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3 Windows 10 privacy gotchas

2. Software scanning

In Windows 10, Microsoft decided to add compatibility with Xbox games and the Xbox Live gaming service. However, that feature brought with it a new addition to the Windows license agreement if you use a Microsoft Account or the Cortana smart assistant.

Basically, if you agree to the license, you agree to let Microsoft scan your computer for pirated software and unauthorized peripherals, and disable them if found. While most readers of this site aren't going to have pirated games or apps, it still means Microsoft is reserving the right to disable things on your computer.

The jury is still out on whether Microsoft will actually conduct these scans. Consumers wouldn't be too happy, and the ones who do pirate would just go back to older versions of Windows.

Still, going the other way, Microsoft might in the future run scans and disable software or hardware it sees as a security threat. It would be in keeping with its new policy on forced security updates. Who knows where it will draw the line?

If you want to avoid agreeing to this part of the license, you can switch your user account to a local account, as we talked about above, and disable Cortana. As we said, that will halt most of the privacy problems, but there's still a big one.

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