Microsoft is about to release the much awaited Creators Update for Windows 10 to the general public. The free for all update will be sent out to Windows 10 users in stages, but those who wish to grab the latest update that is said to bring several new creative features, can do so. Security experts, however, are cautioning that the Win10 Creators Update could mess with your carefully set up privacy settings.
The highly awaited Windows 10 Creators Update is set to reach its 400+ million users starting tomorrow. Given the fact that Microsoft has been stringently testing the update for the past several months, Windows 10 users who wish to grab the Creators Update a little early can head to Microsoft’s Update Center and download the update tool. However, despite the update being absolutely safe, experts are cautioning users to wait for the notification and then apply the update through the internal Windows Update tool.
According to feedback from users who downloaded and applied the Creators Update, it appears it causes problems in the privacy settings. It seems manually downloading and applying Windows 10 Creators Update using Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update Assistant is known to cause privacy settings to revert to their default values. While the change in the settings doesn’t adversely affect the security of a Windows 10 user, the reversal isn’t something that people who are paranoid about the information Microsoft collects.
— The Verge (@verge) April 9, 2017
Over the last several months, Microsoft has been making several changes to the Windows 10 Creators Update. During the development and testing phase, the User Interface (UI) of the update has come under intense scrutiny about the level of impact it had on the privacy and security of a Windows 10 user.
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Fortunately, the company appears to have listened to concerns and significantly tweaked the UI of the Windows 10 Creators Update to offer a lot more transparency about multiple aspects. In essence, it seems Microsoft is now much open in revealing exactly what type of data it collects. Moreover, when applying the Creators Update, the privacy options offer up clearer descriptions of what they do. However, as expected, if a user does decide to deselect the options, the update does subtly caution the user about the implications if the options are disabled.
— The Hacker News (@TheHackersNews) April 8, 2017
For quite some time, the privacy controls have always encouraged users to share their location. Fortunately, users could easily switch off geo-location data gathering and prevent Windows from knowing the current location of the device. However, people have always been wary about providing full diagnostic data to Microsoft. The company has always maintained that the diagnostics data is solely used to fix issues and improve further iterations of Windows 10. Incidentally, keeping the default options unchanged would essentially enable Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual digital assistant, and leave the user open to receiving targeted ads. Interestingly, even deselecting the options won’t shield the user from ads. Microsoft has previously clarified that without collection of data, the ads served would be random or generic ones.
It appears this will be the case if a Windows 10 user decides to download and apply the Creators Update through the Windows 10 Update Assistant. Moreover, it won’t matter if the user chooses to upgrade or do a clean install.
— VR AR Consulting (@VRARConsulting) April 10, 2017
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to avoid the resetting of privacy settings. Windows 10 users will only have to wait a day for the Creators Update to arrive by itself. Those who wait patiently for the internal Windows Update to download the Creators Update will be rewarded. In other words, Microsoft will respect the current and personalized privacy settings, and leave them alone while applying the Creators Update.
It is amply clear that Microsoft is gradually monetizing Windows 10 through targeted or generic advertisements. While initially these ads have been appearing in the form of tips and suggestions, which are predominantly targeted towards new Windows 10 users to help them learn more about the capabilities of the OS, it is only a matter of time that those slots would serve as digital banners.
[Featured Image by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images]