Last night, I finally upgraded my main PC to Windows 10’s major Anniversary Update. I’d been putting it off because of the devastating webcam bug introduced in the Anniversary Update—a deal-breaker for me—but now that a registry hack remedy’s surfaced ahead of an official fix, the allure of Forza Horizon 3 proved too great. So I finally forced the update. Sure, having to practically reinstall your entire OS is a headache, and it rendered my file-packed PC unusable for hours, but the process went smoothly enough.
This morning, I sat down with a fresh cup of coffee, ready to sling words while Forza downloads in the background. And that’s when I saw it pop up on my screen.
A “Get Office” notification.
What. The. Hell.
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.
Funnily enough, several other customizations I’d made to the Windows 10—from disabling ad tracking in Windows Store apps to tweaking the BitTorrent-like distribution of updates to my wallpaper—remained intact after the upgrade. As far as I can tell with a quick perusal, these ad-pushing settings are the only ones that changed when I installed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.