Ever since Windows 10 was announced Microsoft has been desperately trying to get users to integrate over to the latest operating system by resorting to everything from installing hard to remove popup ads on Windows 7 and 8 users computers to launching a multi-million dollar ad and marketing campaign to even downloading up to 6GB of Windows 10 files on user’s PCs without their permission but this latest move crosses the line, reeks of desperation and erodes trust users have with this company.
It was recently reported by Arstechnica, Ultimate Outsider, ZDTV and others that Microsoft was forcing some users to upgrade to Windows 10 by making it a non-optional/mandatory update although it appears there needs to be user interaction to make the final update complete.
On Oct 15th PCWorld writer Jared Newman reported that:
Some users now claim that they no longer see an option in the Control Panel to install updates to their current version of Windows. Instead, a message says that the “upgrade to Windows 10 is ready,” and prompts users to “restart your PC to begin the installation.” Another user claims to have seen a countdown timer for installing Windows 10, with an option to reschedule but no way to call off the upgrade entirely.
In a statement published by Arstechnica, Microsoft didn’t deny making Windows 10 mandatory but claimed that it was a mistake
As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.
Although they said they are removing the settings that makes it mandatory, it remains unclear how they intend to do that or a timeline of when it will be fixed.
Since Windows 10 launched its been plagued with questions about privacy. The OS admittedly can log everything a user types and upload that data to Microsoft’s servers by default and even though they offer encryption through BitLocker, if you sign into Windows 10 using your Microsoft Account, it will automatically upload the encryption key to their OneDrive servers.
Although Microsoft claims users can opt-out and other intrusive settings can be disabled, there is no way of verifying and or trusting that they will respect it with it since its not an open source OS and it doesn’t help that Arstechnica discovered the operating system still phones home and transmits data to Microsoft servers even after they opted out.
In the article they noted that:
Windows 10 will periodically send data to a Microsoft server named ssw.live.com. This server seems to be used for OneDrive and some other Microsoft services. Windows 10 seems to transmit information to the server even when OneDrive is disabled and logins are using a local account that isn’t connected to a Microsoft Account. The exact nature of the information being sent isn’t clear—it appears to be referencing telemetry settings—and again, it’s not clear why any data is being sent at all. We disabled telemetry on our test machine using group policies.
This has driven many users concerned about security and privacy to start blocking certain Microsoft domains and IPs from their HOSTS file not realizing that Microsoft has been whitelisting their own servers and bypassing the HOSTS file for over a decade.
Given Microsoft’s terrible track record on privacy which includes remotely searching a journalist’s hotmail account to track down a source that was leaking information, to submitting a DMCA request to completely take down Cryptome’s domain over publishing the company’s 2008 “Global Criminal Compliance. Handbook” which contained no trade secrets according to Wired, its getting increasingly difficult for users to trust anything the company says.
It appears things have taken a turn for the worse under Satya Nadella who once said that its “Bad Karma” for women to ask for a raise, these recent events gives the appearance that he has little to no concern or respect for user privacy, data caps, user input, etc and just recently they began inserting ads for suggested apps in Windows 10 start menu.