10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2016 7:49 AM by schamblee

    Windows 10 Privacy Issues


      I am just wondering if anyone is using Windows 10 and, if so, what steps you have taken to deal with the privacy and bandwidth concerns (i.e. the OS "phoning home" as one industry publication called it).


      So far, my upgrade strategy will be to keep using my Windows 7 pc for most business tasks and personal matters for as long as possible, while setting up a separate (new) machine with Windows 10 so I can troubleshoot problems for clients who are using it with FileMaker.


      I am advised to do a clean install, even if it is preinstalled on the new computer. Does anyone know which companies are providing the means to do this (i.e. an installation disc or partition)? It seems to me that they all should. But, if any don't, I'd rather know which ones before buying anything.


      I've read lots of articles about what should be turned off and how to do it. Most of these seem like common sense to me. Things I would do anyway with any OS on a machine that I will be using primarily for development. I've seen lots of freeware apps that purport to do this in a single step. All well and good. That's not what I'm worried about.


      I'm worried about the things that are not obvious, or may not have been extensively written about until now. Are there any invasive options that can't be turned off? Especially anything that may impose a big performance hit -- especially with FileMaker -- whether they are related to privacy or not. Particularly, if they are new to Windows.


      I would be grateful for any advice or experience you would care to share. But, please, this is not the place to start a Mac vs. Windows debate. My company is platform agnostic. I support anything that runs FileMaker. My questions are simply about being able to service customers who are running Windows 10 in as clean an environment as possible. Thank you.

        • 1. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

          Could you provide links to any of the issues you are talking about?


          In general I have found Windows 10 to be an excellent OS and no slower than any other OS for using FileMaker Pro or accessing FileMaker files over a LAN or WAN.

          • 2. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

            If you use a Windows Live account then data is synced with their server, so information such as your browser favorites will be synced across all computer the you sign into with that account.   Windows 10 will let you use a local account.


            Under - All setting there is a privacy option where you can turn off / on any option you so desire.   Most mobile device track this same type stuff, so it is not really any thing new.   Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft was making one OS to fit desktop and mobile devices, so you would expect more information to be share such as your location and again this can be turned off.


            No reason to do a reinstall, just a waste of time.  It's always good idea to have a recovery disk or partition incase of a crash.  Windows 10 includes an option to make an image of your system.   Several companies don't include a disk or partition, but they include software to create recovery disc and or they will sell you a copy.

            • 3. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

              As Schamblee said enabling the privacy options in Settings will help, there is also a place to block windows apps from getting location, using the camera, mic and so on. Block as many as you can uninstall any you don't want and any you can't block or uninstall remove the live tiles from the start menu also. This is both to reduce resource usage and increase privacy.


              Turn off cortana and don't use a microsoft account.


              Win10 will still phone home just not as much.


              Changing the default browser from IE or Edge as they use MS servers to screen for malware good but it also sends all your browsing  activity to MS.


              Once you have an activated copy of win 10 can do a clean install and it will reactivate from their servers no need to enter the key. If you want to get the key, I've read that magic jellybean keyfinder or any program that finds keys should give you the key entered in your install but it may not be a real activation key.


              To get an image for install google win 10 media creation tool or

              Windows 10 look for the download button at the bottom and create a usb install there is an option for both 32 bit and 64 bit best to have both. I'd do this just so you have a win10 installer for inevitable later issues.

              • 4. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                Here is a lovely article I found by Googling Windows 10 privacy: How to reclaim your privacy in Windows 10, piece by piece | PCWorld

                • 5. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                  I tested Windows 10 under the Insider program so I used it for quite a while.  I liked the new interface, although it is mostly cosmetic.  I don't use Cortana or Edge.


                  I have read quite a bit about the Windows 10 privacy issues.  The bottom line is that the EULA specifically states that Microsoft can not only look at and use any information that you supply to Microsoft through OneDrive, cloud email or the browser, but that Microsoft can search your entire hard drive and read and use any file whether or not created by Microsoft products.


                  Simply put, if you or your company are doing anything that requires confidentiality (like my work) you would have to have a great deal of trust in Microsoft.  Now, I have read many commentators (Ed Bott of ZDNet being the most strident) who are completely convinced that Microsoft would never do what Microsoft specifically told users it would do in the user agreement.  I'll let him and others have that belief.


                  Some say that other companies do it also.  This is true; I know for a fact that Google execs read email from executives of competing companies who are foolish enough to have Gmail accounts.  However, no company has gone as far as Microsoft to take the position that they may read and use any file on the hard drive regardless of source or the software used to create it.


                  Some people believe that the privacy settings of Windows 10 will prevent this sort of thing.  Most people do not know that there are privacy settings in not only the new Settings window, but also the old Control Panel, and in the registry.  There are a number of switches that need to be flipped and you need to know how to use “God mode” and the registry, and know exactly where to look among the many hundreds of settings parameters.  Even with these changes it is not clear that Microsoft doesn’t still collect data. Researchers have established that even with all known settings turned off, Windows 10 still sends an encrypted data stream to Microsoft.


                  It is also troubling that Windows 10 updates will flip the switches back to the default of eliminating privacy.  Just this week I read a forum where a pissed-off user reported getting Microsoft automatic updates and then checking his privacy settings to find that they had been magically switched.  This was the third time Microsoft switched back his settings.


                  Everyone can make there own decisions but to me this is simply too much risk and too much work to constantly monitor Microsoft’s incessant push towards Hoovering data.  I switched to Apple five years ago and mainly use OS X.  I was using Win10 in a virtual machine but I've stopped using it.  I do use Win7 in a VM that has no internet access.  I need Windows only for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and with the new Office for Mac 2016 that need is fading away.  I can picture a time in the near future in which I will rarely open Windows at all.  Microsoft has chosen its target market and I'm not in it.  That's just the way it is; I'm not spilling tears over it.

                  • 6. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                    Apple and Microsoft  Privacy policy are very similar.  


                    Microsoft   Privacy Statement


                    Apple Privacy - Our Privacy Policy - Apple

                    • 7. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                      I agree they are similar in that both companies require users to agree to give up information.  Microsoft's is far broader.  I've never seen a more all-encompassing policy of non-privacy, and my job involves writing EULAs and privacy policies so I actually read many.  If Apple is the big bully kid saying "I want your lunch money" Microsoft is the gang boss saying "I want your bank account...and your house."


                      Apple is the lesser of evils by comparison.  Also, I am disturbed by the direction Microsoft is taking under Nadella.  Microsoft is clearly going "all in" on the concept of surveillance and data mining of users.  Apple is no saint, but at least they have a business model that doesn't seem dependent upon data collection.  

                      • 8. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                        I guess you read different privacy policies than I did.   I guess you also read a different Post because the OP asked not to make this about Apple vs Windows.    I use Apple, PCs, Android, and ios. they all basically track the same information.   Microsoft started with Windows 8  trying to copy Apple with the App Stores.  I guess you don't have a xbox live account.  It's the same live account on your PC. Unless you want to use a different live or local account which the local accounts works just like prior versions of Windows.    If you don't want to be tracked or to give out your  information then you need to turn off the gps on all device and don't connect to the internet.   What information is sent to the cloud from your Apple devices?  Whos cloud service just got hacked in the last couple of years?   I have nothing against Apple, but information couldn't been hacked if it was not on their servers in the first place.  The hackers did not get the pics and other stuff from the phones.   Both companies (plus several others) have cloud services, both have app stores, they both have wallets that track cc information, both can store passwords.  


                        In Windows 10 there is a category under setting named "Privacy" which has many items that can be configured to your liking.  It is also wise to install internet security / anti-virus software.  Best practice is to install updates for Windows and your Anti-Virus software regularly, which may require you to reboot your PC manually for the update to finish installing.

                        • 9. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                          "Microsoft can not only look at and use any information that you supply to Microsoft through OneDrive, cloud email or the browser, but that Microsoft can search your entire hard drive and read and use any file whether or not created by Microsoft products."


                          This the kind of thing I worry about the most. Is there any way around it?


                          What is the official/technical name of this "feature" or behavior? If I know what to call it, I can post on other forums and see how others are dealing with it/.

                          • 10. Re: Windows 10 Privacy Issues

                            That is not what is stated In the above Privacy policy which is the link that Microsoft includes under the Privacy setting on my Windows 10 computer.   There is a section for OneDrive.  Of course one drive would have to be able to access all area of your hard drive to backup different items.   Dropbox does the same thing and non of the files are created with a dropbox products.   


                            From the Privacy police link that I provided above states :

                            To revoke permissions for your content on OneDrive, sign into your account and then select the specific content to manage the permission levels. Revoking permissions for a link effectively deactivates the link. No one will be able to use the link to access the content unless you decide to share the link again.