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Windows 10 is quickly turning out to not be all its cracked up to be. As the recent Lenovo debacle demonstrated, a feature from Windows 8, which remains a part Windows 10, can be exploited by hardware manufacturers for nefarious purposes. Now, concerns are being raised about Windows 10’s privacy settings.

Many of Microsoft’s services, like OneDrive, Cortana and Bing, collect enormous amounts of personally identifiable data and send it to Microsoft servers. It is possible to dig into to the privacy settings to disable these features, however it seems that the privacy settings may not mean much when it comes to Microsoft collecting personal information. According to investigation by Peter Bright of Ars Technica, some of these Windows services will continue to make contact with Microsoft servers, even if they are disabled in the settings. For some of these services its not entirely clear what data is being transmitted, but a unique machine ID is being sent by some of them.

When questioned by Ars Technica, Microsoft Stated, “As part of delivering Windows 10 as a service, updates may be delivered to provide ongoing new features to Bing search, such as new visual layouts, styles and search code. No query or search usage data is sent to Microsoft, in accordance with the customer’s chosen privacy settings. This also applies to searching offline for items such as apps, files and settings on the device.” Concerning the contact between those services and Microsoft servers, Bright concludes, “The traffic could be innocuous, but the inclusion of a machine ID gives it a suspicious appearance.” Suspicious indeed, and given Microsoft’s track record, there’s no reason to give them any benefit of the doubt regarding privacy. It should be possible to disable these services entirely if the user wishes.

Do you think Microsoft is intruding on users’ privacy with these services? Leave your comments below.


Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.



  • Hyrules

    Generally speaking when someone is going to get this familiar with me I’d prefer a few dates. Maybe some time to get to know them at least. I mean… If we’re going to be clinical about this I usually prefer that said person uses a glove and applies a little lube before they jam their hand elbow deep.

    Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand that no means no, so I’ll happily stay on 7. Disable any kind of automatic updates. Just to guard against the possibility of microsoft going “Oops” with people being forced to update.

  • Typical

    Yeeeaaaaah, the only problem with that is windows 7 does very much the same thing, sending information to MS despite your setting.

  • SLAMNDAN

    I’m currently using this tool: https://github.com/10se1ucgo/DisableWinTracking/releases/
    I’m not sure how effective it is, but it’s better than letting Microsoft run rampant through my private data.

  • Nope Naw

    I’m waiting for Windows “10.1” instead. Screw this.

  • HisShadowX

    I like Windows 10 I feel like many people are trying to write a good story and point out issues under the hood that we should know about but keep asking these questions and keep MS on point.

  • ParasiteX

    M$ has been doing this for years. Except it only became headline news now because of the amount of shit being gathered. Although, i’m willing to bet that if you turn off all the privacy crap in Win10 options. The amount of stuff still being gathered is roughly the same as what was gathered during Win7.

    Besides, there are ways to block the shit being sent to M$, if one is really paranoid.

    By editing the hosts file, and blocking the sites M$ sends data to. As well as stopping their telemetry gathering service.

    Plenty of guides around that show how one does this if you google. And also some tools that’s supposed to do all that. But i generally do not trust a 3rd party app to do this, without adding some of it’s own crapware. And prefer to manually block it.

    Here’s a few things one can do
    https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/3fhy27/how_do_disable_all_privacy_leaks_in_windows_10/

  • Shane Phillips

    Firstly, the extent of the data collection is not made abundantly clear when you first set the computer up, and it’s buried down in the fine print which most people don’t actually read. It’s pretty unfortunate that Microsoft chose to be this sneaky about the way they collect people’s data.