Next Windows 10 Release Brings Improved Control of Updates, Privacy

Windows 10 Creators Update, the platform iteration expected to arrive next month, will provide users with improved control over software updates and privacy settings, Microsoft says.

Following the upcoming changes, updates will be less likely to be installed at an inopportune time and downloads will have a lower impact on user experience in Creators Update, courtesy of an enhanced update deployment experience. Furthermore, users will benefit from new privacy and diagnostic data collection settings, while also getting increased control over such settings through the web-based privacy dashboard the company launched in January.

In a blog post, John Cable, Director of Program Management within the Windows Servicing and Delivery (WSD) team, says that the upcoming improvements are based on the feedback Microsoft received from users via channels such as the Feedback Hub application, social media, and Windows forums.

One of the most important changes will impact the manner in which updates are installed, something that users can’t control at all at the moment. Right now, Windows 10 doesn’t provide options that users can tailor in line with their needs, while also impacting their experience with unexpected reboots that could also prove disruptive if they happen at the wrong time.

Windows 10 Creators Update, however, should change that by delivering several options for scheduling the timing of when updates install. Thus, users can specify exactly when an update should occur, can even reschedule an update when needed, and can even “snooze” the update notification to postpone the moment when they have to deal with it. According to Cable, users will be able to use the “snooze” capability to pause the update process for three days.

The “Active Hours” schedule will also be updated, so that Windows won’t end up installing an update at times when the user would actually want the device to be ready to use. The same as before, however, users will also be able to restart the device to immediately install the update.

“As always, we believe in the value of keeping devices ‘up to date,’ and recommend that you choose the installation defaults that Windows 10 provides so you will always have the latest features, apps, and security updates. However, when you need more control over the update experience, you will have new choices,” Cable notes.

He also explains that additional control over the update process will be available when clicking on a new icon on the Windows Update Settings page, which will allow users to verify whether their device is up to date or not. The new update experience, Cable says, has been available for users in the Windows Insider program for some time and has received positive reactions so far.

Before existing computers will be updated to Windows 10 Creators Update, users will be asked if they want to review their privacy settings, Cable says. Screenshots detailing the process have been published via a “quest” in the Feedback Hub application. “This feedback will help us iterate on this experience as we get closer to shipping the Creators Update,” Cable says.

Users who choose to review their privacy settings will access options related to location, speech recognition, diagnostics, and ads. They can also choose whether Microsoft should use diagnostics data to make recommendations regarding Microsoft products and services. A “Learn more” button will allow users to access additional information on these options, on how Windows Defender SmartScreen works, and on the related data transfers and uses.

Last year, Microsoft had to bring clarifications regarding its collection of user data, especially with France serving the software giant a notice to stop collecting excessive data or tracking browsing without consent from users.

The upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update is also expected to provide users with new options to improve their overall security. One of these options should block the installation of applications that are not distributed via the Microsoft Store. Essentially, it would block Win32 applications from being installed, thus preventing malware from infecting Windows 10 machines.

Related: Microsoft Unveils Windows Defender Security Center

Related: Microsoft Launches Privacy Dashboard

Related: Windows 10 Creators Update Brings New Security Capabilities

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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