When it became clear that Microsoft intended Windows 10 to be an advertising platform, I wondered how they would sell it to business and education customers (see my Windows 10 review). I doubted that anyone would allow Windows 10 into the workplace unless the advertising and related privacy-compromising instrumentation could be disabled.
It wasn’t long before we started seeing tools and techniques for turning off these undesirable features, and Microsoft even provided some of their own, in the form of Group Policy settings.
The Group Policy editor is included with all versions of Windows 10 except Home. It makes the job of managing Windows settings easier for system administrators, since the alternative is editing the Windows registry.
So the answer to my question about disabling unwanted Windows 10 features for business customers would be Group Policy. Which is okay, but doesn’t help anyone using the Home version. Which is one reason why I tell people to avoid Windows 10 Home. Unless you’re on a tight budget, and don’t mind seeing advertising in your O/S, Windows 10 Professional is highly recommended for personal use.
So: get Windows 10 Pro, disable all the unwanted advertising and privacy-related settings, and you’re good to go, right? Not so fast.
The folks over at GHacks recently confirmed that Microsoft will lock down Group Policy in the Pro version of Windows 10 with the upcoming anniversary update. Many of the more annoying features will still have visible settings in the Group Policy editor, but changing them will have no effect. Even changing the corresponding settings in the registry apparently won’t work.
Microsoft’s message to the world seems to be “Okay, you don’t want us to advertise and track your users in Windows 10 in the workplace, so we’ll give you some tools to turn those features off. But we’ll be damned if we’ll let anyone else (i.e. Home and Pro users) turn that stuff off.”
To which my response is: “Dear Microsoft: Screw you. I won’t buy Windows 10. I won’t use Windows 10. I will tell anyone who cares to listen that they should avoid Windows 10 like they would Ebola. I will use Windows 7 and 8.1 until you abandon them, and then switch to Linux.”
There’s more over at BetaNews.