I guess we should be used to it by now, but I still get a little bothered that every time I get a new device or Operating System, I have to create some online account with somebody. While there is no cost to me and I understand that for devices to work to their fullest potential they need to know and track things about me, I still find it a little unnerving. So why does Windows 10 now do this?
Back in the 90s, Microsoft rolled out their NT Server platform that allowed for what are known as “roaming profiles.” With roaming profiles, you will be able to log on to any computer on your computer network and have the same desktop, documents, and in some cases, email. It was clunky and didn’t usually work very well, so we IT people tended not to use it in order to keep our help desk calls and thus expenses to a minimum. Over time, we got better and better at it and now with an online Microsoft account, you can have all your documents, email, settings, favorites and more on every Windows 10 platform that can access your account over the internet. This will not work with a typical small business network but with some additional cloud services and a little know how, you can have your desktop with you anywhere and everywhere you go on any Microsoft device running Windows 10.
That being said, there is always concern about security and privacy. “If I can access all my stuff from the cloud anywhere I am, and that stuff is all about me, that means the “digital me” is no longer on my computer at home or work, it’s in a bunch of data centers where total strangers can potentially access it.” Despite huge security measures, I have to believe that internet attackers and probably governments would be very interested to have a digital profile on every human being on Earth.
So while it may be really cool to have Microsoft, Google or Apple be able to pop up an alert that you are very near one of your favorite restaurants around lunch time and offer to give you ratings and directions to get there, we have to remember that it knew you were interested in that because it stores personal information about you.
Is Microsoft bad for doing these things? Not at all. After all, Apple does it, Google does it, Amazon does it and now Microsoft does it.
Windows 10 will prompt you to create an online account in order to “wow” you with the same kinds of things that Google and Apple have been doing for nearly 10 years.