Windows 10, like any other system, experienced the first moment of diffidence from the most experienced users. Yet, the latest Microsoft OS, has gradually conquered everyone. But what really changed compared to previous versions?

In reality, this operating system is full of new and very useful features. Among these, some solutions stand out in order to protect your privacy that are not so intuitive to activate. To explore and find out how to use these features, we’ve bundled 8 tricks to protect your privacy when you use Windows 10.

Privacy on Windows 10: how to improve it

As already stressed the default privacy settings of Windows 10 need to be a little “encouraged”.

While reading this article, you will need to make a decision often: Microsoft in fact, asks you about your activities to solve any problems. You can therefore dose the data sent to the developers, choosing as much as possible an acceptable compromise.

1- Do not use the Quick Settings during the installation of Windows 10

If you have not yet installed Windows 10 or if you plan to purchase a PC with this OS already installed, do not use the Quick Settings option when you perform the initial configuration of the operating system.

Instead, select Custom Settings so that you can take total control over what’s coming and what’s not installed. In this way you can take action to activate/deactivate the most useful features in order to protect your privacy from the beginning.

Pay attention: following the link More information you can take a look at useful information regarding privacy. Here, in fact, it is explained how Windows 10 manages voice recognition, location services, diagnostics and other similar functions.

2- Disable ad tracking

If you have decided to use Quick Settings when you have installed Windows 10, you can be sure that the operating system is monitoring your every move and extracting your personal data quite massively.

This includes providing information to its advertising partners, who then use this information to show ads targeted to you, online and within Windows itself.

When ad tracking is enabled, Windows generates a unique ID for each user, intended for app developers and the ad network to provide more relevant ads in apps as specified in the documentation. Apps can access the ID and use it in much the same way that websites work with cookies.

To prevent this from happening, it is necessary:

  • click or tap the Windows Start button in the lower left corner of the desktop
  • click or tap the Settings icon
  • select the Privacy icon in the Settings menu.
  • In the Privacy menu, click or tap the General option if it is not already selected.
    Disable Allow apps to use my advertising ID for app experiences.

If you are interested in protecting your privacy while using Windows 10, this is a great place to start.

3- Disable position detection

When location tracking is enabled, Windows and its apps are allowed to detect the current location of the computer or device. This is particularly useful for mobile devices, but at the same time it can be considered as not very respectful of privacy.

The interruption of this function on the laptop could have less impact than the shutdown on a mobile device, due to the mobile nature of the latter and the more intense use of the location services.

To turn off location services for a device, go to the Privacy section under Settings and click Location. So set Location for this device to No to disable location services for all users of the device.

If the Location switch for this device is left at position Yes, it will be left up to you whether or not location services can gain access to the device.

When the location service is enabled, as seen above, any app that uses the location of the device will show a universal icon (a dot with a circle around it).

4- Control access to the camera

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? It’s probably a bit of a paranoia, but some people actually put tape on cameras when they’re not used … but if this is done by Mark Zuckerberg, there’s a reason, right?

Access to the camera in Windows 10 can be easily controlled. Using the Camera menu in the Privacy section of Settings, you can completely disable access to your computer or to the built-in or connected camera of your tablet. You can also set the camera access by choosing for each individual application.

The general access by the system is controlled by a key that is just below the eloquent written Allow me to use my camera hardware app.

Alternatively, you can always rely on the scotch so dear to old Zuckerberg!

5- Controlling access to the microphone

Although allowing access to Windows to the computer’s microphone, whether integrated or not, may not seem such a high privacy problem, it should not be snubbed.

Just like with the camera settings, you can act on the Allow selector to the apps use my microphone by choosing Yes and then decide individually which apps allow you to access the microphone. It makes sense to allow Skype access to the microphone, while other software has no need to do so.

Choosing to act on a single application is definitely the best choice.

6- Speech, Inking, & Typing

This section of privacy settings controls how to use the voice to talk to Cortana or applications downloaded from the Windows Store. It also uses voice input to improve voice services based on Microsoft’s cloud system, so send samples of your voice to the cloud.

When this function is deactivated, it is no longer possible to speak with Cortana and the user’s typing and inking dictionary will be deleted from the available data. Some voice services, those that do not rely on the cloud, will still work on a regular basis. Typing tips and handwriting recognition using the local system dictionary will also work again.

Turning this setting on to the No position will help you improve your privacy, but it will also lead to the loss of some pretty handy features you might be used to.

7- Control app access to your account information

This setting controls whether or not to allow apps to access user information. This information includes your name, photos and other information commonly found on your account.

Setting this setting to No blocks access from any app. By contrast, if you choose Yes, you can control access to this information for each individual app. Microsoft claims that disabling access to Account Information for an app may not allow it to function as intended … this may also be true, but the best choice remains to choose for each individual case.

When set to Yes, you will see a list of apps that may require access to the account. You can activate or deactivate access individually, depending on your needs.

8- Control access to your contacts’ apps

This option decrees if the Windows apps will have access to your address book. Choosing No, Windows blocks all accesses of your contacts to apps. By opting for Yes you can choose once again individually.

As with other options, the best choice is to treat each app as a separate case. If in doubt, you can still contact the developer of the app in question.

Although the cases just mentioned are the most common, the logic is repeated almost identical to other permissions required by Windows 10 as for:

  • diagnostics
  • Downloading automatic files
  • Various feedback
  • Access to the mailbox

The general rule is to always pay great attention to every single app and try to understand which accesses really can be useful for its operation.


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