In Pictures: The hidden fangs of Windows 8.1 - and how to avoid them

Before you install Windows 8.1, make sure you understand the gotchas and how not to get bit

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Smart Search Problem: Microsoft would have you believe that its new Smart Search feature makes searching simpler. I think of Smart Search as the most intrusive, privacy-busting piece of Windows ever foisted on an unsuspecting public.

If you leave Smart Search enabled, every time you perform a search on your desktop -- through files on your hard drive, or on your network -- Windows runs out to the Web and performs a Bing search on the same terms. So, for example, if you search on your computer’s hard drive for “Steve Ballmer,” you get the “hero page” (Microsoft’s terminology) shown here.

Bing gets to keep track of all your local searches, and save those local search terms with your ID permanently attached.

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In Pictures: The hidden fangs of Windows 8.1 - and how to avoid them

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