The dark defaults of Microsoft Edge
I’m a longtime Windows fan, and initially I was quite enamored by Edge as well. Base UX is excellent, lots of settings and they’re easy to find. Vertical tab bar, profiles, and it all Just Works. I flat out love its “turn this website into a desktop app” feature.
But by now they've shoved their core consumer products so chock full of crap that even I am starting to look for a way out.
I got my son a new laptop recently and it has Windows 11. Did you know that Windows 11 has a feature called “widgets”, a popup from the left bottom which has weather, traffic warnings nearby etc? It makes a fair bit of sense, except that it’s filled to the rim with terrible clickbaity news headlines and you can’t turn it off! Someone at Microsoft decided that the entire Windows install base, ie nearly everybody, must really read news about foreign celebrities doing questionable things.
The only way to get rid of it is a Powershell incantation that removes the entire Widgets feature. Better than terrible news, but still nuts.
Edge has this too. There’s now a Bing button in the toolbar full of “discover” and “suggest” type features that nobody wants.
I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt. The core of both Edge and Windows 11 are tastefully designed. You can really see that it’s been built by people who want to ship great software. Why do they allow the Crap And Turds department to piss all over their work? Who at Microsoft benefits from me seeing the latest Taylor Swift gossip when I just want to know when it’ll rain? Don’t they understand that this is what drives people to Macs and Chromebooks (and nerds like me to Linux)?
It blows my mind how non-consensual the Windows experience has become. I wouldn't let someone with a similar understanding of consent anywhere near my drink.
You are right about one thing: I refuse to purchase a Windows computer, and have been refusing for a decade.
Yep. I’m in the middle of switching from macOS back to windows because I need to do things I can’t do on macOS. I’ve had to build out a locked down windows 10 LTSC build to get anywhere near a sensible outcome for me.
I think we should start a revolt in the IT sector against this shit really. I’d start one but I don’t know where to begin.
> I think we should start a revolt in the IT sector against this shit really. I’d start one but I don’t know where to begin.
Personally, or at work? Personally, the first steps are actually pretty easy: install an operating system that doesn't do this stuff. And then deal with the fallout as best you can without going back — e.g. finding replacements for software that only ran on $OTHER_OS. Source: did it decades ago. No regrets.
At work? Good luck. We have no credible professional bodies that enough workers are involved in for them to have much relevance, and employers that actually have any kind of values relevant to this discussion are vanishingly rare.
I think the most productive thing would be to start conversations about ethical choices in the computing professions. Start local (friends, colleagues, local meet-ups). Find existing groups with similar values, and share experiences. Then _federate_. Set up regular inter-group meet-ups. Over time, formalise a union out of the federation.
Edit: oh, and don't be an extremist. Keep your policies lean and well within the Overton window. Pick your battles carefully. Compromise isn't weakness — it's just realistic. As long as you're moving things in the right direction, it's still good.
I’d more expect the revolt to be along the lines of calling Microsoft out for being a dick. More an intervention than a revolt.
> I’d more expect the revolt to be along the lines of calling Microsoft out for being a dick. More an intervention than a revolt.
To Microsoft, that isn't considered to be a revolt or an intervention. When receiving consumer input of such a nature, the preferred terminology is "Positive user experience report."
> because I need to do things I can’t do on macOS.
IT departments in huge corporations have purchasing requirements specs. Require any software that you pay money for to run on at least one non-Microsoft operating system. As a second source requirement.
If more than a trivial number of large corporations do this, developers make sure their software runs on other systems, which is what allows users to switch. Large IT departments are in a position to actually move the needle here.
This also has the side benefit of being a heuristic that excludes primarily low-quality software, because most higher-quality software is already portable.
I work for a pretty large financial corporation. They sent out the IT roadmap for the next year and in it was casually mentioned that they expect Macs to be the dominant platform in the next five years. Our current mac usage is <15% and as a result support is an afterthought with a very frustrating experience. For them to say that and push for this change in an industry that very strongly favours Windows is the clearest indication I’ve seen that Windows is starting to lose.
macOS now has 30% market share in the US. Surprised me.
Wow, I had no idea. Never mind Nadella, why does Microsoft's board of directors tolerate this?!
Windows doesn't matter to Microsoft now. The big sellers are Azure and Office 365 and they work on Macs.
As for market share in the US, I very much doubt it's that high really. There are huge unimaginable swathes of windows boxes which won't show up in GlobalStats at all. I know a company with 50,000 desktops that can only visit a web site on an internal network for example. Those sorts of installations are everywhere.
But this is a terrible attitude to have.
I already see this situation with Google, where non-technical folks will push back on choosing Google products even if they are the only credible player because of the perception that Google cancels everything and they don't want to be caught out.
Microsoft is playing with fire if they think that screwing with their customers computers will have no repercussions with other products.
They've build up enough political capital to expend it, upset their customers, and normalize all these dark patterns. They're taking the risk that 5 years later everyone will consider these things common and not be bothered by them. Apple did the same thing by making an attractive ecosystem. Windows is using its dominance as a platform to make the same exchange.
And this includes company computers. Imagine if commercial "seats" were factored out, in order to show how actual people are voting with their wallets.
macOS now has 30% market share in the US Internet
Fintech here. Also large. We have no Macs. We will probably never have any. We have a lot of software which will most likely never work on them. None of our clients have them as well.
Also another company we are related to tried a roll out and found they couldn't get Apple to deliver anything other than crap off the shelf configs in any quantity. Dell could. So the trial was ended.
No one does this or cares. They care about delivery and keeping ROI high and costs down, not demanding platforms.
I wouldn't draw any assumption that higher quality software is portable. I've seen monocultural genius (Keysight Genesys) and cross platform garbage (libreoffice) for example.
> I’ve had to build out a locked down windows 10 LTSC build to get anywhere near a sensible outcome for me.
Smart move. Truly sucks that we have to do this nowadays, but this is what Microsoft has become. Back in the day I would format a machine I purchased from a vendor due to all the added garbage; Microsoft is becoming just as bad.
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Any chance ReactOS (the FOSS clone of Windows) can fill in?
Or maybe use VirtualBox or VMware?
Quite an unfortunate name. It sounds like the operating system is built using React.js, to which any sane person will go “nope”.
I would really love ReactOS to replace windows. Genuinely would. But it's not there yet. I've tracked their development for years.
As for VirtualBox and VMware, that means I have two operating systems instead of one :(
> You are right about one thing: I refuse to purchase a Windows computer, and have been refusing for a decade.
I still use Windows on my personal machine due to gaming still not being comparably good on Linux across all of the titles I want to play - sometimes native releases aren't available, other times even Proton has issues running stuff on Steam. Apart from that, there is actually very little holding me back, since a lot of things on Linux are just better (mostly development related) and in general most of the popular distros feel good enough as a daily driver.
I wrote about my experiences before: https://blog.kronis.dev/articles/a-week-of-linux-instead-of-... but I don't think that in regards to gaming (or other software) all of the titles will ever be supported, so a Windows VM with GPU passthrough might be an okay choice in the future for entertainment and running some specific software packages, with some Linux distro on the host for the rest of my computing needs.
Which is a shame, because on a technical level Windows is okay and has lots of good software built for it in the past. Even the Edge browser is an improvement upon what they did previously (IE and the old Edge, though I'd say the old Edge was reasonably okay too). It's just the project management aspect of it that's annoying - the OS being taken in a direction with mainstream appeal (which is debatably not an issue to many), but without ways to always turn those customizations off and do it easily.
GPU passthrough has been a game changer for me. I stream all my games from a computer in a closet running Proxmox. Windows is still there in the background, but I almost never have to interact with it
GPU passthrough is not streaming a game.
The game output is pushed out of the GPU exactly as if you were playing on bare metal. Streaming assumes some form of processing and pushing bits down a pipe.
The GPU passthrough is relevant because it means that you don't need to build out a whole machine for just windows to isolate it. Instead you put a GPU in either your server (or your main machine) pass it through to a windows VM and then stream from it (through something like steam big picture, nvdia streaming, sunlight/moonlight, etc) knowing that the only info Microsoft slurps up is gaming related. You can even isolate windows from the internet if your gaming habits don't require it.
What kind of penalties you face with this setup? I suspect performance and maybe issues with peripherals?
I did find one good reason to buy a Windows computer: A few years ago a Dell XPS with Windows was cheaper at Costco than buying direct from Dell with Linux preinstalled.
I wiped the disk and installed Ubuntu.
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Microsoft just can't stop doing this. All of their products suffer. I'm happy to fork over the absurd Apple tax just to feel comfortable at my computer, and to know I'm not going to wake up one morning to a forced OS update that has Cortana start screaming black friday deals from my desktop. I mean, ads in the task bar? I spend all of my time on my computer, I do not want all this shovelware pushed in my face at every opportunity.
I think this strategy is going to kill them in the long run. I was a pure Windows user, until I was forced to spend some time on mac for a job. What do you know, its just way more pleasant.
Having used OSX for ~10 years, I can say Apple isn't much better. Both systems treat the user like an idiot, just in different ways.
You'll see what I mean when the OSX updates start undoing changes you've made to settings and things like that. For your own good, of course.
I have to strongly disagree with "not much better." I'm not saying Apple doesn't do some annoying stuff, but it is MUCH much better than Microsoft. Every time I use Windows I am just floored how obnoxious they are with pushing their BS. The difference is night and day.
I do think the Apple user experience is better, and the hardware is much better designed. I switched from Apple to Linux several times, and really know the difference, but when it comes to privacy, Apple and MS just can't be Linux/*BSD variant (I do know it is not for everyone).
It's called macOS, now that it's no longer on version 10, and it ain't perfect but it is miles beyond Windows when it comes to respecting the user, as far as I'm concerned. And, yes, I'd rather have an operating system that makes things easy for me -- "treats me like an idiot," pejoratively -- rather than one that's unnecessarily convoluted and full of crap.
Reverting my settings changes isn't "making things easy for me"; it makes things more difficult, because I have to go back and change them again, and again, and again after every upgrade, sometimes after every update.
Arbitrary UI changes aren't "making things easy for me," either.
Neither is forcing me into value-added services like iCloud.
> it ain't perfect but it is miles beyond Windows when it comes to respecting the user
Windows does that too, on top of all the other crap
I recently switched from Edge to Firefox. Edge used to be great, but all "features" it has added the past year is not features I need, like sending my text input to Microsoft, showing online shopping suggestions, discover features, sidebar apps and what not. Edge also has a annoying bug in combination with AMD graphics card where the bottom of the screen flickers when watching certain video content in Edge, like Netflix (YouTube works). This bug has been there for months and still not fixed.
I also recently downgraded from Windows 11 to Windows 10. Windows 11 was just too intrusive and many non-configurable features. Windows 11 is also slower, has more bugs and more unstable than Windows 10.
I'm guessing that we need to abandon Microsoft's products when Windows 10 reaches end of life, not something I looking forward too because I'm not a big fan of Linux desktop nor the Mac desktop.
I recently switched from Edge to Firefox
Right there with you. Somewhere in my comment history here six years ago was my suggestion for Microsoft to give up on Internet Explorer and create their own fork of Chromium.
They could’ve gotten massive adoption if they did it right. Instead I had to turn off their useless auto-coupon feature, be ever vigilant to keep them from switching my search provider to Bing, frequently turn off the distracting new tab content, etc.
Switched to Firefox and planning to dual-boot Windows 11 and Ubuntu soon.
> Switched to Firefox and planning to dual-boot Windows 11 and Ubuntu soon.
It doesn't help Microsoft apparently also managed to make dual boot more difficulty. Some years ago it was quite seamless, you could rely on automatic partition and it just worked. Today windows messes with the Linux bootloader after install, and to make it work I have to resort to advanced partition mode.
Yep, also see the section called ''About dual-boot with Windows and "fast-boot" enabled'' here if you rely on an Intel WiFi device:
I gave up on dual boot long ago. I just bought another box and networked it to the main one.
Why even go through all that trouble in the first place?
Just add two OS'es to UEFI BIOS. Bootloaders easily break.
Windows doesn't support multiple EFI System Partitions on one system¹, and it will nuke the default EFI boot image (bootx64.efi) on the ESP it uses whenever it updates or does startup repair. So if you do this make sure you have configured the Linux system to write EFI variables and know that if you ever clear them, you may lose the ability to boot Linux until you perform a repair.
Dual booting sucks. Don't do it, especially if you're new to Linux.
It's always seemed to me that dual-booting sucks because Microsoft ensure it sucks. Basically every one who wants to have a Linux distro and Windows on the same box has to work around MS being a dick. Their hope is that you give up and stick with Windows, presumably. It just makes me more keen not to use Windows.
> It's always seemed to me that dual-booting sucks because Microsoft ensure it sucks.
Up to W7 it was quite well behaved. Afterwards, it was like Microsoft ensured there was debris clogging the emergency exits before setting the whole building on fire, to make hard for people to escape. Now W11 is full of dark patterns and tracking, and dual-boot is broken. Beginners lost a easy way to get their feet wet on Linux without upfront commitment to a full switch.
Dual booting sucks. Don't do it, especially if you're new to Linux.
I’m gonna give it a go. I first installed Linux from a shareware CD I purchased from my local Micro Center in 1996.
Still remember Slackware fondly! And qmail - great email program.
Sounds like you'll have to trouble managing your bootloaders should they break, and you might even enjoy learning some quirks about how both Windows and your distro of choice treat the ESP.
Have fun! May the source be with you ;)
Buy a second SSD, install linux and duel boot by switching UEFI boot option. You can even reboot into UEFI from windows and Linux. It's about as easy as it gets with minimal effort. Or you can setup an efi bootloader on Linux disk that allows you to launch windows instead. These days duel booting is easier than ever, duel booting via a single hard drive has always been a clumsy way to do it.
The Windows 10 LTSC IoT Edition still has 10 years of support, and you can apparently hack it to continue working until the 2038 bug takes the digital world down. Looking into this now.
the massgrave activation scripts work great and will perma register w a real license from ms servers. only thing id advise, if you use a pihole turn it off while running it as many popular lists block the activation servers (or related)
Edge's only real feature is that it works... sometimes. I use it only when i run across some work-related thing where edge is literally the only option, like stupid configs whereby msoffice runs inside the browser. Instead of just downloading a pdf i have to trick edge into "printing" a docx to a pdf format that i can then actually read like a sane person. When edge dies i will be first to dance on its grave.
wear a pair of throwaway shoes when you do; im sure that grave will be decorated with fluids and semi-solids of biological origin.
I use edge only as double page endless scrolling pdf reader. Haven't found the alternative yet
Chrome has two-page view for .pdf files.
Not sure which extension you are referring to. Just tried and couldn't open pdf with chrome
Hit Ctrl+O in Chrome and pick the file.
Sometimes server MIME types (or the download attribute on anchor links) force a download instead of letting Chrome just load the PDF directly. But it can definitely open local PDFs, I chucked Acrobat in the trash years ago when I found out.
No extension. It should work by default. Two page view is in the menu at the top right.
Didn't you hear? 2023 is the year of Linux on the desktop.
What I can't wrap my head around is how one of the biggest companies in the entire world is willing to annoy literally everyone who uses their products, and slow down their browsing, in order to make a penny or two a day off of each one. My company just rolled out new laptops, and all of this is on by default -- on a corporate install!? WTF is my IT department thinking? They bastardize the hell out of the install with all the usual "security" crap, spyware, tracking, and scripts that run on login and logoff to make sure that you haven't done anything you shouldn't have. On top of all of this, why do I have to wait for 10 seconds to open Edge to go to the company home page while it loads all this horse pucky? Microsoft will do anything for a corporate purchase, so I'm positive that there's a tickbox or two in the policies that would shut this off. Is Microsoft giving a kickback on that money to companies who leave this on?
What I can't wrap my head around is how one of the biggest companies in the entire world is willing to annoy literally everyone who uses their products, and slow down their browsing, in order to make a penny or two a day off of each one.
The only thing I can imagine is that they are making a lot more than a penny or two a day from each Windows user they sell down the river.
Otherwise the marketshare graph that concinds linked to ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35212328 ) would be treated as an existential emergency. The only rational conclusion is that they no longer GAF about Windows as a product with paying users.
That marketshare graph is interesting, but what's missing is a graph of the size of the market.
Anecodtally, people aren't moving from Windows to Mac, people are moving from desktop platforms to phones. Maybe Microsoft is taking a ride it into the ground approach. Usage growth for desktop Windows is off the table, Windows Phone is dead, so revenue growth for Windows needs to come from throwing users under the bus?
I just switched from Edge to Ungoogled Chromium for exactly these reasons. It used to be a slick, lightweight alternative to Google Chrome, but the last 6 months or so have been a disaster, and the beta version is even worse with the useless sidebar that magically appears when you accidentally hover your mouse in the corner and the hideous rounded corners that turn your Surface Pro into a 1950s CRT. Not to mention the default search one day decided to railroad me into using mainland China censored Bing instead of the international version. It's been so disappointing.
Meanwhile on Android they also started screwing everything up, which led me to switch from Outlook and Edge to k9 and Bromite.
I don't know what's going on in the applications teams at Microsoft, but it's really soured me on the "new" Microsoft, and I've been a fan up until relatively recently too. I just hope VS Code isn't next.
It's a real shame, I thought they were trending in a different direction by actually releasing large projects as open source under permissive licenses.
> I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt.
From whom? They've got two customer bases:
- corporate clients, who get this stuff removed, either as part of the purchase or by their various sysadmins who get paid to secure the purchased laptops
- personal clients, who purchase desktops and laptops pre-loaded with Windows, and could no more opt out of using it than I could opt out of using electricity in my house.
edit: I don't read good, nevermind.
re: "corporate clients, who get this stuff removed"...
I am currently at a Fortune 100 company and only wish my IT department would keep up with / disable all the ways automated MS(N) news feeds keep cropping up via Edge and Windows default behaviors, sometimes seemingly as part of automated updates.
Every time I think I have turned one off, there is yet another way Microsoft enables some kind of news feed in its system by default.
I have been through three rounds of exploring how to disable these sort of features in the last 6 months with windows 10+edge, and resent the time I have to spend trawling and searching how to turn each particular money grab off.
I really don't want the distraction at work, thank you!
P.S. Edge has been slightly more stable (and memory-efficient with many tabs?) under low-memory conditions than Chrome so I ended up starting to use it to avoid reboots at times. Wake up Google!
Same, every time I run windows update on my lab with 22+ computers somehow (to no one's real surprise) OneDrive reappears, Edge keeps getting reset as my default PDF viewer on the regular (acrobat reader DC is installed), and lately the search bar added a bing icon to access AI search.
As usual, figuring out how to disable it took an exercise in asking "what would I call this feature if I didn't want anyone to find it and disable it".
I hate that I have so much OS specific software, definitely heading towards setting up a test computer with Linux to see how much I can get to work. It will be harder than it sounds but some of this stuff is legacy executables from Windows XP so getting them to run on Windows 11 might be just as much of a stretch.
> … "definitely heading towards setting up a test computer with Linux to see how much I can get to work."
I've personally been on Linux since my Windows XP / Windows 7 days (used to dual-boot before gaming on Linux got hella easier). I learned that the secret to successfully sticking with Linux as a "daily driver" is to stay fully aware that it's not Windows, and trying to forcefully shoe-horn it into Windows-like habits is a recipe for reinstall.
First and most important Windows habit to break is downloading your software from random websites. Install everything from your Linux distro's "package manager" (basically similar to an "app store" on other operating systems, except it has nearly all of the software available for Linux in it). Only install software from outside the package manager when you've no other option available.
Secondly, you should not generally be trying to find ways to run your Windows software under Linux for the most part (unless there happens to be a Linux-native version available), but rather seek out alternatives to the software you'd normally use. Instead of seeking out programs by name or brand, seek out software by the task it performs. Look for the Linux program that does the task you need done (example; Instead of wasting time trying to figure out how to install PhotoShop on Linux to alter or create an image, try out GIMP or Krita).
The "easy-mode" way to find these software alternatives is this nifty website https://alternativeto.net/ - where you can search the name of a program you know does the task you need, and you'll get a list of similar software that does that task. You can then further filter the search results by software license, operating system, and other details. Also handy for finding neat software for your phone or tablet as well.
Anyhow, you absolutely should not be afraid to follow through on your thought to give Linux a try. It ain't nearly the same beast it was way back when I first started using it. It's generally for the most part easier to work with than Windows (and sometimes even easier than Mac), and it's lighter on system resources and runs on a wider range of hardware. You may find you enjoy it enough to install it on your entire network, as I have. Hell, I don't even keep a Windows virtual machine around anymore, thanks to WINE (and Valve/Steam's Proton fork of it) making even that need mostly obsolete for me.
Thanks for the advice, I've used Linux on my own computer for twenty years.
What I don't know is if I can get legacy LabVIEW code, hundred thousand dollar equipment with drivers designed for windows XP, and obnoxious stuff like microscope camera drivers and software to work.
No games thankfully (or not, I suppose, games on Linux work fine for me).
That is a special situation, and isn't going to be straightforward -- just like it wouldn't be straightforward to move to Windows 11.
Certainly worth testing, but the general advice above isn't going to help with the special software for the instruments.
Virtualize it and pass through USB devices to the VM for the microscope camera/etc.
Does Microsoft add these feeds to LTSC editions as well now, or does the F100 in question scrimp on buying those?
the current LTSC is nov 2021. the next one will probably come with incrementally more crap but we'll have to see
GP specified "internal revolt", i.e. Microsoft employees. The composition of the customer base is a non-sequitur here.
Oh, I am not a good reader this morning.
You did make good standalone points. Monopolies have strong downsides.
Yeahhhh this crap is on every computer in the hospital I'm at (minus the ones on XP of course)
I noticed that nice new bing AI enabled search bar at the bottom will generously help you provide PII to openai now...
It's amazing that this stuff gets added without thought of consequence.
almost like a coincidence
I would assume there's a group policy to disable it
Almost all of it was already disabled on my work computer (...months since I booted Windows...), and most of settings were completely disabled due to group policy.
Just recently, my partner's PC had to be wiped because BitLocker was surprise enabled by Windows 11, and I hadn't set her PC up with an online Microsoft login, so we couldn't get the BitLocker key that we never knew we needed.
So your data is now hostage to Microsoft, and if you didn't read the full manual when setting up your partner's new Windows PC, you now lost her data. Writing about it, it feels like ransomware, except I guess we don't have to pay anything yet, other than an account that Microsoft can gather metrics from.
Doesn't windows make you sign in to an account during the install?
It’s possible to skip this by not connecting to the internet until the installation is over
> Base UX is excellent, lots of settings and they’re easy to find. Vertical tab bar, profiles, and it all Just Works. I flat out love its “turn this website into a desktop app” feature.
IMO this is one of the great tragedies with MS Edge. The UX is so much better than standard chromium but because of all the other crap that MS puts into it, I just can't use it. If MS open sourced Edge and someone created an "UnMicrosofted Edge", I would use that in a heartbeat.
Currently the only place I use it is on my work laptop where I don't have any personal info and just generally don't give a crap about privacy since I'm inside my company intranet, bitbucket or jira all day. It's honestly really great for that sort of thing because the vertical tabs let you have 50+ tabs open and still read what they are, but there's just no way I would use it for anything personal or outside of work.
Same. I use Edge at work because it’s less evil than chrome and I’m logging into O365 anyway. Firefox for personal stuff.
I haven’t had too many problems with Edge myself. I use Kagi for search without issue. Don’t see any native ads. It’s fine.
Brave has vertical tabs built in too, though they're behind a flag. But similar implementation as Edge and they work well.
last time I tried them they were extremely glitchy. have they been fixed?
I think a lot of the glitchiness had to do with the tab bar changing size if you didn't have the bookmarks bar always on or always off. That's fixed now, and the tabs look pretty, too.
> The only way to get rid of it is a Powershell incantation that removes the entire Widgets feature. Better than terrible news, but still nuts.
You don’t need PowerShell to get rid of Widgets. You can disable it with three clicks: right click on the Taskbar, go to Taskbar settings, and toggle the switch next to Widgets at the top of the window.
That hides the UI entry point, but widgets.exe continues running, along with 5-6 edgewebview2.exe processes, taking up valuable resources. If you try to kill widgets.exe, a system service restarts it :(
Unfortunately, the powershell incantation is the only way to get rid of it...
I just checked, and yes you're right. But it uses 1.2 MB of RAM, and no CPU.
will there not be some registry entry you can change?
No, there is no way to disable it via registry or group policy that I know of.
These "powershell incantations" usually modify the registry or group policy, or delete or replace system files behind the scenes. And from my experience the ones that modify system files often don't persist across system updates.
winget uninstall "Windows web experience Pack"
Get-AppxPackage *WebExperience* | Remove-AppxPackage
I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt.
For the same reason that Milgram and Zimbardo didn't see a revolt among their test subjects. Whenever anyone objected to the unethical things they were told to do, all the researchers had to do was give the same order to the next subject. They didn't have to go very far down the line to find someone who would cheerfully do the dirty work. And those students weren't getting six-figure paychecks.
I will never understand how Nadella gets fellated so felicitiously around here. (Hello, -4 Flagged). He has turned a decent OS into an exploitative nonconsensual experience, in which the user is constantly reminded who really 'owns' the computer they paid for. Even more offensive from a business perspective, he refuses to give the rest of us the obvious option to pay to get rid of the garbage. It is still far too much trouble to run LTSC without pirating it.
Yeah, everyone who really wanted to make quality products or had too much self-respect quit Microsoft years ago. Right at this very second it makes sense to stay put, but most of the time any Microsoft employee can grind Leetcode for a few weeks and hop ship to another company with a 30% raise.
Last time I was there, nobody working there was happy about how things are going, except a few random sociopaths.
I used to think Linux users were ideological, but now I just think they are long-term thinkers, preserving and contributing to both the culture and the code that will enable freedom of choice, and create software whose goals are well-aligned with its users.
>Why do they allow the Crap And Turds department to piss all over their work?
Because Windows is a free-in-practice product and it needs/wants a revenue stream.
Remember that Windows 11 can be activated with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 keys; as if that wasn't crazy enough you can straight up not activate it and you won't lose out on anything important.
As for install media? You can download those for free any time. No strings attached.
As for Edge, that really is a free-as-in-beer product. You literally can't buy it.
I still have Windows for multiplayer games (everything else is done on Linux). When I built this desktop, I had to buy a Windows 11 license. It wasn't free. My laptop's old license did not transfer.
OEMs have to pay Microsoft for Windows licenses on prebuilt Windows computers.
>>Why do they allow the Crap And Turds department to piss all over their work?
>Because Windows is a free-in-practice product and it needs/wants a revenue stream.
Windows is not free. It's because 2 revenue streams are better than one revenue stream. If your goal is to make money, why wouldn't you? (To answer my own question, it's short term thinking that will eventually drive people away from your product).
>My laptop's old license did not transfer.
OEM licenses are tied to the motherboard, which is why that didn't work. It'll probably activate Windows 11 on the laptop just fine.
>Windows is not free. It's because 2 revenue streams are better than one revenue stream.
While you have a fair point and I agree it would be nice if Windows was either paid-for or free-adware, fact of the matter is it's doubledipping right now if one chooses to buy a new license.
It's still possible to run Windows perpetually without activation with no loss in practical functionality, so I stand by my position that Windows is free in this day and age.
It is absolutely a free-in-practice product. You can use Windows 10 & 11 indefinitely without activation.
macOS and Linux are even more ‘free-in-practice’
Linux is by far the most expensive OS, because I need to spend time tinkering with it before I can even pretend to get anything done.
And you know what they always say about time: Time is money.
This is changing goal posts. In windows you need to spend time to work past ads, annoyances, shit not working as well. If you don’t you get bombarded with ads in which case you either run the risk of spending money buying garbage advertised or constantly need to expend energy to not be distracted.
If my sole interest was to just get shit done on Windows, I can just go and do it. Immediately. No setup time required. Yes, I could spend time tuning Windows to my liking (and I do as a power user), but it's optional.
On Linux, I have to tinker with it before I can get shit done with it. It's not optional.
$100~200 USD spent on a Windows license, or $0 by either not activating or using an old 7/8/8.1/10 license, is cheaper than the time-converted-to-money spent on Linux.
> If my sole interest was to just get shit done on Windows, I can just go and do it.
That works, unless Windows decides it needs to do a Windows Update before it'll finish booting. Sometimes, which can last several hours. :(
Saying that because one of my close friends was beside himself after staying up all night to get some paper written, ready for submission... only to be screwed over by Windows Update then pulling this shit on him.
Moved him to Linux after that :), though his new job then provided him with a Windows laptop (very locked down) that he's forced to use. And which the MS applications on it keep crashing on a lot (several times a day). :(
Fair point, it takes a bit of power user sorcery (and maybe a Pro license for Group Policy) to make Windows behave in that regard.
It's still far less time (read: money) wasted than needing to tinker with Linux, though. Gods know how much of my life I've wasted there...
Ahhh. Personally I tend to use the long-term/stable Linux distros eg CentOS (before Red Hat killed it), Ubuntu LTS, and similar.
Mainly due to my having better things to do in a day than screw with OS settings. With these stable distro's, it tends to be a case of "set the thing once, don't need to touch it again for years". Works for me anyway. :)
macOS is free only when you bought Apple's computer hardware which comes at some serious markups. Unlike WIndows and Linux I can't legally downloads it and install it on the PC hardware I already own.
That's like saying the SW ruining on your car's entertainment unit is free. Sure, that SW didn't cost you anything extra, but you paid for it through the car's purchase price.
Same goes for Windows tho. You need to work to get rid of the windows install in the PC.
That makes no logical sense unless you're trolling or never used a computer in your life
Where have you lived for the past 20 years? Almost all PC laptops and desktops (from Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo and others) have had Windows installed as the default option for that time. Sometimes you can uncheck it and save a little money, sometimes is won't save anything and most of the time you don't have the option to remove it.
The innovation has been to install vendor garbage in addition to Microsoft garbage. So it takes even more effort to get a clean system.
Only in the last few years has some distro of Linux started being an option.
It's just three clicks to disable widgets, "Right click taskbar, select taskbar settings, click on slider to turn widgets off".
I’ve seen those screenshots too, I spent hours googling for this. But that setting is not available on my Windows. Maybe a pro vs home thing? I’m on the latest version. I don’t believe that this is by accident, I think MS decided that I’m in some customer segment that’s not allowed to not know that Jimmy Fallon might be depressed.
And even then, I can’t get the widgets feature, a pretty decent idea, without the news. I want to turn off the news, not the feature.
Might be a dumb question but are you the admin?
As if only admins should have the privilege of turning off obnoxious stuff on their desktop?
They just rolled out the taskbar features in Home Windows 11. I just turned Widgets off thanks to the parent comment, not that they bothered me because I never clicked on them
I have Win11 Pro and it really is just those three clicks.
I’m not going to pay MS even more just to get a version that has a “please disable this one specific bit of crap” toggle. This has got to be the worst upsell ever.
It’s like you book a hotel room and the TV is on Fox News and you can’t turn the TV off. You ask around but everybody says that they can turn it off just fine, must be you. Turns out that they’re all in the executive suite and they also have Fox News on the TV, turned on by default when they enter the room, but for them the hotel didn’t hide the remote.
It was either in 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 where each house was equipped with a radio that couldn’t be turned off but only made quieter.
My Google-fu is failing me.
On the first page of _Nineteen Eighty-Four_ there's this:
"Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely."
(Though the more nightmarish thing about 1984's "telescreens" is that they were two-way, giving the government the ability to see and hear what you were doing as well as exposing you to their propaganda.)
I had the vague feeling there was something similar in _Fahrenheit 451_ too, but I took a look and I'm pretty sure there isn't.
And people today happily buy voice assistants themselves.
"Hey Telescreen, reorder trash bags and look up recipes for risotto."
Huxley's extrapolations were much more on-target than Orwell's. He realized people would line up to buy things that Orwell assumed would have to be imposed at gunpoint.
From ChatGPT using the prompt of a description of someone ordering household items from a voice assistant in the style of 1984:
As the clock struck 10 in the morning, Winston Smith approached the telescreen in his small apartment, where his voice assistant, known as "Big Alexa," awaited his commands.
"Order household items," Winston spoke into the device, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Confirmed," the cold, metallic voice of the voice assistant replied. "What items would you like to order, Winston?"
Winston hesitated, feeling a twinge of paranoia as he considered the possibility that his every word and bowel habits were being monitored and recorded by the omnipresent Party. But he knew that he had no choice but to comply with the rules of this totalitarian society.
"Two rolls of toilet paper," he said, his voice trembling slightly.
"Two rolls of toilet paper," the voice assistant repeated back in its emotionless tone. "Anything else?"
"Yes," Winston said, his eyes darting nervously around the room. "One bottle of dish soap, one box of laundry detergent, and a package of paper towels."
"Confirmed," the voice assistant said. "Your order will be processed and delivered within the next 24 hours."
Winston breathed a small sigh of relief, knowing that he had successfully navigated yet another aspect of his tightly controlled life. But as he turned away from the telescreen and resumed his mundane existence, he couldn't help but wonder if there was any escape from the all-seeing eyes of the Party.
Pretty amazing. "But it's just a dumb Markov model," they said. "Pay no attention to the guy in the Chinese Room who suddenly seems to understand what's actually being said."
This was also part of the original Max Headroom TV series, except in this was it was a television you couldn't turn off.
That's not fiction. Not sure what came first though
Last year, I bought a win10 pro to avoid microsoft login BS. It was a $1000 upsell.
Can’t stop laughing, it’s a funny analogy. Im trying to find a case where the user would be okay with that but not even the staunchest fox news fan would be okay with it. I really hate this model where windows is free but infested by ads you can’t get away from. The other day someone came over to me asking if they should get a windows laptop upgrade and I recommending them getting a mac
Fox News fans would love it if a hotel (or all hotels) turned Fox News on and hid the remotes.
If you have a TV in a public place people are always trying to put Fox News on. It is not because of those businesses.
Your analogy is good but I disagree with your principle.
Companies need to make money (if you don't accept this premise, fair rough but we probably have no further meaningful discussion).
I'm OK if they offer me options. Here's a free / cheap option that's ad supported, here's a premium option that has no ads.
This is a good choice! It's a good choice for all! It's when we don't have that choice that things suck! And if we want free things with no ads, that option exists too! :-)
Look, I don’t even know for sure if this is a Home vs Pro thing. I’m just deducting that from the comments here. I’m not arguing against the virtues of an ad-supported software product, I’m arguing against the obscenely braindead way Microsoft is executing it.
If there were a free ad-supported Windows and a paid ad-free (and news-free!) Windows I’d be a happy paying customer.
Microsoft is using dark patterns and is gaslighting its customers about it.
The honest thing to do here is for Microsoft to leave the option visible but show a big ugly error window when lesser users try to change the setting. That way, people won't waste their time trying to fix something they're not allowed to fix.
Source: This happened to me, a now Linux user.
I have the non-Pro edition (Home?) and I have the setting. I think this is a US-vs-Europe thing?
There are various unexpected limitations a given Windows experience can have.
Recently someone’s laptop broke while visiting the Mexican beach I was living so they bought a laptop from the local shop. The Windows install was in Spanish and the language options offered no other language to choose from. All of the tutorials online showed menu options that weren’t there. I tried helping them change it to English.
Apparently, for some reason, Microsoft really does offer single language Windows—I found after some digging.
You still can change language in single language Windows, but it requires a lot of registry changes and restarts. Also technically it breaks the licence.
That does not disable widgets. That only hides the button that toggles it.
(Edit 29 minutes after, because I can't seem to post anymore:)
It still runs its webview in the background and can be toggled with the keyboard shortcut, Win+W, even if the button is hidden.
In order to fully disable it you need a Group Policy or a registry hack.
As a mac user it’s super frustrating because this is the shortcut to close a window so I see this widget flyout constantly.
I need to figure out a way to remap it but not having admin on my corporate machine I have little hope.
As another macOS user, it's absolutely insane how much worse Windows has been allowed to get over the years, and I sincerely wish that my mid-2015 MBP had never broken, because this is still absolutely awful even after almost 2 years of getting re-acquainted with an OS that I had already used for 7 years before my first Mac.
macOS was just too good.
What's the practical difference?
Having a web view loading garbage in the background consuming resources and probably leaking your data vs. …none of that?
It consumes a fair amount of resources just idling.
I'm currently using a laptop that was mid-to-low spec when I got it a couple years ago. It was chugging, especially during video calls. Uninstalling the Widgets feature was enough to make it useable again.
You still get the widgets in some interactions (like left swipe from the edge of the screen). There must be a way somewhere to customize those as well, but getting rid of widgets altogether is a lot faster.
Good to know, thanks for that.
Do you happen to know how to disable the page of clickbait I get every time I open a new tab in Edge?
I tried setting my "Home" to Google, but that doesn't seem to do it.
This worked for me when I used edge > 1 year ago, it may still work: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/new-tab-redirect/i... and set my new tabs to https://aboutblank.page
Also it's open source: https://github.com/jimschubert/newtab-redirect
The only way AFAIK to change the new tab is an extension
You can't set it to about:blank?
It's been a while since I've used the extension (I use FF now) and I can't recall if you can set it to about:blank.
Disclaimer, I created https://aboutblank.page because in some browsers, about:blank was a default white page, and ignored the OS dark mode setting. My site respects the prefers-color-scheme setting, or you can set it to whatever color you want via a query string (see https://github.com/sphars/about-blank/#usage)
You can set "Home" to anything you want, but apparently Home isn't what happens when you open a new tab any more, it's what happens when you click the Home button.
It's pretty icky, and being stuck on this Windows work laptop is shortening the time I'll spend in this gig.
Sadly, Edge updates sometimes re-enable all the clickbait “news” stories. The last time it happened I finally gave up and switched to Firefox.
It’s a shame because I actually liked Edge, and it was the fastest browser in my experience.
Yep can confirm, after every update I have to go re-disable this, it's beyond annoying.
Is there a way to block all the Microsoft news/spam and telemetry at the router and still get just Windows Update?
I am willing to sacrifice Bing.
Agree this is a bigger problem for me. Its usually temping clickbait and I end up clicking some of the links and getting distracted.
This seems like a good time to trot out Microsoft’s mission statement:
> Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
It’s disappointing to see them working against their own mission like this…
Click gear icon at top right of new tab page.
Exactly. While I get that live tiles and universal apps have their limitations, I vastly prefer a weather live tile that opens to a full screen weather app over the news widget that shows me weather in a random location among clickbait. And if you click weather, you go to an ad-infested web page.
Remember when places hired UX designer to, you know, design a great user experience? This is not that. This is one hundred percent how can we get ad clicks, with apparently no one to push back. Except unhappy consumers that are ignored.
Remember when places hired UX designer to, you know, design a great user experience? This is not that
Some tortured soul, chained by NDA, not allowed to tell its tale of angst and woe, is hastily linking your comment, to email manager "See!!!! It's rubbish to do this, they hate it, see!!"
I’m thinking that individual has descended into madness by this point and is looking like the Monty Python “It’s” man.
There's only a certain amount of soul you can extract from people before they become empathy-less ones unable to create things for other people and dangerous to have around. So, corporations cycle the people they use before they reach that level.
> I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt.
Because companies are structured so that it never happens. Moreover, professionals who are too angry about direction are expected to leave. Not just in MS ... anywhere including in startups. Companies are not democracies.
> I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt.
My understanding is that they did, around Windows 8 or so, and all the people who had scruples about the desktop experience left and were replaced by people who don't mind earning their pay check by making the world a worse place.
>people who don't mind earning their pay check by making the world a worse place.
Yikes, you could be correct. Is this re-Ballmerizing? Wasn't that supposed to be off the table a while ago?
Not only Edge, Windows itself is acting uglier every time too.
Some of my scientific instruments are over 20 years old and going strong, a few still supported by the latest Windows software from the original vendors.
Now some of the new instruments do have lab functions the old ones never will but at least the old ones are on equal footing as data peripherals when you are sitting at a Windows 11 PC.
But the very oldest used to work with Windows 98 and Windows XP originally.
These things have always had some pretty demanding software, and before installing, the factory instructions had a few paragraphs you were advised to follow in order to configure Windows so it wouldn't have badly compromised performance.
You needed to manually disable a number of underlying Windows processes that were totally un-needed by the task at hand, if not highly detrimental.
It took about 10 minutes to go through the list and then the high-dollar software installed in 85 MB and worked really snappy on a 300 MHz processor.
To run the same old instrument now there are fully updated drivers for the new factory software so the readings can keep coming in to the PC at the same old 100 MB ethernet speed, including all the latest data integrity features from that point which didn't exist originally for these type analyzers.
It really does work and it is fully validated on Windows 11, but before it installs it autoruns a script which takes half an hour on a 3GHz PC in order to disable all the detrimental Windows defaults these days. It would take you hours if you wanted to do this manually.
Before it unzips its 10 GB package of goodness, which now runs like a dog on a dedicated near-gaming PC, compared to the number of clicks-per-minute you could get 20 years ago on a Windows 98 office machine. For the same raw data being processed the same way which is basically both the state-of-the-art at the time.
"Slowing down the speed of scientific progress one Windows version at a time."
Now I like Edge since I only use it offline, to open PDF's and web files like HTML help documents.
It really does work and it is fully validated on Windows 11, but before it installs it autoruns a script which takes half an hour on a 3GHz PC in order to disable all the detrimental Windows defaults these days.
Interesting. I've never heard of a commercial product shipping with its own Windows decrapifying script. Any chance this script is available publicly? We build similar things (relatively high-end instrumentation that needs to stream a lot of data to the PC), and have similar customers with similar problems.
I have been wondering if I could find the script in the installed folders. I'll have to check on Monday.
Give Linux a try. Even if you did before and hated it.
Flatpaks and Proton are really coming into their own. And not in a "year-of-Linux-desktop" way where it's perpetually "almost ready" for 5 years. So many of my teething problems moving away from Windows have been buttoned up and solved since originally using mainlining Linux 10-15 years ago.
I'm a Gnome weirdo though, Gnome 3/4 are easily my favorite complete desktop experiences (Elementary was competing there for a while).
Second this, Kubuntu is an excellent OS that on the whole just works.
> Don’t they understand that this is what drives people to Macs and Chromebooks (and nerds like me to Linux)?
(Internal) metrics say otherwise.
Internal metrics can be cooked to show anything. I read somewhere that "if you torture the data enough, it will confess". Whatever oxygen wasters are pushing for this crap will cook the data in such a way to push for their idea (as their salary depends on it) while "conveniently" not putting forwards data that shows otherwise.
How would internal metrics even capture someone using a different computer?
I think you can track pretty well with just the device ID alone, but you combine it with other identities like location information, IP address, cookies, login information and so on. Is that why Windows 11 recently made it impossible to bypass creating an MS account?
Yeah but they're speaking about switching to a chromebook or a mac. How is your device ID going to help with that?
If windows keeps phoning home, at some point they should see a bunch of device ids not checking in anymore.
You estimate how many people use computers and how many people use computers you make. When you subtract the two, you get how many people use computers that your competitors make.
Not every “internal metric” is something you can measure directly.
Most active Linux PCs were made by Windows PC manufacturers.
If that is how sketchy the data they are using to make decisions is, that would explain a lot about their decisions.
They could summarise the User-Agent s visiting LinkedIn or a couple of other websites they run.
(Internal) metrics may be short sighted.
What if they're not?
What if it really is economically better for Microsoft to "double dip" and try to monetize Windows beyond its purchase price?
I think you raise a very important point. What if it's economically better for you to let men have sex with your wife for money? If you _don't_ do this, you're just sitting on untapped value.
Not a fan of the analogy, I like to think that would be her own decision, not her partner's.
Anyway, companies are capitalist entities, so all that ultimately matters for them is to make more money. The majority of decisions happen along the axis of short term revenue vs long term revenue (e.g. not ruining your brand, not getting fined etc).
In an environment of insecurity and fear, I've seen companies focus more on the short term, since it's less speculative. But it sure doesn't look very good from the outside.
She has the choice to get a divorce just like I have the choice to not use Windows.
Of course they are. It's just not practicle to track long-term consumer sentiment around Microsoft, and life-time customer spending. So they track something else and convince themselves it's close enough.
This is the new pattern for almost any successful free software provided by a corporation. Make it nice enough to start building a user base, and then slowly make it more terrible to find a way to extract value from it.
Cory Doctorow named it enshittification.
This was my reply to the recently flagged article showing a graph of the decline in percentage for Windows' desktop share of the market. I think it was flagged due to questionable consideration of mobile OS's.
But it did visually show a marked decline over the most recent year and a half or so, which may be a realistic indicator even if not pefectly accurate numerically.
Looks like the downturn accelerated to its current more-rapid decline right after the release of the latest Windows 11 22H2 version in late 2022.
This would have been the time the true enthusiasts, who were hoping for some respite from user hostility and compromised privacy, could finally be giving up for good.
And it doesn't look like Windows 11 relented at all, when it comes to expanding its support for more older PC hardware than it did with its original release which was so misguided in this respect. Plus more dark patterns in things like online account approach.
So now that it's even more plain to see how much faster it's getting worse, even the users who embraced Windows 10 have finally had enough.
Now my opinion is based on professional use of W11 since its initial preview.
As always, the product of some absolutely outstanding engineers at Microsoft, some of whom add wonderfully to the discussions on HN.
But somehow or another, even the most excellent code is still getting Ballmerized by a vestige of the corp that seems to still be in position to compromise "what could have been" before it gets a chance to be considered or deployed by users.
Also anecdotally I was the only one using Windows 11 when I presented at a conference a week after W11 was released back in 2021. Didn't notice a single other one this year either.
From what I can tell, it's to prop up Bing's advertising. The windows search bar is mixed in with Bing traffic to juice their numbers, even though nearly all clicks from the windows search bar are inadvertent.
They are also chasing the Taboolah/Outbrain native advertising space that masquerades as new articles, hence stuffing that box with celebrity news.
>and you can’t turn it off!
Except you can. Taskbar setting -> toggle Widgets to OFF
>I don’t understand why MS doesn’t get some sort of internal revolt.
Windows sales aren't core moneymakers anymore when they're basically giving them away for free (I have mine registered with a MSDNAA key I found online and it worked).
Money is in Azure, O365 subscriptions and ads shown to their Windows userbase. Nadella even said that Google makes more money from Windows users than Microsoft does, so shoving ads in your faces was them taking a slice of that sweet ad revenue.
It's unfortunate, but this silent acceptance is our society having been numbed to being bombarded with ads on every computing devie it just became the new norm sadly and it doesn't seem like there's any hope for the trend to be reversing. People just got used to SW & online content being free and ad supported rather than paying upfront for it.
Except I can’t (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35208271).
Also I don’t understand why “not a core moneymaker” implies “this must be crap-maximized”.
>Except I can’t
Maybe it's a Win Pro edition thing and not on HOme.
>Also I don’t understand why “not a core moneymaker” implies “this must be crap-maximized”.
What you don't understand is irelevant to the Microsoft board meetings where they show ad-revenue go up, because money is the only thing they understand, user experience be dammed.
What are those users gonna do, install Ubuntu? /s
I'm on Home. I don't remember what I clicked to make it go away, but it's gone. Turning off Search highlights also got rid of the news garbage in the start menu. Now it's more like KDE's launcher.
Microsoft often do this. They introduce an unwanted feature but they include a checkbox to turn it off. After a year or two they remove the checkbox. My Windows profile doesn't have any ads or Bing integrated search or other nonsense but the options I used to achieve this live on only in the registry. When I get a new computer I'm not using Windows.
Buy chromebooks most likely
I've never seen chromebooks in continental Europe though. Maybe it's an AMerican & UK thing.
I don't know what the situation is now but I do recall, circa 6 year's ago, a Dutch colleague being very impressed with my cheap laptop and asking where she would get one.
I remember searching various Dutch retailers to show her how readily available these things were and not being able to find one.
Also, at the same time, Dutch amazon only sold books?
Fwiw I’m in continental Europe too and the local Media Markt has about 30% Chromebooks in the laptop department. The sales guy actively tried to push them last time I talked to one.
Only part of Denmark is on the continent, but anyway.
The categories are "Laptop computer", "Macbook" and "Chromebook" on Denmark's largest electronics retailer: https://www.elgiganten.dk/computer-kontor/computere
12 of the cheapest 15 laptops are Chromebooks, although that could also mean they aren't selling well and have been discounted.
> It's unfortunate, but this silent acceptance is our society having been numbed to being bombarded with ads on every computing devie it just became the new norm sadly and it doesn't seem like there's any hope for the trend to be reversing.
Oh there is. Governments. The GDPR was a massive hit against the advertising industry, and there is more in the pipeline (DMA/DSA). Additionally, the EU is beginning to act against crap like lootboxes, and other annoyances like NFTs collapsed on their own.
It is infuriating. The only way I know of to remove Widgets and Teams Chat is with the Remove-AppxPackage command in PowerShell:
I've been working on automated setup and configuration of Windows for my purposes and for family computers etc.
As part of that I wanted to hide the widgets, the pointless search input, move the start menu back to its normal place instead of the dumb place, hide one drive icon from explorer, etc etc
This also installs software from Winget.
This is what I have so far: https://github.com/lloydjatkinson/configuration/blob/master/...
I have a version for development machines too which is WIP but you can see what I have so far.
The repo root has a big readme of what it does and does not do.
Once it's done you end up with a consistent Windows setup.
I haven't looked into how to disable the bing crap on the start menu search yet as apparently the previous registry keys people found to disable it have been deliberately changed into "touch these values and your start menu search won't work for anything" which is a new level of contempt from the Windows team.
Tldr: Automate all this tedious tweaking and turning off of crapware features via PowerShell. The end goal is to be able to run a single command from the windows terminal and leave it to do it's thing.
A tip I got on a previous HN thread was to set HKCU:\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\DisableSearchBoxSuggestions to 1 so that when you type something into the start menu search box it actually returns installed applications and files on your hard disk instead of internet search results. That's been a huge productivity boost for me, and reverts the behavior to what it used to be a couple years ago.
Also from this thread I have now added HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Dsh\IsPrelaunchEnabled to 0 to stop Widgets.exe from executing on startup. Unfortunately it still starts up if you accidentally swipe the touchscreen from the left.
That first key is the one I was thinking of, a lot of comments online saying it breaks search for local totally by disabling it.
That second key is new to me I'll be adding that too thanks.
except that it’s filled to the rim with terrible clickbaity news headlines and you can’t turn it off! Someone at Microsoft decided that the entire Windows install base, ie nearly everybody, must really read news about foreign celebrities doing questionable things.
Well they replaced their journalism team with "AI" and that's what their AI thinks you want.
My partner helped someone in our family the other day with Edge(tm) and she told me she thought the browser was so weird it looked like one of those "home page hijack" sites from the early 2000's.
It's so bizarre how all the computers at my work have clickbait on the start menu. That's windows 10, so admin could disable it I think, but defaults tend to stick.
The news widget is terrible, and the sole reason I haven't switched to windows 11. I spent about 30m turning off news source after news source before giving up. Apparently there is an infinite supply of them.
It's actually a problem for me at work because they keep drawing my eye and distracting me from getting work done. It's crazy. What are they thinking?
they were thinking that it would draw your eye
Which is hilarious, because they always market windows 10 and 11 through the lens of "optimizing your workflow".
Except, obviously, when they want the news app to attract your attention and get a few advertising cents.
Imagine the point of view of Microsoft employee: you have well paid work, revolting is taking a huge risk of losing the job. Almost sure you will be fired IMHO. And in current market conditions when all companies are laying off, are you interested to be fired or laid off? You are not.
> and you can’t turn it off!
At least on windows 11 pro workstation, this is a right click and a preference setting or two away. The start menu can be moved to the left corner where it has long been with a taskbar setting. I did this as recently as yesterday with media dated February 2023.
'Don’t they understand that this is what drives people to Macs and Chromebooks (and nerds like me to Linux)?'
Maybe that ship has already sailed and they know who their core market is?
I didn't realise how much this bothered me until you brought it up.
On my low end laptop occasionally I can't even close it or click away and it takes a minute or two to decide to go.
You can hide it in task bar settings, or uninstall it.
Here's the truly weird part. I've been using Edge on MacOS for over a year. With each major update it shows me the same basic onboarding like I'm a new user who has just installed it.
I really wonder how and by which process Microsoft thinks its Ok to force everyone to look at its garbage bottom feeding msn news feed, do Microsoft exec's atually use Windows and put up with this?
Totally agree. And what baffles me even more is that most corporate IT is fine with that. Invest millions on cybersecurity and data protection, but never mind the spyware bloat.
You can easily turn off widgets from Taskbar settings: Personalization -> Taskbar -> Widgets (Off)
Comment was deleted :(
Holy shit. :(
Did you know that out-of-the-box, Edge will transmit the content of your text boxes on web pages to the Microsoft Editor service for the purpose of grammatical suggestions? I have no idea how this concept got past legal but hey, it’s on by default now.
At what point are some of the major government legal departments actually going to step up and sort this shit out?
It is so, so, so, so, so far past overdue. Yet nothing. :(
Your comment reminded me of the new grammar checking feature on my phone. It better not be what I think it is.
EDIT 1: I just checked and, fucking hell, it's grammarly! Samsung sneaked in an update that was silently leaking everything I wrote to fucking grammarly. This can be disabled by pressing the gear button and accessing the hidden writing assistant menu.
Good hardware is not worth risking my private information. Samsung, this will be the last time I buy a phone from you.
EDIT 2: Couldn't find anything about this on Samsung's website. Found more information on grammarly: https://support.grammarly.com/hc/en-us/articles/440798862017...
Thanks for the notice, so that I could turn it off. My kbd is Gboard though, so it should be unaffected, by that particular thing. I would recommend Gboard. I use it for better multilingual support.
If you don't want your text sent to a corporation, I don't think Gboard is the answer
I think it has settings for that
> Samsung sneaked in an update that was silently leaking everything I wrote to fucking grammarly.
It's not leaking if it's intentional. Leaking makes it sound like it was mistake.
Chrome does the same thing for textboxes if you use enhanced spell checking.
>Enhanced spell check Uses the same spell checker that’s used in Google search. Text you type in the browser is sent to Google.
Is there an actual example of what these "enhanced" spell-checkers provide over basic ones that run locally? To me it seems like spell checking is a problem that Word from over a decade ago solved well enough (and ran fine on that era's hardware).
They use ngrams and provide much more current dictionaries that won't flag non-dictionary words that are popular phases (think Urban Dictionary-like words/phases). The closest thing to something like Grammarly, Microsoft Editor, or Google's Enhanced spell check that you can run locally is Language Tool's local HTTP (java) server combined with the Language Tool extension, and installing an ngram database. But that won't give you the up-to-date phase information and you'll get red-squiggles under common phases that aren't dictionary words yet (e.g. Fluffernutter, Copypasta, Deplatform, et al).
Is it worth using these services given the privacy implications? Only you can answer that. I personally wish we had better local offerings, but I just don't think anyone wants to fund it when there's almost no revenue to be made.
what about that newer dictionary cannot be provided by a download?
your browser probably updates itself every week or so.
there is absolutely nothing about these kinds of services that require running them on someone else's computer, save for conspiratorial reasons.
see also: machine translation (apple offline translate, firefox translations et al work just fine on your machine).
A normal local spellcheck requires you to be much closer to the word than an "enhanced" one. As an example, if I search Google for "nucrusift" ("microsoft", but typed with my right hand one space to the left, a fairly common category of typo IME), it suggests a search for "Microsoft". The built-in spellcheck in Chrome (which I'm using to type this comment) does not offer any suggestions to correct "nucrusift".
iOS's local spell check suggested Microsoft.
I just tried for myself, and that was the keyboard's auto-complete, not the OS's spell-check, a subtle but IMO important difference. I think it's reasonable to expect the keyboard to catch that kind of typo, given it inherently has to do that kind of fuzzy logic to determine words anyway.
When I entered that same string into iOS Safari in a text box replying to your comment, deliberately bypassing the keyboard's auto-complete, it had no suggestions.
Marking unrecognized words, suggesting spellings, and auto correct are 3 different features if you want to split hairs. The distinction is not relevant to the claim a layout aware suggestion could not be produced locally.
I didn't say it could not be produced locally. I was just providing "an actual example of what these "enhanced" spell-checkers provide over basic ones that run locally." I'm merely speaking to what is, not what could be.
I didn't say you made the claim. It's funny how words we choose can imply things.
The difference is that Google has come under enough historical privacy flak that they now aggressively privacy red-team new functionality like this and do things like make it opt-in.
That seems new?
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Why would governments be opposed to free mass surveillance. Microsoft is one of the biggest cronies in Washington.
It also surveils politicians, higher end public servants, and other law-involved decision makers who you'd think would have a problem with it.
Maybe there's a blackmail and bribery department looking at what those people have been writing? (/s)
Lets see if that "backlash against big tech" thing actually goes anyone. One can hope. :)
> At what point are some of the major government legal departments actually going to step up
Why would they? It's cheap intelligence on their opponents. Bypasses those pesky constitution laws. Win-win.
Well, here is what Microsoft says on the privacy for this service:
> By default, Microsoft Edge provides spelling and grammar checking using Microsoft Editor. When using Microsoft Editor, Microsoft Edge sends your typed text and a service token to a Microsoft cloud service over a secure HTTPS connection. The service token doesn't contain any user-identifiable information. A Microsoft cloud service then processes the text to detect spelling and grammar errors in your text. All your typed text that's sent to Microsoft is deleted immediately after processing occurs. No data is stored for any period of time.
So, they don't keep any data using this.
But it's unclear since they also do text prediction; which can be toggled separately in Edge.
> If the Use text prediction toggle is turned on, Microsoft Edge sends the text in the text box, your top language from the browser setting, and a text box identifier to a Microsoft cloud service over a secure HTTPS connection. The text box identifier is not associated with your account. The Microsoft cloud service processes the text to generate a relevant text prediction. Typed characters and text predictions are cached for up to 30 days, for service quality and performance improvement purposes only.
> A Microsoft cloud service then processes the text to detect spelling and grammar errors in your text. All your typed text that's sent to Microsoft is deleted immediately after processing occurs. No data is stored for any period of time.
Interestingly, if they also share the text with third parties, then every one of those statements could still be completely true.
Do you think they are being deceptive?
Who knows for sure as to the current state of things, and what they may do in future.
But, it's the kind of hole in their wording they could drive a truck though. ;)
Personally, I'd be very surprised if they're not using people's written text as training data for various "AI" efforts. Let alone sharing the data with other parties.
Watching MS operate for a couple of decades has shown that if they see an opportunity to do something shitty, they'll probably take it. o_O
Well, if we're going to do that.
Apple has shown that they'd willingly help themselves to your data, while protecting you from others accessing it. Who knows what Apple will do with it? For all we know, iCloud Drive is now E2EE because they've figured out a way to ingest metadata and other information about your file as they store them. I mean, we don't know for sure if it's encrypted before being stored or not. All we know is it is now encrypted if you turn it on and Apple has no access to it. But to say nothing of it before or after. (/tinfoil on)
I'm not a Microsoft apologist, but I don't think they'd need to lie: "No data is stored for any period of time."
Anytime they've done shitty things, they have more or less been caught.
> if they also share the text with third parties
Legally, they have to share whether this data is being shared with third parties. It's about all we can do these days - for all you know, HN is collecting data on your activity and selling it to third parties for extra $. (Unlikely, but if we're gonna put our tinfoil hats on... no one is beyond suspicion! /s)
In any event, I know what it's doing and I'm not under any illusions that this is a privacy issue. I only use it to write things that will end up in public spaces anyways (such as HN, or Reddit). Any of my more private type of writing is done with offline tools.
> At what point are some of the major government legal departments actually going to step up and sort this shit out?
At the point when their love relationship with US will end up in divorce. So not in the near future.
It helps to read TOS/EULA/etc. If you agree to something then you shouldn't be complaining about it.
No. In many places getting consent by deceptive/malicious means is illegal, and EULAs cannot override laws. That's why Google's cookie popups now have a "reject all" button after a $170 million fine.
10 years ago it would take a month of workdays. I have to imagine it's much worse now.
There is a website that summarizes terms of services:
The about page says it started in June 2012, shortly after that techdirt article.
Then don't use the software, you can't just sign a contract and then back off because you didn't have time to read it before you signed it.
Interestingly, when I booted up a Win10 VM (with internet access) a few weeks ago some Edge window appeared, took over the screen, and wanted to force me to go through their preferences/setup wizard.
By "force" I mean "giving no other options". No "skip", "do it later" (or similar), and no way to quit.
Had to outright kill the task in the windows process manager, as there's zero chance I want anything to do with Edge.
So "don't use the software" is workable for people who know how to kill tasks.
But MS will be pulling that shit on average consumers too.
Well I have an EULA in my living room closet that allows everyone who wants to complain. If you don’t agree you can find my closet and write your name on the exception list. You must use Cyrillic letters.
Yes, have us let tech giants see how much dystopian shit they can get away with without any kind of pushback because their ToS has a vague remark at page 30 that might grant them the ability to do so. That is the kind of future we want.
Oh, there's no chance in hell I'll ever use Edge personally. Learned a long, long time ago not to trust MS.
I think you realize how unrealistic and out of touch that is, and just take pleasure in being a pill.
Most people want free grammar-checking, what are you suggesting exactly?
There's also the dark bit where changing your default browser in Windows doesn't apply globally.
That is, some UI widgets will still open Edge even if you change the default.
There used to be an awesome open source project called EdgeDeflector that would fix that. Microsoft got wise to it and found a way to neutralize it, which killed the project. https://github.com/da2x/EdgeDeflector
MSEdgeRedirect should work still.
Microsoft feels like two totally different companies. One company can produce amazing concepts and products. But then, the other company comes and adds nasty “features” on top to ruin everything.
Imo, so many of Microsoft's dark patterns are a direct result of them owning bing. Bing has bad market share, so MS takes every chance they get to show it to users. Start menu web search, Edge defaults, dark patterns abound just to get eyeballs on bing.
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Bing's assistant (chatbot) is also a good example of the nest technical side. There are some people there trying to make new technology accessible to many.
Hampered by other things in the same pattern, right now requiring an Edge User agent.
That’s because it is. There’s Consumer Microsoft and Enterprise Microsoft. Enterprise Microsoft products are mostly really great. Anything that’s tied to the consumer side can’t make its returns on fat B2B contracts, so they are forced to extract value otherwise.
> Enterprise Microsoft products are mostly really great.
I see you haven’t actually used Azure Devops. (Their “enterprise github”, sort of.)
I have, it is actually really good. I remember being crap >5 years ago but lately I find it much nicer than GitHub. What makes you dislike ADO?
> Enterprise Microsoft products are mostly really great
Yes, except Windows 10, Office 365, Teams, Edge, Calculator, Settings.
Copying UI from Google tells a lot about the spirit at Microsoft.
Is heavy but mostly very good?
You're kidding, right?
TurkishPoptart's post is pretty much 100% contrary to my own experience. Teams is a huge resource hog, but switching between desktop and mobile participation is smooth and convenient and the app's never crashed for me.
Microsoft is using Chatbots to spread pro Microsoft propaganda.
You know it will happen.
> Partly I’m hoping that somebody at Microsoft will wake up to the unrealised potential of Edge and start treating it like Safari: a utility that end users can trust to have their back and preserve their privacy in as many circumstances as possible. Apple doesn’t try to make revenue from Safari because they don’t need to.
I understand what the author is getting at, but Apple does make a lot of money off Safari. Their deal for Google to be the default search engine makes them a ton of money.
"Sacconaghi estimates that Google could be paying nearly $15 billion in 2021 for default placement. This is an increase over the roughly $10 billion Google paid last year for the exclusivity."
That's essentially $15B in pure profit.
The issue isn't that Microsoft wants to make money from Edge. Apple makes plenty of money from Safari while making sure Safari keeps that space as "a utility that end users can trust to have their back and preserve their privacy in as many circumstances as possible." The issue is that Microsoft is looking for all the edge cases to milk marginal profits out of. Microsoft could just have Edge feed Bing traffic and make money off ads on Bing - but they want more!
The issue isn't always making money vs. not making money. Sometimes the issue is restraint. It's why I'm sometimes skeptical about companies trying to optimize things too much. Maybe your profits are increasing, but are you doing long-term damage to your product and brand that will see bad long-term effects? "We've found that we can increase ad revenue by adding 7 more ads to the page." Then a few years later customers have left. It can be really hard to pass up what seems like free money and what seems to be working. Whether it will be sustainable money is the question, but often one that isn't asked.
> Microsoft could just have Edge feed Bing traffic and make money off ads on Bing - but they want more!
That won’t work if users switch their default search engine to Google, what many of them probably do. And Edge’s user base is relatively small anyway.
The only reason apple is making money with safari is because they keep it a browser people trust.
If people wouldn't trust safari, and treat it like edge: uninstalling it, moving to other browsers, etc.. it wouldn't be worth it for google to pay apple.
Oh man, as a longtime Mac user I have zero patience for this. Unfortunately my corporate laptop is a Windows one and when that giant, gaudy big blue Bing icon showed up in my toolbar yesterday I dropped everything to try and disable it.
I was disappointed but not surprised there was no setting for it. A quick search online led to some policy and registry settings but the corporate policies my company has in place wouldn’t allow those. Thankfully I found a command line option and quickly made a new shortcut which worked.
Back to work without that giant B looming over me.
Any job that forces me to use a Windows machine for a significant amount of time is a job I will not take. The only way to fight against this bullshit is to make it a downside for the companies that deploy it, and in turn, their supplier (Microsoft).
Same. It became one of my interview questions and I haven’t had windows as my primary work machine OS for 9 years now. If I have to work with it for 8 hours a day then it becomes part of sanity. Protect your peace :)
Mind sharing that shortcut for fellow corporate-policy dwellers?
> Apple doesn’t try to make revenue from Safari because they don’t need to.
Apart from the small matter of Google paying Apple $15bn to be the default search engine in Safari.
Nobody would criticize Microsoft if they did the same with Edge and left it at that.
I sincerely doubt that.
Do you think there is some coordinated smear campaign against Microsoft that is holding them to a higher standard than its competitors, and if so, why do you believe this instead of the simpler explanation that people are fed up with a user-hostile OS/browser especially when it is the only upgrade path from a prior, non-user-hostile one (Windows 7)?
What's the point of introducing a strawman like that? A coordinated smear campaign, really? Nobody said before you. You're painting me as a conspiracy theorist and alienating me from the debate. Why should I bother replying?
No offense intended.
Your response insinuated that even if Edge did the same as Apple, people would still complain, which suggests that Microsoft is the target of some hate that Apple wouldn't be subject to, so I wanted to understand your reasoning.
Almost no one.
Oh, the Bing button does have an opt-out. It's a Registry Option or a Group Policy option (or create a custom shortcut with some launch argument). Because of course they have to make it as annoying as possible, and impossible for a traditional user.
There also used to be a setting that would turn this off, but it isn't present in the version with the button. That same option can be chosen with a command flag, but that requires editing the Edge shortcut.
The only reason to use Edge is because your corporate policy forces you to. There is no other reason whatsoever.
If you must, use Chrome if you'd rather send all that data to an advertising company in exchange for a familiar UI. Otherwise, use Firefox.
Edge has lots of great features and UX elements that set it apart. Eg proper vertical tab bar, profiles with great UX, “turn site into desktop app”, well-designed website translation, etc. Chrome has some of these and Firefox lets you piece it all together with lots of add-ons but it’s not the same.
Firefox is my daily driver, but for a long time, before all these user-hostile misfeatures were added, Edge was Pretty Great As Well in my opinion.
"Turn site into desktop app" is a Chrome feature, and has been for many years. Chrome calls it "Create shortcut - Open as window".
Website translations and the profiles UI is very similar to Chrome as well.
Brave has vertical tabs nowadays, though they're still behind a flag. But they've gotten pretty and stable enough that I don't miss Edge at all.
Edge dev tools has "edit and resend" built in.
"Edge dev tools" are Chrome dev tools that were Firefox developer tools.
The collections feature is really useful as well.
I use it because it does better than Chrome or Firefox for my laptop's battery life. It's an unwanted hassle to stay on top of these new privacy settings though, and I wouldn't recommend Edge to a non-technical family matter for that reason.
I use Firefox as my primary browser, and Edge as the secondary browser for things that don’t like Firefox or for when Firefox does weird things. I don’t have Chrome installed on my PCs (both work and personal), because I don’t need it.
Also, Microsoft is not primarily an advertising company. They make money by selling software to businesses, such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Microsoft Office (or Microsoft 365).
From 2020, "Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home?" https://www.scss.tcd.ie/Doug.Leith/pubs/browser_privacy.pdf
> We find that the browsers split into three distinct groups from this privacy perspective. In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex.
Not corporate policy, but something is borked with the internal SSO. Only about half of my internal sites work with Chrome. So, I am frequently relegated to working with Edge because the Microsoft admins prioritize streamlining all of the account stuff. Everything else is an unsupported workflow.
Why use Chrome when you could use something like Ungoogled Chromium if you don't need backend services, or Brave if you want an end to end encrypted independent sync backend?
...are easily added to Firefox if desired.
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not really, it keeps the horizontal one, so it still takes space.
Apparently Brave has it now though.
Are built in in Brave (still behind a flag, though, but already in perfectly usable shape)
While I'm sure that the shareholder love this, from the outside it looks like that last desperate acts from a company try to avoid bankruptcy.
You think Microsoft are at risk of bankruptcy? Why?
No, not at all. That's my point. All these ads, data collection and selling of data, that's just unnecessary. Microsoft don't need the additional revenue, yet Edge is filled with stuff that I'd only expect from a shady online gaming company, or a company that's severely short on cash.
As others have pointed out, maybe it's actually "features" that adds value for the general public, maybe it's just greed. In any case from my point of it taints the image of a company that's otherwise highly respected.
For any company of Microsoft's age & size, "doesn't need" is completely orthogonal to "corporate executive greed". You probably should "rightsize" your level of respect for MS.
> You probably should "rightsize" your level of respect for MS
Maybe it would be better if Microsoft tried to live up to the standard and ideal that people like me expects from a company in their position. Realistically you're right, it would be easier for me to adjust my expectations, but I won't because I see no evidence that I'm not morally right.
That would be better, yes, but the reality is that's not something you can control, and it's very unlikely to happen.
Don't anthropomorphize the lawnmower, dude.
My instinct is that this is maybe similar - could it be the last desperate acts of a department or departments within Microsoft to justify their value?
From 2020, "Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home?" https://www.scss.tcd.ie/Doug.Leith/pubs/browser_privacy.pdf
> We find that the browsers split into three distinct groups from this privacy perspective. In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex.
A more up to date site about browser privacy is https://privacytests.org/
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This huge blue Bing icon in the toolbar near the address bar is really abusive. It's too big and really provides no real value except offering users to sign up for a waiting list. There is a hack to remove it. The simplest option is to:
Step 1: Add in the properties of the shortcut icon that launches the Edge browser additional flag:
So, it would look something like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Edge\Application\msedge.exe" --profile-directory=Default --disable-features=msEdgeSidebarV2
Step 2: Disable in the browser's Settings in the "System and performance" section "Startup boost" for it to not launch the browser in advance without the flag.
Step 3: Restart the browser.
P.S. I used to love the Edge and switched everything to it from Chrome. But OMG! Microsoft with every update ruins the experience even more and tries to shovel an even more irrelevant introduction to other services that have nothing to do with a browser. Microsoft abuses users' trust. I already think about abandoning Edge. I've read recently that next it will try to integrate a crypto wallet into the Edge.
It's also obscure what really gets sent to Microsoft, and what not. There was a Linux based OS that warned the user at every single application trying to phone the internet, even Gnome Calculator.
There is no reference to GNOME calculator in that page.
Given the extraordinary claim, please link better proof. I cannot imagine GNOME calc phoning home, unless you crashes and you have manually enabled debugging telemetry post-installation.
> There is no reference to GNOME calculator in that page.
It is at the bottom of the page I linked to, under "Application Firewall". There is even a screenshot.
It looks like it's getting currency exchange rates from the IMF, not phoning home.
The claim was not extraordinary. Many calculator apps have currency conversion.
Fetching currency data is not phoning home. And how is currency conversion supposed to work without contacting an external service?
Let's not dilute the original meaning. Phoning home means sending telemetry and other usage data to its creator and associated third parties, and this data exchange is not at all necessary for the program to do its job.
Communicating with the Internet without express prior consent, with as much emphasis as I can convey in the limited formatting options provided by this site, ABSOLUTELY IS PHONING HOME. Any other assumption is unsafe and a privacy hole large enough to deliver freight.
If the calculator wants to pull exchange rate information, all it needs to do is ask. Anything else should be presumed as shady in the current environment.
Note that in the example shown in the website, Gnome Calculator is not phoning home, but imf.org; probably a benign thing; it just showed how much control one can have over one's computing.
As a Windows user since version 3.1, ever since Windows 11 I've been thinking of migrating to KDE+Ubuntu.
It's sad that Microsoft clearly has talented developers, but their product people seem to be like an Apple that is openly hostile.
The difference is that Apple, at least until Catalina/Big Sur/Ventura, had good taste.
They force you into their workflows or design conventions, but they were generally good or at least bearable.
Whatever good taste Microsoft had, it evaporated shortly after the release of Windows 7.
OS X is slowly backsliding, too. It's not as bad as showing literal advertisements in the OS, but they're also trying to unify their mobile and laptop/desktop experiences, and it results in a worse experience on my laptop.
I think I'm about two OSX upgrades away from switching to a *nix OS as my daily driver, though I don't know what I'll do for some niche software like Clip Studio Paint.
> ...though I don't know what I'll do for some niche software like Clip Studio Paint.
https://krita.org/en/ is probably the closest one, it's open source and doesn't cost you a penny
Wait until you find out about the trap that is "default page or home page" in Edge... What poop show.
I installed Windows 10 LTSC and am not looking at a regular, retail level Windows ever again. They are shoving distractions and spyware into every app
What worries me is that I know there's some VP at Microsoft right now trying to figure out how to convey the Windows/Edge crapware/adshit/tracking bloat experience to Github. One day it will happen.
> If they offered privacy-enhanced ad-blocking Chromium with opt-in MS integration I think they would eat Chrome’s lunch. It’s a strict improvement in every way and I would absolutely love to see it.
I wish Microsoft really paid attention to this. This is the core reason why people jumped to Brave (despite the crypto wallet connection & byzantine ad revenue sharing, which I assume sends some kind of telemetry too). I personally don't like it, but having a feature rich Chromium-based, modular features browser would be nice. This is such a missed opportunity.
Wait until this chap sees the Crypto Wallet actually being added to Edge.
Is there an official source for this?
Edit: I'm extremely skeptical of this claim. The capitalization of "Web3" isn't consistent, most of the text reads like it hasn't been reviewed/edited. Seems fake to me.
Edit again: there are several more screenshots, many of which contain glaring typos. This is almost certainly fake.
This feels like an April Fool's joke, yikes!
It would be interesting to hear what people outside of the HN bubble (or outside of tech in general) think about this. I bet a lot of people like seeing the news right after starting the browser because that's exactly why the opened the browser in the first place.
> I bet a lot of people like seeing the news right after starting the browser because that's exactly why the opened the browser in the first place.
Does anyone, besides maybe the elderly (out of habit), use a desktop computer to read (clickbait, low-quality) news instead of their phone?
As an anecdote, I know a non-technical Windows user who unlocks their machine by clicking the "like what you see?" prompt on the lockscreen backgrounds as a way to dismiss the (stupid) lockscreen and get to the password prompt.
Doing so opens a Bing search for some bullshit (in Edge obviously) which she just leaves in the background as she moves onto her actual work-related application. I bet this looks great in metrics and "engagement", while being totally fake engagement and not actually representative of the usefulness of this "feature". I wonder how many other useless features are misused by non-technical users where all the "engagement" is actually just accidental clicks.
Even if the main purpose of people powering on their desktop PCs is not reading the news, I'm sure many (if not most) will still go through the news before, during and/or after they do the main activity they set out to do.
I wonder how many of the clicks on online ads in general are just accidental clicks. Especially clicks from phones where it is extremely easy to accidentally load the ads. This question will probably never be answered because it is a vital business interest of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and every company that makes phone apps that it not be answered.
My phone has recently started to randomly detect taps in a specific segment of the screen, the placement is just right to trigger ads if im not careful
My normal tolerance for ads is basically 0, so I expect a change on what gets shown to me until I replace my phone, which will be interesting, because ads I get shown are targeted to me pretty accurately
From the location and other problems, I'm guessing the battery has swollen, so it will have to be pretty soon
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Some maybe, my guess is most people would just set their favourite news site as their home page if they wanted.
It’s not like what Microsoft shows is a good source of news either.
Wait until ChatGPT11 is embedded with Bing, Edge, and Windows. And it cannot be turned off because it will make the user's life easier according to MS' sales team.
I wanted to sleep tonight.
Occasionally Edge works up the nerve to force logging into my Microsoft account to continue with a modal login dialog that cannot be avoided unless I terminate the process.
I'm not sure what triggers this or if there's a way to disable it, but it doesn't appear if I restart a new instance.
Yes. In a lot of ways Edge is a better Chrome that doesn't force you to make your Browser Syncing account the same as your default Google Account.
But they keep adding invasive features without asking. There's supposed to be a setting for Discover but it's not actually there.
Yeah, it used to be that way until Microsoft noticed this good idea of browser syncing accounts… So now it goes in the same direction: https://imgur.com/a/wLcljDK
So, in the same way pixels have been found to illegally transmit protected health information (PHI) back to the social giants, MSFT is just sending any data in text boxes to their servers…? They’ll just deal with the class action when it comes…?
That's not even all of them... Edge routinely takes over file association of pdf files, even if you have Adobe Acrobat installed. At work, we had to apply a whole slew of GPO and logon scripts to force Windows into using Acrobat.
However bad Edge is, Adobe Acrobat Reader is worse.
I understand it is a necessary evil for some of the forms stuff, digital signatures, and the full edition for editing.
Now you can have both!
And Microsoft wonder why on earth people jump through their arsenal of hoops to switch from Edge to any other browser as a default.
This would be it
The weird thing is going for Chrome, that is another bloated corporate mess.
There is a LOT of discussion here about the Microsoft Web browser Edge and Windows 10/11. I have some questions.
Background: At present I'm a heavy user of Windows 10 Home Edition, Firefox, KEdit, Rexx, etc. From a move, I have a Windows 7 Professional system in a box and am eager to get it running. That system has the 100,000 lines of code for my Web site I'm eager to get on-line. I'm considering plugging together a desktop computer for a Web server, with, say, some 16 core AMD processor, solid state memory for much of the file system, e.g., the SQL part, running some version of Windows Server 2019.
(1) Simple question: This thread has many mentions of a widget. What is a widget? Maybe I use them nearly hourly, but I don't know just what they are, what the definition is.
(2) My understanding is that with Windows Server, can turn off the automatic updates. Is that true? Hopefully.
(3) I am guessing that with Windows Server I can still run software that has long, commonly run on Windows, e.g., KEdit, Firefox, Rexx, some IBM code in Fortran for the classic applied math of linear programming, a Fortran compiler, Adobe's Acrobat PDF reader, Knuth's TeX mathematical word processing software, .... Is this true?
(4) I'm guessing that Windows Server will have less of the intrusive, unrequested popups, suggestions, recommendations, etc. about shopping, weather, travel, news, celebrities, etc. than Windows 10/11 have. Is that true?
(5) Generally, if I want or need to leave Windows 7 Professional, I hope to move to some version of Windows Server and just stay away from Windows 10/11. Is that doable?
What is a widget? Google search
has some good descriptions, examples. I was surprised that Google had such a good description of widgets.
It turns out that I am not a heavy user of widgets and would not much like them.
Okay, that answers my question about widgets.
Anyone have any information on the questions about Windows Server?
I use an arm surface when traveling (google doesn't ship an arm binary for chrome so I use edge). This has driven me nuts. To stop Edge from displaying ads and add-inducing news stories on a new tab, you have to install a third party extension. Microsoft disables that extension every few weeks.
Edge has been getting worse and worse. I switched to Firefox and Vivaldi instead. Chrome, just in case I need it.
I quite like MS365 and Edge works great together. But there’s just too much adverts and unrelated content from MSN.com pushed to the index tab. Also, they ruined the PDF experience when changing the engine from EdgeHTML.
Old Edge was a really nice ebook reader.
This Edge bullshit pushed me off the edge; I'm all Linux now.
Microsoft does not force you to use Edge. There are some places where it will launch Edge instead of the default browser, like the start menu search or widgets, but they are quite pointless anyway. For all your other web browsing, you can just switch to Firefox and forget Edge is a thing.
I've never used Edge: I usually use my Windows machine solely for gaming so I've had no need for it. But one day, that browser started itself to tell me of all the new.. Well, whatever it was, I killed the process before it could end its spiel. So now, I'll never use Edge.
I don't know what their marketing department believe their core business is, but selling adware and spyware isn't a viable long term strategy.
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For everyone complaining about telemetry/popups/general bullshit in windows 10/11 itself, go download O&O Shutup 10+ and let it flip all of its recommended options. It gives the nice sane default that Microsoft should have in the first place.
Slightly off topic I know since I don't think it will change things in Edge itself, but for that, you can go install your own preferred browser just like the last 28 years.
Wrote a similar article for Safari's Dangerous Defaults:
These articles came out in the same week, so it looks like one inspired the other or was just serendipitous timing.
The Edge team is working overtime to add in more and more "features" and it is just becoming more and more irritating.
If you accidentally click on the Sign In button in Edge, it locks into an infinite loop asking for your credentials until you either enter them or kill the process in task manager. No amount of clicking cancel actually cancels it, and since it's a modal dialog you also can't continue using the browser.
Wow, what a coincidence. I literally changed all of these just yesterday. I found the clutter extremely annoying and wasn't sure why Edge was going for the early 2000s "install the search bar" vibe on Internet Explorer. That's just awful UX and taste.
As had been said many times, every bad day for microsoft is a great day for linux.
There is a way. That way is freedom.
I am using edge as I like the vertical tabs… the only browser that has this feature, kind of, is Safari; but safari extensions suck (if you tried to ever build one, you would understand why).
It’s otherwise very user hostile but just I love the vertical tabs so much
I've been using vertical tabs in Firefox for longer than Edge existed. Currently I'm using the treestyle tabs extension, but there are others.
I find it interesting how we have a perfectly viable alternative in Firefox, but even many privacy informed users still promote Edge or Chrome. The author is a perfect example of this, he says he wants to box his "privacy exposure" to as few companies as possible. That would somehow make sense if all "companies" (in the broadest sense) were equal, but Firefox is made by a non for profit with the explicit goal of keeping the Internet free and private. And for the argument regarding Apple, Apple is perfectly happy to milk you for all your private data as well, they just keep it all to themselves. Why else the locking to their ecosystem.
Check out the Orion browser on Mac if you want vertical tabs. It does them well and also respects the user as an added bonus.
Brave has vertical tabs built in, designed to work much in the same way as Edge's (you'll need to enable a flag. Then right click a tab)
Oh I will try it then.
I disliked how Brave includes all the crypto nonsense when I tried it last. Yes you can turn it off, but you can say that about Edge too.
(Also, use the Brave Beta. It seems that some key fixes haven't gotten to Stable yet)
My next compute 100% won't be a windows computer, I am so done with this horseshit. Steamdeck is good enough(if not better) for gaming which was the main motivator.
Almost every default setting from companies like Microsoft and google with have tons of telemetry enabled to ‘serve’ you better.
I believe Ooshutup like tools can help up to a certain extent.
It’s all very well turning these off but they’ll get reset at some point when there’s an update anyway.
It is your fault for using the successor of Internet Explorer
I wouldn't call it "Dark" if switching it off is so simple and right there in front of your face. "Rapacious" is a great description though, and one I would see used in the title instead. These "features" shouldn't be default, they are extremely annoying and they are numerous. Some are arguably useful. But it's not "Dark" if you can switch them off right in the main interface where you'd expect, and doing so actually does what it says it will. Otherwise, this is an excellent article. Thanks for the tips!
"dark" as in the tech term "dark pattern." User-hostile defaults are generally considered a dark pattern.
Oh, I thought "Dark Pattern" meant trickery, deception, and using the browser in a fraudulent way to make users do something they didn't want to do. The features described in the article are certainly unpopular and annoying to certain types of people including myself, but they're not fraudulent. They're not deceptive. They clearly say what they do, and become disabled when you disable them, using the provided controls. That's not a dark pattern.
"Dark Pattern" does not just mean anything you don't like.
That's how I see this. When customers buy Windows, they don't realize they are signing up for an ad-supported platform that vaccums up their data. It's trickery that you think you're buying an operating system, but it's actually your attention and data that are the product.
Maybe we need a "contains adware" or "violates your privacy" label, FDA-style...
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