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News :: Media
Windows 10: Microsoft is recording EVERYTHING you type, but here's how to stop it
08 Sep 2015
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Microsoft can track every word you type, or say out loud, while using its latest operating system, Windows 10.

Windows 10, which unites the Microsoft ecosystem across a host of devices including smartphones, tablet and desktops PC, first rolled out back in July.

The Microsoft OS saw huge adoption within the first few hours of its release – but the free upgrade process has not been without issues.

Users have reported agonisingly slow boot-up speeds, wifi issues and problems with child safety features following the jump to Windows 10.

The news comes days after it was revealed Microsoft was working on a major update for its latest operating system, which featured a visual refresh.

Now a keylogger has reportedly been discovered within the latest Microsoft operating system.

The Redmond firm included the software, which tracks every keystroke made on the Windows 10 device, to try and improve its products and services.

Voice data is also collected and analysed every time virtual assistant Cortana is used on the desktop operating system.

It was thought that Microsoft would only include the key logger within the Technical Preview versions of the operating system, so that it could use the vast data supplied by beta testers to tweak the final release.

However the slightly creepy software has now been included in the commercial version of Windows 10, PC World has confirmed.

Explaining the role of the spyware in its FAQ, Microsoft writes: "When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)…”

Fortunately, Windows 10 users can switch off the key logging.

Simply navigate to the Start Menu, then tap Settings.

Privacy is in the third row of the Settings window.

Once you are in the Privacy menu, tap on General, then under Send Microsoft info about how I write to help use improve typing and writing in the future – toggle the setting to Off.

Then, under the Speech, Inking and Typing menu, which is located four rows beneath General – click Stop getting to know me.

This will turn off the speech tracking through dictation and Cortana.

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Re: Windows 10:
10 Sep 2015
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computer guy.jpg
MICROSOFT HAS CONFIRMED that Windows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in.

An INQUIRER reader pointed out to us that, despite not having 'reserved' a copy of Windows 10, he had found that the ~BT folder, which has been the home of images of the new operating system since before rollout began, had appeared on his system. He had no plans to upgrade and had not put in a reservation request.

He told us: "The symptoms are repeated failed 'Upgrade to Windows 10' in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled '$Windows.~BT'. 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?

"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."

We asked Microsoft to comment on whether it was downloading Windows 10 anyway as the company rushes to build on the 75 million machines with the new OS installed in its first month, putting it in fourth place behind Window 7, 8.1 and the erstwhile XP.

Microsoft told us: "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.”

In other words, if you are patching via Patch Tuesday, as you should of course be, then you are going to get a big hefty folder on your hard drive ready so you can update to Windows 10 on demand.

Now, far be it from The INQUIRER to point fingers, but isn't this a bit presumptuous on Microsoft's part? We know it's keen to get everyone on Windows 10 as quickly as possible but this is not a small background patch - it's a whopping huge operating system image.

For someone using a 2-in-1 with 32GB of flash memory, that's a hefty chunk of their storage being clogged up with an OS that they might not want yet, if at all.

Whether you believe it's to avoid fragmentation or to spy on you depends on how much pot you smoked in college, but it now appears to have gone from 'over keen' to 'needy' and you have to wonder why and whether it's going to blow up in the company's face.

It should be enough of a clue that over 10 percent of Windows machines are still on XP and Vista, while there's over 40 percent more of the market on 7 than on 8, to be able to tell that people don't like to assume.

It's like the U2 iTunes debacle again. After that, Bono said: "Oops … I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea … might have got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that thing.

"A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn't be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it."

Satya Nadella take note: you may have to answer to similar complaints. If any other readers have found that this has happened to them, please get in touch via Disqus or the email link. µ