back to article Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS. The organisation has listed the long list of nasty nagware tactics Microsoft used to get people running …

  1. BobChip
    Linux

    Not listening ...

    M$ still not listening to their prisoners (sorry - customers). Nothing new here. Glad I'm well out of it.

    1. VinceH

      Re: Not listening ...

      I'm glad to say that I'm now slightly further out of it than I was before.

      I finally set up a desktop PC that I've had for just over a year - and while it came with Windows 8, it is now running Linux Mint instead. I can't do everything I need on that, so I have to keep Windows on the laptop* - so I'll be using Windows when out at clients, or when doing some work at home - but that's an awful lot less than before.

      * And I've just purchased a new laptop, running Windows 7 Pro! \o/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not listening ...

        I can't do everything I need on that, so I have to keep Windows on the laptop

        Simple answer run win7 in a VM (VBox works well) on your desktop machine, that way you have everything where you need it.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not listening ...

          "Simple answer run win7 in a VM (VBox works well) on your desktop machine, that way you have everything where you need it."

          Not really, unless he takes his desktop to client sites.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Not listening ...

            He could run said win7 VM on a laptop as well you know.

            1. VinceH

              Re: Not listening ...

              "He could run said win7 VM on a laptop as well you know."

              I know that's what Ivan 4 probably meant. :)

              However, since the desktop machine is my first ever box running Linux - and I did run into a couple of problems installing it - I think I should learn to walk before attempting to run. I'll stick with Linux on the desktop and Windows on the laptop for now.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not listening ...

                @VinceH, learn on your desktop until you are confident then you can change your laptop. That way you will not be embarrassed in front of clients.

      2. Novex

        Re: Not listening ...

        Pretty much where I am now running Windows 7 and Linux Mint in a dual boot arrangement, albeit with a ten year old laptop. I'm glad I'm not anywhere near this Windows 10 debacle!

        The EFF conclusion sums up pretty much why I have stayed with Win 7 and investigated LM.

        I still have to say though that if MS can provide a version of Win 10 with proper telemetry control (i.e., I can turn it ALL off, completely) and proper update control (i.e., I can reject in advance any updates I don't want) then I might consider testing it.

      3. Whistlerspa

        Re: Not listening ...

        I've found that I can do everything I need to on Linux Mint.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Not listening ...

      Agree MS are still not listening, but then that can be a good thing!

      Thanks to MS's deaf ears over user functionality missing from Windows, we've had:

      Classic Shell etc.

      GWX Control Panel etc.

      TweakUI etc.

      So perhaps the EFF need to think, do they really want a totally proprietary OS from a single vendor or do they want to encourage a (slightly) more open OS that encourages third-parties to create useful (and to some necessary) add-ons.

  2. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Facebook already offers a “single unified screen"

    Others lead MS copies ...

    Oracle cloud Subscriptions

    Google data slurping and "cloud"

    So called "Cloud" Computing.

    Certainly they might be happy to copy Facebook. They are doing very well.

    1. ShaolinTurbo

      Re: Facebook already offers a “single unified screen"

      Facebook are playing the game well with the privacy options screen but I still wouldn't let their app anywhere near my phone. Anything that sucks that much battery power when idle must be up to no good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Facebook already offers a “single unified screen"

        "Facebook are playing the game well with the privacy options screen"

        I'm not sure what you mean by "playing the game", but if you meant it in the cynical sense you'd be correct.

        Facebook gives the pretence of offering users control over their privacy, but the process and ever-changing options are quite clearly more complicated than they need be. Given the company's past cynicism and obvious contempt for their users' desire for privacy (and the availability of resources to easily fix this if they so wished), this is clearly by design.

        They know full well that many users- bamboozled by the choice and effort- will give up or make mistakes. Why is it that every time they make an alteration to the design of these ever-changing options, the changed ones mysteriously always default to "make everything public, no privacy for me, thanks!" with users often not aware of the changes (#) until their formerly-private data has been made public?

        It's a mystery.... no, wait- I meant it's bleeding obvious why.

        So, enough Facebook; onto Microsoft.

        Let's just say that, given their comptemptious disregard for their users' wishes during the "Windows 10 forced upgrade" debacle (to the point of actively pushing against them so aggressively that even bland, mainstream IT publications were comparing their tactics to malware), MS has long worn out any benefit of the doubt.

        It's true that MS is notorious for repeatedly coming out with bad UI designs (and scattering and rearranging related options all over the shop with every new release of Windows) despite the massive resources at their disposal. However, even *that's* often due to them wanting to mess the customer around for their own benefit (##). In this case, it's clear that MS wants to move (and coerce) users onto their cloud offerings, and- no doubt- use their data for its own benefit so I'm quite sure the privacy options were- again- made intentionally difficult to manage.

        In short, I agree with the EFF- MS's convoluted privacy options are probably that way by design and their attempts to justify coercing users into sending their data to them are weasel-worded, self-serving bulls**t.

        (#) Or the implications of the changes, which amounts to much the same thing in a more weasellish manner. A company acting in bad faith can easily figure out ways of "notifying" users of such changes while hiding the practical implications.

        (##) e.g. Windows 8 trying to leverage their desktop monopoly to grab market share in the tablet market by forcing a tablet-style interface on users in the hope that they'd get used to it then buy MS's tablets rather than Android or Apple ones.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    Like Facebook, the whole purpose of the product is privacy invasion.

    Any sort of settings will be a smokescreen at best, and you can expect settings inflation, as the continually over-ride the user's choices.

    1. Zakhar

      Re: Missing the point

      I find comparing with FB quite misleading.

      People willingly give information to FB.

      What EFF explains is that an O.S. default setting should be NOT to give any information, unless the user wants to (as for FB).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing the point

        Yes Windows used to be an OS, now it's a digital platform for capturing user data.

        They probably shouldn't have reused the 'Windows' branding because I can see how it would confuse you.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point

      Damn, you already made the same point I was trying to make in a far, far more concise and effective manner. :-(

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Missing the point

        "Damn, you already made the same point I was trying to make in a far, far more concise and effective manner. :-("

        Don't undersell yourself on effective.

  4. Zakhar
    Devil

    Paid option

    Restoring privacy will require a monthly fee.

    That is all part of the big plan:

    - either you "pay" trough your O.S. pushing ads to you, and force-installing "apps you need"

    - or you pay with a subscription to make that stop

    Not sure though how much "home" will like these only two alternatives.

    (P.S.: and of course, the extortion continues as you have already paid a licence that was forced-sold to you when you bought your hardware!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: Paid option

      The problem is that even if you DO pay you're still going to see ads and crap because it's an extra source of income, so companies WILL try to monetize this revenue stream for the benefit of their shareholders...

    2. ShaolinTurbo

      Re: Paid option

      Dont forget Windows 10 is not free. Only the in place upgrade was free and even that isn't there anymore. OEMs still need to pay for Win10 and there is still a retail price from the very beginning. That's the worst thing of all this, even if you pay you still cant escape.

      Unless you are enterprise of course, MS know they cant push around big business with dodgy T&Cs and adverts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paid option

        "MS know they cant push around big business with dodgy T&Cs"

        Microsoft should ask Oracle for help there; they seem to have that sewn up.

        'Course, there's always the minor problem that Ellison hates Bill Gates and Microsoft and sure as hell isn't going to help them out. Looks like even Ellison's utter dickishness has a silver lining. :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paid option

      - either you "pay" trough your O.S. pushing ads to you, and force-installing "apps you need"

      - or you pay with a subscription to make that stop

      Given that it is a classic blackmail scam I'd be surprised if it would actually stop if you paid - after all, if an organisation is sufficiently short on ethics to inflict this on you (and you sufficiently short on intelligence to let them) there is no reason to believe anything will change after they have your money.

      Worse, once they know that works you'll find that idea pop up in everything else.

      They can thank their gods on their knees that there are still plenty of idiots falling for it.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    That EFF document is a solid gold reference

    I am keeping the URL and saving a copy for offline reference.

    I am quite happy that an organization with such clout is finally calling out MS on such shameful shenanigans.

    On the other hand, I doubt anything real will come of it. MS is no longer an OS maker, it is an ad pusher. It will do anything to push those ads, including lying and obfuscating settings. Facebook is a splendid reference in that regard.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

      Look, unless the EFF can legally force Microsoft to do anything (on pain of losing global revenues or being barred from major markets), you're not going to get Microsoft to do anything. THEY hold the cards in the form of a MUCH larger application market, especially in headliner games that can't be played anywhere else (including Linux, MacOS, OR any console). Unless you can beat those trump cards, Microsoft can sit pretty since for many it's a Hobson's Choice.

      1. ShaolinTurbo

        Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

        Agreed.. The French are giving it a go at least with some real legal challenge.

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/20/france_windows_10_microsoft/

        MS know full well what they are doing is cheeky. But they know they can get away with it for years before anything happens. Same happens with all these privacy and monopoly cases. It takes years and then there's finally a punishment but overall it still works out positive them.

        The only thing that will change this merry go round is people voting with their feet. If you dont like it, dont use it. But we know that wont happen in any big numbers. So it is what it is.. and the big companies know it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

          "The only thing that will change this merry go round is people voting with their feet. If you dont like it, dont use it. But we know that wont happen in any big numbers. So it is what it is.. and the big companies know it."

          It's called a Captive Market. Where are people going to go when the business software, games, and so on, run on only one operating system? It's hard to jump ship when there's no life preservers and no other ships handy to pick you up.

          1. fung0

            Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

            Charles 9: "It's called a Captive Market. Where are people going to go when the business software, games, and so on, run on only one operating system? It's hard to jump ship when there's no life preservers and no other ships handy to pick you up."

            This is exactly why the EFF report is so important. MS needs to be called out on its offenses, as publicly as possible. This has two benefits: a) it increases the (admittedly slight) chances that MS might modify its tactics for the better; and b) it helps mobilize and prepare the public for a change it doesn't t yet realize would be extremely positive.

            At the same time, it's important for expert users to build those 'life preservers' or 'other ships' to pick up where MS sank to the bottom. The technical problems are all solved. All that remains is a PR battle. We need to: a) use Linux; b) tell people we use Linux; and c) help people understand just how easy the transition can be. We also need to support the many ongoing efforts to make Linux more approachable, more of a complete replacement for Windows. Valve's SteamOS, for example: it has a long, hard climb ahead of it, but (unlike Windows) is headed very much in the right direction.

            It takes a lot of effort to turn something the size of the global computer market, but it has happened multiple times already. (Otherwise, I'd be typing this on a 64-bit CP/M machine.) Like everyone else, I was a happy Windows user, until Microsoft demonstrated unequivocally that it wasn't competent to be the standard-bearer any more. Now it's too late, the change is coming - might as well help it along.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

              "Valve's SteamOS, for example: it has a long, hard climb ahead of it, but (unlike Windows) is headed very much in the right direction."

              Steam Machines aren't selling and it seems developers are actively rejecting Linux (like Bethesda Softworks who made Fallout 4). Sounds to me it's more than an uphill climb and more like an uphill climb with a downward-running treadmill.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Joke

            Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

            nationalise the OS, Mr Corbyn might do that

        2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

          Slurp has several problems. OSes are well understood, mature products. Applications are, again, well understood, mature products. Users are drifting away from MS with their smartphones and tablets for much of their needs. Winbloat and Office are slowly becoming niche products that many only use extensively at work and have no particular need for either at home.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

        "THEY hold the cards in the form of a MUCH larger application market, especially in headliner games that can't be played anywhere else"

        In general the applications that most people count as deal breakers* aren't Microsoft's. They're CAD, Photoshop etc. and if the makers of those were to port them to another OS then there's not much Microsoft could do about it. It's a numbers game, of course. Without the numbers on another platform then there's not reason to port them.

        At the moment the desktop is Microsoft's to lose. But they do seem to be working at losing it. If W10 becomes a sufficiently toxic brand that it causes hardware vendors grief then they can either start to offer a choice, say pre-installed Mint, or get together and commission an OS where they call the shots. If, at some point, the ISVs start getting the message "we're not primarily a Windows shop here, can't you support $OS" then those cards can start to drop out of MS's hands PDQ.

        *Excluding those who absolutely can't live without some MS Office application. Where that application's PowerPoint the sooner it's taken away from them the better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

          For a long time MS have had the gamer market sewn up due to DirectX only being available for Windows. Microsoft are continuing to push their DirectX technology through the Xbox one, and Windows 10, but that may not be enough any more. Sony and Valve are pushing Vulkan instead, and increasingly importantly Vulkan works on Android too.

          The designers of the next generation of games may decide that portability across PS4, Steam machines and Android as well as Windows trumps any potential advantages they could have from developing for DirectX and being locked to just the Windows/Xbox platforms. It's the Android aspect that's the real clincher for this - (non-casual) gaming on mobile is still in its early days, but it's almost inevitable that it's going to see massive growth in the future.

          Without games, you're looking at Windows being an OS for corporate use that's rarely seen elsewhere. That would be dangerous for microsoft - part of their success has been the synergy of home and work use. If the next generation of home computer enthusiasts (many of whom are gamers) isn't using Windows in their spare time, they're not going to be providing a pool of easily available (i.e. cheap) windows sysadmins to look after the corporate networks.

          1. fung0

            Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

            AC: "For a long time MS have had the gamer market sewn up due to DirectX only being available for Windows. Microsoft are continuing to push their DirectX technology through the Xbox one, and Windows 10, but that may not be enough any more. Sony and Valve are pushing Vulkan instead, and increasingly importantly Vulkan works on Android too."

            It's interesting to note that the biggest PC game release of the year (so far, anyway) - No Man's Sky - uses OpenGL, not DirectX. I guess Hello Games didn't care about cross-compatibility with a distant runner-up in the console wars. There's lots of room for complaint regarding the gameplay in NMS, or the lack of QA, but the choice of OpenGL is very telling nonetheless.

            Total must-have DirectX 12 games, after 13 months' availability: ~0

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: That EFF document is a solid gold reference

              "It's interesting to note that the biggest PC game release of the year (so far, anyway) - No Man's Sky - uses OpenGL, not DirectX. I guess Hello Games didn't care about cross-compatibility with a distant runner-up in the console wars. There's lots of room for complaint regarding the gameplay in NMS, or the lack of QA, but the choice of OpenGL is very telling nonetheless."

              I don't know. So far as I know, there's no Linux version of No Man's Sky, Fallout 4 (Bethesda has gone on record saying there won't be one), and just about any other headliner of 2016. This in spite of Valve's pushing to get developers away from Windows and onto SteamOS. That's telling, too, wouldn't you say?

              "It takes a lot of effort to turn something the size of the global computer market, but it has happened multiple times already."

              Thing is, it gets harder each time, and the computer industry runs at breakneck speed. Eventually, you run out of really new ideas (or they simply take too long to emerge). Unless a major paradigm shift in computing occurs that wipes the slate clean (like a shift to photonic computing which changes things at the most fundamental level), people are settled in and used to normalcies. To them, demographics isn't too high a price to pay (they figure their lives are known anyway due to the telephone and post). Forget shaking the tree. You'll need an earthquake.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No longer an OS maker

      No, Microsoft is still selling operating systems, every Windows 10 PC has an OEM license purchased from Microsoft. What they are doing is ADDING advertising revenue to their OS license revenue. Or hoping to.

      They used to be content with their business model and revenue.Then in the 90s they decided they needed to start stealing other people's revenue stream, so we got MSN(AOL) Xbox(Playstation) IE(Netscape) Bing(Google) and on and on. But every single one of those efforts failed, and what's worse cost them tens of billions in losses and failed acquisitions.

      So their new plan plan as of about five years ago was to start copying other company's business models. They tried to be Apple for a while by selling hardware, but the only successful product has been Surface Pro. Now they're trying to be Google by selling personal information, but before they can sell it first they have to collect personal information on their customers. Hence Windows 10.

      Given how fabulously unsuccessful Microsoft has been in every business venture outside their core business of Windows, Windows Server and Office, maybe it isn't worth getting too worked up about them collecting personal information. Despite the success of Google and Facebook at the 'your customers are your product' business model, there's a good chance Microsoft will somehow find a way to lose money on it and eventually pull the plug!

      1. DryBones
        Pint

        Re: No longer an OS maker

        There's a very good reason to be worked up about it. Being rubbish at collecting and monetizing personal information doesn't mean that they're going to be rubbish at distributing it.

        Put another way, how competent do you think they are at DP?

  6. Shadow Systems

    MS made me download software...

    Specificly they pissed me off so badly that I downloaded Ubuntu Linux.

    Dear Microsoft, what an awesome job you're doing of pushing your customers to upgrade. You've pushed me so hard I'm upgrading to Linux. Brilliant!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: MS made me download software...

      "Dear Microsoft, what an awesome job you're doing of pushing your customers to upgrade. You've pushed me so hard I'm upgrading to Linux. Brilliant!"

      Unfortunately, many people end up crawling back because the software they use everyday doesn't work anywhere BUT Windows (as in it's WINE-incompatible and the like). OS is nothing, it's the apps that influence users' choices.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MS made me download software...

        OS is nothing, it's the apps that influence users' choices.

        Yup. That's actually what made OSX the usable alternative, and I say this as a VERY long time user of Linux (started with Slackware :) ).

        OSX allows you to run commercial applications, and we had already been using LibreOffice on Windows so we were not tied to Microsoft Office anyway (we dropped Outlook a while back - that was probably the one thing that was painful :) ). I think we also have some NeoOffice licenses around, just for testing.

        The main pain is the initial cost of hardware, but there is fantastic software for OSX that costs but a fragment of what Windows based applications cost, yet it's generally more user friendly (lower training costs and better efficiency) and tends to produce far more pleasant output. I know "pleasant" isn't a business goal, but it's just fun to hack up a quick document or design and have it look professional and rounded without any real effort :).

        I suspect this is because Apple fell into the design niche at some point, and it's kept that legacy. It's a bit like Linux keeps its solid engineering background alive - get to terminal level and there's nothing you can't do - you're choosing in a way for a philosophy. Plant someone new in front of a Mac here and the only thing that will slow them down is our CRM, but we'll fix that soon too (changing to a locally installed SuiteCRM setup :) ).

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: MS made me download software...

        "OS is nothing, it's the apps that influence users' choices"

        Indeed, and that is where a VM is really useful - put your slave-ware in that and for everything else that is not tied to an OS that is against you, simple run it on your Mac or Linux box.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: MS made me download software...

          But there are two key niches of software where the VM isn't helpful: custom hardware (there's no way to virtualize it) and high-performance apps like the latest games (where virtualization creates too big a performance hit).

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: MS made me download software...

            Custom hardware is an issue, but that is a fairly small sector for most people. Of course, if its RS232 or fairly standard USB then virtualisation is fine for all but very high performance applications.

            Latest games - maybe, but are they really worth whoring out your privacy for? Thus sticking to Steam for Linux, for example, would also tell the games industry that you are not happy with MS' new direction.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: MS made me download software...

            "But there are two key niches of software where the VM isn't helpful: custom hardware..."

            That can be problematic from one version of an OS to another. Isn't it why some installations can't move from XP (& maybe even earlier)?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: MS made me download software...

              "That can be problematic from one version of an OS to another. Isn't it why some installations can't move from XP (& maybe even earlier)?"

              Right, remember the story of the lathe that can't be upgraded from XP even after EOL because it's on a computer with a custom ISA controller (ISA is not supported beyond XP) and the machine's a linchpin of the shop AND still being amortized so replacement is not an option?

      3. Chika

        Re: MS made me download software...

        Unfortunately, many people end up crawling back because the software they use everyday doesn't work anywhere BUT Windows (as in it's WINE-incompatible and the like). OS is nothing, it's the apps that influence users' choices.

        There will always be an element of software lock-in. Microsoft indeed has relied on this for many years to keep users away from possible competitors and still do.

        Is the software that you are using the only possible thing that you can use? Maybe the software has a native Linux version or another product can do just as well, sometimes better. WINE isn't necessarily the only solution, and some users are too attached to brand names to see that alternatives exist. While some corporate users have no choice in the matter, other users often lock themselves in, mostly through ignorance and FUD.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: MS made me download software...

          "Is the software that you are using the only possible thing that you can use?"

          For many, YES IT IS. Well, either that or the alternative is such a pain to work with as to be impractical. I mean, compare the Windows Steam library to the Linux or MacOS Steam library. The latter two don't compare, and for many, losing their library is a worse price to pay than to give up their demographics that they're probably already giving away simply by using the telephone (robo-calls) or post (junk mail); to them, what more are they losing that they haven't already lost? You have to wonder, if even Valve can't get developers to start crossing over, I don't hold out much hope for the non-Windows gaming community in general, so what's it gonna be: buy in or walk away?

          "...some users are too attached to brand names to see that alternatives exist."

          Or rather they're obligated to use certain software, like writers locked into Word because of their editors.

          1. fung0

            Re: MS made me download software...

            Charles 9: "'"Is the software that you are using the only possible thing that you can use?'

            For many, YES IT IS. Well, either that or the alternative is such a pain to work with as to be impractical."

            That's a very negative exaggeration. The alternatives exist, at varying stages of usability. It won't be all that long before we'll start to see superior alternatives on Linux. (I'm sure Mac users will tell you they already exist on that platform.)

            * The Steam Linux library is growing fast. Developers are 'crossing over' in large numbers. Have a little patience. Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither was Windows. (Last year's games are always somewhat disposable, anyway. What matters are next year's hits...)

            * For graphics, the GIMP is poised to overtake Photoshop within the next couple of years. Also, Creative Cloud is a pain in the butt, while GIMP and InkScape offer an escape from that kind of stupidity. RawTherapee and darktable give away very little to Lightroom. Bear in mind, also, that the Linux equivalents I mention are all free (as in both speech and beer).

            * LibreOffice can't replace MS Office for every task, nor be 100% file compatible with it, but it's pretty obvious that LO is improving steadily, while MS Office looks worse with each new release, buckling under the conflicting marketing imperatives being dumped on it. (BTW: "editors" don't want Word files, they want plain un-formatted text - which you can create using anything from VI to your old CP/M copy of WordStar.)

            * Firefox and Thunderbird are already identical on every OS. They may not be everyone's choice for Web and email, but they show how easy this transition can be.

            Bottom line, yes, there's still work to be done. Or, to put it another way, there's still boundless opportunity for enterprising software developers - something that's been sorely lacking for a decade or more, under the MS monoculture.

            Anyway, it's not like Microsoft has left us any choice.

  7. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Pint

    Disk 1 of 2079?

    On an aside, I am now going to be a gibbering wreck until it's beer o'clock.

    Disk 1 of 2079? That brings back far too many painful memories of multi-disk software installation, usually failing on disk 37/38 but only on some systems and not others.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

      ONLY 2079?

      Seems a little slim if you ask me. Amounts to about 3 GB, and it's almost to the point you can't use a DVD as your install medium and need at least an 8GB USB stick.

      Make it Disk 1 of 5362 and I think you'll make it more believable. Plus it would evoke quite an image. Just how big is a stack of 5,362 3.5" floppy disks is going to appear?

      PS. To the guy who mentioned disk 37/38 failures, I'll go you one better. The failure occurs on disk 37, the drive that's at fault etches the disk, rendering it worthless, and then you find out right then and there that your original disk 37 that you thought was under lock and key somehow got stolen by someone who picked the lock and then sent it to the shredder. Oh, and getting a replacement means getting a whole new set which is $200+ not including shipping which accounting will not cover and takes 6-8 weeks when the deadline's tonight. Good luck.

      1. tirk
        Pint

        Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

        Just how big is a stack of 5,362 3.5" floppy disks...

        17.6946 metres, or about 118 pint glasses.

        (VPN access to client is down, and idle hands, etc)

        1. CustardGannet
          Boffin

          "17.6946 metres, or about 118 pint glasses"

          126.39 standard linguini, for those of us prefer modern units of measurement

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/22/reg_standards_vid/

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: "17.6946 metres, or about 118 pint glasses"

            "126.39 standard linguini, for those of us prefer modern units of measurement"

            Shows how far downhill El Reg has run... Pint glasses not a standard of measure here? Tsk.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

        "To the guy who mentioned disk 37/38 failures, I'll go you one better. "

        Trivial. Disk 38/38 is read and it asks for disk 39...

        1. Phil W

          Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

          "Trivial. Disk 38/38 is read and it asks for disk 39..."

          Didn't that actually happen with Windows 3.11? I seem to recall it was something like after disk 12/12 it would ask for disk 13 which was actually an optional disk with printer drivers or something on that didn't come as standard. It wasn't actually required and you could continue without it, but still...

          1. Colin Critch

            Windows 2

            Windows 2 only had 3 Floppies, it went down hill after that.

            1. Stuart Elliott

              Re: Windows 2

              I remember Windows 1 or 1.1 with Microsoft Executive, and I remember 3.0 with the chess.bmp background, but I can't picture Windows 2 for some reason.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

            "Didn't that actually happen with Windows 3.11?"

            Dunno about that but I had it happen restoring a backup. It took me a whole weekend to find the 11th tape someone hadn't labelled.

            1. fung0

              Re: Disk 1 of 2079?

              My first experience of Windows was running version 1.0 on a dual 5.25-inch floppy-drive PC (not XT) clone. I can't recall exactly, but it was something like 6 or 10 swaps, maybe more, just to boot to the desktop. But Reversi made it all worthwhile!

  8. Carl D

    "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS."

    Yes, and don't forget to tell MS that we want the controls to really work. Not just appear to work as seems to be the case at the moment.

    Oh, and also don't forget to tell them we want the settings to stay as we've chosen and not reset to MS defaults (i.e. ON) every time there's a W10 update.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "not try to bypass user choice and privacy expectations."

    ROLF

    1. Darryl

      ROLF indeed

      Tie me kangaroo down, Sport!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even Enterprise spies on users

    All levels of Windows 10 spy to some extend on their users and the EULA says that they can "access" more information if they "NEED" it.

    There must be whole sections of industry that "CANNOT" accept these terms as they would breach compliance and Data Protection regulations if Microsoft can "PULL" files "NEEDED" from their systems.

    FFS Microsoft just offer a telemetry and spyware free version at a premium for sale as a boxed or download copy only NOT a pre-installed version and only a small number of concerned users will purchase it. the general populace will take your marketing data slurping version.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

      Do you have any documented proof of that actually happening?

      Just asking.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

        I can't be arsed reading the win10 EULA because I won't be running it, but if anyone has maybe they can say if they promise any privacy at all?

        If not you have to assume they will spy upon you at some point.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

        "Do you have any documented proof of that actually happening?"

        Their T&Cs give them the right if you accept them - which is implied by using the S/W. And I distinctly reading a blog by an MS executive "clarifying" the situation which said pretty well what Paul's just said. That seems documentation enough.

        It may well be that the breadth of the T&Cs was to cover accidental downloading of more information than they intend. It may be that they never actually do that. It doesn't matter, the legal door is opened and if regulatory requirements are that it be kept shut then it's a real problem for users.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

          There is a difference however, between being able to and actually doing it.

          If there are no reports of this happening...

          I'm sure there are many other bits of legitimate software out there that people install, which in theory, could upload/download additional files from that computer.

          Has anyone checked all the EULAs?

          1. Stuart Elliott
            Devil

            Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

            Careful Jason 7, the folks round here carry pitchforks, and don't like you arguing in favour of Microsoft, you're risking downvote hell.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

            "There is a difference however, between being able to and actually doing it."

            There's a difference between having a website being open to SQL injection and someone having actually exploited it. But if you've any sense you'd anticipate that someone might do so.

            And if you're in a strictly regulated environment you'd better give strict thought as to what such a wide EULA allows. I believe MS have some form of agreement to put in place with customers who are in such environments. If they recognise that necessity in such cases why don't they extend it to places where it's only trade secrets, banking details, personal data and such minor matter at risk? In other words, just tear up the existing T&Cs, privacy policy and the like and replace them with something that's fit for the users' purpose?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

              "I believe MS have some form of agreement to put in place with customers who are in such environments."

              I believe it's called the Enterprise editions, which aren't sold so much as leased complete with legally-binding contracts and the like negotiated on a case-by-case basis (Vernor v. Autodesk collapsed because the copy of AutoCAD being secondhand-sold was subject to such a contract). I don't know if every Tom, Dick, and Harry is well up for subscribing to their home OS on a yearly basis which is what you're implying.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

                "I believe it's called the Enterprise editions"

                I think it's more than that. There was a comment on another thread that someone had a special arrangement because of the specific field they were in but I can't remember the TLA for it which is why I worded it so vaguely. But it didn't sound like plain vanilla Enterprise licensing.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

                  "plain vanilla Enterprise licensing"

                  I was under the impression that significant enterprises don't use the plain-vanilla Enterprise licenses and instead negotiate directly with Microsoft for certain terms since they have the clout to push back. Government agencies, industry leaders, and so on.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even Enterprise spies on users

            "There is a difference however, between being able to and actually doing it."

            Not as far as compliance is concerned. the fact that they have the "right" to do it would make any compliance officer reach for the phone to the corporate lawyers to cover ass before another step was taken.

  11. Boothy Silver badge

    Lobby for new/updated privacy laws instead

    Wouldn't the EFF be better lobbying for legal changes instead of targeting specific vendors? (Or do both?).

    i.e. try to get the same things that the EFF are asking for here with Windows, but within a legally binding set of privacy laws, that cover all software, applications, devices etc.

    That way all operating systems (desktop or mobile), applications (including phone apps etc), and anything else that can capture any metrics, has to abide by this legal framework.

    For example, such as declaring what is captured and why, and clearly identifying what is necessary for the service to work (i.e. GPS data for a navigation system), and what is not. With mandatory means to manage this 'additional' data, or at least allowing for a more informed decision on if to use that OS/app if you can't turn it off.

    Plus also making sure this snooping isn't just some obscure bit of text hidden inside the T&Cs/EULA but rather something that explicitly informs you during installation, before it actually starts capturing the data, with a mandatory means to not accept, or at least back-out.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Lobby for new/updated privacy laws instead

      "Wouldn't the EFF be better lobbying for legal changes instead of targeting specific vendors? (Or do both?)."

      No, because the EFF wouldn't be able to out-bribe Microsoft when it comes to the legislators.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Lobby for new/updated privacy laws instead

        "No, because the EFF wouldn't be able to out-bribe Microsoft when it comes to the legislators."

        Do you think that's the likely course of action in France?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lobby for new/updated privacy laws instead

          I would imagine Microsoft will find a way to stall if not derail the action. Or they'll pull rank and get the greater EU to torpedo it.

    2. fung0

      Re: Lobby for new/updated privacy laws instead

      Boothy: "Wouldn't the EFF be better lobbying for legal changes instead of targeting specific vendors? (Or do both?)."

      EFF fights on many fronts. What would make you think this was some kind of either/or situation??

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    “come clean with its user community.”

    What part of this does Microsoft understand?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      The part that says they have a captive market. The ones capable of defecting are likely to be far fewer than you think.

  13. NanoMeter

    I took a deep breath

    after the 1079th disk was loaded by the Windows 10 installation, but then I had to uncheck 1500 check marks in the privacy settings...

  14. quxinot Silver badge

    Is the EFF really this out of date? Windows 10 needs a fair number of things. Welcome to...well, a year ago.

    EFF: BREAKING NEWS! Lusitania sunk by Germans!

    Rest of world: We know....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Thank you!

    I enjoyed today's two-minute hate on MSFT!

    1. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: Thank you!

      "I enjoyed today's two-minute hate on MSFT!"

      You were late...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "FB offers a 'single unified screen' to manage privacy settings."

    * Not so.. You have to drill down in Adverts outside of Privacy to even find this, and then it still requires constant deletion:

    ..........https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/?entry_product=ad_settings_screen

    * Right now its undergoing changes too, so its unclear how to limit the damage. It just displays a promo and not Advertiser topics you can delete anymore???

    * To those who just say dump Facebook... That advice doesn't address WAGS or Family or Friends who continue to tag your name in posts to get your attention regardless of whether you're connected to a post, or even an account holder!

    * FB execs deliberately allow this abuse of the 'tagging system'. And if your name is quite unique, expect to be data-mined regardless.

    * BTW: My account is EU based but since I connect from outside most of the time, who knows what privacy rules actually apply.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To the 360m Sheeple: The Privacy trampling to come will be Google x Facebook...

    ~ They're selling us out royally! Only a single regulator has even commented about Win10 slurping so far. It only confirms that the consumer has little protection versus the warm welcome tech giants get at government level.

    ~ As an M$ dev, It will personally HURT to move to Linux / Open-Source but its the right thing, as the path MS is taking is all wrong.

    ~ Soon we'll have the 3-headed serpent of MS / FB / Google trampling over all people's privacy. But until you read Surveillance Capitalism @ The-Guardian and see how 'We're the Native Peoples Now', you really have no idea what's going on:

    ====================================

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/02/google-microsoft-pact-antitrust-surveillance-capitalism

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/20/france_windows_10_microsoft/

  18. McWibble

    So much crapware, even on Pro version!

    If they just stopped trying to install all the crapware (Candy Crush, Asphalt Extreme, Farmville, etc...) then I'd be a bit more tolerant of it. Now I've got half of my users asking why their work machine is full of games.... and the other half probably playing them!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: So much crapware, even on Pro version!

      Why don't you just firewall the addresses that feed those ads and so on?

  19. RW
    Devil

    Microsoft: the Donald Trump of software?

    They do bungle things pretty badly and pretty often.

  20. Captain DaFt

    Let's face it

    The eternal game goes on, Once it was Bell Telephone ,today it's Microsoft.

    To big to care, and powerful enough to ignore the Plebs.

    You'll just have to wait until they inconvenience the Powers That Be™ before anything happens.

  21. Steve 114
    Meh

    Just works

    I 'downgraded' all my elderly cousins' computers to Win10, becuse they needed looking after and Microsoft seems to have taken the point. They have no secrets worth uploading, and with Anti-Beacon and Classic Shell, plus an XP-looking screen, they seem happy. Of course I insist Mint is on dual-boot, but they never use it, because their familiar programs aren't there. And I think I've had to turn off Win10 'fast boot', else Mint can't see NTFS after a Win-crash. Is that so?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone concerned with Microsoft being too intrusive, there's only one question you need to ask

    Why is telemetry data encrypted ?

    If there's nothing sensitive or personal in it, if it's just usage stats as Microsoft say then there is no reason to encrypt it

    If it contains anything sensitive or personal then the user should be able to read it & say no

    So when telemetry data can be viewed & vetoed by the user or is sent in plaintext so independent experts can examine the contents & reassure me that nothing sensitive is being sent, then I'll think about using Windows 10 & not before

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "If there's nothing sensitive or personal in it, if it's just usage stats as Microsoft say then there is no reason to encrypt it"

      Unless it's been ruled that usage stats alone can be considered PII because getting enough of them together can allow a de-anonymization attack.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Updates? I say just shred -vz an' let God sort 'em out

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Even security updates? Doesn't that just leave you open to being pwned and making everyone else's day miserable?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        shred -vz /dev/sda

        sorry, the disk was implied... poorly ;) Or you could boot dban or something.

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