My experience with Windows 10 S

During a recent trip, I did something I do not do often. I left my computer behind. I was driving to the mountains and the intent was to return the same day. But the trip got prolonged. I needed to get online, and I decided to grab a cheap PC in a local supermarket. I got one with Windows 10 S as I wanted to try out this Microsoft OS.

That was the start of an ugly story.

The install of Windows 10 S is pretty similar to installing Windows in general. You have to go out of your way to avoid using the Microsoft online install. You have to unclick a lot of settings which otherwise allow Microsoft to gather information about your use of the computer. So far, things were generally unpleasant, given that I strongly believe no company should have the right to collect my or your data in the way Microsoft and others are doing.

As you may know, Windows 10 S is an operating system that is limited by not allowing users to install software that competes with Microsoft’s own, by use of the Microsoft store. You can unlock Windows 10 S. To do that, however, you need to login into Microsoft.

Now, there is absolutely no logical reason for this, but I was forced to do that to use the computer, helping Microsoft identify me. But to my dismay, something even worse happened.

During the process, Microsoft decided to merge my Skype and Microsoft accounts. This is something that I think is uncalled for. I use my Skype account a fair bit and I use it from different computers. By merging these two accounts, two very different use cases are linked.

In my opinion, this is a security risk – the login to your computer, the login to your phone service and the login to your email should not be the same. Now you may say that this is just the kind of thing that Google would do, and you would be right, but in no way makes it any better. There is no reason for Microsoft to insist that I use the same login for my multiple, unrelated accounts.

The creation of super profiles, where a lot of information about us is gathered, is something that should be banned. Combining accounts into one, without options, is both unethical and I think it should be considered illegal as well.

The only logical reason for Microsoft to combine the Skype account with the Microsoft account is to be able to gather more data. Obviously, they will hide behind convenience and although that may be true in some cases, in this case the combination of the accounts is creating a security risk – given that it is likely that you will want to use your Skype account on devices that might not even be yours. Would you want to do that with account details that may open your computer and your email and various other services?

Shame on you Microsoft!

Join the Conversation

  1. I think the Skype merge happened a few years ago for me (the new Skype client is broken as it fails to load old conversation history and you can’t use the old version 7 client as that is not support at all). Windows 10 S is a retry of something Microsoft has tried a few times before and it has failed.

  2. Almost 2 years ago I blocked Evil Microsoft from infecting Windows 7 with their new Windows 10 Spyware-As-OS and then I switched to Linux Full-Time and never looked back. It’s great, I can do my Graphic/Web Design work without MS, Adobe, Corel and others… Real Creative Freedom! I was using Fedora and now I have jumped to MX Linux, also great too. For most new users try Linux Mint Xfce first.

    The cool thing about Linux & Open Source Software is no hidden code, feel free to edit it. You also have the freedom of Choice without spying on you; Something Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google has forgotten!

  3. I think, you’re right. There’s too much integration by large companies wanting to control everything while you have control over nothing..because they’ve taken over that control, which is their objective. I’d never heard of Windows 10 S til this article.

  4. MS caught me out a while when I logged into their services.
    You just get a screen telling you it has been linked, and no user choice was ever presented. Bang. Too late to cancel or click back
    Like many others I had the 2 separate IDs for good reasons.
    Using other peoples devices is something I have to do, and I would rather not leave my own foot prints stamped into them.

    Same reason many of us think Chrome auto logging the user into both account and browser is insane.
    Obviously I can see the convenience for someone that only uses 1 device, or their own devices, but even then these “options” need to be opted-in.

  5. I thoroughly agree that big companies are becoming more and more intrusive, while there is absolutely no reaction from governments or from the masses.
    The tactics by Facebook, Google and Microsoft are unscrupulous and, I think, one of the greatest threats facing civilisation as we know it.

    These companies are openly stealing our private information and selling it, recklessly, to the highest bidders.

    Therefore, I would prefer if the government took possession of this information. That way the monies being made off it could be put into public infrastructure and used for the benefit of all.

  6. If you can’t spend a few days in the mountains without a computer then something is wrong. Shame on you. Serves you right for buying MS crap.

  7. Right but avoidable:

    You can log in 10 OS with a local account, like in the pre-cloud-era.

    i have just change my account in a local one, so i can avoid to be super-controlled on the mega profile with all my life in, and i can still nowadays log in Skype with my former 15 years old account.

    I agree with you about WTF internet has become, but Microsoft lets you choose, in a “not really transparent way”, but Apple and Google don’t, apart from unlock with Free SU firmwares.

    Don’t stop fighting against companies, the global billion people have not understood are using a controlled OS, which they are not admin ; You help umanity approaching truth.

    Thanks You for your history in the world of the net, also.


  8. I must agree. There is no need for this type of OS behaviour except as you say to collect information disguised as “convenience” .
    In fact that is why I have four different computers (three Linux and a Win10 laptop) as well as an iPad, on its way to someone else, and a brand new Kindle Fire which has proved invaluable when my Win10 machine “black screened”.
    All have different uses and really try my best not to overlap usages (testing, work, banking, etc).

  9. You are the dying resistance. Android smartphone = Google collects all your details and will not patch the system unless you give them your contact details and a password. I was in the city of London trading area and these people who gamble with other people’s money, were all using Windows 7 pro and running around like silly children unwrapping their new extra large computer monitors. Is Deutsche bank really the most indebted bank in the world?

    Any windows antivirus/anti-malware products spies on everything you do their business has to be about monitoring your business. Kaspersky for example got in a lot of trouble for grabbing a NSA’s employees spyware/malware samples.

    The older generation do not like complications they want to click things and they want somebody else to do everything else for them ( Windows 10). I received a phone call from a 73-year-old who told me his computer was infected and he had a message on the screen telling him to phone a telephone number a Microsoft telephone number. He said he clicked on a Facebook page and a virus just popped up. He said he was using Windows 10.

    I told him I have never seen windows 10, I said I think you have a program called Windows defender which is an antivirus program. He said “yes I think I have it somewhere.”
    I said what can you see in front of you? He said “a big red picture with Microsoft telephone number on it to call for help.”

    I said what web browser are you using? He said “what is a web browser” I said hit Esc twice. He said “where would I find that?” I said next to the F1 key at the top of your keyboard. He said “a smaller window has appeared.” I said does it have a little X in the corner of that window? He “said yes” I said click that. And he said “the virus has gone away!”

    I said that was not a virus that was a picture that you were looking at in your web browser.

    He said “but everything has gone now where are my Gmail e-mails” I said click on your web browser. “He said where do I find that.”

  10. It is not reasonable to hope that large corporations will be good citizens (despite the US ruling that they are “persons”):
    – There is no sense of self, thus no way to feel guilt (or any other emotion)… and thus no tendency to better “themselves”. There is no “conscience”.
    – Most nations have rules that effectively require the corporation to focus on immediate shareholder profit as their primary goal.
    – The hive-mind that “is” a corporation does have a strong impulse to preserve the corporation, so individual “cells” (people) will be ejected as soon as they show signs of not following the two main goals (existence, immediate shareholder profit).
    – Corporations, seen as “persons” are sociopaths with a “profit” monomania.

    Thus, expecting “good” behavior from large corporations is fruitless. Regulation from outside is the only realistic path toward good corporate behavior. “Shaming” Microsoft (or Google, or BP or Toyota or Yandex or …) is wasted effort: “They” feel no shame, and indeed it can be argued that it would be illegal or at least unethical to their shareholders to feel shame. Shame on *us* for letting them “behave” this way!

  11. Both Microsoft and Google can easily compromise with privacy and security. Indeed, everyone does not want to expose security risks because of invasion of privacy from Microsoft or Google, or a person should not be forced to give up on his or her privacy. Overall, I comprehend what you are writing about.

  12. Both Microsoft and Google need to leave people alone when using the Internet. Everyone must have his or her privacy.

  13. At first, when I started using Windows 10 I have faced a lot of problems that regarding games, themes etc; are not to the mark. But, later when I started using vivid gave me good experience. After reading your article I have got some suggestions for updating my windows.

  14. I don’t remember Skype merging accounts once you logged into a Microsoft account, yes, it creates a Skype but I don’t thin you merge it unless you tell it to.

    You are right about something, it’s a mistake, there used to be a way to merge Skype – Microsoft account but unlink them as well. it was an okay system if I wanted to use it, once I saw in the settings a “merge passwords” and I thought it could make it easier to manage skype. but it seems it merged my accounts forever, and no way to unlink or unmerge them.
    That sucks because as you say, for me to log in on other computers with skype I would have to give my master passwords, the one that open the big gates of all my information.

    I only use Skype all the time on my main PC at home and my Windows Mobile (which is turned off 99.9% of the time) so I don’t worry too much, but for people who use it anywhere, seems like silly to force to have to type the long password and all that.
    Unless Microsoft is allowing the phone authenticate login stuff, then yes, it can be called a security risk. But I think I can’t even use that feature since Windows Mobile doesn’t even have the app from Microsoft, it is dead OS maybe it had it at sometime, but like I said, I don’t even use my phone and don’t log in on skype anywhere else, and when I go out I use my phone for skype. So it doesn’t affect me, but it was kind of surprising I couldn’t unlink or unmerge Skype accounts like in the past, like there was nothing wrong about it but they, without any warning like “this can’t be undone” let me merge accounts.

    But what can we do? everything gathers and shares our information. even this blog for me to send this message I had to put my email, name and you probably get the info of my IP, as I have seen by other comment section from another company where I have posted and then the company sends me a message since they wanted to ask me question about some problem I raised with their software and then I see my IP on their email, but they are cool people.

    I use Windows and will not switch to anything else, I don’t stopped being the paranoid about information, not because “I don’t have anything to hide” but mostly because like I said, everyone gathers our information, and unless we stop using the internet, using a Microsoft account or not, will not stop that.
    I agree, it is kind of silly you still have to log in just to upgrade from S to Pro or whatever version since they allow you to install apps without logging in, so I thought it would work the same. on this regard it could be a little more understandable but not enough. At least they are allowing to upgrade! because if not you would be trapped on an OS that will be too limited, I mean, store has many desktop apps but not enough, or not the ones we wish many times, I wish the process of making them available was easier but all that sandbox stuff, I guess makes developers lazy even if it doesn’t sound bad for the users.

    Anyway, like I said, I stopped being a freak about what it is send to the internet because unless we unplug, we can’t stop this, it doesn’t matter where you are, what you use, Windows, Linux, Mac, they are all made to control us and gather our information. But if we unplug, you and other would go out of business. so I dont know if you want that.
    But think about new ‘smart’ cars, ‘smart’ refrigerators, watches, houses, etc etc, everything made to control us and gather our information, even on the street we have cameras everywhere, they might say it is because of “security” but we know that’s only half true.
    It’s hard to find a safe place in this world, we got all the bad things around. And just like they sell the idea of phones on every hand, even if phones can be more expensive than a computer, they are selling the idea of self driving electric cars that not only are a lie in terms of being ‘clean energy’ because they contaminate more to produce than normal gasoline cars, but they are also made to spy us, control us and tie us into this world of technology and internet.
    So Windows could improve, but we know it won’t happen.

    Last time I installed Simplewall, cool little firewall, but I got suprised how software want to send information, log in information, activation information, telemetry data/usage statistics or whatever name they use.
    So even if Simplewall uses WindowsSpyBlocker list, I got to question, what about google? what about other software companies that are big and are just as bad as Microsoft? for example, Vivaldi uses Chrome extensions so it’s not a surprise you try to connect to google servers, even something like the captcha services you see around on any web are owned by google, so what can we do? I don’t know anymore.
    That’s why I try now to block as much as I can with Simplewall, but will that stop anything? if I block the wrong google IP I will not be able to even use the captcha.

    about your ‘Shame on Microsoft’? It’s true, but it’s only a small sand from this big beach of problem, because we can’t escape, people are getting more and more tied to technology and new devices that are made to (again) spy us, control us and destroy us as well.
    Someday I hope I will get away from all this, there should be a place where we can live and don’t have to deal with all this like decades ago when even mental and physical health was better and life was simple without all this stuff against us.

    Take care Jon von Tetzchner

  15. Apple does the same. The iCloud takes control of all your addresses, and Internet settings and sync this in their iCloud. Well so that your iPhone and Mac both get the same data. But: They get access to your private emails, your Gmail, your Yahoo and MS address book and all LDAP accounts that they sniff and publish on the iCloud. Well so that you can use them on your iPhone, and then everyone else around you can use that. I have granted iCloud the right to use my Address book on the Mac and iPhone, but I have a Facebook account that I has denied access to this. But for some reason, I suddenly received 2000+ “friend requests” on this account, and some of these “friends” are email addresses just on my Mac and supposed to be here only, and not on every Facebook account. Google has a similar issue, discovered now with “Google Home” and all those services. They will try to log-in as “Google user” also where you have an existing account, and well sometime the password is the same and the server detect it is you, and it runs smooth, sometimes a new account has been made and sometimes you end up with – 2 passwords (like on Apple). So on some sites I have now dual citizenship, one name and address, 2 PIN numbers and more than 2 passwords. Where will this end? Ask the monsters to at least stay sober when the “discover” new ways, it is usually just another mistake. Peeping into what is non of your business is the original sin.

  16. Hello Jon,

    The things you mention are sad indeed. I agree that there shouldn’t be a need to merge Skype and Microsoft accounts. The OS gathering so much information by default is troubling too. While I think Windows 10 and Microsoft store apps can certainly have advantages, privacy and control are compromised. Without the professional edition you cannot exclude updates either, which may negatively impact your experience, privacy or even break your PC if no new suitable drivers are available.

    I am curious, which OS do you typically use? (If you’re willing to disclose that).

  17. Hello Jon,

    The things you mention are sad indeed. I agree that there shouldn’t be a need to merge Skype and Microsoft accounts. The OS gathering so much information by default is troubling too. While I think Windows 10 and Microsoft store apps can have advantages, privacy and control are compromised. Without the professional edition you cannot exclude updates either, which may negatively impact your experience, privacy or even break your PC if no new suitable drivers are available.

    I am curious, which OS do you typically use? (If you’re willing to disclose that).

  18. Fortunately I haven’t much experience with Windows 10, but it very much resembles the problem I always have with Android. There the user is forced to log in to his/her google account just to download apps from the Play Store, which is the main and for many cases the only authentic source of software. Once it happens, all google services including mail, chat, telephony, calendar, cloud storage and so on will be automatically activated and synchronized with the device. One possible workaround is of course to create a completely separate google account just for the Android device and never log in to your regular google account except maybe using some third party apps that do not integrate with the OS’ account manager; therefore, do not let the built-in google bloatware to use your account.

    Probably the problem with Windows here is very similar. You can create a completely separate Microsoft account just for that device, but then you can not log in to Skype with your regular account without the accounts to be merged. I guess a possible workaround could be to log in to Skype through the web interface preferably using a third party browser, so OS will not use your regular account for any purposes.

    I agree it’s really annoying continuously applying such tricks to protect at least some of our privacy and to take some control. For me the most important difference between desktop and mobile OSs that on the desktop user has the control. User has administrator rights (at least if he or she owns the computer), and (s)he can decide what to do with the data and the system resources. In contrary on mobile platforms user does not have the control anymore, (s)he does not have administrator rights and actually manufacturer decides what to do with the data and system resources. I sad to see that nowadays Microsoft pushing this kind of policy to the desktop as well. I was hoping that as the mobile OSs develop, they would catch up with the desktop and let users to fully control the devices they own. However, it seems the opposite is happening: Desktop OSs catch up with the mobile in not letting users to control. It would be really good to stop this.

  19. Do you have a Google account? This account is valid for Gmail, Duo, Calendar, Google Docs, Youtube, Google Music, Google Play, Google maps, Google Pay, etc. Even your phone depends on this account. So your article is only rather stupid Microsoft bashing…
    By the way, great browser!

  20. Hi Jon,

    to get your problems with windows solved, take a ride on linux. I started ubuntu about 7 years ago. Now I use linux (ubuntu, debian and mint) for about 95% of my private tasks; its great!


  21. YES, Mr von Tetzchner, thank you for reporting those abominable corporate practices. The world, at least the enlightened part called the EU (the U.S. should join the EU, but their collective IQ and cultural history are too autocratic) is waiting for humanist oriented software to arise and replace the infiltrations from Apple, MS, Google, pushing their invasive word processing, browser, OS, texting, and other vital functions provided in their digital-dictatorial apps, which Harari calls “attention merchants.”

    In stark contrast, Vivaldi is a shining example of first rate intelligent design and human respect for humans. Vivaldi learned much from their Opera days (I ceased being an Opera fan when the Chinese took it over). I’m so delighted, no make that THRILLED, with its phoenixing into Vivaldi. I have rid myself of iPhone and would move to a EU alternative to get rid of the ever increasing invasive Google Android if that were possible, buy it’s not.

    In the interim I’d urge the enlightened to do two things:
    1) install and use Vivaldi
    2) Read Yuval Noah Harari, his two books, Sapiens, and 21-Lessons for the 21st Century reflect a first rate mind

  22. Good story. After a I got a blue screen of death in 2007 and ‘upgraded’ to Vista I have only occasionally attempted to give Windows 7 and later Windows 10 a quick spin (mostly to use iTunes to update my phone).

    It’s just such an alien environment to me – also after ‘tuning’ my desktop experience to be gesture mouse/keyboard driven (no need to target the mouse and click little ‘x’ or menus) I feel like I’m going back 20 years.

    It’s also very difficult to navigate if you’re not accustomed to it… and as you state, so many things you do have barriers which feel like security threats.

  23. Estou testando e gostando do navegador, mas gostaria de dar sugestões para melhorias. Para que os usuários, possam movimentar os vídeos no Youtube pela tela, assim, poderíamos ler os comentários e visualizar os videos no conto da tela e visualizar em outros sites. Ter tradutor de páginas nativa e automaticamente, onde n precisaríamos instalar de terceiros ou mesmo do Google. Está aparecendo nas abas no alto, um pedaço do site. Isso está acontecendo há dias no navegador no Brasil. Realmente Sr. Jon Von Tetzchner, Ao ligar a tomada de rede, já estamos sendo vigiados e com os nosso dados colido pra servidores na China, na Rússia e nos EUA. Mas acredito no Vivaldi para termos mais privacidade na internet. abço. Esperamos um escritório no Brasil.

  24. Hi Jon,
    Greetings from the other end of the planet – downunder in Oz, where it really is like “Oz”.
    We always get the last and the worst of everything, and it is worth anyone interested in how the world is owned and run, taking a look at how the HuaWei fiasco is playing out, here at this very moment.
    The acceptance of “total surveillance” technology monitoring as a “convenience” is a bit terrifying when one looks at its health implications, as much as “Big Brother”.
    Anyway thanks for a very nice new Browser. I’m testing it right now.

  25. Hello Jon,
    I think Vivaldi could make a difference to privacy by offering an encrypted and private (paid monthly) email option similar to Tutanova or Proton Mail.
    This would be hosted in Iceland using hydro electric power 😉
    I think Vivaldi is a trusted brand and there is a price point in between the free and paid options of Proton Mail which could be richly exploited by Vivaldi.