Tag Archives: Privacy & Security

Windows 10 Privacy Issues – Fact or Fiction?

This guest post is contributed by my Aussie mate, Jim Hillier. Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at Dave’s Computer Tips. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele… as well as writing for DCT, of course.


The release of Windows 10 together with news of its heightened telemetry certainly brought out the conspiracy theorists and paranoid. Publish an article about Windows 10 and, regardless of the actual subject matter, you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive a slew of comments slamming Microsoft and its new operating system for introducing these so-called privacy issues, so much so that it has gotten to the point of becoming tiresome.

The data collection in Windows 10 may be at a new level for a desktop operating system but it is pretty standard fare for mobile devices. Both Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) have been collecting this type of data for years with nary a whimper from the using public.

One has to bear in mind that Windows 10 is, after all, a hybrid operating system, designed to cater for both desktop and mobile users. Mobile by its very nature requires a lot more information than a stationary desktop in order to deliver full functionality. If you ask Cortana to find the nearest pizza shop, for example, how can the digital assistant provide that information if it has no idea where you are located?

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With the increasing trend toward mobile device usage, Microsoft is merely following the age-old law of supply and demand. With Windows 10, Microsoft has produced an operating system which is suitable for both desktop and mobile users – depending on how it is configured.

That’s the whole point with Windows 10, a point which, apparently, many people have failed to grasp – the choice lies squarely in the hands of the end user. Windows 10 can quite easily be set up purely as a desktop operating system, in which case the level of data collection is substantially diminished. Sure, it may take a little time and effort to go through all the settings, but it is definitely not difficult.

Don’t want to use Cortana? Simple… just turn it off. And so on, and so on. It’s easy to disable unwanted apps/features, nobody is being forced to utilize them or the services they provide. They are simply available for those who do want to use them.

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If you go through Windows 10’s Privacy settings and disable everything you don’t want or need, including setting Feedback to minimum, the level of telemetry is no more than one would expect for a desktop PC, no more than [say] in Windows 7 or 8.1.

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I’m not suggesting for one minute that Microsoft hasn’t made bad decisions regarding Windows 10, just that, in my opinion, the telemetry isn’t numbered among them – more a matter of simply keeping up with the times. In fact, I’m far more concerned over the enforced updates in Windows 10 where there simply is no choice. Not to mention the constant upgrade nags and unsolicited upgrades – but that, as they say, is another story for another time.

Bottom Line:

To suggest that Windows 10 is ‘spying’ on consumers is a pretty far stretch. I, for one, don’t really care if Microsoft knows that some anonymous old geezer in Queensland, Australia regularly visits Bill Mullins Tech Thoughts blog.

Do I like Windows 10? Sure I do. Would I recommend upgrading to Windows 10 for free? In a heartbeat.

*BTW: Microsoft recently announced that the Windows 10 free upgrade offer will definitely end on 29th July as originally stated.

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Filed under Microsoft, Myths, Operating Systems, Software, Technicians Advise, Windows 10, Windows Tips and Tools

Hazard Shield – Another Contender for Best Anti-malware Application?

hazard-shield.jpgIn the already overcrowded anti-malware application market, we have yet another free anti-malware contender. On the other hand, it’s always a plus to have another free and effective security application to choose from. 

Orbitech, the developer of Hazard Shield describes this application as “a fast anti-malware program that scans for any and every threat we can get our hands on. These include malicious items such as malware, viruses, spyware, Trojans, backdoors, dialers and much more. Hazard Shield also comes with Real-time protection! Hazard Shield’s Real-time monitor can protect your computer by removing threats before they can do damage. Hazard Shield’s Real-time monitor is free and uses very little system resources.” 

There’s no question that Hazard Shield is fast. In testing, I found it completed scanning approximately 20GB in just over 6 minutes. It did not find any malware on my machines. However, I have heard from other users who have tested this application, that it has detected and removed a number of infections missed by other anti-malware programs including Norton and Webroot Spy Sweeper. 

A definite plus, particularly for less experienced users, is the interface which is simple and straightforward. There’s no learning curve involved here. With a couple of simple clicks you can scan for threats, and remove them from both local and network drives. 

Included in the application are a number of integrated tools including a file killer. This can be particularly important in removing locked or in-use files. Additional tools include an uninstall manager, a process manager, and a scheduled task manager. 

If you’re looking to strengthen your anti-malware resources, this application might be one that’s worth taking a look at. 

Operating Systems: Windows XP

Requirements: NET framework 2.0 

Download at: Orbitech

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Privacy, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools