In the past I haven’t been the biggest fan of Windows 10. In fact, some of my most popular articles have been me talking about how Windows 10 invades your privacy and why you shouldn’t upgrade to it. I upgraded to Windows 10, though (part of the job scope if you’re a techie, really), and I’m sure a lot of you have over time, too.
So once you’re here, you might want to know how to enhance your security and privacy even though you’re using Windows 10. I know I do. Here’s my tips.
Before you go further into this guide, you’ll want to open Settings. Simply opening the Start Menu and clicking “Settings” will bring you to this screen from where you can navigate to whatever you might need.
First, we’ll direct you to disabling Cortana. While Cortana does offer a great set of features, especially in Microsoft Edge, Cortana can also be creepy and overbearing to some people. If you want to disable it, here’s how.
First, click Privacy. After you do that, select “Speech, inking & typing,” which will take you to this screen.
Now that you’re here, all you need to do is click “Stop getting to know me,” and you’re pretty much set.
Disable Microsoft’s Data Collections
A large part of my original criticisms of Windows 10 is the data collections. I’m still uncertain about how much of them can actually be disabled, but from what I’ve heard, this configuration should put your Windows 10 installation about even with the one you ran on 7 or 8.
First, head to “General” in Privacy, and disable the options above like so. I have SmartScreen enabled, however, since there’s no real harm in it in terms of privacy.
Next, change your “Send your device data to Microsoft” to Basic as seen above. This can’t be fully disabled outside of Windows 10 Enterprise, but Basic data collection here is what you were sending to Microsoft anyways. Feedback can be set to whatever you like, too.
After this, go to Start and type
Control Panel. After you open Control Panel, type
Customer Experience. Click “Change Customer Experience Improvement Settings.” This is a hidden program in Windows 10 that you may have enabled if you didn’t disable it during setup. If you did, it’ll look like this.
Disable Microsoft’s Targeted Advertising
Head to this webpage! This is pretty simple. All you need to do is unselect Personalized ads on both “in this browser” and “wherever I use my Microsoft account.” This will keep MS’ targeted advertising out of your life.
If you want to get rid of advertising in general, consider an adblocker.
Use a Program for It!
Finally, you could always use a program to disable tracking across your entire Windows 10 Installation. Available as an open-source project on GitHub, DisableWinTracking does exactly as it implies – it disables most, if not all, of the tracking in Windows 10.
That aside, there’s not much else to talk about. You’re welcome to disable Microphone, Location and Camera in your settings if you’d like as well, but that disables those things for the programs you use, too, which might just be a pain.
Other guides may recommend disabling certain Windows Defender features, but I don’t recommend that. There’s a difference between ensuring your privacy and making yourself vulnerable to entities that are actually malicious.
In this modern age, there’s a real reason to be concerned about privacy. If this guide doesn’t do enough for you, you may not want to be running Windows 10 at all, but you will be sacrificing features as we move forward in technology.