Windows 10 comes equipped with a lot of great features, but some of these come at the cost of your privacy. In a blog post from Microsoft earlier this year, the company revealed that it’s tracking things like:
- The number of hours people spend on Windows
- How many photos people view in the Windows photo app
- The amount of time people spent playing games
This suggest that Microsoft is able to track the apps people are running and what they do inside those apps.
Thankfully there are a number of settings you can configure in Windows 10 to make it more private. While they won’t completely ensure your data isn’t transmitted, they are a good first step to take.
Follow the steps below to fix your Windows 10 privacy issues.
Do not use Express Settings. Instead, click “Customize Settings” and make sure everything is disabled.
Create a local account for Windows 10. On the “Make it yours” screen click “Skip this step.” Then follow the regular instructions. To see the benefits of creating a local vs Microsoft account, check out this link.
Make your way over to Settings -> Privacy, and disable everything unless there’s a feature you need.
Within the Privacy tab, go to “Feedback & diagnostics”, select Never in the first box and Basic in the second box.
Go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update -> Advanced Options -> Choose how updates are delivered -> turn the switch off.
Within the same Update & Security page, go to Windows Defender tab and disable “Cloud-based Protection” and “Sample submission”
Head to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi -> Manage Wi-Fi Settings. Disable both switches to turn off Wi-Fi Sense which can connect you to unsecure networks.
Disable Cortana and web search by clicking on the search bar on the menu bar, hitting the cog icon (Settings), and turning off both switches.
Install Firefox browser to use instead of the Edge browser. If you insist on using Edge, do the following to disable search suggestions, page prediction, SmartScreen filters, and Cortana. Enable Do Not Track requests too.
If you already had Windows installed and couldn’t create a local account, you can convert your Microsoft account to a local account. Go to Settings -> Accounts -> Your account -> Sign in with a local account instead.
That’s it. You’ve manually configured your privacy settings on Windows 10 to better secure yourself.
There are also various privacy apps you can download, but whenever you install third party software you introduce risk to your system. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy fix, give these apps a shot: