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Windows 10 is Here to Stay

The Computer Corner

By Charles Miller

It has been almost two years now since Microsoft unveiled its current Operating System Windows 10. Many people using the latest Windows today obtained the new OS via a cost-free update provided by Microsoft for the first year. Opinion is sharply divided on the correct way to characterize that “free” update program, with some users holding that it was generous for Microsoft to provide their newest product without cost, while a lot of users are still livid over the way it was crammed down their throats, using some of the most dishonest and deceitful methods in corporate history.

Love it or loathe it, Windows 10 is here to stay. If there were ever any questions about the motivations of Microsoft being altruistic or avaricious, the picture is starting to come into clearer focus now. Start by focusing your attention on your Windows 10 lock screen, start menu, and your file explorer. Those are but three of the growing number of places Microsoft has sneaked advertising into your Windows 10 computer. Granted, these ads are unobtrusive compared to the in-your-face pop-up ads found all over the Internet, but they are ads nevertheless.

Open your documents, music, or pictures folder and you are likely to see adverts for Microsoft’s cloud storage service OneDrive. The ad hawks one terabyte of in-the-cloud storage for USD$6.99 per month. To put a stop to those ads (for now) you may click on View/Options/ “Change folder and search options,” then find and uncheck “Show sync provider notifications” towards the bottom of the advanced settings.

When you click on your Start menu, you will occasionally see “suggested” listings for programs you do not (yet) own that are for sale in the Microsoft Store. The suggestions are based on your buying history, web browsing, etc. Windows 10 is watching what you do and Microsoft is monetizing that data. To disable these ads you would need to dig into the Start Menu preferences and look for the euphemistically-worded “Occasionally show suggestions” and toggle that option off.

Many users who have walked away from their computer for a time have returned to find the lock screen displaying an ad for the “Rise of the Tomb Raider” game, only US$34.99. You might ask how did that ad get there? It is because you have not yet gone to Settings/Personalization/Lock Screen and turn off the option that reads “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more.”

In what is probably a preview of things to come, the games Solitaire and Minesweeper included in Windows 10 now include ads. There is no way to turn off those ads other than paying a fee of US$10 per year per program, and this is not a one-time charge, but an annual subscription. Microsoft will turn the ads back on if they do not get paid again next year, and I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing in the future.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

 

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