Windows 10 is spying on your every move: here’s why and how to stop it

Windows 10 is spying on your every move: here’s why and how to stop it

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You have probably heard the news by now: Microsoft has updated a controversial service agreement that lays out in scary detail how your personal data is being used and abused – at least, that’s what the major tech blogs are saying. But the reality is, even if you read Microsoft’s 12,000 word service agreement, it’s still confusing and vague at best.

Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft’s legal and corporate affairs, wrote about the company’s commitment to transparency on the Microsoft blog back in June 2015. This move, of course, was preceding the new privacy statement and service agreement that accompanied the release of Windows 10.

As he put it, “We are simplifying the services agreement and privacy statement because we believe that real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand. As our services evolve, we recognize we must continue earning your trust.”

How Windows 10 is spying on you

The reality is, we can’t know what Microsoft is doing with your private data, but the privacy policy and service agreement can give us some great insight. Yes, these long and tedious documents leave a lot of room for interpretation, but they also inspire something important: a discussion about how data harvesting and lack of digital privacy has become the new normal.

Cortana: your personal assistant, or a spy?

Cortana is your voice-activated personal assistant, much like Siri and Google Now. But in order for her to operate, Windows 10 collects your personal information to better serve you. This includes calendar events, contact information, alarm settings, what you view and purchase, your browsing history, emails and text messages… “and more”.

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An advertisers greatest dream

You may not have realized it, but each user on each Windows device will be issued a unique advertising ID that is tied to the email address they have on file. The idea is that you will be better served through ads, because according to Microsoft, “Advertising keeps many of the services you use free of charge”.

Microsoft will share this profile (created from information aggregated from your personal files) with their partner ad networks – who in turn serve you ads on certain applications, like solitaire. If you were concerned with ad networks collecting information from your browsing history, then be aware that Microsoft is taking it to the next level with Windows 10.

Data syncing with OneDrive

onedriveOneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage system, and it comes with the Windows 10 territory. You might think it’s great because there is no additional sign up or installation required. You can access it from any of your Microsoft devices. But this new convenience comes with a price.

Every time you are signed into your machine with your Microsoft account, your operating system immediately syncs your settings and other data to the company’s servers. This includes browser behavior and history, as well as mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi network passwords.

What are they doing with this information?

If you had the time to read through the long privacy policy and service agreement, you might get a vague understanding of what Microsoft will do with your data, but little more. Besides, we all know better than to take giant corporations for their word – they have their own interests to look after. The real questions end up being:

What can Microsoft do with this information? And ultimately, what are they mostly likely to do with it?

Advertisers can “serve” you better!

People are getting used to free services online left and right, so these expectations dominate the tech marketplace right now. Windows 10 doesn’t cost you any money (at least it didn’t until July 2016), but it still comes at a price.

As Alec Meer of Rock Paper Shotgun points out, Microsoft is increasingly trying to compete with Google through software and applications. But this model requires that, “money comes from harvesting data and flogging it to advertisers and other organisations who want to know exactly what we’re all up to online”.

Comply with big brother

Microsoft doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to surveillance state issues:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies…

It’s important to note that while this may seem horrifying to some, it’s really not so different from any other privacy agreement. Just take a look at this snippet from Apple’s privacy policy:

It may be necessary − by law, legal process, litigation, and/or requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence − for Apple to disclose your personal information. We may also disclose information about you if we determine that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate.

At the end of the day, there are few companies that are able to take a stance against big government agencies. The best you can hope for is that providers don’t bury this in privacy agreements, but who are upfront and honest about their current operations as they relate to the surveillance state.

Why should I care? What could go wrong?

As an infamous activist once said:

“Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is not different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

14877774_sBut if that’s not reason enough to get up in arms, there are a number of practical concerns to consider:

First and foremost, you don’t know which ad networks this data is going to, and you don’t know what their policies are for dealing with this very private information.

What happens in the event of a hack? You might feel safe if your information is with a big company like Microsoft, which undoubtedly has major systems in place to protect your data. But do you really trust any of Microsoft’s ad network customers? A hacker could trace these transactions and conduct a large-scale hack just by finding a single vulnerability in this line of data transfer.

You might say you have nothing to hide, and that the only person who does is clearly breaking the law. If that’s truly the case, why don’t you leave your bank account details in the comments below?

The real truth: Microsoft isn’t the only bad guy

Shifting tides in modern culture have created two dangerous and commonly accepted thoughts on digital privacy, which could make you think that:

  1. Privacy must be compromised for safety.
  2. Privacy must be compromised for convenience.

While there are serious debates on the subject, it’s important to stop and wonder who is ultimately responsible for these ideas, which create the basis for how many companies, institutions, and individuals make their decisions about privacy.

But the reality is, the Windows 10 privacy agreement isn’t so much a revelation as it is a sign of the times. While it has understandably stirred up some controversy, it hasn’t inspired a mass exodus of users from Microsoft software or products, despite the media widely covering the news that Windows 10 is spying on its users.

This is as it should be, because most of us know that it isn’t different with the developers of other major operating systems and mobile operating systems…like Apple and Google.

Siri’s telling everyone what you did last night

Sure, Apple and Google may have made a show of their commitment to user privacy, with smartphone encryption and very convincing, public battles with high-profile government agencies.

Apple has admitted Siri voice data is being sent to third parties

Apple has admitted Siri voice data is being sent to third parties

But you shouldn’t let these PR stunts fool you. Even when these companies have the best intentions, there is still a bottom line at the end of the day, and that’s money.

Don’t believe us? Cortana isn’t the only personal assistant who likes to abuse your privacy. Apple hands your voice recordings over to third parties for analysis, and you agreed to it in the privacy agreement. Whether it’s a personal message to your sweetheart or your child asking Siri silly questions, Apple stores those messages for two years and essentially does with them what they want.

It might be tempting to switch over to Google Now for your voice commands, but that would come at the cost of both your privacy and sanity. Google Now has a feature called Now cards, which are recommendations for products, services, and information based on your messages and recent searches. Even if you don’t rely on Google Now too much for recommendations, Google already knows so much about you because at some point you have probably used their products or services.

scroogled

And if you use Gmail, you’ll note that Google has been serving ads through Gmail for some time now – and if you haven’t noticed any, just check under your Gmail’s “Promotions” tab. They get information straight out of your private emails to help their ad network partners target you. It’s right there in their privacy agreement. Microsoft even attacked Gmail over these privacy violations and launched a “You got Scroogled” marketing campaign.

What you can do to protect your privacy in Windows 10

The reality is, short of becoming a Linux user or developing your own operating system, there is little you can do to keep your information entirely private. Even recent Windows 7 and 8 updates come with their own host of privacy issues, so don’t think you’re out of the woods just because you haven’t made the move to Windows 10.

But there are several steps you can take to maximize your privacy while using Windows 10, and we encourage you to explore these options – whatever agency you can take over your privacy is better than none.

Windows 10 privacy settings to look into

If you have yet to install Windows 10 be sure to decline the Express Settings, which enables all of the privacy compromising features. Look through the different setting options and disable anything that makes you uncomfortable.

If you already enabled the Express Settings when you downloaded Windows 10, open the Start menu and select Settings. From there you’ll find that most of these invasive features are listed under Privacy. There are many options to go through, and we encourage you to look carefully at each one. There are several big ones we think you may want to consider disabling:

Windows 10 privacy settings

1. Cortana

You may not be comfortable with Cortana spying, sorry “collecting”, so much personal information about you, and if that’s the case, you should disable the Getting to know you option under Speech, inking, & typing (see image above for its location).

Additionally, you can open Cortana and click on the gear icon where you can access the Cortana settings, where you can enable or disable her (as well as manage information kept about you in the cloud).

2. Advertising ID

If you are concerned about the data harvesting for advertisement purposes, we do recommend you disable setting, “let apps use your advertising ID for experiences across apps”. This is located inside the General tab in the Privacy settings (see image above).

Unfortunately, just moving the toggle isn’t enough to keep ad networks from reaching your personal data. You will also have to go to this Microsoft site and disable personalized ads several times over.

Windows 10 advertising opt out

Microsoft allows you to personalize your ad settings

3. Location

You may be used to location services, and they sure are handy when you’re trying to get from point A to B. But Microsoft’s new privacy agreement suggests they are sharing this location information (and your location history) with “trusted” third parties. If that makes you uncomfortable, it may be best to disable this. The Location tab is located directly beneath the General tab under the Privacy Settings.

4. Wi-Fi Sense

Update: in June 2016, Microsoft quietly disabled its controversial Wi-Fi Sense feature. While they never acknowledged the privacy issues, it’s nevertheless good to see it gone and have one less controversial feature to worry about.

Wi-Fi Sense was either very practical, or very invasive, depending on how you looked at it. This feature allowed you to automatically share your Wi-Fi password with your Outlook, Skype, and Facebook contacts, which supposedly saved a lot of hassle when friends come over and need your password.

wi_fi_sense

Windows 10 Wi-Fi Sense: did you ever need it?

On the other hand, this may not be wise for those with broad social networks, because this option did not allow you to selectively pick which contacts to share it with.

5. Create a local user account

If you’re not concerned with convenience and want maximum privacy, you should consider a using a local user account instead of your Microsoft account. You will lose out on a number of features, particularly synchronization across your different devices.

But if that doesn’t bother you, locate Accounts under Settings, then click Your info. You should see the option to “Sign in with a local account instead” just above where your picture should be.

Try O&O ShutUp 10 for a free third-party solution

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O&O ShutUp10

If you’d like to stop Windows 10 spying unnecessarily, consider using O&O Software’s free privacy tool, ShutUp 10. This tool simplifies the privacy process by giving you a single interface to deal with all of the myriad of settings you’d like to enable or disable on Windows 10. You can also simply apply all of their recommended settings.

O&O ShutUp10 is entirely free and does not have to be installed. Moreover, it will not install or download potentially unwanted or unnecessary programs (PUPs), like so many others do these days!

 

 

 

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O&O ShutUp10 allows you to easily disable Windows 10 settings

Educate yourself about privacy options that feel right for you

At the end of the day, you might be tempted to throw up your hands and give up perusing privacy at all. You might not see the point, since disabling certain settings doesn’t really guarantee that you are not being spied on, or that your personal data isn’t being sold or distributed.

You might feel that you might as well have the conveniences of certain tools then, or would prefer more relevant advertising. But if we all collectively begin to educate ourselves about our privacy options and pursue them, we have a better chance of creating a culture that is concerned with cyber safety and privacy, instead of one that just thinks it’s a cost needed for a better world.

Have a nice (privacy-conscious) day!

  • jv

    Anytime you connect to the internet, a smart phone or “smart” anything, this will be the same. You cannot say it is different than anything else, even with smart cars. And you cannot blame Microsoft for that either. They are not big brother. Big brother is secret societies, such as Freemasons/Illuminati, and they are the real spies, not just any one person or company.
    And every version of Windows is more secure than the last, so it should be considered MANDATORY to always upgrade to the latest version to stay current and help protect from current viruses/malware, even though I recommend the programs Emsisoft Internet Security and Enigma Software Group’s SpyHunter 4 together, keeping Windows and all those programs up to date daily as the best security precaution.
    The truth be known. spying has been going on, or what your perception may or may not be of spying, for thousands of years. Advertising, internet, and smart technology for MANY years. Also, unwarranted actual REAL spying by reading emails and listening in on actual phone calls is technically illegal, but this is not the operating system of a computer or device. That is chosen people who CHOOSE to do those things. Unfortunately, that will go on forever no matter who blows the whistle. The only way you can have total 100 percent privacy of EVERYTHING is to not own ANYTHING smart, use the internet, a phone, a bank account, credit or debit card, etc etc. And there are still surveillance cameras everywhere, so unless you are totally invisible and leave no body heat or footprints/fingerprints anywhere, getting off the grid is just not realistic i this day and age today.
    I know people who have worked for Microsoft for many years and they take security and privacy very seriously. Just because your data is collected in any way anytime you sign into a smart device, email, bank account or turn on your car, does NOT mean they are using it against you in any way or actually physically spying on you, opening your emails, peeking on your phone calls, etc etc.
    Almost every cell phone company, including AT&T, which is my current cell phone provider, was shown by Edward Snowden as being a part of the NSA spying program, at least since post 9/11 The patriot Act.
    This is a technology world and you have to get used to that fact. I am not breaking the known laws myself, and have been using the most updated version of Windows since it was first released way back in the past with version 3.1 or so. The only version I did not like was ME, which did not last long anyways. I hope this sheds some light on who is truly more responsible. Sometimes companies are the in-between victims too, and not always what you think.

    • the_old_islander

      “companies are the in-between victims too, and not always what you think”

      Compare the debt-to-revenue figures of Microsoft and the US government. Bill Gates and his minions *are* in a position to call the shots… but it’s easier and cheaper (not to mention more “plausibly deniable”) to just let government take the heat for your own development of tools for being intrusive as possible for your *own* purposes.

    • JonnyS

      how you use it is very much a responsibility and companies take the view that they can pretty much do anything they like with your information. That is a disgraceful stance from a moral standpoint let alone the practical issues.

      Companies take the view that anything that enhances profit is acceptable. They simply aren’t terribly interested in kind of control of their behaviour and no extended essay will obscure that.

    • Lakawak

      You were doing SO well until you embarrassed yourself with Illuminati talk.

      • Tidy Sweep

        Well, wake up and smell the coffee, Washington D.C. isn’t a sea of Greek, Roman and even Egyptian and Babylonian temples for no reason.

        • Lakawak

          Listen…I realize that your life is such a total failure in every conceivable way that you have to make up some fantasy that the are people who MADE you such a failure. That you were chosen at birth to be a failure while others were randomly chosen to be successes.. But realize that that is one of the many reasons why you ARE such a failure.

          • Tidy Sweep

            Oh well .. thanks for informing me .. I can put my heart to rest now, and be content with my lot, as God (at least for those who believe) sees fit that it be.

          • Rottweiler

            Wtf are you babbling about both of you the point is Microsoft is one of the bad guys all the big tech firms report all your data to the govt , that is why they build the huge info storage data center in Utah to hold the info. Which can then be used anyway they see fit. The tech is the problem there is no reason to be collecting this data on everyone , the Germans did the same thing with their dos ices on everyone.back in the day , they can use / edit your own personal words and actions to set you up for anything if they need to and you fools are perfectly happy and totally retarded.

          • Krakow

            You sir are a TROLL of the highest personal acheivement – Go look in the mirror & be glad your a complete Moonunit of epic dimensions.

        • Black Mesa

          Good point, Tidy.

        • CassandraSays

          How many of them built in the 20th century?

          Three or four hundred years ago European civilization was still clawing itself out of the Dark Ages and recovering from the Black Death. Its “thinking class” had not caught up to the intelligentsia of Greece and Rome and they were quite rightly using the Classics as textbooks. When, do you think, was Grecian temple architecture surpassed by a more modern design?

          Not yet.

          If, however, you think studying these old dead guys, at least before Machiavelli, is going to give some strange group arcane knowledge to help them gain power over you and yours, relax. There’s no secret to that. Follow the money.

        • Indrajeet Patil

          It’s not for losers like you to understand.

      • Peter Den Gamer

        sounds like someone is ignorant or indifferent to the truth.

        • hinu7ycfgr5e

          Dude, there is no Illuminati… At least there’s no good reason to believe so or even talk about it. What is real, what is surrounding our lives are companies abusing our privacy and government snooping around and reducing the security of our services and products.

          That is what we should put our attention too. And go with open standards, use end-to-end encryption, block surveilling and in general keep our security intact.

          And stay anonymous, like I am with my stupid name that I don’t even remember myself.

          • Peter Den Gamer

            no one used the word Iluminati… but where I live our goverment admits that they keep all conversations for at least 2 years to be used against criminals.

          • hinu7ycfgr5e

            The comment you replied to adressed how “jv” talked about Illuminati.

            Yeah, I know. That happens in various degree. It’s a sad reality. Even nerdy nerds struggle to bypass this. And to a degree you can’t. It’s only getting worse too…

          • bialdza

            Illuminati is not a person or a group, it’s a word used to describe the people behind the strings, the puppet masters… Or you can also say – the shadow government. Even though a lot of this “shadow” government is not so shodowy anymore – Soros, Rotschield, Bildeberg, Bohemian grove, BIS, etc..
            If you deny the existence of a power-hungry force, behind the most influential people.. well, that’s your ignorant choice :-)
            But it’s quite obvious, it’s hard to believe that you cannot see this….
            Look at the TV and Media. It’s the tool, that can be used to EDUCATE humanity, to TEACH moral values and PROMOTE good behavior.
            Instead on this TV-box, you can see so much violence, fear, separation, racism, promotion of drama and bad behavior, propaganda and manipulation, biased talks and so on
            And you still think that the world is govern by good people? :D
            I’m not saying that there are no good people within the governments and agencies, i’m just saying that evil has been greedily winning for too long, but people are finally starting to wake up =]

          • hinu7ycfgr5e

            You have a completely wrong picture of how I see the world. I’m very aware of the dark sides of the world, the corruption, the manipulation, the lies etc. And I know there are good reasons to believe there’s a lot we don’t know and never will. I’m not gullible or ignorant.

            I was, though, refering to the meme, the phenomenon “Illuminati”, which is what I am aware of the use of it.

            Though, at the same time, it’s important to know that you’ll always get, in various degree, biased and narrow-minded views from people. And that what may seem like racism, isn’t always that. And that people should be taught to have their own opinions instead of be easily swayed by stupid [email protected] they see on TV, read on the internet or hear from others.

    • stevels_smith

      “And the smart phone needs to know your location to work properly with most apps”

      Bull.
      Almost no app needs your location services turned on. The only two that I consider turning on LS for are Maps, Weather. Yellow Pages or Radio apps and only Maps needs location services on while it functions; the other apps only needed it for a few minutes to locate locale radio stations or current location for weather forecasts. Unless you regularly travel more than 50 miles away from home a day, they don’t need location services.
      I’ve got several hundred apps on my phone and they all get along fine without location services. If you travel regularly across the country or are on vacation; turn on Location Services. Otherwise turn it off and leave it off as it’s not needed.

      • Strazdas

        Weather does not need your location. You preset location you are in and only change it if traveling.

        • stevels_smith

          You are right. MSN Weather has location services off and it is using a Home Location that I gave it on setup.

    • koconor100

      Always upgrade to the latest windows. Lol ! You’re a (bleep) company shill , aren’t you ? Probably recommend we use IE as well , and can’t understand why you keep catching virii ? Another “The War for Privacy is lost, give it up !” champion ?

      Privacy is simple. Restrict your phone calls to “meet you at the usual spot in 20 min” and your computer to games , nothing serious. Anything else, it’s Linux time.

    • Befuddling

      You use Spyhunter??? The company that decided to sue because a reviewer thought their product was rubbish?

      Freemasons, fine. Illuminati, no problem. Those green men in area 51 – you have me sold.

      But… Spyhunter? Sorry, you’re crazy!

    • hinu7ycfgr5e

      The same can be said about everything. “I know someone who work in the government, they take privacy evry seriously”.

      Meanwhile security is weakened, encryption have backdoors, everything from phone calls, messages, e-mails, search history, browsing history, chats etc. etc. is being shipped away, all stored in a folder. Either it’s for ads or “national security”…

      Miscrosoft IS the problem, because they don’t promote privacy in any way. They don’t work to protect and do business honestly. They treat their customers like shit with the way they’ve acted with Windows 10… It’s a shit company, and it’s not what it once was.

      Former MS employees can tell you that (and anecdotal evidence will quickly dissolve your anecdotal evidence).

      However, you are right that whatever smart device you are using, you’ll have this problem. And that’s why we can’t just sit and watch. What they are doing with Protonmail for instance, is a good example. That’s what we should be doing. Making the internet free, neutral and encrypted. Encrypted in a way that not even the maintainers can breach into it.

      The web is really unsafe and people don’t realize it.

    • Strazdas

      A smart phone will not need to know your location to do anything but run navigation and any app telling you otherwise should be instantly uninstalled.

  • the_old_islander

    “At the end of the day, there are few companies that are able to take a stance against big government agencies.”

    … and for what it’s worth, that’s why *no one* should (as so many of us have to) use any web-based operating system whose largest customer-base is the world’s governments.

    End of sermon.

  • surja

    Thank you for the article. Helpful, clear and simplifies things for non techies and general users.

  • musicmugger

    Microsoft has stuck some updates onto win 7 to spy on you, there may be other updates that put you well and truly on the map, but here are 8 to help keep the MS spy off your back, or should I say computer. The following can be removed by going into your windows update files, selecting, and then removing the following updates. KB3021917, KB2990214, KB305583, KB3022345, KB2952664, KB2952664, KB3075249, KB3080149, KB3068708. I have removed all these updates,without problem, but if you are worried, back up your system first. Microsoft will attempt to instal these again, so when they do, hide them, you do that by right clicking on the update and select hide. Once done MS will not try to update again, and you will have prevented a bit of the gangsters ease to monitor you.

    • Cat Tilley

      Thank you for the KB numbers, I’ve already hidden a few, but will jot these down & double check all of my Windows 7 & 8.1 installs for these :-)

      Cat

    • jv

      No one truly sticks anything to “spy” on you from an operating system. And ANYTIME you use ANY operating system, you agree that anytime you are on the internet, use a smart ANYTHING, you are giving up guarantee of complete privacy. Ever heard the saying anything you say can and say will be used against you in a court of law? Well the internet and electronics is no different. The real bad guys are the shadow government agencies underneath the people they want you to trust IN the government. THOSE PEOPLE are big brother.

    • Glenn Dunbar

      WILL THE UPDATES GET BACKED UP AS WELL? THAT IS THE PROBLEM. ONCE MICROSOFT STOPS GIVING UPDATES, RE-FORMATTING A PC IS WIDE OPEN TO EXPLOITS.

      • koconor100

        Unplug network cable
        Reformat pc
        Install fire wall and Anti-V
        Turn off Windows Updates
        plug network cable back in
        go get fire fox,
        let the Anti-V and Firewall update

        Job done.

    • koconor100

      What are you doing with updates turned on ? Are you begging for trouble ? Turn that crud off.

      • Lakawak

        You are an idiot.

        • musicmugger

          Out of all the replies I have had, only you are the ahole. The additional add on in 7 are not accepted, and if you search the internet, and stop talking from your rear end, you will see a number of articles that blow your stupid words out of the water. You talk like one of those brain dead yanks who thinks she knows everything, like your leader, but hasn’t a clue.

    • Lakawak

      None of those have ANYTHING to do with spying on users. But that’s OK. Everyone already knew you were joke.

      • musicmugger

        Another blinkered fool who believes the corporations are our best friend. What took you so long to reply, your nurse only just find time to read it to you?

  • Rocky Harris

    Thanks for the link to ShutUp 10. My wife’s laptop is ready to upgrade to W10. I downloaded it and saved to a USB drive and will be running this program for 1 reason only. It’s none of MS’s business what she does on her computer. I’m sure it won’t stop all of their spying, but maybe it’ll help to some degree.

    My Carey Holzman inspired home built computer is running W7 Pro behind a SPI and software firewall along with a keystroke scrambler. All money transactions for my family are done on this computer. I’m doing the best I know how to keep it as secured as possible. I use your Emergency Kit and 2 other programs to help keep the bugs out. I test it using Shields Up around once per month to make sure I’m remaining in stealth.

    Eventually, I may start using a reputable outside the country VPN service. I just don’t know enough about these services to determine if they are really a security help or not. I’m willing to spend the money if they really help.

    ***** You might say you have nothing to hide, and that the only person who
    does is clearly breaking the law. If that’s truly the case, why don’t
    you leave your bank account details in the comments below? *****

    Exactly!!! And if we had nothing to hide, why wear clothes. :-)

    • Eagereagle

      On your last comment. We wear clothes not because we have something to hide but because we are in general so ugly naked and clothing is soothing to the eye if the ‘admirer’ :-) Our early species had fur to cover the body, Now we are all like the Mexican naked dog and without clothes it can in some regions be damn freezing. Thanks for your point of view.

      • JonnyS

        speak for yourself. I’M GORGEOUS !!

        • Chiron

          :-D

        • beaujeane

          Right?! l wear clothes to stop people from drooling and creating wet patches on the floor, which could lead to someone breaking a limb (and l really don’t want to be sued). ;)

          • JonnyS

            hence your username ! well done.

          • BeauJeane

            Well, it could be, but it’s not :)
            lt’s a combination of the 1st halves of my french name and surname, and then switched around: Jeane,,, Beau— (l don’t much for plastering my real name on the WWW, but l needed a username: et voila!). But my surname also lead be called Beau as my nickname.
            But you’re right, l’m gorgeous (like yourself), tres belle! ;)

          • JonnyS

            pretty people unite !

          • BeauJeane

            l was also honouring Socrates a little, when l chose to switch the two halves of my names around. “Know thyself”… ;)

    • Chiron

      If memory serves “the one who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear” was a favorite motto of the Holy Inquisition, the Gestapo and the KGB, just to mention a few.
      Personally I’m a believing and practicing naturist (some men can be awfully ugly, myself included, but there are still plenty of pretty women to compensate :-). Yet I wouldn’t enjoy being stripped naked by the police on a public square, regardless of their alleged reasons. It’s a matter of free choice, you know…

      • Justin

        Should be Ob*ma’s saying, too.

      • koconor100

        “the one who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear”
        Motto of the Ferguson Mo. Police Department , when throwing black’s in jail for “walking funny” , as the phrase appears on one of their traffic tickets discovered by the US Justice department.

        :)

    • jv

      ANYTIME you use a computer, a credit card, a smart phone, and walking pretty much anywhere you are connected to the system. Get over it. Why waste your time with all of that. They are NOT spying on you. You always allow some information to be used as part of the way computing works. Windows 10 is not the only operating system or version that ever used location information. They all have for many years, so I am dumbfounded as to why this is even about version 10 when nothing has changed in that regard since the beginning. You should always use the most updated version of Windows anyways. I know people who work at Microsoft. I have used Windows since it’s inception. I have NEVER been hacked, or had any identify theft of any kind. The consumer often just likes to find ghosts and monsters in all the wrong places. Computer operating system companies are not the real culprits. And actually, Apple and Linux are the worse for hacking problems believe it or not, you might be surprised about that. There are always stories about iPhone problems and hacking. Not one time has my Microsoft phones had ANY of those issues. I am not here to argue or debate. Some of you misunderstood my article to begin with.

      • stevels_smith

        What article? This isn’t your article. Your long comment above doesn’t count as an article; it would have to be published to be an article.

        • jv

          You don’t know how to read between the lines very well. Go do other things better with your time. Article in this sense means post. You are reaching. Just quit while you are behind. This is not what the internet is for. You are another glorified troll just like thousands of others.

          • stevels_smith

            Posts do not count as articles.
            Sorry dude, I’m not trolling when I posted reliable sources like AV-test, AV-comparatives and the BBB as sources.
            My time was well spent here.

          • jv

            Read between the lines. It was not meant to be what you are interpreting it as. Post, article, that is not the point. You are reaching, and you are again wasting time with ignorance. it is not well spent, because you are a childish troll who likes to fight and argue and have the last word. The proof is in the pudding. Leave it alone. It was not even what the original topic was about. I build computers and work in networking. Get over yourself. You are beyond ridiculous. Really, just leave it alone. I am not coming back here.

      • DysonSphere

        For You to say “NEVER” is just foolish. Just because you don’t know about it does not mean you are not hacked. just no signatures are made for it yet. It;s called zero day.

        • jv

          I have NEVER been hacked, PERIOD. END OF STORY. What part of NEVER do you not get? It takes more than mere signatures to hack a computer. You have to isolate a lot of thing beyond that.

          • DysonSphere

            Again, You can not read. A signature is not a hack. A signature detects the hack. I can recommend some IT places for some training if you want?

      • Rocky Harris

        *****They are NOT spying on you.*****

        You failed to say they have the ability to spy on you.

        ***** I have NEVER been hacked, *****

        Neither have I. Yet!!

        ***** I know people who work at Microsoft. *****

        ROTFLMAO!!

        • techienumber1

          I know a few people at MS and they have responded to my tweets well they are not spying on you they are trying to make a system that is secure and not hackable

          • koconor100

            Legally required to deny their cooperation with intelligence agencies or 10 years in jail.

            File their assurances in the nearest circular filing basket.

    • koconor100

      NSA has penetrated most VPN’s …

      • Rocky Harris

        Do you have any proof to support such a wild conspiracy belief?

        • koconor100

          In an age where Apple and NSA got into a squabble about Apple being forced to make a special operating system just to hack one of their own phones, it’s a little late to be demanding proof or accusing me of wearing a tin foil hat.

          Read the news buddy. Read the news.

    • musicmugger

      A VPN is good for a number of reasons. Where I live they ban and block more web addresses than any other country in the world, so here a VPN, you could call my best friend on the Internet, it does hide you, and if you are worried, instal two, and check the firsts position using the second. The downside to running one now is, there are some companies that run programs that can detect them, like Netflix, who like to call them blockers, to prevent you watching movies from countries other than where you are physically situated. Whether this is sophisticated software, or just a directory of all the common ISPs in the country, I don’t know. Still, they are a very useful addition, but not to be a substitute for proper computer online security, like Anti-Malware.

  • Chiron

    And you blame me for staying with good ol’ WinXP? Better the devil you know…
    Please, PLEASE, PLEEEASE DON’T DISCONTINUE YOUR SUPPORT TO IT!!!

    As far as turning off Win10 dubious features is concerned, how much would you trust a small “disable master key” button on an NSA-installed lock?

    jv, I don’t give a damn about an hypothetical Microsoft’s good faith, nor do I care if even my toothbrush is spying on me. I just don’t like having webcams installed in my bathroom, that’s all.

    • JonnyS

      you could make money off those bathroom cams you kmow?

      • Chiron

        Well, now that you mention it… hey, wait a moment! Who would make money, I or Microsoft? :-D

    • Sokrates

      Chiron, you must be a born hermit! Why don’t you want to share your private moments with your fellow humans? :-[)
      However, if that’s what you want, I’m sure you can buy very convenient toothbrush-hoods to keep your oral hygiene private. Of course each hood will conceal a number of microcams and nanophones, and (as per the fine print you won’t be able to read without a good microscope) anything you sing in the bathtub will automatically become property of Assbook®.

      Then if you’re a good performer the best pic of your privates will be used for the DVD cover.

      LOL

      • beaujeane

        XD nice..

      • Chiron

        Sokrates, your sarcasm doesn’t bother me. You may know that you don’t know anything (by the way, how did you get to know that? :-), but I as a member of USSA *) know your real name, your ISP, your home and work addresses, your shoe size and the names of all your wife’s boyfriends.
        Moreover I might as well inform you that we are constantly monitoring you for suspicious activities against the Global Mind Control Project and severely subversive independent thought, and as such we know all about you, up to the contents of the sandwich you’re eating right now… HEY WATCH OUT!!! Too late, I’m afraid you just ingested a tiny little worm with that salad leaf. Never mind, its mostly proteins and once you digest it, it won’t tell anybody what you look like from inside ;-)

        *) If you don’t know it already, you may find “better no letter” here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCaw7jXkrZw

        or, if you can handle some nicely accented German, here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5tjBk37K4
        Enjoy it :-D

    • beaujeane

      Do you have an electrical toothbrush?

    • Peter Den Gamer

      indifference is why we’ll all lose our freedom eventualy.

  • Cat Tilley

    Well, some of the commenters & the article did have valid points, yet one thing left out & let’s not forget, that Microsoft willingly chose to be the first member of PRISM, a partnership with the US government to collect information on as many citizens (on aliens) as possible. Many folks distrusts the government, so why trust their partners?

    Maybe to help carry out the laws of the country in part, the larger part is what honest citizens needs to consider before hopping on the Windows 10 train. That’s users privacy, everything other than one’s thoughts can be collected. A member of Bleeping Computer where I’m a Staff member on, posted a picture of the nVidia GPU uploading data to Microsoft, the process was WinStore.exe. The thing about it was, this member wasn’t (knowingly) using Store apps, so this makes the OS not transparent.

    For those who may think that a graphics card cannot receive, process & upload data, think again, this is how Bitcoin works. Participating users will purchase a upper mid level to high performance GPU & run the app that does the Bitcoin ‘mining’ with only the GPU, the computer can be used for other things while mining.

    Now, if this can be used to keep a virtual currency flowing that many retailers accepts, surely Microsoft can also take advantage of the same. They can also enable webcams & microphones to eavesdrop on it’s customers. This is exactly why (if running 10 or 8.1) some will warn to place a Band-Aid over the notebook’s mic (to protect both) & then place a piece of black electrical tape or grey dust tape, whichever matches the color of one’s notebook the best. This effectively prevents any eavesdropping through those ports. Some external webcams may have a flip down lid to cover the lens.

    I had Windows 10 Pro on 5 computers & downgraded 4 back to 7 Pro & one which was running 8.1 Pro back to that OS. For me it wasn’t for privacy, as I’m a 90% Linux Mint user (& am typing this post with the OS). Linux Torvalds & Richard Stallman will never sign a pact against their own users & Stallman has suggested to cover webcams long ago. I downgraded because AV/AM scans were taking longer, even on fast SSD’s.

    While Windows 10 may indeed be free of cost, it wasn’t free as an open bar on the house. Microsoft has already gained & will continue to get as much information about each & every one of it’s users as possible. Would have cost a lot less to pay just like previous versions & not have all of the privacy leaks.

    I have a hunch when the excitement is over, there will be a fair amount of users like myself to restore their last Windows 7 or 8.1 backup, and continue to run it until end of support for each. In many cases, the upgraded computers will be outdated by this time (2020 & 2023) anyway, and don’t believe for a second that Windows 10 will be ‘the last’ version released. Word has it that in 2020, Windows Cloud is in the works. Yet Google’s OS on Chromebooks will already be many steps ahead in the game & we all know what the result of a new type of OS coming from Microsoft means, a bust for all.

    Cat

    • JonnyS

      In a very few years there will be little point in buying a notebook. Tablets are already pretty amazing – especially the new chinese entries, android is fast becoming a buy app once – run anywhere ecosystem.
      Why would I go to the expense of replacing my current powerful i7 notebook when it finally won’t do the job anymore? My files will already be in the cloud, data connectivity will fall in price/be more ubiquitous and a folio case with a remote keyboard are already cheap as chips. Many youngsters just use a phone and a tablet. it’s only corporations that keep Microsoft going – MS are in trouble with BYOD, though they are far from dead, as they have corporate management/access tools. [Gamers will need to be catered for of course].

      I can envisage families possibly having a central home server (which will likely end up as a cloud service anyway) with each family member owning a phone and perhaps a tablet. The child who likes gaming will build his own machine if he can’t use the family server, or will just have a PES/Xbox etc.

      What software are people running at home that requires a MS machine? Not much and decreasing as the next generation grows up on a diet of phones and tablets.

      • Cat Tilley

        JonnyS, you make a valid point when you asked what software requires a MS (Windows based) computer. Linux Mint can run much of the same, can even use some of the so-called ‘Windows Store’ apps, Skype being a huge one, as well as Netflix & Hulu. Plus, except for IE, it can run most of the major browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera & others).

        While the OS is very secure w/out adding additional, it’s still best practice to have a security app if one’s running a LInux mail server app & most all of these are free of cost for Home usage. For every Windows software choice, there’s at least 3 Linux ones, Linux MInt 17.2 64 bit alone has over 70,000 software choices available. It would be great to see Emsisoft have a Linux offering in the future & I believe that if market share were higher in the consumer market, there would be.

        Now back to Linux. Everyone who does any business at all, even if not using a computer period, is using Linux. Most every time one makes a transaction, it’s processed through a Linux server, not a Windows one. Even most of our utilities, all the way down to the ISP we use, uses Linux. So we can’t say we don’t use it, and we better be glad that many places where transactions are processed uses Linux based servers to do the job, otherwise identity & financial theft would be rampant.

        Yes, I agree that the tablet market is great, but not expanding, it’s likely peaked, yet it’s a huge one. There will always be those like myself who’ll always use a notebook or desktop PC, and for those running any version of Windows, Emsisoft has one’s back covered with EIS or EAM.

        Yet, the way Windows 10 is setup, and the way most security corporations works, Windows files are generally protected, and can travel in/out as needed freely. Whether or not anyone believes it, there’s a lot more outbound traffic on Windows 10 computers than consumers knows. We can change some settings to a certain degree, but apps that makes claims to block all privacy leaks will place the OS at risk of breaking or not being usable. One can use System Explorer, often called a Task Manager on steroids, to view all incoming/outgoing processes, and if using Emsisoft Internet Security, some of these may be seen as well.

        Glad that I dumped Windows 10, anyone whom upgraded, I hope created a full drive image or created a recovery media set first. If not, the only way to get a OEM OS back is to pay the OEM for a recovery media set.

        I’d rather be running Windows Vista than 10 on any day.

        Cat

        • JonnyS

          I would just say that win8/10 can be restored very easily – I’m no windows person having used and worked on a gazillion flavours of unix over the last 25 years.

          If you need to restore win8/10 – and you don’t have the recovery partition preserved on your drive, you just need to create a recovery usb/dvd from any working windows computer (control panel->recovery) which then serves as boot and re-install media.
          If the machine arrived with win8/10 then the license will activate automatically.

          My 2 yr old notebook isn’t supported by Acer for win10 which is pretty disgraceful so I shrunk the main partition to create some space and did a win10 install onto that partition to see if it would run – am typing on it now. It’s actually very good, the interface is far better with the start button once again the goto place for all things rather than “swipe here for this and point over there for that fiasco” of win8, and a bit snappier in rendering too and additionally you get virtual desktops (only 25 years late). Not convinced java applets are running any faster than win8 though, possibly a bit slower, which is a shame.

          So it’s a dual boot laptop now (win8.1/win10) which is cleanly presented. MS has done the job getting vendor drivers (intel/synaptics etc) and all the others are microsoft drivers with a 2015 date which all work well.
          Realtek HD speaker driver with the bundled Dolby Home Theatre s/ware was missing, just had a MS HD audio driver and because the notebook isn’t supported by Acer for win10 there was no updated driver for it.

          So I downloaded a win10 realtek driver for a very similar model from the Acer website (single digit difference in model number) which did have the Dolby software bundled too. And it works just fine complete with the Dolby equalizer which makes a big difference to the sound quality!
          So the win10 upgrade is decent and worth doing so long as you’re not paying to upgrade all of your applications – which generally don’t come free, including the MS ones! It also means users will continue to get all the [security] updates for the life of the machine for the win10 environment as eventually win7 and win8 will stop getting these as they become unsupported.

          And this dual boot gives the means of testing it out before upgrading the main win7/8 os.

          Dual boot also allows you to install your preferred win7/8 on this newly created small partition as a fallback while you then upgrade the main installation to win10 to get the free win10 license activation (once it’s activated via an upgrade you can wipe it and re-install a clean, non-upgraded win10 and license activation is then automatic, but you have to do the upgrade from win7/8 first for the free MS activation). That may be useful for folks who have s/ware that they don’t want to pay to upgrade to win10 versions but need to keep running for the foreseeable future.

          SO, I digress !

          The enterprise tools I was referring to are the access and user control tools that Exchange provides. These will have to be developed for the linux / android world before corporations will move their applications. It will be interesting to see how that takes place.

        • jv

          So just solves all of that nonsense and just use Microsoft Windows and keep the newest version installed, use Surface 3 and the Windows phone, and it will make your life simpler

        • Lakawak

          YEah! 2016 is the year of Linux! Sorry, social outcast suicidal virgin…NOT everyone in business uses Linux. That statement alone is why there will never be a day in or life where ANYONE will care about your opinion on anything Why EVERY day you wake up MAD that you didn’t die during the night to end your loneliness.

      • Lakawak

        You realize that tablet sales are already falling fast, right? People who actually do work don’t want ot type in a touch screen.

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          ever heard of remote keyboards? Put them in the folio cases and you have both worlds.

          tablets will get more powerful too and the price point is so far below laptops that it will start to make little sense to buy a laptop short of wanting to run specific software.

          A nice ultra-laptop is over £1000, a nice tablet plus keyboard in a folio case is £250. Laptops will have to come down a lot in price to compete with that although I do accept that neither will disappear.

    • jv

      Microsoft was NEVER the first person to go with PRISM. I know exactly what PRISM is, and I can tell you Google and Apple are tied to that hands down. What you are talking about is the new world order. All companies will be pushed into a corner if the elites have their way. So really the companies are not even the real culprits. I downloaded and installed every new version of Windows that came out. On a Windows phone, and pretty much any cell phone, you need to have your location centered. That is how they work and keep the apps working. On a desktop you really can turn the location section off in your setup or settings. I never have a reason to go back to an older version. First of all EVERY version is MORE secure than the last. I also bought an actual DVD version of Windows 10 since I like to have an actual hardware copy. They only offered it free as an incentive to try the new version of Windows. I know many people that like it better than Apple and Linux and actually left those pointless operating systems to go to something better and more universal with Microsoft. I also think the Surface 3 is better than anything else out there. I would not ever buy another Apple or Google product again in my life. They are just too proprietary and pointless to use. End of story

      • DysonSphere

        You do have some good point in this blog, Although you can’t just use your personal opinion as fact. “First of all EVERY version is MORE secure than the last” this is false. The only reason this may have just a ounce of truth in it is because of the amount of people using it. There may be even major amount of security holes in the software and just not exploited yet. I am sure you will see massive security patches as the user base grows with 10.

        • jv

          Always use the newest version, PERIOD. All older versions are exploited before the next version comes out. But then, this is not the only way to keep a stronger computer from being hacked. Yo also must use excellent security software like from Emsisoft, and maybe another, plus use a good registry cleaner, file cleaner, keep all things up to date, and upgrade computer parts every one to 2 years. I have been doing this since I was 15 years old, and I am now 45. Not one time has my computer been compromised, or my identity, ever. There are always sick twisted ridiculous punk hackers and virus exploiters. That has been going on for MANY years. But I have never been a victim of it, mark my word. I am done on this article. Take it for what you want.

          • stevels_smith

            Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
            You can not be sure you have never been hacked, only that you have no knowledge of it.

          • DysonSphere

            jv, You have to take your “ego” out of the picture. You are just wrong on this. Btw, I bet if I look @ your computer i can find items you did not install. I am 51 and have been in computers way before dos even came out.

          • stevels_smith

            Wonder if he pulls stakes and ran or the mods booted JV?

            I’m with ya there. Started with a Commodore PET 2001 and certainly have been swindled and invaded by viruses as late as by Android Zeepad which now has a permanent advertising bar on the screen and resetting to factory restores the malware so the whole device is screwed.
            Time for anti-malware to be standard on any Android device I own.

    • Lakawak

      Actually, NO retailer accepts bitcoins. None. The ones that claim to do have never once received a single bitcoin in payment for anything. (Actually, maybe 1 or 2 do) They simply partner with a third party that converts your bitcoin to US Dollars and then pays the merchant. The merchants want nothing to do with bitcoin. They don’t even want to hold onto them for even 2 seconds. So they don’t.

  • TerryB

    Thank you for an informative report. Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times where there is no such thing as a free lunch. Only now is it generally emerging what the downsides are to accepting a free lunch of the W10 “free” upgrade. Advertising Rules, OK! Err, perhaps not.

    As regards the security of a Nation, we need to have a balance. I expect the Government of my country to do what is necessary to protect me and my fellow citizens from harm, and so my attitude to intelligence gathering (some would call it spying) makes me less concerned. For me, it really is a matter of “I’ve nothing to hide”, but certain others who have the potential and means to do harm to fellow law abiding citizens have.

    What I didn’t know about the personal info that MS is passing on to “trusted” third parties is that my email address is being linked to my pc’s ID and it is this that is being passed on.

    There are some good guys out there who ask if they can use anonymous usage stats to improve the software I’ve purchased from them, but who do not pass it on to other parties. But even here, they give the op-out choice.

    • Eagereagle

      No pun intended but if you really expect the Government of your country to do what is necessary etc… then please realize how important it is to VOTE and carefully consider the one who will be appointing the aging members of the Supreme Court next. Your security and the one of your children and theirs will depend a.o. on that choice. And all those believing that not voting is the same as voting will be in for a big surprise. Mobilize, be aware and responsible as you do by installing anti-viruses or anti-malware programs on you devices. John.

      • TerryB

        Agreed. Unfortunately, I also accept that not all Governments have the interests of its citizens at heart. This is the real world.

        “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it
        was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”

        Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

        • MentalAndBookmarked

          I love how the US govt loves the idea of protecting its citizens – oh except if it’s from guns, then 12,500 deaths a year is just fine and dandy.

          • cat1092

            Don’t want to distract from the Topic on hand, yet if that ‘12,500’ figure is accurate, that’s less than 1% of all guns owned in by US citizens. Meaning over 99% are not used to commit crimes.

          • MentalAndBookmarked

            what utter garbage. That’s the number of DEATHS through gun crime. Not the number of crimes involving guns, or the number of injuries or a host of other problems.

            Meanwhile, the US govt and the anglo-saxon banking world continues to defraud its citizens by inflating away the value of its currency.

            After the civil war the Govt simpy ripped off people who had lent them money with a promise of what they would receive back – they just didn’t give it to them. Now they, in conjunction with the finance industry use inflation to do it.

            Protection of its citizens is the last thing on the govt’s mind. Prevention of revolution yes, protection ? Don’t make me laugh.

  • jv

    Maybe so maybe not. But it removed all my adware and malware. And I used Emsisoft to scan my entire computer. Nothing is left that is bad. Any company can be labeled a scam. Anything that is free I would be very weary of. They also make Regmon and it cleaned my registry better than CCleaner. What you often are seeing is misinformation. Any fake anti virus program would also cause other issues. I have not seen any yet. There is no 3rd party software installed with either program. I also checked them out. They are legit. Maybe YOU are connected to a scam. And since you know nothing of it, you cannot be a judge of it. I know MANY people that use it. If it was hurting my computer, trust me I would know about it.

  • jv

    Mailing Address & Office Locations

    Enigma Software Group USA, LLC

    2803 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
    Suite #446
    Clearwater, FL 33759
    USA

    Why you don’t you go tell them that? Any so called FAKE anti virus company could not be verified or would ever leave verifiable place of business. And I know how fake anti viruses act and what they do. This does NONE of that. And fake anti viruses do not REMOVE ADWARE or MALWARS. This one did. And Emsisoft would also see the program as a virus and detect and quarantine it, so quit while you are behind.

    • stevels_smith

      Enigma Software Group USA, LLC has 92 complaints against them with the Florida BBB for mostly continuing to bill customers even after they request to stop an customers have had to have their banks stop payment for satisfaction.

      Clearwater FL is one of the hot spots for fraudulent activity in Florida which is the 2nd highest fraud per capita state.

      AV-Test has still never included Spy Hunter in the monthly competitions as it is still being pushed on the fake anti-malware websites as a legitimate product and people are still complaining about having trouble removing the installation and stopping the billing charges.

      av-comparatives doesn’t list Enigma Software as a vendor they include in their tests but they do list SpyHunter in their list of over 3300 Rogue anti-malware products which puts the nail in the coffin for me.

      People might take you serious once you stop pushing rogue anti-virus software.

      • jv

        Guess what? I was billed once per my request to buy the program. Second, it removed ALL adware that Emsisoft DID NOT remove. Third, Emsisoft costs money just like any paid commercial software. Spyhunter 4 updates and scans and removes adware and malware. The BBB is NOT an anti-virus or software company. Not all companies will pay money to submit to AV testing, which is NOT free, and NOT cheap by the way, or even necessary to prove anything. Fake antivirus programs do NOT, I repeat, do NOT remove malware/adware as their programs do. So if you want to continue to try and prove it, why don’t you go to their company, walk through the door and prove them wrong. Better yet, have the program up and running. I am not seeing anything rogue going on, or fake. I have seen fake anti virus/rogue programs. They hijack the browser, and/or freeze computer processes, etc etc. Just because something costs money, which is normal in this economy, does not mean it is bad.

      • jv

        It is not a fake anti virus or a rogue program, PERIOD. Those programs do NOT remove viruses, adware and malware. Spyhunter 4 does. They are a company just like Emsisoft and their product costs money just like Emsisoft. They charge a one time fee, which they did legally and at my request to purchase it. End of story

        • stevels_smith

          You are either lying (and your motives for this would be interesting to find out) or deluded but in any case, completely wrong.
          SpyHunter is a rogue and AV-Test and AV-comparatives come to the same conclusion as does the records of the Florida BBB.

          I’ll believe those reliable sources over you.

          • jv

            It often works better than Emsisoft, and maybe that is why people worry and/or are jealous. I am not lying nor am I delusional. I have been working with computers for many years. it has been tested and works excellent. it is NOT a rogue or fake anti virus program. They even like Emsisoft and their program works along side it. They are an anti-malware anti-adware program, They still recommend an anti-virus, and they recommend Emsisoft. it is a commercial program and it is more effective than just about anything I have used or seen. The BB is NOT proof of anything. They are legitimate. Many companies flat out refuse to be associated with the BBB. First of all, it costs more than it should, and second it does not mean your company is better or even legitimate either. Many companies associated with the BBB have been found to be doin g things they may not even be meaning to do or flat out fraud. Like Emsisoft and many other companies, Enigma Software has offices in other countries, totally normal. I have ran 6 other AV programs including Norton, AVG and Bitdefender, and NONE of them detect Spyhunter 4 as a rogue or fake anti-virus. So I am not the one wasting time. Please just leave it alone. You are wrong. I know what rogue programs and fake anti virus programs are and how they infect and hijack your computer, often freezing it up. Spyhunter 4 has NONE of those problems, and neither does any of their other programs either. I wish you the best, but you are way off track with the topic, and this is childish you keep going. I know what I am talking about. Take care. I am not coming back here.

  • John Jones

    Buy A new Blackberry 10 Phone your privacy is guaranteed.

  • Lakawak

    So, basically the same thing EVERY operating system in the mobile age has done already for the last 5 years?

  • Justin

    I’ll do you one better. I use Linux Slackware64 v 14.1. Never had any problems with it besides stupid Adobe Flash software no longer producing new updates for Firefox.

    • Cat Tilley

      There’s a way to have the latest Adobe Flash Player for Firefox for Linux. Just Google & you’ll see, I can’t post links because the moderators here will either remove it, or delete my post. At any rate, it involves adding a PPA so that Firefox is using the latest Pepper Flash plug in. That’s why my 64 bit Firefox on Linux is the current one & will remain so, as long as I perform updates. Here’s one way below, though you may have to alter ‘sudo’ for whatever alternative Slackware uses.

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8

      sudo apt-get update

      sudo apt-get install freshplayerplugin

      Whether or not it works on Slackware, I cannot say, but does work on most any Ubuntu based distro, may also work with some Debian releases. After all, if it weren’t for Debian, there would be no Ubuntu, and with no Ubuntu, a lot of popular distros wouldn’t exist.

      Good Luck!

      Cat

  • techienumber1

    if you remove theses all that will happen is in time youre system will crash and fail to respond as these updates are vital to the security of your system but also could make it easy for hacker to gain access

  • techienumber1

    here is some problems that us qualified IT people know about if there is a kb update on its own like KB 987564 with nothing before it it is usualy a problem update these can be removed as they are zero byte files and have no update properties

  • WhyMeLord

    Is there an app that will remove the W10 upgrade software and block the incessant W10 up grade nags?

  • Black Mesa

    Allow me to be ultra paranoid. How do we know that when you disable any settings in Windows 10 by using its settings or even the ShutUp10 program that they are actually disabled? Whatever the case, thank you Emsisoft for continuing to have your finger on the pulse of our privacy issues.

  • Glenn Dunbar

    YOU ARE SELLOUTS TO THE MICROSOFT EMPIRE!!! MONEY< POWER< AND CONTROL ARE WHAT YOU ARE ALL ABOUT. I NEVR THOUGHT I"D SEE THE DAY WHEN YOU GUYS WOULD TAKE THE POSITION OF MICROSOFT"S IDEA OF THE INTERNET. JUST BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.IN CUTTING OFF WINDOWS XP ,I WILL NEVER CONVERT TO WINDOWS 10, even if It could raise me from the dead!!! AND DO YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE YOUR TELLING ME WHAT YOU THINK IS BEST FOR ME!!! JUST LIKE THE GOVERNMENT IS BEGINNING TO DO!! I CAN TELL YOU WHAT WILL BE NEXT, A STORY OF WHY IT"S ETHICAL TO STOP SUPPORTING WINDOWS 7 THEN 8, AND 8.1. THE END GAME IS TO GET EVERYBODY ONTO WINDOWS 10 WEATHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT!! AND THERE IS THE REASON!!! BEING FORCED TO DO IT!! DON"T LECTURE ME ABOUT ETHICS!! WHAT A JOKE. YOUR WORRIED ABOUT ETHICS IN THIS MESSED UP CORRUPT WORLD? I DON"T THINK YOU CARE LESS. THIS IS ABOUT MONEY,POWER, AND CONTROL, OVER THE LAST VESTIGES OF Privacy, and the ability to have control over our PC"s!!!!! , By the way no matter how fast, it is, or all the new features, AND MICROSOFT HAS BEEN KICKING AROUND THE IDEA OF MAKING WINDOWS 10 MANDATORY. HAVE YOU JOINED THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST PARTY? IF SO , WE ALL BETTER GET USED TO THE SAYING-RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!!!! IN THAT DAY I"M DONE WITH PC"S I USED TO LIVE JUST FINE WITHOUT THEM. MOOGUSZ….

  • Glenn Dunbar

    I suppose the moderator might get mad at my outrage. I hope you guys give me the benefit of the doubt

    • Rottweiler

      nope im right there with you , “recommended” browser “selected advertising” all the other bs words they use to hide what they are up to. Not only do they want the money and power they now want to control what you see , how you see it , when you see it , and what you do with it. But most people are too stupid to realize what someone can do with that info. And they trust OUR government the same one proven to be funding isis and now backdoor selling oil in turkey , responsible for over 5 million deaths worldwide since 2001 ? because your special ? did your momma tell you that ? lmao.

      • Glenn Dunbar

        Exactly.

  • bulldurham

    unlimited access is not only about what can be seen. It’s about what they can put on your system and what they can stop you from putting on it. If I wanted to live in a glass bubble I would have bought a Mac or Chrome Book. If they want to ad these features for stupid people then by all means do it but don’t remove my ability to turn them off. Google is who they all want to be but Googles features can all be turned off in the settings and updates are not automatic unless you set it to be. The machines are getting smarter and the people are getting stupid.

  • koconor100

    I have no intention of waiting to see what a “free” Win10 will cost. I’ve been burned before, we all have, with this “free” nonsense and hidden charges.

    I’ve got Win 8 / updates turned off , I will run it until it dies, and switch to Linux if I have to , if no other contender arises. But spy on everything you do Win10 is just not an option.

    • cat1092

      There’s no such thing as a truly ‘free’ Windows 10, the amount of your personal data they collect, a price tag can’t be placed on. And on the Bleeping Computer site, a member showed the GPU uploading data. So Microsoft is using every available component on your computer to spy on it’s users who are on W10, and to some degree, 8.1 & 7 also.

      It’s called the Windows ‘Customer Experience Improvement Program’. Fortunately, the downloading of one .bat file deletes all of these updates, plus some tasks needs to be deleted in the Task Scheduler. Just Google this key search term, it’ll be on top of the list, the article will be named the same, ‘Stop Windows Telemetry/Tracking/Upgrading to Win10’. If you copy/paste that in your browser, the article & instructions will be right there. Valid for Windows 7 & 8.1 users, may help Vista users to some degree.

      Just remember, you’ll be offered some of the updates again, hide them & don’t accept and non-security updates. There’s a place to the right to click & learn what the update is for. Also, be sure to set updates to notify only.

      Good Luck!

      Cat

  • Minerverse

    Time for me to dual boot Linux/Windows. Windows for gaming, Linux for every thing else. A pain to be sure, but I’m not feeding my data to advertisers so they can better target me.

    • Cat Tilley

      Been doing it for 7 straight years, all of my transactions, plus reading of emails, are performed on my Linux Mint install. And as long as you can run Firefox (default browser) or add Google Chrome, the rest will come in time.

      The important thing you need to know, for partitioning, it’s OK to use Logical ones for Linux, so shrink about 50GB for Linux Mint, make sure to download the MATE version for easy experience & 64 bit if your computer supports it.

      Regarding partitions, about 12GB for root or ‘/’, 1GB for Linux Swap, and the rest for /home. All choices will be from the drop down list, so it’s easy to do, once you’ve created enough free space from the ‘C’ partition. And unlike Windows, which may take up to 4 weeks to fix a vulnerability, the open source community pulls together & fix any within 48-72 hours, including time to push updates through hundreds of distros (the term for OS’s).

      Good Luck. there is light on the horizon!

      Cat

      • koconor100

        I put linux on my old clunker and don’t bother with dual booting nonsense.
        And microsoft tried a while back to block dual booting for “security reasons” , I’m sure you remember the outcry on that.

        Make your old computer Linux, that’s all I’m saying. And consider everything on your windows one “public” because in the end it is anyways.

  • Lakawak

    You rally live in your own little world, don’t you? I guess that is understandable. When you are suicidally lonely in the real world, why not create an alternate reality to stave off suicide for one more day?

    • cat1092

      Lawawak, you evidently see suicide as a joking matter, while your post doesn’t intimidate me, those who posts like you has caused others (especially youngsters) to do exactly what you imply. How would you like it if a loved one of yours chose this option out due to being bullied? This is not a game, it’s reality, happens well too often, if you bother to read the news to see first hand.

      You posting style is among that of the worst trollers, and doesn’t in the least address this discussion.

      I happen to enjoy life too good to consider your ‘recommendation’. Among other hobbies, assisting others with security choices, and the Emsisoft brand is as good as it gets, the first brand I recommend to everyone. 30 day no-cost Trial, what’s there to lose? End up with a clean OS, it becomes worth the price to keep things that way.

      Unfortunately, because Windows system files are protected ones, there would have to be a severe threat for any security choice to tamper with these, so must tread lightly, not being too aggressive. On the other hand, we know that’s where Malware also lurks, along with the Registry, so these files must also be scanned for infection.

      What Emsisoft doesn’t do, is intercept legit Windows processes, even if they’re uploading unwanted/undesired data about us. In the fine print, we can see where we ‘opted into’ these services, by running Windows itself.

      Thankfully, there’s other options to control this behavior, as others has posted, or if like myself, run Windows 7 & 8.1 for tasks that can be performed only on Windows, and the rest (including transactions) on Linux Mint 17.3. Sometimes will use a bootable DVD that’s finalized, unlike a USB stick or RW type of DVD, Malware cannot write to the media, and even if running in the session within RAM only (highly unlikely), a reboot of the computer flushes all away, nothing left on the HDD/SSD whatsoever, and there’s no records of transactions made on the computer left behind.

      The US Government even has a downloadable ISO that fits onto a CD, created by the US Air Force, that’s updated quarterly, and the public has access. It’s called ‘Lightweight Portable Security’, Google that & in the US, the link will show. The ISO contains a small, yet powerful Linux OS, if good enough for the US Air Force to communicate with, that’s good enough for me.

      Being that I teach others how to stay secure, I lay all options on the table. If insistent of running Windows, then a 30 day free Trial of EAM/EIS will do (in some cases the Emsisoft Emergency Kit (EEK) needs to be ran). If they’re willing to learn more, then I’ll present Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

      Though if that’s what’s wanted, I insist on a disk image, Recovery Disk Set created, or other reinstall media be present before I lay hands on the computer. Then shrink the Windows ‘C’ partition about 60GB and will setup a dual boot of LM 17.3/Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and the user will have a choice as to which OS to boot from. Most gets to the point of booting into Windows less & less & Linux Mint/Ubuntu more & more. No, Linux isn’t bulletproof, yet compared to Windows, is much more secure. And that’s my goal, setting up as secure of an OS as possible. Some wants no part of Linux, and that’s their choice, in which case, will always recommend Emsisoft.

      Cat

  • Nazo

    One thing of note: while Google does do a lot of the same stuff, they also make it a heck of a lot easier to bypass all of this stuff. For example, don’t want Google Now collecting your data? Just disable it. Cortana on the other hand is a royal pain to 100% disable. Even if you turn it off it stays in the background collecting and sending data anyway (I’m not sure about the legality of this, but it seems questionable.) You have to actually trick the OS by killing it and very very quickly deleting or renaming the actual files before it can automatically restart. Apple is probably at least better about it on their PCs, though with iOS devices you probably have to jailbreak and take a lot of steps to completely clean house there.

    BTW, there are also options like AOSP and AOSP-based distros for many Android devices. The only reason it’s not “all” devices is because Google doesn’t make the hardware and OEMs insist on keeping things proprietary and locked down. (Just ask SONY about their cameras. Sheesh.)

  • koconor100

    We live in the age where the USA Homeland security can require american agencies to cooperate , or they get sent to jail for 10 years. And 10 more years if they tell you why they got the first ten years.

    Reading the privacy agreements and terms and conditions is a waste of time. Using USA software is a waste of time.
    Get a cheap lap top for your online games, and a Linux machine for everything else.
    That is the corner we have been pushed into.

  • John B Morris

    Lol.. I wonder if Windows XP and Vista spy on you. Doesn’t look like they do… that means that your data is already kind of safe in Windows XP, and not sniffed on by Microsoft… Well at least.

    • koconor100

      Spying is recent, and gradual.
      I’m sure it all started with just a little telemetry to improve the product , and then a little more, and alittle more, and man we could make money off this selling it for adverstising , and then the intelligence agencies started laying down some cash and buying up all that “advertising data”….
      It didn’t happen over night. It never does.

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  • Alia Butt

    I upgraded early from my Win 7 Professional operating system to Windows 10 home OS being bought MS legal license from ODosta Store, Which takes 5 hours due to the internet slow speed, But faced many technical issues.
    Beside of, I got everyday new updates from Microsoft server, That’s why I disappointed with performance of new OS, That’s why I format it and again install windows 7.
    Last week, I read at your blog as Microsoft has stopped continually updates and now we may use constant windows 10, So I purchased its license and upgraded my OS.
    Now its working well. Thanks for providing us great information and support.

  • GreatIndian

    Is there any reason for these os to compromise on users privacy to find their likes for advertising. No a simple selection would have served the purpose. It is just that laws are insufficient to deal with legal theives.

  • Code9n

    Great article, thanks.
    I’m using spybot anti-beacon from Safer Networking . org. I can’t get all the settings to stay set but apart from that it seems ok and seems to be one of the few that don’t include malware or PUPs along with it.
    What do you think of it? Better, worse, use as well as, O&O ShutUp10?
    I’d appreciate any feedback from anyone knowledgeable…
    Thanks.

    • DaFKa

      Yes O&O is still valid with Creator Update !

    • Hi Code9n. The article was first written when Win10 was released, but we do regularly revise our posts to ensure they are still relevant. And yes, O&O can still be used with the latest Creators Update.