Yeah, in Group Policy there's an option called 'Allow Cortana'. Actually a bunch of settings, so you can search during gpedit.msc and find all the settings and disable them. Whether MSFT still retains a backdoor, who knows. I wouldn't doubt it. For Win10 onward, They need to identify you in situ, to allow you to update or reinstall or install, so there has to be a backdoor. When they can't do that, the installer bugs out.
For me, this is the last straw. I get what MSFT is trying to accomplish, but there are unforeseen "collateral damage" consequences I do see, and won't tolerate. For me, it's no biggie; to protect my clients' data, it's a deal-breaker, that MSFT now tracks, follows, records. Enterprise may have a more robust Group Policy to shut those things off, but Pro sure doesn't. For to install, requires MSFT read your machine to detect what Windows is already on it. Enterprise does its own slipstreaming installs, so the Pro you're installing, does not have the optout.
Mind you, I'm not worried about MSFT or the government, snooping. That's their job (government legitimately, MSFT not so much). I'm worried about all the subpoenas that can now be issued for MSFT to produce what it has, publicly. For Win10, unlike prior versions, tracks everything. So even if you turn it off, if you are ON Win10, you can be sued for the data, and MSFT as well: resulting in much wasted time and money. Invoking 'client privilege' is breached by this, since THEY have the data, too.
So I won't be going to Win10. Will have to umbrella my Win7 machines eventually, with Linux. How? Just install Linux to any external hard drive (i.e., WD Passport or Seagate), and then plug it into any Windows machine, boot (steps elsewhere listed in BC and in linuxmint forum). NB: this is not a 'live' stick, but instead a full official installation, so its persistence is to the full extent of the external drive. It can also be put on a stick instead, but sticks run more slowly. Drive operation is as fast as if the drive was internal, if you use a good external drive. Of course, you could externalize an internal drive using a Plugable (etc).
Edited by brainout, 02 August 2015 - 03:08 PM.