Microsoft promises to implement full Windows 10 data tracking controls

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 11, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft informed Forbes recently that it plans to release updates later this year that puts users of the company's new operating system Windows 10 in full control over data sharing and telemetry, if they so desire.

Update: According to Ed Bott, Microsoft has no plans to implement these changes this year or anytime in the future.

Microsoft has been criticized heavily on many tech sites and forums on the Internet for how it handles privacy in Windows 10.

While it makes available preferences to turn off some features that users may find privacy-invasive, no version of Windows 10 ships with a full turn-off option to disable all data tracking and telemetry.

Even tools designed to turn off these invasive features are not blocking connections to Microsoft server completely.

Microsoft told Forbes recently that it will implement those controls this year. While it did not mention exactly how it plans to do so, it appears that there will be an option to turn of data tracking and telemetry completely according to Forbes.

windows 10 telemetry

In the worst case scenario, it will simply enable the Windows 10 Enterprise only option to turn off Telemetry completely.

Provided that the changes will indeed plug any data connections to Microsoft that are not required to run the operating system, like Windows Update checks if the operating system is configured to make those, it could convince opponents of Windows 10 to give the operating system a try.

It is likely that the defaults won't change, and that Microsoft will implement new controls to turn off data collecting much like it provides options currently to reduce the telemetry data that is collected and shared by the Windows 10 operating system.

It is a win for consumers and a surprising change of events. While we don't know why Microsoft made the decision to implement these controls, it is likely the bad publicity that it received ever since the first public release of Windows 10 in regards to the operating system's privacy-invasive features that made it realize that it may be better to implement these controls.

If you check comments here on Ghacks in regards to Windows 10 for instance, you will notice that the majority of negative comments is about the operating system's data hunger and the lack of options to block the collection and transfer of these data sets.

Closing Words

The change is an important one, if done right. Microsoft would reduce the bad press that its operating system receives significantly, and users would get full control over the operating system's data collecting.

Now You: Would you try Windows 10 if you could turn off all data collecting?

Microsoft promises to implement full Windows 10 data tracking controls
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Microsoft promises to implement full Windows 10 data tracking controls
Microsoft told Forbes recently that it will create updates for Windows 10 that give users full control over the systems data tracking.
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  1. Robin Battig said on March 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

    You could say that MS is committing to be more tactful with their updates, or that they are going to apply more tact with their updates, but this doesn’t actually make any sense, because the previous criticism didn’t relate to a lack of tact. It related to a lack of disclosure.

  2. Adam Devey said on February 25, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Why do people even care? If you’re not doing anything illegal then why worry. Even if you were everything is collecting making you anonymous and not identifiable. So again, why do you care? They want stats. What’s wrong with that?

    1. Steve said on March 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      I assume that you fornicate in public, don’t have any blinds in your house, don’t mind peeing outside, send checks and money to creditors without bothering to use envelopes, don’t lock your doors, don’t care if your SO knows you might love someone else, might be gay and don’t mind being discriminated against, be ill with a terminal disease, have a STD, tell me the passwords to your checking account, let me know your social security number and date of birth, pick your nose and eat it, have viewpoints not accepted by the majority of people around you, pursue an alternative life style, don’t mind all the details of your life being recorded for all to see at any time for any reason and to draw any conclusion without informing you, and keep the keys in your car at all times. After all, you’re not doing anything illegal. Of course you care about privacy. Everyone does. Whether you’re doing something illegal or not. It’s about having control over information that is personal to you. Information that might be used by others to exploit your weaknesses or to intimidate you or to insure you think a certain way or to modify your behavior and consumption habits.

      It has nothing to do with what is illegal or illegal. What is illegal or legal can change by the day. The most innocent of actions today can be considered crimes against the state tomorrow and punishment imposed on prior actions.

      The issue is about choice. It’s about us deciding what we want to reveal about our behavior or of matters of an intensely personal nature to others. In this situation, we are not given the option to limit or control what is collected about us. We are fingerprinted. We are profiled. We are sold to third parties who can do what they will with our information. Our government can request this information under secret court orders. If MS confined themselves to “stats” and gave us a choice and practiced transparency this wouldn’t be such a polarizing issue. I really don’t care if MS knows a DLL they wrote is crashing my system. I might care if they are capturing a web site I am visiting when the crash occurred, But I don’t have that choice. By openly stating they intend to collect any and all information, by constantly forcing your system to self-report they create a very natural skepticism in the minds of the user. My life is not perfect information and I wish to be able to control what is known about me and disseminated to others. I wish to have choices and to be able to assure myself that others are behaving in a manner that is not threatening to me.

      1. Steve said on March 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm

        To be fair…I might care that my neighbor has accumulated 500 AK47 assault rifles for the upcoming “deer season”. What to do, what to do what will I do…I mutter as I scurry to my underground prep area. I want to know just enough about you to be sure you aren’t going to declare that “deer season” is now open anytime soon. And I’m willing to tell you enough about myself so you feel assured that I’m not going to declare my own “deer season”. Sigh.

  3. alfie69 said on February 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm
  4. Tim T said on February 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I am test driving Linux Mint on my Vista laptop. It has a familiarity about it that I didn’t expect, which is nice. Windows 7 will continue to be my mainstay until 2020. After that, I’m confident I’ll have a suitable alternative to Windows.

  5. A different Martin said on February 13, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    In the United States, HIPAA and HITECH are laws that establish strict privacy protections for patient health information. Financial penalties for negligent violations are severe, and penalties for “knowing” violations include prison time. HIPAA and HITECH compliance is a useful proxy for data privacy and security generally.

    HIPAA and HITECH experts appear not to have reached any definitive conclusions on Windows 10 — not surprising, given Microsoft’s lack of disclosure and transparency — but the current consensus seems to be:

    (1) It’s possible that Windows 10 Enterprise (which can be licensed to institutions with more than 500 users) can, in its current state, be locked down by competent, eternally vigilant system administrators to the point that it complies with HIPAA and HITECH.

    (2) It’s questionable whether non-Enterprise editions of Windows 10 (the only Windows 10 options for healthcare providers and other custodians of protected health information with fewer than 500 users) can, in their current state, be made HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant, even if all available data-uploading settings are turned off.

    The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, responsible for enforcing HIPAA and HITECH’s data privacy provisions, has refused to investigate whether Windows 10 is HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant. The Federal Trade Commission is in receipt of a request to investigate Windows 10’s HIPAA and HITECH compliance and, if it’s not compliant, to determine whether this constitutes an “unfair or deceptive act or practice in trade.” However, the FTC has investigatory discretion, and pressure from Microsoft and its allies elsewhere in government make it uncertain whether the FTC will investigate anything at all pertaining to Microsoft’s business practices.

    So, would I ever consider using Windows 10 if Microsoft purported to give end users control over whether and how their data is shared? Personally, no. Their hyperagressive, overreaching GWX campaign destroyed whatever trust I had left in them, and sometime before Windows 7’s end of life, I’m switching to Linux. But I have friends and relatives who are afraid of switching (or whose sysadmins at work won’t support them if they do), and for them I would advise holding off on Windows 10 until multiple trustworthy, independent evaluators declare the OS to be HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant without requiring continuous monitoring by a crack sysadmin. As it happens, some of my relatives are actual medical researchers covered by HIPAA and HITECH, but the advice applies to anyone concerned with personal privacy.

    1. Steve said on February 14, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      If MS was so confident that WIN10 – whatever flavor – was secure (HIPAA / HITECH) they would be advertising that fact and monetize that fact with the health care industry. They should welcome and fund the FTC research and then then brand their product as “government certified”. But they won’t because they have security (deliberate or otherwise) issues they refuse to publicly acknowledge. We assume the worst case scenario with these large companies because they aren’t transparent and they openly admit in their “privacy policies” that they can and will use your private information in any manner whatsoever with or without your consent. Your alternatives are limited. Not everyone can learn how to use Linux or Tails. Can you blame Russia for saying – no thanks – we’re not using Windows? Not that this will do any good – but wouldn’t it be nice to have a “Snowden” incident for MS and other large businesses that consistent and insistently track and spam you? As has been pointed out – it’s over. The government has made surveillance, police intimidation, civil forfeiture and indefinite detention without representation facts of life in this country. All that remains is for big business and the government to work out the details (for example – the elimination of class action suits and the substitution of binding arbitration). All this nonsense to make you “secure” and to insure you have a quality “user experience”.

    2. T J said on February 14, 2016 at 1:42 am

      Thanks for your post A Different Martin.

      Living in the UK, I had not heard of these US compliance rules. It will be interesting to see if the FTC will have the guts to take on MS and the MS lobbyists.

      If it doesn’t, and confidential data is uploaded to MS, then the FTC, the government, and MS could be in the eye of the storm caused by a very high profile class action suit.

      I’ve just had an image flash through my head of of Nadella doing a Perp Walk in Redmond :-)

  6. alfie69 said on February 13, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    no chance of me updating either, Microsux have breached my TOS! they may consider this os their most secure yet but these are still very early days, give it a few years and then count up the 200+ security updates/hotfix/sp youve had forced on you, the amount of incompatible drivers youve spent hours trying to replace resolve etc. Only way of trusting MS is when they fire all the current directors/NSA implants and return to be an OS that is for the people not government sponsored spyware. Roll on win 11…maybe 12!

  7. Justin said on February 13, 2016 at 4:41 am

    So, Microsoft builds, supports, and gives out their operating system without customers paying a monetary dollar… and users of the software expect to be able to disable their only source of revenue (telemetry metrics)?

    These kids for real? Android is free for a reason… because it’s not free in terms of privacy. OSX isn’t free, because Apple is providing the software for the hardware they generate revenue on.

    I wish the world worked where everyone works and gives me everything for free. One free Porsche please, and my house needs a new roof.


    1. Gary D said on February 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm


      I am using Win 7. I am happy with it. I PAID FOR IT.
      I use Ublock origin and Disconnect to block ads.
      I have hidden the 31 (THIRTY ONE) “security updates ” which MS tried to use to force Win 10 onto my laptop.
      I have installed software to block MS phone home sites.
      During the last 5 months, I have removed Win 10 from 29 PCs/Laptops (using the roll back), whose owners did not want Win 10, Edge, Cortana, etc. THEY PAID for the WIN 7 installed on their machines. WHY should they supply MS with telemetry/statistics/usage/sites accessed/etc. ?????????
      Your derisive comment “These kids for real”. I, and the other 29 people , have worked for what we’ve got and, with an average age of 55, are pretty pissed at MS attempts to force us to use an unfinished OS. Have you heard that the latest Win 10 upgrade is breaking PCs and Laptops ? Probably not !
      So, in my case and the other 29 users, your dumb analogy is not applicable. Get off your arse and work for the money to buy what you need.

  8. Ben said on February 12, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    > Update: According to Ed Bott, Microsoft has no plans to implement these changes this year or anytime in the future.
    Isn’t this a coincidence. I also have no plans to implement W10 this year or anytime in the future.

    1. T J said on February 13, 2016 at 12:06 am


      Ed Bott is an overpaid MS shill. The sycophancy towards MS. which he displays in his articles, together with his overbearing sarcasm and deriding of those who have an opposite opinion to his, makes me wonder how he can be regarded as a “serious” commentator about anything let alone Windows.
      He sneers at serious comment without putting forward any well researched counter arguments, just blustering verbiage. The saying “empty vessels make the most sound” can be applied to his rants.
      His articles are a waste of Internet resources and should be ignored.

  9. Kottan said on February 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    No I won’t try Win 10 until maybe 2019 (end of support for W7). I mistrust MS alot . I do use Win 7 Ultimate and Linux Mint is installed since a few days.

    I am a ‘senior’ user – am working with Windows since it started and before that have been even working with DOS 1.1.

    W10 is just an Operating System . W7 works wunderfully for me.

  10. Yuliya said on February 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    “Would you try Windows 10 if you could turn off all data collecting?”

    No. Not in the state that it is now. There’s too much broken and too much Metro for my liking. Also I think it looks ugly, and confusig – two control panels? Really, who thought this was a good idea? You never know which one opens whenever you click a button.

  11. clas said on February 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    well, its easy to talk…politicians know that.. but the proof comes when microsoft says that you now have control over the computer you bought and own. i no longer have any confidence in microsoft. i believe they will just do what they want and if you dont like it, well, tough. i am a die-hard win7 fan and now dual-boot with linux mint. between the two i can do everything. we have no internet of things in our home or cars. so i am not tracked everywhere i go….no trust there either. let the masses allow themselves to be raped and plundered… thats their choice. but not mine. no win10 for me.

    1. MichaelE said on February 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Clearly you are speaking without actually examining the facts. The talk I posted a link to is 45mins long and you are responding to my post 14mins after I posted it. That is not intended to be a criticism btw. It seems to be the nature of the internet that commentary is often more emotional and ‘religiously’ biased than researched. Your own comments tell me that you have reached a point that you simply don’t believe anything Microsoft could say to defend themselves. Competition couldn’t ask for someone better conditioned than that.

      I agree that Microsoft under Steve Balmer suffered significant blows to their credibility. I am very optimistic about the new Microsoft and perhaps that makes me just as biased as you appear to be.

      If you do take the time to watch Brad Smiths talk you will see that Microsoft is actually suing the US Government in 4 separate instances in order to protect the privacy of customer data. They are not spouting empty words, they are taking action. Frankly, just contributing to this conversation is more likely to expose personal information about myself than using Microsoft Windows. Every post is probably tagged with my source IP which provides location, the email address I am asked to provide links me to my email provider, etc. etc.

      The world has changed, read Future Crimes to understand how much, it is a very scary book.

      1. Corky said on February 13, 2016 at 9:50 am

        @MichaelE, I’m confused MichaelE, on the one hand you say “my wife and I shut down our gmail accounts, ceased the use of LinkedIn and Facebook and other such ‘free’ social media networks. In his own words, when it comes to Google and Facebook “you are the product”.”

        And then you go on to seemingly defend Microsoft by saying they’re the savior of us all by standing up to the US Government in order to protect the privacy of customer data, so forgive me for being confused as it seems you’re saying that you don’t trust Google, Facebook, and the like but you do trust Microsoft?

        What exactly has Microsoft done to earn your trust, what makes you believe that Microsoft isn’t just fighting to protect the privacy of customer data because it’s good for business?

        I’m not knocking what Microsoft are doing with regards to taking the US government to the courts BTW, its just you seem to have bought into the narrative that Microsoft are spinning, that narrative being that you can trust them more than that other guy because look what we’re doing.

  12. MichaelE said on February 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I am constantly amazed at the naiveté of Windows Bashers claiming foul regarding Windows and privacy concerns. I encourage all of you to read “Futures Crimes” ( by Marc Goodman of the Singularity University and then tell me honestly if you would rather have a Windows device or an Android device. After reading this book my wife and I shut down our gmail accounts, ceased the use of LinkedIn and Facebook and other such ‘free’ social media networks. In his own words, when it comes to Google and Facebook “you are the product”.

    Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, is quite open about Microsofts position on privacy in this talk from Gartner Symposium last year:

    BTW, Microsoft *has* opened their source code for third party scrutiny. They just don’t publish it on the internet as it is not ‘Open Source’. see

    1. Scouseman2015 said on March 12, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Well MichaelE. I tried to open your link and everything went cockeyed. Firstly I got a 404 error so I tried backspace on History and lost firefox. couldn’t shutdown firefox or do anything Tried Task Manager but this wouldn;t open up.TriedFirefox file location, nothing In the end got fed up and did power button shutdown as this was all that was left that I could do. Rebooted computer (desktop), Ran an Avast AV scan nothing showed up,Don’t know what the hell happened but when I think about what is going on with MS it makes me loose even more faith in MicroSoft.
      I’m do not profess to understand source coding but was interested to see if it was possible to access the code as you said was available to scrutiny as you said. Well what a reaction. Hmmm Court still out.

  13. oz said on February 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Microsoft should step up to the plate and open source their code if they truly want to prove themselves trustworthy, especially now that they are willing to give their latest operating system away freely. Let the experts examine its deepest layers and if their code is truly as good and safe as they want us to believe, they should have nothing to fear. Their tactics and strategy over the last few years only strengthen the concept and benefits of open source projects.

    1. Melissa T. said on February 14, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Agreed. Microsoft already provide limited viewing of their Windows source code to certain gov’t and trusted parties. There is less and less closed-source s/w in business. Many business decisions already exclude Microsoft because of it’s closed-source and lack of transparency. At some point trust is going to become a highly-valuable commodity, Microsoft must consider open-sourcing Windows and possibly other assets if it wants to be on the front-foot of trust, and be considered where they’re currently excluded.

  14. DaveyK said on February 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Not sure myself. MS have done a lot of damage to their reputation here, and there’s also still the issue of Microsoft’s nasty and underhand methods that are being used to force people to upgrade as well.

    It’s a pity. Windows 10 isn’t perfect, but it does have potential. However, there’s such a nasty stink around it at the moment that I still have no plans whatsoever to “upgrade” to it.

  15. Kathy Pierce said on February 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I recently wrote you a short novel once ring my needs..HE’LL YES I WOULD UPGRADE IN A HEAT BEAT IF I COULD FIND THE PROPER HELP..I HIGHLY DISLIKE GOOGLE AND AS,whoops.right now they have every beeping,singing,Dell Latitude,running Windows 7 Ultimate,Samsung Galaxy S,LG Risirio,HTC Desire 10..of course they always tell you there the best when you buy them and I had hope I could pull them all together as my small
    Home base for my business,,AZ HEAT PIERCE, ON FACEBOOK..
    LITTLE DID I KNOW,Google would domenate,like an epidemic and feed me to the wolve…I can’t even receive mail,download incoming files,my pictures and personal videos,etc always disappear and haven’t seen the yet..They atoumatic follow me,intercept my life..Drive on show me anything in my file,videos won’t diwnad ver,pictures also…
    Plus thy takevover your phone ,tablet,et for there auomatic downads that takelup all your space even if you dot wnt the apps,then if you dont update some of there as they shut you down and shut you out f ply store,,they erase you ersonal Iles and pictures to steal more space and thy use up all your data because you can’t shut play down when your not using it..
    YES I WOULD BE SO HAPPY TO TURN EVERYTHING IN WINDOWS,,IF SOMEONE COULD KINDLY SHW A LADY IN DISTRESS HOW…MY EMAIL ON MY DELL IS,,thank you for your time and number S also,,5202896530..please feel free to contact me,,it might be the easiest way…..thanks aain and,Happy Valentines Day?.Kathy Pierce/AZ HEAT PIERCE

  16. b said on February 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    when my laptop crashes ( hopefully not in the near future ) I will switch to linux. I may have to pay for the installation and support( Im no tech savvy ); but It is greatly to be preferred in order to avoid windows 10. It’s about my total lack of trust in microsoft. A few issues: you can not delete a skype account, only deactive. recently a skype icon was added in the bar of, also for those without an account. the latest feature is a skype administrator palmed off in the personal addressbook. it cannot be deleted.

  17. EuroScept1C said on February 12, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I don’t like the “If they so desire”

    Yes, we desire so…

  18. seeprime said on February 12, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I get the impression from most of the posts above that people think the upcoming changes apply to them. Unless they are using Windows 10 Enterprise, it does not. Home and Pro will still have data collected with no changes, for now. All Microsoft is doing with this announcement is bringing Windows 10 Enterprise back to the state that it was supposed to be in when released last July. The late changes indicate that MS is seriously behind schedule with the implementation of planned Windows 10 features. Maybe in the future they’ll throw us regular folks a bone and allow the changes that we think we’re making to telemetry, by using any of a number of tools, to actually turn the darn things off and leave them that way, except for error reporting.

    Another problem with Microsoft collecting user data is that they are late to the party. Google publicly stated what they would collect and how they would do it years ago. MS has been silent, except for misstatements and some, but not enough, corrections on what they are doing with Windows 10. MS seems to be learning as they go along, sort of like Agile management, instead of engineering. It’s a bit weird.

  19. LimboSlam said on February 12, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Once this effectively done right, I will then use Windows 10 again. Hope so because I really do like all the improvements and accessibility tools/apps that are integrated with the OS.

  20. Bharath said on February 12, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Its really good sign from microsoft..implementing full windows 10 tracking data control is really cool one

  21. Jozsef said on February 12, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I’ll believe it when I see it. After the news of literally thousands of connection attempts in 8 hours to dozens of IPs on Enterprise with telemetry turned off, it will take a bit more than reassurance from Microsoft to put my mind at ease. Considering how buggy 10 is and the increasingly bad user experience, inexplicable movement toward dumbed down cell phone style “apps” and unconfigurable everything, it’s not a terribly attractive proposition.

    I already have Linux MInt on a machine and Ultimate on another. It’s pretty thrilling overall to see how much is automated and just works but the need to edit a file to make a particular program function presented a stumbling block since I don’t know command line syntax, if that’s even the right term. Not giving up though, since Microsoft has evidently lost sight of what an operating system is supposed to be. Not the tentacles of a cynical and duplicitous adversary rather than a serious tool, I would suggest.

  22. Pants said on February 12, 2016 at 5:37 am
    1. Corky said on February 12, 2016 at 9:07 am

      It’s almost like Mr Bott is having some sort of lovers tiff with Mr Kelly. :)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2016 at 6:54 am

      So, lets file this under rumor as there is no way us mere mortals can get a statement from Microsoft about it.

  23. NoneDude said on February 12, 2016 at 4:42 am

    If they give me control over data collecting, allow me to strip Catrina and One Drive out and the give me a way besides High contrast to have backgrounds other then white everywhere killing my eyes I’d totally move to Windows 10. That would fix all of my complaints and I have been putting them all in the feedback to MS since the very first insiders build.

  24. Ed Nott said on February 12, 2016 at 4:28 am

    There’s simply no way anyone can believe Microsoft if it provides the option to disable all tracking that it won’t continue anyway through sneaky network trickery. Trust has been completely destroyed.

    1. Gary D said on February 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      @Ed Nott

      I misread your name and, for a few seconds, thought Ed Bott had turned against his MS pay masters ! :-)

  25. Toby K. said on February 12, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Probably won’t prevent all the other installed apps or web sites visited from continuing to steal our private information.

  26. wonton said on February 12, 2016 at 3:35 am

    the new site ads work like malvatising

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 12, 2016 at 6:49 am

      What new site ads?

      1. wonton said on February 13, 2016 at 2:50 am

        see very weird connection not able to block ads

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 13, 2016 at 6:15 am

        We are testing one ad unit with acceptable ads (Adblock) currently)

      3. Ficho said on February 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        Something is dodgy because of ‘proxy’. I use this filter to block it :

  27. Gonzo said on February 12, 2016 at 2:31 am

    No, I wouldn’t try it. I left Windows in September and I don’t regret it at all. I still have Win 7 in a VM (needed for taxes this year) but I won’t need it next year.

    Honestly, Windows 10 is the best thing that could have happened. Thank you MS for helping me see the light! /s

  28. insanelyapple said on February 12, 2016 at 2:05 am

    It’s too late, damage was done and those who are caring for their privacy and hold W10 upgrade/installations and who were calling for control over and/or stop of so called “telemetry” most likely won’t believe in any of these assurance and promises.

    Plus, data collection is one thing that really stinks of shit here – another is the forced upgrade process hidden under regular updates disguise.

  29. Steve said on February 12, 2016 at 1:50 am

    I’m done with Windows 10 and spying. I’m done with all websites and businesses that think its OK to track me and send me ads. I’m done with Windows 10 changing the default applications from what I want to Photo or Groove – without asking me. I am moving to Linux. There are plenty of flavors to choose from. I may not get back all of my anonymity but I’ll be free of an OS that is time consuming to manage. I intend to help my friends and family move off Windows. There are few apps that cannot be replaced. Of course, there is always Tails…

  30. MdN said on February 12, 2016 at 1:20 am

    In other news, Russia (allegedly) plans to switch their government computers to Linux because they don’t trust Microsoft any more. Maybe it has to do something with this news? As for “Would I try…” – probably not, I have all I need in Linux, but I might tell my friends that it doesn’t make a difference if they go on with the upgrade. Although, a few of those who did, hate Windows 10 for other reasons (start menu freezing, lost accounts, something or the other no longer works, I really don’t remember any more).

  31. GuessHu said on February 12, 2016 at 12:41 am

    “Would you try Windows 10 if you could turn off all data collecting?”

    No. Because it has nothing to do anymore with a single program. It has to do with Microsoft. After all do you trust them ? After all do you believe a word they are saying ? Well, then please try Win 10. I at least know one person for sure which won’t. Guess who that might be and guess if Microsoft gives a damn. Exactly !!

  32. Tom Hawack said on February 11, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    When your aim is to sell at 100$ you ask for 200$, when your aim is to install a definitive amount of telemetry and back-door tracking you first propose Windows 10 as it is now, let users complain, and then lower the price, the amount of *visible* trackers and front-doors and everyone is happy. You got the *real* trackers on the go and users believe they’ve won a battle.
    They can say all they want one thing is sure : the networks are a hive of continuously increasing crossing data collection and process, it is the Cyber world and 99.99% of us know no more than 0.01% of what this expanding universe truly is.

    This is fiction. I hope.

  33. o_O said on February 11, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    No word about forced updates?

  34. John said on February 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Its another half-ass way to instill “trust” into people.

    How did the saying go again? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on …. ME!…. ah, right…

    no thnx.

  35. Jeff said on February 11, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    This is a huge … HUGE step in the right direction IF they actually do it. I am certainly more inclined to give it a go if they do this because I am a gamer and I would like the benefits of DX12.

  36. S2015 said on February 11, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Usually, a good beginning makes a good ending. Meantime, we need more detailed official explanations of usage data, typically, “2 W”, When, What, and How will the data be used.

  37. Henk van Setten said on February 11, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    A real option to disable tracking would certainly be a step in the right direction, but it wouldn’t be enough for me. Several other problems with Windows 10 would need to be solved as well. Both in general, and in specific respects.

    In general: Microsoft really needs to change its terrible over-all tendency to interfere ever more with my personal control over my own system, as exemplified by their taking away optional update policy settings in Windows 10.

    And as an example of a specific problem, take Microsofts abandoning of Windows Media Center in Windows 10. I happen to need WMC for my digital over-air TV reception using a DVB-T smart card tuner. Alternative software such as Kodi will support DVB-T tuners, but unlike WMC none of those programs has smart card recognition built in. So whatever your tuner hardware, they will show only a few free-to-air TV channels, and they cannot decode your pay channels. The logical option of abandoning DVB-T altogether and instead subscribing to online streaming TV will not yet work for me, because my rural internet connection is far too slow for streaming high-quality video. What does all this mean? With an “upgrade” to Windows 10, removing WMC, I effectively would lose all my pay TV channels!

    Microsoft will really have a lot more work to do before I would switch to Windows 10.

  38. ddk said on February 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    The desktop, and to some extent mobile devices are or will become obsolete. Next big push is IOT–internet of things particularly robotic powered vehicles. Lots of $$$$ to be made there plus surveillance potential is huge. No way to use an ad blocker or telemetry kill switch on that AFAIK.

    1. T J said on February 12, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      If Internet access with PCs, etc, becomes obsolete, what wil replace them in the IOT. Microwaves and fridges with built in keyboards to surf the Internet ? Google cars with head up displays and touch screen keyboards?
      Internet enabled glasses activated by voice commands and SSD storage implants in our heads?
      Or will we humans be denied internet access by our robotic controllers ?

      Come on ! Let’s be serious !

    2. Steve said on February 12, 2016 at 1:52 am

      Excellent point.

  39. Tom Hawack said on February 11, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I’ll start thinking about it, about upgrading to Windows 10, not before coming July and if the OS has indeed changed accordingly to what is said, also only if Windows Updates are no longer enforced on non-Enterprise versions. Wait and see.

    Power to the people maybe not, but at least to the users :)

  40. Anonymous said on February 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    They need to give back full control over various aspects of the OS they took away besides privacy.
    – Features and user’s preferences (restore full power, no dumbing down and randomly killing any feature) – unlikely to happen
    – Bandwidth (forced updates, Wifi sense on by default, using your upload bandwidth to distribute updates P2P!)
    – Storage (upgrades of entire builds downloading and writing tons of data to your SSD for introducing a handful of useless new features, reduce bloat of apps and size of updates for Office and Windows which are getting bigger by the day)

  41. oz said on February 11, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Microsoft might not have given enough consideration to the fact that it can take many years to build trust, but only a moment to totally destroy it. They could be looking at a rough road ahead, but then again, maybe they won’t be. My last purchase from them was many years ago (Windows XP), and I can’t even begin to see myself going for Win10, but it is still possible that could change.

  42. joncr said on February 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation for all “tracking” of any device connected to the net to vanish. That would require every server contacted to delete all log entries for an IP as soon as that IP severs the connection. In essence, for servers to avoid keeping logs. Not going to happen.

    If users do not pay for a web service, like Cortana, they are naive to expect the data they generate will not be retained and monetized. That is the reason the service is provided without cost.

    In addition, services like Cortana require the collection and analysis of personalized data. Moaning about privacy *and* using Cortana is a bit illogical, if not hypocritical.

    The reasons I don’t use Win10 have nothing to do with the privacy issues.

    1. Corky said on February 13, 2016 at 9:35 am

      As I’ve said in an earlier post privacy isn’t a binary choice, it’s a matter of degrees and having your IP address recorded in the logs of many millions of different servers is entirely different than having a single company record so much information about your daily life, the former could, after a great deal of concerted effort, be used to construct an incomplete picture of what you’ve been doing on the internet, while the latter could easily be used to create a highly detailed profile of your activities both on and off line.

  43. CHEF-KOCH said on February 11, 2016 at 10:17 pm


    1. Velocity.Wave said on February 13, 2016 at 1:09 am

      Agent Mulder? That you?

  44. Jason said on February 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Clearly Microsoft’s popularity has suffered a lot more than the company was letting on over the last few months, otherwise they would not have acted. I’ll reserve my judgment on the actually spying opt-out itself until we see what Microsoft has in mind.

    But let me ask a bigger question here: What is the BEST possible outcome for Windows 10 in light of this news? I suppose it would be that Microsoft provides a serious opt-out that is reasonably easy for users to find and activate. However, even in this “best” scenario, we would still have all the fundamental insecurities of a closed source operating system made by a company that we know is in bed with the NSA; that seems intent on turning computers into dumb appliances; that wants to “monetize” users; and that tries to “patent its way” into other people’s technology.

    So would an opt-out on a subset of this activity be a real victory for users? Meh… Sort of. In the long run it makes no difference because Microsoft’s business model is now based on practices that seem at odds with a free/secure/open computing experience.

    Recently I stumbled on a comment in another forum that put this all in perspective for me. People were discussing all the WIndows updates that are linked to the Windows 10 installer, and someone asked whether – in the long run – it makes any sense to use an operating system that you have to fight against. For example, if you don’t intend to use Windows 10, what will you do once Windows 7 support ends? What are you REALLY gaining by catching all those sneaky Windows 10 updates? The answer is: You are postponing for 4 years a decision you should be thinking about today. If Windows is no longer compatible with your vision of computing, things won’t be any better in 4 years. Sooner or later, you will have to consider Linux (or heck, even BSD).

    1. TheNetAvenger said on February 12, 2016 at 3:48 am

      …and you forget that package managers in Linux and BSD also collect, track, report, and server side store information. (Which makes your comments about the Windows Installer/Updater even more of a break in logic, as it is doing nothing more than what Debian has been doing for a long time.)

      If you use Google or Android or iOS, you have no credibility in dismissing Windows 10, as they are far worse offenders.

      Microsoft is taking a hard approach to ‘Home’ version users, by not letting them get infected by turning off malware protection and not letting them have an insecure and outdated version by not allowing them to avoid updates. (There are still ways to lock updates for drivers, etc, but the general update system cannot be turned off.) The biggest problem with Home Windows users has been the lack of them applying updates, and ‘guru’ friends disabling malware and other protections.

      If ‘Home’ users have a viable reason to turn off updates and malware, they can simply pay the $99 upgrade fee for the Pro version, where they are given the ability to turn off updates and let their computer become outdated and filled with malware if they want.

      Microsoft’s hard line for ‘Home’ users is a valid argument, especially when you look at the security history of all OSes. Today more hackers use FreeBSD/OpenBSD/Linux based systems, as they are less updated, especially appliance devices like routers. If you spend anytime with hacker groups, they have 10,000 botted non-Windows devices ready to go. They avoid Windows now because it is not worth the effort or getting discovered because more users are keeping their systems are updated.

      As for your ‘view’ on Microsoft’s business practices, I suggest you do a few web searches on which technology company has been fighting the NSA, fighting backdoors, and lobbying for consumer and personal privacy in opposition to companies like Google. (Google’s fights with the FBI and NSA only were pushed to get ‘paid’ for the data, once they were compensated for the data, they stopped fighting against these organizations.)

      Microsoft also isn’t spending this money to educate users and politicians for their own benefit, in fact it makes their lives harder to use high standards of storage and encryption.

      Speaking of the FBI and NSA, there is a reason the US Department of Defense has been moving to Windows, as they know it is the only encryption and OS technology that other agencies like the NSA have not been able to compromise. (Specifically mobile devices with bitlocker and Windows Phone/Mobile.)

      PS… The anti-open/free argument fails in the post-Ballmer Microsoft world. One tiny example is the new version of .NET Core rewritten from the ground up for Windows 10, but also rewritten to be released to the OSS community. There have been literally hundreds of new OSS projects and releases of technologies from Microsoft in just the last year alone.

      1. T J said on February 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        Is TheNetAvenger a handle which Ed Bott uses to post pro Win 10 comments.

        You make all these assumptions and assertions without any substance ie references to other blogs. You make sweeping claims about Google, etc.
        You completely ignore the fact that Win 10 is an OS and that you are (apart from Chrome OS) comparing apples with oranges. Google and the rest provide services which can be replaced. Without an OS, a PC/Laptop is a useless brick.
        Will MS limit the disabling of all the phone home settings to Enterprise or will all versions get the option ?

        If Gates had not deceived IBM into believing that the original DOS was his intellectual property, there would be no Win 10. Browse the Internet if you want find out about all the dirty tricks MS pulled in the early days.

        If you believe that MS is fighting for user privacy, then you must read too many Ed Bott articles.

        Turn off updates and malware floods the computer ?? 31 (YES 31) of the recent updates for Win7/Win8 are to let MS install Win 10 behind the users backs. That is MS Malware !

        There are lies, damn lies and MS “truth”

      2. Corky said on February 12, 2016 at 9:03 am

        @TheNetAvenger, The if you use Google or Android or iOS argument has been proven to be incorrect many times, if you can’t understand why they’re different then you’ve failed to understand why people are concerned about Windows 10’s data gathering habits.

        Also if you’re going to make claims like “Today more hackers use FreeBSD/OpenBSD/Linux based systems” then it would be helpful if you could provide a citation or some other evidence (a link maybe) to backup those claims, not saying you’re wrong it’s just those seem some pretty extravagant claims to be making without evidence.

        The only reason Microsoft have been so vocal about NSA, fighting backdoors, and lobbying for consumer and personal privacy is because they know it makes good business sense, but the sad fact of the matter is it’s out of their hands, if governments introduce a law Microsoft has to comply with it, the same with any company, so the less information those companies have about “us” the better.

        Lastly you seem to have a confused and conflated what open and free software is, you seem to be referring to free as in beer, not i assume as Jason intended, free as in speech.

  45. juju said on February 11, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    wolf in sheep’s clothing issues promises to sheep that wolves will slaughter and skin sheep according to sanitary regulations to prevent blood staining of wolves hands to minimize chances of wolf getting caught red handed.

  46. viking teacher said on February 11, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Yes, I would be inclined to try it. Although I have been angered by Microsoft wanting forcibly to upgrade me, and if it succeeds, will ditch Windows and move to LInux, my main concern has been Windows spying on me. If I could be sure that I could block telemetry, I’d go with Windows because it’s still slightly less hassle than Linux, and supports programs I like to use that Linux doesn’t.

  47. Johnny Boom Boom said on February 11, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    I bet a lot of people will finally install Windows 10 if this goes through. I also hope Microsoft will do the same for Windows 7.

  48. Nebulus said on February 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    No, I would not try it.

  49. InNeedofCoffee said on February 11, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I would definitely upgrade to 10 IF I have full control over the data being tracked.
    As of right now, since it isn’t possible, my laptop still has Win 8 Pro (upgraded from Home a few months before 10 was being pushed out.)

  50. weaseman said on February 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Yes I would try it….but I would wait till I was sure that all data tracking could be shut off. Not sure I trust microsoft all that much.

    1. TheNetAvenger said on February 12, 2016 at 3:28 am

      It is strange to see people avoid Windows 10, and yet these same people use Google and Google services like GMail, GDocs, and GDrive without hesitation. Google makes billions off the personal information they collect from their services, are far more invasive, and store data less securely.

      People also use Android or iOS without hesitation, and they both collect App, OS, and user data through Google Services and AppleID – all of which is reported back to Apple and Google and stored on their servers.

      The reports about Windows cataloging all the user software is also crazy, as all OSes that use package distribution technologies for updates and distribution of software do the exact same thing. This includes Linux variants with package managers like Debian. (Android, iOS, OS X also do this.) This is how these OSes know what packages and software is installed and what updates to apply to them.

      If you really value privacy…

      First you need to stop using all the invasive products and OSes that are very up front about collecting your information, storing it, using it, and allowing access to it by their employees.

      This means you need to stop using Google, GMail, GDocs, etc, also throw away your Android phone, also stop using Apps and all 3rd party software on OS X and iOS.

      Also unhook your computers from the internet. (Your ISP knows a lot more about you than you realize, and in many areas is required by law to retain this data.)

      This is a big conversation that goes back to CIS fights throughout the technology age. Balancing privacy and creating usability by computer technologies. Your computer can’t tell you that you should leave early for work because traffic is a problem if it has no idea where you work or when you leave for work.

      If this is what users want, then they need to support Microsoft, as they are trying to protect users and manage this balance and use secure server storage technologies that no one else uses. In the world of big data and information collection, Microsoft has been a good steward, and has been actively fighting against companies like Google that doesn’t even protect the data it collects from its own employees ability to easily view and use it for personal reasons.

      1. JC Denton said on February 23, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        You really are a sheeple. Just going to say that right now. You also are an idiot and objectively wrong in many ways. Let me catgorize them for you.

        -Google tracks people and many alternative search engines exist including DuckDuckGo. People have a choice between convenience and/or privacy. The limitations of tracking can be mitigated via many browser-based extensions and cookie-blocking. The user is always in control here.

        -Google Docs does track stuff and is generally used for publically-shared non-private documents; generally students or spreadsheets with gaming calculations for online games; companies already know this and mandate their employees use offline Office-style products like Microsoft Office or OpenOffice/LibreOffice. LibreOffice is the suite of choice for most of those who use Linux distributions. Again the user is always in control here and has a choice.

        -Android is completely open-source with the most permissive license possible. Dozens of custom variations of Android exist and CyanogenMod is one of the most popular ones. It takes technical skill and a bit of risk to flash a custom ROM onto an Android phone, but it can be done easily on the Google-supported Nexus devices as well. The user is always in control and has the most choice on how their phone works and does stuff (depending on their phone model).
        The greatest detriment comes from closed-source firmware that Android is forced to use (Samsung, Chinese-supplied firmware for Chinese hardware, etc) and Chinese-made phones like Huawei that are unfortunately used to eavesdrop on others covertly. These are exploits that aren’t used or done by Google but by well-financed governments. Any of these govts can use a cell phone to remotely ‘turn on’ the microphone and listen in on people and they have done so. Google isn’t the one doing that and neither is Apple. Why bother going through the corps when the govts can do it directly?

        -Linux distributions (Linux is just a KERNEL you moron) do use package management to keep files updated. Many files are also distributed as seperate downloads and most importantly users have choice in every aspect of this. For convenience, prepackaged and updated repositories are maintained, but personal package archives also are a thing on Ubuntu-based distros. Private repositories are a thing. Even downloading and compiling everything from source code (Gentoo) is a thing. If anyone has issues they can look in the source code and confirm that the thing they are downloading/updating is not doing anything nasty. Full detailed technical changelogs are (generally) available as well as detailed ‘difference’ comparisons between various versions if the user so desires.
        I’m curious why you brought this up as it is the most transparant and user-friendly system that could be conceived for full transparancy AND privacy.

        -If I care about ISP tracking, I can use a free VPN via BitMask on my Linux Mint laptop. Or I can pay for a VPN if I so desire. I actually do a great deal of browsing on my main computer and I am aware that I have the option of using a (paid) VPN if I desire that extra layer of privacy from my ISP. However since I mostly game on Windows, I see the dropoff in network quality/latency for gaming functions as a problem so I go without it on Windows.

        -I use Windows 7 x64 and prevent all the tracking-bullshit updates from installing. I’m aware that it is a closed-source OS and I only use it for gaming (exclusively) with strict monitoring of my own internal network via WireShark and other network diagnostic and monitoring utilities. So far, so good. If it comes down to it, I can customize the OS further to explicitly control which outbound connections are made and pre-emptively block them. I’m still in control here when it comes to Win7.

        -I also avoid using Google products. Only one I have is a customized Cyanogen-based flashed ROM on my Android phone with custom firmware. I use F-Droid as an alternative to the Google App store and I use custom open-source alternatives to GMaps and other Google Apps. All use of Google products is a choice and the privacy controls that Google offers are both comprehensive and transparant as they can do. They even publically release transparancy reports on the number of requests for user data that they receive.
        There’s always a tradeoff of privacy and convenience and users have the CHOICE of using or not using Google products.

        -Apple products are a niche. Users make the choice to use Apple stuff to have that convenience. That is up to them if they are ok with the tracking that is done. However, deep network analysis of Apple’s tracking doesn’t show anything nearly bad enough to piss off enough consumers the way Microsoft has done things.

        -Shilling for Microsoft is laughably bad and obvious corporate shill is obvious. I wonder how much they are paying you to post here. Microsoft’s tracking is unclear, doesn’t even WORK properly to disable stuff that the user disables, lies to users, misleads users, auto-installs when users explicitly say NO, and then acts as a rootkit/malware to maintain dominance over the user’s computer.

        The key difference between Microsoft and Apple/Google/others is that Microsoft does NOT give you a choice and uses malware-like tactics to maintain control over the user’s computer. Other companies are not nearly as invasive and only collect stuff you explicitly provide them when using their specific products when users make that explicit choice to do so.

        People would’ve been more than happy to pay for a version of Win10 that doesn’t have this garbage, but even the paid versions of Win10 Pro as well as Win10 Enterprise have this same garbage with slight tweaks on what can be disabled.

        No sane business is going to ‘upgrade’ to Win10 at all. They’d rather stick with WinXP (if they are stupid) or Win7 (if they are competent). Or even switch to a Linux-based distribution (if they like to take risks).

      2. Dave said on February 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        @TheNetAvenger, I did all that, and use a well-regarded VPN to shield from my isp. That’s right, I don’t own a cellphone :)

      3. Corky said on February 13, 2016 at 9:26 am

        @Rocky, While i agree with what you’ve said i would like to point out that privacy isn’t a binary choice, it’s not an either or matter and for me personally Windows 10, in fact any operating system with similar data gathering potential crosses the line, there’s also the matter of trust, would i trust my nearest and dearest to have information about me that could be potential damaging or embarrassing, yes, mostly, would i trust a faceless corporation to hold similar information about me, no, not ever no way.

      4. S66 said on February 13, 2016 at 3:00 am

        Windows 10 attacked those who wanted (reasonably and sensibly) to wait awhile until any bugs had been ironed out of it before changing over, it tried to do so forcibly, AND by stealth persistently in updates.
        So there was nothing strange about people pulling back from it just as hard in suspicion and annoyance!

      5. Rocky said on February 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        It is true that TheNetAvenger does make some assumptions but a lot of what he/she says bears consideration e.g your ISP does hold a lot of information. It is also true that ultimatley the only way to have total privacy is to not use the Internet at all. Even email ( unless encrypted) is stored on who knows how many intermediate servers etc.

        Even open source software (Linux etc ) is complex – how can we know without personally inspecting source code and then personally compiling the code that its integrity is 100%.

        As to having no option but to use Windows – there is always Linux/BSD/OSX etc ?

        I share many contributors concern about intrusive adverts and tracking but ultimately to achieve some balance between usability and privacy do we not have to put some trust in others – ” no man is an island” ?

      6. MichaelE said on February 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm

        I have to agree with this post. Everyone should read “Future Crimes” by Marc Goodman…

        Facebook is another danger to be avoided, Mark Zuckerberg has been so bold in defending his blatant lack of respect for personal privacy as to say “privacy is no longer a reasonable expectation people need to accept that…” Marc Goodman points out how ironic this comment is when juxtaposed against the fact that Mark Zuckerberg spent 30 million dollars to increase the privacy of his home by buying all the neighboring properties…

        The fact is that Facebook, Google and LinkedIn generate revenue from personal data – *that is their business*, Microsoft sells technology to generate revenue.

      7. EuroScept1C said on February 12, 2016 at 11:48 am

        How do you know that “the same people use Google’s services”? You’re like those guys who will say just for arguments’ sake that “I have many gay friends” etc… While they have none…

        Meanwhile, it’s fundamentally different the core OS of my PC vs a service out there on the internet… I can avoid Google’s mail ( and I do so ) but I can’t avoid Windows.

      8. Corky said on February 12, 2016 at 8:41 am

        That’s an awful lot of assumptions you’re making there TheNetAvenger, speaking personally you’ve assumed wrongly as i don’t use Google and Google services like GMail, GDocs, and GDrive, and i don’t use Android or iOS.

        Also your comparison of Windows 10 to the likes of Google, Android, and iOS is wholly flawed as none of those are operating systems that are used on desktop PCs, one isn’t even an operating system (excluding Chrome OS), none of those things you mention are used by doctors, banks, hospitals, or other organisations that have to take security and privacy very seriously.

    2. John in Mtl said on February 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      They are being watched like a cat patiently watches a mouse so any hanky-panky will make its way over the net and the blogosphere pretty quickly. An good way to completely loose trust is to actually say something and then do the opposite. In Microsoft’s case, it would surely be game over.

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