back to article 'Optional' is the new 'Full' in Windows 10: Microsoft mucks about with diagnostic slurpage levels for Fast Ring Insiders

Having fixed the mystery blocking bug of last week, Microsoft dropped a fresh Fast Ring build of Windows 10 and announced plans to clear the waters of the privacy pond by fiddling with the names given to diagnostic data slurpage. Windows Insiders hopeful to catch a glimpse of an exciting new Start Menu in build 19577 or maybe …

  1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "the new build contains a variety of fixes including Windows Update crashes and SafeSearch settings were being lost following an upgrade. The usual issues with crashes during the update process and a broken cloud recovery option for Reset this PC persist as well as a new one that sees the corruption repair process hang at 84.9 per cent"

    But I don't want any of those things...

    1. DJV Silver badge

      I know what you mean!

      Maybe MS are like Gartner whose precdictions always seem totally inaccurate. So, to get MS to give us what we actually need, we should ask for the opposite - e.g. "Hey MS, we hated the old Windows 7 interface and love the new(ish) W10 one. Don't ever change it back!"

      ...and then wait...

      (however, I suspect they'd just give us something even crappier that makes Microsoft Bob look usable by comparison.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Diagnostic Data Off", about time but don't forget, MS are moving their slurping all into CrEdge.

    It's about time GDPR applied to Microsoft and Google, but then both have held out from making the default 'opt in' rather than 'opt-out'.

    Microsoft probably know everything about you after five years of Windows 10 with full diagnostics, and even on Basic - nearly everything.

    Google 30+ convoluted steps to go through their Privacy Checkup means they have the rest on you, given that clearing cookies gives them full rights to your data again.

    CrEdge (the new Edge based on Chrome) is reportedly slurping lots of information back to Microsoft, adding identifiers, tracking websites visited. Even if not the whole picture, given Microsoft's track record, most people will believe CrEdge is a data slurping browser.

    Also, it's worth giving 30 minutes of your life to opt out of the 200+ advertisers (each one requires a manual opt-out) homing in on your data in Outlook.com webmail, if you use that mail client.

    1. theOtherJT

      Re: "Diagnostic Data Off", about time but don't forget...

      Do they actually mean "Off" tho, or is this just a rebranding thing? <not sure if trust>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Diagnostic Data Off", about time but don't forget...

        Thinking it through, that drop down option probably only applies to the Enterprise Version and not Professional/Home.

        <enter option swearing at this point>

        Nothing is ever straight forward in terms of giving users what they actually want, with Microsoft, it really does feeling like an abusive dominant relationship at times, it's not a good look in 2020.

        You have to wonder sometimes if Microsoft Employees take their abusive relationships formed in the workplace, home with them.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "Diagnostic Data Off", about time but don't forget...

        "Do they actually mean "Off" tho"?

        Seeing as they are simply renaming existing categories, "Off" seems to be replacing "Security", ie some "security-related" diagnostics are being passed back. Of course, it's MS who decide what is valid 'security-related' slurpage.

        Short answer - No

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: MS are moving their slurping all into CrEdge.

      Re CrEdge: much easier to just run Firefox with an ad blocker.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Or Brave.

      2. MrDamage

        Re: MS are moving their slurping all into CrEdge.

        And NoScript, PrivacyBadger, SponsorBlock, HTTPS Everywhere, a strong hosts file, and throw in a PiHole just for good measure.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    I just think it is wonderful that insiders take all of the developmental flak so that us consumer don't have to, we get a perfect OS!

    Now where did that sarcasm icon go?

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      No icon needed.

  4. TheGriz

    Since when does Microsoft "listen" to customers? If they did, the Metro Interface would have died with Windows 8, and the Windows 10 Start Menu would have died like their stupid Edge browser. And with the original Edge's death (due to the masses ignoring it existed at all), just goes to show you, that if there was a viable option available for Windows 10, it would wither and die too. And let us be perfectly honest, if not for the fact of Microsoft dropping support for Windows 7, a vast majority of users would keep running it. Hell, I'm still running it on my home PC right now. (Begrudgingly planning to update to 10 at some point)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I'm not planning to upgrade from 7 at all.

      7 will be my last Microsoft OS. I've had it, I'm done with Microsoft.

      When I do upgrade, it will be for some flavor of Linux. Haven't decided yet, but Mint looks like a likely choice.

      In any case, I'll take care of that when I retire in 12 years, then I'll have the time to muck around and find my way.

      Until then, it's 7 and that's final.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        FWIW (and I don't want to be "that guy" harping on about Linux in a Windows-related thread... oops, I guess I am, sorry) I've been installing Mint on an increasing number of systems for myself & friends lately. I'm really impressed with it; pretty much 100% of the time, it "just works" out of the box, with all hardware detected. It's theme-able, if you'd rather have it resemble Windows-whatever-version, Mac OS, or some teenager's circa 2003-era DeviantArt page (admittedly, most of the online themes fall into that last category).

        For media, productivity and web, I can't fault it. For example, my NAS is running Mint + Plex Media Server and has been a real set-it-and-forget-it box.

        On the downside, poor games support compared to Windows (yeah yeah, Steam, Wine, etc, but it's not the same) and as many here have pointed out, for enterprise use it's a non-starter - things like domain join, policies, MSFT Exchange support are shonky-through-non-existent. I'm pragmatic, not a zealot; on some of my machines I keep Windows 7/10 running in a VirtualBox container for the occasional awkward app.

        I have a HiDPI monitor now, and support for that is very limited too - double-scaling or not are the only options. IMHO Windows and MacOS are way better on that front.

        Overall I'd encourage you to download Mint, stick it on a USB stick to live-boot and have a play around.

        Anyway, back to talking about Windows 10 Fast Ring builds?

        1. conscience

          @David 132

          I can't speak about enterprise use, but as a fellow Mint user I can tell you that gaming is pretty damn good on Linux these days, and I don't miss Windows at all either for gaming or in daily use.

          You say Linux games support is not good enough, and Steam/WINE are not the same, but on the whole it might not be as half as bad as you think.

          As you know, Valve's SteamPlay is included with Steam and allows many/most Windows games to run with a single click of the play button, just like on Windows. Compatibility of individual games can be checked on protondb.com, which is handy in the unlikely event that the game needs a slight tweak, but most games are fine without any manual tweaking. Things tend to just work for most games, with the odd exception. It's not quite perfect, but it's pretty damn close to it.

          For non-Steam games, and even for some Steam games if you prefer, there are things like Lutris (https://lutris.net/), which make one-click installs of pretty much everything else, including things like Battle.net, EA's Origin, Ubisoft's UPlay, the EPIC games store, as well as many other individual games whether online or from CD/DVD. It's as easy as a search for the game name, either on the website or within the Lutris application, and from there it is a one-click Install button and it is all automatically installed and configured for you. There is nothing I've come across so far that doesn't work (750 games between my friend and I), and if you already own the Windows games you can try it for free. It's so reliable I've even started purchasing Windows games again to use exclusively on Linux.

          Their download page has instructions how to add the Lutris repository to your system, and all the other instructions I needed (IIRC) are contained on the links on the Requirements section of their 'How To DXVK' page... it is just a copy and paste job into the terminal from each of those links contained on it, in turn. https://github.com/lutris/lutris/wiki/How-to:-DXVK

          I was quite happy just using my Linux games, but this way I can have it both ways and enjoy gaming without having to use Windows anymore. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking to ditch Windows to use Linux full time without losing access to any of your games.

          Computing has never been so much fun. :-)

          1. Buttons

            A little late to the party. I switched in January. Manjaro, nice, got my passion back for desktops. Had a life time of MS products from msdos 3 to W10. Mostly gaming now but I won't be looking back.

        2. Mark 65

          The one area where you do get issues is with modern laptops and their soldered on PCIe SSD drives. Often they require bespoke drivers that are not available for OSes other than W10. You can get Linux compatible Dell laptops if you can find them in your jurisdiction - I wasn't able to in mine and the latest Linux versions I have on my Multisystem USB simply don't see the storage.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Slurp listening to customers and doing what they want is an oxymoron. Slurp hasn't cared about customers particularly home and SBOs for years and it appears for enterprise since Bloat 10 was released (I have a long list of issues with the downgrade to Bloat 10 with my work box).

  5. BGatez Bronze badge

    A bit of searching comes up with various ways to disable and remove (at least 'til the next "update") all MS snoop-ware. Well worth the time and effort IMHO. If you use Edge , it's your own fault.

    1. MrDamage

      I only use Edge on a new build, to visit Ninite and get everything I need to replace Winbloat with functional software.

      Although, sometimes I use Bing, to search for Chrome, and click on the Ad for Chrome, just so Google has to pay MS a few cents. Petty, yes, but when you do dozens of builds weekly for customers, you gotta find fun in the monotony somehow.

  6. James O'Shea

    So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

    Just one more reason why I will never run any MS 'Insider' nonsense, except perhaps on a disposable VM.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

      Last I checked - and I freely admit, this was a while ago, so I could be utterly out of date, y'all feel free to correct me with the tact and gentle diplomacy that is a byword on these forums - you also needed to be signed in with a Microsoft account to use the feedback app.

      Several times I've been infuriated by some Windows 10 behavior, or found a silly cosmetic bug, and wanted to report it to be helpful - but there's no way I'm signing up for their cloud all-your-data-are-belong-to-us tentacles, so my urge to help quickly subsides.

      Which does suggest to me that maybe the "insiders" are all OK with Microsoft's direction of travel in that regard, and perhaps that homogeneity of mindset explains a lot about the way Windows is going? Perhaps Microsoft need to go out of their way to solicit (or at least lower the barriers to -) feedback from those users who are forced to use Windows, not by choice, and are daily gritting their teeth and cussing under their breath about it?

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

        I had a full-on Microsoft account. I used it for, among other things, my copy of Office 365 Education, which cost $80 for 4 years and was a pretty good deal. LibreOffice was, of course, cheaper, but I got O365E because I was 'teaching' (a.k.a. running a babysitting service, but let's not go into that) as an 'adjunct instructor' (a.k.a. a cheap, disposable, 3rd-class sort of instructor) at a local community college. MS has killed O365E and wanted me to sign up for full-on O365 Pro, or whatever it's called, with a '50% discount'. Hmm. $80 for 4 years vs $75 for one. Especially after the way that I was assured, back when I first got O365E, that I'd be able to renew O365E 'at least twice', so that'd be $240 for 12 years, total. It appears that there has been a change in policy. They didn't deny having said that I could renew at $80/four years, just that O365E is no longer available, have the nice discounted for education version of O365P instead. Sayonara, MS. They'd rather get zero than abide by their promises. Or maybe they thought, incorrectly, that I'd have to move to O365P no matter what. I have deactivated the MS account and use the LibreOffice installs I had had around but didn't use because O365, with all its faults, was better. Just not $75/year better. Among the things I 'teach' are MS-based certification courses for server, networks, that kind of thing. The department head has let me know that some of my comments about MS being a bunch of money-grubbing weasels are 'unhelpful'. He declined to comment as to whether or not they were inaccurate; he uses LibreOffice on his personal machines, too. Same reason, he got burned by the O365E/O365P switch, too and is _not_ happy with them.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

        Perhaps Microsoft need to go out of their way to solicit (or at least lower the barriers to -) feedback from those users who are forced to use Windows, not by choice, and are daily gritting their teeth and cussing under their breath about it?

        What, and have Micors~1 hear the truth from their customers product? That would be like tRump regularly going on MSNBC for an hour and having to field questions from Rachel Maddow. (Or simply having a public rally in Chicago.)

  7. JohnFen Silver badge

    Is it still impossible to stop the spying?

    Because if not, then it doesn't matter what labels they put on the slurpage settings.

    1. 1752

      Re: Is it still impossible to stop the spying?

      I have never checked it on a firewall logging level, but OO softwares ShutUp10 https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10 puts all the options in one easier to use interface.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Is it still impossible to stop the spying?

      Yes, it's possible - there are two options, you can either reinstall Windows XP or put the motherboard in a microwave for 10 minutes ... popty ping - all spying has ceased.

    3. Angry clown

      @JohnFen - Re: Is it still impossible to stop the spying?

      You can safely assume slurpage can't be turned off.

  8. Jason B

    How can "Diagnostic Data Off" and "Required Diagnostic Data" coexist?

    Logically speaking, if something is required you can't choose to not have it.

    Or is this like saying if you go out for dinner tonight, it's required that you dress a certain way—but you can still choose to stay at home instead?

    Since this is Microsoft, however, I doubt that "Diagnostic Data Off" really means what those words imply. No doubt some diagnostic data will be sent back no matter which option you choose.

    Purely in terms of the wording, however, the following would make more sense: (1) Disable Diagnostic Data, (2) Enable Minimal Diagnostic Data, and (3) Enable Full Diagnostic Data.

    Which, of course, echoes the article's sentiment that <sarcasm> there can be nothing confusing about replacing "full" with "optional" </sarcasm> (or with any of the other wording changes).

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: How can "Diagnostic Data Off" and "Required Diagnostic Data" coexist?

      " 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.' "

    2. really_adf

      Re: How can "Diagnostic Data Off" and "Required Diagnostic Data" coexist?

      Or is this like saying if you go out for dinner tonight, it's required that you dress a certain way—but you can still choose to stay at home instead?

      I think that's basically the logic. I can see some sense in the wording by reading it from Microsoft's perspective, but surely the wording should have been chosen for the users' perspective. For example, "required" is the minimum required for any useful diagnostics.

      I think off/minimum/full would be the most clear (to the user) options for the implied result of the choice. Whether the actual result matches this (ie whether "off" really means "off", as you mentioned) is a different matter.

  9. Maximum Delfango
    Boffin

    The diagnostic slurping levels are as follows...

    Security - to be renamed "Think of the Children. At Microsoft That's All We Do" - Windows uploads the entire contents of all fixed and removable drives.

    Basic - to be renamed "Because Microsoft Cares For You" - Windows uploads the entire contents of all fixed and removable drives.

    Enhanced - to be renamed "Microsoft Provides Warm Fulfilling Protection Like a Duvet in Winter" - Windows uploads the entire contents of all fixed and removable drives.

    Full - to be renamed "Because Your Microsoft Family Is The Most Important Thing To You, Think of Kittens, Mmmm" - Windows uploads the entire contents of all fixed and removable drives.

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