If “they” really want to get you they can get you on Windows 7, Linux or MacOS too. The problem is “mass surveillance as the new norm”. This is way more data than necessary for targeted ads or Windows diagnostic functionality.
I'm not saying all this extra data is evil or even unnecessary, but Microsoft did a rather poor job of calming privacy advocates. People generally didn't want “Google services” on their desktop. And Google has done a better job of separating OS and services that require lots of personal info. I don't like Google, but they managed to evade some privacy criticism by doing this. In Windows 10, OS and services are tied together so you can't just have the OS without services.
On a desktop people generally want control (maybe the “smartphone generation” is different). Windows 10 took that away. Not only invasive data collection, but also changing settings and forcing upgrades and updates. Microsoft behaved badly.
Mr Nadella wants us to love Windows 10. My advice is that he should love his customers. Give 'em freedom. Most people accept some data collection, but not too much. They also want control over their machine. They want a Personal Computer in every meaning of the word.
A good example of collecting more information than should be necessary is the Photos app. Microsoft writes that the Photos app collects:
- File source data -- local, SD card, network device, and OneDrive
- Image & video resolution, video length, file sizes types and encoding
- Collection view or full screen viewer use and duration of view
Microsoft happily announced that more than a billion photos had been viewed in the app. This statement made some people upset that Microsoft collects usage data. Microsoft labels this as diagnostic data. Problem is that just about any form of input/data can be labeled diagnostic data or telemetry. All your keystrokes are diagnostic/telemetry data if the “Getting to know me”-setting is on. Same is true for voice-data and handwriting. All your input can be considered telemetry if you haven't taken active steps to prevent it.
I'm not saying this is evil. It's just an enormous “grey area” where it is difficult to know if your input remain local or if it is sent off to MS servers. These potentially very invasive services shouldn't be part of the OS. It should be standalone opt-in services. I can see many business owners being very worried about their keystrokes being sent to Microsoft.
I'm perfectly happy with Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 7. As far as I know this app doesn't collect any data and still manages to do everything it's supposed to do.
Windows 10 might be the “latest and greatest”, but Windows 7 is leaner, cleaner and greener. It's like coming from a busy city to a “zen” place in the mountains.
I installed updates on Windows 10 yesterday. Not Creator's Update, just ordinary updates. There was one update that took very long time. I didn't know how big the update was or what is was supposed to do (because MS doesn't provide this info). It was on a Core i5 with SSD and the computer just kept on chewing, starting other drives in the process. I seriously thought now MS is going to collect every filename on my drives. Most files are on OneDrive already, because I've embraced the cloud. I just want to upload files myself instead of the OS deciding what is interesting...
There is a level of uncertainty around Windows 10. Business adoption is still very low. This kind of uncertainty is probably the new norm. The US government (and other governments) want data just as bad (or even more) than Microsoft so there is no solution to the problem.
The saga continues...