Somehow a discussion of trust seems very appropriate as Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 for free. Are they doing this to apologize for the mess they made of Windows 8? Are they hoping that giving free upgrades will convince Windows 7 users to upgrade? And if that’s the case, why do they care? Have they finally realized they’re becoming less and less relevant to our future with each misstep they make?

Windows 10_sI know the free upgrade is a limited time offer, I know that I can’t use their personal assistant, Cortana or their “groundbreaking” new browser, Edge, if I stubbornly insist on sticking with Windows 7. The thing is, I don’t trust Microsoft. I’ve used their products for over 30 years. During that time they’ve given me DOS wars, Windows ME, Vista and Windows 8, all under the guise of improving my computing experience. My level of trust in Microsoft is lower than my trust of Congress.

With each upgrade comes a new learning experience, dozens of incompatible programs and more incursions on my privacy. When I look at the possible downside of upgrading versus the limited set of improvements they give me, Windows 10 comes up short. I don’t want to share my personal life with Cortana, I don’t want a Microsoft account to share my life with them and I’m happy with Chrome. All I’m left with is the pain of learning a new way to do the same thing and the risk of more incompatible programs.

And there’s still the question of free. Why? Microsoft is not known for their altruism. I agree, if you have Windows 8.1 Microsoft still owes you a real operating system but as more and more people start taking a hard look at that “free” upgrade, I feel less paranoid and more justified in not upgrading.

In order to use Cortana, you have to give Microsoft full access to your contacts, your location, your browsing history and the list goes on. I know why Cortana needs access to these things but why do I need to share them with Microsoft?

This issues don’t stop here. Apparently Microsoft has decided that my personal data isn’t enough. They also want my spare bandwidth. http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/001116.html gives a very nice write up on this new feature. Fortunately Lauren was also kind enough to tell us how to turn this feature off, START->Settings->Update & Security->Windows Update->Advanced options, under: Choose how updates are delivered. I don’t know about you but ever since Earthlink subcontracted my DSL service to AT&T, I have no spare bandwidth.

Microsoft isn’t the only program I’ve stopped upgrading because of trust issues. When Adobe Elements 12 told me I had to create an account with Adobe before I could use it, I went back to 11 knowing that this was the last version I would be using. I saw no reason for Adobe to demand an account from me. I simply don’t trust Adobe to have my best interest at heart.

In fact I’m sick and tired of all the companies that want me to create an account with them. Software companies, retail websites, even my local grocery store. They all want me to create an account with them and none of them even attempt to give me assurances on how well they will protect my data. Each new account is one more opportunity for a data breach. One more opportunity for my data to become public knowledge. I do a lot of my on-line shopping with JC Penny because they understand some of us don’t want an account.

There are a number of news websites I don’t use because they demand I create an account with them. It’s free, they tell me but it’s also one more invasion on what little privacy I have left. It’s one more account I don’t want, one more password I don’t want to remember and one more risk I don’t want to take.

I think some companies have taken notice, they’ve started letting you sign in with your Facebook credentials instead of creating an account. Again it comes down to a level of trust, I’m sure that they didn’t hire their nephew Bob to maintain the security on their website and I’m sure that Bob has taken the programmer’s oath never to steal personal information and would never consider harvesting Facebook passwords and accounts. Actually I’m not sure and that’s why I avoid those places.

Splashtop was a nice app for my iPad that used my WiFi to remotely view and control my PC. When they upgraded it and insisted that I create an account (free of course) to use it, I mumbled a few colorful metaphors and removed it from both my iPad and PC. They had no valid reason to demand an account and I had no trust in them.

There are a lot of legitimate reasons for accounts. If I’m going to shop with Amazon and use my Prime membership, they need to have my account information. If I’m going to shop for 3D models with Renderosity, I need to have an account so they can make me aware of updates or warn me if I’ve already bought that model of medieval house (I’m a sucker for those). When you subscribe to Opinionbypen.com, I ask for your email address in order to send you the new posts.

I wanted to like Windows 10. I hoped that we could put the disaster of Windows 8 behind us but it seems like the same arrogance that went into Windows 8, has simply gone undercover. Microsoft is still Microsoft and when you come down to it that’s probably the major reason I haven’t upgraded my Windows 7 boxes to Windows 10. Free or not, I simply don’t trust Microsoft.

© Copyright 2015 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen