Upgrade to Windows 10 and your kids may no longer be safe


Parents who are upgrading their computers to Windows 10 are warned that the move from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will obliterate the safety features used to protect children. You may have spent time putting restrictions in place in a bid to keep your offspring safe when using your computer, but Windows 10 will change these child-friendly accounts into standard accounts with no limitations whatsoever.

The upgrade process wipes out website restrictions, game and app age ratings, time limits, and other parental controls and monitoring options. Unless a parent goes to the trouble of reinstating each of these settings individually, their children will have unfettered computer access. The discovery, revealed by The Register, will come as a surprise to many, but the worry is that many parents will simply be unaware that their children are not protected. And this is far from being the first time Windows 10 has been criticized.

As reported by The Register, Microsoft does explain online that family features need to be re-configured in Windows 10, but it is a process that many will find confusing or just not learn about. This is not the first time that the issue has reared its head; it's something that was noticed by Windows Insiders during the preview testing period of Windows 10. But now that the world at large has access to Windows 10, the problem has the potential to affect a far greater number of people.

Microsoft says that anyone upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10 should receive a notification about performing a Family Safety audit. This is itself something of a convoluted process that involves sending each child an invitation via email, and there are fears that it will be seen as too complicated and not carried out by many. There are also concerns that it is far too easy for a child to convert their account back to a local account.

In a statement, Microsoft said:

We will continue to roll out new Windows 10 Family features over time. We designed Windows 10 as a service, and we’ll keep listening to our customers. If there are ways to make improvements, we will do so.

The Register also published a list of suggestions from one reader who had advice for how Microsoft should fix the problem:

  • Check for previous use of Windows Live Family Safety and automatically disable children's accounts until the Windows 10 machine has been properly set up
  • Scrap the invitations process for set-up via a PC administrator
  • Offering a wizard that guides people through the set-up

Is Microsoft's response good enough? Now do you regret upgrading to Windows 10?

Photo credit: Kylie Walls / Shutterstock

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