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September 15th, 2015

Booting Windows 10…Out the Door

I’ve talked about it here before. Ken’s Rule.

It’s a simple rule I developed years ago when worry was beginning to cause me to become ill. As a business owner, I worried about a lot of things, both business and personal, and it was herding me toward a heart attack or a stroke. Ken’s Rule is easy in concept but it takes practice to put into play.

BootThe thing that is worrying or bothering you? Jump ahead 24 hours in your mind. What will you most likely be doing? Does that thing you are worrying about now have any bearing on your life 24 hours later? Has that thing you are worrying about followed you? Has worrying about it made it better or go away? No? Then stop worrying. If what you are worrying about isn’t going to be important 24 hours from now, just stop it. Stop injuring yourself. And for those who don’t realize it…worry can often lead to anger. In fact, it most often does.

Why? Because you can’t do anything about it. It’s a cycle…worry, anger. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But as is true for most rules, there are exceptions. There are times when rules can or need to be broken. Sometimes for good reason, other times not so much. Right now, I’m angry, and I don’t want to be. I’m not angry about anything that is in my sphere of influence. I am angry because something in my friends’ and family’s lives is happening. It’s not a good thing and they have no idea they are becoming victims.

All they have to do is turn on their computers.

A few days ago the news cycle began reporting that Microsoft was “downloading” things to customers’ computers. In the first place, for tech sites reporting this news, Microsoft is uploading things to customers’ computers, not downloading. For God’s sake, don’t lower your terminology standards to that of laymen. The only way they can be taught right from wrong is for you to correct the perception, not perpetuate it. And you wonder why journalism isn’t taken seriously any more. Even Forbes can’t get it right.

So, to all my buddies who are stuck using or who prefer using and defending Microsoft, for those of you who touted the crowning of a new King at Redmond as a New Day and a New Way…

This isn’t your father’s Microsoft, you said.

Uh, no it isn’t. Even if my father did use Windows back in the day, his check mark to opt out of automatic updates was mostly respected. This new and improved Microsoft Windows? Apparently not. According to ing.com, your choice to ignore Windows update is kicked aside like a mongrel dog as the storm troopers march in unopposed.

“Aw Ken, relax buddy. Remember Ken’s Rule? And besides, no one is forcing that person to install the upgrade, they just give them a choice to do so.”

Yeah, I remember it, and it’s been well over 24 hours and I am still angry. Not for any other reason than the fact that those trusting, kind people who live across from me and on each side of me are being ramrodded…Those folks who have it in their minds that their computers wouldn’t do anything not in their best interests; they are getting screwed. They have no choice, they have no say. And as far as them having the right not to install the uploaded file if they have automatic updates turned off, then Microsoft is nothing less than a burglar, jimmying a back door to gain entrance. In my world, even according to current law, Microsoft is committing a criminal act.

Microsoft usersAnd the folks being given the “opportunity” to upgrade? They have no idea the fraud that is being perpetuated against them. Yeah, yeah…EULA this and EULA that. Like my 75 year old neighbor is going to read that frickin’ lawyer-ese. Like you did as well.

Windows 10 is being shoveled onto the computers of millions upon millions of Americans and billions of people worldwide, and I can’t do a frickin’ thing about it. And a peek behind the keyboard? I had to edit then re-edit the word “frickin” a few times before my common sense could out vote my anger. Many of you will shrug and accept it. Business as usual from Microsoft. Nothing we can do here, everyone move along.

Move along my ass. Go door knocking at your neighbor’s house. Ask them if they know that Microsoft is doing this. Stop a neighbor in the local supermarket and talk to them. If they say yes and they are good with it? Then yes, move along. But not before many of us make even the puniest effort to tell folks about them losing control of their computers.

“Ken, hey. That’s a little strong. The whole losing control of the computer thing.”

Really? Strong? It’s not strong enough, but I have the responsibility of not using the Big 7. If I cannot control what goes on or into my computer…If I cannot control an enterprise from putting something on my computer, then I do not own my computer. The entity has now taken ownership of my computer and they are trying to persuade me to use a product that I don’t want to use. Aha, choice! So while you may make a half-hearted attempt to tell your neighbor about this outrage, let them know they have a choice. I live in a retirement community of 113 people and I’ve lived here for seventeen months. Sixteen of these people are now using Linux as their main operating system. All it takes is a little conversation and helping people understand that they have a choice.

A choice Microsoft is doing their filthy best to take away from them. Just how much of this are you going to take? For more people than I am comfortable with, that’s a rhetorical question.

Never mind…

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Ken Starks writes and publishes The Blog of Helios, a finalist in our Best FOSS or Linux Blog competition. In addition, he's the person behind the Reglue project, which refurbishes older computers and gives them to disadvantaged school kids in the Austin, Texas area. Follow him on Twitter @Reglue

23 comments to Booting Windows 10…Out the Door

  • jymm

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but while we did own our computers, didn’t Microsoft ALWAYS own the software and let us “rent” it? I do agree with you, which is why I made the switch to Linux about two years ago. I do still have a dual boot, as some sites do not support Linux (ESPN3, Magic Jack, etc.) but I refuse to upgrade Win7 to Win10, so Microsoft will finally disappear from my computer. I will live without or find work arounds.

  • I don’t know Ken. You seem upset. 😉

    This article, brought to you by Microsoft.

    “Where do you want to go today?”

  • John Kerr

    Ken

    The reason why you are so upset about this is that according to Steve Wozniak, “The best people in life seem to like Linux”.

    You are one of the best of the best.

  • Dimitris Anogiatis

    @Jymm,
    Theoretically (I haven’t specifically tried it yet) you could install either Firefox or Google Chrome and Adobe Flash, in WINE and PlayOnLinux and have those sites work OK so basically there is no need for a dual-boot (unless you’re using Windows for games or software that you know can’t run correctly under WINE). Theoretically of course.

  • Mike

    @jymm

    > “Please correct me if I am wrong, but while we did own our computers, didn’t Microsoft ALWAYS own the software and let us “rent” it?”

    That has been Microsoft’s claim. We don’t have to accept their claim as valid.

    It is my computer. I demand control of everything it does. That means no proprietary software. No closed and opaque binaries demanding I trust some corporate entity to have my back and never put a knife in it. We need to go further though, on practically every machine there is still closed firmware that can and will betray us. We must demand open hardware and firmware to underlie our open software and not undercut it.

    It is no longer acceptable or safe to run ANY closed software, like Windows, OSX, iOS, and even Chrome. Even now, changes are happening that will likely spell the end for closed software within a decade unless it undergoes a radical evolution.

    “Why?”, you ask. Because the widespread hoarding of zero-day vulnerabilities by nation-states and other entities which has been brought to light in the last couple years will kill it. We are seeing the beginning now. How do you trust the popular application that just auto-updated itself wasn’t compromised on the developer’s machine, spreading malware with a trusted signature to everyone? With closed source software, it is impossible to prevent and inevitable that a major software producer will eventually be compromised, meaning practically instant contamination of machines around the globe. Maybe this has already happened.

    With open software, deterministic builds can solve this problem. The problem has been known about for some time but hasn’t gotten a lot of attention until recently. Here’s a link from two years ago from the Tor project regarding the global cyberwar that is now in progress: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/deterministic-builds-part-one-cyberwar-and-global-compromise

    Debian has now picked up the torch and is attempting to make its entire distro repeatable: https://wiki.debian.org/ReproducibleBuilds/About

    It’s too bad most people have no idea about any of this.

  • Dimitris Anogiatis Please don’t forget the improving Virtual Machine location. There is a lot of work over the next few years to add the means to share the GPU with host and client without issues.

    Duel-boot is only required if Application does not function correctly in Wine or Windows in a Virtual Machine. Fun part is modern virtual machines support sharing access by HTML5.

    The techs to make Microsoft location unstable is coming.

  • Mike

    @jymm

    > “Please correct me if I am wrong, but while we did own our computers, didn’t Microsoft ALWAYS own the software and let us “rent” it?”

    That has been Microsoft’s claim. We don’t have to accept their claim as valid.

    It is my computer. I demand control of everything it does. That means no proprietary software. No closed and opaque binaries demanding I trust some corporate entity to have my back and never put a knife in it. We need to go further though, on practically every machine there is still closed firmware that can and will betray us. We must demand open hardware and firmware to underlie our open software and not undercut it.

    It is no longer acceptable or safe to run ANY closed software, like Windows, OSX, iOS, and even Chrome. Even now, changes are happening that will likely spell the end for closed software within a decade unless it undergoes a radical evolution.

    “Why?”, you ask. Because the widespread hoarding of zero-day vulnerabilities by nation-states and other entities which has been brought to light in the last couple years will kill it. We are seeing the beginning now. How do you trust the popular application that just auto-updated itself wasn’t compromised on the developer’s machine, spreading malware with a trusted signature to everyone? With closed source software, it is impossible to prevent and inevitable that a major software producer will eventually be compromised, meaning practically instant contamination of machines around the globe. Maybe this has already happened.

    With open software, deterministic builds can solve this problem. The problem has been known about for some time but hasn’t gotten a lot of attention until recently. Here’s a link from two years ago from the Tor project regarding the global cyberwar that is now in progress: blog.torproject.org/blog/deterministic-builds-part-one-cyberwar-and-global-compromise

    Debian has now picked up the torch and is attempting to make its entire distro repeatable: wiki.debian.org/ReproducibleBuilds/About

    It’s too bad most people have no idea about any of this.

    Note: I had to remove https:// from the urls I mentioned or my comment wouldn’t post.

  • kb0hae

    Hi Ken. I too am angered by Microsoft’s dirty tricks…I have seen them for years. I encourage all my friends to use Linux. Not all of them have listened, but I won’t give up. These days if you can’t control what goes on not only on your computer but all your devices and appliances, someone else owns your computer, your devices, your appliances…and your life! What M$ and other corporations want most is to make everyone their slaves! I for one will not be a slave, even if it means that I move to a cabin in the woods with no electricity, no Internet, etc…! Live free or die!!

  • Well not that surprising as last 5 years been seeing more and more of the “You Don’t Own it You are leasing it” stances from software and content providers. Everything from e-books tied to specific devices. To i-tunes and streaming video’s.

    The Suit’s & Tie’s want to maintain a strangle hold on their perceived that it’s their content and they will do what they want with it.

    Dual boot with Linux 90% of the time and Win7 10% of time needed. e-pub books stripped of DRM so I can read on any device. Music stripped to play on any device. Movies copied so I can put the original away safe and not destroyed through using.

    Now they can come after me if they choose. As far as I’m concerned I paid for it. It is Mine!To do with as I see fit. period.

  • Thanks for seconding my annoyance with the Win X forced uploads issue.

    I do two things (as a start) for my customer’s computers.
    1. I right-mouse > merge this code in a stopwinx.reg file on a Windows computer made with Notepad saved not as .txt but all files so it takes the .reg extension:

    REGEDIT4
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx]
    “DisableGwx”=dword:00000001

    2. Next, I use an Ubuntu Live-CD to start the Windows computer in RAM. I then mount the Windows drive and navigate to C:\Windows\System32 and delete the GWX folder (Get Windows 10) and its contents.

    Unmount the Windows drive and restart of the Windows 7 (8, 8.1) reveals that the computer no longer displays the white flag at the bottom right and the uploads from M$ are temporarily set back quite a bit. (I suppose that the next M$ patch will probably reset “DisableGwx”=dword:00000000 — oh well!)

    Enjoyed your column.

  • lloyd braun

    After spending some time reading Giz, TechCrunch or listen to most TWIT shows, the best remedy is to read me some good ol’ Ken to cleanse my brain from all the marketing speak.

    No BS. Straight to the point.

    >I live in a retirement community of 113 people and I’ve lived here >for seventeen months. Sixteen of these people are now using Linux >as their main operating system.

    I read this and I smiled. Not surprised one bit.

  • Dorothy Anomaly

    8+ year user of Linux – I have a laptop with Windows 7 on it, which will never get updated to W10 or anything else Windows (is dual boot with Mint). Microsoft has proven themselves to be so untrustworthy and careless of customer privacy that it just boggles my mind. I’m with you, Ken!

  • Dorothy Anomaly

    PS: There is still one person in your community not using Linux? Ken, you are slipping (just kidding)!

  • Hi Ken, You know me personally and know I’ not from this l land. Americans are a decade behind the rest of the world. There are several reason Mickysofty is forcing America Mickysofties on to W10. Come next September Windows 10 users will have to pay their Annual Subscription Fees to use Microsoft’s SaaS (Software as a Service) system and pay for everything. Period,

    Outside of the states every few people use windows They haven’t done since 2002. since the days of Vista. That was the year that started the decline of Microsoft’s world wide forced monopoly. That was the reason that Steve Ballmer said “LINUX is a CANCER” (reason) That was the year that the worlds biggest Hardware, Software developers formed the Linux Foundation . They’d had enough of Steve Ballmer dictating to them on how they run their businesses. Today 210 of the worlds biggest hardware/software developers are now members of the Linux foundation and more and more are joining

    Over the last 3 years Microsoft have spent over 20 billion dollars trying to buy back their monopoly, They bought Skype, Mincraft Nokia and other Linux companies, because these companies had millions of (Linux) users, but like with everything else with Linux there are other alternatives, European Linux users moved to using them The only country in the world that Microsoft monopolizes is America

    Microsoft would not be allowed to download W10 on windows users computers in Europe and they know it only to well. Because Microsoft have been find millions of dollars several times in Europe’s court over their monopoly. Google are now being investigated for their monopoly across Europe. I can’t wait for the results of that, Google suffer worse than Microsoft have suffered in the passed.

    Today Apple, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks are now being investigate in every country in Europe over tax evasion. It’s law in Europe that companies caught tax evading be find 10% of their world wide sales income. I can see each country taking each company to the cleaners without a doubt

    Do you know that Microsoft tried to blackmail the UK law makers this year into not using open source operating systems and software, Stating if they did Microsoft would pull our of the UK, The UK Prime Minister David Cameron told Microsoft’s UK management that he would personally show them the shortest route out of the UK. and wave them off.. I could write a book on how evil Microsoft is, last but not leased. Have you heard that Bill Gates is dumping his MS shares. He personally knows not to mess with European government’s They CAN’T be bought….

  • sorry I have some type o’s in my post, but you all get the big picture of what I’m saying and mean…

  • archuser

    Windows is a necessity for me, most of the software i use work only on windows , example i had to use cisco webex to view online training, i tried to install it on linux i installed webex from Arch AUR but it was unable to connect to audio. I had to use windows

  • Eddie G.

    Awesome article Ken! I have been using Linux now since around 2004. And I can say after getting familiar with its ins-and-outs, I could NEVER go back to using ANY version of Windows! I have been in the I.T. field since 1999, and I’ve seen a lot change. but one thing that seemed to always remain was the Darth-Vader-Mind-Control-Kung-Fu-Death-Grip that Microsoft seemed to have on every computer you came into contact with. From WindowsNT 4.0…..Windows 2000….Windows Me…..Vista…..XP…..7…..8…..8-1…through to 10 it seemed that Microsoft would ALWAYS be the centerpiece of any server room, data center, home network, or personal PC. But after using Fedora….Ubuntu….Mint…..Debian….openSuSE….CEntOS…and Scientific Linux, I have no real impetus or incentive to return to the World of Windows. I have converted quite a few people into full time Linux users, and all of them thank me for it every time we speak. There is no better feeling than knowing that not only will Windows never gain access to my personal files on my machine, but they will also never be able to spy on me through the microphone or video camera on my laptop, nor will they be able to milk me like a cow every 3 -6 years offering a shinier version of their same old software and applications, while refusing to address some of the problems that plague them. To those who are still clinging to the false belief that eventually one day MS will “get it right”: Wake Up. Stop being led by your keyboard, wake up and realize that there IS another way…a different way, a way to live life without being hobbled by overly expensive software. There’s a reason why the greatest and most capable super-computers throughout the world run Linux as their base OS, and why it’s the OS of choice for such groups and organizations such as NASA, The NSA and other government entities, hundreds of retailers who don’t want to end up on the “Got Hacked-Lost Millions-Customers Info Leaked” lists, and various scientific labs, observatories, and universities and colleges worldwide.

    I almost feel sorry for the crew at Microsoft, as they are fighting a losing battle. Eventually with “preachers” of Linux like myself, and the “Right Honorable Reverend Ken Starks” pushing the facts out there and opening the eyes of the masses….it won’t be long before the people awake and realize they’ve been taken for a long, painful and financially draining ride. When this happens on a more global scale? Microsoft’s days will be numbered.

  • Eddie G.

    OMG!….I’m assuming this a a typo or something?….unless they actually DO only create devices like this that ONLY work with WINDOWS!?…LoL!

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Verbatim-8GB-Store-n-Go-USB-Flash-Drive-3pk-Red-Green-Blue/42466907

    If you go down a bit you’ll see the description…..its what’s written there that caught my attention…LoL! Smacks of desperation if you ask me…unless in all reality it IS a typo? What say you all?..

  • Tom

    Eddie, that’s not QUITE true, although close. If you look on verbatim’s website, the password security of the device only works on windows (so it says)..
    http://www.verbatim.com/prod/flash-memory/usb-drives/everyday-usb-drives/store-n-go-sku-98703/

  • Mac Taylor

    Been saying it for years. Microsoft management is run by outright criminals supported by corrupt government and judicial officials. Yet I’m labeled a conspiracy lunatic and a Microsoft hater. Others have been at it with larger audiences and have received worse.

    Not only has it been shown this is a criminal enterprise but they’re software patent trolls which assist other NPEs trolls in curtailing competition. Right now they’re leeching money from companies that are using Open Source software and demanding Microsoft programs must also be included in their products.

    You’ll see that when Android based mobiles (like hosts to a parasite) run Microsoft apps and Windows store, since Windows phone is a disaster and not worth the hardware it’s running on. They’ve killed Nokia but kept their patents.

    You’ll probably ask, “Why haven’t I heard of this?”. Microsoft is an expert at Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA), patent blackmail litigation, revisionism and openwashing. Like Apple, they lobby or bribe lawmakers and use government departments like such as FTC, ITC, etc. to keep superior products from entering the USA.

    Support companies like System76, Zareason and the like. They may cost more, but their products and support is well worth the expense.

  • Colonel Panik

    Use Linux or you are wrong.

  • Mike

    @Colonel Panik

    Linux isn’t the only game in town if you are concerned about freedom. The BSD’s are also good choices.

    …and let’s not forget that Linux isn’t perfect either. The mainline kernel still contains closed, proprietary firmware blobs and bits of obfuscated code. Many distros also contain proprietary software provided in the name of user convenience, which places their users’ freedom at risk.