Home > Links, Reason, Skepticism, Technology > Interesting Links: Sep 10, 2015

Interesting Links: Sep 10, 2015

Here are links to a few interesting news articles I came across recently. They are about attempts by Microsoft to download (and potentially install) Windows 10 on people’s computers without their informed consent. I cannot escape the feeling that this whole Windows 10 business is deeply connected to some three-letter agency and subsequent exposure of this linkage will permanently damage the business prospects of Microsoft and likely other USA-based software (and potentially hardware) corporations.

Link 1: Microsoft Is Downloading Windows 10 Without Asking

Microsoft, having learned nothing from Apple and the U2 album, have started downloading Windows 10 as part of Patch Tuesday for Windows 7 and 8 users. For people on a 32GB flash drive tablet, that’s a big chunk of space taken up with something that they didn’t ask for. Microsoft admits to doing this, but users are not happy.

Related Link: Windows 10 Worst Feature Now Installing On Windows 7 And Windows 8

The three updates in question – KB3075249, KB3080149 and KB3068708 (which replaces KB3022345) – all add “customer experience and diagnostic telemetry” to Windows 7 and Windows 8. This is shorthand for monitoring how you use Windows and sending that data back to Microsoft HQ for evaluation. Worse still software specialist site gHacks, which first discovered the tracking, notes these updates will ignore any previous user preferences: “These four updates ignore existing user preferences stored in Windows 7 and Windows 8 (including any edits made to the Hosts file) and immediately starts exchanging user data with vortex-win.data.microsoft.com and settings-win.data.microsoft.com.”

Link 2: Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to PCs, even if you don’t “reserve” a copy

You might be in the process of acquiring Windows 10—whether you want the free upgrade or not. Microsoft has confirmed that it is “helping upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they need” in the event that owners decide to migrate to the new OS, even if they have heretofore passed up on “reserving” their free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8. The issue seems to revolve around the Microsoft update KB3035583, and as such it appears to only afflict individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates. As far as we can tell, if you have automatic updates turned off, Windows 10 won’t be pre-loaded onto your PC.

According to The Inquirer, the situation was first reported by an anonymous reader who claimed to have discovered a hidden directory called $Windows.~BT on his computer, despite not opting in for a free upgrade to Windows 10. The directory weighed in at “3.5GB to 6GB,” according to the reader. “I thought Microsoft [said] this ‘upgrade’ was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn’t reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?” he told the outlet.

Link 3: Microsoft thinks you’ll love Windows 10 so much, it downloads it for you — without asking

According to the Inquirer, a user who had never “reserved” a copy of Windows 10 in the first place found a large 6GB download sitting in the $Windows.~BT hidden directory, and a series of failed “Upgrade to Windows 10″ tasks in Windows Update’s history. In several cases, the new OS has been downloaded over metered connections, forcing people over their bandwidth caps in the process. When the Inquirer reached out to Microsoft, the company said the following: “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. “When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

Link 4: Microsoft Secretly Downloading Windows 10 on All PCs?

Have you updated to Windows 10, or are you still rocking Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1? If you’re in the latter group, chances are that you already have Windows 10 stashed away on your hard drive whether you want to upgrade or not. Why? Because Microsoft wants to make the upgrade process quick and easy… if you want to upgrade, that is. “I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that’s what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted,” states an unnamed reader of The Inquirer.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    September 10, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Have plenty of ability to go back and forth between all versions of windows, and lots of spare space through external drives to save any data if Microsoft tries to give me the shaft.
    I guess the dire warnings only apply to the people who think “technology is only for the geeks, not us civilised and cultured people”, lol.

  2. Yusef
    September 11, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Left to myself, I choose to use primitive versions of software which provide me all the functionality I require with the additional benefit I have fully mastered most of it. For example, with Microsoft Word. My intent in using Word is to write stuff, not constantly learn new and different and unnecessarily intricate software commands. If that means I think technology is for geeks, so be it. But what I really think is the value of computers as fancy typewriters has already hit its point of diminishing returns for the user. That happens to conflict with the business of creating writing software to turn a profit. It thus comes about businesses such as Microsoft have to start bullying the buyer of their product to continue buying. In the case of writing software, a bullying tactic for people like me would be to prevent older versions of Word from printing out on newer printers or being compatible with other functionalities. That would be a snap to iron out technologically, but not in the interests of software behemoths.

    • P Ray
      September 12, 2015 at 5:36 am

      The thing about that (using the old software) is that you also must have … the hardware that supports that software _properly_.
      For example, most people can’t put together a MODERN computer in 2015 … that allows you to NATIVELY run Windows ’98 (I can – I have all the parts, am considering getting a skylake setup.).
      So … remember that just because you can run it now, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to run it tomorrow.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: