Saturday, August 8, 2015

Windows 10 Settings - What I Recommend

Please click this link if you are looking for general information on Windows 10.

If you absolutely do not mind to be followed by "Big Brother" then please do not read the remainder of this article, you are excused and may leave.

By now I have decided to recommend to my customers NOT to upgrade to Windows 10. There are way too many IMHO serious privacy issues that go along with a so called Microsoft account.

In the following I will give some tips on how to remedy at least some or much of that messy situation. For every instance of something I deem in need of correcting or changing I will preface the paragraph with "Gripe:".

Because virtually all of my customers work on the desktop and use a mouse and a keyboard all the following step by step instructions are for desktop mode only.

Immediately after upgrading to Windows 10 your computer will work quite differently than it did before the upgrade.

If you gave the system on first start your email address Microsoft has created on their servers the storage for an immense wealth of information about you that Win10 and it's programs will collect from and about you; and that besides the fact that every email address will have it's unique "advertisement ID" assigned. Guess what that will be used for!

If you want to change your inadvertently created Microsoft Account back into a normal, local account then:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click  ====================to be finished 

Synchronizing personal settings between various computers could under certain circumstances be a convenience. But some of us don’t want the same settings on all of our various Win10 computers. Just imagine using Win10 on your “old” keyboard/mouse computer and on a tablet; ARGGHH!

Plus: My settings are my personal preference and are none of Microsoft's business! Obviously I am way too old for that brave new world where everything is made public! If you are like me here is how to turn synching off:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click Accounts
  5. Click Sync your settings 
  6. Turn OFF Sync settings to disable synchronizing
Microsoft Edge, the new web browser, will be the default for all things Internet. You should set that back to Firefox following these steps:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click Default Programs
  4. Click on "Set your default programs"
  5. You should see a list of installed programs
  6. Find and highlight the entry for Firefox
  7. Click on  "Set this program as default" (my cursor points to it)
  8. Click OK to close the window

System Protection is the Win10 name for the feature that creates Restore Points. This is turned off after the upgrade on many systems! It is by no means a good backup system but still better than nothing. Here is how to turn it on again:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click System
  4. In the left sidebar click System protection
  5. Highlight your system disk C:
  6. Click Configure (see screen shot)
     7. Click on "Turn on system protection" (see screen shot below)
     8. Click OK and OK to close all windows

 Especially important to users of laptops computers are Wi-Fi-credentials

A new Win10 feature — WiFi Sense (online FAQ) — has generated more than its share of controversy. Just read what well renowned security researcher Brian Krebs has has to say about it in a recent column.

Simply said WiFi Sense allows all your Facebook friends, Outlook and Skype contacts to automatically sign in to your WiFi router when they are in range; likewise you can use their WiFi network as soon as you are in range of their router. In short, it “blabs” access to your WiFi network to numbers of people who you might not know well enough. And that feature is turned ON by default! Here is how to turn it off:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click Network & Internet
  5. Click Wi-Fi.
  6. Scroll past your wireless networks and click Manage Wi-Fi settings. 
  7. Turn off  Connect to suggested open hotspots and
  8. Turn off Connect to networks shared by my contacts.

Simply said, I hate Cortana, the so-called “digital assistant” in Win10.
My wife and my best friend may know a lot about me that you don't know and likely even don't want to know. The NSA, Apple and now Microsoft want to know more about every Apple or Win10 user then we want to know about ourselves.

The End User License Agreement (EULA) for Win10 clearly states that Cortana has the ability to collect and use various types of personal information, including your location, calendar data, and programs (called "apps") you use. Cortana collects information about your choice of music, alarm settings, what you view and purchase online, your Bing search history, your use of other Microsoft services, and can even use the camera and microphone of the computer. In short, it is ALWAYS listens when the computer is on. Remember, practically all laptop computers have a microphone and a camera.

This sort of always on data collection worries me deeply; 1984 anyone?

Here is a decent PC World article explaining how to disable Cortana. And don't forget additionally and separately to disable Cortana in the new Edge browser, even if you don't use it!

Remember, Big Brother is always listening, always watching.

Since Microsoft announced that the upgrade to Windows 10 will be free, I have been waiting for the catch. And, surprise, it's very first installment comes with the ubiquitous game of Solitaire.This popular app is included with the new OS, but it includes advertising. To remove the ads, you have to pay a monthly subscription, as reported in a Business Insider story.

Currently I do not know of a hack to get around this.

Just do not go into the trap of recurring payments. There are many free alternatives on the internet. 

Along with forced updates, Win10 also includes — again, on by default — the option to share patches with other computers on your local network or the Internet; this is called peer-to-peer updating. You might want to disable update sharing.

There are serious concerns that attackers might find a way to inject malicious code into the process; many internet connections are metered and with the almost 3GB download size of Win10 you can easily run over your limit and that costs dearly.
 You want to disable peer-to-peer updating obtain patches only directly from Microsoft? Here is how:
  1. Right click on the Start button
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click Update & Security
  5. Click windows Update (it is no longer in the Control Panel!)
  6. Select Advanced Options
  7. Click Choose how updates are delivered
  8.  Turn Update Sharing OFF

So much for today. This article is meant to be continued as more details become available.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.


Unknown said...

Nice post. I have bookmarked you to check your new stuff. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

server support bristol
home computer support bristol
IT support bristol
Data retrieval Bristol

Anonymous said...

Hey you kids, get off my damn lawn!!!

Seriously, you really think WiFiSense is a security risk? Your users do not KNOW (nor can they learn) your router's wifi password. They can't pass along your credentials to anyone else. Your friends merely are able to access your INTERNET only connection (and not your local LAN shares). Really, it's not a security risk (unless you already think the NSA doesn't know your router's password anyway or that it couldn't be broken in about 24 hours with a good brute force tool, in which case, you are unbelievably naïve).

I'd much rather my friends be able to use my wifi for internet access automatically, because I do NOT want to tell them my router's password (because then they would have access to network shares). Nothing to worry about, nothing to see here. Moving on.

Eike Heinze said...

Your blind trust will work until the FBI knocks on your door because one of your "fiends" used your automatically shared internet connection to upload child porn.

@all other readers:
Oh how I love anonymous comments. These people just have no concept of the fact hat just the fact of remaining anonymous deflates all potential value from their comments? And if they would use a fake name they would be nothing better than any average crook or street thug.