Years after I removed any conventional install of Adobe Flash from my machine (like any sane person), I found that Microsoft had installed special versions of it in two places under the Windows directory.
I have no idea why. I told Edge that it wasn’t to use Flash, and then I rarely used Edge.
The issue only came to light when I noticed that uTorrent was using ridiculous amounts of CPU (smells a lot like covert mining), and looking an awful lot like it was trying to chill it when Task Manager opened. It’s now next on my list for removal, but I saw that it was using Flash for its ads. I don’t mind ads, presumably they support the software, but when they’re a security risk and trying to game the system, they will be ripped out by the roots!
Microsoft makes it a total pain in the ass to delete those files in those directories. You have to one-by-one change the owner of the files, close, then change the full permissions owner, close, then delete.
Now that Flash is gone, I have no confidence that the next Patch Tuesday won’t put it back. On the system that I own. I doubt that I can bollix the permissions on those directories such that Microsoft can’t touch them.
A modest proposal: What if I leave a license file in those directories spelling out conditions for installing software there, penalties, and that installing software means agreement to those conditions?
No doubt I’ve agreed to give away all my rights to my own property in the shrink-wrap licenses Microsoft has pushed at me over the years, but what happens if I push one back at them?
(It’s a thought exercise. The time, effort, expense to make Microsoft even notice is hugely out of reach.)