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Installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update may reset your ad preferences, other settings

Microsoft has taken a great deal of flak over the last 14 months for the various decisions it made when rolling out Windows 10. From increasingly pushy upgrade offers, and default program resets to ongoing problems with the Windows Store and the quality of the PC titles offered there, Windows 10’s path to 400 million users wasn’t an easy one.

Now, Microsoft has made changes to the Anniversary Update that may roll back some of your previously preferred settings, according to PC World. Brad Chacos writes:

It’s no secret that Windows 10’s stuffed with revenue-generating hooks for Microsoft, but I find the idea of a paid-for operating system shoving straight-up ads in my face distasteful, and disabled the Get Office ads and every other ad-related setting months ago. After a bit of poking and prodding, I discovered that beyond reinstalling the Get Office app that surfaces those notifications, the Anniversary Update also re-enabled Start menu and lock screen ads, essentially tossing my explicit choice to disable them out the window. And it did so without consent or even a notice that these changes were happening in the background.

Other readers chimed in with their own issues, including updated bootloaders that use Windows 10 by default on a five-second timer, problems with using a PIN to log in after the update was finished, and the already well-discussed problems with webcams, Amazon’s Kindle, and some significant PowerShell bugs. These problems may be rooted in Microsoft’s decision to fire most of its QA staff and require its own programmers to fill that role instead. The decision to change advertising preferences, on the other hand, has become something of a Microsoft tradition.

My own Anniversary Update didn’t encounter this problem, but I had made some edits to my own system configuration via gpedit.msc prior to updating and am using Windows 10 Pro instead of the more common Home version. Our own Editor-in-Chief Jamie Lendino wasn’t exactly thrilled with the final product, and Microsoft has been dinged multiple times for how it handles upgrades, defaults, and updates — last year, one of the company’s updates removed multiple programs erroneously because it misidentified them as causing problems. Every time Microsoft pushes a major update, I have to once again tell the operating system that no, I don’t want to use buggy, problem-ridden Edge as my default browser (Edge may save battery life, but it’s far from perfectly compatible with many websites).

More generally, I agree with Chacos that Microsoft’s new attitude on these topics is extremely off-putting. The company may be trying to convince users to try new features and applications within the Windows Store, but people who’ve already turned those features off aren’t going to be pleased to see them flipped back on. At the same time, I don’t have an easy solution to Microsoft’s general usability problem. The Windows Store will remain a blighted ruin unless Redmond can spur developers to write useful apps — and developers aren’t generally interested in writing and maintaining useful apps if no one is going to show up to use them.

For more information on privacy and Windows 10, be sure to check our detailed privacy guide.

Or read: Windows 10: The best hidden features, tips, and tricks

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