How To Set Up Windows 10 To Defend Your Privacy

Windows 10 is developed to share info, but by default, it does a pretty awful job when it comes to privacy. If you mull over it, on any of our personal Windows PCs there is loads of personal info, comprising our images, our account logins, and financial info that we might prefer to keep confidential, and away from bad actors.

No wonder there are current problems on what data Windows 10 essentially gathers, and with the latest commitment by Microsoft to trim this down to “the basic stage that is required to keep your PCs up to date and safe” as per EVP of the Windows and Devices Group, Terry Myerson.

On the other hand, at the initial configuration of your shiny new computer, as we eagerly check off the boxes to get on to the fun stuff and approve the license agreements, most of us do not understand the various elements of privacy that we are completely giving away. Certainly, Windows makes it seem all normal, such as “Don’t you need Cortana to do her excellent work?” On the other hand, as Windows is a quite configurable and flexible operating system, it can be configured to defend your privacy in a number of manners.

Read also >> Microsoft Unveils Fresh Windows 10 Light Theme

For those who are eager as to what data the company is gathering, here is some insight for you. Here, you can see the kind of info gathered, such as search results, locations, and browsing. Here are some methods that can be used to defend your privacy.

Reload The OS

If the PC is in use, a good first measure is to reload the operating system. All consumers eventually install software, and this results in additional security flaws, whether from browser plugins or standalone programs. Even with a new computer, it is good practice to begin with a fresh operating system.

Hence, whether your PC is a brand new device, or you have been employing it for a while, a good practice to make sure security is to take off the info you require, completely wipe the device, and begin with a clean install all over again. Note this must neither be confused with a rollback that goes back to a previous version nor an OS restore. This will not offer a completely fresh start.

Luckily, Windows 10 makes it simpler than on earlier editions of Windows to perform a reinstall from inside the OS. If you are not so sure about the process, you can always search the Internet for this process.

General Privacy Settings

Go to the Settings >> Privacy. Below the “General” section, there are multiple switches. Maybe the creepiest of these is the one that permits applications to employ “advertising ID” to trace you and then send you advertisements on the basis of your latest activity instead of generic advertisements for that website. Ever thought why after you look at a website for a new car, how then you get banged with ads for vehicles. Well, happy realization. Turn off all the toggles here.

Cortana

Next, turn your attention to Cortana—the digital assistant by Microsoft. While a personal assistant has particular use-case scenarios, such as it is less important for consumers on their Windows PC with a mouse and keyboard at their fingertips when you are driving. And a latest exploit showed that Cortana can be employed to unlock particular websites to hack the computer from the lock screen.

Hence, from a privacy viewpoint, it is better for Cortana to be less knowledgeable. Go to Windows settings >> Cortana. On the initial Cortana screen, below “Talk to Cortana” you can turn off the keyboard shortcut, the “Hey Cortana” function, and the feature that allows Cortana to work with the locked device. This will defend from the exploit mentioned above.

Moving on, in the Cortana section, go to “Permissions & History.” Back when users had a Windows smartphone, you can stop Cortana from gathering info from your personal search history. Here you can clear what info Cortana has gathered, and regulate the search outcomes. You can also restrict authorization to what is in the device’s history and the Cloud account.

Sign-In Options

In the Settings below the Account section, there is a subsection for “Sign-in options,” and towards the end there are 2 settings. The first setting manages if the account details such as email IDs are shown when the machine is off. The second setting decides if the log-in data can be employed to finish setting up a device automatically after a restart or an update. For utmost privacy, these both options must be turned off.

Camera And Microphone

Go to the Settings >> Privacy. Scrolling down the list of sub-headings you will get into some of the more fragmented levels of permissions. Hence, you need to deal here a bit cautiously. For the extremely paranoid and the ultimate in privacy, both the microphone and the integrated webcam can be completely turned off at a system level. On the other hand, it makes logic for particular applications to have authorization to these. For instance, Skype! Hence, most consumers will need to turn off or on the camera on an app-by-app base. For instance, you can turn off the camera access for the OneNote and Microsoft Store, as it makes little logic for those applications to be capable of using the camera. The same rule applies to the microphone, which is the subsequent section in the catalog.

Shared Experiences

Last, but not the least, in the System section, go to “Shared experiences” subcategory. As most consumers employ a series of gadgets, this is a method for Windows on a computer to connect to apps on linked tablets and phones, to open and text apps between the gadgets. While this was an upgrade for the Windows Creators Update, a number of applications have adopted it. For the moment, from a privacy viewpoint, it is better to switch this off as it shows a method for Microsoft to develop a more inclusive profile among different gadgets, with bit tangible advantage to consumers so far.

Seeing the big picture here and tying all the knots together, we had a look at how to configure your Windows 10 PC for maximum privacy. These tips will help you keep your data private, preventing you from the hassle of data privacy issues. If you feel that this article was helpful, do let us know by commenting below. In addition to this, you can also write to us some more tips that you are aware of. We would be happy to include them.