Microsoft Announces Windows 10 China Government Edition

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 18 Comments

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 China Government Edition

Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 China Government Edition is now available, offering the government there a way to control the encryption on its own devices.

“The Windows 10 China Government Edition is based on Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, which already includes many of the security, identity, deployment, and manageability features governments and enterprises need,” a new blog post from Terry Myerson reads. “The China Government Edition will use these manageability features to remove features that are not needed by Chinese government employees like OneDrive, to manage all telemetry and updates, and to enable the government to use its own encryption algorithms within its computer systems.”

That last bit was the real impetus behind this new Windows 10 product edition, Bloomberg’s Dina Bass reports.

“This version of Windows 10 lets the government use its own encryption on its computers,” she writes. “A joint venture in China manages all the system updates and telemetry so no data leaves China, Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices chief, said in an interview.”

“It’s quite appropriate for a sovereign country, within its own computer system and its own employees, to have its own encryption systems,” Mr. Myerson told Bloomberg, alluding to the suspicion this move will no doubt trigger. But I agree it makes sense: Basically, the changes that Microsoft made to Windows 10 ensure that the Chinese government has control of its own data at all times.

Windows 10 China Government Edition will be piloted by three Chinese governmental organizations—China Customs, the City of Shanghai (EITC), and a company called Westone Information Technology, which is state-owned—and Lenovo, which was curiously absent at Microsoft’s Windows 10 S announcement, will be one of the first partners to preinstall it on new PCs.

This is a big announcement for Microsoft because the Chinese government had previously refused to deploy Windows 8 or Windows 10, citing security concerns. Microsoft says that it worked with the government there for two years to arrive at a Windows 10 product edition that met their needs. But Windows 10 China Government Edition will not be made available elsewhere, it says.


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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Microsoft Announces Windows 10 China Government Edition”

  1. Jari Pennanen

    Government edition with all these goodies, everybody is asking where is the Peoples Edition? 

  2. BoItmanLives

    Windows users: "Can't we just have a telemetry opt-out in 10?"

    Microsoft & zealots: "LOL put your tinfoil hat away, telemetry is necessary for the OS to function!"

    Chinese government: "Get rid of your telemetry b.s. before we even look at 10"

    Microsoft: "No problem!"

  3. Waethorn

    Semi-related: I'm seeing numerous machines where the "Compatibility Telemetry" service is spiking disk usage to 100% with high CPU usage (one core being maxed out) on bootup on several machines, and on EVERY bootup, causing the systems to run slow. I can't seem to figure out if there's a piece of software doing it or not (other than just Windows 10) because I checked on a clean machine that was only used for web surfing, and had only Malwarebytes installed (other systems that experienced the same problem didn't have it installed). Yet this system took almost 5 minutes to boot to a "usable" state, and yet the system was still being dragged down by that. I did find that setting error reporting to "Basic" seemed to help, in case anybody else was having this problem. You can try disabling the "Customer Experience Improvement Feedback Telemetry Service", as others in forums suggest, but Windows Updates will re-enable it. There's nothing saying that a new build of Windows or an update won't set it to the default of "Full Reporting" either, but you can easily blame Microsoft if it does.

    Also, I had a number of machines where the latest cumulative update to Windows is causing systems to immediately go through an automatic full shutdown after booting up. Like, you see the login screen, and it says "Shutting Down" immediately before you can even type a password. And it's not a virus either - I checked. I did a clean install on a couple machines, and starting doing updates, and as updates were installing, the systems were shutting down automatically, and will subsequently do that on bootup. And these are on both laptops and desktops, all connected to AC power.

    This is absolute garbage.

  4. lvthunder

    If you buy a million licenses Microsoft will tailor a Windows version for you too.

  5. rameshthanikodi

    TBH I would trust Microsoft's encryption over whatever China is building. The weak link for Microsoft is, you can guess, the corrupt fucking American government and all of the nonsense they do. I suspect it is also the reason why China is deeply suspicious of US tech. But good on China for at least believing that they have a better system in place.

    I don't get the part about wanting to have "complete control" (read: stop) of updates though. They're....just updates. Security and stability. Just pick a time and update. I understand wanting to put off Windows 10's feature updates, but everyone should just not mess with patch tuesday. #leavepatchtuesdayalone

    I also think the whole hoopla over Telemetry collection is a whole lot of BS, because info about computer health and such metrics is not user data at all. Not being able to assess the health of Windows on whatever configuration China's government computers are using is only going to make it more difficult to both Microsoft and China's gov. Oh well.

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      Except "info about computer health" shouldn't require 2000 datapoints in the Basic telemetry setting. I don't fault MS for wanting to collect data, but they should provide an opt-out. Asking permission before taking something shouldn't be a hard concept to grasp.

      Even if a small percentage of users turn it off, there will still be hundreds of millions of good worker drones such as yourself providing their personal data for MS to aggregate and sell as "insights" under their Big Data programs.

      • rameshthanikodi

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        it. is. not. personal. data.

        It's their OS, the health of the ecosystem of the OS doesn't even belong to you. They can take it. You don't own anything about it, and there is nothing personally identifiable in it.

        The real worker drones are the ones that misunderstand what Microsoft/Windows is doing but don't even realize that Google is doing all of this at a much larger scale with your actual personal data.

  6. Tony Barrett

    Based on what I've read elsewhere today, independent testing has shown that Win10 Enterprise leaks almost as much information as Pro/Home, even if you turn off all those data collection settings - it just ignores them and keeps sending data off to the MS mothership. Looks like LTSB might be the only version worth investigating.

    Good luck China by the way. I'm sure MS will make sure you get everything you deserve.

  7. RobertJasiek

    I want it, too! No telemetry and independent encryption are perfect! Free the world instead of only the Chinese government!

  8. hrlngrv

    . . . will not be made available elsewhere . . .

    Unless the EU demands it for itself and all EU member governments.

    I suspect MSFT may have just opened itself up to different SKUs for every large government on earth.

    But of course this was MSFT just being proactive. Nothing at all to do with China telling MSFT to pound sand if MSFT didn't provide a Windows version for which China and not MSFT would control telemetry and features.

    Out of curiosity, can the China version flush UWP and Edge off the drive?

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