAL !!*??"

            That's slightly harder to explain. The simplest way I can put it is this: It's what the US government wants, and therefore it doesn't matter whether it's totally illegal under anyone else's laws.

            1. Updraft102 Silver badge

              Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

              "It's what the US government wants, and therefore it doesn't matter whether it's totally illegal under anyone else's laws."

              Or their own...

          2. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: At the dentist

            Golly, I had not thought of that. My data is on other peoples Windows 10 computers. If it crashes the computer then Microsoft get to look at it.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: At the dentist

              Interestingly that will most certainly make Microsoft engineers criminals in the UK. If someone has pictures of their kids in the bath and the photo app crashes, an MS engineer consequently reviews the app crash and views the photo, that instantly falls foul of UK child porno laws. Worse so if they then notify their line manager, they also become complicit. Did they get auth from the privacy team? They too are complicit.

              This is just plain fucking stupid. Under no circumstances should MS be getting my documents or files.

              1. Wayland Bronze badge

                Re: At the dentist

                The law does not apply to people with power over us. MS is a big corporation and therefore as good as government in this fascist world. They can look at as much child porn as they want as long as it's corporate policy. However if we complain that they are looking at photos of our children in the bath then we have broken the law. It's all taken care of.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: At the dentist

              " If it crashes the computer then Microsoft get to look at it."

              They get to look it at in every case as all of it is slurped to Redmont, "just in case".

              Everything to the level of single key presses (to steal your passwords and logins, of course).

              No hacking needed by NSA when they already know all of your login details.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

            "how is it that this *ISN'T TOTALLY ILLEGAL !!*??"

            It is. But MS own DoJ so they don't care at all: Anything MS slurps will benefit NSA and FBI.

        2. BongoJoe Silver badge

          Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

          I asked because the owner of the document need not have written it on a Windows machine (think CSV files for the simplest example) and well have been created by someone else.

          That document gets sent to someone else whose machine then posts it to Redmond completely without the owner's knowledge or permission.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

            @BongoJoe

            Precisely. I own very few of the documents I work on; they belong to the authors of those documents. I merely manipulate them so that they can be handed off to a bureau for film, or more often these days for printing direct to press. It's worth noting that the documents I hand off don't belong to the bureau either.

            1. BongoJoe Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: "T he owner of the documents agreed to the privacy policy.." (sic)

              Precisely. I own very few of the documents I work on; they belong to the authors of those documents. I merely manipulate them so that they can be handed off to a bureau for film, or more often these days for printing direct to press. It's worth noting that the documents I hand off don't belong to the bureau either.

              I produce .docx documents each night. Or, rather my applications which I have written do. I have a load of code written in Visual Studio 6 running on a series of XP machines. I use Word 2007, via COM, to write the documents as a report generator tool. Each day there could be around eight or nine documents containing about 150 pages each of proprietry data.

              My data.

              Using a version of Visual Studio which I haven't given up any rights to the data it produces, on an operating system which is still 'mine' and doesn't have these new, fancy arrangements with Microsoft as to whom owns what or when it can be updated (actually being 'obselete' avoids this particular headache) and I am sure that under the terms of Office 2007 I still own the rights to the data that I create.

              Now, from what I understand about copyright law it's quite simple. I own the data within the document but when I send someone the report the document is theirs but the contents are still mine. And they have no rights to distribute the data whatsoever without my express permission, particularly to republish the data.

              So, when my customer has a machine crash on a Windows 10 machine and they are sending up the data, perhaps without either knowledge or understanding, they are effectively publishing my data (which is similar to where the legal issues of torrenting comes in, for example). Now, is here that is my customer breaking copyright law is the first question but the second question, which is undoubtably a resounding Yes is Microsoft doing the same having written the code expressly for this purpose.

              Note as the copyright owner of the information within the document I haven't given any permission for this data to be transmitted at all. Yes, I know that under copyright laws the data within the document is mine but the document itself (the container, if you like) now belongs to the customer. So, legally, if the document is to be uploaded to Redmond then all the data should be stripped along with the meta-data and the be sent as a zero byte file.

              Anything else has to be simply be copyright theft. I can't see it any other way because to assume that every document read or worked on on a Windows 10 machine was created on that same machine is utterly preposterous.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Irrelevant as no user can agree to criminal acts legally. And it's painfully obvious that W10 is against GDPR at every aspect of it: Whole goal of W10 is "no privacy at all, who cares about laws".

    6. steve 124

      creepy doesn't begin...

      That one line is the one that really made me shake my head and say aloud "See? THAT is why this will never be on my machine"!

      The "Creator" (God?) patch eh? Megalomaniac much Microslurp?

      1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

        Re: creepy doesn't begin...

        "CreatorS" update.

    7. aeio_

      "Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?"

      You misunderstand. The process FITS INTO the OWNER of the document, if you know what I mean.

      Besides, it's only some random data, even if it IS yours. Who cares -- right?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The document only get sent if you choose to send all your data.

      I always have left all this turned on, as I have no care if my documents are used to fix something. Or if my personal habits are used to improve products...

      What would bother me was if my data was used to build personal profiles and then sold to advertisers. Hence I try not to use anything made by Google...

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        I always have left all this turned on, as I have no care if my documents are used to fix something. Or if my personal habits are used to improve products...

        What would bother me was if my data was used to build personal profiles and then sold to advertisers. Hence I try not to use anything made by Google...

        Hilarious!

      2. Reg Sim

        "What would bother me was if my data was used to build personal profiles and then sold to advertisers. Hence I try not to use anything made by Google..."

        This is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard as a defence of windows 10 mining all your data with out your explicit permission or a way to opt out. Did you also not notice the bit about allowing other people to log into your computer remotely with our your permission... I am quite sure google doesn't (at the moment).

        If you want a tool to help it stop, grab Anti-beacon software from safer-networking the folks who make Spybot Search & Destroy.... and even then minor updates from Microsoft reset some of your settings to allow telemetry.

        I would like to see a full investigation into MS's conduct (by the EU Data Protection Commissioner) and some hot fiery coals for them to tread so they don't try to do it again.

    9. Chemical Bob Bronze badge

      "Where does the owner of the document fit into this process?"

      It ain't where the owner fits, it's where does the probe fit and how much Vaseline is needed.

    10. VulcanV5
      Unhappy

      'Owner'???

      As far as Mr Nadella is concerned, the words 'owner' and 'Microsoft' are synonymous.

      As far as Microsoft is concerned, the words 'user' and 'addict' are synonymous.

      And an addict obviously has no say in the quality of the supply nor in the practices of the supplier.

  2. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Mushroom

    MS sure has an interesting definition of 'privacy' ...

    says Marisa Rogers, the Windows and Devices group privacy officer.

    "The Windows 10 Creators Update is a significant step forward, but by no means the end of our journey," she said.

    ...where the "step forward" is into the abyss Wile E. Coyote style, and the end of this journey is being of course, to be relegated to the history books as soon possible.

    1. Meph
      Black Helicopters

      Re: MS sure has an interesting definition of 'privacy' ...

      @Jeroen Braamhaar

      There's one small problem with this. Considering the market share currently enjoyed by MS as desktop OS and business software supplier of choice, the cost of moving from a Microsoft dominated technical architecture would be astronomical. You may well find that some tier 1 governments consider MS as "too big to fail".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why can they not grasp

    the simple principal of an OFF switch!!!!

    The reasons to NOT move to 10 just keep on coming. Hell, even windows 8 looks like a better proposition when January 2020 comes..

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

      The obvious way for Microsoft to deal with your dissatisfaction with their newer operating systems is to back port full telemetry to their earlier offerings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

        No, the revenge will be full telemetry or security updates - you will choose.

        That's the problem with W10 being effectively a platform as a servive

      2. ShaolinTurbo

        Re: I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

        They did do that, the good thing is you can hack it off. But you cant in 10..

      3. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

        Thay already have with Windows 7. Beacon and Shutup10 turn it off. I hope...

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

          You can set the diagtrack service to Disabled in services.msc, or remove it completely with sc delete diagtrack.

          In services.msc, you will find it under DIagnostic Tracking Service or something like that. There will be a few DIagnostic this or thats, but the one you are looking for is called diagtrack as the service name.

          There are also a number of scheduled tasks you may want to delete that collect data for diagtrack... I don't have the list handy, but it's out there for the Googling (be careful here; standard disclaimers apply).

      4. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: I am certain Microsoft have a reasonable understanding of how you feel

        Oh, they're working quite hard to make sure Win 7 and 8.1 have full telemetry backported, but we still do have a choice. The security only updates that are issued each month don't have the telemetry, while the Security Quality Rollups do. I presume the only reason they still do this is that they are obliged to by past commitments, so these should remain viable for the full six years of life left in 8.1 and the full three left in 7.

        If not, you can always "sc delete diagtrack" at the command line and remove the telemetry service from 7 and 8.1. It's just tacked on by an update, not built in, and removing it reportedly causes no problems at all (for the user). I don't know, as I've been using the security-only updates ever since the rollups got the spyware.

        Interestingly, MS keeps trying to push the discrete spyware updates out to me also. I've been screening updates one by one since there have been Windows updates, and I'm sure not going to stop now,

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      Simple. They FULLY grasp the concept of a CAPTIVE MARKET, as most people are held hostage by their applications which have no acceptable substitutes. Especially people like enterprises with custom jobs (meaning jumping risks them going under in the attempt) or gamers (just compare the compatibility lists, especially for newer games; they simply DO NOT compare).

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Why can they not grasp

        >They FULLY grasp the concept of a CAPTIVE MARKET,

        No they don't or they wouldn't have pissed away billions on Windows Mobile. Sad when they buy Minecraft and yet even the developer is no longer making app updates for WM.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad".

    4. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      Indeed... I've already migrated to Windows 8.1. It takes some aftermarket tools and tweaking, but it can be made to be very decent in terms of UI... far better than Windows 10 can be, modified or not, and quite close to Windows 7-- no apps, no tiles, Metro reduced to a rarity (work continues on excising it completely), even a return to Aero transparency if that's what you want.

      For all of the much-deserved criticism of 8 and its bizarre dual-mode interface, it becomes apparent that it's just classic Windows with some Metro crap tacked on, and you can get along just fine with that stuff blocked, worked-around, or removed.

      It used to be that if you do anything Metro, you get catapulted back to the Metro mode, and that you started in Metro at boot time... well, Classic Shell and 8.1 itself both delivered the ability to boot to the desktop, and if you remove all references to apps so that they never run (or take the added step of eradicating them completely as I have, with no ill effects), you'll be in desktop all the time. Classic Shell will kill the hot corners that trigger the worthless charms, and you're left with a desktop that is largely free of Metro ugliness.

      The only Metro-themed bits I still see are the Windows login screen, the Ctrl-Alt-Del menu, and the "these programs are preventing Windows from shutting down" screen. They're plain white text on a background color of my choosing (I chose a blue color that closely matches the blue in my custom theme). The default "choose a wireless network" dialog is in the same style, but I've bypassed that by using the Intel ProSet network manager that comes with the driver instead.

      There are all kinds of things you can do to eradicate the Metro taint of Windows 8... in day to day use, it's simply not there except for the short time I am entering my login password or telling Windows to go ahead and shut down all these programs to sign off.

      Full-screen menus with text on a blue background replacing full-screen menus in the blue aero-ish Windows 7 theme are less objectionable to me than the Settings App in Windows 10 (which exists also in Win 8... but in 8, I can ignore it and use Control Panel instead. MS has taken that option away in 10, given that their latest hobby is taking options away, so you can't get away with ignoring the Settings in 10, or any of the other random areas they seemed to randomly sprinkle UWP badness into the OS.

      Win 8.1 has a few minor improvements over 7, but I would not go as far as some of my fellow Win 7-appreciating compatriots in saying that modified 8.1 can be better than 7. I'd say it can be almost as good, but I place heavy weight on the quality and consistency of the UI.

      Functionally, it has a few advantages above 7. It seems a little snappier, boots faster, shuts down faster, has better file copy/filename collision dialogs, supposedly better SSD optimization, better/much faster CHKDSK that so far has never needed a reboot to perform repairs, less aggressive file locking semantics (Win 7 often left files locked long after the program that locked them was closed), and some other stuff I am sure I'm forgetting. It's stable as a rock... no crashes, no hangs, no bluescreens.

      I am a UI purist... so much so that the disjointed half-phone, half-PC UI of Windows 10 is almost as big an objection as the forced updates and the spying. Even so, after having given 8.1 a try (with a triple boot, Win 7/Win 8.1/Linux Mint setup), I decided that I could live in 8.1 as my fulltime Windows, and I've willingly made the jump three years before I really have to give up 7. Modified 8.1 is good enough that I didn't feel the need to wait. (Of course, I still do have my Win 7 system images, "just in case", but I am fanatical about backups and backups of backups).

    5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      Why can they not grasp the simple principal of an OFF switch!!!!

      Oh, they grasp it just fine. They just choose not to provide one.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      principle

    7. jack d
      Headmaster

      Re: Why can they not grasp

      Isn't windows 8 today, after all updates since its launch, on the same level of illegal data slurping as its younger bastard? For once in my life, having recently bought my new laptop, I very diligently read the whole win 10 EULA. And since I did not agree to it and my greatest desire being not to offend anyone in Redmond, I deleted win 10 and use ubuntu.

  4. MrDamage

    I thought

    That they were trying to come up with reasons for people to move from Win7 to Win10, not reasons for people to never install a version of Windows newer than Win7.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: I thought

      There is a real problem with that.

      On a 3 year replacement cycle then we ought to have a replacement for Win7 by now to be moving to. We haven't got that alternative, and Microsoft seems viciously opposed to maintaining their OS monopoly by renaming Win7 to WinClassic and offering it for £1 p/m on a subscription basis with bug fixes out to ~2100.

      Originally, mainframes dominated. These were destroyed by the cheaper client/server wintel alternative. We are now headed back to a mainframe style environment with the "cloud" largely as a result of everything being priced to a point where it's cheaper to go with the cloud than buy the desktop software because the prices keep getting jacked up.

      I do wonder if the next move is going to be back to a client/server model to eliminate constantly increasing licensing costs. When you think about it, I could probably move about 60% of my staff to running on Rasberry PI's running Nix with OpenOffice right now given how even CMS's are accessed by webbrowser these days. The equipment cost is a tenth that of a desktop with basically no licensing fees and honestly the latest generation pi's are probably faster than the desktops staff had a decade ago. The biggest problem is availability of software.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I thought

        "The biggest problem is availability of software."

        That's where Microsoft gets you. They've dominated the OS atmosphere for so long that most software has no viable substitutes outside Windows. Combine this with hardware ONLY supported in Windows and you've got the recipe for a captive market. Now they're trying to pull everyone into the repeat business of a subscription model, using all the Windows lockdown as hostages.

        1. Adair

          Re: I thought

          @Charles9 - 'They've dominated the OS atmosphere for so long that most software has no viable substitutes outside Windows.'

          I'd argue that this is, in a large proportion of cases, a bullshit statement. While there are some use cases where the only viable software has only ever been written for the Windows platform, for a very large proportion of use cases the wheel has definitely been reinvented elsewhere. The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change. 'Change', that thing too many of us are very bad at.

          Instead of exploring, learning, adapting, even doing something new from scratch (perish the thought) we become 'Whiners'.

          The whiner always seems to want the new to be the same as the old: 'Why isn't <software/app/car/nation I'm not used to> like <preferred software/app/car/nation>; <unfamiliar x> is crap! In fact this is the whiner's justification/smokescreen for their own refusal to put any effort in. They want life handed to them on a plate because they are too stupid/lazy/arrogant to shift themselves. Such creatures generally ensure their own extinction earlier than might otherwise have occurred.

          Having had my little rant, I will cheerfully admit that in some instances there are grievous gaps in the software libraries of other OS's, but that applies across the board.

          1. Patrician

            Re: I thought

            Please show me how to play Mass Effect:Andromeda on anything other than Windows without jumping through stupidly complicated hoops that may result in a running game but with much reduced performance? Same for Fallout 4, Witcher 3 and the list goes on and on. No other OS is a viable option as a gaming OS unfortunately.

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: I thought

              When did playing some childish game become a reason for making a committal decision that could destroy your privacy and eventually cost you a lot of money?

              1. steve 124

                Re: I thought

                I agree completely with this statement. I use my computer for many other things than gaming (although I am an avid gamer too).

                I have no started hitting DX12 "only" walls yet but I'm sure it's coming. When I do, I will likely dual boot W7 for everything else and W10 for games (after removing any external drives and denying read writes on my network shares).

                I also block all incoming/outgoing traffic to the rather large list of M$ telemetry server IP addresses through my hardware firewall, and I try to update that whenever possible.

                I'm quite sure W10 would still be a little "leaky" since I can't be 100% sure the list is complete, but at least if W10 talks in this scenario it can only report on itself and a few video games.

                Cortana shall never glimpse my shares. Ever.

              2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I thought

                "When did playing some childish game become a reason for making a committal decision that could destroy your privacy and eventually cost you a lot of money?"

                Some people play games for a living. Think professional gaming clans. If they need to earn their daily bread by competing in Overwatch, guess what that means for their rigs?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I thought

                  Odd points but OP states Mass Effect:Andromeda, Fallout 4 and Witcher 3. Except they are all single player campaigns.

                  Unless OP also plays other competitive games or just does streaming or has a youtube channel, then he or she could be playing games for a living. Then again, if he or she does any of the above, he or she probably has a few consoles and likely not care if their desktop is Windows 10 until it does something stupid (hint: Steam's survey showed that Windows 7 slightly increased in the past months).

                  1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                    Re: I thought

                    Then you purchase two PCs. One PC is a gaming rig with W10, it has nothing but games. No financial, work, documents, pictures, phone sync or web surfing occurs on that machine. Games are purchased elsewhere and installed, work is stored elsewhere, the logons have NO rights to NAS or shared resources on your network. It plays games that is all.

                    You have a second machine and put Linux on it. This cheaper second machine is your workhorse, it does everything EXCEPT play games.

                    1. Shadowmanx2012
                      Thumb Up

                      Re: I thought

                      Way ahead of you there! Have had two machines ever since I could afford to and for exactly that reason!

                  2. soulrideruk Bronze badge

                    Re: I thought

                    Back that up with facts, because from the page itself, I call you a liar:

                    Windows 10 64 bit 50.15% +2.44%

                    Windows 7 64 bit 29.97% -1.44%

                    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

                2. hplasm Silver badge
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: I thought

                  "Some people play games for a living."

                  Lucky them. I bet they don't mind MS seeing their scores.

                  Your point?

              3. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: I thought

                "When did playing some childish game become a reason for making a committal decision that could destroy your privacy and eventually cost you a lot of money?"

                Since games were available on computers?

                1. badger31

                  Re: I thought

                  @TheVogon

                  Um ... no. I don't recall Pong phoning home, or even E.T. for that matter. [did you see what I did there?]

                  Even the last console I owned (PSP) had internet connectivity, but I don't think it sent info back to Sony (unless logged into PSN, I suppose)

              4. Patrician

                Re: I thought

                The point is that if "playing some childish game" is what the PC user want's to do on their machine (and it's not your place to decide what a user should and shouldn't do on their PC, not everyone wants to use their PC just for "office work". Many want to use it for entertainment too) then they have no choice but to use Windows.

                Linux at this point in time is not a viable alternative.

            2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: I thought

              @Patrician Please show me how to play Mass Effect:Andromeda on anything other than Windows

              This thread started with a post saying "I could probably move about 60% of my staff to running on Raspberry PI's running Nix with OpenOffice". I don't know what business the OP is in, but I'd be surprised if it involves an office full of people playing Mass Effect:Andromeda.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I thought

                It is if you're running a gaming center. Not that common in the weat, but check out the far east.

              2. Adam 52 Silver badge

                Re: I thought

                I posted a list of software that I use that requires Windows (or a Mac) a few months ago. You always get some armchair pundit without a clue who thinks that GIMP is a suitable replacement for Photoshop or Postgres for SQL Server Analysis Services.

                Not that Adobe's privacy policy is any better than Microsoft's, of course.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I thought

                  "... GIMP is a suitable replacement for Photoshop or Postgres for SQL Server Analysis Services."

                  Depends what you do and claiming it's irrelevant puts commenter firmly in 'armchair pundit'-category.

                  SQL Server isn't anything special by itself and can be replaced with MariaDB or PostgreSQL in 10 minutes, no-one will notice. Some service on top of it might be a bit harder but those aren't tied to the database underneath except for commercial reasons. It's not hard to find an extreme case where using OS, any OS, is mandatory. But claiming it's the norm, is a lie.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: I thought

                    AC, your input is welcome & valid ... But you're trying to pick up on conversations that were happening over half a year ago. Many of the folks you are replying to probably don't even read here anymore. Just a friendly heads-up; carry on.

            3. Jeroen Braamhaar

              Re: I thought

              You can always go to the other locked down, no choices-but-their-choice computing device: the games console.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I thought

                Microsoft owns one of them, so that's not an option. Plus for professional gamers, consoles are not an option because most games separate players by platform due to control differences (Blizzard has explicitly stated this is the case with Overwatch). That's why, unless the game is exclusive to consoles, professional gaming leagues stick to PCs, and since most PC games are Windows-ONLY, guess where that leaves them?

            4. ubiquitous1980

              Re: I thought

              You have conflated the "having fun by gaming" use-case with those specific game titles. By being relatively inelastic (see economic theory), the costs can be higher much like is the case in other areas of life where people are relatively inelastic and won't seek substitutes.

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I thought

              "...as a gaming OS unfortunately."

              Logical fallacy here: Of course Windows games aren't available to other OSes.

              But multiplatform games are, so no such thing as 'gaming OS' exists: Some games are available on some platforms and some other games are available to some other platforms: Same situation as in console games with divided market.

          2. nijam Silver badge

            Re: I thought

            > I'd argue that this is, in a large proportion of cases, a bullshit statement.

            It's not bullshit, it's Microsoft marketing... Oh, wait...

          3. LDS Silver badge

            "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

            No, often the problem is exactly the lack of alternatives. A software that "somewhat looks to have almost the same features" is not an alternative. In a business environment, changes are evaluated against costs. If a "change" means higher sw/hw costs, more time spent for a given task, lower quality, compatibility and interoperability issues, retraining costs, etc. the change is obviously "bad".

            Then there's custom software written for Windows only, and which is simply too expensive to rewrite for a different platform.

            For example my small personal example, I have a large number of RAW images which are managed, processed and printed in Lightroom. I could switch to macOS (but look at the state of Mac Pros, and their costs), but I won't switch to any platform for which Lightroom is not available natively because I really have nor the will nor the time to re-process thousands of images from scratch again.

            I'm not saying nor Windows nor Lightroom are the "best choice" - just it's what I deemed a "good one" years ago, and now the investment is simply too large to allow for an easy change.

            And in many similar ways, I guess many business have similar situations. MS knows this and is trying to exploit it - I hope eventually it will be unsuccessful, and real alternatives arise - but developing alternatives is expensive too.

            "Whiners" are also those who spend too much time telling others they have to switch to <put your preferred software here>, and can't understand why they may not want to switch to the obviously perfect choice they made - of course under completely different conditions...

            1. Adair

              Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

              @LDS

              There you have stated perfectly the tarpit that proprietary software offers to its customers/victims.

              You made the best choice you could at the time you made it, but now (partly because, perfectly sensibly, you have stuck with 'what works', both economically and productively) you now find yourself facing a very difficult predicament. You are literally trapped.

              There's no point whining about it; you/we have to suck it up, unless we set in motion a process, however painful and costly, of extricating ourselves from the situation so that we are 'free' of the clutches of an agent who, benignly or otherwise, has us over a barrel.

              FOSS, whatever its drawbacks, and like everything else it certainly has them, at least offers the possibility, and the opportunity to get the job done out from under the control of an irresponsible self-serving entity. But there's that 'change' thing, and the whining sound of those who will die, or pay and pay and pay... rather than do that.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "There you have stated perfectly the tarpit that proprietary software "

                The issue is that "proprietary" software is often the only solution which gives you the features you need. There weren't, and there aren't, any "unproprietary" software solutions that matches my need.

                Nor GIMP nor Darktable could and still can deliver the functionalities I need with the quality I need. And let's not speak about the availability of third party plug-ins...

                Paying is not an issue. For me it's perfectly fine to pay someone else work as long as it does what I need and the price is acceptable for me, just like I'm paid for my work. I don't believe people should give away their work for free - especially when they ask your privacy in exchange, like MS, Google & C: are doing.

                Unluckily "unproprietary" software for its nature, is often developed too slowly and by amateurs in their free time. And again, I have nor the time nor the will to develop the features I need myself - nor to look for someone competent enough to develop them for me, and I guess what I pay for Lightroom is really not enough to have custom development, testing, etc.

                Sure, there are some huge projects backed by large companies with fully dedicated developers to suit their own interests, but they are often the exception, not the norm.

                Add to that that nor my camera, nor my printer, nor my color profiling device software natively support Linux or BSD - which I guess are the FOSS you're referring too. Thereby, there are several situations when FOSS doesn't really deliver you anything you need, nor anything better, sorry. FOSS it's just a different way to develop software, wit its advantages and disadvantages, not the solution to all the world issues.

                Thereby the choice is to be stuck into "proprietary" software, or be stuck into an endless chase of some god-knows-what "unproprietary" software to deliver the some of the functionalities, hoping it's not abandoned by their irresponsible developers tired of playing with it, and you need to start again from scratch with a different one...

                Thereby, instead of philosophizing about FOSS in a generic way - it's far too easy - feel free to propose truly acceptable alternatives - especially those which were available years ago (to avoid the "tarpit"), and don't require to rework everything from scratch. Otherwise, yours is just a non sequitur.

                1. Adair

                  Re: "There you have stated perfectly the tarpit that proprietary software "

                  @LDS

                  Let's be clear, both 'proprietary' and 'FOSS' have their place, and there is no reason why FOSS can't be 'paid for'---'free as in beer' is not obligatory; just as proprietary software can be offered, and frequently is, for free---as in 'no financial charge'.

                  The problem is our mentality and attitude. I would also pay for a service I need, and I do, when I have established that I am not going to be screwed over or held hostage more than I am willing to be. As a result I long ago abandoned the 'services' that asked more than I was willing to sacrifice, either in freedom or in money, and have found other ways of achieving my ends. In a few cases I have just had to accept that there are things I cannot do, I can't say I miss them.

                  The thing is, in a commercial environment businesses often can forge their own way, unencumbered by grasping and idiotic third part solutions, but it takes a real vision and determination to leave the herd and retain some kind of integrity. Sometimes it is impossible, but too often the problem is lack of vision, lack of integrity, and a simple desire to 'make money' above all else---and we all live with the results, repeatedly.

              2. soulrideruk Bronze badge

                Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

                FOSS is not some magic cure all.

                There is no decent FOSS to replace the professional commercial software I buy, and why is that?

                Maybe because the professional commerical software is able to pay developers, and produce 100% focused on the project work, as opposed to people who do it when they have time and possibly aren't really invested in the outcome.

                The real problem with FOSS is management by community. The Linux kernel works because of Linus, once he's gone and it descends into managment by the community, we'll see how quickly wars and arguments tear the thing apart.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

                  "Maybe because the professional commerical software is able to pay developers, and produce 100% focused on the project work, as opposed to people who do it when they have time and possibly aren't really invested in the outcome."

                  Bullshit. Ordinary company is not in business of making good software, it's in business for _making money_.

                  Especially applies to proprietary software when there aren't competitors, like MS: They haven't been able to invent anything new (and _good_) since XP. Obviously because the money has channeled to profits and most of the bright guys have left long ago.

                  OSS-companies (yes they do exist) are mostly offering software as a service, therefore focusing more to the actual product quality instead of maximizing profits in this quarter.

                  Commenter obviously haven't noticed the amount (and sudden death) of myriad of Windows-versions when he talks about era after Linus: MS is doing as has been doing exactly that, except 10 times faster.

            2. julian.smith

              Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

              Your "small personal example" is totally unrepresentative of most computer users software requirements.

              Our family's are almost totally met by Linux Mint

              I keep a single WIN8.1 computer [nailed down, no updates] for audio visual as Windows supports "bit perfect" audio [WASAPI] a lot more easily than Linux

              1. Wayland Bronze badge

                Re: Windows supports "bit perfect" audio [WASAPI]

                You were doing so well with your Linux Mint but then you totally contradict your statement about his "small personal example". The fact is I feel my "personal example" is average size as I expect is yours; Windows supports "bit perfect" audio [WASAPI], whatever that is, it's important enough to you that you keep a Windows machine

                Each person has their own reason for keeping Windows. It's not what mostly works on Linux Mint but what only works on Windows which is the problem.

                Some things work with no effort on Linux but other things work with a bit of effort like using WINE and other things just don't work well enough to ditch Windows.

            3. HwBoffin

              Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

              As someone once told me :

              You may price your software up to the point where is just cheaper to change to the alternative.

              So yes, the cost of software change isn't only the cost of the money paid to the creator, but the added cost of moving / recreating the data.

              And this is why I have this obsession about having my data in an open format.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change"

              " In a business environment, changes are evaluated against costs"

              Typically costs for changing in this quarter or, if long term, this year. Estimated by same consultants who sold the current system, of course.

              Long term licensing cost accumulates very, very fast while teaching users is a one-time cost. Obvious reason to migrate away from anything MS provides or anything with monthly fee.

              It's funny logic where saving money somewhere else justifies simpler tools but in IT you have to have a Microsoft behemoth regardless of the amount of features actually used or yearly cost.

              And frankly, I rather have a large one time cost instead of smaller yearly cost. That's how it's evaluated in long term.

              Also: I haven't yet seen anyone who can't use OpenOffice if they've been able to use MS Office, so the cost of change is usually orders of magnitude less than consults tell you.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I thought

            "for a very large proportion of use cases the wheel has definitely been reinvented elsewhere"

            But such "wheels" tend to be vastly inferior copies of products that people use on Windows and tend to cost more to support and integrate. Usability is one of the reasons cited by Munich in their plans to ditch Linux and return to Windows...

            1. hplasm Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: I thought

              "...Munich in their plans to ditch Linux and return to Windows..."

              Citation needed...

              1. JasonT
                Meh

                Re: I thought

                http://www.techrepublic.com/article/linux-pioneer-munich-poised-to-ditch-open-source-and-return-to-windows/

          5. ubiquitous1980

            Re: I thought

            Good points...some fail to appreciate use-cases vs. software titles. I recently published a video on this exact topic on YouTube. You can find it by searching for the user "nixuser1980". Photo editing does not automatically equate to Photoshop; however, people seem to need a reminder.

          6. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: The problem is lack of will to change.

            "The problem isn't lack of software alternatives, the problem is lack of will to change. 'Change', that thing too many of us are very bad at."

            Change is risky and costs money. It's like buying a new computer because the old one has become too slow. Major disruption until everything is settled down and you can enjoy the regained speed that you had when the old computer was new.

            Also it's never been that _most programs don't work on Linux_ it's the _key_ programs which you need that don't work on Linux. For instance I am on Linux right now and although most MS Office functions are catered for by Libre Office and most of MS Office runs on WINE MS Access has no Linux alternatives.

            Yes the same thing can be accomplished in an entirely different way in Linux but the investment in business critical applications going back 27 years makes it a huge challenge.

            1. Number6

              Re: The problem is lack of will to change.

              Also it's never been that _most programs don't work on Linux_ it's the _key_ programs which you need that don't work on Linux. For instance I am on Linux right now and although most MS Office functions are catered for by Libre Office and most of MS Office runs on WINE MS Access has no Linux alternatives.

              Yes, this. I'm at the point where if one of a couple of vendors would port their stuff to Linux I'd have Windows off my laptop as soon as I'd exported the critical application settings. Given that it's techie software, I doubt if I'd be the only one.

              Obviously that's unlikely to happen with Access, but then the only interaction I've ever had with that was to port something off of it onto MySQL.

          7. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: I thought @Adair

            Whilst it is quite true that there is representative software that runs on Open Source operating systems, it is not one-for-one compatible.

            Don't get me wrong, I'm an Open Source advocate, and have been for a long time, but Open Source application software is often only as good as the time and effort it's writers put into it, and this is often not enough to make it completely functionally equivalent to commercial software, This leads to interoperabillity problems.

            Now, for ordinary individuals or SMBs, that is probably OK, but just wait until you engage with another organization that is still wedded to commercial software. and you can suddenly find that for some application types, the fact that a document does not render quite right, or the macros that are used either error, don't work at all, or produce the wrong result, and it becomes a serious issue, possibly risking the viability of the business. This is why most organizations toe the line, and use the dominant offerings.

            Big businesses like the control that is available via things like Active Directory, and often Open Source alternatives do not have anything like group policies that make marshaling large estates of desktop PCs easier, and that's ignoring cloud-based modern applications.

            And then you have the bespoke applications that are specific to certain technologies. If they are only available on Windows, you have no choice (and please don't talk about emulation - its unlikely to be supported by the vendor and it's fraught with problems, and VMs are a sop that still encourages locked-in application/OS links).

            What we actually need, and I've said this over and over again, is for application writers to realize that an Open Source OS does not necessarily mean Open Source applications. Commercial software can be delivered on Linux without having to open up the application source (as long as you abide by the LGPL). But we need either a standardized or dominant Linux environment, so that the Linux support requirements are affordable to software companies. That's just not happening, and the landscape is getting poorer (see the Canonical news about reducing ambitions over the last few days).

            The Linux community is, unfortunately, letting the very opportunity offered by unpalatable licensing conditions in other application platforms slip through their fingers. The best we can hope for at this time is something like the Chromebook model to provide an alternative, but in a toss up between the New Microsoft and Google, With these choices, I'll take the third option, almost without regard to what it is.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: I thought @Adair

              Many years ago I was looking at converting to Linux on the desktop at a company I worked for. The big sticking point was AutoCAD. Yeah, there are other CAD programs, but AutoCAD is the industry standard, and being able to dependably read/write its file format is a hard requirement. (And no, it didn't run under Wine. I tried.)

              The situation with centralized administration for Linux is actually kind of ironic, because it's hamstrung by its own history. It's never had to have modern tools for centrally managing accounts and policy, because there have always been legacy *nix tools that could be pressed into service. But it makes everything much more of a roll-your-own adventure; it's always, "well, here are five tools, each of which does a piece of what you want; now just configure them all individually and write your own scripts to weld them together." It keeps me employed, but I can't honestly say it stacks up to a unified Active Directory system at enterprise scales.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I thought @Adair

                "... stacks up to a unified Active Directory system at enterprise scales."

                Ever heard about LDAP?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no edge cases for MS

    I am not really a Windows user (always VMs), but recently I had to go back to it to make a desktop app with c#.

    My client bought me a boring dell desktop and it has a factory install of windows 10. The main idea is for testing, but its good enough to do the dev on it too.

    It is a development app that belongs to my client and at this stage i am not a registered windows developer.

    If MS want to look at what's installed or even what i browse on this work machine, it is not going embarrass me, but if they want to breach my contracts for me, then that can make things difficult.

    The article suggests i don't have too much to worry about, but still its the concept of "your data belongs to us, even when its not your data" ... kinda like the issue with the US border people.

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: no edge cases for MS

      "... kinda like the issue with the US border people".

      Gee, I wonder if there could be some kind of common factor at work here?

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: no edge cases for MS

      "If MS want to look at what's installed or even what i browse on this work machine, it is not going embarrass me"

      Most of this stuff doesn't apply to business versions of Windows...

      1. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Most of this stuff doesn't apply to business versions of Windows...

        Really? So why don't we all just buy the business versions then?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just wish I could completely turn off Google Analytics and avoid being treated like Alphabet's guinea pig.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have huge chunks of the googly overlords blackholed at my firewall for that very reason. The problem is blocking some of their other snooping services like fonts and apis puts a huge downer on your web experience - and users get... a bit mardy.

      Interestingly you can get lists for firewalls specifically to block the domains used by Microsoft's data slurping - but not Google... double-standards on the part of the tech community or what?

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "a bit mardy."
        Great googly moogly! That's the first time I've seen the word mardy in print. Me Mam used to call me a mardy-arse bugger when I was a lad. Makes me feel all... nostalgic or something...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "That's the first time I've seen the word mardy in print."

          The steam enthusiasts who hang out at Elsecar Heritage Centre have an engine called The Mardy Monster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZYHoBLNrc

        2. Archtech Silver badge

          "Me Mam used to call me a mardy-arse bugger when I was a lad".

          But what did she call you when she got cross?

          (And by the way, shouldn't that be 'when I were a lad'? Just asking).

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Interestingly you can get lists for firewalls specifically to block the domains used by Microsoft's data slurping - but not Google... double-standards on the part of the tech community or what?"

        No, probably Google's using SNI and other tricks to pothole too many of their services onto the same IP address, meaning too much risk of collateral damage, which you already noted.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The problem is blocking some of their other snooping services like fonts and apis puts a huge downer on your web experience - and users get... a bit mardy.

        As a content creator you can do something by not using those "services" and just hosting the relevant assets locally.

        Content consumers do not have that much control over what happens to them sadly, unless technically inclined and willing. One possible solution (esp. in the context of a network administrator) may be to redirect requests to those "objectionable" assets via Tor or some such.

        In my case here by way of example, I use permanent private mode and my web browsing is IPv4 only, which puts me behind a NAT with about 50% of the country's residential users, which is a crude form of damage limitation.

    2. ShelLuser

      @AC

      "I just wish I could completely turn off Google Analytics and avoid being treated like Alphabet's guinea pig."

      You can. Step one is not to use Chrome or something build on Chromium. Step 2 is to add the google-analytics.com domain to a Javascript blacklist (most browsers have that). While you're at it you might want to add googleadservices.com as well.

      That completely stops your browser from running any kind of Google Analytics mess.

    3. Alumoi

      Did you try uBlock and NoScript?

    4. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Noscript allows you to do that. I have Google Analytics, Google Tag Services, etc., blocked on every site I visit (this one included). I know the sites all say they want us to enable ads so they can get their revenue, but ads != analytics and tracking scripts. I'd allow ads if they were just ads on some sites, but the analytics and tracking will remain blocked.

    5. TheVogon Silver badge

      "I just wish I could completely turn off Google Analytics and avoid being treated like Alphabet's guinea pig."

      Ghostery is available as an Edge add-in....

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        get a small cheap machine (rasp pi will do but ideally you want 2 NICs for completeness and piece of mind). Then set up a MITM transparent proxy using a filter system such as diladele

        Have this transparent proxy get rid of all the web-fuckery you don't want. This is the approach I have used for years. Works wonders, I have no ads, no google analytics and best of all it works in https too (transparently). Added bonus that I can also filter the kids devices slightly stronger (this bit is based on IP, you need authenticated explicit proxy otherwise and that defeats the transparent purpose). Plus at revision time you can REALLY turn the screws if you like. diladele will WPAD for you too if you don't have a web server at home (if you didn't want to transparent). Multiple profiles, youtube and browser forced safeearch etc.

        It will take an afternoon to set up and diladele has hand holding walkthroughs for most Linux distros. I run it at home and at work.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'it does collect data to push out personalized adverts'

    Lost interest in hearing more from this Facebucks wannabee. If hardware makers are reading: My circle of family / friends / colleagues aren't buying new hardware because of this. We also no longer buy Android. And smart TV's / IoT? - See Vizio!... Along with US-ISP slurping... No, its not ok!!!

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: 'it does collect data to push out personalized adverts'

      I'm with you on all of that, but in terms of the smart TVs: Can't you just not give them net access and use them as a regular TV? I've never owned a smart TV or even a HDTV, but it seems to me that a smart TV is of no concern if it can't phone home with its collected data.

      On the other hand, I read a post that said that a Vizio TV took it upon itself to scan the wifi spectrum for open networks and associate with any of them to be able to be "smart," which if true presents the possibility of a TV, with no permission or even knowledge from its owner, connecting to a neighbor's access point and stealing their bandwidth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'Smart TVs: Can't you just not give them net access and use them as a regular TV'

        The problem with that is assumptions.... All it takes is your neighbor's kid to connect the TV while you're out, 6 months later you discover it etc. Plus, as you said Smart TV's scanning nearby Wi-Fi connections. Lots of apartment complexes have unsecured Wi-Fi. Five years ago, I'd have said they won't cross that line. But corporations act like they're untouchable now...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: 'Smart TVs: Can't you just not give them net access and use them as a regular TV'

          Plus consider Whispernets...

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Vizio TV scans for wifi open networks?

        You are never far from a BTFON router. Anyone with a FON account or BT ADSL account can get free Internet from a neighbours router.

        It's only a matter of time before this service is extended to IoT devices. BT could rollout an update to their HotSpot service tomorrow that does this.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Fighting back?

    It would be nice if one or more of the anti-malware companies could implement a 'Windows slurp' block as an enhancement, perhaps only on the 'premium' versions? Could work wonders for sales.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fighting back?

      isnt this the best available at the moment if you are unable to change to any other OS

      https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fighting back?

      "It would be nice if one or more of the anti-malware companies could implement a 'Windows slurp' block as an enhancement,"

      can't, it goes via backdoors...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Fighting back?

        Oh, what about via external devices? Why can't you block Microsoft telemetry say at the router?

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Fighting back?

      It would be nice if one or more of the anti-malware companies could implement a 'Windows slurp' block as an enhancement

      Why would anybody pay? O&O offer an excellent product ShutUp10 (I think you can make a voluntary payment), specified for the privacy sensitive German market. You need to redownload and rerun every time Slurp excrete a big update, but it works really well. Due to the deafness of Microsoft, to make Windows safe and useable most of us need add ons now, like Classic Shell, TinyWall, so adding ShutUp10 is no big deal?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Fighting back?

        That still doesn't stop the telemetry that's built into the OS and cannot be turned off (not even at the DNS level because the DNS client hardcodes a number of domains). You really need an external safeguard to block that telemetry, and that's not assuming Microsoft potholes the telemetry into the same IP as Windows Update, meaning blocking the telemetry also blocks the security updates, leaving you in a dilemma: get tagged or get pwned?

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Fighting back?

          You really need an external safeguard to block that telemetry,

          Anybody reading the Reg should be able to configure their router to block the telemetry servers, surely?

          and that's not assuming Microsoft potholes the telemetry into the same IP as Windows Update

          That would be a challenge. But if they did that they will have gone sufficiently far that their over-reach will be their undoing, because privacy developers and activists will take them on. The obvious tactic is to understand what's being Slurped, and find a way of making the OS spews loads of useless data back to Microsoft, thus increasing their bandwidth and storage costs for no change in "value" of what they collect.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Fighting back?

            "Anybody reading the Reg should be able to configure their router to block the telemetry servers, surely?"

            Depends on the router. A lot of them have nice-looking IP or domain blacklists that do absolutely nothing for HTTPS connections.

          2. Justin Clift

            Re: Fighting back?

            Does anyone have a list of said telemetry servers handy? eg for cutting-pasting-adjusting in ones' firewall

          3. steve 124

            Re: Fighting back?

            Now that is a brilliant idea! Sounds like a great open source project for someone. Something that mimics the telemetry stream but feeds M$ worthless garbage (tons of it, all the time).

            It would be like a low orbit ion cannon for telemetry. If enough people ran it, it would overwhelm their collection conduits and would be a bit like a DDOS for telemetry and potentially prevent real collected data from coming through, and of course, as you say, they would have to store the garbage somewhere until it could be identified as worthless.

            Guys, that's the best idea I've heard since this whole argument started. Someone with mad programming skills should get right on that. I'm not sure if there would be any legal ramifications (since it's not a DDOS in the classic sense of the term) but it seems to me if we don't have a choice of whether or not the OS is collecting data, it would be legal for us to determine WHAT data they get (in this case, just random garbage).

            Maybe just the word Jihad or something over and over, so the NSA computers slurping from the M$ servers would red flag all of it and force them to waste analysts time going through it to delete the garbage too (since we all know storage wouldn't be a problem for them).

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Fighting back?

              Except that since Microsoft owns certificates, they can transmit the stuff over authenticated connections, meaning they can tell the real stuff from the junk, allowing them to easily filter.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Fighting back?

                > Except that since Microsoft owns certificates, they can transmit ...

                Shouldn't be too hard to inject bogus data into their valid data stream, if not outright replace the valid data.

                It'd be a matter of adding a custom .dll (with appropriate replaced functions) to the .dll search chain, such that it gets picked up along with the legit ones.

                It's been a long time since I did stuff in that area of things, but the process shouldn't have become weirdly complex in the meantime.

                1. Ropewash

                  Re: Fighting back?

                  Every so often I try to find a flak generator for the modern internet, some little program I could piggyback to the browser that randomly pings various sites off some whitelist of millions constantly in the background. I always come up empty handed and forget about it by the next day. It's easier to go the VPN route than to try and mess the system about for fun anyhow. Though I've always wondered what sort of ads would show up. Probably just as effectively targetted as the ones I get now... Not at all.

                  Seems similar would be a good idea for telemetry. Just a hook into a valid channel that injects a little trickle of nonsense, like 500,000,000 handwriting examples from some OCR database somewhere fed into their system one line at a time. Anything disruptive would be helpful (or at least fun).

                2. bombastic bob Silver badge
                  Linux

                  Re: Fighting back?

                  "Shouldn't be too hard to inject bogus data into their valid data stream, if not outright replace the valid data."

                  /me considers a netfilter module. you can inject (or remove) whatever you want into a TCP stream using a netfilter module. It's how the FTP proxy works, for 'PORT' commands etc.. Create a special firewall rule for whatever IPs and ports are involved in telemetry, let the netfilter module do it's "magic". Ok you'll need something you can lsmod a netfilter module with, and alter the firewall rules for, but openWRT would probably qualify for that one.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Fighting back?

                    > /me considers a netfilter module.

                    That'd probably work for non-encrypted streams. For anything (properly) encrypted though, you'd need to inject it before it actually gets onto the wire.

          4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

            Re: Fighting back?

            Anybody reading the Reg should be able to configure their router to block the telemetry servers, surely?

            This will only work until you take your laptop out of the safety of your house.

    4. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Fighting back?

      https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/

      I've just now donated but not tried it yet.

      I've used SpyBot for years.

      If we make sure Safer Networking are making money out of this then they will keep doing it for us. Gotta be worth paying a donation.

  10. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Devil

    At least we all know which song they will use in the adverts.

    Every step you take, every breath you make, I'll be watching you.

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Years ago, in an interview, Sting described his horror at realizing that this song was incredibly popular as a wedding reception "first dance.”

      "Fucking evil song," he said.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    All that data

    And Windows 10 is still a dog's breakfast.

    Also, just click the link in the article listing what they slurp in basic mode, and then scroll down... and down... and down... keep scrolling... bit more... nearly there...

    If basic is that much, full-fat telemetry must be a hard disk and memory dump.

  12. James 51 Silver badge

    It would be interesting to know where the information is stored when the computer is off line and how much it will store for forward transmission. Should offer the poential to corrupt or erase the data.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and your "inking and typing data."

    Does that mean every password I ever type into any browser (or elsewhere) to access any site (including online banking) ends up in MS' repository?

    1. King Jack Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Does that mean every password I ever type into any browser...

      Is know to M$? Yes. I've been telling idiots that but they still won't believe. They defend M$ by diverting to other companies that do similar. People today are conditioned to be defend oppression, they like being butt fucked.

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: and your "inking and typing data."

      Governments have been wanting this data for years. That's why they tell us that terrapins communicate using What'sApp. They want the big corporates to help them spy on us. MS won't get into trouble for this, the gov is probably paying them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "URLs visited, visited webpage titles"

    How long before the governments decides they want access to this information in secret if they have not already got it?

    I can't help but think this self defeating press release is propaganda to get Joe Public into the mode of thinking that it's ok to have no privacy and if you do there is nothing you can do about it if you want to use Windows.

    No wonder it was free. Privacy is slowly turning into rocking horse shit.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Maybe you missed the memo, but ISPs have to store your full browsing history for a year in case the government want it. They don't need to bother MS if they decide they DO need it, they just clikitty-clickitty on the extranet into your SP, and done.

      Obviously very few people will have that happen to them, because human analysts (even on the pitiful GCHQ salaries) are expensive and a few hundred people can't read that many peoples' mail.

  15. jake Silver badge

    "data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC"

    Uh ... your PC, perhaps. Not mine.

    I have chosen my privacy settings. I run Slackware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Jake Re: "data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC"

      Me too. Best distro around :-)

  16. cb7

    Soft target?

    Typing data on my Android phone ends up with SwiftKey for sure.

    And maybe even Samsung and/or Google. Along with all the "usage" data they also collect.

    But we seem to bash MS more for this slurping than the others. I wonder why?

    1. Graham Cobb

      Re: Soft target?

      Many of us don't bash Microsoft any more than others. There is plenty of Google-bashing on El Reg.

      I use a Sailfish phone because it is neither Apple nor Android and is collecting much less data. I also do not install any apps that make intrusive demands, however "useful" or "fun" they might be. I would like to try SwiftKey but have not, exactly for the reason you raise.

      Microsoft have a dominant position in the personal computer market and should not be allowed to abuse it by not giving people the option to turn off all data collection (maybe for a reasonable fee). Similarly Apple and Google should be required to do the same thing in the mobile market.

      What we need is a functioning market in personal information: I should be able to make a personal decision about the value of my data and see whether companies are paying me (often in the form of a discounted price for their product) what I consider it is worth. If so, that is fine; if not I decide whether the undiscounted price is one I am willing to pay and either buy their service with no access to my data or don't buy it. As simple as that.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "I should be able to make a personal decision about the value"

        Very dangerous approach.

        The end result would be: "Windows/Android/<whatever> is $9999 with telemetry turned off. Free if you first born is ours."

        Privacy can't become a luxury for rich people only.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I should be able to make a personal decision about the value"

          "The end result would be: "Windows/Android/<whatever> is $9999 with telemetry turned off. Free if you first born is ours.""

          No it won't as they need *bulk* to make profit. Even $9999 is not enough when you sell 1000 phones.

        2. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: "I should be able to make a personal decision about the value"

          "Privacy can't become a luxury for rich people only."

          You mean the way "having to obey any laws" already is...?

        3. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: "I should be able to make a personal decision about the value"

          If there is demand for privacy, then the price will not be that high. The spy data is valuable, but it's not worth ten thousand dollars. Privacy at extra cost is better than none at all, and while I would agree that privacy by default is better still, it appears that ship has sailed.

        4. Toni the terrible

          Re: "I should be able to make a personal decision about the value"

          Privacy was always only for the rich

    2. Jeroen Braamhaar
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Soft target?

      Because we don't need to use a smartphone running Goopple's OS to make a phone call - we just use them because they're convenient, plentiful and we don't really have an expectation of privacy or control over it - after all, the only real control you have on your phone is when you hang up (and remain connected to the network and be available) or turn it off and aren't - and remember you can pick up a cheapo feature phone and it'll connect to the network just fine, avoiding all the conveniences of data slurpage other than where you are (for obvious reasons) ... well for now at least. (I think I just heard a black helicopter)

      With a computer it's different. We have expectation of privacy, being able to choose what we share, what we connect to and what we do; and an expectation of control: when we do our updates (if at all), what we install, what we keep, where we keep it and how.

      MS just put a huge bomb under that with Win10, and given there's this really huge ruckus going on about privacy and exactly what control an end user has over that data he generates, that large corps profit from, resell and share (willingly or not) with whatever weird acronym agency just happens to be interested makes this a rather sticky point.

      They have perfectly played the user inertia card (I honestly tried to get family/friends over on Openoffice but they all went back to MS' offering because reasons (school/work/buttons are different/don't want to learn) - whereas mentioned before, changing phones is a much more hassle-free experience.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Soft target?

        I do expect privacy on a phone as well as on a computer - and any other device, TV, game consle, thermostat, etc. etc.

        For example a receive an SMS for each bank transaction - it's a safety check. So if the phone OS or application is able to read my SMS it can track what I spend and where. And that's not acceptable. And there are also sensitive data stored in my phone also.

        Android is now in the same dominant position Windows was 10-15 years ago. While you can still use a feature phone, it looks like still using CP/M when the world switched to Windows XP.

        And it's really no suprise Nadella decided to go "full Google" to look for new revenues streams.

        Google, for "unknown" reasons, made data slurping acceptable - people like you are the example.

        While I really don't care about who slurps my data - I don't want *anyone* of them doing it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Soft target?

          "While you can still use a feature phone, it looks like still using CP/M when the world switched to Windows XP."

          I don't care what it *looks* like, I do care that I can phone and have text messages without someone else hoovering them all to their database and selling to anyone who has money.

          So once the 'modern' smart phone breaks, I'll go back to Nokia 3110 (the original, not the new version). it runs a week with an old battery and does the job.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Soft target?

            I've been using my slider phone for almost a decade now. It doesn't matter what it looks like... it's a phone. It makes and receives calls. No, it can't browse the web or download the latest McDonald's app, but that's not a bug, it's a feature. I don't want it to do that. I want a phone that I can use to call a tow truck if my car quits on me or that I can call for police/ambulance/fire department if needed, most importantly, or to coordinate with friends while out and about.

            I realize how convenient smart phones can be, but even without the spying and privacy concerns, they're also a PITA compared to using a real PC for browsing. I have a 7 inch Android tablet that mostly gathers dust, and using it is just a pain compared to my PCs with big screens, real keyboards, and discrete pointing devices that separate pointing and selecting into two events (mouse or touchpad). Actual phones would be even worse (though the larger phablets are almost as big). I'd rather hold off on my browsing or computing until I get home than to try to make it work on that tiny touch-screen with my big fat fingers.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Soft target?

              "I'd rather hold off on my browsing or computing until I get home than to try to make it work on that tiny touch-screen with my big fat fingers."

              Even if it meant missing out on a deal you need to research on the spot to find out if it's legit or not? There ARE times when you just can't wait (you snooze, you lose).

              1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

                Re: Soft target?

                "Even if it meant missing out on a deal you need to research on the spot to find out if it's legit or not? There ARE times when you just can't wait (you snooze, you lose)."

                Hmm. What deal is so special that you can't wait until you get home to research it?

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: Soft target?

                  Clearance sale. If you wait until you get home, it'll be gone by the time you get back. I speak from experience and this was in the days of the N95 when wireless internet was just starting to take off and mobile browsing was a pain, but it was SO worth it, too.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Soft target?

                    Might I also suggest it's good for avoiding the Amazon Tax (shipping). When at the local media shop I can bring up my Amazon shopping cart, not a copy of it, and decide what to get on the spot. There's no "I can wait until I get home" otherwise I'd have to make a list at the store, check it at home, or make a list at home, then take it to the store... did I get the prices? What if the item ran out at Amazon? Not having mobile data is a PITA. YMMV, but my mileage will be lower because of my access to the info at the location I need it at. Why mess about, unless your time is not valuable?

                    And yes, I let Apple slurp my data, and even give them extra access for more problem deducing. You see, when I get an update from them I install it and feel like there is some value there that is assisted by their data analysis. The products and services are tightly coupled and well integrated. I don't get adverts from their "partners" or other nonsense that you Microsofties are in for. Same with Google. I let most all the analytics run, and only shut off extraneous browsed URL that are specifically for marketing. Their iOS apps do not show me adverts, only the Yahoo! mail app does that. I get the feeling the Apple and Google are treating my data with care. With Microsoft, well, you can see how much the "care" by how hard they are trying to out market Google. Let me give you a hint, SatNad; don't. Don't be like Google, you don't have the chops. Just make the stupid desktop OS for your muggles, do some cloudy Azure, just make some good software, and let the market figure it out. Here's the thing; I'm not divorcing my Google accounts, I am certainly going to continue to use Apple products and services, and only ever touch a Windoze box when my job only offers one, and then I load it with CentOS VMs so actual work can be done.

                    Windows machines are clunky, GUI-riddled, wastes of time and money. And you all know it. Some of you make money from this. Enjoy it if you like working with crap software! I prefer working on big boy products and environments, not a gaming rig pretending to be a server or desktop. :P

                2. Wayland Bronze badge

                  Re: Soft target?

                  "What deal is so special that you can't wait until you get home to research it?"

                  You see something at a boot sale and want to know how well they sell online.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Soft target?

          "While I really don't care about who slurps my data - I don't want *anyone* of them doing it."

          The only way to really do that is to go full Luddite and stop using computers. Otherwise, you can't trust what your software or hardware are doing behind your back, laws be damned.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            The only way to really do that is to go full Luddite

            Still, there's a difference if they do illegally behind my back, and if caught they can have issue, and if they do it legally and you don't have any defense against them.

            After all Schrems alone was able to tear down the Safe Harbour and put the issue in the news and on many lawmakers tables. Without the EU privacy laws, it would have been easy game for Facebook & C.

            Will we ever be completely safe? Of course no - but if we let rights fly out of the Windows <G>, it will become much harder to bring them back...

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: The only way to really do that is to go full Luddite

              "Will we ever be completely safe? Of course no - but if we let rights fly out of the Windows <G>, it will become much harder to bring them back..."

              That's what I'm saying. Those lights left long ago.

          2. fobobob

            Re: Soft target?

            Wouldn't full Luddite include going around and actively smashing computers?

        3. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Soft target?

          Google, for "unknown" reasons,

          Eh? I don't think it's a surprise Google are an advertising firm who make money by targeting ads according to their analysis of your usage of their services. It was well known when Gmail was launched in 2004...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soft target?

        "and remain connected to the network and be available"

        Semi-false: I have a phone where you can power networking off separately and independently:

        a) all dataconnections including gprs

        b) wifi

        c) bluetooth

        And all of those are in a quick-access menu, literally one swipe and a tap to turn on/off.

        Not doing it that way in google-phone is a choice made by Google, nothing else.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Soft target?

          : I have a phone where you can power networking off separately and independently:

          a) all dataconnections including gprs

          b) wifi

          c) bluetooth

          And all of those are in a quick-access menu, literally one swipe and a tap to turn on/off.

          Not doing it that way in google-phone is a choice made by Google, nothing else.

          Again, "eh?" It's one swipe and a tap on my Android phone to turn off all the radios, or to toggle wifi off/on. Or one swipe, one tap, and a bit more scrolling and tapping in the general prefs app to turn the other radios on/off.

    3. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Soft target?

      But we seem to bash MS more for this slurping than the others. I wonder why?

      Some are still mired 20+ years ago in the past and can't get over the browser wars. Others still blindly believe the dream from the early days of Google, and cannot face what they have become. Others still because, despite the fact that the majority of Android devices running an OS flavour that is becoming increasing proprietary to Google, they still claim it as a victory for open source and Linux.

      ... and of course, like Microsoft before them, there are those who have a vested interest in attacking the competition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soft target?

        "Some are still mired 20+ years ago in the past and can't get over the browser wars. "

        Hah. Talk about DR-DOS, IBM and Apple, fucking 'partners' and blatant abuse of monopoly, still continuing today.

        When the modus operandi is to be a criminal but have a lawyer army to defend from actual convictions, it won't change as long as it's successful. You mean everyone should forget the business case for Microsoft? Why?

        Windows 10 is a blatant breach of privacy by any European law, therefore MS was a criminal and still is: No change in that.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Soft target?

        Or some of us recognize that Android is an OS for toys that we either don't use or that we knew from the beginning was developed by a company that makes money slurping data and slinging ads, and expected nothing else.

        MS, though, has been offering Windows for ~30 years, and a lot of us have been using it about that long, nearly all of it without MS resorting to spying and ad-slinging, and we expect nothing more than what Windows has been all about since 286s were considered "advanced technology."

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Soft target?

        "Others still blindly believe the dream from the early days of Google, and cannot face what they have become."

        Apparently the motto is now "Don't be caught being evil". So they send all the spying data (that is far more personally intrusive than anything Microsoft ever did - and is sold to advertisers) via HTTPS...

      4. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Soft target?

        "Some are still mired 20+ years ago in the past and can't get over the browser wars."

        So you see giving up as one of your virtues.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Soft target?

      The fact that you think it's okay for what you type on an Android phone to end up with SwiftKey or Google doesn't mean everyone else thinks its okay.

      We bash MS more because a few years back they said that they produce privacy-friendly OSes and they put out adverts saying so and attacking Google, then SatNad came and turned it into the slurp you see before you.

    5. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Soft target?

      "Typing data on my Android phone ends up with SwiftKey for sure."

      Swiftkey are owned by...?

      MS.

    6. ShelLuser
      Windows

      @cb7

      "But we seem to bash MS more for this slurping than the others. I wonder why?

      Well, I wouldn't be surprised if one part of that would be the fact that this slurping was pushed down people's throat. We all know about big brother Google but you can protect yourself and not use their services, you can block google-analytics.com in your browser, you can block pretty much everything else from Google in your browser. All it takes is a little googling (bad pun, I know ;)).

      Speaking of which: you might also want to use a search engine like Duck Duck Go.

      But Windows 10 got forced on people, and there are plenty who would rather use Windows 7 but don't know how or simply can't (think about a machine with a pre-installed OS which didn't include installation media and the owner also never made any copies).

      So then comes Microsoft along, dumps Windows 10 on that "because" and then tells the owner: "Oh right, we'll be keeping an eye on you from now on".

      Obviously people will get more upset about that.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Soft target?

      "Typing data on my Android phone ends up with SwiftKey for sure.

      And maybe even Samsung and/or Google. Along with all the "usage" data they also collect"

      Swiftkey is owned by Microsoft, why do you think they bought it.

  17. Graham Cobb

    Enterprise version?

    If I understand the TechNet article about the Enterprise version correctly (not at all certain -- could it possibly be deliberately hard to read?), it seems to be possible to turn off ALL connections to Microsoft in that version.

    Is it possible for an individual to purchase the Enterprise version? For how much?

    I have no plans to ever buy Windows again but it would be nice to know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enterprise version?

      YES you can buy an enterprise version. the process is.

      1) call MS and ask them for the enterprise version. tell them you are a company and need 250 + licences of Windows and Office

      2) talk to their sales droid.

      2) open wallet.

      3) receive your copies of Windows and Office.

      4) pay up every year for the privilege.

      Oh and you will still find the Enterprise EULA allows them to get data and access tour system for "diagnostic" purposes.............

      BUT if you only want 1 or 2 copies then just expect laughter and the phone to be put down on you.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Enterprise version?

        "1) call MS and ask them for the enterprise version. tell them you are a company and need 250 + licences of Windows and Office"

        1) Call MS and tell them that you're a large organisation with several thousand Microsoft users who you are about to move over to Linux.

        2) Watch a CxO come running with amazing offers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Enterprise version?

          2b) Watch a plod come and threaten with many applications that will not run on a Linux infrastructure, including several custom jobs you're running right now that would cost more to port than to get new licenses.

          2c) Watch another plod sweet-talk the PHB or the board who don't know the difference and demand Windows from up top...or else.

          Remember, sometimes the stick works better than the carrot.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Enterprise version?

            yes you can buy 1 copy of enterprise with SA. Phone Pugh and say "1 copy of W10 enterprise please" they will charge you about £350 or £100 per annum with SA. Note that enterprise windows 10 will not operate as "enterprise" without a domain (not in the way you want it to anyway). Workgroup W10 enterprise still act like W10 professional.

            so you will need a copy of W2008+ server and a CAL for windows 10. This will set you back about £150 for a single server license (2 CPU if you buy the 2008 server, 2016 is now cores and has gone all fucking stupid) but it usually comes with 5 CALs. Then you need some hardware to run this on, a very small desktop will work just fine (the smallest PC I ever ran a server on was server 2003 on an OptiPlex 280 - a P4 with 2g of ram 32 bit). Set up your domain and group policies to remove what you are looking for and you are gravy.

            I know at least one primary school that has purchased 1 copy of W10 enterprise and have an old small business 2011 server with only a handful of PCs and CALs. They use W10 enterprise because they are below the threshold to make education cheaper.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    W7?

    Makes me wonder how much of this tracking is surreptitiously being retro-fitted to W7 in the rolled-up updates?

    1. xeroks

      Re: W7?

      If the telemetry is purely to help diagnose crashes - no it shouldn't be, as MS would invest a minimum in their old platform.

      If, however, the telemetry is to be used to target advertising, sell, pass to government agencies, or just hang around waiting to be stolen then I'm sure it's in the pipeline.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: W7?

        "If, however, the telemetry is to be used to target advertising, sell, pass to government agencies, or just hang around waiting to be stolen then I'm sure it's in the pipeline."

        Uh ... you are almost an year behind: It's already done and installed with every 'preparation for windows 10'-'update' MS forced down to peoples throats..

        Most of the spying anyway, if not all.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does this compare to Windows 7?

    Does anyone know how this data slurp compares to the "Customer Experience Improvement Program" in Windows 7? The one that's buried in the Action Center. Under two submenus. And enabled by default. And made my W7 PC run like a dog for half an hour every time I switched it on until I finally checked what was running at startup.

    I'm just bitter I got caught by it, and it took so long for me to find it. Clueless user error.

    At least there are settings to turn that one off, if you can find them. And that's my gripe with W10. Providing lots of switches for different parts of the data collection is called "granularity" elsewhere. But not having an off switch is unacceptable.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: How does this compare to Windows 7?

      Mine is off, but search is broken.

      I typed in action centre, nothing found.

      I don't type Yank

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    registry just a thought.

    Now if the code of all versions of Windows 10 is standard there must be a registry entry in enterprise that states the lowest data collection mode.

    so i wonder if it would be possible to find this key and then change it in other versions so that they can also have the lowest data collection option below "basic".

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: registry just a thought.

      Bet you they're not. That's why Enterprise has a subscription attached.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: registry just a thought.

        No there are fundamental differences between the versions. Even if you change the key then a huge "reinstall" occurs. We have tried this to see what happened (we are a VL customer and have many different keys). We installed PRO then use slmgr.vbs to change the key to an enterprise. It took a good hour to update and upgrade. Also in order for the enterprise version to act "enterprisy" you need to be connected to a domain. In beta it was good enough for the pro to be on a domain to be enterprisy (in respect to GPOs being able to lock the telemetry out) but not any more, the GPOs simply don't work on pro (in respect to telemetry and other behaviour etc)

  21. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Slowly, but surely...

    ... they drew their plans against us.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Slowly, but surely...

      The chances of any sense coming from MS

      Are a million to one, they said...

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Slowly, but surely...

        I now have an inexplicable urge to go and put my WotW CD on...

        Strange that.

        (Cries of Ooo - Laaa in the background)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Slowly, but surely...

          "I now have an inexplicable urge to go and put my WotW CD on..."

          See? Subliminal advertising works!!!

      2. Toni the terrible

        Re: Slowly, but surely...

        "The chances of any sense coming from MS Are a million to one, they said..."

        No that would make it practially certain, an the probability of sense coming from MS is about 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001

  22. chivo243 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Tip o' the Iceberg

    What we see/know is only the beginning. I have W10 in a VM at work, and one at home. I never use the internet at work with Win10. At home, I've blocked Win10 and the Mrs.'s old XP install from getting out of my LAN.

    I've only spun these up as I will probably have to support Win10 at the bacon makin' place...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now THERE'S ya problem...

    "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."

    The easier way:

    The engineers should get up from their desks, walk out the front door, turn and look up at the company sign on the building.... (see title)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Now THERE'S ya problem...

      "The engineers should get up from their desks, walk out the front door, turn and look up at the company sign on the building.... (see title)"

      But then they remember the logo that appears on their paychecks...AND the long lines at the unemployment office...AND the lack of good alternative jobs anywhere nearby.

      Sometimes, weathering the storm is better than trying to run from it.

  24. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Since MicroSpy can see my stuff, can they please fix my laptop? It's old (Lenovo X61) but there are no working audio drivers for it. So, engineers, please stop viewing my porn collection and get the drivers fixed.

    Cheers !!

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      stop viewing my porn collection and get the drivers fixed

      You miss the porn audio?

      1. Alumoi

        Re: stop viewing my porn collection and get the drivers fixed

        Sometimes that's the best part!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many plans by Government/Puppeted Multi-nationals to 'Protect Me'

    Maybe, just maybe I don't want to be 'Protected' by you.

    From this side, no collection of my data seems safer, thanks all the same.

  26. Bloodbeastterror

    Services.msc

    Does any tech wizard here know just how much leaks back if you use services.msc to disable "Connected user experiences and telemetry"?

  27. Esme

    It's trust or rust

    Non-techhie folk I know are also expressing disquiet about Windows this last few months. Sure, inertia is still gripping some of them but many are heading towards Apple and Android, with the odd curious soul at least taking a look at Linux. Even one of the inveterate gamers I know is talking about installing Linux and is researching just what Windows games can be got to run on Linux via Steam/Wine/PlayOnLinux etc. as well as going dual-boot until they wean themselves off the games that just cant be got to work on Linux. And that's people who, in the past, actually liked Windows.

    Personally, I've not liked much about Windows, ever, but in the past I'd happily help non-technical friends with it insofar as I could - until now, where I flatly refuse to touch Windows with a bargepole, even to help a friend, because I just don't trust Microsoft as well as not liking their (IMHO) shoddy and grossly over-priced products. (yes, yes - I don't like/trust Apple and their even more over-priced products either, but as neither I nor my friends have an Apple PC that's never been an issue)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's trust or rust

      "Even one of the inveterate gamers I know is talking about installing Linux and is researching just what Windows games can be got to run on Linux via Steam/Wine/PlayOnLinux etc. as well as going dual-boot until they wean themselves off the games that just cant be got to work on Linux."

      And he'll soon find out most of the games DON'T work well on Linux. Trust me, I looked. Especially the newer games like Fallout 4 and Overwatch. Bethesda swore off Linux, and all reports concerning Overwatch are listed as Garbage. And they are not alone. Otherwise, I'd have already jumped.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: It's trust or rust

        I think a lot of companies that have tried to support Linux as a gaming platform have gotten bitten by the lack of standardization. If you're selling pre-compiled software you pretty much *have* to target one specific distribution, but then everyone will complain that it doesn't run right on their personal favorite. When they try to hack your Ubuntu binaries into working on Slackware and it doesn't work right, they'll blame you. It's kind of a tech support nightmare.

        You also end up talking to the video hardware more directly with OpenGL. On the plus side, done right this is actually faster than DirectX. But it requires you to optimize a lot more for individual cards. Card manufacturers aren't going to help you with "game ready drivers" for Linux. It's just a lot more hassle in every way.

        I could see it working well in a situation where both the OS libraries and hardware are known and carefully curated. But then you end up with basically a console, like the oft-fabled Steam Box.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the amount of data Windows 10 wishes to slurp for it's masters, people will need that minimum country wide basic 10 megabyte connection that the UK government wants. It won't leave much bandwidth for much else though as Windows 10 will be hogging it..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a pathetic USO of 10Mbps.

      It's a USO of 10Mbps, not "10 megabyte" , 10 Mega bits per second, so 1MB/s 1 Mega Byte per second approximately.

      To put that in context, A 4GB ISO of Windows 10 Creators Update takes about an hour to download.

      At 100Mbps 10MB/s it takes about 5 minutes.

      So if you have two companies, one based in London, one rurally, even with cheaper wages rurally, you'd never compete on price, as data costs are similar, but at least 10x faster elsewhere. That's without even mentioning the complete lack of upload speeds with a USO of 10Mbps.

      10Mbps USO is a joke, 30Mbps is a minimum of where it needs to be, rurally.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: It's a pathetic USO of 10Mbps.

        funnily enough, my daughter is doing A level computer science and there is some real shittery in that now. They are now teaching kilo/mega/gigabytes as being 1000 and kebi/mebi/gibi/bytes as being 1024 (course and exam material not some random teacher)

        not too happy about that.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: It's a pathetic USO of 10Mbps.

          "They are now teaching kilo/mega/gigabytes as being 1000 and kebi/mebi/gibi/bytes as being 1024 (course and exam material not some random teacher)"

          WTF??

          k = 1000 anything (k is always lower case)

          M = 1 000 000 anything

          G = 1 000 000 000 anything

          kB = 1024 Bytes ("B" is Bytes, "b" is bits => each Byte has 8 bits)

          MB = 1024 x 1024 Bytes

          GB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 Bytes

          Can't be much simpler than that. Please forward to the mentioned school.

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: It's a pathetic USO of 10Mbps.

          That's schools trying to change reality. They need to teach what is real, not what they'd like it to be. When I left school I did not comprehend feet and inches but I had to learn that to fit into the actual world.

          As for rural Internet speed. If the speed is good in both directions with low latency and no busy or slow times then 10Mbps would be fine or even 4Mbps. However the usual home connection suffers from too many other people using it. So it may speedtest at a high speed but be very poor for remote working.

  29. 0laf Silver badge
    Stop

    Fine fine fine

    Oh please let them be fined under the GDPR.

    4% or global turnover would make such a nice headline.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Fine fine fine

      How will they be able to force the issue if Microsoft simply decides to remove themselves from Europe, hiding themselves behind US sovereign immunity? Plus Microsoft may be helping to undermine the EU itself, removing its sovereign authority.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Fine fine fine

        "How will they be able to force the issue...?

        Revoke Windows copyright in EU...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Fine fine fine

          Microsoft then blackmails the EU or contributes to its dissolution. What now?

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Fine fine fine

            "Microsoft then blackmails the EU or contributes to its dissolution. What now?"

            A lot of people rejoice?

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Fine fine fine

      The GDPR rules don't apply yet.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Fine fine fine

        they cant hide. The data comes from the EU to "somewhere" so they will have to comply or be fined. They cant hide behind an EULA because (as has already been shown and dragged through EU courts) its a fucking stupid EULA so cannot be enforced, plus the customers have no choice and have had it forced on them. At least the EU have some decent bits in them.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Windows 10 Faking Disk Corruption Notifications to force a scan/upload of user files?

    I'm pretty certain Windows 10 is faking the notification that a "newly seen" External USB Drive needs to be scanned for errors. I run multiple OSs and USB drives and these only ever flag as corrupted on Windows 10, generally the first time the drive is seen by the system.

    A side effect of Microsoft Defender is to then scan the drive, and potentially upload any suspicious files to Microsoft, depending on Privacy settings. Seems like a clever way to get round privacy laws.

    Needs a bit more analysis to compare the an image of the USB drive before and after, to see if any real changes are made to the disk structure. Previously unseen USB drives seemed to get flagged far more under Windows 10 though.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Is Windows 10 Faking Disk Corruption Notifications to force a scan/upload of user files?

      The "Scanning for Errors" notification has been there since XP. It indicates the drive wasn't cleanly unmounted the last time it was used, and that could've come from whatever last used it, some of which lack the facility to to properly unmount the drive. Windows installs can be instructed to treat highly-portable USB drives differently so you don't have this problem, at the cost of performance since it means Windows can't use advanced drive management on them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is Windows 10 Faking Disk Corruption Notifications to force a scan/upload of user files?

        These are USB devices Fat/Ex-Fat that have been cleanly dismounted elsewhere (Linux, Mac, Windows 7) and don't flag under Linux, Mac, Windows 7, yet flag under Windows 10, especially if that drive hasn't been seen by the system before. Windows 10 is the only one with scan and upload suspicious files, by default.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Is Windows 10 Faking Disk Corruption Notifications to force a scan/upload of user files?

          FAT has no inherent method to indicate whether it was cleanly unmounted or not, because when FAT was invented the idea of an on-mount filesystem check didn't exist in the PC world. I wonder if Win10 is inventing its own flag for that, that other OS's don't know about.

  31. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Not a privacy violation, but..

    We have been deploying Win10 for some months at our organization. We've turned off the privacy slurping telemetry and have beaten it into a mostly usable state with with GPOs, reg hacks and similar, but have left a few things on the machine, as we're not total Nazis to our users with our configurations.

    One thing that was left was the "Candy Crush" game that comes with Win10. On a new build, I did a 'netstat -a' to try and troubleshoot a connectivity issue. To my surprise, I saw that Candy Crush was connecting to a Microsoft server, even though the game had never even been launched on the PC. This is Windows 10 Enterprise Edition. Even if this is just a ping to a server, why would a fairly useless game that's never even been played need to be running, needlessly wasting bandwidth? This is just something I stumbled on randomly without trying. It makes me afraid for what other apps phone home all the time.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Not a privacy violation, but..

      the GPO for "Microsoft consumer experiences" set to off should rid the candy crush crap. Don't forget that removing candy crush isn't enough, you need to remove the provisioned candy crush too (otherwise it reinstalls with new users)

      Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -Online | Select PackageName | Out-File C:\provisioned.txt

      that will get you a list of all the shite MS has shoehorned on. Then run :

      Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -online | WHere-Object {$_.packagename -like "*CandyCrushSaga*"} | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online

      to kill the provisioned and

      get-appxpackage *CandyCrushSaga* | Remove-AppxPackage

      to kill the user app. The script is quick enough to run on startup (even if the app isn't there any more - the overhead is low) and it stops things appearing after updates quite quickly.

  32. DropBear Silver badge
    Devil

    "...which apps you've installed and how you use them..."

    Hahahahahahahahahaha... I was expecting that, of course.

    NO.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder whether it would be feasible to write a program that send backs gigabytes of false telemetry and then distribute it to millions of users.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I think Microsoft uses authenticated connections, meaning they'd be able to tell the difference.

  34. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Data slurped and settings

    a) All of Win10 is too restrictive on customisation

    b) It's awkward and clunky (did they copy Facebook and Android)

    c) Can we trust what they say or that the settings work? (May even be mistakes, not deliberate).

    No, I've left Windows and this is too minor to entice me back. Shame as for 25 years I really liked it.

    1. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Data slurped and settings

      Windows 10 is clunky. I was trying to sign into a server but wanted to enter the username and password manually. The popup appeared to fit on the screen but it had been truncated. You could not tell it had been truncated because the taskbar was still visible and the OK button was visible. There was no scroll bar. What was hidden was the option I needed to press. Moving the mouse to where the scroll bar would have been made it appear! Then it was obvious that there was a hidden part of this popup.

      Imagine trying to help someone over the phone with this. Yes I know the solution is to use Teamviewer but that opens up security problems in itself.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Data slurped and settings

        Windows 10 is clunky. ... The popup appeared to fit on the screen but it had been truncated. ... What was hidden was the option I needed to press. Moving the mouse to where the scroll bar would have been made it appear! Then it was obvious that there was a hidden part of this popup.

        An improvement! :)

        One of the 'joys' of Win7 running on a netbook was encountering control boxes that were too long for the display and didn't have scroll bars; you could see the box was truncated, just no way to actually move it up and display the hidden section.

        But yes, hidden controls with no obvious visual indicator are very irritating. Unfortunately, Windows isn't the only culprit, OSX has it's own fair share...

  35. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    Makes you

    think what OS is running on the GCHQ/Mi5/Mi6 systems..

    Cant be nice to suddenly find m$ slurping data from innocent security service users when thats their job ....

  36. Joe Gee

    Solution

    LINUX

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution

      LINUX versions of critical software NOT AVAILABLE, and the don't work on WINE.

      Ergo, LINUX NOT a solution.

      1. ShelLuser

        Re: Solution

        Get a juicy enough machine, install Linux, install VirtualBox and then run Windows inside it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Solution

          No machine juicy enough if your primary activity is 3D in nature since 3D virtualization is still pretty damn slow. Also there's a problem if your primary Windows activity is necessarily memory-intensive since the VM and host OS add overhead that can take you over the top.

          1. nkuk

            Re: Solution

            You can just do GPU passthough, that has virtually zero overhead.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "install Linux, install VirtualBox and then run Windows inside it."

          The issue is you're still running Windows, just in a more complex, inefficient way - try a color-calibrated workflow in such a configuration for example...

      2. julian.smith

        Re: Solution

        Enjoy life in your niche - the vast majority of users can happily run Linux Mint

    2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Solution

      it might be a solution for *you* but your use case <> to my use case

      I *really* wish people would stop simply screaming "UNIXXXXXXXX!!!!!!!!!" as the solution to every problem because it isn't and it probably never will be.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Solution

        If you can tell a professional gaming clan how to play Overwatch on their PCs without using Windows, I'll be impressed. And no, consoles are not an option since Blizzard separates gamers by platform and all the hardcore professionals use PCs.

        1. stephanh Silver badge

          Re: Solution

          If you are a professional gamer you most likely have a dedicated machine for gaming. Buy a refurbished Mac mini for your privacy-sensitive computing needs.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Solution

          If you can tell a professional gaming clan how to play Overwatch on their PCs without using Windows, I'll be impressed. And no, consoles are not an option since Blizzard separates gamers by platform and all the hardcore professionals use PCs.

          Hardcore professionals? Its a game FFS...

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Solution

            "Hardcore professionals? Its a game FFS..."
            Korea's Lee Jae Dong made $US519,086.72 from his first 52 tournaments. Is that really just a hobby income compared to what you make, or are you just a wanker?

            1. julian.smith

              Re: Solution

              Please advise your earnings to date

              - from gameplay

              - from wanking

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Solution

                Nice try, but this is El Reg. El Reg users has little to no professional gamers on the site. Heck, not even professional football player users are on El Reg.

                If you want those info, you need to google it yourself. Start with "top professional gamers earning" and youtubers like Pewdiepie all the way to low traffic streamers.

                You should ended up with a none linear curve that concludes gameplay inversely proportional wanking but directly proportional to time.

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: Solution

                  "not even professional football player users are on El Reg."
                  Given the cost of purchasing a professional football player I'm not surprised. I doubt whether any of us are multimillionaires.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Solution

            "Hardcore professionals? Its a game FFS..."

            So is football.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Solution

              If you make 500k a year then you can afford 2 pcs. Are you also saying that a professional gamer pollutes their gaming PCs by surfing, running powerpoints, installing printer drivers, scanner drivers etc on them? No of course not, the gaming PC will the the absolute minimum software required to do what they want. In fact, I would probably run a deep freeze type software to switch between games (if they multi discipline).

              Hard core gamers will run different PCs for gaming/everything else.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Solution

          @Charles 9

          What's a professional gaming clan? A bunch of teenagers living in their mom's basement who are so retarded that they were rejected by McDonalds? A bunch of adults with no other skills than keyboard bashing and mouse clicking?

  37. Roland6 Silver badge

    Internet Connection Still Not Required!

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/windows-10-specifications

    I like the fact that MS still maintain that (wrt Win10) an Internet connection is only needed for upgrade.

  38. oiseau
    Devil

    It's all fine and dandy.

    We (Reg readers, commentards, tech savvy users with varied knowledge, etc.) can bitch all we want.

    As we do it, even a great many of those who post here insist in using the crap Microsoft spews out.

    Unbelievable.

    The ugly truth is that the 'rest of the world', those who do not fit into the Reg readers, commentards, tech savvy users with varied knowledge, etc. categories (ie: millions of persons) and many many others in between, will continue to use a Microsoft OS, impervoius to the warnings and unaware of the consequences.

    One available alternative is a Linux based OS although as things stand today I'm not too sure.

    But until the Linux community 'as a whole' realises that a truly focused and effective joint effort is needed to take Linux into the desktop for 'everyone' (as opposed to the 'look Ma, I rolled a new distro today! attitude that has plagued it for as long as I can remember), this will continue to happen.

    But it is something that seems to be, if not impossible to achieve, very far away and I fear that time may have already run out.

    In very few years, all your digital activities will be owned and monitored by governments and corporations and there will be absolutely nothing to be done about it, as not having a digital activity will not really be an option because everything you do or want to do will depend on your having one.

    It's already started.

    Look at the hordes of assholes walking the streets looking not at their surroundings or the sidewalk but idiotically staring at their new, shiny and very expensive fondleslab they just spent eight hours of their life in a queue for because you 'have' to be connected and cannot take a step without reading the last whatever popped up.

    And I won't even get started on the Wi-Fi connected dildo with a camera I've recently read about.

    Times are indeed getting more and more interesting each day.

    Cheers.

    1. Palpy

      Yes, well, Linux distros --

      -- are used by the military and "spy" agencies. Last I read, Redhat's largest customer is the US military. Given the article to hand, some of the reasons are obvious.

      And yes, the builders of Linux distros are prolific and varied. Perhaps to the detriment of the ecosystem, though I am far from convinced that's true.

      But perhaps separating the concept of "must have privacy" from the concept of "must run X application / game" is a good approach? You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.

      If you really want privacy at a particular time, then you can boot from a Linux thumb drive that automatically connects to a VPN and then to TOR. You just don't do that when you want to play games or run Photoshop. Separate your usage cases. Don't run Windows when you need privacy; don't gorge on donuts and Vindaloo while you drink tequila, or you will be sick.

      One fine commentard (Charles 9, I think) opined that the only way to ensure privacy is to become a Luddite. Well, only if you want absolute privacy, I think. This guy managed to maintain excellent privacy for 27 years, but they caught him at last. Isn't everything shades of gray and a matter of degrees? You can get "pretty good" privacy if you eschew a few things. And if you manage your usage, and don't need full-on shields-up privacy all the time.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Yes, well, Linux distros --

        "One fine commentard (Charles 9, I think) opined that the only way to ensure privacy is to become a Luddite. Well, only if you want absolute privacy, I think. This guy managed to maintain excellent privacy for 27 years, but they caught him at last. Isn't everything shades of gray and a matter of degrees? You can get "pretty good" privacy if you eschew a few things. And if you manage your usage, and don't need full-on shields-up privacy all the time."

        Which actually shows privacy can't be shades of gray. It's black and white: all or nothing. Just one slip is all it takes to let the plods in and start unraveling everything.

        Which means for many of us it's already too late. They're just holding the bombshells in reserve.

        1. Tim Seventh
          Joke

          Re: Yes, well, Linux distros --

          "Which actually shows privacy can't be shades of gray. It's black and white: all or nothing"

          Great. That meant someone else will know that I left a sizable turd in the backyard for 27 years. Because I know for sure that thing wasn't black or white... it was brown.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Yes, well, Linux distros --

            That eventually solidifies into corprolite. And I think most corprolites turn WHITE...

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... "

        "Privacy" doesn't mean "hey, I want to download some porn, wharez, illegal music/video, or post some obscenities on my ex facebook page, and I don't want to be caught".

        For most users means "I wish I could do my usual tasks like checking my bank account, read medical exams, write a company reserved document, look at and edit my photo, and the like - even simple leisure activities, without someone continuously monitoring what I do, and access it if they want".

        Should I really need live CD/USB drive, a VPN and Tor to do it????

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... "

          "Should I really need live CD/USB drive, a VPN and Tor to do it????"

          Yes, because it isn't paranoia anymore. Everyone really IS out to get you.

        2. JLV Silver badge

          Re: "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... "

          > warez ... revenge porn ... I don't want to be caught

          And, even if you did those things, it isn't MS role as a private company to be policing the law without a warrant and the guidance of law enforcement, so people arguing on that front are deluded.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... "

            Unless Microsoft really ARE being requested to do so by law enforcement...

        3. Palpy

          Re: "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... " Well, yes.

          Good points. Again, a matter of degree.

          Do your banking, check medical records, etc on Windows, and you will not have privacy.

          Do it on Linux -- mainstream distro of whatever flavor -- and you have better privacy. You'll still be tracked by online sites, of course. Google will know.

          Do it with Linux and NoScript and Disconnect and uBlock Origin, and you'll be less trackable. But now you may have trouble signing on to websites and navigating menus.

          And even then, your ISP will still know where you've been online, if nothing else.

          Finally, use a VPN and TOR and your ISP will only know you're using the VPN. But now your user experience (what a phrase...) will be considerably different.

          Hell, this is nothing new. We all know this stuff. About all I can say is, Choose wisely.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: "If you really want privacy at a particular time, then... " Well, yes.

            Using TOR also means the owner of the exit node will know what you're doing -- at very least what servers you're connecting to. Ideally this doesn't hurt you because of anonymity and encryption, but if there's any kind of man-in-the-middle vulnerability in HTTPS -- or worse, if you're not using HTTPS at all -- the exit node operator is perfectly positioned to take advantage and intercept your traffic. Then they can gather all kinds of information, probably including your identity, if you're signing into things like banking sites. The FBI is thought to run a pretty decent number of exit nodes. Tread carefully, and don't do any plaintext browsing.

            VPNs have the same problem but without the anonymity. (The VPN operator knows who you are, because you're paying them, and can intercept your traffic at will.)

            You should also consider the information you're leaking when you change your habits. If you only launch TOR when you're doing something you want to keep private, you're revealing when you're up to something sensitive. If you're serious it's best to run a relay node so there's other traffic to mask your own. But bear in mind leaked NSA docs suggest that TOR traffic on someone's connection is a red flag they use to decide who to pay more attention to...

    2. stephanh Silver badge

      What's the phone number of the Linux community again?

      The Linux community "as a whole" will not help because

      1. It is a community like the "community of nations", i.e. not a community at all.

      2. It has mostly given up on conquering the desktop market and is now content with owning the server and mobile markets. (See recent Ubuntu news.)

      3. It is not interested in solving this problem since it doesn't affect them.

      Perhaps the Windows community "as a whole" could grow a spine and do something about it, though.

  39. razorfishsl

    So if MS happens to slurp medical records or a lawyers confidential discussions with a client they are going to be allowed to get away with that?

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Frankly, I am completely baffled that somebody in Microsoft's legal department OK-ed this. It seems obviously illegal to me to upload potentially confidential documents.

      Or are they going to blame the user for not sifting through the menus and disabling the appropriate settings? They'll have a fun day in court with that.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        I am completely baffled that somebody in Microsoft's legal department OK-ed this. It seems obviously illegal to me to upload potentially confidential documents.

        Err no, MS can only have a liability in law if they receive information/documents covered by the Official Secrets Act, or relate to certain types of activities involving children...

        Otherwise, the correct handling of documents covered by the Data Protection Act is the responsibility of the document user. Interestingly, MS will be liable if the source of a disclosure can be traced to Microsoft and the telemetry they collected...

        But basically, from what I've seen, Windows 10, because of the telemetry, is not a secure platform for the processing of confidential information. Given the wide publicity given to MS's snooping, a health councillor, doctor, lawyer etc. by using Windows 10 are leaving themselves open to legal action, for not taking reasonable precautions to safeguard the data in their possession.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          And if software critical to their position can ONLY run on raw Windows, raising a Scylla-and-Charybdis situation?

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            I can see the education version NOT having this as standard. There are huge rules now on storing school information - even to the point that cloud storage is being looked at under a microscope.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "Err no, MS can only have a liability in law"

          But not under the upcoming GDPR. Data processors will be liable as well, and if MS asks the users to allow process their data....

  40. BigAndos

    I've been defending Windows 10 up until now but I never expected the slurping to be this extensive, perhaps naively. I still need W10 for gaming so maybe I'll have to start doing all my document writing and web browsing inside a linux VM...

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      @BigAndos

      That's the wrong way around. You should run your Windows 10 applications in a VM on Linux.

      Otherwise the Linux VM is just another document which can potentially be uploaded by Microsoft, your keystrokes can still be logged, etc...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Along with the serevere and serious privacy issues...

    ...that others have commented on, how much is all this extra cruft slowing down the machine it runs on?

    Just imagine what extra capacity would be available if all Windows 10 did was attempt to run the owner's required software with suitable protection?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Along with the serevere and serious privacy issues...

      Even on Win7 it can take an age to load up and run Outlook (for example).

      I do recall the days when my workplace ran win3.11FWG and Pine as the email app.

      Considering how much less power the machine that was running that setup was, it's even more amazing that pretty much the exact same function, 20 years later on massively more powerful machines, TAKES A LOT LONGER FFS!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Along with the serevere and serious privacy issues...

        On my machine Outlook 2016 opens almost instantaneously (on a three years old PC) - maybe it's time you replace your Win 3.11 machine now running 7 with something mode modern?

        1. Tim Seventh
          Joke

          Re: Along with the serevere and serious privacy issues...

          I tried but my DOS pc doesn't have a cd rom to install outlook 2016.

  42. Blotto

    How bad is the chinese verison

    How bad is the special build for china in the privacy department

    if its better, can the rest of the world also use the chinese win10 edition?

    on a related note it looks like the spooks have found away to spy on the world and get the public to pay for it. Google web searches show them what we look for, Amazon echo listens to our conversations and now windows PC's give them every thing we are doing with our machines.

    i guess they will noble future processors so they will only run current (as of future then) versions of windows and people will choose to run spy on you by design windows as only terrorists will install an alternative like Linux, or only rich people can afford to buy non spy on you os's like Mac OS.

    people need to start voteing with their wallets and let M$ & the TLA's know they can't get away with this.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: How bad is the chinese verison

      They've BEEN voting with their wallets...AGAINST you. You can't fix Stupid, so another plan is called for.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: How bad is the chinese verison

      "only rich people can afford to buy non spy on you os's like Mac OS"
      What a strange world you inhabit Blotto, where "only rich people can afford" something that's free.

  43. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    With all this Microslush on teh linez, how will there be bandwidth enough for warez installation?

    Will no-one think of the small (Chechnyan) businessman?

  44. zaax

    With all that data Mircosoft is collecting no wonder some enterprise users have not switch to it, and are still on XP.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      XP was declared completely EOL some time back, meaning users can be owned at any time. Using XP now would be considered a failure of due diligence without extenuating circumstances.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        XP was declared completely EOL some time back, meaning users can be owned at any time. Using XP now would be considered a failure of due diligence without extenuating circumstances.

        Doesn't necessarily follow. Remember MS a short while back effectively admitted that XP and Win7 running EMET were as secure as Win10...

        A key difference between XP and Win10 say is that, I know there are exploits that won't get fixed, with Win10 my users can still be owned at anytime, we just hope they won't get owned by a previosuly discovered exploit eg. execution of arbitrary code due to a buffer overflow...

        Interestingly, the security suite on an XP system my kids use (Okay it is also running EMET, MBAE, SteadyState), hasn't flagged any unusual activity. However, the only real precautions I have taken, other than having it behind the ISP standard applicance, is not to open inbound RDP on its default port, and to use Firefox.

        Also whilst XP might be EoL as far as the Windows division is concerned MS Office division are still supplying Office 2007 updates for XP...

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        XP POS Embedded 2009...

        ...is supported until 2019 - the "POSReady" registry hack (or installing Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs SP3) will ensure you get updates for another two years.

  45. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    ShutUp10?

    "We just wish we could completely turn it all off in Windows and avoid being treated like Redmond's guinea pigs. "

    I've used an app called ShutUp10 so far, and that seems to nail a lot of leaks down, but I'm not sure how it will deal with this new update.

    Still, might be new to some of you.

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

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Re: ShutUp10?

      I am using this tool too, but I have not yet found any independent review which looks at its effectiveness. Perhaps a hole which The Register could fill?

  46. James O'Shea Silver badge

    serious question

    what happens if you install Win10 Super Snoop Update onto a VM running under OS X or Ubuntu or whatever, and turn off network access at the VM level? I did that with the Win 10 beta; it complained, but it ran, even though it couldn't call home 'cause there was no network connection. Will the new version even run if there's no network?

    I need to run certain specific apps which have no equivalent outside Windows... and which don't need to access the network. If Win 10 Super Snoop Update will run without network access, then I guess that there's a Mac Book Pro and a copy of Parallels in my future.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: serious question

      Could start an Activation countdown. Don't connect in 30 days and the install locks until it can.

      1. stephanh Silver badge

        Re: serious question

        You could possibly have a scheme like this:

        Windows VM A: contains your applications but no personal documents whatsoever. Is regularly allowed to update itself (at least every 30 days). Can send home all the data it wants.

        Windows VM B: is snapshotted every 30 days from VM A, after which network access is disabled and the host's filesystem is mounted in the VM. From VM B you can work on your documents. At the end of the 30 days, VM B is deleted and a new snapshot is created.

        I know that on Virtualbox, you can do all these things from command line tools, so you could script it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: serious question

          Next thing you know, W10 becomes able to detect it's in a VM and act funny because of it.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: serious question

            "Next thing you know, W10 becomes able to detect it's in a VM and act funny because of it."

            I don't see why not, lots of other Malware these days refuses to run in a VM.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: serious question

              It's practically impossible to prevent a piece of software in a VM from finding out it IS in a VM. A timing attack is all it really takes, and there are ways to prevent the host from realizing you're performing one (either internal by instruction timings or externally by polling a timebase).

          2. fredesmite

            Re: serious question

            I suspect there are ways for windows to detect if it is a VM simply by seeing what dmidecode reports or what drivers are loaded

    2. Tim Seventh

      Re: serious question

      Unless the newest Windows 10 changed anything, offline Windows has always worked. If you want it 100% offline even from the start, you can activate the license offline. There are instructions for that.

      The beta windows 10 is an exception since it was not not an official windows.

  47. bobajob12 Bronze badge

    So, what can an individual do about it?

    Microsoft are gonna be Microsoft. So now let's talk about practical ways to blackhole the data stream.

    - Is there a list of ports or IPs we can filter at the network level?

    - Services we can terminate with prejudice? I know this is something of whackamole (see Cortana)

    - Names we can DNS resolve to a bit bucket?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: So, what can an individual do about it?

      The problem is that Microsoft knows all the tricks.

      - DNS blackholing won't help you because the most important ones are hardcoded into Microsoft's DNS API DLL, and the DLL for it is signed so it can't be replaced with a neutered version.

      - As for blacklisting IPs, I heard they use the same IP and ports for the telemetry as they use for Windows Update, meaning if you block the telemetry, you ALSO block the security updates, leaving you a nasty choice: get tagged or get pwned?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: So, what can an individual do about it?

        "leaving you a nasty choice: get tagged or get pwned?"

        I beg to disagree, I think your choice is actually..

        "leaving you a nasty choice: get tagged and pwned or get pwned?"

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: So, what can an individual do about it?

          So you're saying security updates are useless, seeing as they're supposed to keep you from getting pwned?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: So, what can an individual do about it?

            Well, not entirely useless - they are effectively acting like a switch.

            Position A = owned by MS

            Position B = owned by someone else

  48. JLV Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    disable-ity?

    IIRC NT4 Workstation could be flipped into NT 4 Server by flipping a switch on its Registry.

    If several builds of Win 10 have limited telemetry, would there not be similar controls/delta points that could be leveraged to turn it off under the covers? After all, it's easier to take away something than add it. Barring that, router-level firewalling?

    As ever, I am flabbergasted at the lengths MS will go to to ignore its customers (no, not 'users', we paid $ for these products, they are not Google/FB). And taint the reputation of what is otherwise mostly an acceptable OS (for those of us who exercise our freedom not to automatically hate proprietary software - even if I like Linux too and don't use Win as my primary OS anymore).

  49. soulrideruk Bronze badge

    I know this post will be unpopular, but I cannot for the life of me understand why people rate Win7 so highly. It's a Vista service pack, that's all.

    Sure, win 10 has the telemetry issues, but it's faster and more stable than Vista2.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      No, it's Vista's XP. XP was a lot better than 2K, just as 7 is a lot better than Vista. It reduced its footprint, allowing Starter to work on netbooks, and a lot of under-the-hood stuff was a lot more stable compared to Vista. Plus UAC wasn't as nagging.

      And if you say 10 is faster than 7, perhaps you can display some independent numbers to prove your claim.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >XP was a lot better than 2K

        The trouble with XP is that everyone remembers XP-SP3. From memory, as a W2K user, XP and XP-SP1 weren't a patch on W2K-SP2, SP3 or SP4 and thus were avoided. It wasn't until SP2 that XP was sufficiently stable for business usage, with SP3 as noted being particularly reliable.

        In some respects, MS did the same with Vista, but this time around launched the stable version as Win7...

  50. Fihart

    Multiple OS on multiple machines.

    I think we may have to move to a situation that, where obligatory, Win10 is run on one machine (preferably without a full time internet connection) and 7 or Linux or Apple or Android on a couple of other machines. Feasible given the power of laptops and tablets.

    It would be a big step backwards, but it's this or surrender to Microsoft's clearly unethical (if not illegal) intrude and control business model.

  51. Jonathan 27

    Yeah...

    This article seems pretty one-sided. Every other popular commercial OS records data like this, Mac OS, iOS, Android. And yet the last one to start rolling out functionality like this is the one you cover. It would be nice to see some coverage of all the data, for example, Android leaks out about you. I see a lot of people saying "I won't upgrade to Windows 10 because of the telemetry sharing" and then go on talking on an Android or iOS phone, using Google services and Facebook\Snapchat\Twitter.

  52. fredesmite
    Mushroom

    windows failure is not an option

    It is included in the purchase price

    If they had a platform that worked they wouldn't need to mine data for system crashes

  53. zen1

    oh horse sh*t

    "Microsoft engineers use that data to pinpoint problems". In the 30 or so years I've worked with MS products, I have never once received a coherent explanation on what causes repeat crashes. Almost every time I've called their support with a problem like that I was told to reinstall the OS.

    Microsoft can kiss my ass and I have stopped recommending any of their products or services, because they simply aren't worth it anymore.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: oh horse sh*t

      "In the 30 or so years I've worked with MS products, I have never once received a coherent explanation on what causes repeat crashes."
      Nearly always it's poorly written drivers for the hardware. While understandable at the time, giving the video subsystem direct access to the kernel in NT4 was a bad move.

      I have also come across badly designed motherboards that resulted in unstable Linux as well as Win.

      Oddly, the most stable windows machine I have ever come across is Mrs Git's ageing Macbook.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: oh horse sh*t

        Really? How else can you get good video performance (especially memory-intensive 3D performance) without getting close to the metal?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: oh horse sh*t

          "Really? How else can you get good video performance (especially memory-intensive 3D performance) without getting close to the metal?"
          By using a decent video adapter with a decent driver. Unfortunately, most can't afford such and it's those lower end devices that create instability. I still have my first professional video adapter acquired when NT4 was the go. It's a full length card fully populated with VRAM for 8-bit colour and cost if memory serves $AU3,000, somewhat more than the 486 PC it was in.

          The Microsoftie at the presentation of NT4 immediately prior to launch expended a considerable amount of effort explaining why MS had moved the video subsystem due to performance complaints from NT3.x users.

          1. Orv Silver badge

            Re: oh horse sh*t

            Wasn't that one of the digs on Windows 2000, also? That it was slow and unsuitable for gaming because they moved video drivers out of the kernel space? I might be mentally confusing it with the NT4 situation, though.

            As I recall, at the time people pointed out that if your video driver crashed, it didn't really matter if the rest of the kernel stayed up, since few Windows machines have any way other than the local console to interact with them.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: oh horse sh*t

          "Really? How else can you get good video performance (especially memory-intensive 3D performance) without getting close to the metal?"

          How close do you need to be?

          A decent CPU does something in the order of 24 000 000 000 operations every second.

          Memory intensive stuff is offloaded to some kind of DMA thing, using a few operations.

          I'd say CPU resources being used up by background sh*t is a far bigger problem than "how close to the metal" something is.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: oh horse sh*t

            Not THESE days. The video memory is MAPPED, usually into the KERNEL's addresses space (as is most device address space in your average OS since the drivers reside in kernel space). That's why 32-bit OS's hit a snag when large-memory video cards appeared. With enough RAM between the system and the video card, if you didn't use PAE (which had hiccups of its own), the system ran out of addresses for mapping everything.

  54. Chemical Bob Bronze badge

    "we have reduced the number of events collected and reduced, by about half, the volume of data we collect"

    In other words, MS can't be bothered to buy a bigger hard drive for their data slurping computer.

  55. Ropewash

    Respond first, read thread later.

    Strangely, if you enter "The Windows 10 Creators Update is a significant step forward, but by no means the end of our journey," into google translate it comes out in english as "Bend over and clench your teeth, because here it comes."

    I have never.. Ever.. been so damned happy I decided to turn off updates and purge my system during that GWX onslaught. My Win7 desktop and Win8 surface are doing just fine thanks. Doing things I want them to do that is, not things I'm told to do by the OS developer. I don't need you to look into my workflow during one of your many application crashes to see if there's anything you want to sell to advertizers, steal, or have me sued for stealing... <cough>... I mean, anything you can use to determine the cause of the crash... Yeah. Fuck right off.

    Luckily my Linux machine doesn't require this level of developmental input from me. The folks responsible for the various programs seem to be able to fix most issues without needing to know what music I was listening to at the time and what my signature looks like. Thanks guys, that's why this machine is the one actually connected to the WAN.

    I actually liked Windows. It was a decent enough general purpose platform for all sorts of uses, but this is just a step/mile/lightyear too far. Open note to Microsoft, if you quit shitting all over your users diskspace I personally promise I won't do the same to the lawn outside your corporate HQ.

    Good day.

  56. Kev99 Bronze badge

    None of my computers will even allow Win10 to install so I guess I'm "safe". Anyway, I wonder if Win10 is hardwired to use a certain port to call Big Brother. If so, couldn't one just block that port?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How on earth...

    ... did we ever sink to the point where doing this without the obligation to allow for a total opt out is actually permissible? All the more amazing that MS club fisted attempts at explaining it actually make it look even more creepy. Cheeky bastards!

    I'd have thought they were on legally iffy ground by hoovering up documents that don't actually belong to the machines user, and may well in themselves be subject to confidentiality contracts.

    A better ad for Linux (well, anything really) I've rarely seen.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: How on earth...

      " How on earth did we ever sink to the point where doing this without the obligation to allow for a total opt out is actually permissible?"

      Two words: Captive Market.

  58. johnsteeves
    Linux

    Just forget about Windows

    So happy I moved away from Windows years ago.

    I've been really happy with Zorin OS. Makes Linux so easy to use and doesn't invade your privacy like Win 10 does.

  59. Unbelievable!

    Why do they not give us a option to opt out altogether?

    I'm afraid to say that i agree with earlier posts. MS is one of the front facing developers of "snooping software", but switch to another O/S or technology and the government agencies will soon, or have already got complying with "their" wants as well. Anything that collects data.. from loyalty card at the supermarket to debit card purchases to sat nav trip recording and everything in between and beyond.

    So pissed off with it all. I see no real answer than to live 'off the grid', and who realistically is going to do that?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why do they not give us a option to opt out altogether?

      Even off the grid, they'll get you with "geologic" survey planes and spy satellies.

  60. FuzzyTheBear
    Happy

    Come on ..

    At some point there's going to have to be something else than having to suffer the digital rape that's windows 10. I know little about WHY on earth anyone would do this to themselves. I got on Mint , Steam , PlayOnLinux and never looked back. All the stuff i need to do can be done with a trustable OS .

    I dont get it. Maintenance on this PC is zero. Why on earth is anyone still suffering at the hands of the likes of Microsoft ?

    Why do you like to suffer ? What's keeping you , holding you back from the transition ?

    I dont get it. Really .. after 16 fucking years of Linux i finally see no reason to use windows at all.

    Consider the alternatives and adapt is my saying. Anyways " We are the Linux geeks , resistance is futile , you will be assimilated along with your technology " LOL

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Come on ..

      "At some point there's going to have to be something else than having to suffer the digital rape that's windows 10. I know little about WHY on earth anyone would do this to themselves. I got on Mint , Steam , PlayOnLinux and never looked back. All the stuff i need to do can be done with a trustable OS ."

      Except play the likes of Overwatch, Fallout 4, and Mass Effect: Andromeda, among other headliners. If your buddies are playing Windows-only WINE-unfriendly games, you're locking yourself out. And it's not like the geeks have been trying to make them work, but things are now getting so sophisticated that it's not really worth trying anymore. Look at where ReactOS is stuck.

  61. Tom Melly

    Hmm, so I often have clinical patient information on my PC, which, if viewed without appropriate authorisation, would be an offence iirc. Who would be liable - me or MS?

    1. fnusnu
  62. Doshu

    You can still opt out

    Too many comments to check if already mentioned, but you can still opt out. Sling some registry keys, kill and lock some services, mess with local policies -- it's doable. Just sucks for the average user that it's not available as a simple toggle switch.

    Tl;dr -- MS ain't getting anything from my systems.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 Stalkers Update

    Microsoft should have called it Windows 10 Stalkers Update, given what the release contains.

    In the UK at least, we have laws against silent stalking, Microsoft take note.

  64. Archangel_

    Just block it

    Use the following blacklists to actively block Windows telemetry:

    https://www.iblocklist.com/

    https://community.sophos.com/products/unified-threat-management/f/web-protection-web-filtering-application-visibility-control/47019/here-s-how-to-block-windows-10-spying

    The iblocklist URLs are constantly updated and have a list dedicated solely to Microsoft

    Also use O&O Shutup to turn most of the telemetry off

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

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Just block it

      But don't those addresses also block Windows Update, meaning if a zero-day warrants an emergency update, you can't reach it?

  65. grimupnorth

    Can someone write a "Fix" for MS snooping?

    Along the lines of GWX Control Panel - but you know - auto disabling all telemetry as required? I'd buy that for a dollar.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Can someone write a "Fix" for MS snooping?

      No, because most of it is now embedded into system-level signed DLL's (basically tamper-proofed). And odds are the addresses where the telemetry goes are the same ones where we get the security updates.

  66. Colonel Mad

    0x8007001f

    No Comment

  67. Richard Lloyd

    Creators Update hung when checking for updates during install...

    After an age and multiple reboots, things were going well with the Creators Update on my home PC. Just turn off all those privacy sliders (there's even more to turn off after the update finishes) and, what's this, it's "Checking for updates..." (which really should be left to the user to do after the first login surely?) and, er, not doing anything for 2 hours!

    A power cycle and the same thing happens on the next boot - privacy sliders re-appear (yep, had to turn them off again) and "Checking for updates..." hung again. The solution? I disconnected my PC from the internet and it then booted fine and gave my first Creators Update login prompt. Well done MS for screwing up the install!

  68. Bladeforce

    Bunch of...

    ...fools using windows. Im stuck with this and that software get a backbone. You're sad

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Bunch of...

      So if you're a professional gaming clan who competes on Overwatch for money, they're basically a bunch of spineless losers for being forced to use Windows (since it supports no other PC platform and most professional leagues require PCs--no consoles)?

      How about instead of dissing everyone, find a way to freeze Hell and make mainstream developers code for Linux and provide a solid, mature professional-quality PC gaming system without having to use anything Microsoft? And remember, Valve's been trying the same for a number of years now with little to show for it and even various top-end companies (like Bethesda Softworks, who made Fallout 4) shunning Linux for various reasons (too fragmented an ecosystem is Bethesda's reason).

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Bunch of...

        "Valve's been trying the same for a number of years now with little to show for it and even various top-end companies (like Bethesda Softworks, who made Fallout 4) shunning Linux for various reasons (too fragmented an ecosystem is Bethesda's reason)."

        Steam seems to have managed OK with Civ V. In some respects, the Lunix version is superior to the Windows version though the differences are minor.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Bunch of...

          JUST Civ V. For each one you can cite, there are probably two that will never see Linux, and odds are the two are going to be higher profile as well.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Bunch of...

            "JUST Civ V. For each one you can cite"
            You're obviously not a Civ fanatic. Civ alone is a great (in several senses of the word) time-sink. I also need to sleep, eat, attend to personal hygiene etc.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would ditch windows 10 tomorrow if Nvidia would allowo gfx cards to run in stereoscopic.

  70. Hidden Manna

    It's not really that much data

    It seems like a lot, but they are covering a lot of bases. Since XP Windows, Windows Update has not only updated the Microsoft Windows packages, it also updates all the Microsoft software found on the machine - it has to check for every conceivable Microsoft software that may be on the machine.

    THEN it has to go over every conceivable piece of hardware to check if the hardware's manufacturer has registered a new driver update for said hardware. That is a lot of checking, but in most cases "the sheer amount of data" is a lot of BLANKS. So the list is long .. but I would venture much of it is left BLANK most of the time. And now some people have signed up to "Insiders" so that has its own list of stuff there if the person signed up for that, but nothing much would be sent if you didn't turn that on.

    They also have to check for every conceivable language pack that might be installed to make sure any package installed is in the language. Windows supports a lot of languages. But again most people have only one or two languages installed.

    And they have to check if there's been any crashes or other events so that they can fix bugs.

    It seems like a lot, but yeah, it's just basic stuff, techno-gobble-dee-gook, I would venture much of it sending nulls on most machines.

    For comparison's sake, you should see what a simple webpage visit involves! Handshakes, protocols, packets, transfers, acknowledgements, blah blah blah ..

    I personally do not use Windows 10, but 'the sheer amount of data' aspect of Windows Update doesn't bother me in the least.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I live on that estate

    What happens if a Win10 machine shares a drive or cloud connection to a non-win10 device i.e. has read access to shared files. Will it be able to send *those* files too? Is an entire network now at risk if there is just one Win10 device on it with access to shares?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I live on that estate

      If the answer was "yes," what would you do, then? Especially if you have to buy a new computer in the future, Win10 is the only option available, and you depend on Windows-only software to function?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is a Windows? Sounds innovative

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      "What is a Windows? Sounds innovative"
      They are. Back in Roman times, a Briton called Hengist Pod was making square wheels. A bloke called Horsa moved in next door to Hengist and his wife Senna. He realised that Hengist's square wheels fit perfectly into holes in walls and he called them Windows.

  73. Carl D

    Easiest way to stop Windows 10 spying is to install it, make sure it is activated and has all the drivers,etc. then disconnect it from the internet (disable network adapter - right click > disable) and run it as a dual boot with an online Windows 7 and/or Linux.

    Works well for me. That's also what I'll be doing if I need to buy a new 7th generation processor where Microsoft have now maliciously denied access to Windows Update for Windows 7 and 8.1 with these new processors - offline Windows 10/online Linux.

  74. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    WTF?

    2017 - The year of XP on the desktop

    Something has gone badly wrong when one has to think hard about which is more insane; running XP or W10?

  75. DoktoroKiu

    Wow

    I fail to comprehend the reason why someone who is so paranoid about monitoring from big brother Microsoft would ever use, let alone purchase, their products. If it makes for a better OS and more relevant ads I call it a service. You may prefer wasting your time with irrelevant ads and crashing software, but my time is worth more than your paranoia. If you don't like what they do then take your money elsewhere.

    I can say this as someone who ran Linux for six years because I couldn't stand Vista (and neither could my PC). Windows 10 and their newer investments in technology and open-sourcing of several major projects has changed my mind about them. I enjoy the new UI, despite all the hate from people who want another Win95 clone (I also liked Ubuntu's Unity and new Gnome desktop). They are actively working on areas that only developers would use. I never thought I'd see the day when MS would provide something like the WSL. Now I can run all my CLI tools on full-blown Ubuntu without the hassle of setting up and maintaining Cygwin. They are actively working on user-requested features for their re-vamped console, WSL, and powershell (which is another fantastic tool I was surprised to see, and even more surprised to find that they are committed to supporting for all products).

    They could still be evil behind it all, I suppose, but unless you're running Linux From Scratch on a bootloader you wrote for your own custom hardware (compiled with a from-scratch compiler) you can never really be sure someone isn't looking over your shoulder.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      Bad troll. No cookie.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      "If it makes for a better OS and more relevant ads I call it a service."

      Someone sure got to you!

      Ads cost money. If they aren't relevant, you'll see fewer of them.

      The only good ad is a dead ad.

  76. WillSmith1

    Bye bye Windows

    Just moved from Windows 10 to Linux Mint and could not be happier. I ran a programme to disable Win 10's data collection features but was so disturbed by the length and extent of it all and the need to install third party software to disable auto updates I decided it was time to switch.

    My brand new laptop runs faster now and the things I could do in Windows 10 I can still happily do in Linux which has matured considerably as an OS since the last time I tried it a couple of years ago.

    With some effort I have even be able to install Linux on my netbook too which was really locked down and Windows centric. The difference in performance in the netbooks case is simply remarkable.

    In short privacy and performance are important to people and anyone thinking otherwise should really think again.

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