Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

I just setup a new computer that comes with Windows 10. I was *shocked* at how in-your-face all the privacy violations are.

For starters, before it would even install you MUST login to a Microsoft account (and create a new one if you don't already have one). I saw no way to skip that step, AFAICT it wasn't possible at all.

Then it loads up and I try to install Chrome, but it won't let me. Why? Because it has something called "S-mode" which basically means...


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Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

...that you can only install applications from the Microsoft Store. And I think, ok, I hate this, but let's see if I can install Chrome or LibreOffice from there. But nope, there are only opportunists trying to make money off people by selling re-packaged apps with those names (and who else what else they contain).

So I try to disable that S-mode, but then it LOCKS the account because it says that there has been some "suspicious activity" on it.


Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

So I look into unlocking it, and it turns that you have to GIVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER so they send you a verification code (and I wonder: how is this secure? I'm writing whatever number I want _now_, I could be an attacker; but whatevs).

So I finally unlock the account, and try again to disable S-mode, and this time it goes through... but it requires EVEN MORE personal information! 😡

And they try to scare you saying that it cannot be re-enabled. GOOD RIDDANCE. GEEZ.


Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

Hm, I see now that something could be misinterpreted. When I said that it locked the account I didn't mean that I couldn't login to the computer itself or use it. That was fine.

But I _guess_ you couldn't login with that account for online services or whatever, who knows. And the point is that, while it was locked, I could not disable S-mode because apparently it needs to do something online and check for account to do that ???

@Esteban Manchado Velázquez This is terrible, but not unexpected. Last time I had to get a computer with windows installed, I never even booted the thing. First boot straight off the USB stick and install ArchLinux.

I have found a few vendors willing to sell laptops without preinstalling windows on it though, so now I stick to those.

@harald Yeah, I flat out refuse to buy a computer that comes with Windows at all. This computer wasn't for me!

Luckily, it's increasingly easy to find vendors that sell computers with Linux preinstalled (or at least without Windows).

I mean, I knew that Windows 10 was bad privacy-wise, but I thought it was more hidden, just pinging home for certain things or something like that. This is another level 😕

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm Wondering at what point Windows stops being an OS and becomes a research project to determine how much people will put up with in order to get work done.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@craigmaloney The worst was feeling the whole time that if I complained to most people about that, they would just shrug and think it's not a big deal.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm At this point I would have grabbed for the tired "boiling a frog" metaphor, but even the frog is smart enough to jump at this point.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm @craigmaloney s mode is a cheaper edition targeted to OEMs. People from mobile world will then no it's natural to use a centralised store.
Microsoft wants to get critical mass on windows store, so they can enforce its use to other windows editions.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 


I just tried out a few new tablets/laptops before settling on a new one.

I'm shocked at just how invasive new devices try to be.

Thankfully, a combination of ubuntu boot disks and good old fashioned sailing the seven seas for a copy of win 10 pro got me around many hoops.

But not everyone has the know how for this. The state of tech is getting depressing.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 


send you a verification code (and I wonder: how is this secure? I’m writing whatever number I want now, I could be an attacker; but whatevs).

It’s not to verify that you are you, it’s to verify that whoever you are they can now call you

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@Sandra I'm not sure I follow the logic. What kind of advantage is it that they can call you? I would imagine that it's to check the phone against data broker databases and/or to use the phone for other things (apart from the "verification" itself).

In any case, it's extremely not ok to hijack the account and require a phone# to use a completely new computer. They even give you some excuse to not use email (something about spam or whatever). They give you no choice.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 


I meant that the advantage is for them.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@Sandra Right, but they present it as a security measure, and in that context is the only reason why they should do it (they could use email, really, but whatever).

My point is that it's disturbing that they make you feel like they are hijacking your account until you give up even more personal details.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm Yes, I meant to agree with that and add to the creepiness factor that the reason they want your phone is for their purposes, not your benefit Windows 10 S is like UWP only system. You can only install software from Microsoft Store.
And that explains making an account, as it isn't accessible without one iirc.
Also I'm not completely sure, but I think like in ChromeOS some apps like MS Office are basically web apps on that version.

@replikvlt "Thanks, I hate it" 😄

I guess people are used now to that, because they use phones first, and then maybe computers... but I'm still shocked and really sad that this is just accepted.

I mean, the questions were really invasive! And so many of them, just to be able to use a computer just bought! idk, microsoft has to gain something for basically giving this OS for free.
At least I believe the S version is free to be preinstalled by OEM.

@replikvlt Oh, is it? Are you sure? Recently I was shopping for a computer for myself, and when I asked about a laptop _without_ Windows, they told me that they would look into the possibility of giving me a ~$100 discount, "because that's about the price of the Windows license". Maybe that person was confused, but...

Still I don't think that makes it ok. They have always charged for it and they can still do it, it's not like they have competition that forces them to drop prices. Yes, I'm sure. The competition is high from increasing number of preinstalled GNU/Linux machines, and mainly ChromeOS machines.
I'm pretty sure Microsoft charges for Home, Pro, Enterprise versions but not for S. Not sure you even need to activate it.

@Esteban Manchado Velázquez

computer just bought

That's the thing. By default you haven't bought it in the traditional sense. You have paid for the privilege to use it in the manner the vendor has decided it should be used. It used to mostly be a Mac problem, but it's a profitable model so others try it too.

@harald Right, now it's pretty clear. And maybe it has been clear for Windows users for years, but it was a very, very big surprise for me. I still cannot get over it, I don't have words.

@Esteban Manchado Velázquez Not so sure. I think most people struggle with the new capitalist concept of "buying" things they won't let you own. If people generally knew, I think it would be mush more of an uproar about it.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm Install whilst disconnected from network, perhaps?

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@dredmorbius Yeah, maybe. The thing is, the damage is already done, and I was mostly venting about the flagrant privacy violations.

Also, I'm looking at that guide and there's a button "Offline account". I doubt that button was there on the computer I setup, because I was precisely looking for something similar and I tried everything I saw.

That guide is from 2018 though, so I wonder if that has changed and it's not possible anymore or something.

re: Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm There are a few different accounts, some claim the offline option is removed.

I strongly suspect there remain workarounds for offline and mass-provisioning instances.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm tip: if you disable Internet you can skip the required login.

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@estebanm @lightweight you can skip the login step by selecting local, or disabling the network and it should display try later

Windows 10, S-mode (---) 

@PurpleAleph @estebanm naturally, though, most users won't know that, and they're obey MSFT's assertions - they often use that approach to bully users lacking confidence into doing things the implications of which they don't really understand.

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