Microsoft patches Windows 10 update privacy bug
November 25, 2015 // 11:11 a.m.
Microsoft has restored downloads for its Windows 10 November Update with an explanation for their sudden disappearance: a bug which caused users' privacy settings to be reset upon upgrade.
Windows 10 has caused a stir among privacy advocates thanks to default settings which send impressive quantities of data back to Microsoft, for everything from troubleshooting to the display of advertising on the operating system's new Start Menu. Many, but not all, of these defaults can be changed in the software's settings menu - but those upgrading to the Windows 10 November Update found that their carefully-adjusted privacy settings were being flipped back in Microsoft's favour.
Following reports of the issue, Microsoft pulled the November Update from its servers. The update is now back for download and installation, and Microsoft says the bug is now fixed. 'Recently we learned of an issue that could have impacted an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update,' the company explained in a statement to press. 'Once these customers installed the November update, a few of their settings preferences may have inadvertently not been retained.
'For these customers, we will restore their settings over the coming days and we apologise for the inconvenience. We worked to resolve the issue as quickly as possible - it will not impact future installs of the November update, which is available today.'
The bug altered the four primary settings in Windows 10's privacy options menu, allowing applications to use a unique advertising ID tied to the system, allowing websites to access the system's language list, sending all URLs loaded through Windows Store apps to Microsoft along with information about the user's keystrokes to 'help us improve typing and writing in the future.'
Those who have already upgraded and not thought to check their privacy settings will find that a cumulative update released through Windows Update this week restores them back to their previous state without further interaction.