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article imageWindows 10 Update mystery solved: Microsoft forgot your privacy

By James Walker     Nov 25, 2015 in Technology
Over the weekend, Microsoft abruptly pulled the Windows 10 November update and gave a minimal explanation that did nothing to curb the ensuing confusion. The update is now back with a full explanation: it could delete your privacy settings.
Windows 10 has already has its fair share of privacy scares so it's understandable that Microsoft chose to take action when it found upgrading to the Windows 10 November update, build 10586, may delete your privacy preferences in the process. This could happen silently and without any message to notify you of the reset, an issue that could lead to allegations of snooping or intrusive behaviour in the future.
Neowin reports four settings were affected: "Let apps use my advertising ID"; "Turn on SmartScreen filter for web content"; "Let apps run in the background" and "Sync with devices." These are all enabled by default but can be customised by the user. The issue is they will be automatically turned back on after upgrading to the November update.
For those users that have already upgraded, Microsoft will be releasing a patch soon to change the settings back and give users the chance to modify anything that the upgrade process changed. The company says the bug "will not impact future installs" of Windows 10.
It's still unclear why Microsoft took such drastic action regarding the bug. Not only did it pull the update from Windows Update but it also prevented people from making Build 10586 installation media and even withdrew the applicable developer tools from app creators. The issue has now been fixed and the update and associated tools reissued.
Microsoft's handling of the whole fiasco seems to have been very confused and disorientating. The bug is comparatively minor yet it still chose to effectively eradicate the November update for a few days. It even offered some kind of explanation for the events, saying it was switching the release to rolling out in waves like with the original release back in July.
That didn't fit at the time as the files appeared to have vanished from Windows Update. The company itself now seems to have disowned the comments altogether. Everything seems to be back to normal with the potentially invasive bug fixed.
ZDNet notes the affected settings were all grouped under the "Privacy" tab of the Settings app which may have required Microsoft to call in the lawyers after becoming aware of the issue. This explanation accounts for the forced withdrawal of everything associated with the update but not the glaringly inaccurate statement the company originally provided.
It seems as though legal restrictions prevented Microsoft from revealing the truth of the matter so it made something up on-the-spot to deliver to the press while the mess was cleared up. The "new policy" of delivering the update in waves doesn’t appear to have ever delivered the update to any computer. It has now been reversed less than 72 hours after it was introduced.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Update, Bug
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