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WINDOWS 10 – What you need to know

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Windows 10 is here. The long anticipated operating system for the PC platform is finally within our grasp and what’s even better, is it’s free for the first year. And £99 thereafter. It’s an evolution and Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been like. It integrates better search, the start menu is back, and the positive feedback is coming from everywhere, praising this new product. I agree, Windows 10 is an incredible step up for Microsoft and I love it so much I primarily use Windows 10 on my Apple Mac in VMWare Fusion.

However, I’m not here to tell you about Windows 10 and its looks and functions, although I will briefly cover a few points.  In fact, I’m here to talk about security, privacy and your internet.  All areas which Microsoft feels it has right to do whatever it feels like with.

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

Microsoft did listen to users, and Windows 10 is much more user friendly. With its new Operating System (OS), Microsoft has closed the gap between Mac OS X and Windows. The OS is fast, user friendly, and with everything in one place it’s easy to navigate, plus, it has plenty of cool features like Cortana and Edge, and for those who like new and fresh things, it’s pretty.

Give your PC an overhaul with free Windows 10.

You may have noticed that Windows Phones are becoming more and more popular. Microsoft used this as the foundation for Windows 10, bringing together the best of three versions of Windows – Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows for Mobile.

Windows 10 was released for free download at the end of July and since then it has spread quickly. It’s loved by everyone.  It’s faster, lighter, less cluttered, feels smoother and is pleasing to the eye. Simply fantastic.

You can reserve your free upgrade using an icon that appears in your task bar at the right hand side of the screen. The demand is high so you might have to wait a while, but for those who are as impatient as me when it comes to new gadgets, here are a few steps to start your download of Windows 10 immediately.

  1. Run Windows Update to make sure no further Windows Updates are available for your current system. If there are any, install them and restart the computer, then check again. Only the Important updates matter, ignore those that are Optional. When no further Windows Updates are needed go to step 2.
  2. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download (you can replace the C: with your drive letter, but in most cases, C: will be correct).
  3. Delete all files and folders within the folder above to give Windows Update a clean start.
  4. Now we need to prepare a few things:
    • Click on the Start Menu and type in CMD (this will open the command prompt window), when shown at the top (Windows 7) or on the right hand side (Windows 8/8.1) right-click on the file and select Run as Administrator. In the new window (black) type in (DO NOT HIT ENTER YET): wuauclt.exe /updatenow
    • Now leaving the command prompt window open, go to Start and type in Windows Update, right click on the Windows Update searched item and run as Administrator. When in the Windows Update window, click Check for updates. When it says “Checking for updates” go back to the command prompt window and press enter on the pre-typed command.
  5. You should now see that the Windows Update is downloading Windows 10. Please note that this step only works if you reserved your Windows 10 installation on your computer.

Once Windows 10 has installed and you have logged in for the first time, there are a few things you should know. I mentioned this post will be about security, privacy and internet. Microsoft has always been big on getting as much information about their users as possible, whatever their reasons. Nowadays, privacy is a rare commodity and even though almost everyone has some sort of digital imprint, I feel that my computer and the information it holds, should be mine, and mine only.  And I certainly don’t want anyone, especially not Microsoft, to know what I do, where I go to read my news, what websites I visit, etc.

YOUR PRIVACY, YOUR DOMAIN!

We like to have things done for us, especially when it comes to computers. If you are following the media, there is a lot of information about Windows 10 and invasion of Privacy. You might have noticed similar options in Windows 8 with the introduction of the Store. A lot of privacy options are turned ON by default so Microsoft and the “trusted partners” get to see your browsing history, your location, keystrokes, personal information and more. You can, of course, disable all of this, but you have to know where to look.

In order to go through your Privacy tab and check the settings follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start menu
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Select Privacy

Here you’ll find 13 different options that can be changed. Most of the important ones are on the General tab, though the rest of the tabs are important as well. Go through them and disable what you feel is necessary.

Feelings about this Google-like approach to personal data collection in Windows 10 are quite mixed. To educate yourself, visit Microsoft’s website where you will find all privacy information for every Windows 10 feature.

YOUR INTERNET, YOUR RIGHT.

Another feature that isn’t very popular among users is WUDO – Windows Update Delivery Optimization – a new method that Microsoft is using to distribute Windows Updates (and Windows 10 itself). If you ever used P2P sharing software or torrents, you’ll know what I mean. The way this feature works is simple.  Install Windows 10, all other users that are still waiting will use your internet and internet of all the other users who already installed Windows 10, to download the new windows and its updates. That is, if you didn’t disable this feature.

The idea behind it is great – faster Windows Updates. However, having this feature enabled by default is just one more reason why one should be cautious.

If you found your internet slowed down after installing Windows 10, you can disable this feature by following these steps.

  1. Click on the Start menu and select Settings
  2. Look for Update & Security
  3. Select Windows Update
  4. Under Advanced Options choose How Updates are Installed
  5. Select Choose How updates are delivered
  6. Disable the toggle under Updates from More than One Place

Many users reported that their wireless wasn’t performing well. One reason why this might happen is Wi-Fi sharing is sharing your connection by default over Wi-Fi. If you intend to use it, it’s a good feature, but if you don’t, keep it disabled. To do so, follow these instructions.

  1. Start menu and Settings
  2. Go to Change Wi-Fi Settings and click Manage Wi-Fi settings
  3. Uncheck all boxes under For networks I select, share them with
  4. Additionally you might want to disable the toggles for Connect to suggested open hotspots and Connect to networks shared by my contacts

NOT QUITE THERE YET.

General practice in IT is: Do not install a new Operating System that doesn’t have at least Service Pack 1 released. The reasoning is simple: security issues, bugs and incompatibility. Releasing this Operating System to a business environment would be a big risk, especially with so many unknowns. With Windows 10 being an untested system with quite a few teething issues that Microsoft will hopefully address shortly, it is not something that I’d recommend installing in your office.

For example, let’s take a look at VPN connection settings. The advanced settings of TCP/IPv4 of a VPN connection in Windows 10 is inaccessible. Yes, you can change the settings using PowerShell, but that’s not what most users will be doing. Little things like this may stop some users from deploying Windows 10 to their business environment.

SUMMARY.

Windows 10 is indeed an incredible Operating System that I’d highly recommend to everyone. It’s fast, clean and a pleasure to work with.

Giving your computer a completely new and fresh look comes at a price, but in the end, this is Windows we are talking about so there will always be some issues that need addressing. For the time being, install Windows 10 at home. The free upgrade is available for a whole year so maybe in six months, when Windows 10 has been on the market for a while, we will be in a better position to consider deployment within a corporate environment.

References:
http://bgr.com/2015/07/31/windows-10-upgrade-spying-how-to-opt-out/
http://boingboing.net/2015/08/03/windows-10-defaults-to-keylogg.html
http://thehackernews.com/2015/08/windows-10-update.html
http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/word-warning-donotspy10-windows-10-privacy-tool
http://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/windows-10-settings-menu-the-privacy-tab/

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Jakub Wawrzacz

Jakub proudly combines almost 20 years working in the IT industry with a long-held passion for words. Having previously written content for an online computer news website and computer magazine in Czech, we’re giving him the opportunity to pursue his love once more, by writing for our very own blog.

One Comment

  • Kirk says:

    These are great facts! Just got my new Windows 10 laptop and was anxious if this is tricky than the old ones and hard to repair.. now my doubts has been answered. Thanks a lot!!!

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