Note about this article
This topic is addressed to people familiar and concerned about modern privacy and security trends, with a general inclination or full determination to using free and open source software. If you are unfamiliar with the topics listed above, I suggest you take a look at this dedicated page and read though it's brief summary.
Well actually there is... but more on that later.
With the arrival of Windows 10 and it's ecosystem of products, Microsoft have solidified their position on privacy, and in doing so has signaled a new and developing business model: One that has shifted from a product oriented company, to a service oriented one. One that has embraced big data as constant revenue, ever expansive in it's ability to be exploited. They have also proven their complete and utter incompetence, cutting corners, while new leadership tries desperately to please shareholders. This is the ride that is Windows 10.
Windows Telemetry is a service that, by traditional definition, exists to allow Microsoft to both gather statistical data on certain usage cases of their operating system and other software, as well as fix bugs that would be reported through this service.
In reality Telemetry represents a complex data collection suite of services part of Windows 10, and, since recent updates, also Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, which actively spies on and uploads data on virtually any metric possible to obtain, often at the expense of the user's internet bandwidth and processing power, severely affecting the experience. Since Microsoft has publicly announced their collaboration with the NSA on it's PRISM data collection program, data collection has been raised to another level..
Remember the free upgrade program for Windows 10? Well nothing is free, and in this case users simply pay for it with their data.
The ride doesn't end there. Even if you ignore all that, and proceed to use Windows 10 normally, as intended, without tempering with it, you are in for a surprise: It sucks.
Microsoft has traditionally maintained a beta testing program for all of it's complex updating programs for all it's different Windows editions. In this model, updates would initially have to be sent to testers first, who would review them, allowing Microsoft to iron out any bugs before their final release, creating a stable and reliable product-cycle (to some degree).
Well beginning with Windows 10, in an act that can only be interpreted as an attempt to please shareholders in some way, Microsoft decided to fire all of their testers and virtually end it's beta program for updates. This causes updated to be extremely unstable and break Windows features and security on a monthly basis. It's userbase has essentially become it's testing ground.
It gets even better. If you where just thinking to yourself I will just disable automatic updates like in Windows 7 then you are in for a surprise: Automatic updates cannot be disabled.
While extremely condensed and short cut, I hope the above gives you a somewhat frightening picture of Windows 10 and Microsoft.
Windows 10 is an instrument of unjust power, allowing Microsoft to forcibly change anything on this system virtually at will.
Disabling data collection and improving stability.
I have made it a priority task to remove as much non-free software from my life as possible. On the rare occasion, that I have to set-up Windows, it is important to do so properly, considering the well known data collection activities Microsoft is undertaking, and publicly supporting.
I have gathered a simple collection of tools, all executed from a single script, in order to properly setup a Windows 10 installation, and protect your privacy and freedoms. The script will guide you through: